Author Archives: Anthony Baker

About Anthony Baker

Husband, dad, pastor, artist, and musician. Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2006 (no joke!). Loves coffee (big time), good movies, and sarcastic humor. Holds a Doctorate in Ministry. Most importantly, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. All glory belongs to Him! Matthew 5:16

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!).

2 Comments

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰

8 Comments

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).

8 Comments

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? πŸ™‚

John 3:16

Leave a comment

Filed under watches

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?

Leave a comment

Filed under art

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 πŸ˜‰

Please pray for those who are sick.

Please pray for the poor souls in Afghanistan.

Leave a comment

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

“I Don’t Like Joe!”

There were words that were sent to me just a few minutes ago from a weeping pastor in Pakistan. In Messenger he wrote, “I’m beyond mad at Biden and his administration.”

He then wrote, “I don’t like Joe!

“Me either!” was my reply.

Video was sent to me of people desperately trying to flee Afghanistan now that the Taliban has gained control of the capital. There is video of families pausing in the street amidst the rushing crowd to huddle and cry, pray, or whatever.

“Look what the Mr. JOE administration did to those poor people!” exclaimed my friend.

I don’t think anyone in that area is happy with Joe.

This is worse than our leaving Vietnam in 1973. This is betrayal in the highest order!

How many Americans, not to mention our allies, died or were permanently wounded since we went in to fight the Taliban 20 years ago? And now, after all this time, we leave and hand it right back to them??? After all we fought to accomplish, we walk away and allow these murderous thugs to brutalize a nation, especially women and children?

For WHAT??

And now the word is that the Taliban is threatening the borders of Pakistan. The Russians just conducted drills at the Afghan border with supersonic bombers and MIG 29’s.

Let the record show, this did not happen under Orange Man’s watch; it happened while “sleepy Joe” was having a delusional moment and avoiding all advice to stay.

I guess now what we will hear from the news media is that Joe Biden and his administration presided over a peaceful transition of government in Afghanistan……and there’s no crisis, I suppose, correct?

I don’t like you, Joe. Not one bit.

There’s hot, sticky, mingled-with-tears blood on your decrepit, senile hands!

2 Comments

Filed under current events

A Popular Painting: Doolittle Pond

You know, it was just a year ago that I started painting in earnest. Up until then I only drew stuff for fun, other than when I illustrated the stories in my school bus book.

However, a recent painting I completed for a client (a commissioned work) has stirred a lot of response. On one Facebook page it’s garnered over 2,100 likes and 631 comments! It is a painting of an actual pond in Sandersville, Georgia, called Doolittle Pond. If you Google it you will find it on just about any Georgia map.

The painting is of the south side of the pond where a couple of old structures dating back to the 1800’s still stand. The actual property is a little more wooded and shady, but he wanted me to “clean up” the view so that the buildings could be seen clearly.

Instead of the cold-pressed paper I usually use for watercolor or Gouache, I went with a 12’x24″ stretched canvas made for watercolor. I am glad I did because the pond – the water part – was a real challenge! I had to “erase” it and redo it 3 times before I was happy!!

Needless to say, I put FAR more hours into this than I planned. The agreed price doesn’t even come close to what it’s worth, really. The owner is getting a steal of a deal πŸ˜‰

But if you like it, you can contact me via email (pastoracbaker@yahoo.com) and I can provide options and pricing for prints. You can also follow me on Facebook at @AnthonyCBakerArt and/or my website (under development) WallHoleCoverings.com.

AND, if you’d like for me to paint something for you, I’m always willing to negotiate – especially for a watch πŸ™‚

“Doolittle Pond” 12×24″ Watercolor & Gouache on stretched canvas

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. – Matt. 5:16

Leave a comment

Filed under art, hobbies, nature, places

It’s a Sad, Sad Day for Afghanistan…and the Whole Region

Let’s get straight to the point without worrying about font size, layout, or pictures.

I think it’s a sad, sad day for the people of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it seems the sorrow is only going to deepen and spread thanks to the IDIOTIC and FOOLHARDY announcement that our soldiers are going to leave, and when.

