Share a Post for Christmas

Gift Ideas

This year I’m not asking for much, so if you are looking for gift ideas there’s one thing you could do for me than I’m sure every other blogger would also appreciate…

photo (74)Share a favorite post with others on your blog and/or social media! It cost’s nothing, and all you’d need to do is wrap it in syrupilly-sweet words of praise as you ask others to check out the post of the year…or at least one of your favorites😉

The Challenge

So, this is the challenge AND the request:

Share (a post), and share a “like.” 

This is time of year when many bloggers see lower-than-normal visits to their sites. Why not take just a moment and share some posts you’ve liked with others? By doing so you will help some blogs keep up their views (“hits”) and maybe even gain a few new followers.

Then, the next time you read a decent blog post, take just an extra second and “like” it. Even better, why not leave a comment? Sometimes a nice comment could mean the difference between a bad day and a great day – you just never know the power of an encouraging word.

Now, if you do have access to a P-51 Mustang I could ride in, or if you want to treat me to an expensive steak dinner, then who am I to refuse? But if you can’t, a simple “like” and share will make my day!

Sharing is caring :-)

photo (74)

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How We Know Jesus Was a Gift from God

A Christmas Sermon Outline

Have you ever been given a gift, or seen one under the Christmas tree, that needed no card or tag informing you who sent it? Maybe the meticulous wrapping was a clue to who the wrapper was.

I know Christmas is still 24 days or so away, but some of you might need something to preach or teach between now and then. Therefore, please accept as my gift of an outline I prepared, “How We Know Jesus Was a Gift from God.”

Please, feel free to use it🙂

“How We Know Jesus Was a Gift from God”

I.  Because of When THIS Gift Was Given

·   Galatians 4:4 “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His son…”

II.  Because of How THIS Gift Was Wrapped

·   Luke 2:12 “And this shall be a sign unto you, you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

·   Philippians 2:7 “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”

·   Hebrews 4:15 KJV – “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.”

III.  Because THIS Gift Was Truly Free

·   John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He GAVE…”

·   Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace…it is a GIFT of God, NOT of works…”

·   Romans 3:24 “Being justified FREELY by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

IV.  Because THIS Gift Was Exactly What We Needed

A.  To Bring Us Life – Luke 2:11 “Unto you is born, in the city of David, a SAVIOR…”

B.  To Bring Us Joy – Lamentations 3:22-23 “His mercies are new every morning”

V.  Because of the Love that Went Into It.

·   1 John 4:9 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”

VI.  Conclusion:

A.  Accept the Gift of Jesus

B.  Give Thanks! – 2 Cor. 9:15 “Thanks be to God for this unspeakable Gift!”

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Filed under Bible Study, Christmas, Jesus, Preaching

Resumé Available

I will make this quick.

If you, or someone you know, would like a copy of my resume to have or to forward, please email me at PastorACBaker@yahoo.com. I would be more than happy to send you a copy.

You could also message me on Facebook.

As you may know, I am looking for a new place to serve, so any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Anthony Baker (The Recovering Legalist)

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A Sexually Predaceous Christmas Song

 “No!” Means “NO!”

A Winter Romance album coverI don’t know about you, but “Baby It’s Cold Outside” absolutely disgusts me. Every time I hear it sung on the radio (usually by Dean Martin), primarily during the Christmas season, it makes my blood boil! But what happens when I complain? Nothing. It’s “just an innocent song,” they say.

It’s just a “cat and mouse” thing, they say.

But seriously, would you just consider the lyrics? Have we not progressed to the point in society where we recognize red flags when we see them? Or, are we still in the age when it’s perfectly acceptable to coerce a woman, to interpret her “no” as a “yes”?

Is it acceptable these days to care nothing about a girl’s feelings and reputation all because your pride might get hurt if she says no to your advances? Well, that’s all “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is: an aroused sexual predator pressuring a reluctant date to stay the night, drugging her if necessary.

Red Flags

To make my point, I have included the lyrics to “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in this post, highlighting and commenting along the way.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice

Up until this point, it’s not that bad. Asking someone to stay the night is not the problem (from a legal sense). But things start to progress from questionable to insensitive pressuring very quickly.

My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some records on while I pour

So, the girl actually cares about the feelings of her parents – imagine that! But does that matter to the guy? No. He cares nothing for her fears or her parents feelings – sounds like a real “keeper.”

