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!

Where Was God? Where Are You?

The Phone Call

I will never forget the phone call my wife answered early that morning of January 16, 2006 – fourteen years ago today. It was the kind of phone call that scars you for the rest of your life, making every other call that comes in the middle of the night one you’re afraid to answer.

The phone rang, my wife answered, and all I could hear were screams coming from the receiver. What could finally be understood through the uncontrollable crying were words one’s brain has a hard time processing…”They’re dead!

It was a murder-suicide.

Hitting the Road

In just a few hours or less, my wife and I had left western Kentucky and were back in East Tennessee and our hometown (we broke a few speed limits). By the time we arrived the bodies were gone, but not the results of the shooting. It was a sight nothing on television or in the movies can adequately recreate. It was literally dumbfounding how much damage, how much carnage, could be unleashed by one person with just one .40 cal. handgun.

The walls, the ceiling, the floors, the floor on the level below, and even the garage below that – the effects were everywhere. Even the third floor of the massive home was not immune to the damage; that’s where I found a bullet lodged in a child’s bean bag.

Where Was God?

“Where was God?” some people asked. You might be tempted to ask the same thing. If God was real, why didn’t He do something?  Why didn’t He stop this? Why did He let this happen to such a likable, popular couple?  Why did children lose a father and a stepmother?

Where was God?

Believe it or not, He was there the whole time, even long before the tragedy took place. He was there, letting a man and wife live as they chose, loving them by giving them their free will.

He was there every time the conscience was stung, and every time it was seared. He was there, speaking through His Word, offering to guide, but never forcing, even when one of them chose to start dabbling in witchcraft disguised as prosperity theology.

God was there in the voice of those saying, “Don’t drink like that.” He was there in the voice of those saying, “Don’t stay here; he’s going to hurt you.” He was even there in the last-second pleas not to shoot.

Yes, God was there.

But here’s a question: Where was God the last time you made a bad choice? Where was God when you last idolized yourself by putting your wishes first? Where was God the last time you got angry and sinned, wounding your wife, your children, or a friend with an outburst you now regret?

He was there; you just chose to do things your way, not His.

That’s what happened 14 years ago; God’s way was avoided and man’s way was chosen.

Coincidence? You Decide.

At one point, as I was standing looking down at the place where bloody carpet had been ripped up, in my peripheral vision I caught a glimpse of a large Bible on a stand in the adjacent library off to the right of the master bedroom where the murder/suicide took place. Seeking some meaning, some comfort, I walked over to the open family Bible hoping to read something that would offer hope, even make some sense of what had just happened.

Yet, on January 16, 2006, the Bible was not opened to Psalm 23 … it was opened to Jeremiah 16.

Jeremiah 16:9-11 – “(9) For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride. (10) And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what [is] our iniquity? or what [is] our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God? (11) Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshiped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;”

Where was God? A better question might be, “Where are you?”

 

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Filed under abuse, Life/Death, wisdom

Damn The Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead–Throw It Out There Thursday, 16 January 2020

I couldn’t have said it better, myself. Thank you, Pastor Randy for saying it like it is.

Kingdom Pastor

Welcome to another edition of Throw It Out There Thursday! The target today is something is filling the headlines today. No, not the impeachment. No, not the impending death of the United Methodist Chaos, excuse me, “Church” (if you can actually call it that with a straight face or without regurgitating). But it is behind these and all other expressions of hate and confusion that invades and pervades our culture.

It’s Admiral Farragut’s famous expression: Damn The Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead. And what once was the motto for courage and determination in the face of danger has become the Mantra for a subculture of folks from all walks and stations in life. It’s the subculture of I WANT WHAT I WANT BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT’S BEST AND I’M THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY!

It’s the subculture of people thinking AND acting without considering the consequences that is corroding the very fabric of…

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Bună ziua, Romania!

Romania

I have a very special place in my heart for Romania. So many memories.

If I could take you to a box full of pictures, I could tell you story after story about the cities I visited, the people I met, the food I enjoyed, the time I came close to dying after drinking the water, the relationships, the church services, and the fish soup I just couldn’t eat.

If we had a while, I’d tell you why “Este o zi bună pentru a muri” became a repeated phrase every time we got in a car. What does it mean? It’s a good day to die.

I’d love to tell you about an overnight ride through the foothills of the Transylvanian Alps in a sleeper car straight out of an Agatha Christie novel.

You’d get a chuckle if I told you the story of me telling a Russian girl of the Romanian tree-dwelling vaca while walking through a park.

You’d laugh at the story of what led to recording a beautiful Romanian girl play her guitar and sing in a pink-tiled bathroom.

You might even tear up at the stories of sharing the gospel and Bibles with people who had been crushed under the foot of a communist dictator. And, how would you react if I showed you a picture of the approximately 80 people that accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior in one meeting I preached in village outside of Alexandria?

You’d be fascinated with the flag I was given, a flag with a hole in the center, a tattered piece of cloth that was actually drug through the streets of Timisoara during the revolution of 1989, just 2 years before (30 years ago, now).

But that was then – this is now.

And Romania has internet, internet users, and people who read my blog once in a while.

I’d love to find out whatever happened to the 80 in that village.

Maybe they’re the one’s who visit this site! Wouldn’t that be great?

Mulțumesc, Romania!

 

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Filed under blogging, Countries, places

A Post About A Talk About Myself (and Social Media)

Tonight I am going to be speaking to a group of men…

…about 40 of them.

