Category: Uncategorized

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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The Southern Baptist Convention in 2022: A Sketch of Where We Are

A Glorious Mugging Participating in the Southern Baptist Convention can feel like a mugging. The days are long, disorienting, often brutal, and when it is all over you feel sore. Don’t get me wrong. I love the SBC, and always appreciate the unpretentious majesty of a room where celebrity pastors and rural preachers all get a ballot and an opportunity to speak. But we all know the days can be long and the issues painful. If the SBC in 2022 was a glorious mugging, then I want to provide a police sketch of the event. That is to say, I want to describe where we are as a convention now that the votes have all taken place in Anaheim. Here are five broad strokes describing the SBC as I see it today. 1. The SBC Wants to be Conservative There has been a lot of talk about liberal drift in the SBC....

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Where’s Dad? A Call for Men to Lead in the Home

Reclaiming a Biblical Vision for Dads To say that our culture is confused about gender and gender roles would be the understatement of the century. Young girls are trained by the feminists to be aggressive in the workplace, while young men are domesticated and told to be gentle lambs who must never mansplain. This has produced a topsy-turvy situation where society’s ideal woman is a dominant leader, and the ideal man is passive, gentle, and always agreeable. While this vision is bad for society at large, it is especially damaging in the home. A home led by a domineering wife and a passive husband is a disordered home. If First Baptist Church is going to reach all of Jacksonville, our marriages and families must look remarkably different than the culture. Our homes must be places where dads...

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Five Sins Regarding Abuse

I should start by being clear that I am not saying there are precisely five—and only five—sins regarding the issue of abuse and that you will find those five sins catalogued here in an authoritative fashion. That is not my point. My point is that we are living in a time when many in the church are dealing constantly with issues related to abuse. As we go through this season, it is crucial to make clear that when we are talking about abuse, we are talking about sin. This issue is about something that is morally repugnant in the eyes of God. And we are not only talking about sin—singular but sin—plural. There is more than one moral monster in view here. Here I am going to talk about five sins that Christians must grapple with if we are ever to find our way out of this current darkness into...

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Taking Back the Rainbow: Christianity, Homosexuality, and Gay Pride Month

The Ironies of Gay Pride Month Four strikingly sinister ironies define the secular celebration of gay pride month. First, is the false advertising that says we are devoting merely a month to the celebration of homosexuality when, in truth, our culture demands the near-constant celebration of homosexuality every day and every month of every year. Second, is waving the banner of “pride” over a lifestyle choice that is transparently sinful. God has the sovereign right to dictate the attitudes of our heart, and God’s own Word says that he opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Third, is the insistence from our sinful culture that anyone who opposes the infinite manifestations of the LGBTQ+ lifestyle is on the “wrong side of history.” God has the exclusive right to determine...

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God Has Been Merciful to Us: Three Reasons to be Encouraged by the Devastating SBC Report on Sexual Abuse

The SBC Report on Sexual Abuse We have been waiting for months for the Report of the Independent Investigation to detail sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention and the response to that abuse. That report was released yesterday afternoon; I read it with great interest and a broken heart. The report is full of abuse, pain, cover-up, and sin. Every Christian must mourn the shocking mistreatment that so many precious people received at the hands of those charged with their care. The report is long and complex with many details, but at the risk of oversimplification, I want to communicate the report’s findings in one sentence. For years a group of leaders in the Southern Baptist Executive Committee resisted openness, transparency, and protection of sexual abuse victims out of a...

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Biblical Hospitality: Practices of Grace (Part 2)

Practicing hospitality is a way to share God’s grace and bless others. But practicing hospitality requires just that – practice. If hospitality isn’t part of your thought patterns or family’s regular routines, then knowing where to start or how to do it might feel overwhelming. Biblical hospitality presents two challenges to us. First, hospitality in the Bible is a command. It’s not optional. Almost every instance of the word “hospitality” in the New Testament is connected to an imperative (Cf. Hebrews 13:2, 1 Peter 4:9). Second, hospitality is active. Romans 12:13 says we are to “seek to show hospitality.” We can’t just idly sit around and wait for opportunities for hospitality to come upon us, though they might. We are to be looking out for occasions to open our homes and hearts to others. It’s...

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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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