Thursday Thoughts (Jogging, Proud Burgers, and Elton)

Good Thursday morning, everyone! It’s been a little while since I shared my thought on a Thursday, so here we go :-) Yay!

Jogging

I just got back from a 45-minute walk with one of my daughters. At one point we jogged a little – downhill. I don’t jog very well – I jiggle, jostle, and jar. Let’s stick to walking, for now.

Burger Pride

There used to be a day when companies would take pride in their products. Now is the day and age when companies put “pride” ON their products.

There are so many things that could be said about the rainbow-clad fat bomb that Burger King has introduced to the San Francisco area, things I’m sure you’d expect from a conservative Christian like me. There’s also a lot that could be said by those who hate the very existence of Chick-fil-A in response to nothing more than the owner’s personal beliefs, rants that can’t get through five words without using “bigot!” Well, I’m not going to go there.

Burger King is a business, people. Burger King doesn’t care a hoot about gays or straights, no matter how proud they are of their Whopper. It’s all about the money, folks.

On the other hand, Burger King’s Fernando Machado said of the campaign in California: “It showcases who we are as a brand. It shows how we, as a brand, believe in self-expression.” That’s evidently why they’ve changed their slogan from “Have It Your Way” to “Be Your Way.” Whatever… I will continue to be my way and stay away – who needs a 1300 calorie rainbow, anyway?

Christian Jesus?

Unless you’re name is Jesus and you are from Mexico, Jesus was not a Christian. However, if you get your theology and history of religion from musicians with rose-colored glasses, then it would not be a shock to find out that Jesus was the first member of an all-inclusive, unifying, pluralistic, believe-what-you-will fan club.

Do you know why so many people are as messed up as Elton John (excuse me, Sir Elton) when it comes to theology? They don’t know the true Jesus. All Elton John would have to do is read Mathew 10 and John 8 to find out how in error his thinking of Jesus is.

Happy Fourth!

Happy Birthday, America! Well, it’s only the third, but who cares?

 

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Abortion: My View & Info

Just in case there is any question, I stand in opposition to abortion.

I know there are some of you, maybe a lot of you, who are “pro-choice;” therefore, I know you disagree with me on this. But that’s OK! It’s your choice (pun intended). I just think you’re wrong.

Some label the subject of abortion a “hot button topic” and avoid discussing it. Many Christians avoid it because they say it’s something that should be left up to the individual to decide. In reality, I think the majority of Christians are uninformed and therefore afraid to say anything.

Well, in the last couple of days I’ve been going back and forth with a foaming-at-the-mouth (in my opinion) abortion advocate (and atheist). The conversation has been taking place on another blog written by J. W. Wartick (click here for link). Even though I’m not the greatest pro-life apologist, I thought I’d at least speak my mind. More of us should.

I have not done much debate on the topic of abortion, so my resources and expertise are limited. Because of this, I have sought out those who HAVE been in the debate for a while.

Therefore, I would like to introduce you to a website that might prove as useful to you as it has for me.

abort73-logo

I have added a widget on my secondary sidebar that will link you to a page on their website which offers strong arguments against abortion.

No, it’s not a fun subject, but it’s one I’m sure is close to the heart of God. Even the NIV-users and the KJV-only folks should be able to agree on that.

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Filed under Abortion, America, Christian Unity, Culture Wars, current events

I’m a Baker, Too

Nicknames

Did you ever have other kids make fun of your name when you were young? I did. They always made fun of me because of my last name – Baker.

Smart aleck (sp?) brats with more dirt under their fingernails than brains in their heads would say things like, “Hey, Tony Baker! Let’s call you Bony Taker! You gonna take my bones?” Others would make fun of my name by asking, “Hey, Anthony, why don’t you bake us a cake?”

First, my name is not Tony; it’s Anthony. Second, I don’t bake. Third, in a day when people are getting away with crazy stuff, don’t ask anybody to take your bones…not a good idea.”

Fortunately for me, Howard Baker came along.

Howard Baker

Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr. (1925-2014)

Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr. (1925-2014)

On Thursday morning I learned of the passing of one of Tennessee’s more famous sons, former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker. He was 88 years old.

Politically speaking, Senator Baker (nicknamed the “Great Conciliator”) was not exactly a shining conservative star. But even though he was no Ronald Reagan, he was, however, a decent human being with the same last name as mine, and that alone made him a hero of mine when I was a child.

Yes, when some kids would make fun of my last name, asking who else would have a silly last name like mine, I’d just point them to Howard Baker, Senator, Reagan’s Chief of Staff.

