Category Archives: writing

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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You Can Do This! Change Your Church AND Your Community!

Look, I know it’s a bad time to ask you to buy anything, especially since, you know, inflation and all that.

However, I’d really love for you to get a copy of my new book in your hands. Believe me, you’ll find it very encouraging and helpful for you and your local congregation.

Don’t believe me? Read this comment:

A cool program for door-to-door community ministry in today’s mistrustful social environment. This is a complete step by step program that can be implemented by any small (or large) church. Street of the Week is not “in your face” or obnoxious. It leans on the power of praying specifically for the people on a given street and delivering fresh cookies!

T. Warner

Thank you for considering it, both for you, your pastor, and a friend 🙂

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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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Have Brush, Will Paint

First things first, I’m cranking up the writing engine again! [Should there be an apostrophe before “again”?]

Anyway, yes, I’m knocking the rust off the old WordPress “publish” button. Time to get back in the fray with my fellow bloggers! I’ve missed you guys (and gals).

But this post is only going to be a quick commercial for my art. I would love for you to take a look. If you see anything that sparks your interest, let me know.

If you have something you’d like for me to paint, I’d be happy to consider it. I’ve already got a few houses and churches in the works, so jump now before the wait gets too long … now THAT would be a blessing!

Oh, and that white bucket truck is a painting, not a photo. 🙂

Last thing, try to go to church somewhere this Lord’s Day.

Have a blessed one!

Anthony

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Good News, Bad News


I Love to Write

Greetings, my friends. Maybe you’ve noticed, but my writing here on the blog has been becoming more and more infrequent. I hate it, but it was bound to happen.

Unfortunately, I love to write, and because I have not been writing much lately, my soul feels like a wet sponge that hasn’t been wrung in a long time – a little sour. Honestly, that’s the whole reason I am writing at this moment. I need to wring some stuff out. 

That just sounded gross. 

I Love to Paint

But there is something else in my life, not to mention watches, that has taken up my free time: it’s painting. Not only do I love to write, but I also love to create things on paper with paint. And when people find joy in what I paint, like when they comment on how something I’ve written helped them, I feel a sense of accomplishment that few other things offer.

I say all that because one of the reasons I’ve not been writing much is my painting. When I get focused on my art (and writing is similar), I forget about other things and time tends to get away from me. 

May be art of nature and tree

The Time Has Come

But speaking of time getting away, I’ve been putting off something for a long, long time, and it’s way past time to finish what I started.

For several years I have been chipping away at a doctoral degree. As a matter of fact, for the last 3 years, I have been so close to finishing it’s not even funny. But everything from surgery, moving a couple of times, deaths in the family, the daily work of ministry, two pastorates in four years, an empty nest, a mother with cancer, and not to mention all that had to be done to pastor a church through COVID-19… all of these things took precedent and my degree was placed on the back burner.

But now the time has come – I must finish my D.Min. requirements in order to graduate in July.

One reason the time has come is that the “time is up” for my mother. Hospice is now in charge of her health care and she has been given, at the most, 6 months to live. If the truth be known, she wasn’t expected to live this long with stage-4 pancreatic cancer. 

I want to get my doctorate while my mother is still alive to see it. I told her, “OK, Mom, you’ve got to live until July.” She said, “OK.” 

Because of this, I cannot guarantee that I’ll be around very much. Just think about me now and then when you haven’t heard from me and I’ll keep you updated on the progress – and my mother.

God bless, 
Anthony

P.S. I would always love it if you’d buy a painting or a print 🙂 Look me up at @AnthonyCBakerArt on Facebook!

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Your Suggestion Could Save Millions of Lives

Dear Readers and Subscribers,

First things first, I want to thank a fellow blogger for sending the funds to pay for a year’s worth of ad-free blog posts. I won’t name him on here, but it was a serious blessing. May the Lord bless in return!

Next, to the point of this short post,

I want your help in determining the posts/articles/papers I will write over the next few weeks. It’s not that I have writer’s block; I want to write what you want to read.

You see, there are things I would like to address, including why it is understandable for a Christian to vote for Donald Trump – in response to all the other articles from the Left and left-leaning Republicans who pontificate otherwise.

