Category Archives: Church
Rain Rain Go Away
Well, according to the weatherman (or as Canadian PM Trudeau might say “Weatherperson”), it’s going to be a rainy Sunday. But doesn’t God realize rain on Sunday is a bad idea?
I mean, seriously, with the documented decline in church attendance, you’d think God would know better, right? Why does He choose to place such a heavy burden on the faithful? Why does he choose to put their health and lives at risk by covering the roads with slippery precipitation (rain)?
Maybe its a simple case of miscommunication. Maybe the One who covers the sky with clouds and prepares rain for the earth (Psalm 147:8) should be better informed.
So, in an effort to help my fellow brothers and sisters, I’m going to put together a bullet-pointed list of issues that must be addressed if God wants to get more people out of their houses and into His house on a rainy Sunday.
Let us intercede for each other as we take the following concerns before the throne of He who calms the stormy seas. Would you pray with me?
Dear Heavenly Father, Maker of Heaven and Earth, Mighty God,
- It’s too hard for us to wake up in the morning when it’s raining; you make our beds too comfortable. Yes, we know we can get up and go to work when it’s storming, but we’ve got to do that – it’s expected of us. However, church is a choice, and you make it much too difficult.
- You love a “cheerful giver,” but it’s too hard for us to wake up “cheerful” without sunshine. How can the church pay its bills if we’re not there to cheerfully give our $5 bills? You need us.
- You say it’s a sin to be presumptuous (Psalm 19:13; 2 Peter 2:10), so why would you want us to presume your angels are going to keep us safe on these wet roads? If Jesus wouldn’t jump off the top of the temple, then is it wise for us to leap into traffic? Of course not!
- And, Lord, we feel we must remind you of something: We are not Jesus. Not even close. So, please understand, walking on water and hydroplaning are not the same thing.
Now, if you actually did pray the above prayer, you need more than church – you need Jesus.
The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. – Psalm 95:5-6
While I sat at the kitchen table writing my last post “Losing Track of Time,” my youngest daughter, Haley, went outside to watch the sun rise.
She took this picture of our church as seen from the back of our parsonage.
I love me a little satire now and then (along with strong pain pills – but that’s a different subject).
The following “5 Signs” are from the brilliant satirists over at Babylon Bee. Enjoy. I’m going to lie down.http://babylonbee.com/news/5-signs-find-new-church/
This morning, as we go to church to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and thank Him for entering this world as a child, born of a virgin, only to one day die for us that we might receive the gift of eternal life through faith in Him, think on the following message I received this morning from a pastor friend in Pakistan…
That was it…just three lines of text on Facebook Messenger.
Earlier today a Methodist Church was attacked by two suicide bombers while the congregants were inside celebrating the birth of Christ. The attack was meant to be a message, one that was meant to strike fear. For some, I’m sure it worked. Thankfully, neither bomber was able to get inside the building, and only one was able to blow himself up at the entrance, so only around 10 people (including children) died, as opposed to the 400 who were in attendance.
But how does this affect my day? How would it affect yours? Are you even planning on attending a worship service? While there are Christians who are attending corporate worship services in places where their spiritual enemies are literally trying to kill them, do we take advantage of the complete freedom in America to congregate, or do we shun it? “Forsake” it?
How does the above message from my brother in Pakistan affect my preaching? My worship? Do I go about my day as usual? Or, do I recommit myself to the seriousness of the call to “take up your cross and follow me”?
“Brother we are dying here.” How long before we start dying HERE? With Islam on the rise, and with very few who are willing to challenge its destructive works-based theology for fear of being labeled “islamophobic,” how long before suicide bombings become more common-place than shootings?
“Please pray for us.” How long before we realize ALL of us stand in need of prayer? How long before we repent of our Laodicean lukewarmness? How long before we take seriously the calls from our brothers and sisters enduring persecution and pray for them? In reality, we should be asking them to pray FOR US!
Our churches will be relatively empty, today. Our post-modern, social-justice-minded, hedonistic society will go about this morning without a thought of God, while those who call themselves “Christian” will blend in with them. The relatively few who do attend worship services will hardly consider the rare privilege of worshipping in peace without the fear of being blown to bits while singing “Silent Night.”
