Tag Archives: Black Lives Matter

Time to Exercise My 1st Amendment Right: I Will Tell You What I Believe

Unacceptable Fear

This morning, after I typed the name of the title and the heading just above, I took the picture you see: that of my laptop, a “Keep America Great” hat, and a painting called “Blue Tears” (one I did in honor of fallen police officers – just those who died in the line of duty by gunfire last year).

On this day, the day we celebrate the birth of this great nation, The United States of America, I decided to lay all my patriotic cards on the table, and then some. Hence, the picture of a pro-Trump (and pro-America) hat, along with an artistic statement of support for Law Enforcement (Police).

Unfortunately, because of the incredible threats of intimidation and backlash, along with the literal danger of physical harm, I have never posted a picture of this hat. But today, because I do not want to live in shame or fear, I will claim my right to tell you exactly what I believe with regard to this country.

Fear is unacceptable. Silence in the face of intimidation is cowardice.

What I Believe About . . .

Jesus

He was a literal, historic figure who was God incarnate, yet with a human nature. After being born of a virgin, He lived a sinless life as the “second Adam” and Lamb of God who would be crucified for the sins of mankind.  He is alive, today, after resurrecting from the dead in accordance with prophesy and His own promises. According to John 14:6, there is no other way to eternal life than through Him: the historically verifiable person who walked the shores of Galilee 2000 years ago and shed His own blood as a ransom and for an atonement that no other man past, present, or future could accomplish.

The cross of Christ is the answer for every problem in the world today. The gospel is the most important message we can share with every man, woman, boy, and girl in the world. And it is this gospel of Jesus Christ, as displayed in the inerrant, infallible Word of God, which is the same “good news” to every culture, every tribe, and ever person on earth, regardless of color or country.

But beyond that…

Police

There are far more good cops that bad ones. More people die every day from medical malpractice than all police acts of violence combined. Anyone marching in the streets calling for the end of hospitals? Every man and woman who put on an the uniform and shield (badge) deserve respect and honor until they do something to deserve otherwise. I #backtheblue.

Defunding Police.

I personally think this is one of the most ignorant and stupid suggestions of all time. Those who support this idea are about as bright and mature as the 4-year-old who thinks he’d be better off on his own without parents to keep him out of the cookie jar.

Black Lives Matter

Of course they do! And, to make it clear, I understand that for many what this means is that “black lives matter, TOO,” just as much as everyone else.

But when it comes to the Black Lives Matter organization founded by self-proclaimed “radicals” Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, I believe it is an anti-American, anti-nuclear family, danger to American and Western society, particularly the very freedoms every color of American fought and died for. I also believe the whole premise of this organization is built on the false narrative of “systematic and institutionally-sanctioned racism.”

President Donald J. Trump 

I didn’t vote for him in the primary election – I voted for Ted Cruz. However, I did vote for him over Hillary Clinton in the general election. Faced with the choice between what each promised they would do if elected, I knew I could not support Clinton.

President Donald Trump is NOT the greatest danger to American civilization and the safety of the world. For that honor all you need to do is look at those who topple monuments to historic figures who fought against slavery while supposedly protesting those who supported slavery.

Uninformed fools will cut off the very branch of the tree that supports them.

Hating 45 (Trump Derangement Syndrome)

Let’s be honest, folks. If you hate President Trump, it’s probably because you are either pro-abortion, hate any restriction to your sexual autonomy, want to silence any religious voice who disagrees with your sexual proclivities, or you simply believe the constant twisting by the main-stream media and radical-left celebrities who fear their sexual autonomy might be limited.  On the other hand, maybe you were so invested in electing the first woman president that the shock of losing broke your brain.

Grand Funerals

Being buried in a Bronze Promethean casket from Batesville ($24,000 min.) doesn’t make you a good person or erase the fact that poor decisions can have catastrophic consequences.

Confederate Monuments

Ironically, those who call for the removal of these monument are supported by the very Democrat party to which those who supported segregation and racism belonged. If they insist on tearing down Confederate monuments, then they should certainly include Democrat icons such as Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (who interned Japanese Americans in camps), Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson (who used the n-word more often than “Jesus Christ”), and Sen. Robert C. Byrd (form Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan).

