Category Archives: Countries

Misunderstanding a Christian’s Patriotism

Based on the comments I’ve read in response to a previous post of mine, along with others across the social media spectrum, there seems to be a misunderstanding – even a mischaracterization – of mine and others’ patriotism.

Believe it or not (and some will refuse to), a Christian can love his country, even to the point of sacrificing his life, without turning it into an idol and worshipping it.

I love my country and believe in what the original framers envisioned this nation to be. I believe there’s never been a better Constitution, nor has there ever been a nation whose laws better reflected the fact that all men (and women and children) are created in the image of God and therefore intrinsically valuable and endowed with “certain unalienable rights.”

I believe that the American flag means a lot more than color on cloth and borders within borders.

I’m proud of the fact that the American soldier, despite the failures of policy and leadership, is the first to shed his own blood for the freedom of another, even the one that might hate him. And, yes, I see that as a “Christ-like” quality, but one that is endemic to a Christian ethic, not a parallel worth of deification.

But even though I love my country, I do not worship her. Even though I stand when the National Anthem is played, it’s not a creed I recite. Even though I salute the American flag and am greatly offended when it is disrespected or defaced, it is not an idol – it is not Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue.

As He changes the seasons, so God “removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Daniel 2:21). I worship Him. Before Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh, Emanuel (God with us), I bend my knee.

Nations come and go, but the Lord of lords and King of kings remains the same; it is He that I serve.

Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. – 1 Peter 2:17

Don’t mischaracterize my patriotism: it’s not idol worship; it’s honor and familial love. But when this country and its founding documents have faded into the annals of history; when the only Old Glory still flying is over the old graves of citizens, His praise will be the only thing on my lips as I worship the Eternal King upon His throne.

I’m proud to be an American, but I’m a Christian first and foremost. Blue passport or not, I rejoice that my name is written in the Lamb’s book of life.

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Filed under America, Christianity, Countries, politics

We Preach Jesus! (A Revival Sermon In Africa)

Revival

It has been two years since I went to Zimbabwe. I went there to preach in a series of revival services in two different Baptist churches, both of which were started along with several others by Chinhoyi Baptist in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. Of course, preaching wasn’t all I did; I went with different pastors into various villages, visiting and praying with Christians, evangelizing those who’d never heard the gospel.

The other reason I went to Zimbabwe was to get revived myself. I needed this trip! And, praise be to God, it was life-changing!

Here are some photos from different services.

People starting to show up for church. River of Life met in a tent in a member's front yard.

People starting to show up for church. River of Life met in a tent in a member’s front yard.

image

Worshiping Sunday morning at Dolomite Baptist.

Worshiping Sunday morning at Dolomite Baptist.

Lively and energetic African worship at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Lively and energetic African worship at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Being introduced at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Being introduced at Chinhoyi Baptist.

The Final Service

The final service in which I preached was at Chinhoyi Baptist Church. It was a celebratory farewell service where all of the churches which had hosted our team of three (Dr. Eddy Rushing, Marshall Kellett, and myself) came together as one. And man, was it a service!

The honor was mine to be selected to preach the final service, and what an honor it was. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett were responsible for personally leading scores of people to Christ during this trip, so who was I to be the one to preach? Nevertheless, they asked me, and I jumped at it!

The beginning of the service was full of extremely lively music and dancing – not something the average Baptist in America is used to 😉 When all of that was over, the music shifted to hymns. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett both gave stirring testimonies before the final hymn “Higher Ground” (sung in the native language of Shona) set the tone for the sermon to follow.

Oh, Rev. Luckmann Chiasaru was my interpreter for this service, and man was he good! He even sang with me! Awesome!

Chinhoyi Baptist Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. This congregation hopes to plant a total of 50 new churches in 10 years. They're well on their way!

Chinhoyi Baptist Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. This congregation hopes to plant a total of 50 new churches in 10 years. They’re well on their way!

The following was recorded on an iPhone 6s, then edited on Audacity. I wish it could have been a better recording, but it was all I had. I pray it is a blessing 🙂

CLICK HERE for link to the audio of “We Preach Jesus!”


I went to Zimbabwe to get revived – and I did. Now, if you’d let me, I’d love to come share a little of what God’s given me over the last 2 years with your congregation.

