It’s starting to get cold—again. Just when the weather appears to get nicer, it changes course. That’s Oklahoma for you!

Well, I’m going to stay the course and offer six timely topics for you. Thanks for reading!

  1. Mohler on the mandate maneuver

If you haven’t heard, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled to block the COVID-19 mandate that was to be enforced by the Biden Administration.

As DHD does often, I yield to Albert Mohler’s viewpoint on this ruling which he shared in his Briefing podcast this morning:

“Congress did not give the executive branch any authority to do this through OSHA,” Mohler stated, regarding the Biden Administration’s enforcement of the mandate through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “It didn’t do so directly. It didn’t do so indirectly. So to allow this kind of rule to stand by OSHA, it simply raises the question, and I’ve raised this over and over again. If OSHA can promulgate this rule and make it stick, what could it not do? What could this president or a future president order some federal agency to do in service of whatever cause might be the object of this so-called workaround? When you think about what’s hanging over us in the threat of any number of issues that would violate Christian conscience, just to say, the LGBTQ issues and policies, you understand why this pattern would be so threatening and why it would be such great concern.”

That is the direct concern. It’s not about how people view the vaccine. It’s not even about a private company or business requiring employees to get vaccinated. This is a major overreach that has no precedent but could lead to OSHA or any government agency having unnecessary power, which, thankfully, was ruled unconstitutional.

Listen to or read Mohler’s full commentary, and you will see he is for vaccination but against mandates. I share the same view.

  1. Is this the ‘new normal’?

I saw a marquee sign on my drive to work this week, posing a thought, “Maybe this is the new normal,” referring to having to deal with COVID on a regular basis.

First, let me say that I find the phrase “new normal” annoying. It has some odd baggage because it could be referring to social changes or differences that are becoming more acceptable—and that could be applied to anything.

Are we going to be forced to wear masks in public from now on? Are we going to be pressured to get new vaccine shots or boosters? Will society as a whole remain in fear of a disease?

My thought is this appears to be more of a trend or fad rather than a stability. Our country dealt with a polio outbreak in the 1940s and 50s. Now polio is a rarity.

More importantly, as Christians, we have no need to fear because we believe in a God who “heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:3).

  1. Zylstra on time management

It’s common for DHD to give a nod to Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, and that will happen in this edition.

Zylstra wrote a different kind of piece this week. She is usually featuring a modern-day Christian engaging with society somehow. In her article “6 lessons for tending your time,” she offers an analogy of farming to encouraging readers how to apply principles of time management.

Check it out. She truly is an excellent read.

  1. A delightful dialogue on deacons

I am an ordained deacon and consider it an honor to serve my church in such capacity. Deacons are utilized differently in respect to the autonomy of each church as identified in bylaws.

Matt Smethurst wrote a great piece titled “5 questions about deacons.” Some of what he wrote was enlightening to me. I learned a creative way of explaining the role of deacons in the church.

Being a sports enthusiast, I loved how Smethurst explained that deacons “are like a congregation’s offensive linemen, whose job is to protect the quarterback. They rarely get attention, much less credit, but their labors are utterly indispensable for both guarding and advancing the ministry of the Word. Without effective deacons, elders will suffer incessant distraction and get sacked by an onrush of practical demands.”

  1. Don’t mess around with Jim

Oklahoman sportswriter Jenni Carlson wrote a great article this week about my former boss Jim Abbott who recently retired as athletics director at Oklahoma City University. I worked for Jim from 2003-05. It was my final position in college athletics before I started my journey in pursuing work in Christian ministry—which has led me to work with the Baptist Messenger.

You may have to have an online subscription to read Jenni’s article, but she painted a great description of Jim’s success in leading OCU Athletics for nearly 20 years.

I also highlight Jim because he was instrumental in me having my secondary job as the official scorekeeper during the home games of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He recommended me to the New Orleans Hornets when the NBA team temporarily relocated to OKC in 2005 because of Hurricane Katrina. I worked the two seasons the Hornets were in OKC before they returned to New Orleans and eventually became the Pelicans. When the Thunder arrived in 2008, they contacted the game personnel, including me, who worked for the Hornets, and offered us similar roles.

So I appreciate Jim when he was my boss, and I will forever be indebted for his role for allowing me my half court seat at the Thunder home games.

  1. Mossman moves on to ministry

I end with highlighting another Jenni Carlson article. This one is about someone I wanted to be my boss. Kenny Mossman served 20 years in the athletic department at the University of Oklahoma, mostly in the area of athletic communications.

For years, I tried like the dickens to get on at OU in sports information. I even applied for an internship when I had a full-time job at the University of Southern Mississippi. This was early in Kenny’s time at OU, and he called my boss at Southern Miss and longtime friend, Mike Montoro, to find out why I was applying for a lower, temporary position. Alas, it was not what God had planned, and I am totally content with my current role.

Kenny has retired at OU and is now serving as interim pastor of Carnegie, First. This Oklahoman article should not require an online subscription, but it is a great read. I also appreciate the mention of Hance Dilbeck helping Kenny to get on the path toward full-time ministry. Dilbeck played a major role with my ministry path.

I’m excited for Kenny, and I have heard him speak before and know he will be a great pastor.