But truth be told, it’s not about racism or trying to erase a painful past; it’s about erasing and eradicating who we are as a nation and replacing it with something radical, oppressive, atheistic, and Marxist.

Racism

How do I define racism? Well, I believe racism is the belief that one particular “race” is either superior or inferior to another. What racism is NOT is the preference of one ethnic culture over another. It is NOT racist to be inclined to the characteristics of one ethnicity over another. Racial profiling is NOT racist if it is based on statistics, especially when the overall benefit to the profiling will positively affect every ethnicity.

Racism is sinful, unbiblical, and an affront to the very nature of our Creator God. Having “prejudices” for or against particular cultural norms is NOT being racist; it’s showing preference. However, you can be a racist and be prejudiced at the same time, but it should not be assumed that one is automatically a racist if he/she has certain prejudices. For example, I married a white woman because I am white and preferred (had a prejudice toward) women who have the same skin color and cultural customs as myself. That was not a “racist” choice.

It is NOT racist to note our physical differences, either. Just as long as our physical differences are not used as an argument to suggest that one “race” is inherently better than another. God has designed each of us, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the fact that we are not all physically the same. It is wrong, however, to suggest that one color of human should be subjugated to another, for we are ALL equal before God.

Gun Violence and Guns

The old adage is still true: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Anti-gun laws (which are in opposition to our 2nd amendment to the Constitution) do nothing to change the heart that pulls the trigger. That same heart can thrust a blade or swing a club.

“When was America ever great?”

When it acknowledged the right you have to publicly ask a stupid and uninformed question without fear of government retribution.

“America, America, God shed His grace on thee! And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”

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Filed under America, community, Culture Wars, current events, politics

Social Lockjaw and the Need for Cleansing Truth

Image may contain: Anthony C. Baker, sitting, eating and outdoor

Discussing the wonders of an ice cream cone with my granddaughter, Emma Louise.

Can We Talk? 

Do you remember Joan Rivers? That’s what she used to ask in her comedy routines. “Can we talk?” was her way of segueing into something off-color (can I say that?), a little risque, or otherwise uncomfortable.

Can we talk?

You see, one of the deadliest viruses going around these days has nothing to do with COVID-19. It’s a virus that could be called “Social Lockjaw.”

People are too afraid to have honest and open conversations. People are afraid, regardless their opinions, to open their mouths.

Interestingly, the causes and symptoms of Social Lockjaw are eerily similar to actual Lockjaw (i.e., Tetanus).

Tetanus (Lockjaw) is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition brought about when spores from a particular bacteria inter the bloodstream after some form of intrusive injury. The bacteria is most common in rich soil and can enter the body and the nervous system through a puncture wound or cut (like stepping on a nail or getting dirt in an open wound).

Penicillin will kill the bacteria, but one of the most effective actions one can initially take to stave off infection is to immediately clean and rinse the wound with clean water.

Interestingly, there is a vaccine, but it only lasts so long. Therefore, a booster shot is needed every 10 years.

When Tetanus takes control of a body, one of the main symptoms is a tightening of the muscles in the neck and lower jaw, causing a person to be unable to open his mouth.

When people are harmed, and when the dirt of the world is left in a wound that is covered and never cleansed by the pure water of Truth, death is likely to occur, if not silence.

And, ironically, those who have been inoculated in the past and have dealt successfully with past wounds, even they must be re-inoculated with the vaccine of Truth on a regular basis.

Bullying and Intimidation

Wounds come from all kinds of sources. The wounds of racism (personal and institutional) have lingered for generations, and the spores of the bacteria that kills will always linger in the soil. Those wounds must be opened in order to be cleansed, and some of that, unfortunately, is happening right now.

But other wounds come about by blunt force trauma, such as with bullying and intimidation, allowing the bacteria resentment and bitterness to be mixed with fear, thereby making it more difficult to cleanse. But the washing of the wound with Truth is desperately needed. Without it, the wounded will never open their mouths and the disease will win.

The absolute worse thing that any side of any argument can do is be allowed to be beaten down and silenced. Social Lockjaw is not the answer: it’s the symptom of a deadly illness.

The now normal bullying and intimidation by those of the Left-wing are shaming the rest of society into timidity and Lockjaw as they accomplish their goals through forced compliance. And the more we allow the pokes, the jabs, the unchecked piercing accusations, and the raised-fisted blows to all things civil, the more severe the symptoms of Social Lockjaw will become.

