Category Archives: ministry

We’re Only Human (but we’re called to be holy)

Dr. Anthony and Valerie Baker

For many years I was under the impression that pastors were closer to God than the rest of us church goers. My father, already my hero, was a pastor, so thinking that way probably came naturally.

However, over the past few decades of ministry I’ve come to realize there is very little in the average pastor that’s different from anyone else. We have our times of frustration, moments of self-doubt, and occasionally mess up. We don’t have all the answers, nor do we know all the questions to ask. We are only human. 

Yet, what is true for the pastor is true for everyone; we are called to be holy. In 1 Peter 1:16 we read, “…be ye holy, for I am holy.” This is impossible, of course, without Jesus Christ living within us. He not only makes us holy (set apart) by giving us His life, but His life lived through us makes us more and more like Him. The new life we have in Jesus, living and working through us, along with our obedience to the Word of God, not only sets us apart from the world; it makes us capable of reaching the world!

This week someone asked me, “How do you preach?” “Well, I don’t scream hell fire and damnation, if that’s what you mean,” I replied. “However, I call sin what it is when I need to,” I continued. “But the big difference is that I try to preach like I’m the one sitting in the pew.”

Look, if you think I look down from the pulpit with a holier-than-thou attitude, trust me, I don’t. As a matter of fact, it is only by the grace of God that I am where I am. He has called me and gifted me for a specific role, but that doesn’t make me a better person, only one whose house is made of glass (figuratively, of course). Just ask my wife and daughters.

No, because I’m a sinner saved by grace, the call to be “holy as I am holy” is as convicting to me when I preach it as when I’m in the pew on the receiving end. The difference between the congregation and myself, as with any pastor, is that I have been given the responsibility to share the message faithfully and boldly. God is holding me accountable.

This Sunday don’t think of your pastor as a man who’s “preaching” at you; think of him as a fellow servant of God trying to complete the task before him with faithfulness to the message, even if it preaches at him.

He probably needs it.

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, ministry, Preaching

The Least of These

If you are already following my other blog, WallHoleCoverings.com, then you have probably already seen a post about this painting.

If you have not seen the other post, then please KEEP READING.

Last night I finished a piece I have entitled “The Least of These.” I based it on a photo I took of a Christian worker in a Muslim-owned brick kiln in Pakistan.

My hope is to raise funds to help buy people like this brother and his family out of debt and out of this literal slavery.

So many people in Pakistan live in poverty. Of the Christians that live there, the majority of them live in abject poverty. This is not simply a matter of choice, but opportunity. With a near 98% Muslim population in a Muslim country, the Christians are not afforded the same opportunities and are often forced to do the hardest work.

Those who work at the kilns are required to have their whole families live there in horrible conditions. They live there until the debt they owe is paid off. That, of course, is the catch. Most often, even though the goal might have been to pay off a small loan for food or medical expenses (usually no more than $200), families wind up working for generations paying off accumulated fees and additional loans attached to the little salary they receive.

Working with Grace Charity Schools in Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, I will be using funds raised from the sale of this and other paintings and prints to rescue these families from indentured slavery and help them start over.

For every gift from $20-$50, I will send you a simple semi-matte print in your choice of size (5″x7″ and up), shipping included.

For every gift OVER $50, I will send you an 8.5″x11″ Sommerset Giclee reproduction print.

For any gift of $75 or more, I will send you a signed and artist-enhanced Sommerset Giclee reproduction (I will enhance the print with actual paint).

Please click on the following link to visit Wall Hole Coverings if you would like to donate. You will see a PayPal link at the bottom of the post.

Thanks!

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Filed under art, fundraising, ministry, Pakistan

Innocent Until Accused?

I know that what I am about to share with you could be taken the wrong way. Therefore, I am going to do everything I can to keep that from happening. Please read the following bullet points.

  • Sexual misconduct is a sin, but it’s also a disqualifier for ministry leadership.
  • Sexual misconduct, particularly assault, but not exclusively, is a crime which should not be tolerated.
  • Any sexual misconduct that is reported should immediately be turned over to the proper authorities. Nothing is to be handled internally.
  • All accusations of sexual misconduct should be taken seriously and investigated.
  • Alleged victims should be treated with compassion and respect.
  • Sexual assault, especially by a trusted leader or mentor, is monstrous and deserving of punishment to the fullest extent of the law.

