Senior Pastors 1940-2018 at First Baptist Church Jacksonville, Florida

As we reached the end of an era 5/8/2018 I reflected on the senior pastors my family has known, loved and been thankful for since we moved to FBC in April 1965. I was amazed at the closeness of the starting age range for each of the Senior Pastors or Co-pastors. Two were at age 38, one each at 42, 45 and 48 or a range of 38-48.

Dr. Homer Lindsay Sr. [1940-1973 as pastor and then co-pastor, died in 1981] He was a great pastor and leader. When he came in 1940 he was 38 years old and came to church that had lost it’s educational building in a mortgage foreclosure and had the distinction of having the largest debt in the Southern Baptist convention. The only building FBC owned was the Hobson Auditorium without any educational space. He preached “debt free in 43”. That became a reality during WW II and FBC has had no debt since then. On a personal note when he was 71 in 1975 he and his wife came to our house for dinner. He got down on the floor and played with our children Linda and David, age 7 & 9 at the time.

Dr. Homer Lindsay Jr. [1969-2000 co-pastor, pastor and co-pastor, died in February 2000] was 42 years old when he came in 1969. He was a great evangelistic preacher and leader. He led Sunday School growth from about 1,000 in 1969 to  over  6,500 in 1992. On a personal note Dr. Lindsay Jr and Dr. Vines trusted me as Chairman of the Deacons 5 years between 1983 & 1999. I also served as a member of the finance committee about 20 years from 1972-1999. On Christmas Eve in 1972 Dr. Lindsay brought a dachshund puppy to our house with a ribbon for Linda and David. [For more details on Dr. Lindsay Jr. and an interview with Dr. Vines click here.]

 Dr. Jerry Vines [1982-2006 as co-pastor and then Pastor] was 45 when he came to FBC. He was a good preacher who started the First Baptist annual Pastor’s conference in 1985. He was a very active leader in the Southern Baptist Convention resurgence to return the SBC to a firm belief in the inerrancy of the Bible, beginning before coming as co-pastor. He was SBC president 1988-1990 while at FBC. For personal note see above.

 Dr. Mac Brunson [Senior Pastor April 2006 at age 48 – October 2017, then co-pastor until May 2018] is one the best preachers in the SBC. He led in starting the First Baptist Academy and began satellite churches in Nocatee, Ortega, and UNF. One of the best things he did was bring Dr. Heath Lambert to FBC as co-pastor.

On a personal note he encouraged me: in One2Won Discipleship, ask me to help select men to give their discipling testimonies on Wednesday night in September for several years, have a One2Won booth at the pastors conference, help produce a One2Won Discipleship Book for women with the permission of the author Joe White and ask me to chair a FBC Vision committee 2011- 2012. He baptized our granddaughter Lanier Lineberger as the 102nd person baptized on a Sunday night in 2006. Dr. Brunson dedicated our grandsons William in 2008 and Dawson in 2011. Their father David Luke served as chairman of the deacons in 2016.

Dr. Heath Lambert [Pastor 2016-October 2017, then co-pastor until May 2018 & now sole Senior Pastor, age 38] Dr. Lambert is a good preacher with a heart for winning Jacksonville for Jesus. He is a good administrator, open and willing to listen to input. His first ministry priority is FBC. On a personal note he reminds me of Dr. Lindsay Jr. but with a more open personality. I look forward to serving God under the leadership of God’s man Dr. Lambert the rest of my life.

Henry Luke May 13, 2018






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Time and Creation, Including when Angels were created.

From May 2018 Acts and Facts by ICR.

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Summary/application for 2 Corinthians 4-5:


  1. Believers can face life with confidence, knowing that the power of the gospel can be revealed through unworthy, weak and frail Disciples.
  2. What do you think of Paul’s comparing the original creation of light to the light God sends into someone’s life at conversion [2 Corinthians 4:6]? What does it mean for believers today to proclaim Jesus exclusively? Are you growing spiritually every day? Would your friends say you desire for Jesus to be Lord every day?
  3. How did Paul define success for himself [2 Corinthians 4:15]? How should believers understand success in this life? Am I more concerned about my comfort and pleasure or my life revealing the glory of God?
  4. How does the glory reserved for us in the future in heaven serve as stimulation in the now to be faithful and courageous in suffering?
  5. Do you desire to please the Lord and be prepared for the judgment seat in heaven?
  6. Is the glory of God being revealed in my life every day at my expense and with no expectation of merit for me?
  7. When Disciples embrace the Person and presence of Jesus they begin to experience growth in the life-changing glory of God one day at a time.
  8. Scripture memory – 2 Corinthians 4:7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; NASB

For comparison: [2 Corinthians 4:7 Amplified Bible AMP  But we have this precious treasure [the good news about salvation] in [unworthy] earthen vessels [of human frailty], so that the grandeur and surpassing greatness of the power will be [shown to be] from God [His sufficiency] and not from ourselves.