Unless we cleanse our wounds with Truth… unless we wash away the bacteria of fear and self-loathing from the puncture wounds of the past, the life of our society will be suffocated by our own closed mouths.

If you know the Truth, then you have every right and responsibility to speak it.  Or, die in silence.

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Filed under America, Culture Wars, current events, politics

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

It’s Time for Boldness

Dear friends, now, maybe more now than ever, it is time for those who know the Truth to be bold as lions.

I will not argue over perspectives, for each has his own. I will not sit here and pontificate over another’s life experiences and what fears they have, for each has their own.

However, it is my RESPONSIBILITY to speak out when doctrine, theology, especially the doctrines of Jesus Christ are being attacked and polluted without rebuttal. Folks, the words of Paul to Timothy are just as true today as they were 2,000 years ago.

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

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” – 2 Timothy 4:2

So, when the head of the BLM of Greater New York says on national television that Jesus was “…the most famous black radical revolutionary in history…” and uses that false teaching to justify violence, it’s time we say condemn the torpedoes and go full speed ahead.

Bad Theology/Bad Praxeology 

Praxeology is the “study of human action and conduct.” What we see being carried out in the streets of America is conduct based on bad theology and fueled by bad Christology (theological interpretation of the person and work of Christ).

I am firmly convinced that our actions as humans, especially how we treat others or respond to their actions towards us, can be traced back to our theological, especially our Christological beliefs – whether we think we have any or not.

As pastors, there can be no greater responsibility than to boldly and unapologetically proclaim the biblical and historical Jesus Christ of Nazareth, His true mission, and our dependency on His atoning work on the Cross.

“Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” 

That’s the question asked by Jesus of his disciples. The answer Peter gave was, “Thou are the the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

That is what the following sermon I delivered this past Sunday morning was about. I would encourage you to watch and share.

“Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?”

I do apologize for the less-than-HD quality. The internet where we are is so slow that we have to upload at 520p in order to get anything done the same day. We pray for fiber optics!

 

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Filed under America, Bethlehem Baptist Church, General Observations, Jesus, Preaching, Southern Baptist

I Was Keeping a Covenant Before BLM Was Cool

24-plus Year Ago…

I was a new pastor. I hadn’t even been ordained a year. Yet, I had the opportunity to attend a once-in-a-lifetime historical event, the 1996 Promise Keepers Clergy Conference held in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Maybe you remember when Promise Keepers was a big thing. There were a lot of positive aspects with the organization and goals, and certainly some negatives. But this conference was specifically held for pastors, and over 39,000 came from all over the country, even the world, to attend this 3-day event.

I still remember the breaks in between sessions when men would do one of two things: go to the bathroom or stand in line to call home on a pay phone. I was one of only a few that actually had a cell phone! The lines to the phones were longer than the ones to go pee!

Confession and Forgiveness

Nearly 25 years ago, there I was with pastors of every skin color and from all kinds of Christian denominations. For many like me, it was the first time ever attending an event of this magnitude. But it was also the first time I’d ever interacted with people who weren’t Baptist, or at least Church of God. And, above all, it was the first time for me to be around that many black preachers!

Oh, but there were pastors there, like I said, from every “race.” Literally, it was like “every tribe and nation” was represented at some point. There were even 200 Native American pastors present who’d – no joke – walked from reservations in the West just to attend this conference!

But one of the highlights of the conference was when an unscripted time of tearful, heartfelt confession was begun by Dr. Jack Hayford. At one point, while standing on stage weeping in front of these 40,000 men, he preceded to say the following (to the best of my memory):

“I want to confess my own sin of racism and soft bigotry. Yes, I am guilty. No, I never treated anyone of color differently in public, but there were times when in my heart I did. There were times when I could have driven through your parts of town, but I chose to take a different route. Did I think I was too good to drive through your communities? Down your street? I don’t know. But I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want to face it. I wanted to ignore you and pretend you weren’t there.” [paraphrased from memory]

It’s been over 24 years, and there is no video and only a few pictures still around of this event. Therefore my memory of the details of when what happened is foggy. But what I do remember very distinctly is WHAT happened, even if I can’t remember in what order.

