Category Archives: Alcohol

For Thy Stomach’s Sake

An add I’m about to place:

“Desperate Baptist school bus driver is actively seeking a Greek scholar who can verify στόμαχος (stomachos) also refers to one’s nerves.”

It’s been that kind of day. 

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Filed under Alcohol, baptist, Bible Study, Do not judge, Humor, legalism, Struggles and Trials, Theology, translations

Coffee…Better Than Beer

National Coffee Day!

Did you hear? Did you know? Today is Nation Coffee Day!! It might be Tea Day in other places, (I don’t know) but it’s the day of the roasted, ground, and steeped coffee bean here, and praise God for it!

When did National Coffee Day begin? I have no idea, nor do I care. All I know is that I woke up this morning to the news of today’s significance and rejoiced, offered to exchange gifts of sweetener and cream, and wore a #2 filter on top of my head.

espressoSo, celebrate along with me! Go enjoy a hot cup of coffee somewhere, especially at one of the wonderful establishments where free cups of coffee are being served – yes, places are doing that!

Responding to the Legalists

“Oh, but Anthony! You shouldn’t drink coffee, my liberal, over-gracious, backslidden friend (my friend in private, at least; not in public…Doctrine of Separation, you know). Coffee is no different than any other drug; it’s just as bad as drinking beer. You may even lose your testimony if you continue to promote the drinking of such an addictive, dark, seductive liquid!”

Well, in response to those who are so legalistic that you won’t even give us a break when trying to enjoy a cup of … let me take a sip … store-brand instant meant to taste like instant Folgers, let me just suggest a few reasons why coffee is at least a better drink to consume than beer.

  1. Coffee costs less than beer, which means I’m being a better steward with my money.
  2. Coffee never gives you a “coffee gut.”
  3. Drink too much beer before driving a car and you’ll get somebody killed, or at least you may end up in prison. Drink a few coffees before driving and everyone benefits: you get where you’re going quicker, happier, more aware of your surroundings, no one dies (unless hit by a drunk driver), and no one goes to prison – unless you’ve had TOO much coffee, and then road rage might be an issue, depending on the caffeine level of the brew.
  4. Drinking beer can lead to spousal abuse. Drinking a seriously good cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain might make you slap your mamma.
  5. Coffee will wake you up and help you conquer the day; beer will turn you into a stereotypically worthless brother-in-law who won’t get off your couch and get a job.
  6. Smart people who sit in a cafe drinking coffee tend to have calm, stimulating conversations which further increase what intellect they already have. On the other hand, smart people who sit around drinking beer kill brain cells and laugh about it, especially when somebody falls off a stool, beats up somebody for rooting for the wrong football team, or thinks the Irish Setter is an Irish redhead.

Coffee always helps.

So, thank God for grace and coffee grinders, then celebrate this wonderful man-made holiday!

Keep your brain cells! Have some coffee! 

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Filed under Alcohol, America, current events, Food, legalism

He Didn’t Strike Me Dead

I pray the following will encourage someone.

Confession time… I shook my fist at God, cursed Him, and asked him to kill me where I stood.

It was around 15 years ago in Kentucky, and it was a bad time in my life, needless to say. It wasn’t that I had lost almost everything except my wife and children; God was doing a work in my life, purging me of my pride.

The Unfaithful One

Kentucky offered a step up in what was proving to be an already successful career. On top of that, I thought by moving to Christian County (get that? Christian? A sign?), a place where at the time there were thirteen churches without pastors, surely God was opening a door for me to preach. Yep, things were looking great, and it was all about me.

Long story short, not only did my new position not pay the expected $90k+ a year, it was completely done away with! No longer could I afford the nice house in the historic district, or the nice car, or the private education for my girls; it took working four part-time jobs just to keep the power on! What was worse was watching my wife wait tables and clean houses (with a smile, no less) just to make ends meet.

