Skip to main content

First Thoughts

Why You Should Read the Bible in 2023

| Heath Lambert |
For years, I have had a commitment to read the Bible through each year. As I look over my adult life, I see that as one of the most spiritually significant commitments I have ever made. The Blessings of Bible Reading That is why I experienced such a struggle when I was asked to write about why you should read the Bible this year. The truth is that I feel so many benefits of Bible reading that I feel overwhelmed at where to start. But I must say something. I opened the Bible to the longest cha…

O Come All Ye Faithful

| Scott Connell |
“O Come All Ye Faithful” is one of the oldest hymns we sing at Christmas. It was initially a Latin Hymn bearing the title “Adeste Fideles” and appears to have been written by John Francis Wade (c. 1711–1786). The first existing manuscript of this hymn is dated 1743. The Latin title literally means “Come, faithful ones.” This Catholic hymn was translated into English in 1841 for use in the Church of England by Frederick Oakeley (1802–1890). The Oxford Movement was an effort in the mid-19th cen…

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

| Scott Connell |
Many of the most profound hymns of the faith were birthed from life’s most challenging circumstances. “It is Well with My Soul” was written in the throes of the sudden and tragic death of all the author’s children. “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” was written upon the death of a spouse. “Just as I Am” was written by a bedridden invalid, and “To God Be the Glory” by a blind poet. Trials are the wellspring of profound proclamations of hope. Christmas of 1849 saw the nation stumbling out of the rec…

Away in a Manger

| Scott Connell |
The story of this delightful children’s carol is a tangled web of attributions and additions. This is, unfortunately, common for hymn stories. They can become larger than life. This story even includes a couple of magnificent lies in its history, seemingly intended to build notoriety for the song. Despite the folklore associated with this song, it has become one of the most recognizable Christmas carols for more than a century. While no fewer than four names have become associated with its co…

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

| Scott Connell |
One of the first Christmas hymns that Charles Wesley wrote happens to be one of the greatest Christmas Carols of all time. How is that for beginner’s luck? In fact, many consider it one of the greatest hymns ever written (for any season). This is a remarkable feat, given that Wesley went on to compose over 6,500 hymns. He originally called it a “Hymn for Christmas Day.” He first wrote it in 1739 when he was 32 years old. It has since become one of the most beloved Christmas carols of Christen…

2023 Daily Devotionals

| Sean Perron |
There is a long history of Christians reading daily devotionals alongside their time in the Scripture. In 2023, we want to encourage you to join this rich history! Devotional books are not meant to take the place of reading the Bible but are designed to spur us on in the Christian life. They cause us to slow down, ponder a particular aspect of Scripture, and worship God with all our hearts. The Holy Spirit can use a daily devotional book to bring about fresh love for God in your life. Here ar…

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

| Scott Connell |
Now that the Advent Season is upon us, it is our challenge to slow the pace of our lives enough to acknowledge it and then enjoy it. However, the busyness of our ordinary lives abruptly resumes following the Thanksgiving holiday, and a new but familiar tyranny descends upon us with the approach of December. The calendar fills quickly with celebrative events, and the task list explodes. It is the most wonderful time of the year… but will we take the time required to enjoy it? Singing Christmas…

Christian, You Need to Come to Church on Christmas

| Heath Lambert |
Christmas On Sunday Just so you won’t think I’m a pastor that is out of touch, I’m going to make a very candid admission. Here it is: it is a pain that Christmas falls on Sunday this year. There. I said it. Most of the time, Christmas falls on one of the other six days of the week, and that makes it easier. When it falls on Sunday, it messes up all the traditions we create the rest of the time: opening presents with kids, traveling to loved-one’s homes, Christmas breakfast, Christmas brunch, …

Why We Need a First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality

| Heath Lambert |
In October, the congregation of First Baptist Church adopted a statement required of each of our members. It is called The First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality. Here is what it says: As a member of First Baptist Church, I believe that God creates people in his image as either male or female, and that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, not individual choice. I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government, is between one man and one woman, and is the only contex…

Is God in Control of Suffering?

| Richard Lucas |
When suffering comes into our lives, whatever form it takes, we can often respond by wondering, “where is God?” We often question that if God is good, why does he allow this difficulty to come into our lives? Or we respond the other way; we question if our good God is really in control. If God was in control, there’s no way that he would permit painful suffering in our lives. In our last post, we saw two truths about suffering from the opening chapters of the book of Job. Those chapters teach…

Subscribe Via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.