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I initially intended to avoid presidential campaign politics in this week’s DHD, but after Thursday night’s Republican debate, it’s unavoidable. At first, I figured nothing more could come of the GOP nominee race, so my thinking was the debate would be the typical show like the previous debates. As we know now, it was a major brawl and made for probably the most electrifying debate in U.S. political history.

Other than the debate, I will stick to my original script and cover five other timely topics. Here we go!

  1. Republican Rumble

In the past, I have criticized debate moderators for trying to get candidates to battle each other instead of asking constructive questions about important issues. It didn’t matter what Wolf Blitzer and his cast of facilitators asked in this week’s debate, and they did ask fair-minded questions.

Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump duked it out and did not hold back, as all three of the leading GOP candidates know this is a critical time in the election. They had to be firm and fierce in their performances because it’s possible the Republican nominee may emerge in less than a month. Super Tuesday happens next week, and with other primaries occurring soon after, it probably will come down to March 15, when Ohio and Florida, two key states, submit their votes.

Though Trump has appeared to be the favorite, there only have been elections of four states so far. Many more delegates to obtain. The reason for Cruz and Rubio forcefully attacking Trump is they knew they had to make him look bad in order to convince the undecideds and those who are against Trump to join their respective camps. Did they succeed? Only the votes will decide.

As of now, I favor Rubio. He was not my leading choice at the beginning of the campaign. I do favor a candidate with executive experience instead of a legislator. But the series of debates have convinced me Rubio is the best GOP selection.

In the aftermath, I heard pundits ask, “Where was this Rubio?” Well, the senator did not need to use the attack tactic before now. Some of the same analysts have given Rubio great reviews in the debates, except for New Hampshire, so it would be apparent Marco did not have to throw hard jabs in the past. Plus with such a large field of candidates in the earlier debates, I thought Rubio chose the proper strategy of presenting his own platform in his answers and only be combative when attacked. And that’s basically what he did in the last debate with a little more punch.

Cruz battled well, but he doesn’t seem to be gaining traction after Rubio finished ahead of him in the South Carolina primary. And there have been some glaring flaws in his campaign. One led to Cruz dismissing his communication director. As far as comparing platforms, I may slightly favor Cruz over Rubio, but Cruz’s poor campaign tactics have been a hindrance.

As far as the other two candidates on the stage, I’m not sure what was a bigger distraction – having Ben Carson and John Kasich in the debate or showing that enormous hot dog in the backdrop. There is much to like about Dr. Carson. He even gave the funniest line of the debate, “Can someone attack me please?” But his clever retort also was very telling. Whether it is unfair or not that Carson receives less time in the debate to talk, it is apparent he is not in demand with the way the election has proceeded. And Kasich is in similar position. Other than in New Hampshire, the governor has never made serious ground in the rankings, and most of that could be credited to him entering the race late.

I echo what others have said. The best strategy to take the lead away from Trump is have all the other remaining candidates consolidate with the most electable contender. And right now, it appears to be Rubio.

  1. Agreeing with Wax’s “Agree to Disagree” piece

I’m going to be brief in my remaining points. By the way, I am just finding out that Chris Christie endorsed Trump. The New Jersey governor does an excellent job being so annoying to many at just the most inappropriate times.

Moving on, I hope you will check out Trevin Wax’s article “Can We ‘Agree to Disagree’ on Sexuality and Marriage?” Wax gives excellent points from both sides of this argument, and his conclusion is spot on:

“The bigger picture shows that those who redefine marriage and sexuality do so in opposition to the global Christian church and the entire Christian tradition. It’s not progressives vs. conservatives, but progressives vs. every Christian and Church that has ever been.”

  1. Moore on “War Hymns”

Russell Moore gave an excellent response to Brian McLaren’s intent to re-write the famous hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

He added humor: “To see these hymns as encouraging violence requires a crude literalism rendered incoherent by the lyrics themselves. Christians are, the hymn reads, ‘marching as to war,’ clearly a simile. When we sing ‘Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us,’ we don’t then discipline those who eat lamb chops for cannibalism.”

And he gave a powerful emphasis on how to accurately interpret the hymn: “…an emphasis on spiritual warfare—whether in our preaching or in our singing or in our praying—does not make us more violent but rather makes us less violent. When we know that we are wrestling against ‘principalities and powers in the heavenly places,’ we are able to understand that we are not therefore wrestling ‘against flesh and blood’ (Eph. 6:12). When we know that those who oppose us are, as we were, ‘captive to the devil,’ we are able to treat them with kindness and gentleness (2 Tim. 2:25-26). When we know, as Jesus did, that he is captain of fearsome angel armies, we are able to bear persecution, without striking back. And when we know that King Jesus will ultimately win the war against the devil, we are able to forgive those who persecute us, to turn our cheek when people strike us.”

  1. Speaking for the “Worst Generation”

Alyssa Sperrazza is a sharp young lady who gave an excellent response to those who criticize those from her generation. In her blog “My Generation is Not Worse Than Yours,” she gives a challenging yet constructive response to unfair critics.

By the way, I work with quite a few Millennials. I also connect with many at my church and in other locations. From my experience, this generation is demonstrating as much if not more genuine care and concern for others than practically any other generation, possibly in my lifetime. Consider this an early hypothesis. I may do further investigating, and I welcome your feedback.

  1. Pray for the oil and gas industry

Oklahoma is experiencing a major economic hit because of the energy crunch. Many oil and gas companies are going through layoffs. I have friends who have been affected, and I’m sure you do too, or you yourself lost your job because of this.

If you do know someone who recently lost their job, pray for them by name that God may provide them wisdom and direction. And pray for God to make Himself known in this trying time.

  1. Spurgeon’s Writing Tips

I conclude with a great piece on Charles Spurgeon. Jesse Wisnewski’s article “7 Writing Tips from Charles Spurgeon” was an encouraging read for me.

The more I learn about Spurgeon the more he fascinates me. I learned quite a bit from Christian George when he was teaching at Oklahoma Baptist University and gave a lecture on Spurgeon at the men’s retreat at Falls Creek a few years ago. George is now the curator of the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City, which is a fitting role for him.

Of Spurgeon’s seven tips, the first one was significant to me, “Write to Help others.”

“We are very mistaken, if our work does not prove to be of the utmost value to purchasers of books…no object in view but the benefit of our brethren…it will be remuneration enough to have aided the ministers of God in the study of his word.”