Next, I would like to remind you that my family and I have had to endure the pain of sexual misconduct and abuse. We have personal experience with the legal and judicial process, also. Even more, I carry with me the guilt of having not seen the red flags early enough and the shame of having believed the denials and lies of a sexual predator.

So, my point is this: Don’t get on a podium and preach to me about this subject, especially when I say what I’m about to say; I know of which I speak.

Accusations are not proof of guilt. Denials are not proof of innocence. Therefore, when it comes to accusations of sexual misconduct, the accused deserves to be treated as innocent until proven guilty. That’s not only constitutional; it’s biblical.

Unfortunately, especially for those in ministry, accusations are about as damaging and destructive as a conviction. Because of how our legal system works, it is possible for a good defense attorney to get an actual offender cleared of all charges. Therefore, though technically innocent (or “not guilty”), it is feasible for the accused to still be guilty, though not punished. The result is perpetual suspicion that the accused is guilty, regardless the evidence.

Let me be honest, I believe once a sexual predator, always a sexual predator. I didn’t used to believe that, but my opinions changed several years ago. Therefore, if you’ve ever been convicted of a sex crime, don’t ever expect to come to a church I pastor and think you’re going to be treated the same as everyone else. It doesn’t matter if you’ve repented; I can’t take the risk with my sheep. But what do I do with those who’ve been accused, yet never convicted?

This all came to the forefront this week when news that the Guidestone report on the investigation of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Board was released. In it are damning allegations of sexual misconduct, even assault, by not only individuals on the board, but also evidence that misconduct in local churches by pastors was covered up.

So, what we now have are major influential ministries and ministers in the Southern Baptist Convention having to step down from their respective positions, see their incomes taken away, and be forced to live with the ever-present stain of disqualification, guilty or not. This is where I have a huge problem.

Tragically, this conundrum affects both parties involved. The victims often find it difficult to be believed and often have their character destroyed in trial by the defense. Those who are accused are often considered too risky to keep around and therefore lose everything in the process of proving their innocence. All the while, those of us on the outside rarely receive enough credible information to make an informed decision and we’re often the products of our own biases (i.e., “always believe the woman,” or “it’s always political”).

As hard as it may be, the fact is that we need to remember a fundamental doctrine in our system of law – everyone is innocent until proven guilty. It is NOT the other way around. Although the accusations may be disgusting and horrible, we are not guilty of them until proven. We cannot continue to allow the accusation of sin be the conviction of sin.

By the way, it’s pronounced “uh-salt,” NOT “uh-sult.”

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Filed under abuse, current events, ministry, wisdom

I Went to Pakistan (Part 6): The Power Point Video

Greetings and all that good stuff! This is the day that the Lord has made, so get happy!

Today (Thursday) at 9 a.m. (eastern), a video I made premiered on YouTube. The video is of a Power Point presentation, one that I delivered on Discord, but few had the chance to see.

This YouTube video contains me narrating the presentation, which also contains video of things in Pakistan.

One thing important to note, however, is that in one of the videos you will see a big bus nearly hit us head-on. We call them “killer busses,” because they don’t slow down for anything. Sadly, Victor Sammuel and his family were in an accident yesterday in volving one of these “killers.” It nearly killed them!

Only by the grace of God did Victor, Sophia, Jamal, and Zoe escape the accident without injury. The Toyota Camry they were driving, on the other hand, did not fare well. It will need to be replaced, and they don’t have insurance. If you can help toward this, let me know.

The bus never stopped, either.

Please, when you have the time, watch the PowerPoint presentation I made. I would love to hear your thoughts.

God bless!

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A Special Request – No Joke

DATELINE: Warthen, Georgia, USA
March 26, 2022
Subject: Victor’s Birthday and Needed Books

Greetings in the Name of Jesus!

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Dr. Anthony C. Baker, the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Warthen, Georgia. However, you can just call me Brother Anthony, or “preacher,” or whatever. I’m just a regular guy.

The reason I am writing is to ask of you something very important, and it’s something that I can testify without any reservation to its validity – Brother Victor Samuel is becoming an older man … and he needs a birthday gift.

Now, when I say, “he needs a birthday gift,” I’m not asking that you send him a new tie or a gift card to Cracker Barrell (which he needs to experience one day). No, Victor has asked me to make it very clear that he has enough clothes, and he rarely wears ties, anyway. And as for gift certificates to restaurants, well, they don’t sell bacon in Pakistan, so don’t bother.

Seriously, though, Victor has only one request for his birthday tomorrow (the 27th), and that is for donations toward purchasing the desperately needed schoolbooks for this year. As it is right now, classes at Grace Charity Schools are having to be held back because they don’t have the needed materials.

