I just caught a breath…my daughter is getting married tonight

Hey everybody, this is spur of the moment, but here is a video that will be showing to the people coming to my daughter’s wedding tonight.

I will be doing a ceremony. 😍

Pray for us. Hard to let go. But I’m proud of the both of them.

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Filed under Family, Marriage

Encouragement Time: Keep Your Promises

It’s Friday! You’ve surely got a lot of exciting things to do, right?

Well, if your schedule is clear and you are looking for something to fill a few minutes, here is a link to today’s 2pm “Encouragement Time” I do live every weekday on Facebook.

The main subject of this short devotional time is to make sure you do what you promise to God.

https://fb.watch/19HRHFajsa/

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bible Study

The Peace of a Clear Conscience

This first part has nothing to do with why I am writing today. Just bear with me for a moment.

To begin with, I want to say that I feel like my blogging life has nearly dwindled and fizzled away. It’s sorta sad, I must say. For so long blogging has been an integral part of my life – over 10 years, to be precise.

However, the changes that have taken place in my life over the last year have forced me to reallocate my short blocks of attention to new places. So many things have demanded my energy that the simple task of sitting down to write has often brought feelings of dread.

The way I see it, there are more important things in this pandemic-riddled, socially-divided, always stressed, perpetually pressured world than keeping a regular blogging schedule and maintaining a high number of viewers.

I’ll be honest with you, up until the virus hit, I didn’t have any hobbies. On the other hand, there was my blog. There was this one and Proverbial Thought into which I put a lot of mental and creative energy. But now, here in the “new normal,” blogging has fallen way down the priority list.

Do I want to stop blogging? Of course not! But I definitely can’t afford for this to sap away valuable time and effort from other ministry efforts. The key will be to keep things in their proper places.

If you’ve gotten this far, you’re a wonderful person!

The real reason I decided to write was not to talk about blogging, but about Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s no-note responses to Senate questioning. It was beautiful.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, when you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything. In other words, when you always tell the truth you don’t have to remember the lie you told last week, last month, or ten minutes ago.

The thing about Judge Barrett’s testimony was that she didn’t use any notes!

Judge Amy Coney Barrett

She literally sat there for hours answering question after question about her past, past court cases she adjudicated, and even other cases with which the Democrats tried to make her trip. Yet, with no notes, she answered their questions with calm poise and grace.

When questions came up about her oath of office, she did bristle a little. In her lengthy testimony she made it clear on multiple occasions that she had NEVER broken her oath and she NEVER would. I believe her! And I believe it is precisely because she had kept her oath and done nothing crooked as a judge that she could sit there with a sense of peace and serenity that few of the senators even came close to having.

She didn’t have notes because she was smart enough to remember. But she also didn’t have notes because she didn’t have to remember what she never did.

Oh, how sweet it would be if all of us could have the peace of a clear conscience.

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Filed under General Observations, politics

“Whatsoever Ye Do…”

If I’ve preached it once, I’ve preached it more than 7 times (I can’t preach the same sermon over and over): “Whatever gift or talent you have, it can be used for the Lord.”

I was told that not just Saturdays, but even on Wednesdays there are vendors at the local courthouse square selling their wares (mostly vegetables and stuff).

But evidently not today! It’s just me!

At least it’s not raining 😉

That’s OK! I’ve already got to talk with people, even if I haven’t sold anything. And what did I talk about most? Church, ministry, evangelism, etc. And one college-age girl wanted to know when our services started Sunday morning (she is looking for a congregation in which to fit)!

But here I am in a parking lot on a cool day without the sun burning me up. I’ve got plenty of coffee, a chair, my Bible, and a full charge on my iPhone. I’m blessed.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. – Colossians 3:17

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Filed under art, hobbies, ministry, Uncategorized

A Song That’ll Make You Shout

Just watch and listen.

If you’ve been more than a few steps with Jesus, you’ll understand.

Hallelujah!

Rhett Walker, I love ya, brother. Awesome song.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Christianity, Jesus, worship

What Were You Expecting, Shakespeare and Milton?

The … ummm … Debate?

I watched it, the first shouting and arguing match between to grown males. It wasn’t a “presidential” debate because there was little if nothing presidential about it.

But I sat through the whole thing. I sat through every interruption by Donald Trump and every name-calling response from Joe Robinette (that’s his middle name, if you didn’t know). And because I sat through the whole thing, like eating too many greasy hamburgers the night before, I woke up nauseated.

Winners & Losers

Simply put, there were no clear winners last night, except maybe the demonic forces whose leathery, flapping wings fanned the flames. POTUS was consistent  with his message and policies, never wavering on his mission; VP Biden was present and accounted for, maybe even on a little meth (just kidding).

