Category Archives: blogging

What We Can Do When It Hurts

UPDATE: The following post was NOT emailed to me by Donald N. Norris, but Dave Peever. Thankfully, this is the only mistake I have made today 😉

So, please check out Dave’s blog, Live 4 Him. I’m sure you will be blessed there, also.  


Guest Post by: Dave Peever

I Have Nothing to Offer

It hurts and it should. It may be my hurt or it may be someone else’s hurt that I observe, but it hurts, and it should. Still, we try to avoid it or at least address it as quickly as possible and move on. Logic does not play into it or at least cannot be used to lessen the impact. The passage of time may help but when everything seems to be going by so slow, the future is not even in the mix of thought and emotion. We wish it never happened, we hope we can somehow forget, but we know that it’s not going away. Like a rotten tooth that needs to be pulled or a wound that must be reopened and cleaned, it must be dealt with or the long-term issues will far outweigh the short term pain. It hurts and it should.

You’re a pastor, you should know what to say, how to bring comfort, how to rise above the pain.

I often wonder how people see me and others who have been called to pastoral ministry. When we are in the pulpit we are in control or at least appear that way. We tackle the tough issues head-on with Bible verses pre-selected and marked, script written and rehearsed. Everyone’s attention (we hope) is focused on us with little else competing for space in people’s thought process. We are in charge with little question about who is there to give out the answers to life’s problems. Before I go further, there are many times I haven’t felt in control in the pulpit, but by its very nature preaching creates the appearance of having it all together. Then comes the hospital visit, the funeral preparation family meeting, the pregnant unwed mother discussion, the abused wife’s plea for help or the drug or porn addiction revelation and people expect that same sermon preaching confidence. It is as if there are magic words that will make it all better and somehow the pastor is supposed to have them all stored up in his brain, ready to use at the appropriate time.

God’s word is full of comfort but God’s design does not allow us to avoid pain.

Biblical words of comfort are not the recipe for griefless living. To love someone is to invite pain into your life no matter how much they love you back. At some point something will happen that will hurt you. It isn’t always between the people in the relationship, but it is always felt by the people in the relationship. If we truly love the other person, their pain becomes our pain even if we are not directly affected. The only way to live life pain free is to ignore the Bible and never love anyone.

By calling and vocation, a pastor is placed in the middle of pain. By calling and obedience, a pastor experiences pain just like anyone who loves as Christ loves. Pastors may have a responsibility to the congregation defined in their job description but all Christ followers have an obligation to love and therefore are exposed to pain. The comfort we have and the comfort we offer is not found in the removal of hurt, pain and grief because we know the right words to say but instead it is found in the sharing of life as it happens.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15 (NIV)

You may say that you have nothing to offer because you are not a pastor, but the truth is, even though I am a pastor, we both have the same thing to offer.

I hate hospital visits as much as the next guy. I want to avoid the tears of a grieving family just like most people do. If I could miss funerals, including my own, I would. To seek out pain, physical or emotional, is not the sign of a stable person, to enjoy the depths of despair is not normal behavior. I understand that people want a pastor to be with them in their time of need and I accept that as part of my job. I may not like feeling that I can’t make the pain go away, that I am not in control and have nothing to offer, but I accept that just being there brings a level of comfort.

What I have to offer is the same as you. We all need to live out Romans 12:15 because we all, if we love like Jesus, have something to offer. Love has a cost, a price to pay. Sometimes we get to rejoice together other times we share pain but all the time we need to be there for each other. God does not leave or abandon those He loves but stays with us in part through the people He surrounds us with in our time of need. Be there for others, you can’t fix it, you can’t make it go away, that’s not the way God designed us, but you can share in the pain, help carry the burden, you have something to offer.

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Filed under blogging, Guest Posts, ministry

Now Accepting Awesome Guest Posts

First Thing

Here’s the first thing I want you to know…my blog statistics for 2017 are looking good! I’m on track for breaking last year’s record!

