Category Archives: Life/Death

Bodily Exercise Profiteth a Little

The other day I saw a poster on the wall of my physical therapist’s office. I took a picture of it just for you, my readers. 

I thought to myself, “Self, there’s a blog post if I’ve ever seen one.” 

Self replied, “Yes, I believe you are correct, as always. Why not take a photo of it?”

“Already on it,” said I to self. 

“Good play, my boy! Bravo!”

“Yes,” I answered, “I know.”

So, here is the poster, followed by my thoughts. 


By the looks of it, running, golfing, tennis, and swimming can do almost as much harm as good! I mean, exercise could kill you! 

On the other hand, the Apostle Paul didn’t totally dismiss exercise; he admitted there was a “little” profit. 

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. – 1 Timothy 4:8 (KJV)

The thing to remember is that no matter how healthy you become, death is following close behind. It’s our spiritual health that matters most of all. 

How do you exercise? 

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Filed under Christian Living, Life Lessons, Life/Death, salvation

My Daughter’s List

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to get my daughter hitched. However, if you are a young man who can live up to Katie’s high standards, then let’s talk.

And believe me, we will talk first.

A few days ago my daughter Katie (age 20, not far from 21) sent me an email containing a list of what she wanted in a man. Unbelievably, even though she is now a senior at Bryan College, has a beautiful voice, is a fantastic photographer, and bubbles with a personality as lovely as her looks, she still has no marital prospects. Crazy, right?

What’s wrong with you guys??

Do you have, and can you do all the following?

  1. katie-before-the-banquet-at-bryanHas a heart that wants to serve God in every way and serves to refine my heart for Christ
  2. Patient
  3. Respectful to all people and animals
  4. Wants to honor my family
  5. Respects and honors my body
  6. Has a love for children
  7. Lives a healthy lifestyle and encourages me to do the same
  8. Will be respectful of my dietary requirements
  9. Has a strong work ethic with a reasonable plan for life
  10. Will willingly give quality massages (primarily on feet and neck) upon request and out of self will

If you are interested in becoming my son-in-law, you’ll figure out how to get in touch with me. Then, if I think you might possibly make her happy, I’ll forward the info. She has the final word, though.

Any takers?

Oh! I do have a badge (so I have connections), and I firmly believe in the 2nd Amendment. Just FYI.

Visiting Bryan to hear Katie sing her first solo with the choir and full orchestra. She sang Vivaldi.

Visiting Bryan to hear Katie sing her first solo with the choir and full orchestra. She sang Vivaldi.

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Filed under Life/Death, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships and Family

The Woodmore Crash – My Observations

I live in Chattanooga, and I wanted to share with you some of what I witnessed the night of November 21, 2016.

A Tragedy

You’ve probably already heard the news and seen the pictures of bus 366, the one that crashed while carrying students home from Woodmore Elelementary. Maybe you were one of many who have shed tears at the thought of not only the loss, but what all involved have gone through. Certainly, the whole accident – everything about it – was certainly a tragedy.

As of this writing 6 young lives were lost due to the crash, and still 5 more fight for their lives at T. C. Thomson Children’s Hospital here in Chattanooga. Some parents are grieving, while others are desperately praying and hoping for the best. And then there are the first responders who worked the scene of the crash, those who had to recover the broken bodies of children: they will have to live the rest of their lives with memories they’d love to forget.

Yes, it was a tragedy, for everyone involved, including the driver and his family. Lest we forget, he will likely go to prison, and then there will be one more child without a father. Tragic.

My Role

If you didn’t know, I am a Police Chaplain with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. I have been in this role for about a year, doing what I can to minister to those who put their lives on the line to protect us. Thursday night, November 21st, was the first time I was called upon to offer my help in the middle of a catastrophe.

Like many other chaplains, pastors, and ministers from all over the area, I went to one of the locations where parents, family, friends and neighbors, media, and a host of men and women in uniform were gathered. My job, as it were, was to simply offer the “ministry of presence” to whomever I could. People were grieving, fearful, and angry, so I went to offer whatever help I could, even if it was nothing more than my being there.

