Category Archives: community

Time to Exercise My 1st Amendment Right: I Will Tell You What I Believe

Unacceptable Fear

This morning, after I typed the name of the title and the heading just above, I took the picture you see: that of my laptop, a “Keep America Great” hat, and a painting called “Blue Tears” (one I did in honor of fallen police officers – just those who died in the line of duty by gunfire last year).

On this day, the day we celebrate the birth of this great nation, The United States of America, I decided to lay all my patriotic cards on the table, and then some. Hence, the picture of a pro-Trump (and pro-America) hat, along with an artistic statement of support for Law Enforcement (Police).

Unfortunately, because of the incredible threats of intimidation and backlash, along with the literal danger of physical harm, I have never posted a picture of this hat. But today, because I do not want to live in shame or fear, I will claim my right to tell you exactly what I believe with regard to this country.

Fear is unacceptable. Silence in the face of intimidation is cowardice.

What I Believe About . . .

Jesus

He was a literal, historic figure who was God incarnate, yet with a human nature. After being born of a virgin, He lived a sinless life as the “second Adam” and Lamb of God who would be crucified for the sins of mankind.  He is alive, today, after resurrecting from the dead in accordance with prophesy and His own promises. According to John 14:6, there is no other way to eternal life than through Him: the historically verifiable person who walked the shores of Galilee 2000 years ago and shed His own blood as a ransom and for an atonement that no other man past, present, or future could accomplish.

The cross of Christ is the answer for every problem in the world today. The gospel is the most important message we can share with every man, woman, boy, and girl in the world. And it is this gospel of Jesus Christ, as displayed in the inerrant, infallible Word of God, which is the same “good news” to every culture, every tribe, and ever person on earth, regardless of color or country.

But beyond that…

Police

There are far more good cops that bad ones. More people die every day from medical malpractice than all police acts of violence combined. Anyone marching in the streets calling for the end of hospitals? Every man and woman who put on an the uniform and shield (badge) deserve respect and honor until they do something to deserve otherwise. I #backtheblue.

Defunding Police.

I personally think this is one of the most ignorant and stupid suggestions of all time. Those who support this idea are about as bright and mature as the 4-year-old who thinks he’d be better off on his own without parents to keep him out of the cookie jar.

Black Lives Matter

Of course they do! And, to make it clear, I understand that for many what this means is that “black lives matter, TOO,” just as much as everyone else.

But when it comes to the Black Lives Matter organization founded by self-proclaimed “radicals” Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, I believe it is an anti-American, anti-nuclear family, danger to American and Western society, particularly the very freedoms every color of American fought and died for. I also believe the whole premise of this organization is built on the false narrative of “systematic and institutionally-sanctioned racism.”

President Donald J. Trump 

I didn’t vote for him in the primary election – I voted for Ted Cruz. However, I did vote for him over Hillary Clinton in the general election. Faced with the choice between what each promised they would do if elected, I knew I could not support Clinton.

President Donald Trump is NOT the greatest danger to American civilization and the safety of the world. For that honor all you need to do is look at those who topple monuments to historic figures who fought against slavery while supposedly protesting those who supported slavery.

Uninformed fools will cut off the very branch of the tree that supports them.

Hating 45 (Trump Derangement Syndrome)

Let’s be honest, folks. If you hate President Trump, it’s probably because you are either pro-abortion, hate any restriction to your sexual autonomy, want to silence any religious voice who disagrees with your sexual proclivities, or you simply believe the constant twisting by the main-stream media and radical-left celebrities who fear their sexual autonomy might be limited.  On the other hand, maybe you were so invested in electing the first woman president that the shock of losing broke your brain.

Grand Funerals

Being buried in a Bronze Promethean casket from Batesville ($24,000 min.) doesn’t make you a good person or erase the fact that poor decisions can have catastrophic consequences.

Confederate Monuments

Ironically, those who call for the removal of these monument are supported by the very Democrat party to which those who supported segregation and racism belonged. If they insist on tearing down Confederate monuments, then they should certainly include Democrat icons such as Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (who interned Japanese Americans in camps), Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson (who used the n-word more often than “Jesus Christ”), and Sen. Robert C. Byrd (form Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan).

But truth be told, it’s not about racism or trying to erase a painful past; it’s about erasing and eradicating who we are as a nation and replacing it with something radical, oppressive, atheistic, and Marxist.