2 Corinthians 4:7 New Living Translation NLT We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 

2 Corinthians 4:7 Christian Standard Bible CSB Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.]

Henry Luke 5/13/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Heavenly Encouragement in the Race of Life

Life in this world—the way it is now and the way we are now—can be difficult, can’t it? It’s easy to become burdened, discouraged, depressed, or even traumatized when you suffer the loss of a loved one, when your health is failing, or when your dreams—your family, career, or lifelong ambitions—have crumbled. Perhaps you’ve become cynical or have lost hope. Some seasons of life can seem like a series of twists, turns, and dead ends.

God gives each of us a race to run. To finish well we must develop perseverance. The Christian life is not a hundred-meter dash but a marathon, requiring patience, endurance, and discipline. But how do we find the strength to finish our race well?

Heaven Is Our Finish Line

When the apostle Paul faced hardship, beatings, and im­prisonment, he said, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, NIV). What gave Paul the strength and perspective to “press on toward the goal”? A clear view of Heaven.

A study was done in which one group of Israeli soldiers was told it would go on a march, but was not told if or when the march would eventually end. Another group was told the length of the march.

Both groups were tested for their stress response. Although they marched not one foot further than those in the other group, those who didn’t know if or when the march would end registered a much higher level of stress. Why? Because they felt helpless—hopeless—wondering if they would ever be allowed to rest.

We do not know exactly when, but as followers of Christ, we do know there is a finish line. We will not run forever. We will rest.

Think of it: Jesus, at unfathomable cost to Himself, purchased for us a happy ending. A happy “ending” that will never end. Anticipating our future on a resurrected Earth with Christ can empower us to persevere in a difficult marriage, remain faithful to the hard task of caring for an ailing parent or child, or stick with a demanding job. Samuel Rutherford wrote, “Our little time of suffering is not worthy of our first night’s welcome home to Heaven.”

If you believe this, you won’t cling desperately to this life. Your solid hope will give you strength to persevere when things get tough. You’ll lift your face, stretch out your arms, and continue running in anticipation of the greater life to come. (I must mention suicide here because the idea seduces some people. The fact that Heaven will be so wonderful shouldn’t tempt us to take shortcuts to get to the finish line. As long as God keeps you here on Earth, it’s exactly where He wants you.)

Our Savior Is Waiting

Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” creating the mental picture of the Greek competitions, which were watched intently by throngs of engrossed fans sitting high up in the ancient stadiums. The “great cloud of witnesses” refers to the saints who’ve gone before us, whose accomplishments on the playing field of life are now part of our rich history. The imagery may also suggest that those saints, the spiritual “athletes” of old, are now watching us and cheering us on from the great stadium of Heaven that looks down on the field of Earth.

Running FeetThe author of Hebrews goes on to admonish us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The following verse commands us: “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2–3, NIV).

John Piper writes of these verses, “But we do not look sideways to the saints as we run. Our main motivation comes from looking straight ahead at Jesus. He finished the same race of human life. Only he never sinned, and so his race was perfect. When he finished his race, he finished our salvation. So we run, ‘looking to Jesus, the founder and finisher of our faith.’”

Jesus Christ, the Rock of salvation, is the One who has promised to prepare a place for those who put their hope in Him, a place where they will live with Him forever. If we can learn to fix our eyes on Jesus, to picture our eternal home in our mind’s eye, it will comfort and energize us, giving us a clear look at the finish line. And if we’ve served Him here, His welcome will be glorious!

In his book Things Unseen, Mark Buchanan describes the Christian’s life race and Jesus’ role encouraging us on: “You’re heaven-bent. You eagerly await a Savior who, in turn, eagerly awaits you. There’s a huge company with you, cheering every move you and your Savior make closer to each other. He pours out grace for you to finish the race. He pours out more grace when you stumble, grow weary, fall down, lose heart. He stands at the head of the course and, while all the saints who have gone before line the roadway and cheer riotously, He stretches out His arms wide in exuberant welcome, exultant congregation.”

I imagine myself seeing Jesus, falling to my knees, having Him reach out and pull me up. To think of Him welcoming me not just once, but for all eternity, is sheer joy.