Oh, I know my stats are nothing compared to bloggers like Beauty Beyond Bones. For crying out loud, she’s got 23,000 more followers than me…so you do the math. She’s also slightly better-looking that me, so… Nevertheless, my numbers are 51% of last year’s total, so I am ahead of schedule!

Awesome, right?

That is why I would like to keep things active, even though the next month or two is likely to be uber-hectic.

Second Thing

We will be moving once again, this time into the parsonage at South Soddy Baptist Church. Now, this old home hasn’t been lived in for years, and it’s in desperate need of some cleaning and repair – not to mention a few upgrades – so a lot of my time will be spent working there before moving in.

Don’t believe there’s work to be done? Here are some pics.

The back porch/laundry room.

The living room with a broken window, no lights, and some floors that need help.

The ceiling in the kitchen. The ceilings in the rest of the rooms aren’t this bad, but they need work.

The bathroom shower was evidently used in a horror movie.

What is the best way to keep out a draft? Evidently duct tape. This is the inside view of the front door.

 

Also, the place where we are now living is going on the market very soon, so there is work to be done here before it sells. All the work here, and at the parsonage, will be taking a lot of my time – time which will also be shared with working as a trainer for new bus drivers, studying for sermons, recording radio programs, doing lectures at the seminary, and doing a lot of visitation this summer.

When am I supposed to be writing for this blog???

Third Thing (the charming part)

Because I am going to be soooo busy this summer (Oh, and my wife and I are going on a paid-for cruise for our 50th birthdays!), and since I want to keep the viewers coming back, I need guest posts!

It’s not something I’ve done very often, but it’s been fun in the past to have guest bloggers contribute to The Recovering Legalist. However, now it’s more of a necessity than fun – I’m going to be too busy to post something brilliant every day.

So, if you would like to contribute entertaining, thought-provoking, God-honoring, award-worthy literature, start writing now and start submitting. Once I get enough I will start publishing them, thereby freeing me up some valuable time.

But I need your posts. Like soon. ‘Cuz I got me sum tings to be doin,’ doncha know.

Otherwise, I’ll never have enough views/stats/hits to justify renaming my blog…”Beauty Beneath the Fat.” 😉

I’m anxiously awaiting your submissions!

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Filed under blogging, Guest Posts

Heading to the Airwaves with Proverbial Thought!

Beginning on Sunday morning, probably @10 am (that’s yet to be determined), May 28th, Proverbial Thought will actually take to the radio on WKWN AM & FM!

Cool, huh?

Up until a local gospel AM radio station folded (WFLI), I had been doing a regular broadcast on Sunday evenings at 5 pm. A couple of weeks ago the opportunity opened up to start a new program on a new station. The big plus this time around will be that it will be streamed on the internet, so people all over can listen, especially those who for years have subscribed to the blog, ProverbialThought.com.

So, what I hope to take place is that local and regional listeners to the radio program will go to the Facebook page for Proverbial Thought, Proverbial Thought Extra, to share their thoughts. I also hope it will lead them to dig a little deeper into God’s Word, and even use Proverbial Thought as a tool.

The radio station on which this program will air is not a Christian station, but it does have more of a conservative talk/news format. Therefore, this program will be geared to appeal to those with less of a gospel-programming taste, and more of a practical, rubber-meets-the-road mentality.

You see, Proverbs is a book that is profitable for all people, no matter their relationship with Christ. The wisdom in Proverbs is useful for everyday life, including business, politics, relationships, and other cultural issues. Hopefully this will prove useful to anyone who decides to listen.

On the other hand, the Wisdom of Proverbs is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:24). Each week the program will cover one verse from one chapter, sequentially going through a chapter a week, starting over on the 32nd week. Each program will show how the wisdom of the particular proverb/verse can be practically applied, but it will also offer Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God.