What kind of cost are we talking about? Well, the total is around $7,000. WHAT! Yes, around $7k. I know that’s a lot for a birthday gift, but it’s not like he’s asking for a second-hand Rolex or a used Toyota. No, in celebration of Victor Sammuel’s birthday, and the fact that, somehow, he has survived another year of Pakistani traffic (which is certifiably insane), all he is asking – along with me – is that you would consider giving generously to help buy these books.

As you may know by now, I have made the trip to Pakistan to see with my own eyes the works in Toba Tek Singh and Kamalia. Folks, all joking aside, these schools are saving not only souls, but also the lives of hundreds of children. I’ve been there. I’ve seen it. The need is real.

I know Victor is notorious for asking for money. What? Did I just type that out loud? Yeah, I did. It’s like every time we turn around or click on Facebook, there he is asking, “Hey brother! How are you?” But honestly, if you were in his position, one in which 98% of your funding came from outside donations, what would you do? Part of it has to do with the culture in which he lives, but most of it comes from a sincere heart for reaching the families working in the brick kilns. He is their voice, too.

So, would you help? Would you kindly and gently twist the arm of a loved one or friend? Is there a crack in your child’s piggy bank? Is there any way you could help get these books purchased so 400 plus children can go to school, learn, and not have to stay in the fields making bricks?

You can contact me directly by calling my cell phone, texting me, messaging me on Facebook, or emailing me. You can send money yourself, or you can forward it to me using Venmo, PayPal, etc. Whatever you send and however you send it, when I receive it I will then send it via Western Union. I will pay the sending fees.

My contact info is as follows.
Phone: 423-645-8884
email: PastorACBaker@yahoo.com

Church Info:   Bethlehem Baptist Church
                        95 Bethlehem Church Road
                        Warthen, GA 31094
                        On Facebook @BethlehemBaptistWarthen

Shoe size: 9.5EEE

God bless each and every one of you!

Your fellow servant in Christ,
Brother Anthony

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I Went to Pakistan (Part 2) “Knowing”

There are always going to be people who question your plans. Not even the Apostle Paul was immune from the naysaying that came not from enemies, but from his most trusted companions. That’s not saying I’m anything like Paul, but I can sympathize with him.

When I made known my desire to go to Pakistan, as I said before, not one single person within my circle of friends and family approved. No, it was more like, “Yeah, riiiight.” And when they were not laughingly questioning my sanity, they were outright warning me that I would probably be killed or kidnapped – then killed.

But like when Paul knew that it was God’s will for him to go to Jerusalem, even though everyone advised against it (Acts 21:12-14), I knew that it was God who was opening the door for me to make this trip.

But how did I know? This is a question that deserves discussing.

How was I so sure that God was leading me to visit Pakistan? How could I be sure that it wasn’t my own desires, my thirst for adventure, or some deep-seated need to prove myself? Granted, the adventure was compelling and there was certainly a need to prove something about myself, but I also wanted to “prove” God!

As a pastor, people look to me for spiritual guidance. They look to me for answers regarding the Bible and how one’s faith can be applicable to life. Yet, when the rubber meets the hot asphalt, most Christians forget from where I power comes. The average Christian keeps the battle-winning Captain of the Lord of Hosts relegated to the cute stories told in Sunday School and forgets that He is still the Conquering King. Therefore, it’s no wonder they were worried for me – they were forgetting Whom they served!

I’ve been forced to put my God to the test in the past, and He was faithful as He promised. I’ve also witnessed Him supernaturally deliver me from a would-be killer who had planned to put a bullet in my head (while I was delivering pizza in Hopkinsville, KY). And, honestly, it’s because of these things, and others, that I kind of felt like young David when he was questioned about going up against Goliath (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

Friends, do you serve the living God that delivered David from the lion, the bear, and Goliath? Do you serve the God who delivered His people out of Egypt? Do you serve the God who opens prison doors? Do you serve the Mighty God who told Joshua, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest (Joshua 1:9)”?

If you do – if you serve the God of David, Daniel, Moses, Joshua, etc. – then maybe you can understand the frustration and indignation I felt. If this trip was being orchestrated by the true and living God, then I believed without a doubt that He would take care of me.

But once again, was this trip put on my heart by God, or was I just seeking a thrill?

