Category Archives: Uncategorized

Seeds and Harvest: the Hope of Christian Blogging

“High Cotton” by Anthony Baker

(Speaking to a friend about blogging, I said) We plant and water seeds of hope and love and joy and grace. We sow these seeds all over the world!

Rarely will we see a harvest, but the Holy Spirit knows how to take that divinely inspired “click” and turn it into new life.

It will be interesting, and wonderful, to one day see what God was able to do with the crazy medium of Christian blogging.

To HIM be the glory!

2 Comments

Filed under blogging, Christianity, hobbies, ministry, Uncategorized

If You Thought Friday the 13th Was Scary, Try Sunday Morning Before Church!

I’m Surviving

If you didn’t notice, today is Friday the 13th. Are you still alive, or did a maniacal, undead mask-wearer visit your un-chaperoned slumber party? The night is still young, I suppose.

Well, so far I haven’t encountered a single monster – except our little dog who came in from running around in the wet grass and jumped in the bed.

Movies

Back in the 1980s, a movie came out to spoof Friday the 13th horror films. It was called Saturday the 14th. The promo line was, “It gets bad on Friday the 13th, but it gets worse on Saturday the 14th.” …..Whatever.

Real life, however,  is far more terrifying than movies. As a matter of fact, the scariest day for any pastor comes every week. Someone should make a movie about it – a documentary. It could be called…..“Sunday Morning (before Church)”

Here’s what the announcer could say during the promo commercial…

“Forget abandoned campgrounds, haunted lakes, and dark rooms. Forget about blade-wielding criminals that won’t die. Forget about whatever goes bump in the night, requiring someone in a bathrobe and slippers to say, “Is anybody there?” All the real demons come out on Sunday morning before church….like clockwork. This is REAL!”

Reality

There is a Devil, believe me! Even if the Bible did not teach of his existence, I could take you to him, or at least one of his workers, at about 9am on any given Sunday. All I would need to summon his presence would be to ask, “Honey, where are my shoes?” I could also say something like, “How long are you going to be in the bathroom?” Any of these phrases is guaranteed to conjure something or someone.

The evidence of his presence can be seen in the items that come up missing. For instance, the Devil is regularly hiding stuff that was in total view only 8 hours before. He or his demons love to hide shoes, hairbrushes, shirts, dresses, pantyhose, lipstick, and Bibles. Occasionally, he even likes to hide the church mail that comes to the parsonage, leaving the pastor to look irresponsible.

Predictable

But thankfully, one thing’s a constant: even though Satan is real, just like in a poorly-written movie, his ways are predictable.

Unlike our God, whose “judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out” (Romans 11:33), the “wiles” of the devil never deviate from his modus operandi.

The Greek word translated “wiles” in the KJV is  methodia (μεθοδεία). Essentially, it is a word made from combining  meta and hodos (“after,” and “a way”), and is used to describe what could be called “a decided plan of deception and trickery.”

Satan is a “method” actor, in other words. He plays a part – a predictable part – in trying to deceive, trick, thwart, anger, harm, and sidetrack God’s people. He follows a pattern that can be anticipated and for which preparations can be made. It’s all in the Script.

Preparing for Sunday

So, why do unseen forces attack on Sunday morning? They do it because it is the Lord’s Day. They do it because they want us to be ineffective and powerless. They know that hurting, lost, and desperate souls need to be ministered unto, many of which might be on the verge of giving up.

The forces we battle against would love to use a missing hairbrush, a wrinkled shirt, a knicked face, burnt toast, or an upset stomach to literally raise the dead – the “flesh.”  The enemy knows that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8).

Fortunately for us, all we have to do is be watchful (1 Peter 5:8), armored (Ephesians 6:11), and filled with His Spirit, the “power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). The “wiles” of the devil, his schemes, and his evil plans are no match for the God “who performeth all things for me” (Psalm 57:2).

Bonus: 6 Ways to Have a Better Sunday Morning

  1. Do all you can do to get ready for church the night before. If necessary, get ready at different times, so as not to get ticked off at children or risk being asked, “What do you think of this dress?
  2. Take different cars, even if your 10-year-old has to drive the lawnmower.
  3. Reduce dress standards/expectations so you can go to church looking like you just woke up.
  4. Put duct tape over everybody’s mouths until they get to the door of the church.
  5. Get up in the middle of the night to eat all you can so you can avoid breakfast, thereby avoiding arguing over what to eat.
  6. Become Adventist and go to church on Saturday (last resort).

