To begin with, I just want to say that I am blessed beyond measure. I have a beautiful and forgiving wife, daughters who don’t hate me, and even son-in-laws who are each cool in their own ways.
On top of that, the church where I pastor is a beautiful place, the people are stellar, and the community is one where I’d be happy to retire.
AND, what’s more, God has been blessing us, encouraging us, and reviving our people in the local churches! We are getting more excited and fired up every day, for even though there will be trials and tribulations in the future, no victory ever comes without a battle, YET…
I’m looking forward to victory after victory!
That being said, this post is not about all the above; that was just me praising God 🙂
This post is about the fact that I am going to be offering up four pieces of my art as I auction them off online. It won’t be like eBay, but there won’t be any fees, either!
Check out the YouTube video I made this morning and stay tuned starting tomorrow!
Hey guys, I hope you all are having a wonderful and blessed weekend! I am!
First, I went to the doctor this week and he prescribed for me some medication to help me get my sleep back in rhythm. Today, after just two days of back-to-back 8+hours of sleep (the first in literally years) I feel great!
Amazing what sleep can do, right?
But besides that, I want to share this video I just made and posted several other places, particularly Facebook. It’s an invitation to come visit with us for Easter, either in person or online.
If you can’t visit with us in person, yet you want to be a part, check us out live on Facebook both at 7am and 11am Eastern on Facebook at @bethlehembaptistwarthen.
I appreciate all of you. Eventually I will get back to reading all of your posts, too! I miss them.
Friends, I just can’t put into words how much I look forward to writing more. Oh, I’m writing, but it’s not here. It’s just that I have priorities.
But let me tell you, God is good, His grace is sufficient (and I know about that) for every need – and oh, how deep a truth that is!
Life is not easy, nor is it always fun. Some of you in other countries have so many struggles that you look at us in America with disdain. However, please don’t do that . . . you are literally blessed beyond comprehension, not us.
Regardless, compared to heaven, our final reward, the place “not made with hands,” even the most fantastically-rich member of society is as poor in the sight of our Creator as a starving dog on the side of the road is to us.
No matter how rich by comparison to others, we are all poor, needy, broken, wounded, etc. “None are righteous, no not one.
Those who are the most wealthy are those who walk with God on a daily, even hourly basis.
The ones with true joy are the ones who’ve surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.
Anyway, please have a sefe and glorious Easter weekend!
See you at church somewhere this Sunday!
In the meantime, I’m going to keep looking up and looking forward to great and mighty things!
This is going to be an unusual entry, as if the title wasn’t enough of a clue. I’m going to talk about holding back from puking – puking my emotions, that is.
Let’s start with the whole disgusting vomiting thing.
You know what it’s like – that feeling of a sour stomach, a queasiness, a warning that your body is preparing to expel what it thinks is harmful to process, right?
Have you ever had that feeling but determined you were going to do everything in your superpowers to stop it from happening?
First, you try to convince yourself that it’s nothing, really. I mean, sure, you didn’t give thanks to Jesus for that sandwich from Chick-fil-A because, after all, it came pre-blessed. And that sushi from the kiosk in the food court didn’t taste too strange, at least no more than normal.
The next thing you do is think, “It’s only a little upset stomach,” then ask, “Where’s the Mylanta?” Yeah, that’s all you need.
The sweat begins to bead on your forehead. More excuses. More rationalizing. You find a place to lie down and moan a muffled declaration into your pillow: “I’m NOT going to throw up!”
Sometimes it works. Sometimes.
Well, this is the best way I can describe the feelings I have after the death of my mother, Rebecca Marie Baker, this past Tuesday morning.
It’s like I feel a familiar sensation, a pressure, a something… it’s like I know if I was so many other people I would have already broken down and wept. But when the urge comes my immediate response – and it’s actually a physical, tangible response – is to tap it back down. And I am not even sure if it’s on purpose. Actually, I know it’s not.
If the body eats something that is bad for it, the natural response is to expel it. To keep it inside and to digest it could be harmful.
But what of the heart? What of the emotions? What of pain and grief?
I mentioned this to my wife and she suggested I “let it out.” But the last time I cried uncontrollably was when I stood at the door of the bedroom of one of our daughters after she moved off to college.
