I admire this nation formed by God. I respect the brave men and women, motivated by God, who fought to establish this country. The precise structure …America Was Established On God, But Then…
Author Archives: Anthony Baker
Lots of Deer
If there is one thing about living down here in middle Georgia, it is the abundance of deer. Rumor has it, if you’ve never destroyed at least one vehicle by hitting a deer, then you’re probably in cahoots with them.
No joke, on any given evening there are so many deer out nibbling road-side grass and conversing with each other across the street that it’s nearly impossible to travel a quarter-mile without seeing several.
To give you just one example, last night I was driving home from a neighboring town and saw (there could have been more) 13 deer on an 8-mile stretch of road. I saw probably double that amount on the previous twenty. That’s a LOT of deer!
Locked Down for Deer
All this talk about deer leads no leads me to the story I want to tell you about last night’s trip home.
Like I said, last night there were a lot of four-legged bumper bashers getting reacquainted in the moonlight. Because of this, I was very careful to maintain a slower speed – even slower than the speed limit – in order to give me a longer reaction time.
All of a sudden I saw a family of 4 or 5 (it could have been a club, a harem, or a dance crew…I don’t know) standing and facing each other from both sides of the two-lane road. Then, after a quick glance at me, then back at his/her crew, then back at me the dear decided that the best time to cross the road was right at the very moment I was passing him.
Incidentally, cats do the same thing. They wait until the very last second to cross the street right in front of you. Why do they do that? Why can’t they just wait till we pass? Why does it have to be RIGHT THEN?? It’s like for some reason they think they will never have another chance ever again – EVER!
“Now! Do it NOW, Puss!” cries a flea-bitten rat chaser from across the road. Puss sees the bright lights approaching and realizes he’s already on his 8th life – he can’t die on this side of the road, not tonight! There’s more life to be lived and lost on the other side with Kitten, Mitten, and Tabbytha. So, terrified and desperate, with all the speed he can muster Puss bounds across the street to meet up with his friends and lovers.
But I was no dummy, I tell you! I could tell what Bambi was about to do, so I applied pressure to my brake peddle. Then, just as I expected, he waited until almost the last second to jump in front of me!
I stood on my brake peddle and the 2-ton 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis’ anti-lock brakes did their job flawlessly.
And everything in my front and rear seats, including everything UNDER my seats, came to the front floor of my car.
That’s when I made a surprising discovery! I found my lost coffee mug!
What’s the moral of the story? It’s pretty simple, really.
Sometimes it takes a sudden, unplanned, emergency-slamming-on-of-the-brakes kind of stop to help us find things we thought were lost forever.
I’m thankful I didn’t hit that stupid deer. But I’m also thankful that I now have my favorite mug back on my desk and doing its job.
All it took was hitting the brakes for just a moment, slowing down, and re-evaluating the circumstances, such as was this trip really necessary?
Have a great day, guys! Be safe. Stay faithful.
In just a moment I will be sharing this sermon, word for word, through a translator to a congregation in Pakistan. May God bless His Word and may the Church be edified.
Good morning, everyone! I am very happy to be able to worship with you again!
First, I would like to say that you are always in our prayers.
Second, I would like to thank you so much for your prayers and your friendship.
I would also like to tell you that our church here in the United States, in the state of Georgia, will pray for you in our services later today.
And one more thing before we look at this morning’s Scripture. The Church in America may need a Revival, but it is not dead. We are strong and will continue to encourage the Church in the rest of the world.
Please allow me to pray…
Last night I spoke with your pastor about the subject of this sermon.
He told me that last year he preached from 1 John 4:19.
Well, that’s the passage I want to start with this morning.
Please read 1 John 4:19.
Today is Valentine’s Day in America. It is a day when many, many men spend a lot of money on flowers and chocolate candy.
Valentine’s Day is the day when we celebrate love, especially the love men and women have for each other.
In many cultures marriages are arranged, but that rarely happens here in America.