That’s when full-blown depression set in. We’re talking suicidal thoughts, counseling, meds, nearly getting committed…you name it.

One evening, on my way home, I stopped by a liquor store  (they actually have drive-thru’s in KY) and bought a bottle of Kentucky bourbon. I had not eaten anything all day, so on an empty stomach this non-drinker decided to down a bottle of alcohol while walking around our neighborhood. After much contemplation, I’d already determined I was too fearful to kill myself, so I tried a different approach – tell God exactly what I thought of Him and His so-called “plan” for my life.

Literally, with my fist clenched and thrust toward the sky, I cursed God with every word I could think of. I condemned Him for letting me be humiliated; for bringing me to this point and abandoning me; for making me think everything would work for the best. I literally dared God – I begged God – to take my life. Like I had told a former prayer partner whom my wife had called on my behalf, just to try to talk some sense into me – he said, “Don’t you know you have a family who loves you? – I just didn’t care anymore.

Again, it was all about me.

The Faithful One

But even at that moment of total despair and resentment, that “still small Voice” was hard to drown out with my obscenities and vulgarities. “I love you,” He said, “and I know you don’t really mean what you’re saying…and even if you do, I still love you.

I didn’t want to hear it! Like a little boy throwing a tantrum, I was bent on pushing the envelope, just to make God angry back at me, I suppose… just to hear the kind of response I wanted to hear – confirmation I was worthless – which in turn would prove I was right about God.

But my Father was patient (Psalm 86:15). When I was faithless, He was faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). And when I came back to my senses, when I begged to be forgiven for the blasphemous things I’d said, He didn’t condemn me (Romans 8:1). No, on the contrary, He sat me on His knee, put his arm around me, and gently whispered, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth [his] children, [so] the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we [are] dust.” – Psalm 103:12-14 

Friends, I am so thankful for the mercy and grace of God! All glory and honor are His! My God is Faithful and True!

Do you know Him?

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Filed under Alcohol, Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Depression, Faith, God, Life Lessons, Love of God, self-worth, worship

How to Fix the Fergusons of the World In 12 Difficult Steps

My Confession

Let me begin by confessing that I am not a person of “color,” at least not in the politically-correct use of the term. This is important to recognize up front because, according to many, my color (or lack thereof) disqualifies me from commenting on racial issues (unless I’m willing to confess any bigotries).

However, even though I am “white” (regardless of the fact that my shading is tinted by several hues on the palate of history), I would like to suggest some steps that could lead to true reconciliation and sustainable peace, not only in Ferguson, Missouri, but in all areas suffering from racial tensions, gang violence, urban decay, poor leadership, and civil unrest.

The Qualifier

Now, let it be known that the following suggestions will only work in a nation that supports the rule of law, condemns mob violence, and understands that there is a Higher Standard to which all will ultimately be held accountable. As long as we choose to continue down a road toward total moral relativism and anarchy, our cherished Constitution inevitably must give way to tyranny and/or ruin.

“[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams (Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Second President of the United States), 1798

1. Make the “Reverends” preach the Gospel.

You see, here’s the thing: if you claim to be an ordained Christian minister (Reverend), lay off the political charades and race-baiting…preach the WORD! When Jesus asked Peter if he was going to leave like others had, Peter responded with “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). 

My advice to those like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson is twofold. First, move beyond the “social gospel” that’s been so perverted, even from what it was intended from the beginning, and on to the true gospel of Christ that cares not about race, nationality, or social status.

The second thing is this: God knows why you’re doing what you’re doing; be careful how you make your fortune and why you demand to be in the spotlight.

For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! … What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel. – 1 Corinthians 9:16, 18 NKJV

If you preach the Jesus of the Bible, you have a message of hope that can change lives and communities, black or white. So many of the following suggestions will show that.

2. Forgive.

Storing up hate and exacting revenge is a never-ending spiral towards destruction. Jesus warned his disciples: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15). Restoration must begin with forgiveness. Was it not Jesus, even when He was being crucified, that said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”?

