Thanks for reading! Here’s this week’s six timely topics. Hope you enjoy!

  1. Pitman proclaims reality of SBC

Vance Pitman was the subject of a recent Q&A story that was featured on The former Las Vegas pastor is now leading the church planting work with the North American Mission Board, and the interviewer of the story asked him questions regarding his ministry move.

I wrote about Pitman a few years ago when he was a keynote speaker at The Call Conference at Oklahoma Baptist University. I found him to be a fascinating speaker whom God has used in a powerful, innovative way to do church work in an area that desperately needs churches.

Pitman’s responses in the Q&A piece reminded me of his approach of not doing one big mega church but do multiple smaller churches in order to be effective to reach an entire city. And he encouraged me with his viewpoint of “God doesn’t call a Christian to a church but to a city.”

But what really stuck out to me in this Q&A is the last question, as the writer painted a negative picture of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Pitman’s answer was fantastic. Yes, the SBC has some troubling issues right now, and I pray God will resolve these issues soon. Pitman’s answer is on point:

“I do think you have to be careful when you assume things about the SBC because of what you see or hear on Twitter or social media,” Pitman said in his response about the writer’s presumption of “a lot of conflict in the SBC.” “We just had 165 new planters in orientation last week, and it was an incredibly diverse gathering where there was life, there was energy that was passionate about the Gospel, about the nations being reached. When you get on social media and listen to the buzz on there, you can begin to think one thing. But if you begin to get out in the cities and you talk to the churches you see something else.”

Thank you, Vance! You encourage me!

  1. A missionary’s pleasant surprise

Nicole Welch started working with Oklahoma Baptists less than a year ago. She serves as childhood ministry assistant, working with Charlie Gatton in all the fun ministry opportunities with children, including CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp.

Before joining the state convention, Nicole served overseas and was excited to participate in lifestyle evangelism in Europe, but then the pandemic happened and threw a major curveball into her plans.

Check out her story “Overlooked opportunity,” and read how God worked through her limited situation in a place she knew few people and could not go out of her apartment to share the Gospel.

  1. A Mohler moment

Albert Mohler once again shared profound truth this week on The Briefing. He answered a question from a woman who experienced an ectopic pregnancy and struggled with the decision from a pro-life conviction. Mohler’s answer was excellent:

“Ashley, what a sweet letter,” Mohler said. “I really wanted to make certain that I addressed it on this edition of The Briefing. What you did here, what the doctors did here was in no way, a violation of your pro-life convictions. Because even in the context of this letter, it is clear, you desperately wanted this child. You and your husband were welcoming this child.”

He continued, “Now, where human intervention intentionally comes in to terminate the pregnancy, we understand this as a horrible sin. That is not what applies in your situation. I do not speak as an obstetrician. I am not one. I will simply say that in the Christian tradition, this kind of issue is well-understood as an unavoidable surgery in order to save a mother’s life that had the unavoidable effect of terminating a pregnancy. But in this case, of a pregnancy that would have been terminated in any event.”

  1. Changing the trend of limited Scripture engagement

I like reading Joe Carter’s articles. He’s straight, to the point and fairly objective when writing about cultural issues from a Christian worldview.

His latest article is titled “A simple method to encourage Scripture engagement.” It’s not a typical topic for Carter, but it’s a great suggestion for a Christian who may be struggling to daily connect with God through Scripture.

Check it out!

  1. Thunder thoughts

The NBA playoffs are in full force, and there have been quite a few exciting games. Of course, none of the games involve the Oklahoma City Thunder, but from a Thunder fan perspective, I find myself pulling for the Phoenix Suns during these playoffs.

I will mention, though, that the Thunder did catch a big break with the L.A. Clippers not advancing from the play-in tournament to make the playoffs. The Thunder own the Clippers first-round draft pick in the upcoming draft, with no restrictions. What this means is the Thunder have two lottery picks this year.

As the picks rank right now, the Thunder have the fourth and the 12th picks, but next month, when the draft lottery happens, those rankings could change. The best case scenario would be the Thunder would get the first two picks of the draft (not very likely), and the worst case is they get, I believe, the eighth and 12th (not as likely either).

I feel more certain the Thunder’s Clippers’ pick will remain 12th, but the Thunder’s own pick is hard to predict where it will land.

This also leads to another common topic about the Thunder: will they go another season trying to “tank”?

Check out what Rylan Stiles wrote about the Thunder’s outlook for next season:

The Oklahoma City Thunder are not going to make a middling move to accelerate this rebuild, and without a race against time that is a clear message from Sam Presti that the ownership brass of the team is not pleading with Presti to return to the playoffs anytime soon. So concerns that low attendance figures, or TV ratings, will make the Thunder itch for a quick fix or even worse, move the team, should be squashed now. They should have never started, but alas, put it to rest now.

In the meantime, it likely means next year will be another “tanking” year, though it will not look the same. I believe the worst is behind us, depending on Lottery luck, and next year goes from a “tanking” season to a “foundational” year. While the team due to their youth, inexperience, and inevitable injuries, will likely miss the playoffs, the goal is to show Sam Presti enough that he feels comfortable going all in during the 2023 offseason.

A common concern about not making the playoffs again and playing in such a way that is not appealing to fans may continue, but Stiles said Thunder ownership is fine with this rebuild approach and is not in a hurry to return to the level of championship contention. But as many, including Stiles, have said, the 2023-24 season is the one for Thunder fans to anticipate.

  1. Can you tell the difference?

I end with an entertaining video for you to watch, especially if you were a fan of both Disney movies and VeggieTales in a younger age.

I’ve never heard of this organization before this week—Way Nation, but I am intrigued by their videos. I find myself enjoying creative videos involving trivia, and this video meets my entertainment standard, especially since it focuses on more wholesome style of entertainment. Check it out!