Author: Heath Lambert

Four Kinds of LGBTQ+ Churches

Mitigating the Shock Since the media began publicizing the First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality, one of the most common reactions we have received is shock. Some have expressed shock that a Christian church would describe any biblical limits on sexual expression. Others are shocked that, believing such limits exist, we would say so. A response of shock comes to someone caught off guard. Likewise, shock at our statement comes from people who do not really understand what is going on regarding the church’s interaction with issues of sexuality. Every church out there has a position regarding LGBTQ+ issues. I want to make clear what the positions of those churches are in an effort to minimize the sense of shock that many feel. Every church out there fits into one of our options available. Open...

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First Baptist Church Hosts Open Mic Event to Address Community Concerns

First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida will host an open mic event on Sunday evening, January 29, at 6:00 PM. This event will provide an opportunity for members of the community to come and publicly voice their concerns and questions to Pastor Heath regarding a recent action of the church to require their membership to sign a statement on biblical sexuality. “First Baptist Church of Jacksonville recently approved a statement on biblical sexuality that is required of all their members. Christian communities typically require statements of faith for membership, and this statement expresses a view of sexuality that is old as the Bible. Nevertheless, when word of this action became known in our community it inspired concern, questions, and anger. First Baptist Church desires to love our...

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Books on Revival

I am desperate to see a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God in our day. I am desperate for revival. A mighty and great work of God is the only thing that can solve the overwhelming problems Christians are currently facing. It is the only reality that can stem the tide of cultural decline currently pulling our world into full-scale collapse. The Spirit of God alone can do what all our programs, politics, and striving have failed to accomplish. On Sunday mornings in 2023 at First Baptist, we will be preaching through the book of Acts. Each week we will examine how the story proceeds and pay attention to the relevant biblical and theological principles, but our emphasis each week will be to evaluate God’s work in the revival that was the creation of the early church. The series is called...

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Why You Should Read the Bible in 2023

For years, I have had a commitment to read the Bible through each year. As I look over my adult life, I see that as one of the most spiritually significant commitments I have ever made. The Blessings of Bible Reading That is why I experienced such a struggle when I was asked to write about why you should read the Bible this year. The truth is that I feel so many benefits of Bible reading that I feel overwhelmed at where to start. But I must say something. I opened the Bible to the longest chapter in Scripture which also happens to be exclusively devoted to God’s Word. It is Psalm 119, and it is rich with reasons to read the Word. Here are just five really good reasons from the Bible itself about why you should read that Word this year. 1. You Need Blessings First, God will give you his blessings...

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Christian, You Need to Come to Church on Christmas

Christmas On Sunday Just so you won’t think I’m a pastor that is out of touch, I’m going to make a very candid admission. Here it is: it is a pain that Christmas falls on Sunday this year. There. I said it. Most of the time, Christmas falls on one of the other six days of the week, and that makes it easier. When it falls on Sunday, it messes up all the traditions we create the rest of the time: opening presents with kids, traveling to loved-one’s homes, Christmas breakfast, Christmas brunch, preparing Christmas dinner and Christmas lunch. It’s complicated. I get it. Even though it is complicated, here at the beginning of the Christmas season, I want to plead with my brothers and sisters to make room for church on Christmas Sunday while there’s still flexibility in your planning. Here are...

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Why We Need a First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality

In October, the congregation of First Baptist Church adopted a statement required of each of our members. It is called The First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality. Here is what it says: As a member of First Baptist Church, I believe that God creates people in his image as either male or female, and that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, not individual choice. I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government, is between one man and one woman, and is the only context for sexual desire and expression. Genesis 1:27; 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 This statement is a very straightforward and biblical statement. Without singling out any one specific sin, it summarizes God’s design for gender, marriage, and sexuality. This positive statement...

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The Hateful Hypocrisy of Militant LGBTQ Activism

Christians Really Do Believe the Bible Let me tell you about the hornets’ nest I kicked over this week. This weekend, The First Baptist Church of Jacksonville is going to approve a statement on biblical sexuality. It has already been approved by our pastors and lay leadership. Here is what it says, As a member of First Baptist Church, I believe that God creates people in his image as either male or female, and that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, not individual choice. I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government, is between one man and one woman, and is the only context for sexual desire and expression. Genesis 1:27; 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 This is an uncontroversial statement for any Christian living in any place at any point...

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Controversial Conversations

Pastor Heath recently answered controversial questions related to homosexuality, race, marriage, voting, women in the church, and the Catholic church. You can watch the full talk or see the specific question and time stamp below. It is our prayer that these questions and answers help you think more deeply about how the Bible relates to all of life and increases your faith. Why do we have no people of color on staff at our church (except the ministries for foreign groups)? How can we expect to have a diverse congregation when we don’t have a diverse staff? – 10:35 What implications does Deuteronomy 24:3-4 have currently on Christian marriages? – 15:50 Would you say that the Bible, as we have it, is inerrant, or that the “inerrancy of scripture” applies only to the original scripts and mistakes...

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In Praise of Nurses

For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13 Hard Nights in the Hospital When it comes to hospital stays, I’m now something of an expert. Since the fall of 2020, I’ve spent roughly 15 nights in the hospital. That is not as much time as some have spent in the hospital, but it is more than most. For me, 15 nights means I’ve spent more time in the hospital than I have in hotels, visiting relatives, or having sleepovers with my kids. Those 15 nights were the hardest and most uncomfortable ones I’ve ever spent on planet earth. Most of them were in the Neuro-ICU. You don’t get in there unless you need a lot of help. Your brain is fragile, you need constant monitoring, you require powerful medication, you can’t get...

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A Health Update

Dear First Baptist Family, You have been so faithful to pray, and I wanted to write and let you know the latest update after the appointment with my neurosurgery team this morning. First of all, I want you to know that I feel good. In fact, as I write to you now, I feel as good as I have felt since August 4. I haven’t taken any pain medication, and my constant dizziness and disorientation has become a much more tolerable light-headed, sort of swimmy feeling. That improvement allows me to walk confidently and without help, even if a bit slower than usual. To add to that good news, I also got a good report at my visit. Everyone is happy with the way I am progressing and healing up. They did decide to leave the stitches in the back of my head for at least another week. They also are continuing...

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