Author Archives: Anthony Baker

About Anthony Baker

Husband, dad, pastor/preacher/teacher, musician, and Time Magazine's Person of The Year in 2006 (no joke!). Loves coffee (big time), good movies, and sarcastic humor. Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry. Most importantly, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. All glory belongs to Him!

From a Suggested Reading: The Need to See Scars

As I was sitting here in my study and reading a book that a church member gave me, I came across something I had to share…because I totally agree.

In his book Take the Dimness of My Soul Away, William A Ritter shares several sermons he delivered over the years following the suicide of his son. At the beginning of the third chapter entitled “Making It,” Ritter wrote something that mirrors my own philosophy of pastoral ministry.

When I read it just a couple of minutes ago, I knew I had to share it with you.

“We who follow Jesus need not hide our hurts. Not all wounds need covering. Even in the pulpit. Especially in the pulpit. People need to know that even preachers have been through some wars and accumulated some scars. But they also need to know where and how healing is taking place.” p. 38

I hope you’ve realized I’m not perfect.

I hope you’ve realized I have scars.

But please know that Jesus is the Hope through which healing and thriving is possible. 

 

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Filed under Christianity, grace, ministry, Struggles and Trials

What All Scripture Can Do

In preparation for an upcoming sermon from Jeremiah 38, I went back to the following verse for focus and direction:

2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (teaching, instruction), for reproof (a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested, conviction), for correction (a straightening up again), for instruction in righteousness (how to live right before God). [emphasis mine]

Whenever you are stumped, whenever you find yourself wondering “what is this passage telling me?”, understand that God does not lie, and ALL Scripture, properly exegeted, should be able to offer the following 4 things:

1. Doctrine. Simply put, there is something teachable from every passage of Scripture, even though sometimes the lesson might be difficult to determine.

2. Reproof. On what do you base your convictions? The Bible is what you use as the standard against which all things are tested. It is also what you fall back on when “proof” is what you need.

3. Correction. Too often the Bible is used as a tool with which to beat people over the head. As a “recovering legalist,” you might imagine that is not what I’m about. No, the word correction in this verse is a word that means “restoration to an upright or a right state; correction, improvement” (Strong’s). Some verses may be good for use as a “rod of correction,” but not all. However, ALL Scripture is profitable for instruction in putting someone upright. In other words, there is hope in every passage. 

4. Instruction in Righteousness. Jeremiah 38 is a tragic story, but there are strong lessons to learn. There are lessons of bravery and compassion; lessons of hope in the midst of the most dire circumstances; and most of all, the lesson that we should listen to and obey God rather than rebel against His commands. Instruction in righteousness means, if nothing else, that all Scripture can teach us how to live right with God in a world that hates Him.

Whether you are preparing a sermon or just doing your daily Bible reading, use 2 Timothy 3:16 as a guide to help you understand what God is saying. With the help of the Holy Spirit learn, develop strong conviction, be encouraged and directed, and find guidance for the path ahead.

Sufficient is His Word.

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Filed under Bible Study

Knowledge Looks Good On You

The first entry for Proverbial Thought was published on April 1st, 2012. It took 2 years, writing every day, to go through the whole book of Proverbs. However, due to various reasons, a few posts were missed. Even worse, several have been lost in the black hole of the digital universe. But today – yes, today! – I wrote a brand new commentary to fill in the space left by an entry that went missing.

I hope you find it to be a blessing.

Proverbial Thought (& More)

Proverbs 14:18

“The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.”

Making a Deal

When I was young, there was a very popular game show on television called Let’s Make a Deal. One of the most popular aspects of that show was the opportunity given to contestants to choose their prize. They could choose between what they were initially given, or take a risk and exchange it for something else…usually behind “curtain number 1.”

More often than not, the contestants would choose to take the risk – and it was a risk – and surrender what was in hand (even though they may have not know what that was, either) for whatever was hidden behind one of several curtains.

And, more often than not, as far as I can remember, the contestants usually ended up with something pretty silly, like a lifetime supply of toothpicks. On the…

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Wherever the Good News is spoken …

Learning From God's Word

“Wherever the Good News is spoken in the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her” (Mark 14:9).
The Good News tells us about Christ’s love for us. It tells us about what Christ has done for us. It also calls for our response to His love, our response to what he has done for us.

