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Poplar Springs Baptist Church, Graceville, FL

Looking for a Pastor who will be responsible for leading the church in functioning as a New Testament Church.  He will serve the required hours per week to carry out all pastoral responsibilities.  He must be a licensed, ordained minister who is called by God and equipped to effectively preach and teach the Word of God, possessing the biblical and spiritual qualities as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus…

First Baptist Church, Cottondale, FL

Is seeking a senior pastor.  Our church is a Southern Baptist church and a member of the Florida Baptist Convention. We believe the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and strive to share God's love and plan of salvation to a lost world. If interested in applying for the position, please email a resume to by June 24.

Bible Studies

Bible Studies For Life

Rich Elligson

Richard Elligson

Richard Elligson is Professor of Missions and Chair of Theology at The Baptist College of Florida.  Archives

Session 2

June 11, 2023


Numbers 27:12-23

Being a good mentor doesn’t mean replicating oneself. Rather, it means investing what you have learned into someone else who can make good with the values you instill. It’s not about passing personalities; it’s about passing principles. The example of Moses and Joshua reminds us that God didn’t need another Moses to lead in the conquest of Canaan. He needed a Joshua! And when the time came, Joshua was ready…because Moses had prepared him. The exchange in Numbers 27 has four parts.

Conclusion (vv. 12-14). Life is lived in chapters and seasons. And so it is with nations. For Moses, this was the end of one incredible journey, but it was also the beginning of a new one; one already traveled by his ancestors, that began with an earthly sojourn and would end with them in a heavenly one (see Heb 11:8:10). For the nation, this was it: their previous generation—and hopefully the rebellion that went with it—had died in the wilderness (see Num. 14:20-35), but this nation of wanderers was finally ready to establish their homeland. The tenor of these verses is interesting. Moses is recording his own fate. The penalty of his own personal rebellion was about to be faced (see Deut. 32:51-52); yet there is no bitterness in his words. He even recounted the context of his costly sin (v. 14). Perhaps he had through the years resigned himself to the fact that he would never enter the land of promise. But more likely than resignation was anticipation; his faith had grown. He would not join his brethren in the land of Canaan, but rather would join his fathers in the land of glory! For reflection: At what point do you think our focus must change from the earthly to the heavenly? Why do you think it is that so hard to do?   

Continuation (vv. 15-17). Just because Moses would not enter the land with his people, did not mean he didn’t care about them and their fate. No one knew the good, bad, and ugly of Israel better than Moses. And no one was more concerned about their wellbeing than he was. “So Moses appealed to the Lord…” The phrase is well translated here. The word appeal has a variety of meanings, all related to communication. But here it is in an emphatic position. The idea is one of strength and concern. Moses was pleading with God not to leave His “sheep without a shepherd” (v. 17). For reflection: This metaphor shows up in Matt. 9:36ff. What exactly does it mean? What do you think the implication is in both the OT and NT contexts? What is the application today?

Consecration (vv. 18-21). Lest we think that Moses was twisting God’s arm, the text is clear: God had already ordained a man to lead His people. Notice the connection between Moses’ plea, “May the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh (v. 16); and God’s response “a man who has the Spirit in him” (v. 18). The connection is clearly a spiritual one. The God who is a Spirit, and the God who rules all spirits, is the God who has already filled Joshua with His Spirit! Now Moses must present him as his successor. First, Moses is directed to “lay his hands on him.” As in the New Testament act of ordination, this was likely symbolic. But as an affirmation of his office and a bestowal of authority (v. 20), it would have meant much to Moses, to Joshua, and to the people. That it was done before Eleazar the priest (v. 21) was a reminder to Joshua and the nation, that his leadership was not only divinely appointed, but would be divinely guided. For reflection: If God had already chosen Moses’ successor, then why did Moses plead with God? What role do you think Moses played in this exchange?

Commission (vv. 22-23). Although Moses was the one who interceded on behalf of the nation, it was God who ordained his successor in response, and God who put in order the passing of the mantle. Thus Moses “did as the Lord commanded him.” That Joshua represented God’s leadership was indicated by the presence of Eleazar the priest. That his leadership was to be unquestioned was indicated by his presentation “to the entire community” (v. 22). Imagine the satisfaction Moses must have felt knowing that the nation was in good hands…and the incredible honor it was for Joshua to follow the only prophet whom the Lord knew “face to face” (Deut. 34:10). For reflection: Moses’ chapter was ending, and Joshua’s was just beginning. What applications can you make for your own life? The life of your church?