The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink?No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell

Yeah, who cares what the neighbors think? No biggie, right? But isn’t putting drugs in your date’s drink illegal? Isn’t denying your date safe transport home considered kidnapping? Isn’t drugging your date and keeping her against her will the precursors to rape? I guess it’s hard to break the “spell” of a drug once it’s already caused one’s eyes to sparkle like “starlight.”

I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside

Notice the “no, no, no” followed by the predator’s advancing moves (as a father, I wan’t to beat the crap out of this guy about now). She said “no,” but she also said she “ought” to say no. Well, what do you expect someone drugged to say??? Now you’ve got a girl who’s unable to decide for herself what to do and a guy who’s making her feel guilty for not putting out!! Whatever happened to the season of giving, not getting, hmmm?

I’ve got to get home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat – It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand – Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don’t you seeHow can you do this thing to me?

Don’t you just love this? It’s now around the fifth time this girl’s expressed her desire to leave her date’s house, but he won’t give up. Then she appeals to chivalry and asks for his coat, because by now she can’t remember why she doesn’t have one, even though it’s cold enough to be snowing. Does he give it to her like a gentleman should? No, he hides her coat (evidently) and continues to touch her! Finally, she begs him to recognize her reluctance, but all the animal can do is play mind games (a hallmark of predators).

There’s bound to be talk tomorrowThink of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied – If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stayGet over that hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside

Once again, it’s all “poor me” from the predator, mixed in with a little twist of feigned caring (“Oh, you’ll get sick!”). Does he care about her reputation? Does he care about her at all? Evidently not. Even after she makes one last plea, all he can say is “get over your holding out on me!” Because, after all, it’s cold outside.

 – Lyrics written by: Frank Loesser, 1944

We say we hate sexual abuse, yet this song continues to be played every Christmas season. How long before we say, “Enough!”?

Am I overreacting? What if it was YOUR daughter? 

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Filed under abuse, General Observations, Parenting

Even Mondays Are Made By God

Today is Monday, but I guess you knew that.

Coffee always helps.

Coffee always helps.

How did you wake up? Was it with a sense of dread? Instead of turning off the alarm clock that woke you up, did you strike it like a mosquito that had been buzzing around your head for an hour?

I don’t like Mondays any more than you. As a matter of fact, Mondays are pretty rough. Mondays should be my day off, but I am (was) what they call a bivocational pastor; therefore, my alarm clock feels like a mosquito, too.

However, the Psalmist (David) says…

This [is] the day [which] the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24 

Today…this Monday…every Monday…this is the day which the Lord has made. As a matter of fact, He has made every day. So, what will we do? Will we bemoan the blessing of waking up? Will we cry “foul” even before we enter the game? Will we start the day with the expectation that Monday will be like every other Monday?

This day was made by God. He knows what He is doing. Nothing will come our way that God is not already planning to use for our good – for those who love Him.

Today you may face a storm that leaves you feeling abandoned by God. You may feel like the disciples who were out on the Sea of Galilee all night fighting winds and waves. You may think that your Savior has forgotten you. Just remember that even in the worst storm, on the worst day, Jesus knows where you are.

When the time is right you might even get an invitation to surf the waves of adversity (Matthew 14:27).

So, rejoice! Be glad! Seize the day! It’s been custom-made for you!

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Filed under Christian Living, current events, Faith, God, Life Lessons, worship

The Other Things I’m Thankful For

Now that the holiday is about over, I’m sure you’ve heard all the normal lists of things for which we all should be thankful.

Like many others, I led prayer before today’s over-the-top gastronomical celebration, directing all present to give thanks for grace, mercy, family, freedom, and a host of blessings we don’t deserve. I even led us to remember those less fortunate during this joyful time. 

Therefore, since you’ve already heard thanks for the usual blessings, let me close out this Thanksgiving holiday with a list of other things I’m thankful for. 

  1. Zip-lock baggies. 
  2. Cell phone service with no roaming fees. 
  3. Coffee. 
  4. Antibiotics. 
  5. DVR’s. 
  6. I’m not a vegetarian. 
  7. Modern dentistry. 
  8. Safe drinking water. 
  9. Bluetooth. 
  10. Inexpensive firing ranges. 
  11. Baby powder. 
  12. A wife that hasn’t give up on me. 
  13. New Star Wars movies. 
  14. Background noise apps on my phone. 
  15. Daughters who still believe in me. 

OK, so #12 and #15 are from the “normal” list, but I couldn’t help it. 

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. – Psalm 106:1

My daughter Katie’s first apple pie. A work of art!

