First Thoughts

Miscarriage and Mercy

A Dark Day “Oh, my! It looks like you are having twins.” These were the first words the doctor spoke to us at my wife Kate’s routine ten-week ultrasound. The news was surprising and wonderful. God had given us not one beautiful child created in his image but two. “Hang on,” the doctor said only a few seconds later. “One of them doesn’t have a heartbeat.” We walked out of our doctor’s office that day bearing the weight of a reality that was unthinkable when we walked in. One of the beautiful and precious twins that had lived in Kate’s womb for a few short weeks was now dead. We wouldn’t get to squeeze his cheeks, tickle his belly, or watch him grow up. He was gone. We named him Samuel. It was a Tuesday. And it was the darkest day of our life. As we got into our car to drive back home, the...

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Loving Difficult People

Let’s be honest; some people are hard to love. Unfortunately, from the stories I hear, it is often a spouse. Your difficult person may not be a spouse; he could be an extended family member or even someone in your church who just “rubs you the wrong way.”  A Model to Follow As we live our lives, the realities of our fallen world are realized in our difficult relationships. Scripture is realistic about this. In particular, as Paul writes, he applies biblical teaching to this very subject. In Ephesians 5, he writes, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (vs. 1-2). Who are the “us” that Christ loved? Certainly not very loveable people (see 4:17-19)! In these verses, our...

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Will the Church Arise in the Ashes of Roe?

The Fall of Roe In the 8th century, Saint Boniface[1] was implored to not cut the tree of Thor down. This mighty oak was believed to be a tree belonging to Thor, the god of thunder. The people pleaded with Boniface to not cut down the tree or else bring curses, fire, and destruction to the people. As he approached with an ax, the people shouted piercing screams till they saw the ax thunder into the tree’s side. When the tree finally fell, many in the town immediately repented at the proclaimed Gospel of Jesus Christ. The story goes that the same tree was hauled off to be used to build the first church for the town. Saint Boniface watched the mighty oak of a pagan god be brought down, and the sound of its thunderous fall is still rolling today. Another pagan god’s mighty oak has come down:...

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A Personal Health Update

Dear First Baptist Family, This morning I shared with our church the bad news that I now require another surgery in an attempt to correct the nerve problems in my brain. For anyone who was not there, I wanted to share this information with you. Many of you know that since my second surgery last year, I have endured ongoing symptoms of pain, discomfort, and spasms. I have been able to manage some of these symptoms with medication that have stifled the pain and minimized the involuntary movement, but it has become increasingly clear that my problem has remained. A few months ago, I was recommended to a different neurosurgery team at a different hospital to see if there was anything more that could be done to address this problem. Just over a week ago, I met with my new doctor to review the...

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Refusing to Celebrate in a Post-Roe World

A Moral Earthquake The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v Jackson was a massive earthquake that rocked the entire world. Only time will tell how massive is the number it registered on the cultural Richter scale. What we know right now is that there was a massive fault line separating professing believers. You might not have seen it before, but the Dobbs earthquake has turned that fault line into a massive chasm. That chasm separates two kinds of people in the Christian community. A Chasm Between Two Kinds of Professing Believers On one side of the chasm are the Christians who are celebrating the end of the era of Roe. On the other side of the chasm are those who are not. I have taken one opportunity to celebrate this moment in a blog and another opportunity in front of the congregation at...

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The Bible, The Supreme Court, and Bodily Autonomy

Since Dobbs v Jackson overturned Roe v Wade the cry of opposition has been that the fundamental rights of women have been abridged. Sometimes that cry sounds like, “my body, my choice.” At other times it sounds like women refusing to let their “reproductive rights” be infringed. The driving logic behind all this is a belief in bodily autonomy. The idea is that since my body is—well—mine, I can do what I want with it. We must think through such a claim from the standpoint of biblical faithfulness. Here, I want to offer four thoughts in response to the claim of bodily autonomy. Bodily Autonomy and Legitimacy First, those who argue for bodily autonomy have some things right. Our bodies are sacred, valuable, and infinitely precious. The Bible is clear that we are made as human beings by God...

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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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Roe Is Over—Now What?

A Day I Never Thought Would Come I was born in 1979, just six years after the Supreme Court effectively made abortion the law of the land in Roe v. Wade. My entire life has been overshadowed by the legality of the vile practice of abortion. Since becoming a Christian in 1994 I have done whatever I could to help bring an end to this era of death. I have longed for it, prayed for it, voted for it, and raised money for it. But, in retrospect, I realize I never saw a true path to ending it. I believed my efforts were faithful, but I never really saw how they could be fruitful. The deck always seemed stacked against reversing the decision. And then came this glorious day, June 24, 2022. A day which will be remembered in eternity as one of justice, righteousness, and faithfulness. It is a day...

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What Happened? Why Many Millennials and Gen-Z-ers Are Embracing Secularism

The Post-Graduation Exodus Something has gone terribly wrong. For the past few decades, young people are exiting the churches they grew up in at alarming rates.[1] Vast amounts of church kids are graduating from our youth groups and never coming back. What happened? What went wrong? These kids were raised in the church. If we want to understand Christianity’s decline and secularism’s rise among young adults, we must answer a simple question: who is teaching the children? This question matters because students will become like their teachers. Jesus says in Luke 6:40, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” When Jesus uses the word “teacher,” he is not referring exclusively to what happens during school hours (although this is...

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