Racism

How do I define racism? Well, I believe racism is the belief that one particular “race” is either superior or inferior to another. What racism is NOT is the preference of one ethnic culture over another. It is NOT racist to be inclined to the characteristics of one ethnicity over another. Racial profiling is NOT racist if it is based on statistics, especially when the overall benefit to the profiling will positively affect every ethnicity.

Racism is sinful, unbiblical, and an affront to the very nature of our Creator God. Having “prejudices” for or against particular cultural norms is NOT being racist; it’s showing preference. However, you can be a racist and be prejudiced at the same time, but it should not be assumed that one is automatically a racist if he/she has certain prejudices. For example, I married a white woman because I am white and preferred (had a prejudice toward) women who have the same skin color and cultural customs as myself. That was not a “racist” choice.

It is NOT racist to note our physical differences, either. Just as long as our physical differences are not used as an argument to suggest that one “race” is inherently better than another. God has designed each of us, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the fact that we are not all physically the same. It is wrong, however, to suggest that one color of human should be subjugated to another, for we are ALL equal before God.

Gun Violence and Guns

The old adage is still true: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Anti-gun laws (which are in opposition to our 2nd amendment to the Constitution) do nothing to change the heart that pulls the trigger. That same heart can thrust a blade or swing a club.

“When was America ever great?”

When it acknowledged the right you have to publicly ask a stupid and uninformed question without fear of government retribution.

“America, America, God shed His grace on thee! And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”

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Filed under America, community, Culture Wars, current events, politics

Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Atlanta, Oh Atlanta

As I sit here in my study late this Saturday evening, I can’t help but think how good it is to be south of Atlanta right now!

Oh, I could have waited to drive in tonight instead of last night, and I would have not only hit the typical Atlanta traffic, but I would have run into a bunch of … there’s a lot of descriptors I’d like to use … blocking I-75.

Atlanta, what are you going to do? Your Mayor just fired a police officer who was only doing what he was trained – and justified – to do. Your Mayor just told every police officer that no matter what, it’s OK for YOU to be shot, stabbed, or seriously wounded by a criminal, but God help you if you defend yourself or the general public!

How do you plan to recruit new officers to replace the ones who are going to quit?

Are you going to hand over law enforcement to the ones who are blocking the interstate?

People are, as I type this, going flipping insane!

And, still, some of you think these times are just another walk in the revolutionary park.

“But know this: Hard times will come in the last days.

    • For people will be lovers of self (“Don’t you insult me, or I’ll kill you!”),
    • lovers of money (“I don’t care how much the country goes in debt, I want my stimulus!),
    • boastful (Look at what I stole!),
    • proud (I can do whatever I want, and you can’t stop me!),
    • demeaning (Joy Behar, all history revisionists and disgracers of monuments, Lady Antebellum),
    • disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, (Do I really have to go into detail for all these? It’s too depressing.)
    • irreconcilable (No Justice, No Peace!),
    • slanderers (the news media 24/7),
    • without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good (“Hey, let’s burn everything!),
    • traitors (Seriously, how many other countries could you get away with this and not end up with immediate and terminal lead poisoning?),
    • reckless (Do any of these protesters have any idea what they are bringing about?),
    • conceited (“I went to an expensive, liberal, private university with Communist professors, so I know better than you, even though I’ve never worked a day in my life.),
    • lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (“‘Thou shalt not steal’ doesn’t apply to me, only the cops who try to take the things I stole away from me.”),
    • holding to the form of godliness but denying its power (Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, Joel Osteen, every minister of any denomination that votes for abortion, performs same-sex marriages, and approves of children having sex changes). Avoid these people. ” – 2 Timothy 3:1-5 CSB

I love being in a middle-Georgia small town where people can still use Jesus’ name in public, but, unfortunately, crap runs downhill, so what’s happening in Atlanta (and other places) will eventually make its way here.

Until then, well, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing … preaching, teaching, and equipping.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 CSB

We’ve got to maintain some sanity somewhere.

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Filed under America, community, current events, General Observations, politics

Racial Reconciliation: It Starts Like This – With Jesus

Today I had a beautiful and powerful conversation with a fellow pastor and fellow TBS (Temple Baptist Seminary) grad, Rev. Kenneth E. Ware of New Sholar Avenue Baptist Church, Chattanooga.

