I’m doing my DHD early this week. I hope that doesn’t knock your schedule off too much. Consider it to be in line with the ending of Daylight Savings Time this Sunday. I don’t know how exactly it applies, but this is how I’m beginning my blog.
Let’s get to it.
- Political ploy pertaining to prayer?
This morning, Anthony Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), asked those of us who work in the BGCO Building, to meet this morning for a time of prayer for our state government leaders, including Gov. Mary Fallin and those who serve in the state senate and house.
What prompted this prayer meeting was a text Dr. Jordan received late Wednesday night from Gov. Fallin:
“We need some prayer support for God’s will and wisdom in what He would have us do to solve our budget crisis and not hurt the poor and needy. May I request your prayer team’s help!!” This is what Gov. Fallin’s text said.
Dr. Jordan also sent out a request to Oklahoma pastors to observe a time of prayer for the governor and other state leaders. I know this because one of my pastor friends shared this request on Facebook.
To my surprise, someone commented on my friend’s Facebook post, accusing this request of being a motive of “political desperation.”
This response troubled me, mostly because I know Dr. Jordan’s heart and respect him as much as any spiritual leader today. But to taint a request for prayer, no matter who is asking or whatever hidden motive they may have, seems to have the wrong focus.
Even if somebody who is polar opposite of me politically were to ask me to pray for them, I would sincerely affirm their request without scrutiny. The greatest reason for this is I believe in Whom I would be directing my prayers.
Just as Dr. Jordan asked us to pray this morning, I ask the same of you who live in Oklahoma. “Pray for wisdom from God and for His will to be done to protect the poor and needy of our state. Ask God to break the political logjam that has kept them from finding a solution that will be best for all people of our state.”
- World Series frivolity
Congratulations to the Houston Astros and all their supporters for the Astros’ first World Series title. There were some major drama in a few of these games, as multiple match-ups ended in extra innings.
I had a little fun at work this week. We received two stories from Baptist Press, one involving Houston pitcher Collin McHugh and the other featuring Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward. At first, I thought we could feature both stories in the Nov. 9 Baptist Messenger, but space did not permit.
Joking with our art director, Hannah Hanzel, who is an Astros fan, I decided to place the Dodgers’ article on the sports page because I figured, since game 7 was in L.A., the Dodgers had it wrapped up, and of course, we would feature the World Series winner.
This provoked some silly banter about me having to replace the story this morning, before we went to press. I enjoy my work environment.
- Largest church became multiethnic
The next three DHD topics come from articles I read this week on The Gospel Coalition website. The website recently experienced a makeover, and I’m impressed with TGC’s efforts.
Check out Sarah Zylstra’s “How the Country’s Largest White Presbyterian Church Became Multiethnic.”
It’s a longer read than most online articles, but I was encouraged to read about the transformation at Hope Church in Memphis, Tenn. The most significant approach this church took is willingness to be humble, relevant and approachable.
The more I hear about the divisive issues of racism, the more I’m convinced churches need to be prepared to have an impact. And it starts with making bold decisions that may not be popular. Read this story, and see if some of the decisions made at Hope Church need to be made at your church.
- SBC Reformation
This next one involves an article by one of my favorite SBC leaders, Al Mohler. In “10 Lessons from Reformation in the SBC,” Mohler offers a fascinating history lesson about how the Southern Baptist Convention remained strong conservatively, though it was greatly challenged.
“…from 1979 to 1995, there was a complete change of the leadership and the faculties in our seminaries and mission boards and eventually, throughout the leadership of the entire denomination. In God’s gracious providence, it’s the largest recovery of a Christian denomination in history,” Mohler wrote.
He then follows up with 10 excellent points of wisdom. It would benefit all Southern Baptists and conservative Christians to read this piece.
- Of Spurgeon and friend
My final TGC article is a book review by Christine Hoover, “Charles Spurgeon’s Unlikely Friend.”
Hoover discusses Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom. I got this book in the mail this summer to review and never picked it up. The joke in my office is I don’t read books. I offer no comment to this matter.
However, after reading Hoover’s review, I will begin reading Steal Away Home this weekend, as I find it relevant for our society today. Admiration for Spurgeon as a popular 19th century preacher seems to be growing these past few years. Demonstrating a willingness to overcome racism and inspiring such provisions today, Spurgeon’s friendship with an American slave has powerful potential.
Hoover concludes, “May we learn from the example Spurgeon and Johnson left us. May we be men and women who lay down our lives for others. May we be Christians who know the power of the gospel. And when our leadership brings inevitable hidden vulnerabilities, may we also recognize that we can’t survive them without companions who understand.”
- A parting Thunder thought
I’m loving how the Oklahoma City Thunder have played in their last few games. What I want to see now is for them to claim a victory over a competitive team in a close game. Perhaps it may happen Friday night, as the Thunder host Boston with the Celtics winning their last six games.