What I Witnessed

I can’t begin to describe in this short blog post all the pain and suffering I witnessed in the lobby and waiting rooms where hundreds of distraught family members were gathered. Just think, for every one of the 27 that were taken to the hospital there were multiple family and friends waiting for news – news that was long in coming, for it was difficult to identify children when they had no ID’s and all wore the same school uniform.

The hospital estimated that over 800 people came to the children’s emergency room. That’s a lot of worried, grieving people!

Broken Families. There were so many broken – as in divorced and separated – families at the hospital. This became obvious as many of the parents of the children yelled at each other, either in person (where some had to be physically restrained) or over the phone. One father, obviously not the custodial parent, cursed his child’s mother for not letting him see his child. During a time when a group had gathered in a circle, holding hands in prayer, a mother stood ten feet away screaming into her smartphone: “You ain’t never f****** been there when we f****** needed you, so get your f****** ass down here right f****** now!”

Varying Responses. Different people deal with grief in different ways, and this was never more apparent than on Monday night. Some people would hold each other and silently weep. Others would appear emotionless as they walked around or sat and stared. Others would seem calm for one moment, then break out into wails of, “Not my baby! Not my baby!” There was plenty of anger to go around, so many were already talking of law suits and violence. But a few would explode into rage, putting fists through walls, throwing chairs, running through the rooms at full speed and crashing into glass walls and doors (thankfully, none shattered). People were falling onto the floor, rolling and screaming, fighting off anyone who’d try to calm them down.

Great Professionalism. It’s times like this that bring out the best in people. The police officers, EMT’s, firemen, security personnel, hospital staff, and doctors all did their jobs as true professionals. Even though they were certainly affected by all of this, they not only maintained control of their own emotions, but they compassionately managed the traumatic outbursts of others. Even though the medical staff were completely overwhelmed, I never once saw panic in their expressions – only calm assurance that everything possible was being done. Many, if not all, went above and beyond.

Heartbreaking Hopelessness. Without doubt, the hardest thing for me to witness was the hopelessness of some. Actually, there were more than a few family members who grieved in such a way that I was vividly reminded of the words of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13:  “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” Tears came to my own eyes as I listened to cries of loss, the kind of loss that is permanent and hopeless. That was the true tragedy of all this.

What I Learned

I don’t know if I really learned a lot Monday night after the crash, but I was definitely reminded of a a couple of things.

First, coloring is a good thing. Yes, sometimes all one needs is a little distraction in order to deal with trauma. When that distraction is creating something beautiful, all the better.

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Click on the picture to read my interview in the Baptist Press.

Secondly, life is short. Again, I might not have learned anything new Thursday night after the crash of bus 366, but I sure was reminded of something: life is short, no matter how long we live. We never know when our lives will end, so there is never a better time to make things right with God than today.

Please say a prayer or two for the families and all those affected by the tragic crash of bus 366, especially on this Thanksgiving Day. Also, the next time you see a school bus driver doing his/her or job well, say something nice – it’s a tough job.

 

 

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Filed under baptist, current events, General Observations, Life/Death, ministry

The Aging Mr. Potato

The Gift

Last year for my birthday our foreign exchange student from South Korea took it upon herself to make me a present. Because of the resemblance between my bald head and a potato, she hand-crafted a Mr. Potato Head from a REAL potato.

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Being Sentimental

Because I am a sentimental kind of guy, I hate getting rid of gifts, especially the hand-made kind. Therefore, even though the birthday gift was made from a potato, I just couldn’t toss it; I let it lie on my computer desk on top of some CD cases.

A few months later I took the following picture.

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People never thought a potato would simply age without rotting, but mine did. And not only did it age without stinking, it did something I have not been able to accomplish with age…

…grow hair!

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Spud Mirroring Life

Is it “life mirrors fiction,” or “fiction mirrors life”? I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that potatoes evidently mirror my life.

As potatoes age they grow hair, but the hair seems to come out of places other than just the scalp. That’s a lot like real life…like my life. Between my nose and ears I could replace what disappeared from up top.

