Some Things I Will Remember

Twenty years have come and gone, and many have already forgotten what happened on September 11, 2001. Tragically, much of a whole generations has never been told.

But I won’t forget.

Not only will I not forget, I will choose to remember.

I will remember…

  • that freedom isn’t free, and there are those who want to steal it.
  • that Christ came “to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;” therefore America is never more “Christ-like” than when its people shed their blood for the freedom of others, whether they love us, or not.
  • that it wasn’t secularists, militarists, or a bunch of Baptist preachers who crashed four aircraft on that day, killing thousands.
  • the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople – they weren’t converted to Islam through peaceful conversion.
  • who is considered the “Great Satan” and what countries are truly religiously intolerant.
  • the heroes who went back into those buildings to rescue anyone they could.
  • the heroes who fought back and said, “Let’s roll!”
  • the heroes who go into harm’s way for freedom every day.
  • that America was founded by men who knew God; who recognized the hand of Providence; and who knew when to bow a knee and call to God for deliverance.
  • that we (and all freedom-loving people) are in a life-and-death struggle between opposing worldviews – a war. Losing can’t be an option.

I will also choose to remember, and not forget, that America, no matter its current faults and flaws, is made up of a people, who, when push comes to shove, will take the fight for freedom anywhere in the world. We will also defend it. That’s who we are.

Or are we? I’m beginning to wonder.

Now the flag is an offense and the Anthem alone is insufficient.

I won’t forget that, either.

God Save America! We’re Beyond Blessed.

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Filed under America, Culture Wars, the future, World View

A Sermon Not Preached Enough

Truth be told, I’m probably setting myself up for a firestorm of hateful comments and threats with the video I’m about to share. I’m tempted not to.

But then what would that make me?

Then again, with a much smaller number of readers than I had a year or two ago, it’s likely that the video I post will only be seen by a few, and most of them (maybe even you) will not watch or listen to all of it.

So, is it worth it? Is it worth sharing?

Of course it is! If it convicts one person . . . If it reaches one heart . . . If it only causes one person to stop for a minute and consider the truth of Scripture . . . then it was worth it.

Then again, it’s not my job to decide the value of a blog post, or even a sermon. My job is to be faithful to the call to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to exposit the Word of God so that others may come to the knowledge of the Truth.

Preached Sunday evening, September 5, 2021, at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Warthen, GA. Dr. Anthony Baker, Pastor.

There are not a lot of people these days using Romans chapter one to describe America and the culture in which we live. No, they are too afraid of the WOKE police and social media censors, not to mention the protestors who scream and threaten as they label Christians as the hateful and bigoted ones.

Too many pastors are afraid of offending, of burning bridges, of losing whatever numbers we have left.

But if we can’t preach the truth, preacher and pastors, we need to just call it quits and go home. I’m sure that we are not too far away from what God spoke through the Prophet Micah:

“I wish one of you would shut the temple doors, so you would no longer kindle a useless fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of Hosts, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/Malachi/1/10

And if, after listening to the above sermon, you think I’m going overboard on the “sex” thing, just a few minutes ago, right before I linked the above video to this post, my wife sent me a story in Messenger.

https://newschannel9.com/news/local/chattanooga-man-among-18-charged-in-tennessee-human-trafficking-operation?fbclid=IwAR3JvOaShXlS4LRRxvEHGbw-lyPayhazJ_OdTWNLPZiBUBJTRlYxzETmhPY

What’s this world coming to?

Read Romans 1.

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Filed under America, Bethlehem Baptist Church, current events, Defining Marriage, Preaching

It’s Labor Day, But I Won’t Be Legalistic About It

Let the Arguing Commence!

Today is Labor Day , and it won’t be long before every other holiday will be upon us.  Along with their arrival, there will come all sorts of arguments for and against observing them. Some arguments will make more sense than others, but lurking around every corner is the temptation to be legalistic.  