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The Woodmore Crash – My Observations

I live in Chattanooga, and I wanted to share with you some of what I witnessed the night of November 21, 2016.

A Tragedy

You’ve probably already heard the news and seen the pictures of bus 366, the one that crashed while carrying students home from Woodmore Elelementary. Maybe you were one of many who have shed tears at the thought of not only the loss, but what all involved have gone through. Certainly, the whole accident – everything about it – was certainly a tragedy.

As of this writing 6 young lives were lost due to the crash, and still 5 more fight for their lives at T. C. Thomson Children’s Hospital here in Chattanooga. Some parents are grieving, while others are desperately praying and hoping for the best. And then there are the first responders who worked the scene of the crash, those who had to recover the broken bodies of children: they will have to live the rest of their lives with memories they’d love to forget.

Yes, it was a tragedy, for everyone involved, including the driver and his family. Lest we forget, he will likely go to prison, and then there will be one more child without a father. Tragic.

My Role

If you didn’t know, I am a Police Chaplain with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. I have been in this role for about a year, doing what I can to minister to those who put their lives on the line to protect us. Thursday night, November 21st, was the first time I was called upon to offer my help in the middle of a catastrophe.

Like many other chaplains, pastors, and ministers from all over the area, I went to one of the locations where parents, family, friends and neighbors, media, and a host of men and women in uniform were gathered. My job, as it were, was to simply offer the “ministry of presence” to whomever I could. People were grieving, fearful, and angry, so I went to offer whatever help I could, even if it was nothing more than my being there.

What I Witnessed

I can’t begin to describe in this short blog post all the pain and suffering I witnessed in the lobby and waiting rooms where hundreds of distraught family members were gathered. Just think, for every one of the 27 that were taken to the hospital there were multiple family and friends waiting for news – news that was long in coming, for it was difficult to identify children when they had no ID’s and all wore the same school uniform.

The hospital estimated that over 800 people came to the children’s emergency room. That’s a lot of worried, grieving people!

Broken Families. There were so many broken – as in divorced and separated – families at the hospital. This became obvious as many of the parents of the children yelled at each other, either in person (where some had to be physically restrained) or over the phone. One father, obviously not the custodial parent, cursed his child’s mother for not letting him see his child. During a time when a group had gathered in a circle, holding hands in prayer, a mother stood ten feet away screaming into her smartphone: “You ain’t never f****** been there when we f****** needed you, so get your f****** ass down here right f****** now!”

Varying Responses. Different people deal with grief in different ways, and this was never more apparent than on Monday night. Some people would hold each other and silently weep. Others would appear emotionless as they walked around or sat and stared. Others would seem calm for one moment, then break out into wails of, “Not my baby! Not my baby!” There was plenty of anger to go around, so many were already talking of law suits and violence. But a few would explode into rage, putting fists through walls, throwing chairs, running through the rooms at full speed and crashing into glass walls and doors (thankfully, none shattered). People were falling onto the floor, rolling and screaming, fighting off anyone who’d try to calm them down.

Great Professionalism. It’s times like this that bring out the best in people. The police officers, EMT’s, firemen, security personnel, hospital staff, and doctors all did their jobs as true professionals. Even though they were certainly affected by all of this, they not only maintained control of their own emotions, but they compassionately managed the traumatic outbursts of others. Even though the medical staff were completely overwhelmed, I never once saw panic in their expressions – only calm assurance that everything possible was being done. Many, if not all, went above and beyond.

Heartbreaking Hopelessness. Without doubt, the hardest thing for me to witness was the hopelessness of some. Actually, there were more than a few family members who grieved in such a way that I was vividly reminded of the words of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13:  “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” Tears came to my own eyes as I listened to cries of loss, the kind of loss that is permanent and hopeless. That was the true tragedy of all this.

What I Learned

I don’t know if I really learned a lot Monday night after the crash, but I was definitely reminded of a a couple of things.

First, coloring is a good thing. Yes, sometimes all one needs is a little distraction in order to deal with trauma. When that distraction is creating something beautiful, all the better.

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Click on the picture to read my interview in the Baptist Press.

Secondly, life is short. Again, I might not have learned anything new Thursday night after the crash of bus 366, but I sure was reminded of something: life is short, no matter how long we live. We never know when our lives will end, so there is never a better time to make things right with God than today.

Please say a prayer or two for the families and all those affected by the tragic crash of bus 366, especially on this Thanksgiving Day. Also, the next time you see a school bus driver doing his/her or job well, say something nice – it’s a tough job.

 

 

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