In our culture, marriage comes after a man and a woman fall in love with each other and want to spend their lives together.
Of course, as you can imagine, the love of people grow cold, because the love they felt was not real love, only affection, maybe only lust.
Regardless, Valentine’s Day is a day when women are treated very, very special. Because they ARE!
Now, you may be wondering how 1 John 4:19 relates to how special women are.
It is because when the Bible says we love Jesus because he first loved us, we are reminded of the marriage relationship.
All throughout the New Testament the Church is pictured as the Bride of Christ.
The Apostle Paul spends most of Ephesians chapter 5 talking about how Christian marriage is to be a picture of Jesus and the Church.
And one thing should be obvious when we read Paul’s letter – men are to treat their wives with honor, respect, and unconditional love.
In Ephesians 5:25 Paul tells men, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave himself for it.”
What does that mean?
For one thing, it means that women are valuable! It means that they are to be loved! It means that wives are not slaves!
How did Jesus love his Bride, the Church? What did he do for her?
Yes, he “GAVE HIMSELF.” What does that mean? He gave his own life for the Church.
And do you realise that Jesus loved us before we were even lovable? He loved us while we were even sinners!
Romans 5:8 says, “While we were yet sinners, Christ DIED for us!”
Jesus had pity on us. Jesus knew we needed true love, not just emotion or lust.
Let me give you 5 reasons the Love of Jesus is better than the love of any human.
- It doesn’t matter what we look like.
- It doesn’t matter how old we are.
- It doesn’t matter if we know how to talk to each other.
- It doesn’t matter if we have money or land.
- It doesn’t matter about our past.
The Book of Isaiah, Chapter 64, says that our righteousness is like filthy rags. There is nothing righteous or holy about us without Christ.
But Jesus doesn’t care what we look like – He still loves us.
So, men, you should love your wives as Christ loves the Church! If she isn’t more beautiful now than she was when you married her, don’t blame her – blame yourself!
Jesus loves us no matter how old we are. In other words, He loves us even when we cannot do anything to contribute.
Even the old, the wounded, the crippled…. Jesus loves you!
And what about our communication skills? What if we don’t know how to say the right things?
According to the Bible, that’s what the Holy Spirit is for! He speaks for us when we don’t know what to say! Isn’t the love of God wonderful?
What about money? What about property? Did Jesus demand a dowery to love us? Of course not! He paid it all with His blood!
And do you think your past is too bad for Jesus to love you? It’s not!
Do you realize that Jesus knew you before you were born, for as David said, “He knit me in my mother’s womb.”
Yet, even then, He could see your whole life in front of you. He could see all the sin you would commit. And yet he still said, “Come unto me!”
Ladies, Christian men should treat you as Jesus treats the Church. Like the woman of Proverbs 31, if you fear the Lord, you should be praised!
God never intended the Church, the Bride of Jesus, to be a door mat for men to wipe their feet on.
Jesus never beat us or whipped the Church when she sinned. No! He took the beating and the stripes for us! He bore our shame on the Cross!
So, isn’t the love of Jesus wonderful?
We love him, not because we wanted to, but because we can’t help it!
And men, husbands, the Bible tells you to LOVE YOUR WIVES. If you love them like Jesus loved the Church, they will love you, too!
Dear sisters in Christ, you are so special in the eyes of God!
Jesus loves you and died for you the same as He did for any man.
You are daughters of the King of the Universe! You are also co-heirs with Christ, adopted into the Royal family of Heaven! You are princesses!
Do you realize that the Bible never puts women down? It never says they are less valuable than men. It never, not once, says that men are better than women.
Who carried Jesus in her womb? A young woman. Mary.
God didn’t send Jesus in a chariot of gold, but he trusted a young girl to carry Jesus when he was tiny and weak. He didn’t trust the baby Jesus to a general in an army, but a simple, young woman!
Who was the first Christian in the Western world? It was a woman, Lydia?