Session 1

June 4, 2023


Exodus 18:9-27

A mentor is a wise and experienced counselor. While the word was applied to a trusted advisor in Homer’s ancient Greek epic the Odyssey (8th century BC), the popularity of mentoring is a relatively recent phenomenon. In Christianity, mentoring has become a more practical (and maybe more relevant?) form of discipleship. Experienced mentors are able to help less experienced believers not only understand God’s word but also apply it in everyday circumstances. Sometimes a mentor is a friend, or a teacher, or a coach. Sometimes a mentor is part of the family, and that’s what we see in Jethro.

Solid foundation (vv. 9-16). Mentoring requires a qualified mentor. It’s not enough to be an interested party, or a self-proclaimed “life coach.” Mentoring, by its very nature, requires someone who is experienced, knowledgeable, and deeply invested in the lives of whom he leads. We first meet Jethro in the land of Midian, where Moses fled after killing an Egyptian (Ex. 2). There (as in 18:1), Jethro is called a “priest of Midian,” and referred to as Ruel, which means “friend of God.” Hence, the evidence is that Jethro was a priest of the one true God, serving in the land of Midian (see also 18:12, where Jethro offered sacrifices). The point is that Jethro was more than just a bothersome father-in-law to Moses. He was a dedicated and fully engaged servant of God. Notice that Jethro’s interest in Moses’ administration was one of concern. He saw Moses spending much of his time in judgment, and the people lined up waiting for him. The system was clearly strained…if not broken. But rather than criticize, Jethro inquired first. He wanted to make sure he understood exactly what he was seeing. For reflection: Notice that Jethro was wise enough not to just “fix things” for Moses. Remember that not everyone is open to an outsider just butting in!

Sound counsel (vv. 17-23). Once Jethro had a clear picture of the issues Moses was facing, he was in a position to offer some counsel. Again, Jethro’s involvement was out of compassion. Poor Moses was “wearing himself out” (v. 18), and the poor people were spending too much time standing around in line. The solution was also compassionate: it’s too much for you, and you need some help! His counsel was simple and effective: divide and conquer. By delegating responsibility to trusted, faithful, and able men (v. 21), Moses could focus on the most important things and still remain “in charge” of the entire operation (vv. 22-23). Notice the way that Jethro conveyed his counsel: he didn’t just tell Moses what to do but remembered (and respected) Moses’ position before God…and kept both Moses and God in mind (see vv. 19 and 23). For reflection: Moses was certainly open to his father-in-law’s suggestion. What does this say about his character? How does that correlate to what was said about him in Numbers 12:3?

Successful results (vv. 24-27). The mark of a good mentor is that people actually follow his advice! Verse 24 says that Moses listened…and did everything that Jethro said. Notice how closely verses 25 and 26 mirror Jethro’s suggestions back in verses 21 and 22. Why? Because Moses trusted Jethro’s wisdom, respected his opinion, and foresaw the benefits to himself and to the people. There were other benefits to the nation as well. Dividing the people into smaller groups required new leaders to emerge to oversee them. That meant more involvement at the lay level, and the development of new potential mentors. When it was all said and done, everyone came out a winner. I kind of like the implication of verse 37. Once the plan was put into place, Jethro said goodbye to his son-in-law and left! He didn’t stick around to oversee the new arrangement or offer more advice…and that’s a pretty good principle for both mentors and fathers-in law! For reflection: What other benefits to the people could be derived from Jethro’s counsel? What do you think might have happened if Moses had rejected Jethro’s suggestion?

Special Focus Session

May 28, 2023


Numbers 12:1-15

A critical spirit can pop up from almost anywhere. But while the circumstances surrounding their appearance may differ, all critical spirits share the same common source: selfish pride. In every case, they are driven by the desire to have what someone else has, or to be what someone else is. Whether that is accomplished by promoting oneself upward or dragging someone else downward, a critical spirit bristles with the attitude of selfishness.