How is that possible? Just accuse somebody else of being “worldly” or less spiritual for celebrating one of these special days and you will have succeeded brilliantly!  Hey, you wouldn’t be the first; they did it in the Bible.

Nothing Wrong with Debate

Most people have never considered the roots of Labor Day, so the thought of whether or not to celebrate it has probably never crossed their minds. If you are one of those people, let me bring you up to speed.

Labor Day is a holiday that was founded by the unions, which in turn were founded by those with “collective” and “progressive” ideologies.  From a purely ideological perspective, this holiday is one in which the worker is supposed to feel free to flip a relaxed finger in the face of evil, greedy, imperialistic corporations and fat rich people and say, “This is my day! No profit for you!”  

Essentially, our Labor Day was designed to be a watered-down version of International Workers Day (the Communist May Day holiday).  Is there anything wrong with standing up for the rights of workers?  Absolutely not! However, is there reason to evaluate the intent of some who would move our nation down the path of socialism (aka, AOC and her gang)? You betcha! 

Just Trying to Help

However, I didn’t come here to bash Labor Day. I just don’t want us to be legalistic about it. 

You see, there are other days approaching that can lead many to cringe.  Sour-faced legalists and religious hard-liners will find a reason to complain about Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Easter. But a lot of others will use the holidays to be with family, give thanks to God, and celebrate Jesus’ birthday (even if it wasn’t in December).  

The legalists should keep in mind Paul’s words to the Romans:

Romans 14:5-6  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Not Gonna Waste It

Look, I am taking advantage of this holiday, whether I am for the idea behind it or not.  Why?  Well, why not? I’m not going to celebrate socialism, but this a great time to celebrate the average Joe or Joline who actually goes to work!

And, I’ve already saved a lot of money on paint! Call it what you will, but 48% off is still 48% off! Know what I mean?

Most hard-working Americans are good people who could use a little extra time for grilling burgers with friends and family. So, regardless what the Communists (including BLM and Antifa) may have in mind, I am going to celebrate America and the average guy who worked his rear off to make this country great.

But Halloween is still up for debate 😉

God Bless America!



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Filed under America, History, legalism, Work

It’s Hard to Write when Your Friend Dies

It’s nearly 10pm on a Saturday night, and I’m a pastor who has no energy for anything right now, especially to write. But this afternoon a friend died, and I have to write something.

Dr. David Self, the Associational Missionary for the Washington Baptist Association (Georgia), knows now what his faith was for – he sees what has been made sight.

Honestly, I have known others who’ve died after contracting COVID, but David was the first one who was a personal friend. I’m having a difficult time with it.

Oh, there are so, so many more people in this part of Georgia that are far more devastated by this loss than me. My loss is nothing like that of his wife, Kathy, or the rest of his family. It sure shook my world when my own father died, and I saw how it affected my mother and sister. So, I know this is harder for them than for me.

But if one thing remains, it’s my faith. The same faith the David Self had. The same that his family has, as evidenced by the Facebook post from his daughter, Kelly Self Carter.

My favorite hymn is “The Solid Rock.” To paraphrase the lyrics, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, not the recovery of health to those for which we desperately pray.

Before I learned of David’s passing, I had called for a gathering of folk to pray for him in the parking lot of our Associational Office. But before 10 minutes had passed after putting out the call on Facebook and over texts, I was told he died. He may have already been gone when I sent out the first message. But I went, anyway.

As I told another pastor, “Even if God didn’t heal David, He’s still worthy to be praised!” If it were not for the Lord, prayer would be useless and death would be inevitable. But it’s not! There is hope, and not only in this life, but when this life is over – because it will be, one day, COVID or not.

Consider the words of Job after he had lost everything but his life and his grieving wife…

Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Job 1:21

Would David had died anyway, despite our prayers? That’s not for me to say, but it was always right to pray. Just read what King David said after losing the first child he had with Bathsheba…

He answered, “While the baby was alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let him live.'”