Yet, somewhere in another land, there will be followers of Jesus Christ who will not be intimidated or deterred, bravely walking into proverbial lions’ dens. As the Hebrew children who refused to bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, there will be some who will pray for deliverance from the furnace, but continue to worship Jesus and not bow down to Allah, even if the fire is inevitable (Daniel 3:18).
There are many who are dying. How are you living?
I’m going to church, now.
Please take a moment to read and then share the following appeal. Thanks!
First, let me just say that God is good, and I put my full faith and trust in Him to provide for me. He is the One who loves me more than the flowers He clothes in the field (Matt. 6:30; Luke 12:28), so why be anxious? He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, including the hills; He will take care of my family and me.
However, one of the ways God takes care of His children is through the other children in His family. We don’t have to read very far into the book of Acts and the Apostle Paul’s writings to see where it was the churches (including individuals) who sent gifts to keep the first missionaries in the field and to relieve the burdens of hurting congregations. It is not beyond the ability of God to make manna fall from heaven, but more often I’ve seen Him use the abilities and gifts of His children to sustain those traveling through a modern wilderness.
On this December 19th (Tuesday) I will be having rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder. A couple of years ago I fell on the side of a hill while mowing a friend’s grass, and now the problem has grown to the point where surgery is the only option. I have two partial tears and one full through-and-through tear of tendons in my shoulder. I am also being advised to have a release of the bicep tendon which is tracking wrong and causing damage to another tendon. This surgery will result in many weeks (up to 4 to 6 months) of recovery.
Now, if you didn’t know already, my main source of income is driving a school bus and training new drivers. I put in up to 10 hours a day either driving or instructing. My only other income is a small housing allowance from the little church I pastor ($150 a week). Having this surgery will mean that I will not be able to drive at all for a good while, and neither will I be able to instruct (I have to be back to full capability before returning to drive or work – there is no office work available). Therefore, I will have no income coming in for possibly up to 6 months!
What I am asking is simple: Would you consider supporting my family and me as temporary “Pastoral Missionaries”? Yeah, I sorta made up that title, but it fits the bill, don’t you think?
You see, South Soddy Baptist is a small church, but it cannot afford a full-time (fully funded) pastor. I believe this church has potential and value in this community, but what it really needs is to be worked in a full-time-pastor fashion. Being gone so much during the weekdays prohibits me from doing a lot of visitation (especially in these darker winter months), and doing personal outreach is critical to growing a new church, but especially in a context of revitalization. Believe it or not, I can see this surgery becoming a blessing this church needs. However, my family still needs to have electricity, gas money, and food, of course.
Oh, but why doesn’t my wife work? In case you didn’t know, my wife would work if she could. However, my wife became disabled a couple of years ago, so now the only money she can bring in is from her disability and what little she is allowed to make for doing taxes and books. Both of our younger two daughters still live at home, but one is in college and the other is duel-enrolled; they can’t work enough to pay our bills.
So, what I’m praying for is enough people to take us on as temporary “missionaries” and therefore provide tax-deductible support on a weekly or monthly basis. If enough of you could give $10, $20, or $50 monthly or weekly, my bus-driving income could be replaced while I recover, and in the meantime more ministry could take place here at South Soddy Baptist.
It this something you could do? Would you pray about it?
IF you would like to help, then you could contact either myself or our Director of Missions for the Hamilton County Baptist Association, Dr. Dennis Culbreth.
IF you would like to donate with a credit card, you could simply click on the “Donate” tab in the sidebar on this blog.
Thank you so much for giving this some thought and a lot of prayer. Please pray that the surgery will be a success and that full recovery will be quick. But remember, those of you who pray and give will not just be helping my family for a short time, you will be contributing toward the ministry of a small, local church as it seeks to minister to the people in this community.
God bless you,
Anthony Baker (The Recovering Legalist)
Dr. Dennis Culbreth, c/o Hamilton County Baptist Association, 6625 Lee Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37421 (423-267-3794) Website: www.BaptistAssociation.com/contact-us/
Anthony C. Baker, c/o South Soddy Baptist Church, 11055 Dayton Pike, Soddy Daisy, TN 37379 (423-645-8884) PastorACBaker@yahoo.com