What was the subject about which I was asked to speak?

Social Media!

More specifically, how I’ve used it and how I’m using it now to promote and further the ministry.

Hmmm. What could I say?

Let me think…

  1. We are here for such a time as this.
  2. Social media is a tool. And like all tools, it can either be used for good or evil.
  3. If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the comment sections.
  4. What you write is eternal.
  5. You don’t have to be famous or have a huge following to make a difference.
  6. Don’t let it consume you.
  7. Christian bloggers are internet missionaries, so treat every article, post, or tweet as a ministry opportunity.
  8. Don’t bury your talent.
  9. Every open door and window is one that can be closed at any moment.
  10. Pray before you post.

Well, there ya go! I think I’ll just use that as my outline for tonight. What do you think?

Heck, each one of those points could be a blog post! 😉

In the meantime, enjoy some gratuitous pictures of my granddaughter, Emma. She’s ONE!

 

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Filed under blogging, Countries, ministry

A Daddy’s Prayer

Dear Lord,

She’s no longer the baby I could hold in my arms. If I hold her these days, it’s a quick hug, a slight embrace. Gone are the days when she would put her head on my chest and fall to sleep, completely trusting in me to protect and provide.

But now I pray she’d seek your embrace, your protection, provision, and peace in Your rest.

An evil lurks around each corner, in the valley where death hides in the shadows. No longer there, I can’t be her guide. If You are not her Shepherd, the shadows will prevail.

Watch over her as only You can do. Guide her, with pain, if necessary, to the prize at the end of her race. I’ll be in the stands cheering.

Amen

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Filed under Family, Parenting, Prayer

Sawubona, South Africa!

Sawubona is Zulu for “greetings” or “hello.”

I’ve never been to South Africa, but I was very close a few years ago when I was in Zimbabwe. As a matter of fact, while I was there I enjoyed two items that came from South Africa: a great mattress and Peri Peri hot sauce (which I love).

I know I have a few followers/subscribers in South Africa. Please know that I appreciate you and pray for you and your country.

If you are in South Africa reading this, leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you.

Hamba Kahle!

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1917: My Thoughts On a Brilliant Movie

3 men & a movie

Yesterday (Friday) was the opening night (aside from select showings on Christmas day) for the movie 1917. I had wanted to go see it Christmas evening, but it wasn’t showing any place near me.

So, I sent out a text invite to a bunch of guys, and two ended up going with me last night: a deacon from my church and a fellow preacher and combat veteran. We left the wives behind and had a guys’ night out.

On a side note, when men go to a movie together, it is not good for them to sit side-by-side if it’s only 2 of them. If you have more in the group, there’s no requirement to leave an empty seat between you.

A Brilliant Movie

Related imageLet me just skip ahead to what you really want to know – it was a great movie. You should go see it, especially in a theater.

But what made the movie so good was not the acting, the action, the realistic combat scenes, or the plot; it was all of that mixed together with the most brilliant cinematography I’ve ever seen. From the very first scene, all the way to the last, it’s one continuous camera shot! I’d almost guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it.

The visuals, however, were as important as the story, in my opinion. In reality, the scenes from the silent, cratered fields over which the two main characters must bravely traverse in order to deliver a life-or-death message are a story in themselves. WW1 was a stupid, bloody, pointless massacre; yet, full credit should be given to the average soldier who heroically walked into the monster’s mouth whenever he heard the sound of a whistle.

Metaphor On the Flip Side

1917 was a work of art. It wasn’t meant to be realistic in every detail, especially the size of the set on which the film was made; it was meant to tell a story, and that it did.

This morning, as I was drinking a cup of coffee and thinking about last night’s movie, it struck me that 1917 could be a metaphor for life. And just as soon as I thought that, something else crossed my mind: Is life a metaphor for war?

On the one side, life imitates war. The first moment of the movie opens up with a reluctant hero resting against a tree. The last scene mirrors the last: a worn-out hero finally resting against a tree. Is that not how life is? One battle after the next, brief rests, and then more struggles in which we’ve got little say and no choice but to fight?

But on the flip side, war evidently imitates life.

Or is it that life is a war on many fronts, and war is a part of life? That is, until the battle is won and the war is over.

And what, then, is more valuable and worth the valor? A piece of tin attached to a ribbon, or a crown of life and the words “Well done, my good and faithful servant”?

Final Thoughts

I know I’m a little different. Aren’t we all? But one thing that got me about this film is something that I have started feeling more often the more action films I see: the death of individuals.

Let us never forget that every dead soldier, our side or theirs, was somebody’s child. When I saw the decaying bodies half-buried in muddy craters, an image of a mother never knowing where here son went came to mind. Each one was a soul that went out into eternity. Each one lost was a tragedy.

Because I’ve been a police chaplain, it’s hard for me to watch movies where bad guys plow through town shooting cop after cop. If it were real life, each one of those who died would have been a dad, a son, or a brother who was just trying to make an honest living while serving his community. And yet, Hollywood shows that stuff all the time without any feeling for the widows and orphans of real-life heroes in blue.

So, whether war is a metaphor for life, or the other way around, or both, the fact is that whether it be 1,600 soldiers about to walk into an ambush, or a single private blown to bits in an artillery barrage, life is precious, and each one matters.

World War 1 should never be forgotten. Unfortunately, too many know nothing about it.

Hopefully, 1917 will help change that.

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Filed under General Observations, Life/Death, Movie review