You can reach me at pastoracbaker@yahoo.com., or call 423-645-8884.

 

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Filed under baptist, Countries, Preaching, worship

God SAVE America!

Happy 4th of July!

flagIt has been 242 years since the colonies declared their independence. It was not an easy decision to make, however, and many of the signers paid a heavy price. But John Adams, in a letter to Abigail Adams, said he was “well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it [would] cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.”

So, happy birthday, America! Your birth was a hard and costly one, but well worth the pain.

God Bless America?

Now, each year about this time we sing of our love for America. Irving Berlin wrote a song with a title that is repeated every time one of our presidents closes a speech: God Bless America!

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

However, as I said in past sermon:

“Maybe we should stop asking God to bless America. Maybe we should, on the other hand, be saying, begging, ‘God spare America…God have mercy on America!’ We have already been blessed by God more than any nation deserves, yet what are we doing with those blessings? Where is our thanks to the God who blesses? We are rapidly going down as a nation, so before God completely abandons this nation to the trash heap of fallen empires, we had better be praying God REVIVE America…God SAVE America!…God have MERCY on America!”

Franklin’s Suggestion

Benjamin_Franklin_by_Jean-Baptiste_GreuzeIn 1787, not long after the war with England, representatives sent by the people met in Philadelphia to hammer out what was to be the Constitution of the United States of America. Tensions were high, arguing was accomplishing nothing, and the whole Continental Congress was in danger of falling apart. That was when the great Benjamin Franklin offered the following words…

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.” Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments be Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service. – Source

We are “groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us.”

We are “divided.”

We are “confounded.”

We are becoming a “reproach and a bye word to future ages.”

And what is worse, mankind is leaving the forming of new governments to “chance, war, and conquest.”

Oh that America would cease fighting each other and fall on humble knees before a Holy God and pray!

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. – 1 Timothy 2:1-2

We should be “imploring the assistance of Heaven” before Heaven becomes deaf to our prayers.

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Filed under America, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, God, politics, voting

June 6th… Would We Do It Again?

d day

Seventy-four years have passed since the pride of the Allies, 156,000 strong, stepped out of landing craft and jumped out of airplanes into the mouth of a monster ready to eat them alive.

Seventy-four years have passed since young men from America, England, and Canada (and we must not forget Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland) landed on beaches called Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

Seventy-four years ago, long before the fancy rock-climbing walls which are so popular in today’s health clubs and gyms,  the 2nd Ranger battalion “led the way” up the 100 ft. cliffs of Pointe du Hoc.

Seventy-four years ago, on the 6th of June, 2,499 American and 1,914 from the other Allied nations, a total of 4,413, gave their lives for the sake of freedom.

Seventy-four years ago men were stepping on the backs of their comrades as they sloshed through red water, breathed in the mist of war, and wondered if they would live to see the ground only yards (meters) in front of them.

On June 6, 1944, seventy-four years ago, it was said of those who landed:

They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio broadcast, June 6, 1944

It is the 6th of June, 2018, but are we still a people with the stomach to liberate? If we were the ones living seventy-four years ago, where would we be today?

Ask those who take a knee, or hide in a locker room when the anthem is played.

Ask those who protest the same American flag that their African-American ancestors fought and died for – the same ancestors who fought in segregated units, but were still ferociously proud to be Americans. What did the pilots of the Red Tail Squadron do when the flag was raised and the anthem was played?

For that matter, what did Tuskegee Airmen Dr. Harold Brown, a pilot with the renowned 332nd Fighter Group in World War II (an all-black squadron) say when asked the following question during a recorded conference call: “Why [when the slavery trappings, the discrimination was all there] would you raise your right hand and swear to defend this country?”

“Oh, that’s very, very simple, in my opinion. I was a citizen of the United States of America! This was my country, too! Even though it had some shortcomings, it was still the greatest country in the world. There is no other country I would ever trade for it.” (Feb. 28, 2018)

Ask those who are burning the American flag because “America was never great.”

Ask the protesters who don’t even know why they protest.

image

The reflection pool at the WW2 Memorial in Washington, D.C. Each gold star represents 100 Americans who died or remain missing during the war.

It cost a lot to buy seventy-four years of freedom. Would we do it again?