But I believe it happened like this…

After Jack Hayford had bravely stood on stage confessing his sin of soft racism, Rev. Raleigh Washington walked on stage to comfort Dr. Hayford. It was then that Rev. Washington said something like the following:

My brothers, you have just heard the heart of a dear man of God. He just confessed his sin before you and God, and asked us to forgive him. But let me just say, it’s time to do more than accept the white man’s apology; it’s time we confess our own sin of bitterness! Of unforgiveness! It’s about time we start FORGIVING!” [paraphrased from memory]

What happened next was chilling. I am serious when I say that what happened next was not normal, not natural, and totally of the Holy Spirit. Literally, like every African-American black man in the Georgia Dome had been cued by some heavenly angel, a single, deep-throated, rumble of a voice spoke out in unison,

“WE FORGIVE!”

For a split second you could sense the shock and awe of what had just happened. Everyone instinctively knew what had just happened was of God. It was a miracle!

Then the dam broke.

Beginning with Jack Hayford, then Raleigh Washington, a representative of each people group came up on stage to confess and ask forgiveness for their own sins. To each one the auditorium replied with a rumbling “We forgive!”

Rev. Tom Claus, founder of Chief.org

Finally, wearing a the full headdress, Rev. Tom Claus walked onto the stage. The crowd of 40,000 drew quiet. Rev. Claus, a literal Mohawk Indian, began to spell out a grocery list of crimes and atrocities: the stolen land, broken treaties, and the bloodshed inflicted by the American government during the 1800’s.

He said, “If anybody in here has a right to be bitter, or to hate the white man, it is my people.” Who could argue?

But then, in what became the most emotional, so-thick-you-could-cut-it-with-a-knife moment, Rev. Tom Claus spoke words that would drive the modern Left completely off the cliff these days. He said,

“But, I forgive the white man. Because if it had not been for the white man, I would not know Jesus.[Yes, he really said that!]

Folks, nearly 25 years ago in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, I confessed and repented of any and every racist part of my life. I asked forgiveness. I was given forgiveness. And I, along with nearly 40,000 other pastors, covenanted with God and each other, with God’s grace, to never be the same.

How Much Is Enough?

Now, unfortunately, those who love to stir up contention and hate, for that is what they thrive on, are back at it. It doesn’t matter what one generation has done, they want to hold each and every consecutive generation guilty for the sins of their forefathers. Forgiveness is NOT an option.

They can say what they want to say about me, but despite what I used to be, God’s grace and the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed me. On top of that, He opened my eyes and my heart and gave me a love for my fellow man, regardless our differences.

There was a time in my young life when I asked a legitimate, however uninformed question: “Why did God make black people different?” I never got a good answer, so I believed the bad answers.

Yes, I used to be a racist. Yes, I used to think I was better than other people. Yes, I even tended to think that blacks needed whites to be pulled out of poverty, out of the jungles, and into civilized society. Yes, I stupidly used to think black people were that way because of the curse God put on Ham.

But NO MORE! 

Over 30 years ago, when I started attending my first classes in college, I started to see the flaws in my earlier thinking about race. But that only came when I started being around people who looked different from me. It was only then that it became clear that we were all the same.

By the time I went to the 1996 Clergy Conference, I had already determined to combat bigotry and racism (I had even invited a black professor of mine – Dr. Jay P. Trimble – to speak before my wedding). The Clergy Conference and the Atlanta Covenant only sealed the deal.

That is why I sorta seriously resent modern attempts by Marxists disguised as BLM to punish me for my “white privilege.” This is why I resent being bullied into confessing I’ve been a racist all along and now need to support activist groups and give them money to pass laws to silence my voice.

I AM NOT A RACIST, and I’VE ALREADY BEEN FORGIVEN! 

After the ’96 conference was over, everyone who was there who actually signed their name to the Atlanta Covenant, we all received a small copy of the original – the one signed by those who spoke at the conference.

I still have that copy framed and hanging on my office wall.

I have typed it out so you can read it for yourself.

 


Atlanta Covenant
Clergy ’96 Conference

Our great and awesome God, in Your sovereignty You have brought us as clergy to Atlanta. You have met and dealt with us in powerful ways, You have been faithful with all of Your promises and loving toward us in all ways. We now stand before You broken and humbled, called to shepherd and pastor Your Church, believing that You are willing and ready to give a fresh outpouring of Your Holy Spirit on Your Church. Our eyes are focused on Your only Son, Jesus Chris, the perfector and finisher of our faith.

