As I am writing on this Friday morning, the sun is shining, and it appears we have the makings of a nice day of weather. I know this sounds like a broken record, but I am finishing another busy-but-fun week. I’ll cover a good portion of what made this week both busy and fun in my first two topics, but I should warn you of something else. Expect me to say I will have another busy but fun week next week. That’s all I will say for now.
Let’s get to this week’s DHD!
- Great speakers at SEC
On Monday and Tuesday this week, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (which by the way, if you never figured it out, this is the organization [BGCO] that supports cooperating Southern Baptist churches across the state, which consists of more than 1,800 churches) hosted the Oklahoma Baptist State Evangelism Conference (SEC) at First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, Okla. This is probably the biggest event the BGCO puts on annually, featuring well-known Christian speakers and great musical groups.
I did not get an official count of how many attended the six different sessions during this two-day event. It has been unofficially noted that more than 2,000 came to the SEC. I will speculate there were even more during the Monday evening service. First Southern has a large sanctuary with something like a 4,000-seat capacity, and the ground floor was completely packed with many seated on the balcony level. Though I’m not an official “nose-counter,” I would guess there were somewhere around 2,500-3000 attending that night.
A big reason for the large draw is many wanted to hear keynote speaker Lee Strobel. This was my first time to hear the well-known apologist and author in person. Strobel is an exceptional story teller, and the majority of his stories involve him sharing the Gospel with people. With his deep Chicago accent, Lee makes you feel like he’s your friend when he talks. He relates well to his audience, and he has a way to motivate Christians to witness, even if they are not actively doing so. If you ever have a chance to hear Lee Strobel speak, I encourage you to take that opportunity.
And there were other fantastic speakers. Dennis Swanberg was incredibly hilarious. Sean McDowell, son of Josh McDowell the internationally-known author and apologetics expert, gave a challenging yet needed message, helping his audience understand what modern day unbelievers think about Christians. Alvin Reid and Johnny Hunt were also among the cast of great speakers.
Overall, it was a great event, and I commend Mike Napier, BGCO personal evangelism specialist, and his assistant Bettsy for the SEC having such great success.
- Great moments with friends at SEC
Something else that’s special about events like this is the opportunity to reconnect with friends across the state. I have had the privilege of meeting some of the best people, really anywhere, but definitely in Oklahoma, and I enjoy even the brief moments to say hello to friends during these times.
One moment in particular, and I had many this week, was getting to talk with Robert and Fay Griffin. This is the sweetest couple who have touched many different people in Baptist work over the years, and if not them directly, their sons Dale and Ray have impacted even more people, so you have to give Robert and Fay some credit for raising two Godly men who are doing great stuff in their respective ministries.
About a year and a half ago, Robert had a major heart attack. It was so severe, nobody expected him to recover. He was literally on his death bed, so everybody thought, when I heard the news. I remember praying for Robert with great tears. God heard my prayers and the prayers of others and healed Robert. If you were to see him now, you never would have thought Robert experienced a widowmaker heart attack, which experts say has less than a 50 percent chance of survival.
Robert told me he now volunteers at a local hospital. He meets with other heart attack victims and offers them prayer and encouragement.
- Jerry Jr.’s Trump endorsement
Like many others this week, I heard the news of Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. endorsing Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. As an LU alum, I am disappointed. I have skepticism about Mr. Trump as president and don’t believe he sincerely represents my views on important moral issues.
Falwell did offer an explanation for his endorsement on Facebook. He spoke plainly and said he understood people disagreeing with this action. His reasons for endorsing Trump were clear, and I do understand where Falwell is coming from. He mentioned the former days at LU when the school was on the edge of bankruptcy. As a former LU employee during this time, I remember well this poor financial condition and even faced my own paycheck bouncing. Falwell knew what to say to reach the ranks of LU affiliates, and I believe he is sincere when he says he believes our country is facing an even greater financial crisis. I understand what he and his father experienced pleading with financial supporters, and I also understand why he thinks Trump could be somebody who can do a similar act to solve today’s economy.
Unfortunately, I believe Falwell is misguided. I believe our country has a much greater moral problem than an economic problem, even as great as a problem that is. From what I have heard from Trump’s campaign, I am not convinced the successful businessman completely supports my views.
I say this with respect and don’t intend to vilify Jerry Falwell, Jr. because I believe he has good intentions, even though his intentions are wrong. I could elaborate more, but I have three more topics to cover in this week’s DHD.
- Trevin trumps Trump’s motives on abortion
Since I was wordy in the previous three topics, I will be brief on this one and lead you to Trevin Wax’s take on Donald Trump’s response of now being pro-life after being adamantly pro-choice just a few years ago.
Wax gives an excellent perception on why Trump does not “correspond with the pro-life ethic” in his piece “The problem with Trump’s change of heart on abortion.”
- CMP on trial
Soon after I completed last week’s DHD, I get word about two members of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) being indicted by a grand jury for their involvement in exposing Planned Parenthood’s practice of selling aborted baby parts. David Daleiden is the top CMP spokesperson and the mastermind behind the famous videos and is the lead defendant in this indictment. Though there is much to analyze in this legal matter, I still believe good will come out of this for Daleiden, CMP and others who believe Planned Parenthood needs to end its immoral practices against the sanctity of life.
Joe Carter offers a thorough FAQ piece that explains the details of this grand jury indictment.
- Another great piece on Chick-Fil-A
Last week, I shared a great story of a Chick-Fil-A restaurant helping families to connect with each other during meals, away from their smart devices.
I conclude this week’s DHD with another great story I read on Facebook involving a father and his daughter while they were eating at Chick-Fil-A. Be encouraged!
I took Stella to Chick-fil-A today. It’s our normal daddy/daughter spot. It’s clean, so good, and the playground has a tractor beam on her the moment she sees it.
When we finished eating and she’d worked up her dessert appetite playing with the other kids, we went back to trade in her toy for ice cream. She wanted to sit at a table to eat the cone (something we usually do in the truck), and I’m so glad she did.
We took a booth right next to the spot where you wait for your drink to be “refreshed,” and we had a front row seat to this beautiful scene: a homeless traveler had walked in and asked if they had any extra food.
Mud was wet and caked on his well-traveled shoes. His hair was matted, and his beard wasn’t a statement as much as it was a necessity and a sign that he doesn’t get to shave as often as most of us do. People near him kept their distance, but that didn’t stop him from being kind. He spoke to people who reluctantly spoke back, and he smiled while he waited on a manager.
All I could pick up on of the conversation was the manager saying that he’d love to give him a full, warm meal–not just scraps or extras–, and the only thing he required was that the man let him pray with him. After the homeless man agreed, there was no waiting for things to die down, there was no scooting anyone to the side. As busy as they were, the manager stopped then and there, laid his hand on the man, and proceeded to pray. I heard love in that prayer.
The homeless man wasn’t some untouchable stain on business. He was the reason that store opened its doors this morning (or any morning).
I asked Stella to watch and she stared. She asked what was happening and when I told her, she bowed her head, too. I realized then and there that Chick-fil-A doesn’t simply do business for profits, they truly use business to minister.
In a time when companies are trying to win in the market by neutralizing any possibility of offense, CFA is thriving because they unwaveringly cling to their principles and purpose. I love teaching my daughter life lessons, and I also love being there to watch other Christians teach her life lessons. Thank you, Chick-fil-A, for taking care of the latter today.