I guess the answer is simple to me, but unless you know what it’s like to walk with the Lord for a while it might sound crazy. What it amounts to is a legal term I learned when my youngest daughter competed in mock trial – “preponderance of evidence.” In other words, knowing the will of God for one’s life rarely comes down to one thing or another, but a combination of things, even a culmination of affirmations.

Consider the following points:

  • There was definitely a need in Pakistan
  • I have been supporting a ministry for years, even risking my own reputation
  • A plea was made for me to come
  • There was a clear and distinct objective my going would accomplish
  • There had been much prayer
  • My original feelings were a big “NO!”, but my heart became burdened over time
  • A sense of urgency existed
  • Not going would only serve to relieve me of danger, but the ministry abroad would only suffer
  • Now, more than ever before, my position and reputation could prove invaluable to others in need
  • People were willing to give generously when they knew I was actually going.
  • My going would have a direct impact on life and death circumstances involving hundreds of children.
  • I was never, ever, not once afraid or intimidated, nor did I doubt that God would provide the means to do everything that needed to be done.
  • I wanted people to see the God we serve is still the God of the Bible and Joshua 1:9 still applies!

It wasn’t one thing; it was multiple things! And on top of all that, when we seek to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh, His desires become our desires.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. – Psalm 37:4-5 KJV

But there’s one more thing. God could have stopped this trip many times. I even asked Him to stop me from moving forward with it if it was against His will. Yet, doors kept opening and I could do nothing less than walk forward till they closed.


Stay tuned! Next time I will address the actual objectives this trip to Pakistan was meant to accomplish.

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Filed under Countries, Faith, ministry, Witnessing

I Went to Pakistan (Part 1) “Introduction”

The looks on the faces were not encouraging. When I told my wife and family, including my friends and church family, that I felt God wanted me to visit Pakistan, no one – not one – smiled with approval.

As a matter of fact, it was at least four or five years ago that Pastor Victor Sammuel of Grace Charity Schools asked me to come see the work there in Toba Tek Singh, a small town in the Punjab district. But when he first asked me to visit, the reflection of my face in a mirror would have mirrored the ones I was now seeing. You know, the kind with raised eyebrows and a slightly tilted head?

“I’ll pray about it,” was my typical response. But the actual prayers were more like: “God, did you hear what Victor asked me to do? Can you believe him? That would be crazy! I have NO desire to go there, and I don’t think YOU want me to go, either.”

However, time and association have a way of replacing apprehensions with burdens. As the Lord allowed me to be in a unique situation which caused me to become more and more involved with the work there in Pakistan, the more familiar I became with the needs. Yet, as I would share what I learned with others, skepticism remained. Honestly, I couldn’t blame them.

Even when I told the deacons in the church where I pastor that I wanted to go, their skepticism became evident when they immediately began discussing the possibility I was walking into a trap! “How do we know Victor Sammuel is who he really says he is?” one asked. “How do we know you’re not being set up?”

I didn’t. But I trusted God.

And that’s one of the main reasons I wanted – I needed – to go to Pakistan! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to defend myself for giving to a ministry I’ve never seen in person and a man that continually asked for money. If for no other reason, going to Pakistan would either clear Victor Sammuel’s name and my reputation for discernment, or it would confirm the skeptics were right all along and I had been snookered.

Hopefully, finding out I was being scammed would be the worst that would happen. But as everyone knows, Pakistan isn’t known for its Christian-loving hospitality. A lot worse could happen, especially since I would be going it alone.


Stay tuned for the next post! I will continue to unpack the story of my once-in-a-lifetime trip to the land of “killer busses.”

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Filed under ministry, places

The Great Adventure

Friends, I would like to ask you simply to keep me in your prayers the next couple of weeks. I’m going on a great adventure and even though I’m not fearful, I am nervous.

Some of you may know where I am going. However, because of the sensitive nature of the adventure, I would appreciate you not publicly spilling the beans as I try to remain under the radar. It doesn’t help matters that Putin has started his nonsense and put the world on alert.

Despite what is happening in the geopolitical world, there is a fundamental truth that will never change: People need Jesus! Beyond that, churches still need pastors and pastors need encouragement, along with all the help they can get to combat against doctrinal and theological error.

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

1 Timothy 4:16

Therefore, I am going alone – physically – to a place I’ve never been to before. I’m going alone, quite frankly, because nobody else dares go with me. That’s OK, and I don’t blame them, especially those who feel confident that God is not leading them to accompany me. Yet, I know I won’t be totally alone, and I am not even referring to the armed security that will be accompanying me the whole time.