Another way the aging potato mirrors real life is in the way it shrinks. Even though the mid-section around us guys may increase, over time we all shrivel up into the wrinkled raisin-like reflection of what we used to be.

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Aging is not always a pretty thing to watch, but it is something that is happening all the time. We start off young, but we get old. We start off with a whole life ahead of us, then we find ourselves contemplating the look of our tombstones. For some it only takes a short time, like with Mr. Potato; for others it takes multiple decades.

The results are always the same…we wither and fade away.

For all flesh is as grass [or potatoes], and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  – 1Peter 1:24

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But there is hope!

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. – 1 Peter 1:25

Now, do I bury the poor tater? Or hold on to him another year? You tell me.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Life/Death

I’ll Whine If I Want To

All I know of the lyrics to the old song is, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, CRY if I want to. You would cry too if it happened to you.

Well, it’s my birthday, and I wan’t to cry…sorta.

Maybe more like whine.

The Negatives

First, I had been planning to attend a preaching conference today. It is sponsored by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is being held just outside of Atlanta. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed on a Saturday – on my birthday – at 5:30 a.m. and then drive. I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep in the last few days and I have a knee that’s really hurting, so it wasn’t a good morning to be hitting the road dark and early. So, I’m missing out on something I really wanted to attend. That’s sad.

Secondly, my dadgum knee is killing me! Well, maybe killing is a little extreme, but it hurts to go up stairs, down stairs, use the gas peddle or brake, move it, etc. What did I do to it to make it hurt? Nothing that I know of – other than get older.

Third, after I had regretfully resigned not to go to the conference and sleep in, Jack the dog – which my wife so mercifully let into our room during the night – made it very clear he needed to go outside. So much for sleeping in.

Everyone else is still in bed. Wait, did I hear movement upstairs?

The Positives

First, I woke up, was able to get out of bed with one good knee, and made it outside where the air was fresh. I was able to make it down stairs, make my own coffee, and see and hear the falling leaves that are finally ushering in the fall season.

Second, a dear blogging friend (Jessie Jeanine) is here visiting with us! Because of having to do several other things, including drive a school bus for a football game last night, I’ve been unable to take her to my favorite coffee shop here in Chattanooga, Rembrandt’s. But now that I’m not going to the conference in Atlanta, we can go get some coffee!

Third, I get to spend a little more time in study for tomorrow’s sermons. And really, that’s a good thing; I’ve been a little stressed with finding the time to just sit and meditate on the passage I’m going to be covering…

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. – Luke 12:32

And, you know, I have to make a good impression tomorrow, too. I asked Jessie to tell me if there were any differences between the real me and the person I convey over the internet. She replied, “Wait till after I hear you preach on Sunday.” Pressure!

Incidentally, I want to thank our exchange-student-daughter, Vivian, for giving up her room for a few days and sleeping with Haley so that our guest could have a bed. However, I don’t know what German kids think about southern hospitality at this point – I think they think we’re crazy.

Fourth and finally, “This [is] the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psa 118:24 NKJV

God has been good to me, far more than I deserve – ’cause I don’t deserve anything, really. He even gave me this wonderful day at home to answer the phone, read emails and Facebook, study, drink coffee, and feed off the sympathy of others as my knee aches.

So, forgive me if I whine just a little…but it IS my birthday, after all 😉

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Filed under current events, General Observations, Life/Death, Thanksgiving

Remembering September

“I Will Not Forget; I Will Remember”

I will not forget; I will remember

That horrible morning in early September.

The sight of the tower, bursting with flame.

The second explosion confirming the name:

Terrorism.

I will not forget, though some would like to,

But I cannot un-see the poor souls who jumped to

Their death, rather than burn.

The more we watched, the more we learned

There was more.

It was war.

But just like the passengers of Flight 93,

The fight for freedom rests on you and me.

Will we walk gagged and bound into tyranny’s night?

Will we be silent, or will we fight

For freedom

From terrorism

By just living?

Yes. And I will not forget; I will remember

The day it all changed in early September.

