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First Thoughts

| Spencer Harmon |
Netflix. Hulu. Disney+. Paramount+. Amazon Prime. HBO Max. Encanto. Boba Fett. Redeeming Love. Ted Lasso. Squid Game. Spiderman. Should Christians be entertained by these platforms, movies, and shows? Is it possible to consume the latest movies or binge-worthy shows and glorify God? How? From the ultra-conservative who only watches movies recommended by their pastor, to the movie connoisseur who somehow finds “the gospel” even in the most explicit content, the entertainment we consume often c…
| Heath Lambert |
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 leadershi…
| Sean Perron |
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 contin…
| Heath Lambert |
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+, a…
| Sean Perron |
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 …
| Spencer Harmon |
We need to recover purity culture. We read I Kissed Dating Goodbye in high school. As many will remember, Joshua Harris sought to dismantle what he identified as a culture of casual dating in the church. Many were helped by this book (including us!). A movement began, marked by purity banquets, purity rings, and commitments made by thousands of teenagers to save sexual intimacy for marriage. Purity culture was born. But for many, that culture crushed them. Many have recently reported that as …
| Heath Lambert |
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, …
| Heath Lambert |
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 do…
| Heath Lambert |
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 Go…
| Sean Perron |
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 wee…

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