I don’t like to cry like that. I don’t like being that weak. I especially don’t like people seeing me that way.
However, Jesus wept. Yes, He did.
But not every time.
At least that we know.
I know these last few weeks were difficult, and I know we talked a lot about you going to heaven, but now that you are gone, I’m going to miss you. I am glad I was able to tell you I loved you and to hear your weak voice whisper back, “I love you, too.”
I’m thankful I was able to sit by your bed, hold your hand, and sing Amazing Grace to you as you left this world of pain. I wish I could have seen the look on your face when you breathed your first taste of heavenly air.
I can only imagine what it was like for you and Daddy to see each other again.
This is why it’s hard to cry. This is why it’s difficult to grieve. You are where you were born again to go.
Your faith has become sight!
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15 NLT
I’m happy for you, Momma! I’m sure there are tears of joy where you are, too.
Like I said in a previous post, I am not writing as much due to a lot of other responsibilities and the deadline I’m facing for my degree. However, as I was waking up this morning a thought crossed my mind that I thought I would share with you.
But be warned: this may trigger somebody.
Humans and Animals
I am not an atheist nor an evolutionist. On the other hand, I am keenly aware that many, many are. And what I have heard from so many of them is that humans are no different than any other animal. Am I wrong? Is that not what they say?
Now, to a certain degree I would agree with them. And I would hope that they would have a good explanation for things like altruistic love, self-awareness, higher purpose, and the fact that 99.9% of us don’t eat our young.
But there is something more basic that we all do, creationist and atheist alike… We check our puppies and kittens the same way. Keep reading.
Puppies and Kittens
It doesn’t have to be just dogs and cats; it could be a whole zoo full of critters. The point I am going to make is that whatever it is, when we first pick them up, we almost always ask a basic, fundamental question: Is it a boy or a girl?
Granted, the way you check chickens and snakes might be different, but when it comes to most animals, especially little dogs and kittens, you pick them up, lift their tail or look at their belly, and search for a puppy pencil (penis).
If you don’t see anything protruding, you say, “It’s a little girl!” If you see a lipstick case, you say, “Oh, look! It’s a boy!”
Modern Puppies and Kittens
The problem we are having now is that any time we pick up the little yard animals to check if they are boys or girls (male or female), we are running the risk of being sued by the kennel.
You see, even though you pick up a puppy and may immediately see the lid off the lipstick, assuming that puppy is a boy is an act of violence – you are attacking it with your pronouns. Fact is, regardless the genitalia, we have no way of knowing how that puppy or kitten identifies. We must wait until it squats or hikes its leg before we fill out its papers.
Further complicating things, there’s the issue of breeding. How many times have we simply assumed that putting a “male” and “female” whatever into a box would result in a litter of look-a-likes? Fact is, many of those times we did this with our German Shepherds and didn’t get a “match,” the problem might have been an offended, pronoun-assaulted hound with unrecognized identity issues!
Animals, or Not?
So, that brings me back full circle to the Creationist/Atheist comment. Are we animals, or not? If so, if we are no different from the rest of the cast of “Lion King,” singing “The Circle of Life” as we accept our fate as feline food, then why all the confusion? Why not just call it when you see it?
Personally, I think we are more than simply animals, just as I believe we were created in the image of God, similar in many ways, but distinct from the rest of the animal kingdom.
It’s just that either way – made in God’s image as male and female or nothing more than bipedal, hunting/gathering apes – there’s little basis for kennel to be co-ed.
Those are my thoughts for this Friday. Have a great weekend!
The following post is not new, but one from a year or so ago, maybe longer. But here are the basics…
It’s been around 5 years since I went to Africa (August, 2016) and I’ve still not gotten over it.
I was supposed to go to Jamaica this time last year, but then you-know-what happened. Nobody went anywhere.
We are now praying for revival. The Church of God, the Body of Christ, but particularly we Southern Baptists here in Georgia, need a fresh outpouring of the Spirit, a move of God among our congregations!
Sometimes we need to go to other places, like Zimbabwe or Pakistan, to be reminded how big our God is and how powerfully He wants to work in our lives if we’d just let Him.