2 Samuel 12:22 CSB

We don’t know what God is doing, for His ways are higher than ours, and so are His thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). Therefore, being commanded to pray for each other, we pray – and we trust the One to whom we pray.

And what perfect timing! As if God wanted me to affirm the truthfulness of the previous sentence, I just got THIS from a friend on Facebook Messenger…

Please take a moment to thank your sweet church folks for all the prayers for my Cody when he was so sick from covid. He was able to come by our house for a little bit today and I was FINALLY able to hug my son!!! I thought I was possibly going to lose my boy… but sweet Christian people, who don’t even know us, prayed for God to intervene and heal him. Today I received the hug I wasn’t sure I ever would have again. ❤️

Rhonda Altum Barnette

We are all going to miss Dr. David Self. However, “we do not sorrow as those who have no hope,” for the hope that David had is the same that we have – that I have – and that’s in Jesus Christ. Our day will come, COVID or not, and on that day our faith will be made sight, as David Self is experiencing this moment.

Please go to church somewhere in the morning.

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They Stabbed Me 3 Times While I Slept

Yes, I was stabbed three times in my sleep this past Friday morning. And if you count the 3 IV’s I got on top of everything else, then I was stabbed a total of 6 times!

Now, I assume you get the joke, right? I WAS stabbed in my sleep, but it was with robotic tools meant to save my life, not take it. I went under the knife and laparoscopic surgery to remove a 3-inch tumor in my chest, and, thank God, I survived.

But I’ve got some really good news to share! What they removed when they took out my thymus gland was NOT a tumor, but a large cyst! Yay!

Sure, a 3-inch cyst pressing against your aorta isn’t exactly a wonderful thing, so it still needed to come out. However, a cyst is much less likely than a tumor to come back from testing as cancerous. I know a whole lot of people all over the world were praying for me, and I am very grateful.

Yet, it really is amazing when I look at my reflection in the mirror – they really messed me up! I mean, really, there are 3 major wounds in my side, How a person can have all that done to him and survive will always be amazing to me. I’ve just got to take it easy and not overdo things while I’m at home recovering.

The only thing I’m really dealing with is a heck of a lot of pain in my left side, everything from the searing jabs where nerves are reconnecting, to muscles around my ribs cramping when it’s already painful enough to take a deep breath.

And then there’s the itching and burning! Why, with all the technology available to them these days, did they have to shave my body?

Well, tomorrow I will share a new watch story. Until then, again, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I am unworthy, but I appreciate the grace. My wife sends thanks, also (and I’m more than thankful for her!).

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Filed under Christianity, Struggles and Trials, worship

Wednesday Watch Day! The Next Best Thing

A Guy’s Gotta Dream

Welcome to another episode of Wednesday Watch Day. I hope you are enjoying these weekly trips into my personal horological world. However, my best assumption is that you’ve almost got to be a watch nerd to read past this sentence 😉

Anyway, are there things in your life that you wish you could have, but reality has whispered in your ear, “Get real”? I’m that way with a particular brand of watch – Tudor.

See the source image
Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41 (Retail: $3,050)

And when it comes to Tudor watches, there are three that I sometimes daydream about. One of those is the Heritage Black Bay 41 with a black dial (I’ll tell you about the other two, later).

Now, I don’t want to go on and on about the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41, but some details may help lend perspective. This particular watch is 41mm in diameter, made of stainless steel, and has a scratchproof sapphire crystal. It also has a screw down crown at the 3 o’clock position, a screw down solid case back, and has a water resistant rating of 150 meters (500ft.).

Inside the Tudor is the caliber 2824 movement (based on the Swiss-made ETA 2824) which has 25 jewels and bits at 28,800 vph (vibrations per hour). Besides being very accurate for a mechanical watch, this smooth movement give Tudor an approximate 38-hour power reserve.

Reality Ain’t So Bad!