If we could get them out of the locker rooms, maybe. But first, they would have to be willing to fight to defend something, and too many no longer believe what was purchased with the blood of others is worth fighting for.

Would we be willing to do it again?

If not, God help us.

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Filed under America, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, General Observations, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials, World View

The Magnificent Fifty: Foundation of Faith (Missouri)

Jefferson City, Missouri (Artist: Susan Cassidy Wilhoit)

Missouri Constitution, Article I, Section 5 (1845)

That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship God…


Just think how different North Korea could be if this one, simple sentence could be a part of their constitution?

What makes America different? This! Freedom of …OF – not “from”… religion. Specifically, the right to worship God, not man.

Give the FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation) what they want and we’ll end up like every other dictatorial society whose people live in bondage. Because like Bob Dylan said,

Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

I’d rather serve God, than man.


To read the introduction to and purpose of this series, CLICK HERE.

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Filed under America, Apologetics, Countries, Culture Wars, God, politics, The Magnificent Fifty

June 6th… Would We Do It Again?

d day

Seventy-three years have passed since the pride of the Allies, 156,000 strong, stepped out of landing craft and jumped out of airplanes into the mouth of a monster ready to eat them alive.

Seventy-three years have passed since young men from America, England, and Canada (and we must not forget Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland) landed on beaches called Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

Seventy-three years ago, long before the fancy rock-climbing walls which are so popular in today’s health clubs and gyms,  the 2nd Ranger battalion “led the way” up the 100 ft. cliffs of Pointe du Hoc.

Seventy-three years ago, on the 6th of June, 2,499 American and 1,914 from the other Allied nations, a total of 4,413, gave their lives for the sake of freedom.

Seventy-three years ago men were stepping on the backs of their comrades as they sloshed through red water, breathed in the mist of war, and wondered if they would live to see the ground only yards (meters) in front of them.

On June 6, 1944, seventy-three years ago, it was said of those who landed:

They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio broadcast, June 6, 1944

It is the 6th of June, 2017, but are we still a people with the stomach to liberate? If we were the ones living seventy-three years ago, where would we be today?

Ask those in pajamas talking on free smart phones. Ask the protesters who don’t even know why they protest. Ask those who are burning the American flag because “America was never great.”

image

It cost a lot to buy seventy-three years of freedom. Would we do it again?

If not, God help us.

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Filed under America, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, General Observations, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials, World View

Crying In Verona

Katie, is traveling with the Bryan College Choir in Europe this summer. She is thoroughly enjoying getting the opportunity to sing in extraordinary places, the likes of which most of us only dream of visiting.

Her first stop was in Venice, Italy, where they spent a couple of days.

By the canals in Venice

The next stop, the best I can tell, was Verona.

Katie in Verona, Italy.

Below is a picture she sent from inside the Arena di Verona (a miniature version of the coliseum in Rome).

But more than just visiting incredibly beautiful historic sites, Katie has had the chance to minister to many unbelievers with the art of music – Christian music. And it is this ministry – the real reason why the Bryan College Choir is there – that ultimately led Katie to send the following message via Facebook Messenger.

Sang at a nursing home today. I cried and cried. This is virtually a zero-zone. There are almost no Christians in this region. The place we were at today said that every time evangelicals come there is a peace that follows, but they still don’t know Him…
Two of my friends and myself had to just stop and weep and pray. We huddled together and each prayed that God would leave an impression and a witness with them as we left..
I feel like a real missionary here. Even though I don’t know that people are accepting Christ, I know that He is working. Even though these people are atheist, I can see that they are receptive…
I could easily come back and live here as a Christ-worker.

THAT was exactly the response I was hoping for! THAT is what a true believer in Jesus Christ, one who has an actual relationship with Him, when they get to experience something of what the Apostle Paul experienced when he observed while waiting on his friends in Athens (Acts 17:16). His spirit was “stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.”

Wherever God ultimately leads my daughter, my prayer is that this trip will stir up in her a greater zeal for sharing the Gospel that brings hope and peace, the kind the world – wherever you are in it – cannot provide.

In the meantime, may our hearts be broken, and may we fall to our knees in prayer, weeping, when we consider the those who do not know Jesus.

It’s what “Christ-workers” do.

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Filed under Christianity, Countries, Jesus, Witnessing