Are we more righteous than Jesus?

3. Love your enemies.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.‘ But I say unto you, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you‘” (Matthew 5:43-44).

“If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee” (Proverbs 25:21-22). Do you want to change people’s hearts? Try doing good instead of burning down buildings!

4. Do more then seek justice.

It is important that justice be served, but don’t be hypocritical about it; those who demand justice should not act like they are above the law.

Micah 6:8 – He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

No one wants to live in a society of laws not tempered by mercy, unless, of course, that person proudly feels he’s never in the wrong. The humble are rarely recruited by lynch mobs.

5. Teach that everyone’s life is sacred because of Who created it.

If you want to live in a more peaceful society, teach its citizens that life is intrinsically precious. According to the Bible, Mankind was created by God, made in His image. When you add to that the fact that He sent His own Son to die in Man’s place to save him from sin (John 3:16), the value of each life then becomes inestimable. Instill this truth into the hearts of a people and there will practically eradicate drive-by’s, abortions, and prostitution.

6. Condemn any culture/media/personality that promotes and profits from illicit, denigrating, and abusive behavior.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8 ESV

When your children’s heroes are girls that swing naked from iron wrecking balls, pimps that bitch-slap their ho’s, and athletes who’d rather “put a cap in yo’ ass” than score a legitimate goal; when the most listened-to music glorifies multiple sex partners, violence, and drug use; when movies get praised for how many f-bombs they can drop; when “reality” is anything but reality, what can you expect?

7. Restore dignity to committed, faithful marriage.

Statistics don’t lie: most thugs and gang-bangers come from broken, single-parent, and/or abusive homes, especially ones without a father at home.

You want to talk about broken systems? Any system that will promote infidelity, encourage shacking up, reward having multiple children out of wedlock, and yet financially punish the family that prays together and stays together – that’s a broken system. Fix this system and you’ll reduce abuse, poverty, welfare addiction, and petty crime. You’ll also see a drop in the prison population, less depression and suicide, and less use of drugs and alcohol.

8. Discipline youth while they are young.

He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail. – Proverbs 22:8

We cannot wait until our youth get in trouble to start “scaring them straight.” It may be cute, now, as you laugh at your little brat’s actions and giggle at his use of foul language, but it won’t be later when he’s getting arrested for cussing the cop that questions him. Make your children behave well while they’re young; don’t wait till they’re older to lose your temper on them: it will fail.

9. Teach respect for all those in authority, including: parents, teachers, coaches, older adults, police, government officials, and ministers.

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. – Hebrews 13:17

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. – Romans 13:1-4

10. Hold those in authority accountable to higher, morally-objective standards, regardless of party or race.

“Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? – George Washington (Farewell Address), 1796

11. Create a friendly environment for charitable organizations to do their work.

Simply put, don’t make it hard on churches and charities to do what they do best – look after the needs of the poor, the hungry, and the homeless. Don’t arrest ministers for giving out free food on the street. Don’t force ministries to pay for abortion services against their will, thereby forcing them to close. Encourage ministries to reduce the government’s welfare burden, instead of keeping people dependent in order to secure a political advantage.

12. Demand personal responsibility for criminal activity.

“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” ― Ronald Reagan

I may have missed it, but not once have I heard the Michael Brown family, the family’s attorney, the “Reverends,” or the justice-demanding rioters on the street ever address the fact that the young Mr. Brown robbed a convenience store and assaulted the store owner. Did I miss it? Was that fact overlooked? Do we honestly think that had Mr. Brown purchased his socially-influenced, unhealthy, crappy cigarillos, instead of stealing them, the policeman would have still sought him out to shoot him?

There’s an old saying that goes, “Do the crime – Do the time.” When a man refuses to accept any responsibility, he’s no longer a good American. It’s past time people man up and assume responsibility for their own actions.

