Category Archives: Vacation

Resting and Reading

I’m not going to be posting much by way of original stuff this week – I don’t think (one never knows when he will be inspired). I’m spending my time with our daughter and son-in-law and our new granddaughter in Charleston, SC.

But aside from the visiting, I’m spending a lot of time in resting and reading. No TV. No amusement rides. Maybe a little time today at the gun range with my youngest, Haley, but mostly a lot of time reading and studying.

Reading: The Art & Craft of Biblical Preaching.

Studying: The Bible, specifically the book of Ephesians and John 3:16.

So, if you don’t hear much from me this week, understand that I’m retooling, refreshing, rearming, recharging in one of the most beautiful and historic cities in America.

And I’m sure there’ll be a bowl of shrimp and grits in my future 🙂

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Filed under Bible Study, blogging, Family, places, Preaching, Vacation

The Price of Freedom

Memorial Day

Tomorrow is the day on which we Americans pause to remember and honor those who have fought and died for our country. We also honor those who have served and are serving.

Unfortunately, most people use this day to only focus on the celebration aspect of the holiday, not the memorial. But had it not been for those men and women who bled in the trenches and fell from the sky, there might not be a place to hold a barbecue. We celebrate because we are free, but that freedom came with a price.

Visiting Memorials

Three years ago at this time I visited Washington, D.C.. with my family, and one can’t visit D.C. without going to the memorials, especially on Memorial Day.

It had been a long time since the last time I was here, and new monuments to the fallen had been erected. One of them, which is probably the most impressive, is the World War 2 Memorial. I took my time exploring it.

One of the places at the WW2 Memorial is pictured below. Gold stars are affixed to a curved wall above a reflective pool. A plaque beside the reflective pool reads, “The Price of Freedom.”

Each star represents 100 who died in the war to defeat the Axis powers. Did you get that? 1 star = 100 dead. 

image

On this day let us pause and remember the lives sacrificed so that we (and the world) might live in freedom. Remember also that those stars represent mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, and scores of children whose loss purchased our gain.

Freedom isn’t free.

 

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Filed under America, Life/Death, Vacation

Happy Birthday to Me!

Starting Over

Today is my birthday! I’m excited.

Actually, I’m not as excited as I was last night, because last night was when we actually celebrated my birthday. Today I just got older.

Well, that’s not completely true. You see, my wife and daughters baked a cake for me and decorated it, but the only candles we had were a “1” and a “2.” Even if we had had 51 little candles, I would have hated blowing them out! And they would have melted the icing!

So, I decided the “1” candle would work (I had to blow out something), and that made me think…instead of turning 51, I’m starting over!

Now, if I could only live to my 20’s or 30’s I’ll be in good shape 😉

Birthday Gifts

Last night my family presented me with a few gifts, and I was very pleased. Each one was evidence they had really thought about me, for each one took some thought.

And that’s the way gifts should be, you know? Gifts should give the impression you care, not that you were fulfilling an obligation.

But if money and reality were no object, I would like to add the following to my birthday present list. If any of you out there would like to check any of them off, be my guest 🙂

  1. One of those really nice, calfskin-covered, high-dollar new Bibles. You know, something like an Allen or a Cambridge with a wider margin for making my own notes.
  2. A couple of new suits that actually fit.
  3. A Breitling watch.
  4. An iPad pro.
  5. A ride in a WW2-era bomber or fighter.
  6. To drive an exotic supercar, like a Cobra, Ferrari, or Porche 911 turbo. A Dodge Demon, 2019 Mustang GT, 2018 Corvette would be nice, too.
  7. A trip to the holy land.
  8. Another mission trip either to eastern Europe or Africa.
  9. A Gen4 Glock
  10. A trip to Washington, DC, to see the new Bible Museum.

But the love of my family is worth more than any of the items on my list. Sure, the things on the list would be really cool, but I’m infinitely blessed beyond measure to have a loving wife and 3 daughters who love the Lord.

Happy birthday to me!

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Filed under clothing, Family, Vacation

Some Thoughts On Work (Labor)

Labor Day

I am sure I’m not the only one who finds it a little odd that we celebrate a day by not doing what the day honors. Yet, on the very day we are supposed to give honor to labor, or work, we take a day off.

Oh, but you say, “It’s not about the celebration of work; it’s about celebrating the worker.” Yeah, if that’s true, then why not call it Laborer Day?

Nevertheless, I don’t really think there’s 1 in a hundred who will actually do anything to celebrate labor, employment, the worker, or anything of the sort. Even though every one of us should be thanking God if we have a job, our 9-5 will be the last thing on our minds as we enjoy our time off.

A Holy Day

But what if we Christians did things differently? What if, like with Christmas and Easter, we take a pagan holiday and turn it into a Christian holy day?

Celebrating the birth of Christ is a good thing, so we read Scripture about it, sing carols, and dress up like barn animals in church plays. Easter is the highest holy day because it’s the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave – without which our faith would be in vain.

Why not celebrate work, labor, our jobs, with a day that focuses on the spiritual and biblical truths relating to it? Why not celebrate and proclaim the holy aspects of labor?

A Holy Thing

It may be hard to get your mind around it, but work is a good thing. As a matter of fact, even in Heaven, there will be work to do (Revelation 22:3). The reason is that God is the one who created work (Genesis 2:15), and it was meant for our good.

Some people call what they do in the workplace secular. They tend to separate what they do at their job from what they might do at church or on the mission field. However, all work is holy if we are children of God, and all of our labor should be for His glory (Ephesians 6:5-9).