We acknowledge, confess and repent before You, that although we may not be guilty of all that is stated below, we are prompted by godly sorrow to repent because we as clergy have sinned against You (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).

Therefore, we enter into this Atlanta Covenant with You and with each other.

  1. We covenant by God’s grace to honor Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to Your Word though the power of the Holy Spirit.
    • Where we have grown cold and distant in our communion with You, we wholeheartedly commit to pursue an ever-deepening relationship with You through worship and prayer. As You lead, we commit to fast and pray for revival or our own hearts, for our churches, and for the Church of Jesus Christ.
    • Where we have disobeyed you, we commit to be obedient to Your Word, regardless of the cost.
    • Where we have quenched Your Holy Spirit, we commit by God’s grace to keep in step with Your daily activity and leading.
  1. We covenant by God’s grace to pursue vital relationships with a few other clergymen, understanding that we need our brothers in ministry to help us keep this covenant.
    • Where we have resisted affirming, accountable relationships with other brothers, we commit to pray intentionally for these relationships and seek this support, never again to be a loner in ministry.
  1. We covenant by God’s grace to practice spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.
    • Where we have conformed to the world, we commit to place other gods before You no longer, the one true God.
    • Where we have excused our moral and sexual sin and been neither repentant nor broken, we now offer our bodies to You as living sacrifices and ask that You transform our minds and hearts by your Word and Your Spirit.
  1. We covenant by God’s grace to build strong marriages and families through love, protection, and biblical values.
    • Where we have neglected our homefronts as the first place of ministry, we covenant to recapture the hearts of our wives and children, by giving them the first priority in our prayers and schedules.
  1. We covenant and commit by God’s grace to Your calling to pastor Your people and to lead Your Church faithfully in fulfilling Your mission.
    • Where we have neglected our call, we wholeheartedly recommit ourselves to the ministry of prayer and the study of Your Word.
    • Where we have driven our people rather than led them, acting as if being a pastor was simply a job and not a holy calling, we commit and pray ardently and regularly with love for our flock, recognizing that You have called and place us in the church that we serve.
    • Where we have used our ministry as a platform for our personal gain, we repent and recommit ourselves to serving Your kingdom and the growth of Your people.
    • Where we have trusted yourselves and the programs of men, rather than seeking You and Your way, we commit to seek Your heart and direction for our churches.
    • Where we have lost confidence and passion in our preaching, we commit to feed Your people with Your Word faithfully and passionately.
  1. We covenant by God’s grace to reach beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.
    • Where we ignored praying and working with fellow pastors of differing denominations and race, we commit to seek out clergy of differing denominations and races, intentionally pursuing relationships with them, praying and working together for the building of the Kingdom of God.
    • Where we who are Anglo have enjoyed the advantages that have come to us as a result of the teaching of white superiority against people of color, we confess this is as sin. With Ezra, Nehemiah and Daniel, we confess the sins of our forefathers, who disobeyed Your Word and at times stole, killed, enslaved, broke treaties, demeaned and lied to people of color, we now acknowledge and confess this as sin against You and repent of our sin, trusting that it will lead us to reconciliation and restoration with our brothers in Christ. We now want to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly before You; and we commit to learn so that we might teach and lead our people in the area of racial reconciliation.
    • Where we who are the clergy of color have become bitter and nonforgiving of our Anglo brothers, entertaining a spirit of retaliation and guarding our ministry against Anglo partnership, we acknowledge and confess our sin before You. Where we have not applied the principles of biblical reconciliation to other racial groups, we now acknowledge that this is sin against You and repent of our sin, trusting that it will lead us to reconciliation and restoration with our brothers in Christ. We now want to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly before You; and we commit to learn, so that we might teach our people in the area of racial reconciliation.
  1. We covenant by God’s grace to influence our world, being obedient to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
    • Where Your church has lost its saltiness and light in our nation, we covenant to lead Your people to seek God’s face for the healing of our land.
    • Where we have lost Your vision to reach all people groups with Your amazing, saving grace, we covenant to give to others freely what You have given us.
    • Where we have strayed from the Gospel of Christ, we covenant to preach with renewed passion and conviction the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In total devotion to Christ as the Chief Shepherd of the Church, we commit ourselves to these things by the power of the Holy Spirit. To that end, we give our lives as clergy to pray, to prepare, and to minister for nothing less than a spiritual revival in Your Church, that Your body might increasingly become a bride without spot or wrinkle. We pray that together we might be brought to complete unity in You so that the world may know that You sent Your son, Jesus Christ, and that You love them as You love us (John 17:20-23). This this we pledge ourselves.