Here’s the reality: unless I become a famous painter, author, or pastor of a church with a big, golden globe rotating behind me when I preach, I’ll be saving a long, long time for a Tudor.

However, just because I can’t afford a Black Bay 41, that doesn’t meant I can’t have the next best thing, a Seiko SRPE55!

Seiko SRPE55 ($200 – $300)

Honestly, I love my Seiko and wear it more than any other watch in my collection. To be specific (because I have an app on my phone that track all this stuff), my SRPE55 has a wear rate of 12.5%, compared to the next-most-worn watch at only at 7.5%!

And why shouldn’t I love it? I mean, look, if you didn’t know anything about watches, a quick glance at both would make one question the huge price difference. They look very similar and the Seiko even has a day/date complication and a longer (41 hour) power reserve!

My watch on a page from a Tudor catalogue. Left-Right: Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41; Seiko SRPE55; Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 (all to scale)

Look, there are real, honest-to-goodness reasons why Tudors cost 10 times the amount of a Seiko (although you can pay over $5 grand for some Seiko’s). The 4R36 movement in the SRPE55 has 24 jewels and operates at 21,600 beats an hour, but it’s not as smooth at the Tudor. Neither is the water resistance rating of 100 meters as good, partly due to the push/pull crown.

But that’s not all the differences; the Seiko only has a “Hardlex” crystal, not sapphire, which is more prone to scratches. But the real differences go much deeper than a casual glance can see, and these differences are what demands a much higher premium for one and not the other.

However, the Seiko DOES have a pretty open case back 🙂

True Beauty

You know the old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

There’s another saying you may know. It goes like this: “True beauty is more than skin deep.”

But if true beauty is more than skin deep, and if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, who can actually see the true beauty?

I know Who! He’s even the One who invented time!

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the LORD sees, for humans see what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7 CSB, God speaking to Samuel regarding Eliab, one of David’s brothers

Samuel listened to God and didn’t choose the “next best” option. Looks weren’t everything.

But I think the Lord would still prefer me stick with what I’ve got 😉

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Filed under watches, Wednesday Watch Day!

Is This the Beginning of the End?

“After the Harvest” by Anthony Baker

At some point, when the preponderance of evidence leans so heavily in one direction, you’ve got to call it for what it is. So, as I look around at all that’s going on in this world, I think I’ve come to the conclusion this is the beginning of the end.

What do I mean by the end?

For as long as I can remember, at least as far back as the “turn or burn” movies of Estus Pirkle (d. 2005) and whole-Sunday-long prophecy services with Dr. Ed Vallowe (d. 2002), I’ve believed in the immanent return of Jesus Christ. To be more specific, I’ve always considered myself a pre-tribulationist and a pre-millennialist who believed, at least on paper, that the trumpet of the Lord could sound at any moment.

I’ve always believed that there would be a rapturing of the Church, a time of tribulation on Earth, and then the return of Jesus (the “second coming”) as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And I still do.

The only difference is that before it was something I said I believed, but I didn’t REALLY believe it so much that I got excited about it or talked about it much. Why is that?

Well, a lot of people have gone to bat in the game of end-time signs. Every time they come out swinging, it’s because of some new earthquake, some war, some evil politician or evil law. It’s always been something, and usually it’s always been something that was a symptom of the natural moral decline in the United States. In other words, it’s always been something, but always something that should have never been thought of as anything other than ordinary.

For example, this once-great nation we know as America is rapidly chasing after its own demise. Many look at our country and its unbelievably insane social and legal affirmations of things not even possible in Sodom and Gomorrah and conclude, “The end must be near.” But was the end near when Rome fell? Was the end near when Germany fell sway to the anti-Christ-like Adolf Hitler?

We’re Doomed

Let’s be honest, folks. America is doomed. Marxists are already marching in lockstep down every hallway in Washington, D.C. For crying out loud, the only thing separating the Pelosi’s and the Cortez’s from red-flag-waving Bolsheviks are the perks and pensions they would lose in a full-on revolution.