There’s also another saying: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

A New Proclamation

When our nation was young, while we were still at war, our Continental Congress crafted several proclamations calling our leaders and our people to pray.  If we would only humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14), a “fix” for Ferguson might come.

May we commit to do as they did in 1777 and set aside a day…

[For] Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; That with one Heart and one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favour, and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole; to inspire our Commanders both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE; That it may please him to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People and the Labour of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet yield its Increase; To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand, and to prosper the Means of Religion for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Or, we can simply continue to fight, blame each other, envy each other, hate each other, kill each other, and watch our cities sink deeper into chaos and despair.

“Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” ― Ronald Reagan

 

 

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Filed under Abortion, abuse, Alcohol, America, Culture Wars, current events, Divorce, General Observations, God, Life Lessons, ministry, music, Parenting, places, Preaching

Tennessee Taliban?

Yesterday, on Facebook, I read a post comparing conservatives in Tennessee to the Taliban. Yes, the Taliban.

Was it meant in jest? Was it simply sarcasm? Was it some form of sophisticated humor far above my intellectual capabilities? In any case, I did not find it humorous, but offensive. Let me quote to you what the author wrote, but just in case I’m missing something, I won’t name names – since the Taliban might get offended, and you know how that could go.

“Family Values is the Sharia Law of East Tennessee… [Rich and White] are the only two qualities required to hold office here in the Taliban region of East Tennessee.”

church ladyIt’s easy to come down hard on unloving, graceless, legalistic Christians (or at least those who claim to be) when they try to push their beliefs. I mean, if all you ever experience is the literal version of Dana Carvey‘s SNL character Church Lady, then that kind of self-righteous, churchy, hate mongering is easy to condemn.

But in reality, the ones my friend (yes, it’s a friend) were comparing to the Taliban are those who strongly believe abortion is wrong, that wine sales should be confined to the liquor store, and that one shouldn’t have to check his religion at the door when either voting or running for office. The Tennessee “church ladies” were even likened to Taliban because of their supposed hypocritical support for a less-than-godly candidate. But is the Taliban characterization fair? I don’t think so.

With the exception of the insane radical who has no clue what it means to follow Christ (yet claims to be a Christian), even the most conservative of conservatives, even the most severely Independent Fundamental Bapticostalite-type is nothing, NOTHING like the Taliban!

Give me a break!

For example, let’s compare reactions. Last week a Baptist church in my town was savagely vandalized. What did we do? We prayed that justice would be done, that the vandal would be caught, AND that our community could find a way to show him the love of Christ. What would the Taliban have done in the same situation? Well, as a clue, just last week a missionary friend informed us of a couple in his town that was burned alive after being accused of burning some pages from the Koran. The 26 year-old couple, parents of 4, were repeatedly thrown onto a fire as they pleaded their innocence. But hey, those Christians were taught a lesson, weren’t they?

Had the Christians in Lookout Valley, Tennessee, been the Taliban, we would have united after our morning prayers, then killed the teenager who destroyed the church. After that, like so often is the case with Muslim mobs, we would have looted, raped, and crucified anyone who looked like an atheist or liberal, then burned our own businesses – just to make a point.

But we didn’t, did we?

photo (32)

The Tennessee Taliban (illustrated by: A. Baker)

And what about that election? What about those dreadfully religious, abortion-regulating votes?

  • You mean those votes cast in a fair election after which no one was shot, beheaded, or blown up by a car bomb?
  • You mean the election to which women were allowed to drive themselves?
  • You mean that election we actually HAD?!

I guess the Tennessee Taliban never got the memo from headquarters. You know, the one that says, “Tyranny good…democracy bad.”

So, what’s my point? It does not further the quest for Christian unity and understanding when we intentionally use blatantly derogatory labels to demonize those with whom we disagree, especially when we agree on far more things than we don’t.