Those who were present and signed the Atlanta Covenant:

Bishop Phillip Porter, Bill McCartney, Randy Phillips, Henry Blackaby, David Bryant, Tom Claus, Tony Evans, Joseph Garlington, Jack Hayford, E.V. Hill, Max Lucado, John Maxwell, Bishop George McKinney, Jesse Miranda, James Ryle, Dale Schlafer, Joseph Stowell, Chuck Swindoll, Raleigh Washington, Glen Kehrein

 

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Filed under America, Christian Unity

All Lives Matter. Period. Including Police.

A Re-Post

The following is a re-post of something I wrote not long ago. The reason for re-posting it should be obvious – multiple Dallas, Texas police officers shot and killed tonight (July 7th, 2016) at a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

From NBCnews.com. Dallas Police swarm city looking for snipers.

More deaths of blacks have happened at the hands of police in the last day or two, and that is horrible. It’s horrible on several levels, not just that cops killed blacks, but that people, whatever the color, were killed. It’s horrible because even if the police did something wrong, activist groups are rising up and calling for civil chaos and blaming ALL police for atrocities. It’s horrible because we don’t know the whole story behind any of these deaths, because even when information is available, the hate in the black community has already assumed to be judge, jury, and now…from roof tops in Dallas…some have become executioner.

Folks, hate the police all you want, but try to go a week without any on the streets and see what happens. Go to the places where cops fear to tread and look at the quality of life. BLUE LIVES MATTER, too!

Because ALL LIVES MATTER!

So, here’s my previous post, and it’s never been more timely. You might also like to go to the sermon archives page and listen to a message I preached back in September of 2015. The idea there was that all lives matter, and the proof is John 3:16.


A Prayer

Lord, please help me. Help me, dear God, to say, or rather write, something profitable, something worth reading on this most difficult topic of race.

I need wisdom. I need guidance. May my words contribute to healing, not hate.

My Thoughts

I have not been writing as much as I would like, but I felt it necessary to take a few moments to address the whole idea around the rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter.”

Folks, being that I am not black, brown, or transgender (somehow gender has been added to the mix – just check out the website), I admit there are things I don’t understand. But there is one thing I do understand, and my race has nothing to do with this truth: ALL lives matter, not just ones with a particular color or sexual preference.

Let me reiterate. ALL LIVES MATTER.

Yes, I said it, and I will not back down. Why? Because to do so would be un-biblical and un-Christlike. Regardless how one might want to politicize the issue, as a follower of Jesus, as one who believes God made all mankind in His image, I must stand firmly on Truth, not catchphrases.

Racism is wrong. Bigotry is wrong. And taking a statement that excludes the inherent value of all human life as your mantra is also wrong.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and I would not have agreed on several things, particularly in areas of theology and what is called the “social gospel.” Nevertheless, I believe Dr. King and I would have seen eye-to-eye regarding the “Black Lives Matter” thing. He would have said, “NO! NO! NO!” to all the violence and hatred. I believe he would be heartbroken at all the calls for unrest. He would certainly be ashamed of those who have used race as a tool for their own gain. Was it not Dr. King who envisioned a “color-blind” society?

If a person can’t say that “all lives matter” in public without being condemned, without being forced to apologize, then what does that say about the lives of others? What about my family? What about the Asian family down the road? Or the Indian woman that walks down the street with her husband and son? What about the Native American?

I guess one could argue the phrase is only meant to bring attention to the plight of the black community in America. One could also argue that by saying “all lives matter” one is, in a way, saying racism in America doesn’t exist. Possibly. But that’s a matter of opinion.

The truth is that black lives do matter, but so do white lives, brown lives, yellow lives, and red lives; “red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” The proof was when Jesus offered Himself as a ransom so that every tribe and nation could be reconciled with God.

All lives matter. Period.

