First Thoughts

Author: Sean Perron

Two Attitudes When Studying the Bible

Reading the Bible is not like reading any other book. The words of the Bible are the very words of God. The Scriptures are described as a two-edged sword which reads us while we read it. And yet people often treat the Bible like any other book that collects dust on their decorative shelf. Even Christians can be bored with the Bible and miss its relevance for their lives. The word of God is more important than food. It is more precious than honey. It is more valuable than gold. “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Psalm 119:72 This means there is a right and a wrong way to approach the Scriptures. The attitude with which we approach the Bible is directly connected to our appreciation of it. How we study the Bible is just as important as that we...

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Summer Reading Recommendations

Summer is an ideal time for rest and recreation. During the hot month of July, many people try to vacation, rest, and change up their normal pace of life. Perhaps you are looking for an enjoyable book to read before the summer comes to an end. A good book isn’t just enjoyable; it changes you. Reading often blows fresh wind into your spiritual sails if you are discouraged by a trial or struggling with sin. Even the Apostle Paul knew the value of reading and asked Timothy to bring him books while in prison (2 Timothy 4:13). Whether you are in prison or by the pool, reading a Godward book is a real gift. I know people who read voraciously. I have other friends who don’t remember the last time they read a book. Wherever you are on the reading spectrum, I have a modest goal. Buy one of the books...

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Three Ways God Guides Us In Making Decisions

Where should I go to school? Should I take this new job? Should I pursue marriage? How many kids should we have? There are countless decisions we encounter throughout life. Some are big; some are small. Regardless of the size, Christians can often be confused about God’s will for their lives. Perhaps even the thought of making decisions stirs up anxiety and paralyzing fear. How should we think through the decision-making process? While every question can’t be answered in a blog, there are three basic principles that can guide us. Knowing God’s will starts with Scripture, includes desires, and ends with resting in God’s kind sovereignty. 1. God Guides First and Foremost Through His Revealed Will His revealed will can be found in the Bible and is not hidden from believers. God has been kind...

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The Joy Set Before Mothers

The sun comes up, and Jenny is at work. My wife rises early to make sure the children are fed, and she goes to sleep late to care for them. The work of cleaning the dishes, picking up toys, changing diapers, instructing hearts, tending to injuries, navigating sibling conflict, and running a home is constant. Every day there is work to be done, and each day brings needs, wants, and demands. My wife is not alone. There are mothers across the world who are hard at work in their homes. It does not matter if the children are six weeks old or sixteen years old; each stage of parenting brings about challenges. The work of motherhood is continual, consistent, and challenging. And it does not make sense to most people. The world does not understand the glory of motherhood. This is because home is...

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Should Christians Date Non-Christians?

All the right factors seem to be in place-cute charm, dreamy looks, social suave, a pleasant appeal, and even conservative convictions. The only thing missing is… Jesus. Perhaps you have thought something like: “They are so close to the truth, and they love so many good things the Bible supports! Surely they would be compelled to follow Christ fully if they were enticed by a godly companion!” As tempting as it might be to date a nice unbeliever, I am not convinced this is the way to go about evangelizing. I do not think the way to share Christ is through candle-lit dinners and gushy love notes. The way of the great commission is not “flirt to convert.” I believe there is a better way to display the love of Christ and protect your soul. True Love Is Soul Deep What do you find romantically...

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Christians and Cohabiting Couples

Christians can respond to cohabiting couples in all the wrong ways. Some Christians endorse living together. Some treat it as the unpardonable sin. Others avoid cohabiting couples like the plague because they do not know what to say. How should Christians respond (or not respond!) to couples living together? It is true that marriage is a Christian institution. It was designed by God to declare the good news of Jesus Christ to the world (Ephesians 5:22-33). A husband is supposed to lay down his life in sacrificial service for his bride-just as Jesus did. A wife is supposed to submit to her husband in the same way the church submits to Christ. It is a beautiful representation of the gospel. Therefore, cohabitation is an unchristian handshake. It grates against the good design of God at every...

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Romance Novels and the Bible

Some of the best-selling books on the market are romance novels. Year after year this genre continues to be successful.  As with anything, there is a spectrum. Some of the “love” stories aim at middle and high school students who are experimenting with romance for the first time. Other stories target a more adult audience and keep both men and women coming back for more. There is also a spectrum as it relates to sexual content and delivery. The range is vast with Emma on one end of the continuum and Fifty Shades of Grey on the other. Some romance novels are pure, reserved, and lovely while others are impure, erotic, and sinful. This is not only true for the secular world, but it is also true for the Christian world. There is a market for “Christian romance novels” and the spectrum of sexual...

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Seven Good Reasons to Save Sex for Marriage

It is common practice for dating couples to sleep together long before they even mention the possibility of a wedding. To many people, sex before marriage is a normal part of life and is as common as exchanging phone numbers. I would like to convince you of what you already know to be true in your heart–sex is only meant for marriage. Having sex with someone is a big deal and should not be common. It should not be the appetizer before marriage. Rather, it should be the culmination of romance that is a beautiful exchange of true love. Regardless of your sexual past or history, below are seven reasons why you should commit to reserving sex for marriage. 1. Abstinence never fails. Abstinence is the most effective birth control and the best protection from sexually transmitted diseases. This...

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Three Initiatives from First Baptist in 2022

The mission of First Baptist is to reach all of Jacksonville with all of Jesus for all of life. This vision is big and bold. It is a wide vision that includes everything in life – all of life. Whether it is washing dishes, selling property, sharing the gospel, voting, or approaching death, we want to bring every part of our lives under submission to the Lordship of Jesus. All of life includes doing everything in life to the praise of God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 1:12). Each week at First Baptist, we seek to accomplish this mission through the preaching and singing of God’s word. We teach the Bible every week in our Sunday School Classes and Life Groups. We are delivering biblical content to our church with the goal of transforming lives. Yet there is only so much that we can...

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