I’m about to go on vacation! This Sunday after church, Karen and I, along with some friends, are heading to Lake Texoma for a few days. I’m excited because we’ve got a fishing tour planned Monday morning. It’s possible this trip could make next week’s DHD. We shall see!

In the meantime, here’s this week’s commentary on six timely topics.

  1. Cultural view of marriage still evolving

Baptist Press put out a timely article today. It’s been five years since the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges led to the national legalization of homosexual marriage.

I appreciate the comments in the article from Russell Moore and Albert Mohler.

“The church must teach why marriage matters,” Moore said. “This isn’t merely a cultural issue for Christians. Marriage represents something beyond itself, which is the union of Christ and the church. That’s the reason why marriage is not infinitely malleable.”

Mohler emphasized the church needs to maintain the biblical definition of marriage, as time will become a hindrance with more people misunderstanding or misapplying. He said the church must embody a “Gospel marriage culture… which means healthy marriages within the church and consistency in standing against anything contrary to that, which would include adultery and pornography and all of the other pressures that are happening internally within the church.”

  1. The best thing I’ve done in the pandemic

In April, I was talking with a good friend who is a doctor in Virginia. He encourage me to do a Bible study with the book “Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts” by Jerry Bridges. I have led quite a few studies with “Trusting God,” but the last time I led one was 11 years ago.

This week, I led the last session of my recent Trusting God study. It was a great experience, and I consider leading this study as the best thing I’ve done since the pandemic began.

The final chapter of the book gave some great insight to the passage 1 Pet. 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves, therefore under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

Bridges said this text teaches humility is the opposite of anxiety.

“On the one hand,” Bridges wrote, “we are to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand—an expression equivalent to submitting with a spirit of humility to God’s sovereign dealings with us.

“And on the other hand, we are to cast our anxieties on Him, knowing He cares for us. The anxieties, of course, arise out of the adversities that God’s mighty hand brings into our lives. We are to accept the adversities but not the anxieties.”

Did you catch that? We are to accept this pandemic but not the fret or the worries about the COVID-19 virus.

Here’s how I’m personally applying this to our current situation. I will wear a mask because I will respect those in authority, but if I see someone else not wearing a mask, I’m not going to get bent out of shape about it. God will bless my obedience, but He won’t bless my anxieties.

  1. Ringing the bell at Falls Creek

Every morning during a summer youth week at Falls Creek, the big bell would be rung to celebrate the number of professions of faith in Christ were made the previous night. This summer, unfortunately, Falls Creek is not observing its regular camp weeks, but that’s not stopping the great bell tradition.

Watch Andy Harrison, director of Oklahoma Baptists conference centers, explain why he is ringing the bell 70 times. As he says in the following video, 56 professions were made at the Falls Creek Road Shows and 14 have been made on the Falls Creek grounds, as a few small groups have been meeting this summer:

  1. Church work in Japan

Want to read great history lesson that relates to Christianity in Japan? Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra produced another great article titled “Church in the Graveyard: 10 Plants in 10 Year in Tokyo.”

This article will open your eyes to the challenge Christianity has faced through the years, especially in a “rock-hard soil” like Japan.

  1. Dance dispels pastoral myth

I love Mark Dance. Mark, if you read this, I really do love you, man!

I think Mark has been serving Oklahoma Baptists nearly eight months as director of pastoral development, and the impact of what God is doing through his leadership in this brief time has been awesome.

Mark admits he is an optimist, which is definitely needed right now. He even said he is trying to make “COVID Lemonade” through the encouragement he is sharing to pastors, especially through the articles he writes. He wrote a great one that is featured in the “Church Toolbox” section in next week’s Baptist Messenger.

But the article I want to share now Mark wrote just a few days ago. Titled “The Dangerous Myth Too Many Pastors Believe,” Mark gives great insight to why it is important for pastors to have friendships with church members.

“So many pastors serve in isolation because they’re sincerely trying to avoid practicing favoritism,” Mark wrote. “If we confuse friendship with favoritism, we fall prey to Satan’s dangerous isolation trap.”

  1. A Bible passage I’ve wondered about for a long time

Greg Lanier took on the passage I have thought was perplexing since I was young.

“Resurrected Saints and Matthew’s Weird Passage” was a great read for me. Have you ever wondered about the tombs opening and the bodies of saints rising after the death of Christ (Matt. 27:52-53)?

I appreciate how Lanier breaks down how to study this Matthew 27 passage. His “Christology” section was my favorite part of the article.