Below is a link to the conversation we had.

Your comments are welcome.

 

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Filed under America, baptist, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Christian Unity, Christianity, community, current events, Jesus

Statements, Services, and Studies: A Whole Day’s Worth

It is Sunday evening in Georgia,

and all I can say is that I’m glad I’m not in Atlanta. However, I’ve got a daughter, a son-in-law, and a granddaughter in Charleston, SC, and it’s bad there, too.

Honestly, I’m furious and sickened by the senseless thuggery and domestic terrorism that’s spreading havoc across the country. There’s no excuse for it. None.

Well, I’ve written about the subject of the protests and riots, already. So, what I’m going to do tonight is share the video that was my day.

The first video is from Facebook. I hope you can view it. I went live this morning before the scheduled morning service that had been recorded earlier.

The second video is of the service prerecorded for airing at 11 a.m. Unfortunately, I got the date wrong! 😩

The last video is from tonight where I was live from Augusta, GA. Even though it was originally on Facebook Live, I uploaded it to YouTube.  In this study I taught from Acts 9 while sitting in a hotel lobby.

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bible Study, Christian Maturity, Christianity, Church, community, current events, Preaching, Selah

Riots and Protests: My Opinion

Riots erupt in several US cities over Minnesota police killing of ...

Be forewarned, this is going to be a vent. 

What I am about to type out is not planned, nor will it be edited (except for obvious spelling and grammar – if I notice it). I’m just going to say what I believe and leave it at that.

What’s going on in Minneapolis is inexcusable. Was the death of George Floyd a tragedy that need not happen? Yes. Is there a culture of racial discrimination, targeting, and violence in the Minneapolis police department? I have no idea.

But let me tell you one thing, among others, that I DO know – and I know this from first-hand experience: Don’t trust the media to form your opinions for you by accepting their narrative as the gospel truth! If nothing else, try not to form an opinion anytime in the first few days after a news story. If you do, odds are you will find yourself walking back much of what you say.

Let’s be honest, folks. Does the news media really want peace in the streets? Do they really desire everyone to “just get along.” Umm, no. Heck, when ol’ Rodney King said those very words decades ago – “Can’t we all just get along?”(or however he actually said it) – he was mocked.

So, when the media curiously shows us 6 minutes of a black man being choked out by a white cop, while other videos exist over the last several years of other instances involving white victims, videos that have never been plastered over every media platform, why do we fall in line with the predictable outrage?

Fact #1: Face it people, you’re being used. 

Now, again, should something be done about policemen and the use of excessive force? Yes! Absolutely!

But here’s something most people these days won’t do anything about: The way they conduct themselves and taking responsibility for their own actions.

Fact #2: When you act the fool, expect trouble from the law.

Fact #3: Police officers are people who want to get home alive to their families far more than they want to listen to your complaints of abuse when YOU are the one who either threw the first punch or resisted a simple command.

In the case of George Floyd, has anyone stopped to ask whether or not he would have been detained on the ground had he not been under the influence of something and had he not resisted? Notice how these things are linked?

But what do we have going on now? Cities burning. Literally, police stations are burning. Places of business that have nothing to do with what happened are being looted and destroyed. And this is supposed to help matters?

Oh, yeah, so now investigations into the Minneapolis government and the way they treat minorities. And, you could add that this would not have happened had people not protested… or, should we say, rioted and vented their frustration while taking advantage of the situation to fulfill their own lusts by stealing and breaking things?

Fact #4: Most rioters have no idea why they are rioting; they are more concerned about missing out on a “five-finger discount.”

Last night I went live on my personal Facebook page. I was on there for an hour discussing the whole idea of rioting. Specifically, was it biblical, was it Christian, for people to go around doing what they were/are doing?

My answer, plain and simple: NO.

Fact #5: Destructive protests and riots are not biblical; rather, they are antithetical to the cause of Christ and His commands.

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:17-21 

You cannot parse the above scripture enough . . . you can’t rationalize it away . . . there is nothing in the way riots are conducted that can be condoned by the above verses.

Fact #6: Rioters are being overcome by evil in their loose attempts at bringing about good.

