Category Archives: Food

Anthony’s Appetite (Big Bob’s Bar-B-Q)

The following post was written a few years ago. But since I’ve recently been searching for good BBQ, I thought I’d repost this to lend some context. I know what I like 😉

Bar-B-Q

I may have known in the past, but I have forgotten what Bar-B-Q stands for. I don’t know why it is spelled that way, or why other people spell it BBQ. Some people spell it out as Barbecue, but it’s all the same – good eat’n!

If you don’t know what BBQ is, then you may not be from the South…or West…or East…or anywhere animals are smoked and cooked and eaten with coleslaw and banana pudding. One thing’s for sure, if you have never eaten BBQ, you may not be American.

Decatur, Alabama

Not long ago we went to Decatur, Alabama, which is just a few miles southwest of Huntsville, the place with space and rocket museum. Decatur is also the home of Cooks Pest Control.

Back in the mid-90’s I worked for Cooks in Chattanooga, but had to train in Decatur for a month. While at the home office’s training facility, we were encouraged to go to Big Bob’s Bar-B-Q. We were told it was required of us, in order to be good employees, to eat one of Big Bob’s stuffed baked potatoes. We did, and I never forgot it.

That is why when I visited Decatur this time with my family, it was imperative that we go back and eat another potato. You, the reader, needed to hear about it.

Big Spud

Let me tell you, if you want to eat the best Bar-B-Q in the world, Big Bob’s is out to convince you theirs is it. If nothing else, they have the awards and the big-time recognition to back up their claims. But whether or not their BBQ is the best, they have a serious stuffed potato.

This huge potato comes with your choice of pulled pork, beef brisket, or chicken. Under that is cheese, sour cream, butter, and a few other goodies. Believe me, it is a meal and a half. Just don’t eat it if you are on a carb-free diet.

Overall

I won’t say that Big Bob’s is the best BBQ in the world, but it is pretty dang good. And if you want a potato that will hold a quarter of a pig, then Big Bob’s is a place you need to try at least once. You won’t regret it.

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Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Listen to the Locals

“In the Middle Of…”

When I first traveled down to this part of Georgia, having no knowledge of what was around, I used a common term to describe the area. I told others it was “in the middle of nowhere.”

Since then, I have felt bad about saying that. First, unless Warthen was in the middle of nowhere – like some outpost in the middle of Antarctica – the term could be considered derogatory. Coming across as bigoted isn’t helpful.

Secondly, nowhere is actually nowhere; everywhere is somewhere because God is there. In reality, I’m right in the middle of where I’m supposed to be.

So, there’s that.

Listen to the Locals

But when it comes to getting around and finding what you need, the somewhere might not be “nowhere,” but finding anywhere when you’re there can prove difficult, if not leave you stranded with an empty gas tank and no filling station for miles. That is why before you start exploring, listen to the locals!

One of the first things that bothered me (and, I know, this is more of a first-world problem) was that there seemed to be no restaurants. My wife and I had pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that there would be no nice place to go on a date. But what we came to find out was that if we were only willing to drive a few minutes, and if we were willing to trust our local guides, we would find exactly what we were looking for.

For example, last week a couple from our church invited us to join them for a movie and dinner. After the movie, they took us to a steak house. But if we had not trusted the suggestion of our new friends, we wouldn’t have even given the place a chance. I mean this place was the quintessential example of “hole in the wall.” It was literally a steak house.

In front of Tumpies, the “Best little steakhouse this side of Texas.” It’s not too far away in Dublin, GA. It was a house built in the 1880s, but now a great place to eat!

But the food was some of the best I have ever had – ever. It will be a destination when we host friends from out of town.

Another thing that bothered me was that I didn’t think there were any coffee shops around. Again, when I listened to the locals I found out about a great coffee place not far away from where I will be meeting a new preacher friend every week to talk shop.

So, no, my place in the middle of Georgia might not be Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, or the like, but it has everything I thought I was going to miss and everything I need. I mean, come on, it’s got steak and coffee!

Been Where We’re Going

You know, the children of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, were faced with a similar situation when they were about to cross over the Jordan River. In chapter 3, the Lord told Joshua to send the Levites and the Ark of the Covenant ahead of the people. The reason was pretty clear.

“But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between yourselves and the ark. Don’t go near it, so that you can see the way to go, for you haven’t traveled this way before.” – Joshua 3:4 (CSB)

If there is there anyone we should listen to, it’s the Lord. Do you realize there is not a place He has never walked? Do you know there is not a place, not a situation, not a wilderness, where He has not already worn the straight and narrow path?

Think how much time and effort I saved after listening to the locals who’ve lived in this little town for years and years! How much more would all of us benefit if we’d just trust the One who’s already been where we’re going?

If you can trust the locals, you can certainly trust the Lord – He knows where everything is.

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Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Food and Fur

It’s still a work in progress, but take a look at my new writing spot!