The majority of our government, all of our media, every BLM-like terrorist group (yes, I said it), nearly every center of education, and probably a majority of Americans under the age of 20 want nothing less than to replace Western culture (including the USA) with a godless, socialist Utopia.

Granted, most of Americans DO NOT think this way, but they are too afraid or too tired to speak out anymore.

Like I said, America is doomed. All we are waiting for is either a miraculous healing or for somebody to flip off the the life support.

But is the decline of this country the sole predictor of the proximity of the “end time”? No!

Just like the fall of every other empire or nation did not mean the return of Jesus was just around the corner. America could fall and float away like dust in the wind (I bet you can even hear the tune, can’t you?), but the end could still be a hundred years away.

Except . . . . .

Have you heard the term “COVID Clench“? What about “Operation Pandemic Plunder“?

No?

Well, that’s probably because I just coined those terms. However, pause for a short moment and consider how that governments around the globe, from local to national, are clenching on to every bit of power they can obtain and are literally stealing liberty from every citizen.

Just the other day New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the latest and greatest governmental twist of the arm, that proof of vaccination is “the key to NYC.” In other words, being vaccinated will be one’s “passport” to all the wonders available to them in the Big Apple. However, should one NOT be injected with the vaccine, there will be no access to restaurants, businesses, places of entertainment, public social events, etc.

Or, you could say that without the “mark” of a needle, there will be no buying or selling, etc., etc., etc. Sound familiar?

He required everyone–small and great, rich and poor, free and slave–to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.

Revelation 13:16-17 NLT

Is Mayor Bill de Blasio the Antichrist? No, of course not. That’s ridiculous. But what about that “mark”? Not so ridiculous of an idea as it might have seemed a few years ago, huh?

Isn’t this just another 1918?

102 years before COVID-19 was released upon the world, the flu killed millions of people around the globe. It came and went, and many people warned something like it would come again. It was just a matter of time.

2020 came along and with it came the Pandemic. So, just like nations rise and nations fall, diseases and viruses rise and fall. Therefore, this virus is no more of a reason to think the end is near than the flu of 1918.

Or is it?

What’s the difference between a naturally-occurring virus and one created in a lab? One eventually dies via herd immunity, while the other continually adapts and morphs into an ever-increasingly effective weapon that is always one step ahead of all defenses.

What nation can survive a destroyed economy? The inability to work, pay taxes, or feed oneself will destroy one’s faith in self, government, and even one’s god. Then, when no nation can support its infrastructure; when no nation can feed its people; when every nation cries out for effective leadership; when the world is desperate enough, one Leader will be able to take total control, especially if he’s gifted with the ability to literally bring healing.

Do you seriously think, just looking at how the new rounds of vaccine booster shots show no signs of ending, especially if the virus keeps mutating, that we are nearing an end to ever-increasing government control? That those with a blood-lust for power and control will let this pandemic go to waste?

And, do you think that those in charge are really capable of stopping something that was more than likely created as a weapon of gradual mass destruction?

It might not be tomorrow. It might not be next year. But if you want to know my opinion, I think it is entirely reasonable to assume, based on the preponderance of hard-to-explain-away coincidences and parallels with Biblical prophecy, that this is the beginning of the end.

What if I’m wrong? Does that make everything OK?

Umm, not really. There’s still a deadly virus out there that’s even killing fully-vaccinated individuals. That being said, the end of the world for YOU might be only one quarantine away.

Therefore, to paraphrase the prophet Amos, one way or another, prepare to meet thy God (Amos 4:12).

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Filed under coronavirus, current events, Future, Life/Death, the future

A True Classic – the Red Bezel Swiss Army

Welcome back to Wednesday Watch Day! Today I am going to share with you a true classic, but one that is more sentimental to me than practical. It’s my 1992-ish Swiss-Made Swiss Army field watch.