In other words, if they are not overcoming the evil of racism and bigotry with good, then their intentions, however noble, are being overcome by the very evil for which they riot, therefore they only perpetuate the darkness in which they try to shine light.

Those are my thoughts and my opinions.

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Filed under America, Christian Maturity, community, current events

Observations From a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Silencing the Ignorance

My Mistake

Let me start by saying that I was one of the ones who early on thought this whole coronavirus thing was nothing more than an overblown media gimmick. And, honestly, who could blame me? Since when have you been able to trust the main-stream media’s hyperbole?

Seriously, when you look at the raw numbers, flu is still killing way more people than this virus. Yet, I guess the real question is how many people would have died if measure had not been made to limit the spread? It’s really anyone’s guess.

But I’m not here to argue about the killing ability of COVID-19. I want to discuss how the responses are affecting our ability to worship.

10 Or Less

I can’t speak for every state and every town, but from what I have been seeing, most state and local governments have made it illegal for people to meet in groups any more than 10. There are some places that make it less than that. But, for the most part, it’s limited to 10 . . . and six feet apart.

Yet, what some are trying to say is that the government has no right to impose this restriction on houses of worship. They claim that what is going on is an attack on our First Amendment rights of free speech, religious liberty, and the right to assemble. But is it, really? I don’t think so.

Look, if our state and local governments were placing more restrictions on churches than other places, then I would be the first to yell “Foul!” However, how can we say that Christians are being targeted when weddings, funerals, birthday parties, ball games, bingo, dance parties, school – you name it – are expected to abide by the same limitations?

It’s not discrimination if everyone is treated equally.

Fundamental Right

Yet, there are pastors being arrested in their homes. Churches are being threatened with permanent closure. And, we know there are government leaders out there who would like nothing more than to shutter every church in the country. “Social distancing” has become their favorite weapon.

I thank God that here in Georgia we have a God-fearing governor. Gov. Brian Kemp has been very transparent with the purpose for his mandates and has made it abundantly clear that he in no way wants to hinder or infringe upon the people’s right to worship. It’s just that there’s a deadly virus going around right now, and it doesn’t care who it affects, pagan or saint. So, for right now, everyone, not just church people, are going to have to limit their exposure to other people and “shelter at home.”

The whole reason I’m writing this is because there are some church folk, some pastors, who are saying things like: “The government can’t tell us we can’t have church!” They are screaming in protest, claiming the government has no right to impinge on our fundamental right to “forsake not the assembly.”

However, we must also remember that government has a biblical, God-given responsibility, too!

“Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. For it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For it is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.” – Romans 13:1-4 CSB

“Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the emperor as the supreme authority or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good. For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.” – 1 Peter 2:13-15 CSB

So, now is a time when we need to remember each one of us has a role to play. As for government leaders, as long as they are about doing good and ensuring the safety of our citizens, as long as they don’t demand we violate any direct command from God or our consciences, then we need to obey the best we can … to “silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.”

Now, when the government gets too big for its britches and starts singling out places of worship (like China is doing), then we’ll have a reason to do more than stream our singing and preaching.

In the meantime, we are reaching more people now than ever before! I’m not complaining about that!

Myself and Dr. David Self (Washington Baptist Association) discussing Proverbs LIVE on Wednesday night.

 

 

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bible Study, Church, community, coronavirus, worship

At Least I’m Not In Jail

Phone Calls

I can only imagine what it would be like (and I’m not quoting a song) if real-life, honest-to-goodness shepherds had to deal with things the way we pastors are having to these days. Just think about it:

  • Sheep in the field, day in and day out, wandering around six feet apart.
  • The shepherd having to set up a large screen in the pasture so he can live-stream commands.
  • Each sheep getting it’s own cell number so the shepherd could make individual calls.
  • “How are you doing today, Fluffy?” “It’s baaaaaad, Shepherd! Could I trade you my wool for some toilet paper?”

Photo by Trinity Kubassek on Pexels.com

Thankfully, I’ve not received any distressing news from the church members I’ve called. Nevertheless, making phone calls and sending notes through the mail is about the only way I can personally stay in contact with my “sheep.” It’s alienating.

But, just like I said a moment ago to a dear lady in our church – her name is June – “at least I’m not in a jail cell.”