It’s not the most comfortable seating position (in relation to the keyboard), but I think I’ll get used to it… Oh, cool! I just lowered my chair and the keyboard’s in a better position! Sweet!

Anyway, it’s been a really long while since I sat down to write a brand new post, so here it goes!

Culture Shocks

Moving to a new city and a new culture brings with it a multitude of “shocks.” You’d think that a distance of 250 miles (201 as the crow flies) wouldn’t make that much of a difference, but you’d be wrong. Life in rural middle Georgia compared to metropolitan Chattanooga (Gig City) is totally different, and some adjustments are easier than others.

For instance, back in the Chattanooga area there are tons of restaurants, and not just the fast-food variety. There, for instance, you can find several very good barbecue restaurants, all within a few miles of each other. Yet, when my wife and I decided we wanted to find some barbecue down here, we had to drive 45 minutes to a place that was open only on Fridays and Saturdays, had outdoor bathrooms, had no air conditioning, and the floor was sawdust.

I asked a lady sitting quietly nearby, “So, tell me about this place.” With matter-of-fact tone and an attitude that gave me the impression she didn’t enjoy strangers asking stupid questions, she replied, “My daddy woke up one day and decided he wanted to sell barbecue, so he did.”

Hey, the food wasn’t bad, but even more, you didn’t have to worry about slipping and falling!

As we find other culinary establishments to visit, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. Should you come visit and get tired of my wife’s cooking, you’ll be better aware of your options.

Critter Shocks

We left not only our daughters behind when we moved away, but we left two little dogs we loved, too. However, even though I have no wagging tails to great me when I walk in the door; there are plenty of wagging tails on the outside.

Imagine waking up your first morning in a new house, sitting down on your front porch to enjoy the cool, misty air while you sip a cup of coffee and read your Bible. Then, imagine looking up to see two dogs trotting down the quiet two-lane road, one with a shoe hanging from its mouth by the strings. With only the sound of a few birds singing in the trees and the faint squeak of the antique glider you’re sitting on going back and forth, imagine saying to yourself – as I did, “Well, that’s different.”

Here in the equivalent of Mayberry, the dogs are happy, wander the neighborhood, enjoy being petted, and steal any shoe left overnight on a front porch. Literally, the very next morning this same dog came from the opposite direction with a different shoe … only this time she came into my yard and dropped it long enough lick my hand and roll on her back to greet me. A neighbor, out for a walk at the same time, hollered from the street, “She’s the community dog … she doesn’t belong to anybody, but she’s a good watchdog … her name is Dog.”

…There’s also the gnats.

Did you know there was such a thing as the “Gnat Belt”?

Well, we are in it!

Continued Observations

Honestly, there’s a lot more I’d like to tell you, but I don’t want to wear out my welcome. If I bore you now, you might not come back. How sad would that be?

I mean, I’ve left my hometown; I’d hate to lose you guys!

So, hug the ones you love, thank the Lord for His blessings, and be on the lookout for some more posts. What I’m learning I’ll certainly share with you 🙂

God bless!

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Things to Do In 2019: Lose an “X”

Honesty Is the Best Policy

OK, I am going to be completely honest with you, dear reader, and the rest of the world – even Dr. Phil…

I’m overweight! 

If the truth be known, I could stand to lose 40 pounds and at least one “X” from my clothing. My current collection is 2 X’s, including an extra “X” for more casual occasions. Believe it or not, my first new suit in years had a coat size of 50R!  I should be in a 44, or less.

Needless to say, I am not as photo-worthy as the sleek version of myself in my header pic, that’s for sure. That’s why I haven’t changed it in the last 8 years!

Not My Temple

But the thing that is so hard to remember when I get a hankering for fresh-baked bread is that this body does not belong to me – it belongs to the Lord.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. – 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 

God not only owns my soul, but He owns this old (literally) body, too. My body is His temple, and I have never been given permission to build any extensions.

Therefore, it is my intention to restore the condition of this fleshly temple, making it more usable and more profitable for the One who owns it in 2019 and beyond.

To do otherwise would be a sin.

Literally.

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin. – James 4:17

 

Oh, and I’ve got to average 83 views a day to break that 30,000 mark.

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Got Leftovers? God Wants Them!

The Meal

Yesterday for Thanksgiving we had a wonderful meal of green bean casserole. macaroni and cheese, rolls, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, giblet gravy, pecan pie, sweet potato pie, and the all-important turkey and dressing.

We had to put an extra leaf in the table to accommodate everyone, but we had fun with the new turkey plates, fancy silverware, and the new tablecloth meant to be written on… yes, we signed our names.

But that turkey – oh my goodness! It was the largest turkey my wife has ever prepared! It weighed 20 pounds! Needless to say, we are going to be eating turkey for a while to come. Including what we freeze for later, there will be turkey sandwiches, turkey pie, breakfast turkey, and late-night turkey snacks up until Christmas.