Frankly, I can’t blame Trump for coming out of his corner like a bat out of hades (that’s a figure of speech because, as far as I’ve read, there are no bats in Hell). For the last four years he has had to put up with attack after attack after attack from the likes of Biden, and so the one made famous for saying “You’re fired!” fired salvo after salvo at the USS Sleepy.

But as for “Come’on, man!” Biden, the bar had been set so low for him that just being able to complete a sentence after an hour was a shock to Republicans and Democrats alike. No one I spoke with thought Biden would be able to survive 3 minutes in the ring with Trump. Yet, even after multiple haymakers to the jaw, Biden was still standing at the end and it was Trump who was flustered.

However, the real losers were the two parties, the American people, and every parent who’s tried to instill in their children a sense of decorum and grace under pressure.

The Lesson

Sure, I suppose there are many lessons we could learn from last nights fiasco. Once could be: Never ask Chris Wallace to babysit your pit bulls. Another might be: What did you expect? Shakespeare? Milton? This was Reality Trump and Plagiarizing Biden.

But the big lesson is one that every voter should remember, especially since last night exposed the raw humanity of these two men can be found in the following verse from Psalm 20:

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” – Psalm 20:7

Whether chariots or horses, elephants or jackasses (sorry, donkeys), only God can get us out of the mess we are in right now. 

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Filed under America, current events, politics, voting

Just Return; He’s Looking for You!

This afternoon I did a live video on Facebook.

I normally do one, a short “Encouragement Time,” every weekday around 2pm.

The subject of today’s video was that of the prodigal son in Luke 15.


You know, I’m not perfect. Are you? Do you ever do things you’re ashamed of?

Do you ever sin? I do. I know perfectly well what it’s like to wonder whether God even wants to hear you confess and repent. I mean, really, hasn’t He heard it all before?

But the story Jesus tells of the Prodigal is one that displays the wondrous love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness of the Father. Yes, the story is really more about Him than the wayward, muddy, starving son.

When the young man reached his lowest point, there in a hog lot, starving and alone, he remembered the goodness of his father.

When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers.'” – Luke 15:17-19 CSB

Because he had already spent his inheritance (he thought), and since he had treated his own father like he was dead, there was no reason to expect a “Welcome home!” However, he knew his father’s slaves had it better than what he had – which was nothing and no one. He’d have to take his chances.

So, when the broken and filthy young man returns, the reception he receives is more than he could have ever hoped for. Already looking for him, the father spots his son on the horizon and runs to him! No doubt expecting the worst, the son falls on his face and attempts to make the case for indentured servitude. Maybe this would keep his father from killing him outright.

Humble, prostrate in the dirt, not even looking up to see the tears in his father’s eyes, he expects – or rather hopes for – the customary foot upon his neck, the accepted symbol of becoming a slave. But, instead…

…the feeling of a bristly beard upon his ear…

…an arm on his back…

…a rough palm cradling the other side of his head…

…and tear-drenched kisses?? Not the sole of a sandal? KISSES! Yes, kisses on his neck!

More joyful to receive his son back home than determined to reclaim his honor, the exuberant father drowns out the pitiful son’s pleas and cries out, “My son has come home!”

Instead of putting his foot on the boy’s neck, the father had humbled himself and descended to the place where his lowly child lay in the dirt. Instead of justice, He showed mercy.

And then Amazing Grace called out for a party!

God is the Father. You and I are the Prodigal. No matter how far we’ve drifted or run, He is still looking and waiting.

Let’s go home.

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Filed under Bible Study, Christianity, Family, God, grace, Love of God, Relationships and Family

Help a Budding Artist Bloom Into a Tree

Remember how I told you in an earlier post that I had started painting? 

Well, I would LOVE for you to check out the new page (here on this blog) called, “Take Home My Art!”

When I started getting requests for prints, I had to go find a place that would make them. But now that I have, I want to share them with you!

However, just to make it easy for you on a Friday, I will go ahead and copy the page content to this post.

Have a blessed weekend!

-Anthony


Welcome to
“The Pastor’s Brush”

I want to make prints of my paintings available to everyone!
(and maybe make a few dollars)
Therefore, as they become available, I will offer them here for you to purchase.

UPDATE! FREE SHIPPING in the United States!

International purchases will require additional shipping (please contact me by email before purchasing): pastoracbaker@yahoo.com

NOTE: I do not make these prints; they are purchased from iprintfromhome.com. Their professional work is top-tier and will not disappoint.  Click here for a description of Giclee prints. If you want something that’s going to look like the real thing, this is what you want.