Perspective

It really all comes down to perspective, you know? If we sit and dwell on how limited we are, about how much we can’t do during this time of self-isolation (quarantine), then things will only get more nerve-wracking. Now, more than ever, we need to be looking for silver linings.

Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

No, I might not be able to visit with people in my congregation, have people over for dinner and a game night, or simply go out to dinner and movie with my wife, but at least I’m not locked up in a 6×8 ft. jail or prison cell! Seriously, things could be a lot worse!

I don’t know about you, but I can still eat when I want, play with my dog, go to the grocery store, and even go to my office at the church (where I am now). When I’m home I can sleep in my own bed, wear whatever I want, and not have to worry about dropping soap in the shower.

Really, things could be a lot worse than “social distancing”… Try social abandonment.

The Ultimate Quarantine

So, this got me to thinking about something else, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t share it. When I was thinking about being isolated, alone, quarantined, and abandoned … and when I tried to think about what could be worse than what we are experiencing, even jail … I thought of something else:

Hell.

If you think about if for just a moment, hell is the epitome of social distancing, quarantining, and literal abandonment. It’s even worse than the worst prison cell.

Prison cells do have beds, running water (even if it’s from the back of a toilet), regular meals, air conditioning, and in most cases, hope. Not so with hell.

Actually, aside from the lack of amenities, probably the worst aspect of an eternity in Hades is the idea of being utterly alone in one’s suffering and regret. Totally…forever…never a kind voice…never a tear of compassion…never look of pity… alone.

I’m glad I still have my freedom and am not locked up somewhere. But I’m even more thankful that, worse comes to worse, should things get so bad I even die from COVID-19, at least I’m not alone (God’s always with me) and because of Jesus, I’ll never have to go to hell!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

Yep, things could be worse. Time to binge-watch something else.

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Filed under Christianity, community, coronavirus

Palm Sunday Sermons (April 5, 2020)

What a wonderful opportunity to be living during this historical time! 

Oh, most certainly it is a trying and sad time in so many ways. But in other ways it’s amazing.

On Sunday morning I preached from 2 Timothy 1:7 and the “spirit of fear” God has not given us. That evening I covered the meaning of Palm Sunday by looking at the event as described in the Gospels.

As a bonus, I’m including the video from this morning.

If you have any comments, thoughts, or suggestions you’d like to share, I’d love to read them. Please leave them in the comment section below, or email me at PastorACBaker@yahoo.com.

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Filed under Bible Study, Christianity, Church, community, coronavirus, Easter, ministry, music, Preaching, Revival

The Light Beckons

Image may contain: indoor

As I was walking through the darkened auditorium of our church, I saw the light beaming in through the stained glass. I couldn’t help but be impacted by the profound truth I was seeing, that there was no light inside these walls; the light was outside.

***********

For so long we’ve known it, we’ve taught and preached it, but where God wants his Light to be seen is outside, in the world, where Hope is needed. Yet, it took an “act of God” to get us out of our hallowed walls and out where we’ve been needed.

So, for now, the lights inside are off and the pews are empty. God, the Great Teacher, has taken us on a field trip. He’s causing us to regain or acquire a better perspective and understanding of what matters, what is needed, and what it truly means to be “in the world, but not of the world.” Because, if you haven’t noticed, we’re all in this together.

Will the real Church now stand up and walk in the Light, as He is in the light?


Image may contain: sky, tree, house, outdoor and text

 

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Unity, Christianity, Church, community, ministry, Preaching, Struggles and Trials, Witnessing, worship

Sunday Sermons (March 29, 2020)

For those of you who’d like to watch, I am attaching links to our “services” from each Sunday.

Most churches these days are streaming live on Facebook. If not there, then through things like Zoom, etc. I’m just excited that, even though we can’t meet in person as a congregation, more people than ever are able to hear the gospel due to this pandemic.

Coincidence? Hmmm.

Anyway, please watch, if you’d like, and share any comments you may have.

On Sunday morning I preached a sermon based on the Lyrics of “It Is Well,” by Horatio Spafford. The video recently released by the singers in Nashville pushed me over the edge on that one 😉

Sunday evening, from my office, I covered the first few verses of Acts 6. Also, my daughter, Katie, since she has come down to hold up with us while she has been let go from her job, assisted me with a couple of songs I know you will enjoy.

So, grab some popcorn (you can do it in this context) and pretend you’re joining me for church!

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