If I Could Make a Movie

I do wish that I could make a movie that featured some of those evil characters in horror films. One, in particular, is the guy that comes and kills people in their dreams, Freddie Kruger. Another would be the ultimate movie villain, Count Dracula. Add to the list all the other demonic entities that send women running through the woods in high heels, only to trip on a spider web.

Just for fun, I would have all the demonic bad guys come up against a couple of praying saints, or an old preacher who’s broken-hearted and fed up with sin.

The bad guys would come against them in full force, swearing and threatening and promising all kinds of pain and suffering. Then when all hope seemed lost, right at the moment of despair, as the demoniacs were making their charge,

they’d run into a solid, unconquerable wall of Light…

the ringing sound of a massive sword being unsheathed would be heard…

terror would fill the eyes of the attackers at the sound of a Voice, saying…

These are mine!

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

Now, where are my clean socks? I knew I put them in the drawer…..Honey?!

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Living, clothing, General Observations, Uncategorized

Do Your Duty…Vote…or NOT!

This Tuesday will be the day we go to the polls to vote.  Unless you were one who voted early, Tuesday will be the day you should do your public duty as a citizen of the United States.  VOTE!

But WAIT!!!  Do you know what you are doing?

Do you know who you are going to vote for?  If not, why? If you go to the polls November 3rd just so you can push a few buttons, or check off a few marks, what good did you do?  If you only go to fulfill a responsibility, without knowing any details, what kind of steward of this blood-bought gift are you?  

If you don’t know the difference between liberty and liberalism, democracy and democrats, or socialism and social networking – DON’T VOTE!  Just stay home and watch Oprah or Dr. Phil.  

When others are heading to the polls that evening, just veg out while you enjoy another episode of some cake-baking, tatoo-designing, dance-off competition.

For over 200 years men and women have been shedding their blood for the freedom we enjoy.

More will die to preserve it in the future, that is, if we still have freedom to defend. If the uneducated, illiterate, uninformed and apathetic continue to vote for more government, all so that they can receive more “freebies,” not to mention tax-payer funded health care, then blood was shed in vain.

Stay at home, ye who do not know what is going on.  Stay at home, all ye who will vote simply to remove “Orange Man” from the White House.  Stay at home all ye who said “anything is better than what we have.”  

Please, for the love of God and country, STAY HOME!  

Let the people who have strong ideals go vote.  Let the mature, the concerned, the alert, the forward-looking, the reader, the listener, the active citizen (as opposed to the apathetic moocher) go vote.  We know the importance of what we are doing and take it seriously.  We can handle the responsibility…

Yes, we can!

People all over the world would, have, and will die for the opportunity to have what we have.

Take it seriously.  Make yourself a student, at least a “C” student, of what and Who made this country a “shining city on a hill.”  Read the Constitution.  Read the Bible.  Take responsibility for your own actions.  Know what the candidates truly stand for, then make a decision.  

But if you’re wondering if it’s worth taking the time to drive to the poll…if you have to watch CNN right before you walk out the door to help you decide who to vote for…please, we’ll send you a “I Voted” sticker, just stay home.  

It’s your patriotic duty.

But if you want to know what’s at stake, this will help.

3 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Culture Wars, General Observations, Uncategorized, voting, World View

“Whatsoever Ye Do…”

If I’ve preached it once, I’ve preached it more than 7 times (I can’t preach the same sermon over and over): “Whatever gift or talent you have, it can be used for the Lord.”

I was told that not just Saturdays, but even on Wednesdays there are vendors at the local courthouse square selling their wares (mostly vegetables and stuff).

But evidently not today! It’s just me!

At least it’s not raining 😉

That’s OK! I’ve already got to talk with people, even if I haven’t sold anything. And what did I talk about most? Church, ministry, evangelism, etc. And one college-age girl wanted to know when our services started Sunday morning (she is looking for a congregation in which to fit)!

But here I am in a parking lot on a cool day without the sun burning me up. I’ve got plenty of coffee, a chair, my Bible, and a full charge on my iPhone. I’m blessed.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. – Colossians 3:17

1 Comment

Filed under art, hobbies, ministry, Uncategorized

The Ministry In Thessalonica

Tonight I went into full teaching mode with attitude!

Wow! I just LOVE Acts, and chapter 17 is one of my favorites.

