First Thoughts

Biblical Hospitality: Avenues of Grace (Part 1)

In this two-part blog, we’ll first look at what the Bible teaches about what hospitality looks like. The next installment will contain a list of practical helps and tips for engaging in real-life hospitality in your home. Biblical Hospitality It’s a scary word – hospitality. It’s a word that often strikes fear in the hearts of Christians. We’re busy, and our homes can be messy, and – oh no – our kids just drew 13 smiley faces on the wall with permanent marker. “Hospitality” conjures to mind elegant table settings, fanciful three-course dinners, and spotless homes with well-mannered children. But thankfully, that’s not what biblical hospitality has to look like. In a single verse, Paul provides for us a biblical definition of hospitality. In Romans 15:7, he says to “welcome one another as...

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FEAST on the Bible

The Finitude of Feasts For many of us, the celebration of Easter last month would not have been complete without a feast. Savory slices of prime rib and sweet servings of honey-baked hams filled our plates and our stomachs. Gravy-laden mashed potatoes and glazed carrots, and Easter salad rounded off our rejoicing. Elbow to elbow with our closest friends and loved ones, we experienced the joy of pleasing our palates and celebrating the glorious resurrection of our Lord. But inevitably, the delight of a happy palate and a full stomach dwindles. The satisfaction is short-lived. In the end, we are left with a few good memories to relive and a few extra pounds to lose. An Infinite Feast Feasts are wonderful but finite. But what if there was a feast you could participate in every single day that...

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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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Why Do Baptists Baptize? (Part 2)

Baptists are thankful for our rich and deep heritage. But sometimes, even in Baptist churches, people can be confused as to why we baptize. In this post, I am describing three reasons that people often think are the reasons that Baptists baptize but are actually not. 1. Not Because Baptism Is Required for Salvation  This is a vitally important clarification to make. Baptists obviously think that baptism is very important; it’s in our name, after all. However, we want to be crystal clear that we do not believe that baptism is required for salvation. Sadly, many even in Baptist churches are confused about this. I do not think it’s because they were directly taught it, but somehow they have picked up this doctrinal confusion. I have interacted with many children who have expressed a desire...

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Why Do Baptists Baptize? (Part 1)

Christ has given to his church two ordinances to be continually practiced by his people in the church, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In some cases, these ordinances have become traditions, rites, and ceremonial practices that we might have forgotten the reason why we do them. In this first post, I will share three positive reasons to answer the question, why do Baptists baptize? For these three reasons, I want to discuss how baptism should be done, who should get baptized, and what baptism is. These will address the mode, subjects, and meaning of baptism for Baptists. 1. Because Baptism Means Immersion This first reason gets at the mode of baptism; that is how we baptize. Why do we baptize the way that we baptize? In the Gospels, we can look at the baptisms performed by John the Baptist...

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Celebrating Your Resurrection This Easter

Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4  Celebrating Easter Every year at Easter, Christians celebrate the historical, literal, physical, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus was really dead, and he really came back to life. He is alive now and reigning in heaven, and we are awaiting his historical, literal, physical, and bodily return to earth to reclaim his bride. The Bible teaches that when Jesus returns, every person who has believed in him will be transformed and will receive a glorious and perfect resurrection body (1 Corinthians 15:35-49). There is another resurrection that Christians experience, however. It is the resurrection...

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Death Hath Confronted Us

In the last week, I have had two significant conversations about death. A friend suddenly lost his wife from Covid as he was in the hospital recovering from his own case. As we visited, we discussed the truths of 1 Corinthians 15. We cried. We reminisced. We talked about the importance of family, and we hugged. Most importantly I prayed for my friend as he grieved and appealed to Yahweh to comfort him. We thanked the Lord for the hope we have for eternity. Then came one of the most difficult conversations of my life. A friend was dying of cancer and asked to speak with me. In the past, I have been with people when they passed into eternity (and right after) but rarely have I talked with people who knew time on the earthly side was very limited. We cried. I helped him and his wife write some...

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Praying Without Ceasing

Most Christians know that 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says that we are supposed to “pray without ceasing.” But how are we supposed to start a prayer that never ends? Don’t we have to live life in a way that requires us to say “amen,” then get up and go do the stuff we have been praying about? Recently I have begun to think more seriously about what it means to lead a life of ceaseless prayer. While I believe some aspects of this kind of life will always be “under construction,” I also have begun to delight in how this pursuit can change everything about how we live—in the most beautiful ways! I remember as a child watching the old Batman series with Adam West. Commissioner Gordon had this special hotline to Batman on a pedestal under a glass cover in his office. It was called the Batphone, and...

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Knowing God More!

We used to sing the following words of a worship song written by Steve Green many years ago: Oh, I want to know you more Deep within my soul, I want to know you Oh, I want to know you… During the heyday of the worship renewal movement, words like this seemed fresh and intimate when they arrived on the scene. They described a deep desire that lay beneath the surface of one’s life. But for those paying close attention, this type of language demonstrated a depth of desire that could easily be neglected, if not a complete lie. It is discouraging to be capable of singing such wonderful sentiments with our mouths that are not true of our heart’s actual desire. The Bible indicates there are two types of knowledge of God. There is a head knowledge (James 2:19 – even the demons believe the facts)...

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SBC Survival Guide | Part 5: Hope

The previous posts in this SBC Survival Series on abuse, the ERLC, the Baptist Faith and Message, and race might all seem a little discouraging. Emphasizing all we must overcome might seem overwhelming. It is true that we have much to overcome in the serious problems we are facing as a convention. The problems are not overwhelming, however. Our Hope in Times of Hardship You begin to see that the problems are not overwhelming when you notice a common thread in each of the issues I addressed. Overcoming our division on the issue of abuse requires setting aside our efforts at personal kingdom-building to focus on preaching Jesus to abused people. Division regarding politics can only be overcome as we focus on Jesus more than partisan political bickering. We must preserve our commitment to Jesus...

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