The year 2020 has begun. Are you like me and already tired of the advice of writing out “2020” on your checks instead of the final two digits (e.g. 1/3/20)? I get the jest. Somebody can add two more numbers and misidentify the year you intended to write.

I’m waiting for Babylon Bee to come out with a spoof report about somebody having a financial crisis over a misdated personal check.

Here’s the first 2020 edition of Doyle’s Half Dozen.

  1. David French’s forecast

David French is a journalist I respect. I recommend you read his work too. He is a conservative Christian who used to write for the National Review. He now writes for The Dispatch and has his own regular column feature called “The French Press” (catchy eh?).

On Jan 2, French wrote “There Are No Good Answers for the Middle East” which came out before the U.S. Military strike that led to the death of terrorist leader General Soleimani.

“The longer I live, the more I understand a cardinal truth about the human condition—evil often leaves virtue with few good options,” French wrote. He expressed sympathy to the Trump administration, knowing that attacks could lead to a war with Iran but easing the pressure could lead to Iran becoming a greater threat long-term.

As I said, French is conservative, but he is no fan of President Trump and often expresses criticism of the president. I don’t agree with every perspective French offers, but he is good at making me think. More often than not, he is a good read.

I especially enjoyed his Dec. 29 article “Politics Is a Jealous God.” His descriptions of how Republicans view Democrats and vice versa should be required reading for all Christians who are engaged in current politics, and French’s forecast of the 2020 election year should not be taken lightly:

“This presidential election year will tax the church,” he wrote. “It will tax our nation. A Christian who is properly engaged in politics seeks justice, but he or she does so with love and without fear. When we fail to uphold those values (and even the best of us does, on occasion), it will be necessary to remind ourselves that the ‘unmoved mover’ in our political lives is not our political tribe, but rather the God who made us all.”

  1. Lankford comments on Soleimani’s death:

Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Lankford gave an interview this morning on a local morning news show. I appreciate his comments about this significant military strike in the Middle East:

  1. Great piece on how to read more

I like writers who write in lists and provide some light humor with practical advice. A great example is the post “How to Read More Books in 2020.”

I’ve never heard of Mark Ward, but his article is a good one. I definitely enjoyed his colander example. That’s good stuff!

I also appreciated his conclusion of why it’s important to read:

“If you want to give to others, whether your own sheep or even just your neighbors in the civic space, you’ve got to read. If you don’t read, you answer nearly every significant matter before you hear it. If you don’t read, you are more likely to be susceptible to the winds and waves out there. If you do read out of love for God and neighbor… the possibilities are endless.”

  1. My Quiet Time choice for 2020

Like many, I have challenged myself to read the Bible through in a year. Thankfully, I have accomplished this task many years over, and I support everybody who pursues this task. It’s a great education in personal spiritual growth.

I’ve decided to take on a different approach this year in my daily personal Bible study. I’m doing the Blackabys’ “Experiencing God Day-By-Day.” I decided to do a daily verse devotion because I want to avoid the “routine” that can happen with doing a straight-through annual Bible reading, leading to potential callousness toward God’s Word.

To be clear, I’m not discouraging anybody to do an annual Bible reading, especially when it involves a small group community who is doing the same reading plan. That can prevent callousness as well.

I plan to return to doing an annual reading plan in the future, but for 2020, I’ll do this devotional plan with a daily journal as part of a fresher approach for myself.

  1. David Stern’s death

Like many, I found out about former NBA Commissioner David Stern’s passing while watching the New Year’s Day bowl games.

I met David Stern in 2005, when the New Orleans Hornets played their home games in Oklahoma City for a couple of seasons. We were in a back hallway of the arena, and he gave me a quick hello in passing as he was going to meet with the media before a game.

Thoughts about future NBA games in Oklahoma City were on the minds of many of the media members, as well as other issues of that time. I was so impressed with how Mr. Stern was in control of the setting, and there were a bunch of reporters and camera people surrounding him. He seemed to exude confidence and intelligence. Some have said David Stern may have been the smartest commissioner in the history of American professional sports. I definitely would not argue.

I also would agree that Oklahoma City would not have an NBA team today if not for Stern’s influence. And thus, I also would not have the best second job.

May God bless David Stern’s family as they grieve his passing.

  1. Thunder thoughts

I’ve become skeptical of blogging about the Oklahoma City Thunder because usually when I do, they end up going on a losing skid.

But I will say, the Thunder is definitely exceeding my expectations. At the time of my writing, the Thunder is coming off a big win against the Spurs. It’s the first time the squad has won in San Antonio since 2014.

The Thunder also won at Toronto earlier this week and currently have the longest winning streak among the Raptors’ opponents on Toronto’s home court. OKC has won five straight games in Toronto, which is quite impressive.

Plus, the Thunder got a great win over the up-and-coming Dallas Mavericks.

They will probably come down off this winning frenzy soon (possibly at Philadelphia next Monday, if not tomorrow in Cleveland), but this Thunder team is a fun one to watch.

As of now, I would say the range of how the Thunder will end the regular season is anywhere from not making the playoffs to finishing as the sixth seed. Regardless, this is a great building year for Thunder basketball.