– Anthony C. Baker

 

 

 

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Filed under America, Life/Death, poetry

I’m Totally Heartbroken

Many of you  know what it is like to lose a pet. Many of you know what it is like to lose a family member. Some of you may understand what it is like when you lose a pet that is more than just an animal, but a family member. Well, that’s what my wife and I are going through.

Friday morning our daughter Katie let our little dogs out to do their business…two came back inside, but one didn’t. When I got home from Atlanta Friday night, little Nugget was still nowhere to be found.

We enlisted the aid of neighbors and a couple of church members to help look. All of us drove around our entire neighborhood, calling, praying, and just hoping there would be some sign…but nothing. And now it’s Monday.

Nugget is a Chorkie (Chihuahua/Yorkie), and in a disturbing “coincidence” two other Yorkies are missing from our same part of town. Was he stolen? Will we find him for sale online? We are hoping.

But another possibility is that our little Nugget, a precious little dog we’ve had since October of 2009, when he was only 2 months old, was taken by a coyote. If that’s what happened, well…

You see, a coyote has been seen a couple of times around our house. One night just a week or so ago my wife and daughters came home, got out of the car, and found themselves being threatened by what they thought at first was a fox (they were wrong – it was much bigger than that). It was at that time Nugget, the bravest little dog you’ve ever seen – a dog whose chased off large dogs and dear – wasted no time tearing off after the coyote, running it out of the yard.

My fear is that the coyote showed back up early Friday morning and Nugget got into a fight he couldn’t win. If that’s the case, our little dog died a hero. And if I find that coyote, I’m going to give it a taste of multiple gut-shattering personal defense 9mm rounds. Yes, I will.

Nugget was such a good little dog. For example, he was always obedient and house trained. If we came to the stairs, either in the house or outside, Nugget would always stand and wait for us to go down first…he would never trip us. When offered treats along with the other two dogs, Nugget would always sit back away from them and patiently wait his turn.

"No, I don't want a steak biscuit."

“No, I don’t want a steak biscuit.”

Nugget loved to go for a ride. Many times on Saturdays I would go out to McDonald’s for a cup of coffee. Nugget knew where I was going and would insist to ride along. When I’d get to the drive through Nugget would stand on my leg, put his front paws and head out the window, and practically place his own order – chicken nuggets. And whenever we went to Chick-fil-A, his favorite was a small scoop of ice cream.

Nugget was the only one who would stay up late into the night with my wife during tax season. He would stay right with her, either by her feet or on a little bed she made on her desk. Wherever she would go he would follow. And, yes, he slept with us.

He didn’t shed. He rarely did anything that got him into trouble. He loved to run and be chased. He loved to be held. He thought of himself as more human than the other dogs, for toys were out of the question – he just wanted to be with us.

I know it may sound crazy, but losing Nugget, although not a human child, is almost as painful as losing a human loved one. Nugget was my “little boy.” Because we lived in a house with so many females, Nugget and I would have our “guy time.” Now my little buddy is gone, and there are tears in my eyes and a broken heart in my chest.

My wife and I both are very heartbroken.

Now, some of you may find all this ridiculous. I mean, Nugget was just an animal, right? Sure, but God has created us with the ability to show emotion, to grow attached, and even to love little animals that are so faithful. After all, it could be argued that the best earthly example of agape love is a faithful dog.

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One year old in 2010.

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Making a profile pic.

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Christmas pajamas – for dogs, too.

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Learned behavior? It was always MY pillow, too!

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Jack and Nugget arguing about something, I know not what.

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Running out to meet me as I got off the bus.

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Always ready to play.

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Waiting to place his order, Nugget would even expect chicken from the bank.

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After all the other Easter Sunday family pics, Nugget got to be in one, too.

 

And, should you read this and think of yourself more spiritual than one who would be heartbroken over a dog, consider the following verses:

And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and [also] much cattle? – Jonah 4:11

A righteous [man] regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked [are] cruel. – Proverbs 12:10

We will miss you, Nugget. You were the best.

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Sleep well, buddy. You earned it.

 

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Filed under animals, Life/Death, Struggles and Trials