Say that three times fast! LOL

Second, But Better

Last week I told you about the watch I’ve had the longest, the Vostok Komanderskie (actually, this month makes 30 years!). But this week I am going to tell you about the second watch my wife ever purchased for me.

Back in 1992, not long after my wife and I were just dating, she wanted to buy me a new watch. Now, my memory isn’t the best, but I think she wanted to buy me a watch because she like me, or something like that.

Back in those days, back in Chattanooga, TN, there was a very respectable jewelry store called Rone Regency Jewelers. It was a locally-owned establishment with a stellar reputation for selling fine jewelry and watches, such as Rolex and Patek Phillipe. This is where my wife (girlfriend at the time) took me to shop.

Long story short, I found a watch that I considered to be a work of art and absolutely gorgeous, and it didn’t cost as much as a Rolex (which was only about $2,500 at that time). No, it was a beautiful Seiko Chronograph. It must have been a rare piece, because I’ve never since been able to find an example of it.

But the Seiko kept breaking! Literally, the second hand kept coming off inside the case! At one point they even accused me of doing something to it! That didn’t make me happy, of course. I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to take a watch apart.

So, eventually, the remedy was to exchange the Seiko Chronograph for something else. What did I pick? The relatively new Swiss Army field watch with the white face and red bezel, and it was really a stunner.

We took it home for only – only – $110. That would be about the equivalent of $200, today. We saved money over the Seiko, that’s for sure.

Nearly 30 years later and it’s NEVER broken!

A Duh Moment

Now, I just said that this watch never broke on me. That’s not 100% correct. To begin with, the strap finally fell apart and I had to replace it. That’s not a big deal. But the real problem was that the hard resin case might have been tough, but years of wear caused a spring pin to wear out one of the retaining holes. Therefore, the watch band would keep coming off.

So, what did I do? I took it back to the store where I originally purchased it (except at there fancy new location). Could they fix it? No. All they could do was tell me they could send it back to the manufacturer and receive a NOS case . . . for $250!!

Nope. Not gonna.

I was pretty sad at that point. What was I to do? That’s when my wife suggested something that made me feel like an idiot. She asked, “Why not use a bigger pin for the strap?”

Duh! It worked. Go figure.

Not My Type?

Fast forward to today. My wife and I will have been married 27 years, and she’s still, if not more, my type. But not the Swiss Army watch.

The problem with the watch is the size. These days I prefer a casual watch to be in the 40mm range (the width of the case). The Swiss Army is smaller than that at only 38.5mm. It really looks small on my 7.5 inch wrist.

Or does it?

Just yesterday a brand new strap I ordered, one like the original, came in the mail. Just for this post I decided to put it on and see how it felt. Lo and behold, it’s not as small as I remember! Maybe it had something to do with the small NATO strap I had on it?

It actually looks pretty good! Maybe it’s time to show it some long-overdue love.

I mean, really, it was love that bought it, right? 🙂

John 3:16

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My Art Story

Hey guys, I would like to share a new blog/website with you. It’s about my art.

It’s just in the beginning stages of developement, but here is a link to one page I just published. It tells the story of how I started painting and shows some early examples.

It’s amazing what can happen in a year, isn’t it?

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Sunday’s Sermons from the Back Porch

Good Monday morning! I pray you are doing well and are excited for what God has in store for us, today!

I know, it’s a Monday.

I know, there are a lot of sad things going on in the world.

But, you know what? We can still find encouragement in God’s Word! That is why I want to share with you the Facebook videos from yesterdays messages I preached from my back porch.

Why the back porch? Because we had cancelled in-person services last week because of COVID-19 cases. Hopefully we will be back together as a congregation this Sunday.

In the morning sermon I preached from Ephesians 1:3-7 and outlined 5 benefits that come with being “in Christ.”

In the evening video I continued our study into the the book of Romans. Good stuff. Really good stuff 😉

Please pray for those who are sick.

Please pray for the poor souls in Afghanistan.

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bible Study, Preaching, worship