Who did the Apostle Paul trust to deliver the letter to the Romans? A woman, Phebe! That’s in Romans 16 verse 1 and 2.
Who helped fund the ministry of the Disciples and even Jesus when he was on earth? Women of means, women with wealth. In other words, there were business women in the Bible, like Lydia, the seller of purple, who helped the Church.
Dear sisters in Christ, you are loved by God. You are valuable. You are special. Don’t ever let the world tell you different.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you!
End of sermon.
Hey, guys! Just taking a moment out from some sermon prep (gotta preach to the Pakistani church at 1 a.m.) to let you know what I think about my wife.
She is the BEST WIFE EVER!
How do I know this? How can I make such a bold and absolute claim?
Because it’s the truth.
You see, it’s obvious she the best wife ever because she loves me. Not only does she love me, but she has continued to love me since June of 1996! She has loved me, remained faithful to me, and only once or twice thought about having me committed.
That’s no joke.
Proverbs 18:22 – Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
I’m the “whoso.” I might have been a so-and-so many times over the years, but my wife stuck with me.
Yesterday was her birthday. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day (for which she was named). Do you know what she did for me? She ordered a selection of 8 high-quality cigars! Why? For my health? NO. Just because she loves me.
By the way, don’t hate on my cigars… I only have one a year, or so. One would be more likely to get cancer from a chest X-ray.
Valerie loves me, and here’s the proof:
- She cooks for me.
- She takes care of the bills (because she’s an accountant)
- She still laughs at my jokes.
- She still thinks I am handsome.
- She tells me she loves me, like ALL the time.
- She takes care of me when I’m sick or injured.
- She looks out for my best interests, even at the expense of her own.
- She never talks bad about me, not even to her mother.
- She takes notes when I preach and even thinks I should be on Blue Letter Bible! I don’t know where she gets that idea, though.
- She makes sure I take my medicine.
- She makes all my doctor appointments.
- She not only washes and dries my clothes, but she folds my underwear and puts it away.
- There’s a sparkle in her eye when she looks at me, especially when I come home.
- She loves it when I sing, especially to her.
- She loves to play games with me, even when I play to win.
- When she makes me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich she takes the time to cut it in half.
- She wishes she could be a better wife.
So, you ;may think you’ve got the best wife in the world, but I’ll support your right to be wrong.
Valerie, thank you for loving Jesus and for loving me. I love you, too.
I’m not going to comment too much, but I do think this is potentially the best Valentine’s Day sermon I’ve every preached 😉
Seriously, even though this was a little humorous at times, maybe even a little to transparent, the truth that Jesus loves us more than any other love we can comprehend.
The following video is from our church Facebook page and was recorded live. Therefore, what you are going to see is unedited. If you want to skip forward past initial comments and prayer requests that will speed things up.
But here is the outline, should you want to know what’s inside:
Why the Love of Jesus Is Better!
- Looks Don’t Matter
- Age Doesn’t Matter
- Communication Skills Don’t Matter
- Finances Don’t Matter
- Your Past Doesn’t Matter
Within the wristwatch-wearing community – those who wear timepieces, not computers – there is a term which describes the watch (or watches) you someday hope to own. These watches, often expensive and/or rare, are called “grails.”
A few watches immediately come to mind when we think of “grails.”
- Rolex Submariner ($15,000 avg.)
- Omega Speedmaster ($5,000 avg.)
- The Grand Seiko “Snowflake” ($6k-$7k avg.)
- Rolex Datejust ($6k – $15k and more…a lot more)
- Tudor Black Bay 58 ($4,000 avg.)
Grail watches, depending on a person’s dreams and aspirations, vary greatly. However, what is typically the same is that they are difficult to obtain and often prohibitively expensive. And we’re not even talking about upper-end luxury watches that can cost over $100,000.
But not all grails are expensive. Some are simply rare. For example, those who collect Timex watches have different models they would love to obtain. My first Timex grail was a 1967 Marlin “dot-dash.” I picked one up for $67 off eBay, but only after I lost a bid on another a few weeks before. Other collectors dream of that perfect vintage Timex dive watch.