Pricing:

Larger and Smaller sizes available upon request (Larger prints cost more; smaller ones cost less)
Matting and framing are available at a reasonable additional cost (provide by L.H. Carter at Warthen Custom Frames)

8.5 x 11 Somerset Giclee Print…. $26
Semi-matte Photographic…. $13.50
9 x 12    Somerset Giclee Print…. $28
Semi-matte Photographic…. $15
12 x 18  Somerset Giclee Print…. $40.50
Semi-matte Photographic…. $20
8 x 8      Giclee Print…. $20

Warthen Lane, Warthen, GA. A typical middle-Georgia dirt road. (11″x15″ paper)

Available in your choice of print size and quality, but I’d recommend the larger Giclee print.

Mitchel Baptist Church, Mitchell, GA (original on 11 x 15 cold-pressed paper)

Available in your choice of print size and quality.

A reproduction of the 1953 baptistery painting that used to hang in Bethlehem Baptist Church, Warthen, GA. (original on 8 x 8 paper)

(A square painting) Available in multiple sizes and quality, but the photographic paper doesn’t look as good with this. I’d recommend the Somerset Giclee.

After the pine trees had been farmed in middle Georgia, not the Apocalypse. (9″x12″ canvas)

Available in multiple sizes of PAPER, even canvas!

There are multiple drawings, paintings, and photos of Bethlehem Baptist Church, but hardly anyone has focused on just the stained glass window in the front. The original painting is on 11 x 15 cold press paper.

 

This is a variation of the original stained glass window painting. Either one can be ordered in your choice of size and paper surface.

To Order:

For easy ordering, click on the PayPal link below and pay with a debit or credit card, or use your PayPal account.
Make sure to specify which painting, which size, and what type of paper in the “purpose” section.

Unless you want your print signed (LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU PAY), all orders will be drop-shipped from the printer and should arrive within a few days 🙂

PLEASE let me know if you have any questions.
My email is PastorACBaker@yahoo.com. You can even call me at (423) 645-8884.

Thank you!

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Filed under art

Did Death Come Calling? Start Deleting

This is probably going to be the most morbid thing I’ve written in a while, but people expect the unexpected from my writing.

When was the last time you scrolled through the contacts on your cell phone in search of a name, then all of a sudden stumbled across a person’s name who died years ago? To be honest, every time I look for someone in my contact list it happens.

But why are those names and phone numbers still in our phones? Why is it, if you’re anything like me, we find it hard to delete them?

Honestly, what do you need a phone number for if the person is dead? Have you given any thought to what might happen should someone get that number and accidently call you while your either driving or alone in a dark room at night? All of a sudden the face of a dead friend pops up on your screen as that special ring tone blares out, “Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah staying alive, staying alive!”

So, here’s a challenge that I’m going to make for all of us: If death came calling, and they answered, delete their number.

But when you do, how about let me know in the comments how many names you wound up deleting!

Creepy, isn’t it?

Update: I found 16 names. I can only bring myself to delete a few. I think, for me, it’s that I don’t want to forget.

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Filed under community, General Observations

Good Intentions Don’t Trump Obedience

Good Sunday evening, everybody! Wow! What a day it has been!

I know, when you come to a blog, you expect to read something, right? I know I do. I mean, if I wanted to watch a video I’d log onto YouTube.

But the message that God gave me to preach this morning was a powerful one. I take no credit, for I was fearful of what to say just minutes before the preaching began.

You see, when I wan in Memphis this last week, a passage of Scripture was mentioned, and that was 1 Samuel chapter 15. Only one verse was talked about, but it was at that moment that the Holy Spirit seemed to nudge me, like He was saying, “Preach from this on Sunday.”

It was only when I started reading through the chapter, a familiar one at that, that I began to feel the heartache that Samuel must have felt. I began to see King Saul and the people of Israel in the faces of congregants to which I’ve ministered over the years. The overwhelming tragedy of the story of Saul and his disobedience began to bleed from the pages.

Before long, I took pen to paper and wrote out a simple outline from which I preached this morning.

“When Meaning Well Doesn’t Cut It”

When we do not fully obey God’s commands, we….

I. Delay Justice

II. Display Disregard

III. Deprive Blessings

IV. Deny Reality

V. Distress Those Who Care

Would you please take a few moments and watch the video below? Yes, I know, it’s longer than the typical YouTube videos we all get used to – or is it just me? But without any editing, without even wasting time uploading it to YouTube, what you have here is the whole morning service as seen on Facebook Live.

The sermon starts at around the 15:30 mark.

I’d love your feedback, especially if God spoke to you in some way.

(Please forgive the video quality)

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Christianity, Preaching, worship