 

 

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Filed under America, current events, General Observations, Life/Death

Chaplain Baker Writes

Supporting Police

There has been so much hate and violence directed toward our police these days. So much so that recently I felt compelled to do more than just talk about it – I joined up.

No, I am not a policeman, per se, but I have become a police chaplain. Sitting idly by while people condemned the men and women I know who are honorable, self-sacrificing, and brave was no longer an option. More had to be done besides posting memes on Facebook.

One of the things I am expected to do as a chaplain is write for the Roll Call, a newsletter published by our Sheriff’s Office. I was featured in this month’s edition in what is called the Chaplain’s Corner. The text of the article is below, but you can view the original newsletter by clicking HERE or on the picture.

Roll Call snip

On the Verge?

Have you come to the point where you want to give up? Seriously, where are you in your career, your marriage, your friendships, even your faith? Are you tired? Exhausted with all the blood, sweat and tears? Admit it, guys, if life doesn’t wear you down to the point of exhaustion, trying to help those who don’t want to be helped will. There are times when, after all you’ve done, you wonder, “Is it really worth it?”

Yes! Yes it is!

Over nearly 30 years of ministry, and in the last few years, especially, there have been numerous times when I’ve done all I could do to help someone, only to get burned and burnt out. And what’s worse, even when I did everything right, I was the one who got hurt. Believe me, I get where you’re coming from. But so did the Apostle Paul.

Speaking to folks in a place called Galatia (Galatians 6:1- 10), Paul encouraged helping those who’d gotten into trouble. He said they should “do good unto all men…bear one another’s burdens,” etc. But he also said, “Let us not grow weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9).

Faint? Did he say faint? Officers of the law certainly do “good,” that’s for sure. They help others, bear burdens, and carry more than their own share of the load. But police officers never faint! Or do they?

The Greek word translated as faint in the Authorized Version of Galatians 6:9 is actually a word which has the idea of being totally spent and wasted away. It’s sort of like if all your strength and emotions were held inside of you, but then “loosed,” like out of jail. Gone…done…spent.

So, yes, there will come a time, when in the process of just doing our jobs, we will feel like quitting, like throwing in the towel just before the buzzer. We will find ourselves with little or no emotional reserve, ready to “faint.” But THAT is the time we should NOT give up! That is the time to lean on others and press on!

Remember, in “due season” we will reap what we sow, so keep plowing ahead; harvest will come.  

– Chaplain Anthony Baker

Do Something

So, what can you do? If you are a pastor, why not consider becoming a police chaplain? There’s always a need.

But if all you can do is write, talk to others, or simply pray…do something! There are bad apples in every bunch, but those who “serve and protect” need to be served and protected, too.

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ALL Lives Matter (the sermon)

This past Sunday morning I preached a sermon. The title of the message was “All Lives Matter,” and it was based on a story found in Acts 8, the one about the Ethiopian eunuch (probably the first gender-neutral Christian, incidentally).

I don’t claim to be the best preacher in the world. As a matter of fact, I was sick this last weekend, so my voice and my energy level left much to be desired. However, people were surely praying for me, for I had all the energy I needed for the moment, then collapsed in exhaustion 5 minutes after the sermon was over. A few people even came up to me and thanked me for what I preached.

Would you take a listen? (That’s Southern for: Please, would you listen?) There’s a lot of stuff still being said about whose lives matter, but if the truth be known – as I hope this message will lovingly explain – all lives matter, and John 3:16 proves it.

Just click on the picture or the link to listen. http://riversidesermons.sermon.net/main/main/20490920

photo (64)

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Lives Matter, No Qualifiers Needed

Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth, 47 (roughly the same age as me), was executed the other day. All Deputy Goforth was doing was pumping gas when he was shot in the back of the head, then filled with 14 more .40 cal. holes.

deputy goforthHe didn’t deserve to be murdered. No one does.

His life mattered as much as anyone else’s, no matter what the color of his skin.

Yet, in St. Paul, Minnesota, “black lives matter” protesters felt it appropriate to march through the streets yelling out, “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!

Folks, I agree with Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman who said:

“This rhetoric has gotten out of control. We’ve heard ‘black lives matter,’ ‘all lives matter.’ Well cops’ lives matter too.”

And I also think we should wholeheartedly go along with Sheriff Hickman’s suggestion:

“Why don’t we just drop the qualifier and say ‘lives matter.’ Take that to the bank.”

