Category Archives: poetry

I’ll Stay Where I Am

“The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.” – Proverbs 21:12

Envy

A sin “that doth so easily beset” us is the sin of envy. In other words, envy is something most humans battle with on a regular basis, especially when they live paycheck-to-paycheck. Envy is an ever-present danger.

In a world where most people do their best just to get by, it is hard not to envy the rich and famous with their Hollywood “cribs,” their sports cars, their exotic vacations, the best clothes, and the best-looking friends and temporary spouses. If given the opportunity, many of us would exchange our house for theirs in a heartbeat. On the surface, which is all we normally see, everything seems better on the other side of the fence.

Envy, however, is a blindfold over the eyes of wisdom.

Seeing Clearly

See with discerning eyes and “consider” the house of the wicked. Is it really all it is made out to be? Is it really worth desiring over a life filled with suffering, sacrifice, and want? What do the wicked have that should entice the righteous?

My favorite Shakespearean sonnet is number 29. It speaks of a man feeling sorry for himself, hating himself, and wishing to be like others “more rich in hope.” Yet, in the end, he sees the truth: that love makes one more wealthy than the richest of kings.

shakespeareWhen in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Love Possessed 

No one knows for sure to who’s “love” Shakespeare was referring. I am thankful that he did not get specific, for when I read Sonnet 29 two different loves come to mind: the love of my wife and the love of God.

When I consider the house of the wicked, as Solomon suggests, I see a lot of “stuff.” What I don’t see is love without lust, peace without prescriptions, or comfort without consequences. Why would I exchange the unconditional love of a godly wife for conditional, revolving-door relationships that evaporate the soul?

But even more, when I remember the love of God, I would rather be a pauper than a king. His love brings everlasting wealth, the likes of which the wicked will ever know. Why should I desire to leave the house of the Lord for one which will be “overthrown”?

I think I’ll stay right where I am.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Life Lessons, poetry

I’m Just a Simple Preacher

“Simple Preacher”

I’m just a simple ol’ preacher
I know what I know, I think
But when I’m around the scholars
I find that my knowledge stinks

They impress with their didactic polemics
And their proofs of amanuenses
But at the risk of sounding solipsistic
I know that I know I have Jesus

– Anthony Baker

 

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Filed under God, poetry, Preaching

Poetry: Is It That Simple? Or, Do Cooling Cookies Feel?

Simple Rhymes

I never had a problem making simple rhymes. It always came real easy; I did it all the time. So when, in school, the teacher said, “Today, we will be writing verse,” I lept for joy and grabbed my pen, while other students cursed.

It’s also one of the many reasons I love The Princess Bride. The following scene left me splitting my side.

Advanced Poetry

But when it comes to the more complicated kind, my poetry skills fall way behind. Like just today, I read a piece that was slicker than butter in bacon grease. Yet, try as I might to comprehend it, it was too aloof for me to apprehend it. It seemed to make absolutely no sense, like putting a cat inside a fence. However, I knew, it wasn’t the poet; I was simply naive, as my comment doth show it.

I thought and I thought, I wrought and I wrought, until a moment of inspiration! “I know what,” I thought to myself, “I’ve too much preparation!”

I must start with a premise, a theme, or current event, then write with philosophic self-aggrandizement. It doesn’t matter if there’s no rhyming or detectable meter. All one really needs are random thoughts, the more confusing the better.

Heck, what makes it even better is when the poet refuziz to conform to societal norms, standard: punctuation, & ^ CAPitalization rules? get it?

Therefore, if you’ve yet to see through it, my theory is really that anyone can do it.

“Cooling Cookies”

I tried BBB’s “monster cookie” recipe 🙂 Click on picture for link.

Fourteen cookies on a cooling sheet, lying there, cooling there.
Fourteen, cookies. Numbers on a sheet. Only numbers.

Why must the raindrops fall from clouds? Are not oats round?
Hot. Cool. And now the bed is hot, too. The silence is dephning.

Meet me in St. Louis, if Louis is really that saintly. Did he play the trumpet?
Fourteen notes, like fourteen cookies, falling like spit from a trap.

Eat them! Do not lick them! They have cooled.
And when you have eaten them, you’ll turn your back on them.
Stooled.

– by Anthony C. Baker

 

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Filed under Food, poetry, writing

Simple Preacher

“Simple Preacher”

What I am is just a simple ol’ preacher.
And what I know’s been s’ficient so far.
But when I get around some of them scholars,
They go and act like my knowin’s sub par!

They impress with their didactic polemics
And their proofs of amanuenses,
But at the risk of sounding simply solipsistic,
I just know that I know I have Jesus.

– Anthony Baker

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Filed under God, poetry, Preaching

“What Is Good About Good Friday?”

“What Is Good About Good Friday?

The other day I heard a man,
A man of radio fame,
A man who wrote a book about God, Faith, and Reason.
It really doesn’t matter his name.

This man has degrees; he’s paid his dues.
I’m sure he could teach us some lessons.
But this worldly-wise man proved unwise indeed
When he posed the following question…

“What is good about Good Friday?”

It wasn’t a joke, please understand;
He genuinely wanted to know!
This educated doctor with millions of books sold
Was clueless on his radio show.

What is good about Good Friday?

The greatest crime committed by man…
A day which should be most infamous
Was the bait and switch that fooled the Devil
And set up the Day most glorious!

On that Friday God’s love was manifest
The greatest Love in history.
But this man with one question exposed his ignorance
When the Cross to him was a mystery.

-Anthony Baker

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Filed under Easter, Jesus, Love of God, poetry

“What Is Good About Good Friday?”

“What Is Good About Good Friday?