What are we doing? Are we wanting a THIRD conflict? Do we need to bring this one to an end so that the current administration can get their street cred for declaring their own moral outrage?

I can’t help but think of all the blood that has been pour out and splattered across the sands. What a waste! A WASTE! What will have been gained? What will have been accomplished, especially if the Taliban goes right back to their old ways of hardline Sharia law and befriending those who want to bring Western Civilization to its knees?

As I watch the whole country succumb to the Taliban, I can’t help but wonder why and how? Not only why would we let this happen, but how on earth are they still capable of regaining so much so quickly?

Whatever the case, the re-implementation of radical Islamic rule will bring uncertainty and instability to the whole region – again. And what I fear is that neighboring places like Pakistan will find themselves having to deal with increased threats, more emboldened radicalism, and the inevitable loss of innocent life.

Because who’s gonna stop them?

6 Comments

Filed under America, Countries, current events, politics

Wednesday Watch Day! Vintage Vostok

Vostok or Bostock?

Spellcheck is having a difficult time with this one. For some reason it thinks I want to talk about a fancy kind of French toast, not a Russian-made watch.

Then there’s all that Russian alphabet craziness that makes things even more confusing – the English transliteration is “Boctok.” It’s pronounced “Vostok,” even if you spell it as Vostoc or Vostock.

Anyhoo…

Welcome to the first weekly instalment I’m calling “Wednesday Watch Day!” where I will dedicate each post to a watch that is currently in my personal collection.

The Komandirskie

What was that? Oh, that’s another Russian word. It means “Commander.” And it’s my vintage Vostok Komandirskie that will be the focus of today’s post.

Why this watch? Well, this is not the oldest watch I own, but it is the watch which I’ve owned the longest (30 years!). It’s also the watch that I bought in the most unusual place.

Back in August of 1991, while on a mission trip to the newly-opened Romania, I spent a few days in Budapest, Hungary. Budapest is divided by the Danube River, and the beautiful SzΓ©chenyi Chain Bridge, which spans from Buda to Pest, is where I picked up this piece.

See the source image
If you look to the far end on the right, there is a lion, right above the bow of the riverboat. That’s where I bought my watch.

I had already spent half the day walking all over town, but then I came to the bridge. No more than 100 feet across I was stopped by a guy that reminded me of the men in movies with long trench coats. He asked, “Buy a watch?” Well, I think that’s what he asked. I mean, he offered me this cool-looking watch with a Russian star on it and seemed to want my money in exchange.

Honestly, by the time this moment had rolled around, I was looking for anything at all that I could take back as a souvenir. I had no idea if what I was buying was legit, overpriced, or a great deal. All I know was that I paid around 25 dollars for this watch, which was more than likely what they were going for new at the time, at least over there. But you can pick a new one up these days for literally less than $50.

Memories

I have a very eclectic collection of watches. None were purchased as investments, and only a few have any real resale value. The fact is that most all the watches in my collection hold sentimental value or are attached to some story in my life. That’s why this watch is one of the most important ones.

When I bought this watch back in 1991, I had just about concluded a month-long trip to eastern Europe during which I rode an overnight train through Transylvania, saw Roman ruins, gave out hundreds of Bibles to people who hadn’t seen one in 70 years, and led nearly 80 people to Christ! Every time I wear this watch I remember those days.

Specs

So, let’s finish up with a few important details. First off, Vostok is a Russian watchmaker that in 1965 was contracted by the Soviet government to create and supply watches to the military. The Kamandirskie was the first model developed and is still be manufactured with very little changes. It is a simple, manually wound tank of a watch that mirrors the non-complexity of the typical Russian weapon. It ain’t fancy, but it works – and will keep working.

  • Case diameter: 39.8mm
  • Thickness: 11.5mm
  • Lug width: 18mm
  • Lug-to-lug: 40.8mm
  • Screw down crown
  • Screw down case back
  • Stainless steel case
  • Omni-directional, friction based bezel
  • Plexiglass crystal
  • 17-jewel manually wound movement

So, that’s it for this week. Next week we will look at my next-oldest watch, one my wife bought for me πŸ™‚

Leave a comment

Filed under Wednesday Watch Day!