Then came Jim and Tammy Faye…

Howard and I only have ONE “k” in our last name, thank you very much!

R.I.P., Senator Baker. Thank you for helping me survive elementary school.

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If Children Ruled the World

Listen to the Children

Believe it or not, there are many who swear that true wisdom can be found in the words of young children. Forget the need for a lifetime of experience, listen to the wisdom of those who just learned to wear pull-ups and cut their own meat.

If we did what the they wanted us to do – listen to the children – what would the world, or at least our country, be like?

* No one would ever workexcept those who need to work so that others would not have to work.

* Every day would be Christmas, Halloween, and summer vacationas long as someone else buys the gifts, provides the candy, and drives them to the beach.

* There would be peace on earth and no more warsexcept when someone disrespects you or takes your candy.

* Everything should be available for the asking whenever it is wantedas long as we don’t have to be the ones providing it for someone else.

* There would be no need for multiple television channelsonly DisneyNickelodeonMTV, and VH1.

* Everyone would have everything they always wanted, whether they needed it, or notand still act like brats that never get anything they want and are always mistreated.

* No one would ever eat at home, only restaurantsthen complain about their weight.

* Education, if desired, would be determined by what the child thought was important … like “Queer Translation (UC Berkeley 250)” and “The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender, and Media (Skidmore College).”

* Teachers, Doctors, Policemen, School Teachers, and Ministers would be disrespected and malignedwhile movie stars, rap and rock stars, and vulgar atheletes would be deified.

* Animals would be considered equal with humansexcept when it came to leather clothing and Happy Meals.

* Hate would be outlawedunless someone disagreed with you.

* Church would be nothing but fun and games - none of that judgmental, right/wrong stuff - with cookies for all to enjoy.

 

Wait! Maybe the children are already in charge!

Source: Unknown

Source: Unknown

 

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Filed under America, Culture Wars, current events, General Observations

My Bucket List (2014)

I have dreams…

Really, I do! And that is a good thing. Even though I just turned 46, which is 6 years over-the-hill and that much closer to assuming room temperature, I can still dream of things I would like to do while on this earth.

There are some things on my list, or in my bucket, or however you want to say it, that are serious, even profound. On the other hand, there are some things that I would like to do, see, or acquire that are purely for fun.

Check out the list below and see if you can tell which ones are realistic, serious, or just plain crazy.

I would like to…

  • be the best dad ever in the history of the world
  • fly in a vintage WW2 and/or jet-age fighter (especially a Spitfire or F86 Sabre)
  • drive a Shelby Cobra, a 1971 Jaguar E-type, a Ferrari, and a 007-like Aston Martin DB5

I would also like to…

  • see one politician act like Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • see prayer allowed in schools
  • see someone pray, like Daniel, in the public arena despite the threats of prosecution
  • see Ronald Reagan come back from the dead and say, “Everybody get off the stage, cause I’m running again.” Of course, I would be happy to see Lincoln, or Jefferson, or even JFK do the same.
  • hear one American president tell terrorist-sponsoring nations, “We’ve been nice with our ‘smart bombs,’ but we could go back to the way we did things in the 1940’s…ever heard of carpet bombing?”

I dream of going to…

  • Israel
  • London
  • Moscow
  • Disney World, again
  • Narnia

I would love to meet…

  • A sitting president (two, if Obama was included)
  • Billy Graham
  • Rush Limbaugh (sorry, folks, I’m a conservative)
  • Lindsey Lohan (just to tell her there’s a better way to live)
  • Justin Bieber (and ask, “What is your deal, dude?”)
  • Roger Whittaker (and take my little girl, who is a huge fan)
  • A real stay-at-home mom (or dad) who made a fortune with a work-from-home business they heard about on a commercial.
  • Mel Gibson (to tell him that God still loves him)
I would love to play…
  • a Stradivarius
  • like Tommy Emmanuel (please watch), Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, or B.B. King
  • a game of chess with a computer – and win
  • the lottery (with money I found) – and win
  • a minor part in a movie with Sean Connery, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • In front of Simon Cowell and hear him say, “Others may have the X factor, but you have the ‘WOW’ factor!”
I would love to have…
  • an iPhone 6, or whatever they call it
  • the ability to fly at will
  • a new suit that fits
  • a cheeseburger that doesn’t make me fat
  • hot dogs that tree-huggers wouldn’t complain about

But most of all, when all is said and done, my greatest wish, my greatest dream, is to hear God the Father say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Everything else – the memories of what I did, the places I saw, the people I met, the things I owned – will pass or fade away.  And that’s OK, because nothing will compare to the glory that awaits in the presence of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

In the meantime, if you happen to own a 427 Cobra, or extra tickets to the Holy Land, you could make a dream come true…call me anytime.