A beloved brother in Christ, Paul Wheeler, gave the funds to put the last program (“The Voice from the River”) on the air, and he wanted to give for this one, too. As a matter of fact, he was the one that asked me to continue preaching on the radio after I resigned from my last church, because he wanted to keep the program going, promising to do so even after his death!

For the record, Bro. Paul Wheeler is a decorated Vietnam veteran who first started the program under the name “Veterans for Christ.” However, when he started attending the church where I pastored, and after his voice and strength began to wear out (due to lung cancer), he told me, “You take the program, Pastor, and I’ll keep it on the air as long as you want to do it.”

So, please keep this program in your prayers, and listen to it when you can. Also, check out the blog (and the “About” page) and the Facebook page.

I’d love to hear your feedback.

– Anthony Baker

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Filed under Bible Study, blogging

4 Tips for Reading Long Posts

I know, everyone hates them. Even those who write them know that if your readers are actually going to take the time to read through the entire 1500-word masterpiece, it better be interlaced with plenty of eye-grabbing pictures, recessed quotes, and more headers than an Irish bar at lunchtime, or a gathering of hot-rodders, whichever analogy you prefer.

Since my last post was probably close to 1500 words, I thought it might be a good idea to offer some tips on how to get through such large, monumental, brilliant works at the literary genius. 

  1. Skim it. That’s right, don’t try to read every little word, just skim through the post and then leave a comment. 
  2. Only read the points that interest you. Yes sometimes you can just skim through a post and look for the headers that are most interesting. Just read what comes under those and forget about the rest. Then leave a comment.
  3. Pictures and quotes. If reading an entire post is too taxing for your brain, then just look at the pictures and read a quote or two. Then leave a comment.
  4. Re-read the title of the post and make up your own idea for what the post is about. Could it get any more simple? Then leave a comment.

So, there you have it. Four easy tips on how to get through those long, tedious, over-the-top, brilliant, etc. etc. etc., glorious post that are longer than 500 words.

And here’s a picture, just to have one.

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Filed under blogging

Grody, Nasty, Stinky Work

It’s Monday…not manic…but it’s Monday, and I had planned to do some more writing on the subject of depression. 

However, I am writing this post on my iPhone just to show you what I am up to. 

We have no air conditioning, and we can’t exactly afford to have a professional come out and work on it at this point. We have dealt with the heat for the last month, but now something has to be done, because there’s only so much one can take, especially one’s wife. 

So, after taking some cues from an actual heating & air guy, I found the possible culprit that had led to lots of water on the basement floor – a corroded pump. 

Just to make it clear, I have 40 bankers boxes full of books from my personal library stored down in this basement. Any water that would leak out of this air-conditioning unit would destroy thousands of dollars worth of theological works, some of them irreplaceable. 

So, it is left up to me to clean up this pump and make it work again. As you can see from the pictures, I’ve got my work cut out for me. 


Therefore, if you don’t hear from me for a while, I will truly be depressed! And then I will have a lot more to write about, I suppose. 

On the other hand, you could pray for me so that this will go well! That way I can finish the evening with a smile on my face and less sweat on my forehead. 

…And a happier wife!

UPDATE: 10:00pm and it’s out of my area of expertise. My wife still loves me, and she’s not too upset, just disappointed like I am. Oh well. At least it’s not that hot tonight; actually comfortable. 

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Filed under blogging, Depression, Weather, writing

Happy Earth Day 2017

Embracing Diversity

Let’s face it, I have a wide variety of people who follow this blog. They range from the ultra right-wing conservative branches of the political and religious spectrum, to the left-wing, tree-hugging,  tofu-eating, god-hating leftist trolls who do nothing all day but listen for billy goats to cross their pitiful bridges. Obviously, with that kind of readership, I’m going to offend somebody, no matter what I say.

Yet, I embrace this diversity! My arms are extended and waiting to offer hugs to anyone and everyone who would let me show love. I may not affirm your lifestyle, and I may disagree with what you believe, but at least I care about you.