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Anthony’s Appetite (Big Bob’s Bar-B-Q)

The following post was written a few years ago. But since I’ve recently been searching for good BBQ, I thought I’d repost this to lend some context. I know what I like 😉

Bar-B-Q

I may have known in the past, but I have forgotten what Bar-B-Q stands for. I don’t know why it is spelled that way, or why other people spell it BBQ. Some people spell it out as Barbecue, but it’s all the same – good eat’n!

If you don’t know what BBQ is, then you may not be from the South…or West…or East…or anywhere animals are smoked and cooked and eaten with coleslaw and banana pudding. One thing’s for sure, if you have never eaten BBQ, you may not be American.

Decatur, Alabama

Not long ago we went to Decatur, Alabama, which is just a few miles southwest of Huntsville, the place with space and rocket museum. Decatur is also the home of Cooks Pest Control.

Back in the mid-90’s I worked for Cooks in Chattanooga, but had to train in Decatur for a month. While at the home office’s training facility, we were encouraged to go to Big Bob’s Bar-B-Q. We were told it was required of us, in order to be good employees, to eat one of Big Bob’s stuffed baked potatoes. We did, and I never forgot it.

That is why when I visited Decatur this time with my family, it was imperative that we go back and eat another potato. You, the reader, needed to hear about it.

Big Spud

Let me tell you, if you want to eat the best Bar-B-Q in the world, Big Bob’s is out to convince you theirs is it. If nothing else, they have the awards and the big-time recognition to back up their claims. But whether or not their BBQ is the best, they have a serious stuffed potato.

This huge potato comes with your choice of pulled pork, beef brisket, or chicken. Under that is cheese, sour cream, butter, and a few other goodies. Believe me, it is a meal and a half. Just don’t eat it if you are on a carb-free diet.

Overall

I won’t say that Big Bob’s is the best BBQ in the world, but it is pretty dang good. And if you want a potato that will hold a quarter of a pig, then Big Bob’s is a place you need to try at least once. You won’t regret it.

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Filed under Food, places

Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: the Gnat Line

GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Gnats

I had never heard of such things growing up in Tennessee. And when living in Kentucky, there was nothing like it in the blue grass. But down here in middle Georgia there are these critters called eye gnats, or simply “gnats.”

You see, where we are is where the soil is just right for a particular kind of pest that will quite near make a non-native preacher cuss. These things will fly (no disrespect intended) into your eyes, your nose, your ears, and even your mouth. They’re dreadfully-annoying flying flecks of near demonic frustration.

But however annoying these little critters can be (and one just flew by my computer screen), at least they are not flies. Annoying is one thing, but at lest they’re not disgusting and deadly.

Believe it or not, the average fly is much worse than a hundred of these ear-buzzing hellions.

Flies

I don’t want to gross you out with all the stuff that flies do, but I could.

The worst part is that in order to eat they have to regurgitate stomach acid onto their food source (your food), dissolve it, then suck it back up. In the process, whatever was left in the gut of the fly from its last meal (road-kill or doggie poop) just got puked onto your burger or ice cream.

Now THAT is DISGUSTING!

Because flies are so nasty, annoying, and ever-present, the writer of Ecclesiastes chose to use them (not gnats) in an illustration. He said,

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: [so doth] a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom [and] honor (Ecclesiastes 10:1).

What does that mean?

Well, an apothecary was someone who made perfume, or a medicinal ointment. Some of these ointments could take a long time to create, not to mention use a lot of costly ingredients in the making. If left uncovered, the sweet smell would attract flies. Only one fly landing in the ointment could cause it to spoil and create a foul odor.

Losing its beautiful smell, the ointment was no longer capable of doing what it was designed to do.

Like the ointment of the perfume maker, our reputations (testimonies) are hard to come by, but easy to ruin. All it takes is just one little mistake, misstep, or sin to cause a big stink. So, watch out for the little sins that can ruin your hard-earned reputation.

Keep the lids on and the screens closed.

“The Fly Song” (Dead Flies)

A few years ago, in a moment of creativity, I stayed up late one night putting a song together on my 8-track Tascam. A while later, my friend (Roy Cavender) came and laid down the lead guitar track.

I’m going to let you listen to it, but you need an open mind and a sense of humor. Maybe one day I will have the time and money to take it to the studio and do it up right, along with some other works recorded late at night when I should have been asleep.

Click the link below to listen! Then, by all means, be thankful if all you have buzzing around are middle-Georgia gnats 🙂

Dead Flies

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, Life Lessons, Uncategorized

Is Faith an Irresistible Gift?

For your consideration…a fresh new video from Soteriology101.com

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Filed under Faith, salvation, Theology