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Meriam Ibrahim, and Others

What’s Important?

Last night I had a nightmare which woke me from my sleep. Later, while I was awake – after I went ahead and took the dog out for an early potty walk – some blog post ideas came to mind. Then, because I didn’t write them down, I forgot what they were. Typical.

But what is more important, writing about some inconsequential idea, a loosely relevant theological concern, how coffee relates to living, or the life/death struggle of a Sudanese Christian mother?

Seriously, we writers get on our soap boxes and clutter up the internet with petty complaints about cat pictures and the latest trash (I’m sorry, “art”) from Hollywood, but how often do we rally together for the lives of the innocent?

Really, what is more important?

Sadistic Sudan

Let me just be as plain as I can: any government who would execute a young mother because she is Christian is satanic, sadistic, and worth of no respect. Let me also say that any government leader who has in his power the ability to stop the execution, either by way of threat or diplomacy, and does not, is equally satanically influence – if not simply an accomplice to murder. Bold enough?

The government of Sudan, after releasing Meriam Ibrahim from prison, arrested her again, today. At one point she was going to receive 100 lashes for having sex with her Christian husband, then be hung for apostatizing from Islam (even though she was never a Muslim). After enough people rose up in her defense, she was let go. However, they have once again arrested her, but for uncertain reasons.

What’s more, Meriam is married to an American, which makes her newborn son an American. Excuse me, but do we have a president, or not?

President Me

I am going to go out on a limb here. Many of you who read this are not from America, so please forgive me – I don’t want to offend. However, if I were the president of the United States of America, one of my first and foremost duties would be to make our enemies, including nations that imprison our citizens, fear what we might do.

For example, Mexico has one of our soldiers in prison, all because he accidentally crossed the border with three weapons in his vehicle. Even though he voluntarily turned himself over to border guards, Sgt Andrew Tahmooressi admitting he had misread road signs, instead of turning him around, they put him in prison. EXCUSE ME, but how many times do Mexican soldiers cross our border?! How man illegals cross our border every day and are allowed to stay? If I were president, I’d say, “Let our boy come home, or the next group of your guys to “get lost” crossing our border as they are protecting drug smugglers will meet with an untimely disappearance.

Iran is holding an American pastor. Despite cries of protest from around the world, they continue to hold Saeed Abedini and torture him. If it were me, I’d say, “Let him go, or else – and you don’t want to find out what the “else” is.”

Gone are the days when a threat of retaliation from America was taken seriously. What would Harry S. Truman have done when Muslim terrorist were capturing our soldiers and contractors, holding them hostage, then cutting off their heads in Iraq? Anyone remember what Japan looked like in 1945?

You see, it’s like this – we still have the power, but no moral authority or guts in those with authority. If it were needed, today there would be no Normandy, Iwo Jima, or even Gettysburg; our leaders, even many of our citizens, aren’t willing to take a stand.

I’m Angry

I am simply angry. I am furious. I am indignant. We have politicians who are cowards and a president who won’t do anything if the action may offend a radical, sharia-based government.

We have citizens who are genuinely suffering, possibly about to die because of their faith, and yet we release known killers in exchange for traitors.

A young mother and her family is fearing for her life, but our President won’t do anything about it – yet he goes to a summit complaining about a “war on women” in the United States. A young Christian pastor rots in an Iranian prison, but our President is considering working with Iran to fight ISIS. A young soldier languishes in a Mexican prison, but we continue to allow multiple thousands to cross our borders unchecked.

I’m ticked off, and I have every reason to be. We are no longer a sleeping giant our enemies don’t want to awake, but a weakened fat man with no locks on his doors.

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Filed under America, current events, General Observations, politics

Just Being a Fan

Not a Follower

Not too long ago Kyle Idleman wrote a book entitled Not a Fan. As a matter of fact, I led one of our adult Sunday School classes through a chapter-by-chapter study of the book. The idea is that we are not called to be simply “fans” of Jesus, but followers.

Let me set things straight – I am a fan of Building 429, not a follower. I simply adore these guys as a band, but I don’t put them on a pedestal, memorize their birth dates and favorite colors, or have posters of them on my wall. All I’m saying is that when I say “I love these guys,” I am not equating that “love” with the “love” I have for the Lord.

I am just a FAN of Building 429.

I’m a Fan

The word “fan” comes from the word “fanatic,” and some people’s obsessions with music groups are expressed in fanatical behavior. I would consider myself a fan, but not a fanatic.