Just recently I was thrilled to obtain a grail. For months I had been going to farmer’s markets and posting paintings online, all to generate enough money to buy a Seiko SRPE 55. When the last painting sold brought in what I needed, online shopping I a-went! Like a Knight of the Round Table with a key to the gate, I charged the virtual castle and captured the Japanese-made legend.
But let me point out a few things before you think I spent ten thousand dollars on something. First, the watch I bought, the Seiko SRPE 55, cost me less than $200. It could have cost me $275+, but I shopped around and got the best deal. Also, every dime I spent on the purchase of this watch was earned from selling my paintings, prints, and an old Timex or two.
One reason I wanted this watch was because how similar it was to the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41 and 36, watches costing around $3,000. The Tudor could be considered a true grail watch for me, but I can’t justify spending that much. Therefore, when I saw the striking similarity between the Seiko and the Tudor, my decision was made. And, I didn’t have to save for 10 years to make the purchase!
Are there any other grails I want to buy one day? Honestly, not at this time (no pun intended, but it works).
Right now, my main goal is to finish my doctoral assignments, prepare sermons, visit people, and be a husband, dad, grandfather, and son. As I find old Timex pieces to add to my collection, I will take them home, clean them up, and work on my watch servicing skills. But what I am not going to do is dream about a watch that could pay for a trip to the Holy Land!
That brings me to my final though about grails: Do people ever think about the futility of what they are seeking?
From where to the term “grail” originate? Well, it comes from the word used to describe the cup from which Jesus shared the wine with His disciples at the Last Supper. That cup is often referred to as the “Holy Grail.”
You’ve probably seen other things besides watches referred to as the “holy grail” of one thing or another. It’s a term meant to describe something as the ultimate, most-elusive prize to be had. This stems all the way back to when legends described the cup Jesus used as one made of gold, encrusted with precious stones, and even capable of mystical powers.
But what was the “holy grail”? Would it not have been a simple cup made of wood, stone, or clay? Most certainly it was simple, lacked ornamentation, and had no other significance other than that it was handled by the Word made flesh, the Creator of time.
What made the grail “holy” was that was set apart unto a holy work. Other than that, it was humble. A humble grail.
So, that brings me back full circle to watches. Why do we have “grail” watches? In reality, just like the elusive Holy Grail of old, how many fortunes are lost in pursuit of something glittery, shiny, hand (of man) crafted, with no inherent power other than the ability to do what it was designed to do?
It seems very ironic to me that we want those glittery cups and not the humble one. We lust after the opulence of the Tudors and scoff at the utilitarian simplicity and dependability of the lowly Timex.
Even more ironic is that the very “grail” for which the Indian Jones’ of the world search is the very same cup (metaphorically speaking) that Jesus asked, “If it be Thy will, let this cup pass from me.” He knew what it was going to cost Him, but He wasn’t purchasing it for Himself; it was meant to be a gift for those who could NEVER afford to purchase it.
Therefore, what makes the grail precious? It’s monetary value? The gold and jewels? The intricate, fine-crafted details? Or could you be satisfied with something simple?
To be honest, the most precious watches in my collection, those for which no price could buy them away from me, are those which my wife and daughters gave me as gifts. They are irreplaceable, even if they only cost $20.
I’m wearing a $30 Timex MK1 Steel on a canvas strap now, and I really like this watch! But I’m going to swap it out for my new Seiko before I leave the house.
I wonder what Jesus would wear.
Your thoughts and comments mean a lot to me, so let me know what you think 😊
Have a blessed day and start to your week.
It is 1:27 in the morning, and I just finished preaching to the congregation in Pakistan. It was a sweet time of fellowship with brothers and sisters 10 time zones away.
This time I told Pastor Victor that I would provide to him a transcript from which I would preach so that he would be able to know exactly what I said. But that being said, having a transcript made things easier for me, too. As some of you may understand, it is not at all easy to preach through an interpreter.