But some of the things I think are important may not be important to you, or at least most of you. There may even be some subjects about which you would really like to hear my opinion.

And since I don’t have a lot of time to write in the first place, I’d like to make my time count.

Here’s your opportunity to fill the calendar.

Starting this Tuesday, August 17th, and all the way through Tuesday, the 29th of September, I will only write about what YOU suggest. And, if you get it in early enough, I WILL write about it (the best I can, depending on the subject matter).

I’m looking forward to seeing what you suggest. Just leave your suggestions in the comment section.

And who knows? Your suggestion could lead to something groundbreaking, an inspiration that could change the world, even save lives! Millions of them! 

You just never know 😉

God bless, stay well, and thanks for reading!

Anthony

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I Succumbed to the Temptation

This is our dining room table.

Half of it is covered with my “stuff.” There’s my paints, paper, brushes, a candle for when I am reading, my coffee, magnifiers for looking at watches close up, my Bible, and my laptop.

I didn’t really have time to sit down to write, but the open computer and the longing for that tactile feeling of my fingertips clicking the plasticky, rubbery keys of the keyboard… You know, for the writer, it’s like a drug!

I’ve got reading to do – LOTS of it.

At 1 pm I am supposed to be somewhere.

There’s so many things to talk/write about, yet I just don’t have the energy (emotionally or physically) to do it.

But man, the feeling of that keyboard and the visual proof on the screen that creation is taking place…

I gave in. I’m here. Forgive me.

But I promise, should you want to visit for dinner (or supper), I’ll make sure the table has plenty of room.

I feel much better, now.

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A Quick Exposition of 1 Peter 3:15 (Applicable to Today)

A while back, I was asked to do a quick exegesis of 1 Peter 3:15 for a class I was taking in seminary. I then shared on this blog what I wrote at that time.

But even though what I wrote was geared more toward the idea of being a witness during persecution, there’s never been a better time for us to be able to give a reason for the hope we have in Christ.

My prayer is that the following words will embolden you and give you courage as you “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.”


1 Peter 3:15  – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Authorship

1 Peter 3:15 was written by the Apostle Peter and most likely addressed to Christians living in Rome (Babylon). There are, however, various arguments against the Petrine authorship of the letter, but none have been taken seriously by the Church. As a matter of fact, by “the end of the second century and beginning of the third century, the letter is explicitly identified as Peter’s.”[1]

General Context

The overall context of 1 Peter is one of persecution. In other words, Peter wrote this letter to Christians who were heavily burdened with “manifold temptations” and “trials” (1:6-7). Scholars differ on the exact date of the writing and to which time of persecution the letter was actually addressing, but persecution was evidently a common occurrence.

Immediate Context

The immediate context of verse 15 has it on the heels of an exhortation by Peter to live in such a way that shows love to the brethren (v. 8). Immediately following in verse 16, Peter writes that by living this way their “good conversation” will put to shame any false accusers or those who may speak evil of them. Therefore, the exhortation of verse 15 is part of an overall call to be witnesses to a hostile world who is watching and looking for any reason to find fault.

Words to Examine

There are several words within 1 Peter 3:15 that are worth examining in closer detail. By doing so, we will be able to obtain a richer and fuller understanding of the passage.

  • Sanctify. The word translated “sanctify” is the word hagiazō (ἁγιάζω), which means “to make holy …purify or consecrate; …venerate…sanctify.”[2]
  • Heart. The word translated “heart” is a word that could be understood to be the actual organ within the body that pumps blood, but kardia (Strong’s G2588) can also mean – and in this case does – the center of spiritual life.
  • Ready. Peter suggests that the Christian should “be ready always…” The idea here is that of being prepared for something. We read in Matthew 25:10 of those that were “ready” for the coming of the bridegroom. Their readiness involved preparation for a future event. When we attach the adverb “always” to “ready,” what we have then is a readiness that is always anticipating something that could happen at any time.
  • Give an answer. The Greek word translated “give an answer” is apologia (ἀπολογία), which is a verbal defense of something, or reasoned argument (G627). Paul used the same word in 1 Corinthians 9:2 when he said, “Mine answer (apologia) to them that do examine me is this…” The idea of the word has nothing to do with making an excuse for something, but to give a reason for it in defense of it.
  • Reason. The Greek word here is logos (G3056), which has to do with words, things said, ideas expressed, thoughts communicated. Jesus was called the Word (Logos) in John 1:1. He was described as the Wisdom of God expressed. The Bible is the Word of God, the inspired, written revelation by God of Himself to mankind.
  • Meekness. This word in Greek is praÿtēs (πραΰτης), which is defined as a mildness of disposition, or a sense of humility (G4240).
  • Fear. The Greek word translated “fear” is the word phobos (G5401), which carries with it the idea of dread, terror, or exceeding fear.

