I hope you had a great week. I’m glad the weather is cooler but prefer it doesn’t get too much cooler. Alas, winter is drawing nigh. Remember the crazy ice storms last October? OK, let’s move on.

This week’s DHD features six more timely topics. Hope you enjoy, and thank you for reading!

  1. A thought from my Bible reading this week

I just finished reading the Book of Luke this week. I love reading many sections of Scripture, but reading the different Gospel accounts is definitely fascinating, especially since it contains the teachings from Christ’s earthly ministry.

I was reading in Luke 18 about the rich young ruler asking Jesus how he could obtain eternal life. There’s a lot to break down in this passage (Luke 18:18-23), but what caught my attention this week was verse 23.

After he heard this, he became extremely sad, because he was very rich.”

For context, Jesus had just told this man there was one thing he lacked. He told him, “Sell all you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Luke 18:22).

So here’s what I journaled about Luke 18:23:

This verse may seem to be a paradox to many people. They connect their emotions to their income. Either they are sad because they desire more money, or they seem happy because they are financially stable.

Look at the context of the verse, and you will find out the rich young ruler was inquiring about inheriting eternal life—something money can’t buy. In fact, for this man, his money was keeping him from receiving eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

How do you evaluate your finances, and do they affect you emotionally? Can you see how the rich young ruler’s money kept him from following Jesus?

  1. Marijuana in Oklahoma

Be on the lookout for a Messenger article next week, written by Jeremy Smith, pastor of Midwest City, Eastwood. Jeremy is serving on Oklahoma Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee and submitted a profound piece about the condition of marijuana access in Oklahoma, since it became legal in 2018. This condition is rather alarming.

Jeremy reports that there are more marijuana dispensaries than Baptist churches in Oklahoma. Also, the number of dispensaries in Oklahoma is nearly triple the number of dispensaries in California, and the number of Oklahoma dispensaries is more than the number combined in Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

Here’s a comment Jeremy wrote that stood out to me:

Yes, this law has failed us. However, law is always an external force. With all moral and ethical issues, the law may help, but true transformation is internal.  Until a person experiences an internal transformation, he will continue to convince himself that what he is doing is working or will work. It is the nature of sin to convince people that destructive behaviors are helpful.

I think you’ll enjoy reading Jeremy’s article in the Messenger next week. It will come out in print Nov. 11, or sometime midweek next week on

  1. Responding to vaccine mandates

President Biden announced the federal government is requiring the private sector to enforce employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Many organizations, entities and state institutions are responding in droves with lawsuits against this mandate.

Baptist Press announced today Southern Seminary filed a petition in appeals court against the mandate.

It’s one thing to encourage vaccination; it’s another to enforce it. I have been vaccinated, and so has my wife. I know others who have chosen not to be vaccinated.

One of the best statements made on this issue was offered by Brent Leatherwood, interim president of Southern Baptist Conventions’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He said. “The better route for the state to take is providing clear, consistent and coherent counsel that our fight is against a deadly disease, not one another.”

  1. Del City, First Southern celebrates 70 years

Oklahoma Baptists are familiar with the impact Del City, First Southern has had over the years. This church has impacted numerous lives and is considered one of the most influential churches throughout the history of the Southern Baptist Convention. Great pastoral leaders over the years, including James Draper, John Bisagno, Bailey Smith and Tom Elliff, led great evangelistic movements and international mission growth.

Tonight, Nov. 5, Del City, First Southern is having an event to celebrate its 70th anniversary. I’m happy for Keith Burkhart, current pastor, who has led many people in putting together a one-of-a-kind celebration. A key element of tonight’s program is a hour-long documentary that chronicles the church’s history.

Carla Hinton, Oklahoman religious writer, penned a great piece promoting Del City, First Southern’s celebration. Check out “Family reunion: First Southern Baptist Church of Del City celebrates 70 years.”

  1. Be meticulous about Metaverse

Have you seen Steven Spielberg’s movie Ready Player One? That’s what I envision when hearing about Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg announcing the new name of his company being “Meta” and promoting a new concept known as Metaverse.

There’s more to Metaverse than I can comprehend right now, but check out “How to prepare for the Metaverse” by Ian Harber and Patrick Miller.

Here’s one of the best portions of the article:

What happens when we identify more with a virtual version of ourselves than with our real selves? People may begin to conflate their God-given identity with the self-made identity they crafted in the metaverse. The transhumanism debate is on our doorstep. The imago Dei is about to encounter the imago meta.

  1. Thunder thoughts

Two straight weeks of Thunder thoughts when I didn’t think I would mention the Oklahoma City Thunder at all in DHD this year!

Another victory over the Los Angeles Lakers! Unbelievable! It truly is, especially since the Thunder’s only two wins this season have come against the team many think are the top contenders for an NBA title this year.

It’s exciting but not really part of the script for the Thunder this year. I mean, sure, it’s great to see the team win, and I will always naturally root for a win, but it’s more important for this squad to develop and be in position for a better future. Yes, you can call it tanking if you want to, but there’s more to it than that.

It’s more important for Josh Giddey and others to become better players, and that happens by playing. If they win, great! But they are not expected to win. They are expected to compete and improve, so they can consistently win in the future.

Speaking of Giddey, wow! He’s already showing impressive potential, and he recently turned 19. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to raise his game to all-star level. If nothing else, pay attention to how both Giddey and Shai are playing.

And there’s others too. Lu Dort is always fun to watch. Kendrich Williams has shown some great moments too, and I thought it was interesting that Williams was playing in the final minutes of that last Laker matchup. That says a lot about how important his game is to the team right now.

So yeah, don’t expect many more DHD features for the Thunder. But you never know!