Having a fired-up preacher serve as your interpreter can rock your world! And shake the Devil’s!!
So, the following post is about my trip to Zimbabwe, but the best part is the audio of the final sermon preached. I am amazed that the Lord could even use someone like me, especially back then when I (capitalized) was the one in need of revival (that’s really why I went on this trip in the first place). But if you want a real blessing, scroll down and click on the link to the sermon.
Be sure to listen to the sermon at the end!
It has been [five] years since I went to Zimbabwe. I went there to preach in a series of revival services in two different Baptist churches, both of which were started along with several others by Chinhoyi Baptist in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. Of course, preaching wasn’t all I did; I went with different pastors into various villages, visiting and praying with Christians, evangelizing those who’d never heard the gospel.
The other reason I went to Zimbabwe was to get revived myself. I needed this trip! And, praise be to God, it was life-changing!
Here are some photos from different services.
People starting to show up for church. River of Life met in a tent in a member’s front yard.
Worshiping Sunday morning at Dolomite Baptist.
Lively and energetic African worship at Chinhoyi Baptist.
Being introduced at Chinhoyi Baptist.
The Final Service
The final service in which I preached was at Chinhoyi Baptist Church. It was a celebratory farewell service where all of the churches which had hosted our team of three (Dr. Eddy Rushing, Marshall Kellett, and myself) came together as one. And man, was it a service!
The honor was mine to be selected to preach the final service, and what an honor it was. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett were responsible for personally leading scores of people to Christ during this trip, so who was I to be the one to preach? Nevertheless, they asked me, and I jumped at it!
The beginning of the service was full of extremely lively music and dancing – not something the average Baptist in America is used to 😉 When all of that was over, the music shifted to hymns. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett both gave stirring testimonies before the final hymn “Higher Ground” (sung in the native language of Shona) set the tone for the sermon to follow.
Oh, Rev. Luckmann Chiasaru was my interpreter for this service, and man was he good! He even sang with me! Awesome!
Chinhoyi Baptist Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. This congregation hopes to plant a total of 50 new churches in 10 years. They’re well on their way!
The following was recorded on an iPhone 6s, then edited on Audacity. I wish it could have been a better recording, but it was all I had. I pray it is a blessing 🙂
Regardless of your opinion of Dr. Seuss, he is hands down one of the most influential children’s writers of all time. His work is timeless and a true classic. However, according to Reuters, the Dr. Seuss Enterprise announced that 6 of his books will no longer be printed because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
Here is list of Dr. Seuss’s books that will no longer be printed. I’ve attached the read aloud in case you’d like to see the “racism” yourself.
1. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street:
In this story, a child undergoes a walk down Mulberry Street and envisions silly, exciting things to tell his dad when he gets home. This is a great story that encourages imagination in times of boredom or hard times. However, critics have discontinued the story due to drawings of an Asian child, that…
Who doesn’t love a good, cold Coca-Cola (or as we say down here in the South – where it was invented – Coke), especially on a hot day beside the pool, after some yard work, or a good workout at the gym? Wow, not that many hands, I see. Hmm.
OK, I get it, Coke is a fun addition to a meal, especially in a big foam cup from a Sonic Drive-In, but it’s not the most thirst-quenching beverage, nor the most healthy. Yet, it’s a multi-billion-dollar powerhouse. And when it comes to their brand image, I’m sure heads could roll if some petty little inconsequential white employee was allowed to make a fool of the execs in Atlanta.
So, when a story began to bubble up about employee training that included a slide presentation suggesting we all be “less white,” the media and the company began to foam, and for different reasons entirely.
You Want Me to be LESS White?
Now, when I Googled the story about the training in question, the first thing that popped up was a Snope’s article decrying the “opponents of critical race theory and diversity training” claiming they had “no real evidence.” Typical.
However, the non-evidence produced by Karlyn Borysenko (or as Snopes describes her, “a prominent online opponent of critical race theory and many aspects of corporate diversity training“), that of a leaked photo of the slides, clearly confirms what she has reported. And what is that, exactly?
We should all try be be “less white.”