Those who can walk through the streets and claim one kind of life matters, while at the same time, with mocking vulgarity, call for the murder of the very ones who seek to serve and protect them, have not only lost the argument, but any amount of sympathy from me.

To add further insult to injury, the very ones marching and calling for the killing of police were being escorted through the streets and protected by… you guessed it… POLICE!

Look, I am sorry that this is not a post full of biblical insight or humor. I am sorry that it has nothing to do with legalism or religion. I am sorry it is not uplifting or encouraging. Maybe next time.

But here I am, prayerfully considering joining our county police department in order to voluntarily serve as a police chaplain. I am considering putting my life at risk, to become a target, all in order to help encourage those men and women who risk their lives every day for you and me. Even though that badge is not yet on my chest, those protesters are talking about ME!

And you wonder why I am taking this a little more personally?

Do I want to see my wife become a widow? Do I want my girls to lose a father to an idiot who thinks all cops are responsible for some city’s racial woes? No, I want to LIVE as long as I can, because MY LIFE MATTERS, TOO!

But here’s the thing… I’m willing to put my life on the line…to step up to the plate…to stand in the gap… so that some other policeman can go home to his family unhurt, sane, still married, and reassured he’s doing the right thing.

And every man or woman who puts on that uniform and badge each day will keep doing it, despite the threats from the protesters in the street… because of honor, commitment, courage, duty, service, and love for their fellow man.

Should I be able to serve with them in any capacity, it will be an honor…

because their lives – like all of our lives – matter. No qualifiers.

My heartfelt condolences go out to the Goforth family. My the God of all comfort give you peace and wrap His arms around you.

UPDATE: As I was about to publish this post (Tuesday, 9/01/2015), a news alert came across my phone: Another policeman was shot in Chicago. Our nation is gradually sinking into anarchy while our president plays golf, our pulpits preach tolerance, and our people praise Miley Cyrus. God help us.

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All Lives Matter. Period.

A Prayer

Lord, please help me. Help me, dear God, to say, or rather write, something profitable, something worth reading on this most difficult topic of race.

I need wisdom. I need guidance. May my words contribute to healing, not hate.

 

My Thoughts

I have not been writing as much as I would like, but I felt it necessary to take a few moments to address the whole idea around the rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter.”

Folks, being that I am not black, brown, or transgender (somehow gender has been added to the mix – just check out the website), I admit there are things I don’t understand. But there is one thing I do understand, and my race has nothing to do with this truth: ALL lives matter, not just ones with a particular color or sexual preference.

Let me reiterate. ALL LIVES MATTER.

Yes, I said it, and I will not back down. Why? Because to do so would be un-biblical and un-Christlike. Regardless how one might want to politicize the issue, as a follower of Jesus, as one who believes God made all mankind in His image, I must stand firmly on Truth, not catchphrases.

Racism is wrong. Bigotry is wrong. And taking a statement that excludes the inherent value of all human life as your mantra is also wrong.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and I would not have agreed on several things, particularly in areas of theology and what is called the “social gospel.” Nevertheless, I believe Dr. King and I would have seen eye-to-eye regarding the “Black Lives Matter” thing. He would have said, “NO! NO! NO!” to all the violence and hatred. I believe he would be heartbroken at all the calls for unrest. He would certainly be ashamed of those who have used race as a tool for their own gain. Was it not Dr. King who envisioned a “color-blind” society?

If a person can’t say that “all lives matter” in public without being condemned, without being forced to apologize, then what does that say about the lives of others? What about my family? What about the Asian family down the road? Or the Indian woman that walks down the street with her husband and son? What about the Native American?

I guess one could argue the phrase is only meant to bring attention to the plight of the black community in America. One could also argue that by saying “all lives matter” one is, in a way, saying racism in America doesn’t exist. Possibly. But that’s a matter of opinion.

The truth is that black lives do matter, but so do white lives, brown lives, yellow lives, and red lives; red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. The proof was when Jesus offered Himself as a ransom so that every tribe and nation could be reconciled with God.

By the way, the majority of aborted babies are black. Do their lives matter? Jesus loves them, too.

All lives matter. Period.


UPDATE: This post has done nothing but depress me.  I regret writing it. 

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