Shut your eyes and picture seeing Jesus and being embraced in His arms when you cross life’s finish line. What a wondrous thought!

The Promise of Eternal Reward

It’s not only the anticipation of seeing our Savior that should propel us forward; it’s also the joy of pleasing Him. Jesus has promised reward for those who’ve faithfully served Him: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done” (Revelation 22:12).

Moses remained faithful to God because “he was looking ahead to his reward” (Hebrews 11:26, NIV). Likewise, Paul ran his race with his eyes on Heaven’s prize, which motivated him to run hard and long. He was unashamedly motivated by the prospect of eternal reward, and acknowledged it freely and frequently (1 Corinthians 9:24-25; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:9-10; 2 Timothy 4:7-8). “Run in such a way as to get the prize,” he said, and on the verge of death he spoke longingly of the crown the Judge would award him in Heaven. He encouraged believers with these words: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Jesus tells us that one day His faithful servants will hear their Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23).

Think about those incredible words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Memorize them. They are the words we long to hear, the words we were made to hear.

What changes might you need to initiate today so that you may one day hear those words from God? If you don’t yet know Jesus, it’s not too late. Confess your sins and humbly accept the gift of His atoning sacrifice on your behalf. If you do know Him, make your daily decisions in light of your destiny. By God’s grace, use the time you have left on the present Earth to store up for yourself treasures on the New Earth, to be laid at Christ’s feet for His glory (Revelation 4:10). Run your race of life to honor Him.

Race Finish LineAnd should you wonder if there’s anything you’ve done that God could possibly reward, be encouraged by 1 Corinthians 4:5 which talks of the judgment when “each will receive his praise from God” (NIV). He will find something to reward you for. Will you seek to do more rewardable works for Him?

When we hear Jesus say “Well done,” we’ll know that any sacrifice we made, any difficulty along the way, was nothing. Meanwhile, we can rejoice in suffering in the same way that Olympic athletes rejoice in their workouts—not because we find it easy, but because we know it will one day result in great reward.

He Gives Renewed Strength

Many are familiar with the beautiful promise of Isaiah 40:31: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (NIV).

Joni Eareckson Tada writes about this verse:

The beginning of the Christian life was exhilarating: lots of smiles and handshakes and encouragement. Your emotions soared. And the end? Well, it’s going to be wonderful meeting Jesus face-to-face.

But now you’re in the middle. There are miles behind you and miles to go. You don’t hear any cheers or applause. Your commitment to simply keep putting one tired foot in front of the other begins to flag and fade. Ah, but the promise in Isaiah is just as true now as then. Friend, if you walk in the Spirit, your strength will be renewed. You’ll run and not be weary. Even in the long, gray, middle distance, you will walk and not be faint. So friend, don’t faint; don’t give up. The finish line is just over the horizon and, oh, what a rich reward awaits you. Every step brings you closer to home, so fix your eyes on the One who awaits you there. You’re halfway home.

With God’s help, we can submit to the discipline of the life circumstances He’s entrusted to us. May we rejoice not merely when those circumstances please us, but even when they don’t, because we know God is sovereign, all-knowing, and all-wise, because He has delivered us from Hell and promised us Heaven, because He is working together all things, even the worst things, for our good (Romans 8:28).

So are you weary in life’s race? Ask your Savior for His empowerment to finish strong, and keep your eyes on the heavenly finish line. By His sustaining grace, you’ll make it.

Randy’s book Heaven can help you learn more about our heavenly finish line, which will inspire you to finish well in the race of life. Browse EPM’s selection of Heaven related books and products here.

This article also appeared in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of our free Eternal Perspectives magazine.

Top photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn, founder of EPM

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over fifty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.

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A Disciples purpose is to reveal the glory of God –

2 Corinthians 4:13-15 NASB..13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak,

V.13 Paul quoted a line from Psalm 116:10: “I believed, therefore I spoke.” [A] The entire Psalm, tells of affliction and suffering yet also rescue and thanksgiving for deliverance. The psalmist, like Paul, experienced both the possibility of death and life and he focused on belief in God. Thus, Paul claimed to have the same spirit of faith as the psalmist, because both trusted in God “we also believe, and therefore speak.” [v.13c]

14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.