If Less, then More
I am going to skip ahead and pass over the opportunity to discuss the reasons why every person of less pigment should be grossly offended by the obvious inferences. Yes, I am going to choose to tone back the offended victim feelings and look at this from a different perspective.
I’m not that great in math, but let me propose an analogy. Let’s just say we have 100 dollars in hand (which would be nice, wouldn’t it?). How much money would you have in your hand if I reached out and took 99? You’d only have $1 in hand, correct?
Now, what if I had $100 in my hand and kindly, graciously, and typical of WAPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) gave your friend Scratchy $10 when he asked for money to get gas to see his dying grandmother? I would have “less” than $100, wouldn’t I? I would only have $90, but it would be far more than your pitiful, lonely dollar bill, correct?
Both of us would have less, but my “less” would be more than your “less” by far.
Considering the inferences are legit, and if I’m not any of the the negative stereotypes suggested in the leaked slides, then I need to have some of those qualities in order to have LESS of them.
Creating a Monster!
So, I need to be “less” than what I’m not. Therefore, I need to become a total monster of a jerk (I’m avoiding using other descriptors for the sake of propriety) in order to find room to lessen my “whiteness.”
First, I need to become oppressive. How do I do that? Slavery has been outlawed, so I don’t have anyone to beat with a whip (I need to get a whip). I don’t have enough money nor manpower to take over anyone else’s property, so I don’t know how I can force them to dig up the gold in their back yard. I’ll have to think about this one.
Second, I need to become supremely arrogant. OK, that I can do. I mean, I am smarter than those who don’t look like me. The only reason I’m not a wonderful, godly scientist like George Washington Carver; a legal brain like Justice Clarence Thomas; a political genius like Dr. Thomas Sowell; or a musician like B. B. King, is because I have all my servants do my work and study for me. I guess I could do more for myself.
Third, I need to become certain that everything I do and believe is right. I need to be absolutely certain that my way of worship is better than others’. I need to be really confident in all my decisions regarding finances, marriage, family, ministry, etc. That way all I will need to do in order to qualify as “less white” is doubt myself every once in a while.
Next, I need to become defensive and get offended at every time someone accuses me of something just because of the color (or lack thereof) of my skin. Then, who knows? Maybe I’ll write a humorous and slightly sarcastic article, yell at the dog for looking at me funny, or join up with some group who wears black, lifts their fists, and wants to be paid for their great great great great grandfather’s troubles. Then all I’ll have to do is tune it down a little and be loved by all!
The fiph ting I need tuh do is come more da ignorunt. Penceforth i’d b’n upin my noledge wid edumacation. Buh now I gotta go in da re … re … reversssss … reversal, yeah, that’s it! and become stoopid sow I kan be less stupider. Oh, wait, were they simply suggesting that I become more informed? Well, duh, wen u ignorant ju eggspect?
The last two things, well, that’s a different story. I don’t have to become more prideful to become more humble; I’m always too prideful, and that has nothing to do with whether I’m white or not. It’s always a struggle to be humble in all things. Unfortunately, God has a way of breaking down our pride.
And when it comes to listening, if I hadn’t been listening, I wouldn’t be writing this, today. If I had not been listening, I would not have become indignant with the insinuations that people of my color are horrible people by nature. If I had NOT been listening, I would have never noticed how a training like the one at Coca-Cola is as racist as anything from the KKK.
I tell you what, how about we all pass on the Coke, drink Perrier, and continue to treat people based on the “content of their heart, not the color of their skin”?
There’s not much I can say that I haven’t said before about how much I love and how much I am proud of all my daughters.
However, today is a particular milestone that I want to share.
25 years ago today was the first time I witnessed live birth. Oh, of course I’ve seen puppies being born, but seeing my daughter, Katie Marie Baker, come out of my wife, well, and I’m using a lot of commas, that was traumatic!
It was nothing like the movies. It was nothing like the Cosby show. It was nothing like anything I had ever experienced!
And it was like nothing I had ever experienced before.
Like Bill Gaither might say, “How sweet to hold a newborn baby and feel the pride and joy she gives!” Nothing can truly prepare a man for the feeling of holding his first baby girl in his arms.