Leftovers

Yes, one of the best things about Thanksgiving is the leftover turkey. However, not all leftovers are good. Sometimes leftover food should just be thrown away the next day, especially if it’s not properly stored.

When it comes to leftovers, it really all comes down to context, and that was the basis of a sermon I preached at Riverside Baptist Church (my former pastorate) back in 2015. Actually, the sermon I preached was divided into three major points, the Provisional Context, the Praise and Worship Context, and the Personal Context.

If you feel like God can’t use you because you’re too used up, too far past your prime, or yesterday’s news, why not take a few minutes to listen to the sermon I’m linking to below. The audio is not the greatest, but you should be able to understand it well enough.

Find out what God thinks about “Leftovers,” especially now that you’re going to be surrounded by them for the next month 😉

Leftovers (In Three Contexts): a Sermon by Anthony Baker

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Barriers to Church Growth #8 (Selfish Fasting)

A very revealing study was done, leading to a book detailing how 300 churches went from declining or dying, to growing. In Comeback Churches, written by Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson, there is a list of 30 different barriers to church growth. Having received permission from the publisher (B&H Publishing Group), I would like to discuss a different barrier each week.

“People think of fasting as being for themselves.”

Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” – Matthew 6:16-18

Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.” – Isaiah 58:3ff

One of the great tools of prayer is fasting. But before we go off too quickly and label it as a “tool” or a “key” to answered prayer and holiness, consider the motive behind it.

Why do people fast? Why do people abstain from food or drink when they pray. Honestly, many do it only to either be seen by men, or to be thought more highly of by God. Neither are proper motivations for fasting.

It’s all about me…

In today’s church culture there are many who promote various ways and means to health, wealth, and spiritual success. You know the type – they’re constantly begging for you to sow a “seed of faith” into their ministries (or should I say “scams” and “snake oil factories?”). There are even those who promote fasting as a way to becoming more holy (then offer a book in exchange for a gift of any amount above $20).

The real problem with all of that is the fact that it preys on the flesh, the sinful tendency to think of “self” more than the will of God. It may help a televangelist get rich when you sow a “seed,” but it won’t bring you closer to God if you are expecting a hundred-fold return on your “investment.” When it’s “all about me,” God is not glorified.

Not a means to an end…

Without getting into a long study of the topic of fasting, let’s just say that most fasting is done for the wrong reasons. Look at the rest of the verses in Isaiah 58, for example. It was not that the people were avoiding fasting; they were even abusing themselves. Yet, God was not pleased. He was not interested in their fastings. He wanted their hearts.

There are so many ways the church could benefit if we would seek the heart of God, not our own desires. If we sought after God with a pure heart, asking Him to burden us with a desire for the lost and broken, fasting would come naturally. Most examples of fasting in the Bible were not begun with intent, but were the result of brokenness. Most of the time the fast was the result of one’s lack of desire for anything other than hearing from God. How different is that from the modern Christian who gives up a meal or two and expects, in return for their great sacrifice of earthly pleasure, an answer to a selfish prayer?

Fasting should never be a means to an end. It should be the natural result of one who can find no pleasure, no solace, no comfort in anything other than a word from the Bread of Life. Anything else borders on an attempt to manipulate the King of Glory into feeling sorry for us. What’s worse, fasting as a means to an end for a request which is intended to be “consumed upon [our] lusts” is no different than self-mutilization or witchcraft.

God will not grow a church that seeks to glorify itself or seek its own desires, especially if it attempts to bribe God in the process.

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National Coffee Day 2018 – Praise God!

There are some things and people that don’t deserve a “day” for themselves, however…

Today is National Coffee Day.

How am I celebrating?

Well, first of all, I took my cup of coffee and my Bible and went outside and staged a photo. I plan on doing some study on the front porch while sitting in the antique glider, but I don’t plan on studying at this metal table in the front yard. However, it made for a decent photo, don’t you think?

Secondly, I’m going to drink coffee all day. Don’t worry, a lot of it (but not all) will be decaffeinated.

Thirdly, I’m going to pretend I’m going to Krispy Kreme to get a free cup of coffee because I’m not going to drive the 20 miles and then wait in line, only to be tempted to purchase a dozen hot, life-altering donuts (and what’s worse, they now even have a “coffee glazed”).

Fourth, I am going to thank God I’m not living as a Southerner in the Civil War (The War of Northern Aggression) when Yankee embargos kept coffee from being imported. Believe it or not, the average Confederate soldier had to substitute dried dandelion and other nasty stuff for coffee, which actually did have a detrimental effect on morale – and alertness. #*@! Yankees!

Fifth and finally, I’m going to thank God for the coffee bean and the invention of hot water, for, as the Bible clearly says (and I’m actually preaching from this passage tomorrow in my continuing series through the book of James):

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights [He provides the fire to heat the water], with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. – James 1:17 KJV

Praise God for good and perfect coffee.

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