This had to be the longest short week I’ve experienced in a long time. But it was a good week too.
And I’ll share some experiences relating to this week, as I begin this edition of Doyle’s Half Dozen.
Let’s get to it!
- Falls Creek follow-up
I had the best time last weekend. Two awesome days celebrating the 100th year of Falls Creek. The weather was warm at times, but both Saturday and Sunday were filled with great experiences and awesome services of worship and reflection. You can read my stories of the evening events here and here, or wait next week for the print edition of the Baptist Messenger.
Karen and her mom were able to come to the Sunday night Homecoming Service. That made me happy they could be a part of it. Homecoming would be a great description because Sunday night featured many songs over the years enjoyed by many Oklahoma Baptists who span many generations.
DVDs will be available for $5. Information on ordering can be found at www.fallsceek.org/DVD.
- Fanning the Flames of Victory
During the Night of Praise at Falls Creek on Saturday, I’m sitting up in my favorite spot in the corner of the sound booth, as Charlie Hall was on stage, and I get a text message from my friend Curt Gathright. He shares with me the score of the Liberty-Baylor football game. With 12 minutes left, LU was leading 41-31.
It was a serious moment of the program, as I read the text and get caught up in the news and abruptly yell “Holy Cow!” As an LU alum and former employee of the Flames athletic department, I was totally floored when hearing about Liberty pulling off the upset in Waco, 48-45.
I was also happy to find out my high school friend Stu Jones’ son Spencer caught the final touchdown pass, which solidified the Flames victory. Stu’s wife Denise is a member of Point of Grace, well-known Christian vocal group.
I read a good article this morning, explaining the progress of Liberty’s football program to compete at the FBS in 2018 as an independent. The Flames were turned down by regional mid-major conferences, Conference USA and Sun Belt, even though Liberty made a lucrative offer to join. This isn’t new to Liberty, as they have been snubbed by other leagues in the past.
With the way things are progressing, though, in Lynchburg, Va., don’t be surprised if in the next five years Liberty football is on a competitive level similar to Brigham Young University.
- Scanning surveys
A couple of interesting surveys were brought to my attention this week. The first one was in an article on The Gospel Coalition website by Justin Taylor who pointed out some interesting conclusions from a survey done by the Public Religion Research Institute. Here’s a few deductions from the article that stood out to me:
- White Christians now account for fewer than half of the public (43 percent).
- America’s youngest religious groups are all non-Christians. Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists have larger representations among Americans under 30 than Christians do.
- There are 20 states in which religiously unaffiliated is the largest represented category.
- Mississippi is the least religiously diverse state in the country with 60 percent of the Mississippi’s Protestants recognized as Baptist. New York is the greatest religiously diverse state.
- White Christians make up 20 percent of the Democratic Party, while 73 percent of Republicans belong to a white Christian group.
The next survey was shared by Andy Harrison, camp program director at Falls Creek, who conducted a survey among approximately 2,800 students at camp this summer about biblical values and life issues. Here’s some conclusions Harrison shared:
When asked, “Is there an absolute moral truth based on the word of God?” 91% of respondents said, yes. Furthermore, 93% of students said they believed the Bible was accurate in all it teaches.
However, when asked, “Do you read your bible daily?” only 18% percent answered yes. Fifty-eight percent said they read their bible at least once a month, and only 26% indicated they memorized scripture once a month. When asked to choose what helps them most in their walk with God, students ranked “reading the Bible” fifth out of six choices.
It is evident that students say they have a high regard for the scripture, but practically speaking, they do not read, study, or memorize it with any consistency.
Youth pastors and parents must model and mentor students in the area of personal bible study!
Harrison also asked students the question “Is homosexuality a sin?” with three possible responses: Yes, No, Not Sure. The “No and Not Sure” group over the past three years looks like this:
- 2015 – 27%
- 2016 – 30%
- 2017 – 35%
An increase of 8% in two years. Harrison concludes:
This indicates an opportunity. Past generations have known the truth of scripture in this regard, but have been found lacking in how to love those dealing with sins they once knew as culturally unacceptable. This generation will not lack in a loving approach, they will need help with truth. This is an opportunity for us all to learn and to teach God’s word with clarity, humility, and gentleness (Gal. 6:1).
- Abortion issues
National Pro-Life leaders sent a letter to U.S. Congress Republicans stressing it is “well past time to deliver” on their promise to defund Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood is not and has never been a ‘health care’ organization… It is well past time for Congress to hold Planned Parenthood accountable,” Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told Baptist Press. You can read BP’s full story here.
Timing of this accountability action is needed as BP also reported Texas abortion clinics were offering “free abortions” for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. BP’s article calls these offers “heinous” and “callous.”
- DR delivers in Houston
On a positive note about serving the Houston area in the hurricane aftermath. Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief is open for business in The Woodlands, Spring and anywhere in North Houston. Volunteers are headquartered at Spring Baptist Church and filling mud-out requests for homes. If you know anybody who could benefit from this great ministry for free call 281-271-7099. Visit www.okdisasterhelp.org for more information or to make a tax-deductible gift.
- Wax on a roll
I got to interview Trevin Wax, my favorite blogger, this week for a Messenger Insight podcast. We discussed his editing efforts with the new Christian Standard Bible, his new book This Is Our Time and about his great blogging talents.
Wax had quite a few good posts this week. Go to this link to his blog page and check out “Trevin’s Seven,” “Churchgoing is Beautiful” and “When Should a Church Address a Current Event?”