Pride exposed (vv. 1-3). Miriam was Moses’ older sister. She was responsible for watching over him when he was placed in a basket as an infant and hidden in the reeds of the Nile (Ex. 1:22ff). She was called a prophetess, leading worship after the crossing of the Red Sea, and even sang a song of deliverance (Ex. 15:20ff). Even though she held a prominent position in these formative years of the nation of Israel, apparently, Miriam wanted even more. Her attack on Moses had little to do with his Cushite wife. Whether this was Zipporah (Ex. 2:21) or another wife who came later, we can’t tell. But Miriam used her as an excuse to divide the family. While Aaron (Moses and Miriam’s brother) is also mentioned, the way it is written indicates he was not the instigator. The real issue appears to be jealousy: “Does the Lord speak only through Moses? Does He not also speak through us?” This was not about Moses’ wife, but rather about Moses being in charge; and Miriam wanting to be. As such, it was a complaint against the God who chose him.

Pride explained (vv. 4-9). Verse 3 points out that “Moses was a very humble man.” His quiet humility is clearly contrasted with Miriam’s selfish pride. He didn’t deserve this kind of attack. To somehow blame Moses for his choice of a wife—while poisoning Aaron’s attitude along the way, attacking God’s deliverer of Israel directly, and shamelessly promoting her own agenda— didn’t fool anyone… especially God. Miriam wanted some recognition, and in verse 4, she was about to get it! The intervention of the Lord took the form of a sudden meeting. All three parties were called to a meet with Him at the door of the tabernacle. That made this a spiritual meeting.  Notice as well, that while all three were called out, the Lord summoned only Aaron and Miriam to stand before Him (v. 5). So, this was a separating meeting. And based on what the Lord had to say in the following verses, this was a serious meeting. When the three came out, the Lord came down (v. 5). The Lord’s defense of Moses is not so much a chastisement of their selfish ambitions as an elevation of Moses. It seems that while no prophet is without honor, some have greater honor than others. And Moses had perhaps the highest. In some cases, the Lord spoke to prophets in visions (see Gen. 15:1; Gen. 46:2; Dan. 8:1ff, for example). In other cases, He spoke to them in dreams (see Gen. 28:12, et al.). In those cases, the word of the Lord was essentially indirect; it came shrouded in an appearance or event. “Not so with My servant Moses,” the Lord said (v. 7). With him, things were different. So faithful was Moses before God and among His people, that God spoke to him directly, with even a semblance of Himself present. In other words, Moses was more than a prophet. He visited with God as with a friend (see Ex. 33:11ff). How dare Miriam attempt to insert herself into that role as Moses’ equal? (v.8).

Pride punished (vv. 9-13). Sin always has consequences. In this case, the anger of the Lord (v. 9) resulted in immediate judgement. While the word leprosy is not used here, the description leaves little doubt. Aaron’s response to this tragedy is confession and repentance. He refers to the power-play as “a sin foolishly committed” (v. 11) and pleads for Moses’ intercession. For the first time in this story, Moses speaks. Certainly, his humility is on full display, as any outrage he might have felt toward his sister melted away at the sight of her suffering (v. 13).

Pride repaired (vv. 14-16). The Lord’s reply to Moses indicates both justice and compassion. Clearly Miriam deserved some punishment for her selfish pride. Yet the Lord set her outside the camp—separated and unclean—for only seven days, minimizing the humiliation, while still making His point. It should be noted as well, that the entire nation waited for her in her repentance and subsequent suffering. Only when the week was over did the people move on.

Session 6

May 21, 2023


Ephesians 6:10-18

Temptation (and the ability to fight it!) are definitely part of spiritual warfare. Remember: The Devil’s desire is always to win us over and cause us to betray the God who saved us. Alone, we are too weak and too ill-equipped to stand against him. But God has given us some helpful resources to help strengthen us for the fight.