Expanded Translation

Taking into account the background and context of 1 Peter 3:15, including an examination of the words used in the text, the following expanded version of the verse would thereby seem appropriate:

1 Peter 3:15 KJV – But sanctify [set aside as holy and revered, set up higher than anything or anyone else] the Lord God in your hearts [your life, your essence, the seat of your emotions, your way of thinking]: and be ready always [make preparations beforehand; do the work in advance of the need; anticipate the issue and prepare accordingly] to give an answer [a well-though-out response, a reasoned reply, a logical defense] to every man that asketh you a reason [because some men want more than “I don’t knows”; they want to be convinced with language they can understand] of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear [because there are grave consequences for not being ready…1) the lost may remain in their lostness and reject Christ, and 2) the One who is Holy is judging your works].”

Conclusion and Application

As mentioned above, 1 Peter 3:15 was written to those who were enduring trials and tribulations, i.e., persecution. Today, even though we are not enduring the same kind of trials and tribulations, there are other more minor forms of persecution and tribulation we may encounter in the immediate future. Nevertheless, all trials and tribulations, regardless of the severity, should provide for us an opportunity to exhibit a “hope” that is in us and beg the reason why.

Therefore, as Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:15), we should study as those who are to be examined, so when the time comes when we are asked to “give an account,” we will not be ashamed (1 Peter 3:16), but offer our actions AND our testimony as reasons for our faith.


[1] The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude. Thomas R. Schreiner. 2003, Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville. Page 22

[2] The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. (G37)

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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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Jesus Is More than a Crutch!

Last night I was sifting through boxes of stuff in my office and I came across several notebooks in which I’d maintained somewhat of a diary.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a pretty difficult time around here, lately. Not only has my faith been tested on an hourly basis, but my own brokenness has been made clear over and over again. When I took a few minutes to flip through the pages of those old notebooks, all from over a decade ago, the truth that my broken condition is chronic became obvious.

But there was one page I found where I had written some encouraging words. However, they weren’t words of affirmation meant to build up my ego or make me feel better about myself; they were attestations to the fact that Jesus is more, so much more, than a crutch to me.

Below is a copy of the text…

You say you don’t need Jesus because you don’t need a crutch. If you don’t think you need him, then maybe you’re crippled to high for crutches.

Jesus is more than a crutch!

Throw away Jesus and take the Devil, but I choose Jesus.

Just think about it:

The Devil tries to burden me down
    -Jesus says, “Cast your cares on me.”

“Forgiven” by Thomas Blackshear

The Devil wants me to sin.
    -Jesus bore my sin.

Satan will try to weaken me.
     -Jesus is my strength.

When Satan fires his arrows at me,
    -Jesus is my Shield.

In the midst of the storm
    -Jesus hides me in his hand.

Satan would see me defeated.
    -Jesus fights my battles.

Satan would have me fall into despair.
    -Jesus lifts me from the pit.

Satan would harm me.
    -Jesus will heal me.

When darkness is all around and Satan would blind me,
    -Jesus is my Light.

When Satan says, “There is no way,”
    -Jesus says, “I AM THE WAY”

When Satan says I’m guilty,
    -Jesus paid my debt.

When the Devil would lead me astray,
    -Jesus is my Shepherd.

When the Devil would watch me fall,
    -Jesus carries me.

“Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, help me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.” – Thomas A. Dorsey

He leads; He goes before; He walks beside; He holds me; He carries me; He helps me to stand; He gives me a race to run: He’s so much more than a “crutch” to me.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Depression, Faith, Jesus, worship, writing