So, doing the best I could with the little time I actually had – because a 10-minute sermon can take 15 minutes to translate – I preached a sermon on the Rapture. Honestly, it was a VERY SIMPLE sermon, one which was meant more to encourage the believer than convince the skeptic.
After all, how many unbelievers do you expect to show up to a Christian service in a 98% Muslim country?
I hope the following sermon transcript encourages you, too (even if you didn’t vote for Trump – LOL).
Good morning, brothers and sisters, I am so happy and honored to be worshipping with you today.
It is also my honor to have been asked by Bro Victor to preach to you each Sunday the rest of this month.
When Bro Victor asked me if I would preach each Sunday in February, I asked him what it was that he thought I should preach.
That is not something I normally do; I normally never ask another man what I should preach, only God.
But this time, because your pastor knows you better than I do, I wanted to hear what you needed or desired to hear from God’s Word.
So, today I am going to talk about something that should be an encouragement to all of us… to every Christian in every country… This morning I am going to talk to you about the Rapture of the Church.
I am going to ask Bro Victor to read to you my opening text…
1 Corinthians 15:51-53 – Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.
This year in America we had a very controversial election. According to the numbers reported, this year more people voted than ever before – the most for a Republican candidate, the most for a Democrat candidate.
Unfortunately, many Americans just like myself think something was not right.
We look at the crowds President Trump had at his campaign rallies, then compare them with the tiny crowds Joe Biden had, and it’s very hard to believe that more people voted for Biden than Trump.
So, when people ask me, “Anthony, do you think the election results were manipulated?” I say, “Yes, I do.”
Now, the problem is that anyone who thinks like I do these days is laughed at and mocked. It is now being said by some people that those who voted for Trump should be sent away to re-education camps!
They even say that Trump voters are as crazy as Christians – and as dangerous – for believing in a “fairytale,” a “myth,” even a “lie.”
This should come as no surprise to us, for Jesus said that His followers would be hated by the same people that hated Him. Those who mock the name of Jesus will mock Christians, too.
But what do people think of you and me when they ask if we believe in the Rapture of the Church? Should we be surprised if they laugh at us?
Just like those of us in America who think something went wrong with the election, they will laugh at us and say, “Show us the evidence!”
But this is nothing new, for they have been saying the same thing for 2,000 years! Saint Peter wrote about these people…
2 Peter 3:3-4 – Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.
But let me tell you, dear church, that things have not always gone on the same from the day of creation. For one thing, everything changed when a Virgin gave birth to a Child and called His name Jesus!
The world went on like normal for thousands of years until the King of the Universe, the Living Word of God, became flesh!
John 1:1-2, 14 KJV – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
This was the First Coming of Jesus Christ! The fact that Jesus came to earth the first time is all the evidence I need that he will return again.
For you see, for thousands and thousands of years a Messiah was promised, even as far back as the Book of Genesis when Eve rejoiced at having a man child.
Throughout the Old Testament we read of One who would be our Kinsman Redeemer, our Great Shepherd, our Fountain in the wilderness, our Rock in the storm, and the Servant who would suffer for the sins of mankind (Isaiah 53).
The Messiah was promised, His birth, His life, and His death… especially His resurrection… were all prophesied, and it all happened just as we were told it would!
Acts 1:9-11 KJV – And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Did you hear that last part? This SAME JESUS shall so come!
Jesus told us that He would return. Do I believe Him? Yes, I do!
As the Apostle Paul said, one day a trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised, and we who are living will be caught up! We will be snatched up, like pulling a fish out of the water! We will be taken out, like pulling a cork out of a bottle!
In the blink of an eye, when the trump of the Lord shall sound, we shall be “caught up,” raptured to be with Jesus!
IF I can do nothing else this morning, dear church I want to encourage you!
You live in a world that hates you for what you believe, for you believe in grace, not works.