V.14 Paul turned to confidence about his future life in the presence of Jesus forever. Those who are united with Jesus in His death are also united to Him in His resurrection [B]. Paul was certain of his and the Corinth Disciples future resurrection—“us with you”—will be raised. All believers in Jesus by grace through faith not of works may be confident of their future resurrection. [Ephesians 2:8-9]

15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

V.15 Paul served the Lord for reasons outside himself. First, horizontally: through his ministry more and more people experienced God’s grace through the gospel. It was more important for others to come to faith in Christ than for Paul to experience a life of comfort and pleasure. Second, vertically. His ultimate purpose in life was to glorify God. Thus, when more people were saved, this would cause thanksgiving to increase in their prayers, which displayed God’s glory. Paul understood that God’s purpose for Disciples is to reveal the glory of God.

How did Paul define success for himself?  How should believers understand success in this life? Am I more concerned about comfort and pleasure or my life revealing the glory of God?

Notes: A- Psalms 116:10a NKJV; B- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18;

Henry Luke 5/12/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

For other similar posts, click on “2 Corinthians 4-5” in Tags below.

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Focus on the eternal not the temporary-

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NASB..16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

 V.16 despite weakness and suffering we do not give up because of God’s power demonstrated through us and our hope in a future in heaven. Paul kept on following the Lord’s call on his life, as difficult as this was. He acknowledged the physical toll: our outer person is decaying.

As one of the “earthen vessels” with “mortal flesh” we are moving toward bodily death. [A] Yet human mortality and his sufferings were not worth comparing with the glorious spiritual reality that Paul already enjoyed— our inner person is “being renewed day by day” v.18c.  His mercies begin afresh each morning.” [B] Our true self, our soul, has the daily delight of renewed life because of Jesus. [C]

17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,

V.17 We are further strengthened in our daily struggles by an understanding of our future in heaven. They were merely a “momentary light affliction.He judged his afflictions as light when measured by the eternal weight of glory waiting for him.

18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

V.18 Paul determined not to focus on things that are visible but temporary [seen– his present sufferings]; instead to focus on invisible realities that are eternal [not seen- trusting Jesus one day at a time and the future experience of home in heaven with Jesus and other departed saints.]  Therefore fix our spiritual eye on what is unseen.

How does the glory reserved for us in the future serve as motivation in the now to be faithful and courageous in suffering?

Notes: A- 2 Corinthians 4:7,11; B- Lamentations 3:23b NLT; [C] Ephesians 1:13-14

Henry Luke 5/11/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

For other similar posts, click on “2 Corinthians 4-5” in Tags below.

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How to meet strategic challenge posed by China

In light of current intense negotiations with China I urge reading “How to meet the challenge posed by China” by clicking here. Some quotes:

“China is a phenomenon unlike anything in economic history. The average Chinese consumes 17 times more today than in 1987. This is like the difference between driving a car and riding a bicycle or between indoor plumbing and an outhouse. In an incredibly short period of time, this formerly backward country has lifted itself into the very first rank of world economies and will soon catch the USA”

“China’s share of high tech exports has risen from about five percent in 1999 to about 25 percent at present, while America’s has plummeted from about 20 percent to about seven percent. That’s not a sustainable situation. What it means in practical terms is that America can’t build a military aircraft without Chinese chips. That’s a national security issue. So what do we do about China?”

Mr. Goldman believes the USA can meet the China challenge. See his recommendations in the link below. A

As a result of this recent growth China’s Carbon Dioxide Emissions increased tremendously from 2000 to 2014 and now their emissions are double the United States.

Many people believe that the 200 million troop army in Revelations will be from China. Therefore Disciples/Believers in Jesus should have a special interest in China.

Revelation 9:15-16..15 So the four angels who were prepared for the hour, day, month, and year were released to kill a third of the human race. 16 The number of mounted troops was 200 million;… 

In a October 27, 2014 blog post Monica Dennington ask the question Is a 200 million person army Feasible In Terms Of Economics? [For full post click here] “What would an army of 200 million cost?

  • 200 million personnel, at China’s rate of expenditure, would cost $16.455 trillion per year.
  • $16.455 trillion was 178% of China’s GDP in 2013. So Monica said that this was not economically feasible.”

However the March 2018 article A said that “by 2026-2028 China’s GDP will catch the USA”. Then because China’s income has a greater purchasing power than the US the 200 million troop army starts to look more feasible. That could also be a way to channel the energy of the millions of men without wives.


Notes: A- “How to meet the strategic challenge posed by China” by David P. Goldman, in Imprimis a publication of Hillsdale College, for article click here.

Henry Luke 5/10/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

For other similar posts, click on “2 Corinthians 4-5” in Tags below.

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