“The maid who sweeps the kitchen floor is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays – not because she may sing a Christian hymn while she sweeps, but because God loves clean floors. The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.” – Martin Luther

Working Together

It may sound a little odd, but God is still at work, today. Yes, He rested on the seventh day after Creation, but He’s been at work in the hearts of men and women ever since. And what’s awesome is that for some reason He has chosen us to have a part in His work – not in the saving part, but in the gathering.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. “Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” – Matthew 9:37-38 CSB

No matter what kind of work you do, you work for the Lord. No matter where you labor, you are in the fields for the Lord. And, no matter what kind of product you produce or service you provide, if Jesus is with you, the ultimate aim is to collect the produce of heaven – the souls of men.

It may be on the kitchen floor,

Or in a busy store,

Or teaching, nursing, day be day

Till limb and brain almost give way;

Yet if, just there, by Jesus thou art found

The place thou standest is Holy Ground.

 – M. Colley (1939)

Labor is a holy thing, so let’s celebrate it with a holy day.

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Filed under ministry, Vacation, Work, worship

The Price of Freedom

Memorial Day

Today is the day on which we Americans pause to remember and honor those who have fought and died for our country. We also honor those who have served and are serving.

Unfortunately, most people use this day to only focus on the celebration aspect of the holiday, not the memorial. But had it not been for those men and women who bled in the trenches and fell from the sky, there might not be a place to hold a barbecue. We celebrate because we are free, but that freedom came with a price.

Visiting Memorials

Last year at this time I visited Washington, D.C.. with my family, and one can’t visit D.C. without going to the memorials, especially on Memorial Day.

It had been a long time since the last time I was here, and new monuments to the fallen had been erected. One of them, which is probably the most impressive, is the World War 2 Memorial. I took my time exploring it.

One of the places at the WW2 Memorial is pictured below. Gold stars are affixed to a curved wall above a reflective pool. A plaque beside the reflective pool reads, “The Price of Freedom.”

Each star represents 100 who died in the war to defeat the Axis powers. Did you get that? 1 star = 100 dead. 

image

On this day let us pause and remember the lives sacrificed so that we (and the world) might live in freedom. Remember also that those stars represent mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, and scores of children whose loss purchased our gain.

Freedom isn’t free.

 

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Filed under America, Life/Death, Vacation

The Price of Freedom

Memorial Day

Today is the day on which we Americans pause to remember and honor those who have fought and died for our country. We also honor those who have served and are serving.

Unfortunatly, most people use this day to only focus on the celebration aspect of the holiday, not the memorial. But had it not been for those men and women who bled in the trenches and fell from the sky, there might not be a place to hold a barbecue. We celebrate because we are free, but that freedom came with a price.

Visiting Memorials

Over the past week I’ve been visiting Washington, D.C.. with my family, and one can’t visit D.C. without going to the memorials.

It has been a long time since the last time I was here, and new monuments to the fallen have been erected. One of them, which is probably the most impressive, is the World War 2 Memorial, and I took a little while to explore it.

One place at the WW2 Memorial is pictured below. It shows gold stars on a wall above a reflective pool. Each star represents 100 who died in the war to defeat the Axis powers.

image

On this day let us pause and remember the lives sacrificed so that we (and the world) might live in freedom. Remember also that those stars represent mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, and scores of children whose loss purchased our gain.

 

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Filed under America, Life/Death, Vacation

Islands

The following is a guest post written by David Welford. The only islands I’ve ever been to are the Florida Keys. – Anthony Baker

I have a natural affinity for islands. I grew up on a small island called Guernsey, and moved to the rather larger island of Great Britain when I was eleven years old. Since then I have visited many islands, my preference being for the smaller variety.

Newfoundland, while interesting, was just too big. Guernsey, measuring just eight miles by five, was perfect. But then I am biased in favor of my childhood home.

There are smaller islands close to Guernsey that are wonderful for a day visit, but living permanently on a very small island poses certain challenges including food supplies, schooling, and social interaction.
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Last week I visited Madeira for the first time. Madeira is a Portuguese island that rises steeply from the Atlantic Ocean and has a population of roughly 280,000. To me that is a lot of people, but the island itself is small enough to get around.

Madeira is very rugged and very green. Everything seems to grow in abundance despite the gradients, and everywhere I went the land seemed to have been terraced to maximize the space available for crops.
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Accessibility to islands like Madeira is not always easy. There is an airport in Madeira but until the runway was extended a few years back the safety reputation of the airport was not good. There is a small harbor where cruise ships call, but there is no ferry service.

For some reason Madeira has an attraction for the elderly, and I was one of the youngest passengers on my flights to and from the island. I guess the young head to more exciting places.
Church

In some ways churches resemble islands. There are small and large churches, and there are churches that only seem to attract the elderly, while others appeal to the young.

A certain commitment is required to visit church, and significant journeys can be required because fewer churches seem to be inhabited these days.

In some churches there is evidence of abundant growth, but others resemble the desert islands that are visible from the south coast of Madeira where nothing grows.

Problems also occur when churches become exclusive – a bit like islands that fall into celebrity ownership, with Necker in the Caribbean being a prime example. The only way to visit Necker is as a guest or employee of a certain Sir Richard Branson.
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While certain types of island attract many visitors, it seems that few churches have much to offer to the world these days. I find myself increasingly drawn to the New Testament model of church where many small islands of faith appeared in an ocean of unbelief and opposition, and grew because friends and neighbors could see Jesus in the lives of their friends and neighbors.
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I am aware that this post poses questions without providing answers, but as my thoughts travelled between islands and church I found myself challenged about church in general, the church I belong to, and the home group I attend once a fortnight.

I think the main challenge is to continue being challenged and asking questions, rather than trying to work out what type of island my church might be. But, if my church is not a place where Jesus can be found and disciples are being grown then it is no better than a desert island, regardless of how many inhabitants it might have.

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity – all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NLT)

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Filed under Christianity, Countries, General Observations, Life Lessons, places, Vacation