Get a glimpse inside my Sunday nights as you watch this Facebook live edition of me preaching/teaching through Acts 17:1-9.

www.facebook.com/bethlehembaptistwarthen/videos/2893988174156335/

2 Comments

Filed under baptist, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bible Study, Church, Jesus, ministry, Preaching, Uncategorized

I’ll Tell You What I Want, What I Really, Really Want

Spice Girls

Do you remember the Spice Girls? Here today, gone tomorrow girl band from the U.K.? They were the ones who recorded the catchy and famous pop song “Wannabe” (I’ll spare you the video).

What was the catchiest part of the whole song? The part that goes:

Tell me what you want, what you really, really want. I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.

As a matter of fact, just for fun, here’s a link from the movie Chicken Little. The pig and chicken characters do a pretty good cover.

Honestly, I’m not totally clear as to what the Spice Girls wanted. I wouldn’t know a “zigga” from zagga. On the other hand, I bet what they wanted was not what poor Job (in the Bible) wanted, but we’ll get to him in a minute.

Heaven

Have you ever thought about what you would want to see most in Heaven? Assuming Heaven will be your home after this life (don’t assume – eternity is too long for a mistake of that nature), what would you want to see first? Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.

Do you look forward to walking on a street of pure gold? Are you excited about seeing things that can hardly be imagined, much less described? What about gates of pearl? An emerald sea? Do you really, really want to meet all the saints of old, including relatives who have gone on before. Angels? A mansion?

Job

Do you remember Job? He was the guy in the Bible (with the book named after him) that lost everything he owned, including his wealth, family, and health. He even lost his friends, especially if you consider all they did was accuse him of wrongdoing.

Job wound up in such a state that his own wife even begged him to just curse God and die (Job 2:9). Job was a miserable wreck of a man who had every reason to want to go to Heaven. Yet, what Job really, really wanted to see first was not golden, bejeweled, or even a thing…He wanted to see God.

Remember, what you want tells a lot about your heart. Instead of wanting to exchange his suffering for a new body; his poverty for wealth; his loneliness for a reunion with loved ones, all Job wanted was to see God with his own eyes, in his own flesh. This was his hope and desire all wrapped up in one.

For I know [that] my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this [I know], That in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. [How] my heart yearns within me! – Job 19:25-27 NKJV

What we fail to think about is that when we see God, all the other joys of Heaven will have to seem secondary! God, the highest of all that is good and lovely, the depth of Whose attributes can never be plumbed, will one day look into our eyes in a moment of total realization, understanding, and belonging. What else could compare? Sure, there will be other things in Heaven, but who will care if it takes a million years to get around to some of them?

Tell me what you want. What do you really, really want.

Do you want Heaven, or Him? There is a difference.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Maturity, Future, God, salvation, the future, Uncategorized, worship

Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties. Really?

Just A Thought…

It’s June, and weddings are all the rage. But so are bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Dear Christian, I want to ask a serious question. Why do you think it’s acceptable in God’s eyes to act sinfully? If marriage is holy, and to be with your love is the greatest joy you can hope to have, what last fling, what last wild night, what time of debauchery is to be treasured so much that it will be missed when you say your vows?

I do find it strange that people who have bachelor and bachelorette parties even commit to marriage. Have you not found the one true love to which none other can compare? If so, then what is there to capture in one last night of freedom that he or she hasn’t already replaced or proven more desirable?

If you are engaged to be married, dear Christian, you have already made clear your intent to be faithful, not only after marriage, but until that wonderful and holy day. Therefore, if what you do the night of your party is something you could never do as a married person, you already suffer from a misconception and non-biblical view of marriage.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Alcohol, Christian Maturity, Defining Marriage, General Observations, Marriage, Uncategorized, Witnessing

When you hear the sound of the trumpet… (10 Years Later)

The following was written 10 years ago following a public gathering at which I spoke.

I look back on this with sadness because of all that transpired after the event. The organizer, Shelton Brown (last I heard) became an atheist. Public prayer at football games (and all other school events) was banned. All the prayer gathering did was make everybody look bold for a few moments, but then they went on their way.

Nothing changed because nobody would be a Daniel and pray anyway.

Now, here we are in a day when the government, well-meaning or not, is wielding great power over Christians (and religious people in general) in the name of our best interests, therefore depriving us of the ability to exercise our rights.

It doesn’t matter a hill of beans whether or not there is a virus; we must always be wary of elected officials who deny believers the right to pray in public, specifically in gatherings. And, when necessary, we need to do more than complain. Otherwise, we are not worthy to feed to the lions.


