I’m definitely in the Christmas spirit, as I sit in my usual chair, Olive laying by my side and with Christmas music playing on my cable TV (Currently it’s Elvis singing “Blue Christmas”).
If you have been reading DHD regularly, thank you! I appreciate your faithful perusals, and I hope you are able to celebrate Christmas with loved ones and close friends. And may you truly find comfort in understanding the powerful message “God and sinners reconciled,” as it’s sung frequently this time of year.
Lots to cover this week in my six timely topics. Here we go!
- Rainer’s retiring
Thom Rainer is fairly known in Southern Baptist circles. He heads up the national resource center known as LifeWay Christian Resources. This is the group that offers literature for Sunday Schools and Bible Study groups, as well as other material goods needed for church work, which can be a whole gamut of supplies – from Lord’s Supper cups to sheet music for church choirs. They also offer workshops and conferences for various church ministries.
It’s hard to fully explain LifeWay to non-Southern Baptists. Consider it like explaining Braum’s to a non-Oklahoman.
I’ve met Thom Rainer and consider him a down-to-earth guy, but I heard he’s quite the savvy business man, plus intelligent evangelical scholar who has a heart to help the local church reach people for Christ.
Rainer announced a few months ago that he will be retiring. At 63, he’s at the point to consider such a life decision.
I recommend a fantastic article by Sarah Zylstra titled “Thom Rainer’s LifeWay Legacy.” It’s lengthy, but worth taking a few minutes of your Christmas break to find out more about Rainer, his leading of LifeWay, as well as some background history about LifeWay, which has been a significant part of Southern Baptist history.
- Planned Parenthood does not help pregnant employees
National Review writer Alexandra DeSanctis gave commentary on the New York Times reporting Planned Parenthood discriminates against its employees who are pregnant.
“Is it any wonder that a group that profits from ‘terminating pregnancies’ and offers little to no pregnancy care would neglect to have policies in place preventing managers from overworking or discriminating against pregnant mothers on their own staffs?” DeSanctis asked.
Personally, I’m just impressed that the Times would give such a report against the world’s largest abortion provider.
- A secular view for non-drinkers
Drinking alcohol is a regular debate issue among Christians. Have you ever discussed the issue with a non-Christian teetotaler?
Check out the article “Why people don’t drink: it’s none of your business,” and you might find some new aspects for supporting alcohol avoidance. It’s in a major Canadian news source, The Globe and Mail, and it definitely doesn’t use the same vernacular you would find in most Christian circles.
I don’t share to get anybody riled up on the drinking issue. I just found the article interesting.
- Great movie reviews
I always enjoy Michael’s viewpoints on movies. He has encouraged me to go to the theater a few times. But I took special note on what he had to say on the Mary Poppins sequel. From a family-friendly critique, he gave it a rating of 4.5 out of 5, which I believe has to be his highest ranking yet.
I admit that I had mixed feelings, but now my curiosity is up on Mary Poppins Returns.
As far as Aquaman, I’m not surprised at all with what Michael said, especially with his report that the movie is too long. I am an anti-DC Comics movie guy. I’ve been disappointed with most of these Justice League-affiliated flicks. I thought the first Superman movie was too long, and with Michael saying Aquaman ends with a way-too-long fight, it sounds similar to Superman.
Though I’m not surprised, I am disappointed because I agree with many how OKC Thunder center Steven Adams resembles the actor playing Aquaman.
- One of the best ‘Briefings’
Are you tired yet of me raving about Al Mohler’s daily podcast The Briefing? Well, I’m at it again.
Mohler gives a great perspective about Defense Secretary Jim Mattis submitting his resignation and about the potential government shutdown.
Mohler does not give regular criticisms of President Trump. He has been fair in his commentary of our nation’s leader, even demonstrating support at times. But I pay attention when Mohler speaks about Mattis stepping down.
“No one observing the administration up close would be surprised in the least of this development,” Mohler said. “The timing itself might be surprising, but not the fact that Jim Mattis and Donald Trump have come to the end of their working relationship. But the big question that now looms over Washington is who will be the next United States secretary of defense. That’s an extremely important question, but here’s where Christians understand this is not just the question of one person following another person, of one personality replacing another personality. The question is going to be front and center. What is the picture of the world, and what is the worldview of the individual that President Trump will now nominate to be the secretary of defense.”
Mohler’s thoughts about the possible shutdown is intriguing as he broke down the ways Americans are affected when a government shutdown occurs. But then he offered a heightened warning.
“When it comes to this kind of shutdown,” Mohler said, “there is also incredible political pressure inside the beltway, as it said, inside Washington DC. It’s because just about everyone in the continuing government enterprise of Washington DC finds some level of pain in this kind of partial government shutdown, and when Washington is in pain, given the concentration of media and cultural attention in Washington, eventually it’s as if the whole nation shares that pain.”
- Mohler’s Christmas address
I conclude this week’s DHD with the closing of today’s edition of The Briefing. Mohler gives an unusual Christmas presentation by speaking from the Gospel of John, and I think it’s fascinating how he weaves the two verses John 1:14 and John 3:16 together.
Mohler said, “One interesting way to understand what John is telling us in his gospel is to go immediately from chapter one, verse 14, to chapter three, verse 16. Just hear the words as they run together. ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we have seen his glory. Glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. That who so ever believes in him should not parish, but have eternal life.’ So the glory that was beheld in Christ was not just the glory of the incarnate Son of God. It was not merely the glory of the preexistent Word. It was the glory of the Son sent by the Father to save sinners because the Father so loved the world that he gave his only Son that who so ever believes in him might not parish, but have everlasting life.”
Do yourself a favor and listen to Mohler share “We really do believe” Scroll down to that final segment that’s a little more than five minutes and hear this powerful presentation that is an excellent explanation of the Christmas story.