However, I have to say that every time I have seen these guys perform it has been a blessing. That is why last night I stood in the rain at an outdoor Christian music festival (JFest 2014) in order to hear (and watch) them sing. Some may describe my behavior as “fanatical,” but I knew the show was worth it.

I first became acquainted with the guys from Building 429 when they stopped by the Cracker Barrel in our neighborhood. They were on the road to a recording session when they stopped their tour bus for some Southern cooking, only to be on the receiving end of my legalistic, self-righteous judgmentalism. That lead to a conversation which you can read about HERE.

New and Favorite

If you are sadly unfamiliar with Building 429, let me share with you a couple of videos.

The first one is of their latest release entitled “Press On.” Well, it’s called “Press On,” but the actual title is too similar to another song sung by a former Disney star while swinging nude through the air (“Wrecking Ball”).

The idea of this song is that no matter what the world throws at us, we should just “press on.”

The next video is from a couple of years ago, but it has to be one of my favorite songs. The words of the chorus are ones I often repeat: “All I know is I’m not home yet. This is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus. This is not where I belong.

Oh, hallelujah! I’m not home, yet! 

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20 Years! Take That, Devil!

We Were Young

It was a beautiful day in 1994 when my beautiful bride agreed to subject herself to a life with me. Had she known what she was getting into, she might have backed out. Of course, she would be the first to disagree with that assessment.

wedding picture oneWe were young, even though we were in our mid-twenties. It’s hard to say, however, if we had any idea how things would be once we reached our 40’s. I must say, though, that it’s funny to think back at how we thought we were starting marriage a little late. We were so young, full of energy, potential, and hope.

My wife just said, “I really thought we were old.”

The Odds Were Stacked

Most people are aware of the odds against people staying married for any real length of time. But what most people are not aware of are how dramatically the odds turn against long-term marriages when just a few factors are thrown in.

A marriage made up of two people from perfect backgrounds, with no emotional baggage, will inevitably have its struggles. But when you take two people who bring into a marriage enough emotional and spiritual baggage to fill a cattle car, well, the odds of staying married are not great. Thankfully, we serve a God who doesn’t care about the odds (Prov. 16:33).

We Started Right

I can’t tell you how many marriage proposals I have seen on YouTube! Some were so elaborate…I mean, how’s a guy to compete with a million-dollar musical?!!

Let me tell you how I did it – I took her to the altar. No, I’m not talking about going to the altar to get married; I asked her to marry me at the altar.

wedding picture fourYou see, the first time I quasi-proposed (I never really asked her to marry me) was when we both picked out her first ring – yes, her first ring. Then, later that evening, like an idiot, I took it back because “I wasn’t sure about things.”

The second time was a little different. After being told not to come back unless I brought a bigger ring, I bought a full-carat solitaire and went to church.

During a communion service, one in which it was our custom to go to the altar and pray before we partook of the elements, I asked Valerie to go with me. Once we knelt, with both of us holding hands, I officially proposed in front of God and everybody. I wanted our marriage to be something built on a holy foundation, so after she said “yes,” our first meal together was the Lord’s Supper.

Still At It

When I say we are “still at it,” you can take that any way you like. The fact is that we still struggle, still have arguments, and still act like people who never learn. But on the other hand, we still pray, still play, still love, and still worship together, and we’re still married.

20 years, and counting!

20 years, and counting!

There’s nothing wrong with people who never struggle, somehow always on perpetual honeymoon. However, any marriage worth working for, worth fighting for, will leave a few scratches on your wedding band.

My advise to others? Just keep at it.

“This is my beloved, and this is my friend” (Song of Solomon 5:16).

 

Happy anniversary, Valerie! I love you!

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Life Lessons, Relationships and Family, wisdom

Ten Ways to Fail As a Father

Happy Father’s Day!

Lord willing, my sermon for Father’s Day will be from the book of Joshua…

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. – Joshua 24:15 KJV

There is a portrait of my family hanging in our living room with the above verse written below it. There is a lot to be said about a father who will say those words. There’s a lot to be said about a father who won’t.

Tuff Stuff

I don’t want to spend a lot of time writing a lengthy post, but I do want to leave you with a list I found in a sermon by a Wesleyan pastor, Bruce Howell. I don’t know if he came up with it or if he found it somewhere else. All I know is that it is convicting.

There will be a lot of people talking about how to be a better dad, but if you want to know how to fail, here are 10 sure-fire ways to screw up.