You believe in freedom, not slavery.
You believe that all men and women, boys and girls, are made in the image of God.
You believe that God became flesh, that Jesus died for our sins, and that He rose again.
You believe in Jesus, yet you are mocked, you are laughed at, you are hated.
But you and I have a HOPE! Our HOPE is not in our good deeds.
Our HOPE is not in how many times we pray or in what direction we pray.
Our HOPE is in Jesus! Our HOPE IS Jesus!
And one day, whether we live or die, one day He will receive us unto Himself!
Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote to encourage the church at Thessalonica:
1 Thessalonians 4:13 – But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
Some people are full of sorrow and fear because they don’t know where they will go when they die, but you know! You have hope in Jesus!
1 Thessalonians 4:14-15 – For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
You see, Paul was trying to encourage the Church, for many thought that those who had already died would never see the return of Jesus. But Paul said that not even death would prevent the Christian from receiving a resurrected body!
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 – For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Did you hear that? Those are the words of COMFORT! That is TRULY encouraging! One day, we don’t know when, but one day a trumpet is going to sound…
Do you believe that?
One day the Lord Jesus is going to descend from heaven with a shout! Do you believe that?
One day we will be caught up, taken out of this world, and given a new body fit for eternity in heaven!! Do you believe that?
Then, church, be COMFORTED WITH THESE WORDS! HALLELUJAH!
Do I believe that Jesus is coming again? Yes, I do.
Do I believe that at any moment a trumpet could sound and I could be raptured out of this world to be with Jesus? Yes, I do!
And why do I believe that? Because God keeps His promises! If Jesus came the first time as promised, then I believe He will come again just as He promised.
The only thing is that none of us knows when, so we must always be ready to meet Him.
Are you ready to meet Jesus? Are you ready to meet God?
Please be sure you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, dear friend. For if the trumpet doesn’t sound, we are also promised something else, that it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement (Heb. 9:27).
You could die today, even before the rapture, and you want to know your soul is right with God.
Brother Victor, I will now give the service back to you.
I hope every one is doing well on this sunny Wednesday afternoon in Georgia! I know some of you have snow and rain, but for now it’s in the high 40’s and bright and sunny where I am at.
I just wanted to take a moment to share some photos of what I did this past Sunday morning – I preached in Pakistan!
For those of you who don’t know, I do my best to help support a worthy ministry in Pakistan and my pastor friend, Victor Sammuel. I will tell you more in a future post.
Anyway, this past Sunday morning I was able to speak to Victor’s congregation during their morning worship service – at 1 a.m.! Talk about an “early service”!
And what is awesome is that I was asked to preach each Sunday morning the rest of this month!
But this is more than simply live-streaming our regular services at church. This is me speaking live to a group of Christians in a Muslim nation where persecution is common (even expected) and the average wage of a teacher in a Christian school is $60 a month (more about that later, too).
I would just encourage you to pray for me and for this congregation as I preach and teach God’s Word to a congregation who genuinely want to hear whatever I have to say.
And the topic they want to hear me speak on the most? The Rapture.
At 1 o’clock in the morning?
I Love to Write
Greetings, my friends. Maybe you’ve noticed, but my writing here on the blog has been becoming more and more infrequent. I hate it, but it was bound to happen.
Unfortunately, I love to write, and because I have not been writing much lately, my soul feels like a wet sponge that hasn’t been wrung in a long time – a little sour. Honestly, that’s the whole reason I am writing at this moment. I need to wring some stuff out.
That just sounded gross.
I Love to Paint
But there is something else in my life, not to mention watches, that has taken up my free time: it’s painting. Not only do I love to write, but I also love to create things on paper with paint. And when people find joy in what I paint, like when they comment on how something I’ve written helped them, I feel a sense of accomplishment that few other things offer.
I say all that because one of the reasons I’ve not been writing much is my painting. When I get focused on my art (and writing is similar), I forget about other things and time tends to get away from me.