The other day I heard a man,
A man of radio fame,
A man who wrote a book about God, Faith, and Reason.
It really doesn’t matter his name.

This man has degrees; he’s paid his dues.
I’m sure he could teach us some lessons.
But this worldly-wise man proved unwise indeed
When he posed the following question…

“What is good about Good Friday?”

It wasn’t a joke, please understand;
He genuinely wanted to know!
This educated doctor with millions of books sold
Was clueless on his radio show.

What is good about Good Friday?

The greatest crime committed by man…
A day which should be most infamous
Was the bait and switch that fooled the Devil
And set up the Day most glorious!

On that Friday God’s love was manifest
The greatest Love in history.
But this man with one question exposed his ignorance
When the Cross to him was a mystery.

-Anthony Baker

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Filed under Easter, Jesus, Love of God, poetry

Bedtime Praise

Now I lay me down to sleep.

I do not fear; my soul He keeps.

If I should die before I wake,

Alive I’ll wake beyond the gate. 

Hallelujah, amen! 

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Filed under Life/Death, poetry, Prayer

A Poem for Friday Repeated

Back in 2012 I was going full-steam in seminary, pastoring a church, and had a wife that was desperately ill with fibromyalgia. It was a pretty tense time around the Baker house, to say the least. Some things change; some things remain the same.

So, you see, I was going to write a post about not being ashamed of Jesus, but I will save that for tomorrow or Sunday. In the meantime, I will just share this poem I wrote back in 2012 while I help my wife finish some tax returns, eat some oatmeal, scrounge up some gas money for later, and do a little praying before I get back on the school bus this afternoon.

The following is a complete rip-off of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” song that everyone – including myself – hated. Funny thing, I still sing it to myself EVERY Friday morning!

“It’s Friday”

Eight a.m. waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go down stairs
Hot cup of tea, butter on raisin toast
Plagiarize a song by a girl with Black hair.
 
Got a mid-term that’s due tonight
Seminary’s really try’n to kick my buns.
Still gotta finish a honey-do list
Being out of work is fun, fun, fun!
 
Friday! It’s Friday! Out of work this Friday!
Studying and reading. Gettin’ ready for this Sunday.
Friday, Friday, gettin’ down on Friday.
Need to exercise and take my morning multi-vitamin for men.
 
Wife stayed up for two days straight
Now’s she’s in bed and can’t stay awake
Gotta figure out what’s wrong with her
Don’t know if much more she can take.
 
Daughter wants to ride her bicycle
Wants me to ride mine with her, too
Maybe I should finish this poem right now.
Daddy, pastor, student’s got a lot to do!
 
Friday! It’s Friday! Mail will come this Friday!
Maybe a check’s in the mail that’ll let me tithe a lot this Sunday.
Friday, Friday, gettin’ down on Friday.
Need to pray a lot and take my morning multi-vitamin for men.


P.S., That “Donate” button might make this Friday a wee more tolerable 🙂

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Filed under fitness, Humor, poetry, Relationships and Family, Uncategorized

A Poem before Sleep

“My Pillow”

Oh pillow, oh pillow, my head longs for thee!

I’m sleepy, so sleepy, and you’re waiting for me.

How nice of you to be waiting and calling, not budging or flinching as on you I’m falling.

You’re not as plush as once you were, but you’re not as hard as the day I’ve endured.

So, my pillow, my lumpy friend, on you I rest as this evening ends.

As I repose, hark! Beyond my nose! Tis my phone, a poem, and now a post.

I sleep.

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Filed under poetry

“My Jesus I Love Thee:” Sermon In Song

Song Sermons

One thing I love doing is taking old hymns and turning them into sermon outlines. Frankly, many of the old songs of the church were nothing more than condensed sermons put to music. They were not only meant to give us a means to sing praise to God, but to learn of His character, of his goodness and grace.

Last week I explained to the congregation at the church where I pastor that the songs we sing should be known and understood. I mean, how profitable is it if we stand as a group and sing something that makes no sense? What kind of corporate praise can we offer to our God if we cannot relate to the lyrics? It is so much better when we can all stand and sing from the bottom of our hearts the words of a hymn that means something vital to our soul!

An Outline

The following is an outline which I will be using soon, maybe even this Sunday. The outline is based on the song “My Jesus I Love Thee” by William Featherston (1864).

Please note, Featherston wrote this poem when he was between the ages 11 and 16 (he died age 27, long before the song became well-known). Adoniram Judson Gordon (founder of Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) added the melody. How many teens do you know these days who could write something like this?

On a different note, how many teens could God use if they would only let Him?

“My Jesus I Love Thee”

  1. My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine; (Jn 21:15-17)
    For Thee all the follies of sin I resign; (2 Tim. 2:19)
    My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou; (Ruth 2:10)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Regeneration)
  2. I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me, (1 John 4:19)
    And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree; (1 Peter 1:18-19)
    I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow; (Mt 27, Mk 15, Jn 19:2)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Realization)
  3. I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, (Job 13:15)
    And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath; (Job 33:4)
    And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow, (Ps. 116:15)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Resignation)
  4. In mansions of glory and endless delight, (Jn 14:2)
    I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright; (Rev 21:23)
    I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow, (2 Tim 4:8)
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. (The Place of Revelation)

I would love to know what you think of this, especially after you read the biblical references.

What do you think of topical sermons like this? Expository preaching is something I regularly do, but I also think we need to mix up the delivery styles every so often. Doing it this way – a song sermon – is not only a good way to explain a song, but doing so with Scripture helps reinforce the truth the next time the song is sung.

Head’s up, South Soddy Baptist! You might be hearing this sermon tomorrow morning 🙂

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Filed under Bible Study, God, Jesus, Love of God, music, poetry, Preaching, worship