First Thoughts

Author: Heath Lambert

Health and Hope: An Update on My Medical Journey

On Friday, February 25, I took the latest step in the long journey I have been on regarding my health. Because so many have reached out about how I am doing, I wanted to share an update with you. Here is the update. Background In 2017, I began experiencing concerning spasms on the right side of my body. For a brief period, the doctors suspected something terrible like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or a tumor, but quickly ruled these problems out. Eventually, they discovered that the problem was a dislocated cluster of blood vessels in my brain that was putting pressure on one of my cranial nerves. Once the problem was discovered we began a lengthy season of discovering how to treat it. We met with numerous neurosurgeons and tried several different medical interventions to seek...

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SBC Survival Guide | Part 2: The ERLC

Christians, Politics, and Division Politics is tough for Christians. On a good day, it can be surprisingly challenging for Christians to know how to apply biblical truth to political issues. For example, there is no doubt about the biblical commands for generosity (Luke 3:11). But how does this command to generosity impact our political engagement? Some Christians apply this by enthusiastically participating in the government-funded welfare state. Others apply it by objecting to that welfare state so that their resources can be preserved from the government and freed up for private generosity in their church and other ministries. My point is not that there is no right answer to that dilemma, but that this is just one political issue where Christians have regularly disagreed. Christian political...

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SBC Survival Guide | Part 1: Abuse

A Convention in Trouble The Southern Baptist Convention is in more trouble than we have seen in a long time. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of our convention is at stake. Southern Baptists have always been able to resolve their problems, and I have confidence that we can again, but this urgent moment is going to require the very best of each one of us. A great deal depends on how we address several issues in Anaheim this June. I have already addressed the importance of leadership. In the weeks ahead, I am going to address several other problems that Baptists must begin to solve as we prepare to meet in Southern California this summer. One of the most significant issues is abuse. A Sad History of Abuse Scandals The Roman Catholic scandal of priest abuses was breaking when I...

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This Isn’t Going Away: Homosexuality, Counseling, and God’s Enduring Word

The Sexual Revolution Almost everyone I knew thought homosexuality was wrong when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s. Of course, we all knew some who identified as homosexual, but I knew no one who either boasted about it or was mistreated because of it. The majority who thought it was wrong had an unspoken agreement to live and let live with those who disagreed. Today, my kids are growing up in a culture with the opposite mindset. Homosexuality, as well as the other expressions of LGBTQ+, are not hidden, and are not just accepted, but are celebrated. Today kids feel pressure to engage in fawning acceptance of the lifestyle, and to experiment with it themselves. Anyone, whether a child at school or an adult in the workplace, is strongly and coercively discouraged from expressing any kind...

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Is It Time to Leave the Southern Baptist Convention?

Today I want to return to talking about the Southern Baptist Convention. First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida is easily one of the most significant churches in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention. Since I have not been at First Baptist long enough to take any credit whatsoever for that greatness, there is no personal boast in that observation. It is just the expression of a simple fact. First Baptist was once one of the largest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, has given millions of dollars to the cooperative program, hosted a conservative alternative to the SBC annual meeting when the convention was more liberal, supplied a president of the convention from among our former pastors, and—until I got here—has always boasted of having senior pastors who were the...

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Light in Dark Places

I am sure you have noticed by now that it seems like nobody knows how to talk to each other anymore. Everyone is angry all the time about everything. The way we all talk to one another has sunk so low that it is hard to imagine how terrible it could be to hit rock bottom. Social media highlights this ugly mess. Social media gives everyone a microphone—no group hires you, no committees exert oversight, and no editor can push back. Social media also gives everyone an immediate microphone—you don’t have to think, pray, or receive counsel about what you will write, but you can immediately proclaim your thoughts, regardless of your emotional state. Social media also gives you an immediate microphone to the whole world—a private disagreement between two people or a local problem in one area, immediately...

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My Endorsement for SBC President

The Way Leadership Works When God does a great work, he raises up a great leader. This is an obvious fact of Scripture. When God delivered his people from Egypt, he raised up Moses. When God wanted to rebuild his temple and Jerusalem, he raised up Ezra and Nehemiah. When God wanted to preach salvation to the Gentiles, he raised up Paul. Examples could be multiplied with David, Gideon, Elijah, Peter, John, and Jesus himself. What is true in Scripture is also true in Church history. Whenever God has given revival, he has given an Edwards, a Whitfield, a Wesley, a Spurgeon, or a Graham. A rule of redemptive history is that when God’s people are floundering, they are absent a leader. And Southern Baptists are floundering. A Leadership Problem One of the reasons Southern Baptists have been able...

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