October, 2010

Last night I had the honor to participate in an event of community prayer.  I was invited to speak by Shelton Brown, a student at Soddy Daisy High School.  If you don’t know what happened, a whole bunch of people gathered together in the park to celebrate our right and freedom to pray, even though it was recently mandated that prayer be stopped before football games.  This meeting was organized by students who decided enough was enough.

In my closing remarks (I spoke for 7 1/2 minutes) I brought up the story of Nehemiah, specifically a part in chapter 4, verse 20.  Nehemiah, in response to threats from enemies intent on stopping them from rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, set people on the wall as lookouts.   Being that the wall was big and spread out, and being that there were few people, Nehemiah came up with a plan.  He said :

The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall.  Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there.  Our God will fight for us.”

To me, and I am just little ol’ me, there should have been a lot more people present last night.   Why?  A trumpet was sounded for the body of Christ to come to the aid of not only Soddy Daisy, but for all of Hamilton County.  An attack on our freedoms, as both Christians and Americans, has come to our soil.  Why is it that our schedules and programs and our own sections of the wall are more important than stopping the enemy somewhere else?

Last night was your typical “Wednesday night prayer meeting” night.  Besides the fact that prayer is rarely the object of attention at most of these meetings, what would have been wrong with jumping in the church bus and heading to where the trumpet was sounding?  Where there may have been 500+ at this event last night, there should have been 1-2000.  Why were they not there?  Because it was more important for local congregations to remain safe and snug in their own little sections of  “the wall.”  Here was a prime example of LEGALISM in action, for many did not want to participate in an event that featured speakers that weren’t of a particular denomination.  Here was a prime example of LAZINESS, for it may have been difficult to get people together to go somewhere on a weeknight, especially if it wasn’t to Ryan’s or the bowling alley.  Here was a prime example of DENIAL, PRIDE, and APATHY, for there were others that did not attend because they either didn’t think there’s a problem; it wasn’t their idea; or they just really didn’t care.  Folks, what has been “typical” needs to be trashed.

This past Sunday I told my congregation that I would be in Soddy Daisy on Wednesday night because a trumpet had been sounded.  I went to stand in the gap with my brothers and sisters that cared enough to make a public stand against the tyranny of a few over the wishes of the people.  In the future, when other trumpets are sounded,  I pray that the churches of our county and our country will rally together in defence of the few walls we have left in this nation that, for now, claims to be “under God.”

May our God truly fight for us, for we don’t seem to want to fight for oursleves.

…Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses. – Nehemiah 4:14

5 Comments

Filed under baptist, Christian Living, Christian Unity, General Observations, Independent Baptist, legalism, Southern Baptist, Uncategorized, World View

Healing River is Here!

Hey folks, may I encourage you to check out my friend Mitch Teemley and give some serious thought about watching his movie this week?

Mitch is a Christian blogger, but he’s also a movie guy – like as in making them, not just watching (like the rest of us). I’m going to watch it this week with my wife, then I’m going to share my honest thoughts about it.

Let’s all watch it and give God the glory for what he’s doing through our brother in Christ, Mitch!

God bless you, my friend! Maybe He will even throw in an Oscar 🙂

Mitch Teemley

A Filmmaker’s Journal

Healing River PosterHealing River, a feature film I wrote and directed (originally titled Over-the-Rhine) has just premiered on Amazon Prime–and right on time for your weekend Movie Night! (Even if you’re not a Prime member you can watch it by clicking on the link below.) Winner of over twenty film festival awards, nominations and selections, Healing River is a powerful inspirational story about “forgiving the unforgivable.” You can watch the trailer now, and then watch (or order a copy of) the movie by clicking here.

Watch the Trailer!

Two Ways You Can Help Promote Healing River:

  1. Watch it, and then take a moment to review it on Amazon* (this will greatly increase its priority order and visibility there).

  2. Go to the Healing River FacebookPage and click to Share the Trailer on your Facebook page.

I and Healing River’s other creators believe in what it…

View original post 31 more words

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Accepting Forgiveness vs Faithless Unbelief

Just this week I uploaded a daily devotional I do online to YouTube. Then, as I usually do, I posted it to our church’s Facebook page.

The subject of this video is that of accepting God’s forgiveness, even when we don’t feel forgivable.

I would love your feedback.

Sorry for the goofy-looking face 😉

6 Comments

Filed under Bible Study, Christianity, Faith, Uncategorized