The devil and temptation (vv. 10-13). Paul makes it clear that the church is involved in a spiritual battle, and the forces of evil rally under the direction of the Devil. The word tactics (or schemes) in verse 11 literally means “crossings over.” It’s a negative word, implying doing things in the wrong way. The armor of God is needed because the Devil is on the attack, and his methods are not of this world. The armor metaphor is interesting; while the battle (literally ongoing struggle) is real, the enemies are often invisible. We could certainly try to identify the specific enemies implied in verse 12, but the way the phrases are strung together gives us a sufficient sense: rulers, authorities, powers of darkness, depraved spiritual beings. These represent the upper echelons of evil. Flesh and blood enemies are tangible, predictable, and defeatable. But the cosmic battle—that great conflict between good and evil—pits us against enemies that are intangible, elusive, and seemingly overwhelming. Our spiritual enemies are defeatable, however, but only if we are empowered by the Lord’s strength (v. 10). Verse 13 is instructive, and particularly imperative: you take up the armor; so that you may resist, so that when you are fully prepared, you may take your stand against the army of the Devil. For reflection: Here, the battle seems brutally intense, but James 4:7 says simply, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” How do you reconcile those two Scriptures?

Defending against temptation (vv. 14-16). British theologian Charles Ellicott (c. 1900) described the Roman method of dressing for battle:

Thus the order in which the armour in enumerated is clearly the order in which the armour of the Roman soldier was actually put on. It nearly corresponds with the invariable order in which Homer describes over and over again the arming of his heroes. First the belt and the corselet, which met and together formed the body armour; then the sandals; next the shield, and after this… the helmet itself; then the soldier was armed, and only had to take up the sword and spear.

Once again, the temptation is to analyze each piece of armor here in great detail. And while the individual pieces domatter, and their historical uses do give us insight, remember that armor comes as a suit! All the spiritual elements—truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace (note the irony here!), and faith—come together to envelop the warrior for his protection. Topped off with the helmet of salvation itself (v. 17), they are defensive, placed in the believer’s life to protect him from whatever the Devil throws his way. For reflection: The suit of armor, properly fitted, was a great defense for soldiers. The weak spot, of course, was the well-known “chink” (or “gap”) in the armor. What gaps do you think exist in your own spiritual armor? What can you do to “tighten up” those gaps?

Doing battle with temptation (vv. 17-18). That leaves only the weapons for offense. The context here is clearly defensive; that is, protection from the Devil’s onslaught. But God does not leave His people without valuable tools to inflict real damage to the enemy. It’s interesting to note that only the sword of the Spirit (v. 17) is defined directly: it is the word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword…” While the context of Hebrews 4:12 speaks more to the power of God’s word working in the believer’s life, the characteristics of the word remain: it is alive; it is active, and it’s sharp. Two other important weapons are also mentioned here: the Spirit, who empowers us (see v. 10), and prayer which binds us together through intercession and gives us mutual strength to persevere in this battle. For reflection: Remember: the only way for believers to intercede for others is by first accepting the reality of spiritual warfare, and then entering the fray!    

Meet Our Writers

Florida Baptist Convention,

Margaret Colson

Margaret Colson began serving as consulting communications editor for the Florida Baptist Convention in April 2022, but she has a long history of working with Florida Baptists in telling the story of how God is at work in the Sunshine State.

Margaret earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Georgia and a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She is a leader in denominational communications, serving as executive director for Baptist Communicators Association as well as for Association of State Baptist Publications. She is married to Keith Colson.

Florida Baptist Convention, Writers' Network, Keila Diaz

Keila Diaz

Keila earned a B.S. in Communications from Florida International University in Miami. She writes news and stories about Florida Baptist churches, creates and posts social content to the FBC’s social media channels, and is a Baptist Press contributor.

When she’s not working, Keila enjoys bike rides and spending time with her family.

David Moore, Florida Baptist Convention, Writers' Network

David Moore

David Moore has been writing and editing for newspapers and magazines in Florida for more than 20 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida. A proud member of First Baptist Church of Ocala, David serves in the worship, deacon and NextGen ministries. He and his wife Beth have three children.


Brooke Mannion

Brooke Mannion is a Pensacola native and longtime member of Hillcrest Baptist Church. She is a graduate of University of West Florida and has a diverse work history in advertising, interior decorating and accounting. Now she finds joy as a wife and stay-at-home mom of three children. Brooke enjoys home schooling, cooking, connecting with others and studying God’s Word.

Jessica Pigg, Florida Baptist Convention, Writers' Network

Jessica Pigg

Jessica received her B.S. in Biblical Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She contributes to Florida Baptist Conv, Biblical Woman, Baptist Press, The Devotional for Women, and Daily Devotional Bible for Women. Her greatest joy is serving beside her husband who is the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Church.