That being said, I know someone is going to be offended by what I’m about to write. However, there’s always another day and another blog post that you can enjoy. As the climate fluctuates, so do the posts of this blog 😉

Another Earth Day

A lot of melted glacial water has floated to the ocean since the first days of Earth Day celebrations. Predictions have come and gone, and yet the world is still flowing right along. A little warmer, maybe, but still here.

Early predictions from the first Earth Day in 1970 guaranteed that we would not be around until the year 2000. Some predictions had the world ending by 1985. Yet, here we are in 2017 and nothing much has really changed.

Do I believe that the earth might be a little warmer than it was in 1970? I guess it could be. I mean, I haven’t really been checking the temperature every day since I was three years old. But what I do know, is that we still have four seasons every year. Just like it’s always been, seasons change, and so will the epochs of nature.

If global warming is truly a thing, do I believe that man is contributing to it? No, I don’t. It has been warmer, then it got colder (they called it the ice age). Then, for some reason, long before man used coal and gasoline-powered engines to industrialize the world, things got warmer! Man had nothing to do with it!

A Proper Perspective 

What I do believe is that God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He created both the earth and day, and night, and time, and matter, and us. This is His world, not ours; but we are to be good stewards of what He has given us to manage.

I do not believe it is the Christian thing to do to waste resources, t0 pollute the environment, to run crazy with all of our self-pleasing pursuits at the risk of damaging creation. God cares about his creation, which is why one day He will remove the curse that is upon it because of sin. However, because creation belongs to the Creator, it is not the creation that we should be worshiping; we should be celebrating the One who made it.

If kept in the proper perspective, World Earth Day could be a good thing. On the other hand, if all it is meant to be is an anti-capitalist, anti-God, celebration of a deified planet, one where humans are taught to be the scourge of the earth, rather than the epitome of creation, you can keep it!

In reality, I sort of feel like paraphrasing the apostle Paul when he was writing to the church at Corinth: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you” (1 Thessalonians 5:1).

Just take care of what God has given you, praise God for it, and leave the season changing to him (Daniel 2:21).

PS, here’s a great article for today by reporter John Stossel. 

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Filed under blogging, community, current events, General Observations, Global Warming, Weather, World View

Appreciate the Dandelions; They Are EVIDENCE!

My Katie

Guys (and I do mean that figuratively), you should really get to know my daughter, Katie. She is so gifted by God in photography, music, and even writing. But what most impresses me about Katie is her ability to see the wonder of God in the smallest of things.

Like I said, Katie is a gifted photographer. Her personal blog is called “Shutter Elf,” and features some seriously good photos. I can take a picture of something and it will look like a picture; Katie can take a picture of the exact same thing and it will be art.

Unfortunately, because of college and stinking Instagram, she doesn’t post as much on her blog. I wish she would do more, however. All it takes is a little browsing through her posts and you will notice not only her natural skill as a photographer, but her ability to bring meaning and insight to what the shutter captures.

The Dandelion

Last night, as I was wrapping things up and getting ready to shut things down, I happened to click on a blog post entitled “Overwhelmed.” Just click on the link and check it out.

The author of the blog (I don’t know her name) concluded her post with the following words:

“So today I pray instead for the Lord to show me the value in the dandelions, the treasures to be found hidden in our afflictions, to open my eyes to His blessings safely tucked within the weeds.”

That’s when I had to comment, and the comment consisted of me asking her to do what I’m going to ask you to do…

Read Katie’s post about dandelions! You will never look at them the same again!

Oh, and try to encourage Katie to post more by leaving a comment and subscribing to her blog. 🙂

Click HERE, or on the picture, to read “DANDELIONS.”

Photo Credit: Katie Marie

 

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Filed under blogging, God, Guest Posts, Relationships and Family, Struggles and Trials, worship