If my interpretation of the reason for using the “Taliban” term was flawed, then I sincerely apologize. I understand, as pointed out by my wife and children, I can blow things way out of context. But, if I was, as I suspect, lumped in with those who kill those with whom they find the least bit of variance, I’m hurt.

Labeling those who were only doing their civic duty, and had they lost would have only complained and whined, as the “Taliban” was an unfortunate use of words. But unlike the Taliban, we will forgive.

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Filed under Abortion, Alcohol, America, Christian Unity, Culture Wars, legalism

The Voice of the Video

Yes, I know this is the 3rd post in one day, but it’s been snowing. What else was I supposed to do?

The Video

It was only my second Monday Monkey video, but it still remains to be one of my favorites.

“There’s a Monkey at the Wheel” was my first music video, but I was not the one singing. As a matter of fact, I got a former American Idol contestant to do the vocals!

If you haven’t seen it, have fun watching it for the first time…or the second, or third, or fourth 😉

The Voice

Lauren Huckabee, Mr. Monkey, and Me

Lauren Huckabee, Mr. Monkey, and Me

The voice behind this video was a young lady named Lauren Huckabee. The reason I bring this up now is because Lauren is singing with a group that is rising rapidly up the gospel charts, Rhonda Frye and Riverside.

On top of that, Lauren has published her first blog post. In it she shares her past, one full of drugs, alcohol, and danger. But more than that, she gives glory to God for sparing her life and giving her hope.

Please read Lauren’s story and pray for her. And, if you get a chance, listen to the real music she’s doing. I’m sure you will like it just as much, if not more, than any parody I’ve done.

Click HERE to read Lauren’s Story.

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Filed under abuse, Alcohol, blogging, Christian Living, Faith, Life Lessons, Monday Monkey, music

Thursday Thoughts (Doctrines & Brandy)

Greetings, friends, family, and followers (including the freakily-weird ones)! It is another Thursday, so time to share some random-like thoughts.

  • Subscribers and Followers. Is it just me, or is it strange when you have people “following” your blog, but they are absolutely nothing like, they’re not even from the same planet, as you? OMC (Oh my cupcake)! Some of my subscribers are hookers, Satanists, self-proclaimed aliens in bodily form, atheist (they’re more normal, actually), and visual artists who leave nothing to the imagination. I even have a few Democrats lingering in the shadows. Strange, isn’t it?
  • Essential Doctrines. Today I was asked by someone, “Can you tell me what you consider to be the essential doctrines of the faith?” I began by listing off the top few that came to mind, such as the Trinity, salvation by grace through faith, the divinity of Christ, etc. But then it became clear that the easiest thing to do was to start listing the doctrines/teachings that were not essential, especially the ones that typically divide the body of Christ. There are certainly doctrines that are essential, but there are so many more that are not. The problem is determining which is which.
  • Field Trip Disappointment. Today I drove a group of teenagers from Belvoir Christian Academy (a Lutheran school) on a field trip to the Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga. I thought I was going to be able to go in with the little kiddies, but I had to stay with the bus or get a parking ticket (not fair). So, after the cold, wintery disappointment got hold, I left the bus anyway and walked across the street to my favorite coffee and pastry shop, Rembrandt’s. Even though I didn’t get to tour the museum, a Russian tea cookie, a chocolate-covered brandied cherry, and a cup of locally-roasted coffee made me feel much better.

    photo 1

    Rembrandt’s

  • Brandied Cherries. If you ever happen to be walking through downtown Chattanooga, please stop by my favorite coffee shop. Not only do they roast their own beans, but they craft their own gourmet candies. And it is because of this I must warn you of something: when they say “brandied cherry,” they’re not talking about artificial flavoring. Biting into one of those, especially if you are a teetotaler, will get your attention real quick.
  • Legalism. No, I’m not going to go to hell, nor will I lose any eternal reward, because I ate a chocolate-covered brandied cherry.

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Filed under Alcohol, Food, legalism