Ten Ways to Fail As a Father

1. Have fights in front of your children. Then when guests come, turn around and act affectionate toward one another.
2. Stifle your children’squestions by saying, “Don’t bother me now; I’m busy.”
3. Take no interest in your children’s friends. Let them run around with whomever they choose.
4. Never discipline your children; try to use psychology instead.
5. Nag them about their schoolwork; never compliment them on their achievements.
6. Demonstrate your love for them with material things. Give them everything their little hearts desire.
7. Never discuss the facts of life with them. Instead, let them learn about sex from their friends, public school, or pornographic literature.
8. Set a bad example so the children will not want to grow up to be like you.
9. Absolutely refuse to believe it if you are told that your children have done something wrong.
10. Let your children make their own choices in the matter of religion. Be careful not to influence them in any way.

Help us, Father God, to be more like you.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Life Lessons, Parenting, Relationships and Family

What Are You Worth?

What would you die for?

What is so valuable that you would risk or even sacrifice your own life? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You should.

The typical things in life that are considered so valuable, when put in perspective, aren’t really worth that much. Even the most “priceless” treasures are not worth your life – or are they? Would you fight a thief for your purse or car? If so, you are saying those things are more valuable than your life, for you are willing to risk your life to keep them. It is how people die every day in the pursuit of, and the keeping of earthly possessions. Pretty foolish.

What about non-concrete items, such as pride? Some people are willing to fight to the death, or kill others, when insulted or “dissed.” Perception is NOT reality, just as integrity is not determined by opinion; yet, some would rather risk death than be wrongly perceived.

Is family worth risking your life?

Photo: Andy Britt

Photo: Andy Britt

Really, there is no argument against this one. But on the other hand, society has a difficult time determining the value of life; one life is not as valuable as another if convenience or personal pleasure is at stake.

I would risk my life to protect my family, and if you doubt it, try to hurt them – I carry more than a big stick.

Many, however, kill their own children before birth.  It seems to me that society values gold more consistently than life itself.

Are you willing to die for what you believe?

Now this, I know, could open up a whole can of worms; but that’s OK. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Do you believe in anything so much that it is worth more than your own life? When your life is on the line, knowing the difference between what you believe and what is only opinion is of key importance. A martyr is one who would rather die for what he believes than deny it.

Is your faith worth dying for?  If not, then how much do you really believe?

How much is YOUR life worth?

Value is determined by what someone is willing to give for it, right? That’s typically the way it goes. So, if nothing on earth is more valuable than your life, does that make your life valuable? Well, maybe to you.

Think about it, to someone else your life might not be as valuable as their own. Would you value the life of a total stranger so much that you would offer your own in exchange? I mean, really? Someone may even be willing to give all of the world’s riches in order to obtain your life, but are you worth it? Who would even have that kind of wealth? That leaves you with nothing more than your sense of value compared to another’s. Your worth against theirs.

Value is relative to the thing for which the buyer will exchange.  That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the Creator of the universe offered to die for you?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:8 NIV

That would make your worth INCALCULABLE! The King of Heaven, the Son of God, gave His own life in exchange for yours, even accepting your guilt and failures as His own, and payed the death penalty for sin on your behalf.

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2Corinthians 5:21 KJV

That makes you valuable; Jesus unique. How many others have done what He did for you? Most of us would die for our children or spouse.  Some of us would die for a friend or maybe a good person.  But how many of us would give our own life to purchase the life of a stranger, much less a convict, drug dealer, murderer, etc?  Jesus did.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:6-8 NIV

That’s the whole reason for Christmas, you know.  Jesus had to come to earth as a baby to grow into the Man that would willingly go to a cruel cross.  The gift of Christmas is the gift of life, purchased with the life of the Giver of Life. How ironic is that? And how wonderful?

Let’s Review

  • "Forgiven" by Thomas Blackshear

    “Forgiven” by Thomas Blackshear

    Jesus Christ suffered the most excruciating death Rome could conceive, crucifixion…for you.

  • The Prince of Peace was shredded by a “cat of nine tails”…for you.
  • The King of Kings wore a crown of 4″ thorns…for you.
  • God became flesh so the world could know Him…including you.

Don’t believe the lies told to you by Satan, the culture, or your depressed emotions. Your life is of immeasurable worth because of the immeasurable price offered for it.

If you are worth that much, and if that kind of price was paid, don’t you think giving your life to Jesus is a fair exchange?

 

If you would like to know more about Jesus, and how he loves you and died for you, then call this number, 1-800-NEED-HIM. Or, if you would like to talk with me, just send me an email.  Your life is worth it.

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, Love of God, salvation, self-worth, Uncategorized, World View