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First Thoughts

| Andrew Morrell |
After months of planning and praying, William Carey was finally ready to depart and take the gospel to India. But before he left, he met with a group of pastors who had been helping him prepare, including his close friend Andrew Fuller. Fuller would later reflect on the meeting, saying, “It was like Carey was preparing to go into a deep, dark, unexplored mine and was saying to us, ‘I will go down into the pit, if you will hold the rope.’ And we responded by taking an oath together, ‘While we …
| Richard Lucas |
Sunday school originally began at the end of the 18th century in Britain during the Industrial Revolution. Working-class children spent long hours in the factories six days a week and had no time for education. Sunday School was developed to teach basic literacy on the only day they had available. It was quite literally a school. Today, we have long dropped the aim of teaching reading and writing to children during Sunday school, but we have maintained the goal of religious instruction. But i…
| Sean Perron |
Every person knows what it means to be angry. Anger comes in many shapes and sizes. Our anger could be in the form of a visible volcanic explosion, or it could be in the form of an invisible silent iceberg. Anger comes in varying degrees of frustration and hatred. But whether mild or severe, loud or quiet, we have all been angry. There are many resources (Calming Your Heart by Robert Jones) you can pick up to fight the hatred in your heart. Jenny and I have decided to read a devotional book (…
| Austin Collins |
One of the marks of saving faith is a deep love for others. And love always manifests itself in action. If I love someone, I am compelled to care for them not just in word, but also in deed. Galatians 6:10 says, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  Our lives present us with thousands of opportunities to do good to others. There are so many people out there who need help, who I can serve, who I can care for. …
| Austin Collins |
Love in Action One of the most often repeated commands in the New Testament is to “love one another.” But we live in a world where where it seems like no one shares the same definition of “love.” If you were to search online for examples of love, you’d come up with hundreds of stories, quotes, and pictures trying to grasp at what love really is. We ask, is love just a feeling? An emotion? Is it something you give or take? Is it something you do? Is it just some abstract, philosophical idea? H…
| Tim Arndt |
Church isn’t popular anymore. “I’m not a fan of organized religion.” “Jesus is cool, but Christians are too judgmental.” “I’m taking a break from church to work on myself.” “I love Jesus, but not the church.” Church attendance is declining, and even worse, Christians are skipping out too. In a culture where over half of those who identify as Christians aren’t participating in a local church, we have a serious problem. So what can we say? How can we convince those who claim the name of Christ …
| Margaret Tucker |
Luke 15:20: “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him” One of the most difficult, most painful things you can experience is when someone you love has turned their back on God and has become wayward. The harsh reality is that most of us, if not all of us, have experienced this in some way or will experience it soon. We live in a culture that has completely turned its back on God. T…
| Sean Perron |
This week concludes our limited-run podcast called “What Happened at First Baptist.” It is a story about how a single congregation grew to become one of the largest and most influential churches in America, only to experience a cataclysmic decline that placed its very existence in doubt. For the past seven weeks, we’ve discussed how that same church endured a brutal and painful season of change and emerged from the transition stronger, more united, and more committed than ever to Jesus’ great…
| Trevor Komatsu |
Jesus Cared for Kids We live in a culture where children are devalued, cast aside, and treated as burdens. The Bible teaches that the ancient world bears striking similarities to this modern mentality. In Mark 10, the disciples are trying to stop kids from seeing Jesus. Here was their logic: Jesus is important. Children are not important. Jesus needs to do important things and see important people. Therefore, we need to keep children away from Jesus. This logic gets turned upside down with Je…
| Ernie Baker |
One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 20:1: “In the year that the commander in chief, who was sent by Sargon the King of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought against it and captured it–” What? This is unlike John 3:16 or Romans 8:28. Why would it be one of my favorite verses? Until 1843, Christians were mocked for believing that there was once a ruler in Assyria named Sargon, but then his palace was uncovered, and you can now visit museums to see the evidence. Time has repeatedly shown that it’s…

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