The Holy Spirit will be with me!

And I know many, many brothers and sisters will be praying for me, too.

And speaking of prayer, may I ask that you pray for the following?

  • That all the COVID-19 rapid tests will come back negative for COVID.
  • That I will be able to bring all that I need in the luggage I am taking.
  • For safety to and from the airport Monday morning, and that includes the safety of my dear wife who will be taking me.
  • For my family to rest in the peace of Christ while I’m gone.
  • That my dog George will not be depressed and stop eating while I am gone – seriously.
  • For safe travels to and from the destination. I hate flying these days.
  • For safe commuting while abroad, for where I am going traffic rules barely exist.
  • For a clear understanding of what God wants me to preach and teach while there.
  • For me not to get sick from any contaminated water or food.
  • For the safety of the pastors who will be attending meetings.
  • That funding will be more than adequate for the needs.
  • That lasting relationships will be fostered.
  • That the sermons and lectures (i.e., during the pastors’ conferences) will be seamlessly translated and understood.
  • That all involved will experience spiritual revival (including YOU).
  • That God will bless all those who have generously contributed to the needs of this Great Adventure.

Now, to sum this up for today, back in the 1990’s Steven Curtis Chapman released a great song along with a great music video. It was called “The Great Adventure.” This will be my theme.

This is the Great Adventure!

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Filed under ministry, Revival, worship

A Homemade Commercial for My Book

Look, I don’t have a couple of grand to spend on marketing. Yes, I know that the publisher can do things I can’t. But dang! I just can’t fork out that kind of money for some polished video and other bells and whistles.

However, given that I have an iPhone and a little creativity, nothing stopped me from making my OWN video! I know, it’s a lot longer than the kind the big marketing folk make, but who cares?

I can edit later, if needed, but I hope you like this version.

Sit back and enjoy the movie 😉

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I Can’t Change the Subtitle. It Stays.

Recently I shared with some close friends and others for which I have great respect the first example of a potential cover for my next book. I wanted input, but mainly on the layout, graphics, etc. However, a few of them took a slight issue with the subtitle: “Reinventing Door-to-Door Ministry for a Calloused Culture and a Cowardly Church.”

What did they say about it? Well, maybe what you are thinking, too. They advised I tone it down, if only a little, because a lot of church folk have “thin skin.” That’s a no brainer.

However, not to be obstinate, but if I change the title of a book that is designed to specifically address the actual cowardice running rampant in a large part of the Church, would I not be guilty of the same?

I just can’t change it. It has to stay.

But if it helps, let me share with you the short introduction to “You’re Our Street of the Week: Reinventing Door-to-Door Ministry for a Calloused Culture and a Cowardly Church.”


The Introduction

Thank you so much for either picking up a copy or downloading the digital version of this manual for developing a “Street of the Week” outreach ministry. It is a tremendous blessing to me that you have the desire to reach your community with the love and message of Jesus Christ!

            When you read the subtitle, did it shock you? You know, the part where I called the Church cowardly? I can sympathize. Honestly, it stung my spirit a little when I typed it for the first time. After all, we are the Church Triumphant marching toward Zion, and not even the gates of hell can stand against us! Yet, no scientific survey is needed to conclude that most professing Christians – even active church members – are terrified of knocking on a stranger’s door, even in their own community!

            But it’s not just the fearful saint; it’s the cynical and suspicious public that’s grown calloused to door-to-door visits. And it’s not just Christians they distrust; it’s every stranger who shows up uninvited and unannounced to their front door. There used to be a day in America when a person could make a living going door-to-door selling vacuum cleaners, brushes, encyclopedias, life insurance, and even Bibles! People were more trusting, more hospitable, and even naïve. Not today. No way!

            People have caught on and don’t want to be “sold” anything, especially from somebody who rudely interrupted their evening meal. On top of that, the average Christian is either too nice to bother anyone or too intimidated by the “don’t judge me” culture to openly share their faith.

            So, how are the instructions in this little book supposed to change anything? What in this book is going to re-vitalize an obsolete, antiquated, and polarizing church ministry which strikes fear into nearly every believer? Will the instructions within calm nerves, stop knees from quaking, and miraculously inject the courage of a lion into the participant’s heart?

            YES! I am bold enough to promise that YES, it will do just that! But there’s only one…and it’s a biggie…just one BIG requirement. Are you ready for it?


The draft is still with the editors, but it won’t be too long till it’s finished and available.

Stay tuned 🙂

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