The Time Has Come
But speaking of time getting away, I’ve been putting off something for a long, long time, and it’s way past time to finish what I started.
For several years I have been chipping away at a doctoral degree. As a matter of fact, for the last 3 years, I have been so close to finishing it’s not even funny. But everything from surgery, moving a couple of times, deaths in the family, the daily work of ministry, two pastorates in four years, an empty nest, a mother with cancer, and not to mention all that had to be done to pastor a church through COVID-19… all of these things took precedent and my degree was placed on the back burner.
But now the time has come – I must finish my D.Min. requirements in order to graduate in July.
One reason the time has come is that the “time is up” for my mother. Hospice is now in charge of her health care and she has been given, at the most, 6 months to live. If the truth be known, she wasn’t expected to live this long with stage-4 pancreatic cancer.
I want to get my doctorate while my mother is still alive to see it. I told her, “OK, Mom, you’ve got to live until July.” She said, “OK.”
Because of this, I cannot guarantee that I’ll be around very much. Just think about me now and then when you haven’t heard from me and I’ll keep you updated on the progress – and my mother.
P.S. I would always love it if you’d buy a painting or a print 🙂 Look me up at @AnthonyCBakerArt on Facebook!
Today is Sunday, and many of you will be going to church somewhere (or watching online). So here is a question:
Does the “preaching” part of the service have anything to do with your decision?
There are many opinions as to what constitutes “good” preaching. Some prefer a preacher who spits and hollers, bangs the pulpit, and makes that little “huh” sound between every amplified phrase. Others prefer the professor/preacher who reads from a manuscript in a mono-tone, non-offensive, Winnie the Pooh-like voice.
Either way, what we are talking about is delivery, not substance.
Does delivery matter?
When Paul told Timothy to pay close attention to his doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16) and to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), content was the issue. However, if a sermon is poorly delivered, the efforts of the preacher could be nullified. If the hearer is distracted, bored, offended, lulled to sleep, or has his ear drums wounded, what is the point?
In my opinion, good preaching is preaching that contains solid, biblical content, but also keeps the audience engaged. One should never discount the importance of the power of the Spirit working through the weakness of men (1 Cor. 2:4; 2 Cor. 12:9). But, as ambassadors of the King (2 Cor. 5:20) who have been charged by our Sovereign to “compel” (persuade) hungry souls to come to His table (Luke 14:23), shouldn’t how we say what we say be important?
It is reported that Abraham Lincoln preferred listening to preachers who looked like they were swatting at a swarm of bees. In a similar vein, I think it was Charles Wesley who said that a preacher should “put some fire in his sermon, or put his sermon in the fire.”
On the other hand, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is said to have read his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” with a steady, monotone voice, as the audience screamed in terror at the thought of falling into hell. So, delivery shouldn’t matter?
It would make sense that those entrusted with delivering sermons should do so in a manner befitting the “greatest story ever told,” but does delivery make a difference? After all, some of the greatest public speakers of all time were tyrants (Adolph Hitler).
Should delivery be an issue? Should we simply focus on truth?
What about you?
- What type of preaching style do you prefer?
- Has a particular style of sermon delivery ever caused you to tune out to what was being said?
- What suggestions would you like to offer to one just beginning public ministry?
Now, to be fair, below is a link to our church Facebook page and one of the last sermons I preached. It was Sunday morning, last week, on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
The preaching starts at around the 11-minute mark.
In your objective opinion, how would you describe my style in this sermon? Did my delivery enhance or distract from the subject of the sermon?
Ultimately, no sermon, no matter how well it’s delivered, can change hearts and minds and lives without the power of the Holy Spirit. Even the worst preacher, filled with God’s power, can be the most effective. In reality, one’s supreme goal should be for God to be heard and the preacher to be forgotten.
Yet, we are human, aren’t we? We should always want to strive to do better. Even Elijah presided over a “prophet’s school” (1 Samuel 19:18-24).*
*Just be careful when you talk about my bald head 😉