Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

You Might Be a Sinner If…

I’m Sort of a Redneck

Yes, I confess. I am a redneck, especially considering how burned my neck is after standing out in the sun for five+ hours. Which leads me to ask a question of myself…why do I never remember sun screen unless I go to a beach?

And I also know that I am a redneck because Jeff Foxworthy told me so. If you remember, Foxworthy’s comic routine made famous the line, “You might be a redneck.” Here are some that I know have applied to me at least once over the 45 years of my life (as of tomorrow, the 17th).

I prefer old trucks to new ones. (No, this one’s not mine)

You might be a redneck if…

  • You read the Auto Trader with a highlight pen.
  • Every socket in your house breaks a fire code.
  • The taillight covers of your car are made of red tape.
  • Directions to your house include “Turn off the  paved road.”
  • Going to the bathroom at night involves shoes and a  flashlight.
  • You use the term “over yonder” more than once a month.

I’m a Sinner

Unlike a whole lot of people in this world (and in a world of their own), I can admit that I am a sinner. The only difference is that once I confessed my inability to change my nature, I traded my “filthy rags” for the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9). Now, I’m still a sinner, but I’m am a saved sinner.

So, based on the actions of Adam and Eve in the third chapter of Genesis, I took a cue from Jeff Foxworthy and came up with my own list of “you might be’s.” From that list I preached a message entitled “You Might Be a Sinner If…

You might be a sinner if…

  •   You have ever talked to a Serpent – and taken its advice (v. 2).
  •   You know the difference between “Naked” and “Necked” (v. 7). Side Note: If you consider fig leaves appropriate attire, you might be a sinner.
  •  You feel like running when the law shows up (v. 8).
  •  God is searching for you, and not the other way around (v. 9).
  •  You feel self-conscious or defensive about anything you’ve ever done (v. 9-10).
  •  You ever play the “blame game” – Others, “The devil made me do it” (v. 11-13).
  •  You were born (Romans 5:12).

Change of Status

Some people try on their own to change their status in life. Sometimes rednecks move away from Redneckville in order to become a different person. But what they find out is that Redneckville never left their heart. They still have those same desires to grill Spam and fish with dynamite.

In the same way, many people think, once they finally realize they are sinners, that change can come with a simple change of atmosphere, or the turning over of a new fig leaf.

The fact is that sinners don’t become “saints” on their own. It takes outside intervention.

If we confess with our sins, he is faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

So, what are you? 

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, clothing, Humor, Preaching, salvation, self-worth

Heading to the Airwaves with Proverbial Thought!

Beginning on Sunday morning, probably @10 am (that’s yet to be determined), May 28th, Proverbial Thought will actually take to the radio on WKWN AM & FM!

Cool, huh?

Up until a local gospel AM radio station folded (WFLI), I had been doing a regular broadcast on Sunday evenings at 5 pm. A couple of weeks ago the opportunity opened up to start a new program on a new station. The big plus this time around will be that it will be streamed on the internet, so people all over can listen, especially those who for years have subscribed to the blog, ProverbialThought.com.

So, what I hope to take place is that local and regional listeners to the radio program will go to the Facebook page for Proverbial Thought, Proverbial Thought Extra, to share their thoughts. I also hope it will lead them to dig a little deeper into God’s Word, and even use Proverbial Thought as a tool.

The radio station on which this program will air is not a Christian station, but it does have more of a conservative talk/news format. Therefore, this program will be geared to appeal to those with less of a gospel-programming taste, and more of a practical, rubber-meets-the-road mentality.

You see, Proverbs is a book that is profitable for all people, no matter their relationship with Christ. The wisdom in Proverbs is useful for everyday life, including business, politics, relationships, and other cultural issues. Hopefully this will prove useful to anyone who decides to listen.

On the other hand, the Wisdom of Proverbs is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:24). Each week the program will cover one verse from one chapter, sequentially going through a chapter a week, starting over on the 32nd week. Each program will show how the wisdom of the particular proverb/verse can be practically applied, but it will also offer Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God.

A beloved brother in Christ, Paul Wheeler, gave the funds to put the last program (“The Voice from the River”) on the air, and he wanted to give for this one, too. As a matter of fact, he was the one that asked me to continue preaching on the radio after I resigned from my last church, because he wanted to keep the program going, promising to do so even after his death!

For the record, Bro. Paul Wheeler is a decorated Vietnam veteran who first started the program under the name “Veterans for Christ.” However, when he started attending the church where I pastored, and after his voice and strength began to wear out (due to lung cancer), he told me, “You take the program, Pastor, and I’ll keep it on the air as long as you want to do it.”

So, please keep this program in your prayers, and listen to it when you can. Also, check out the blog (and the “About” page) and the Facebook page.

I’d love to hear your feedback.

– Anthony Baker

2 Comments

Filed under Bible Study, blogging

Happy Resurrection Day!

Happy Easter!

For the Christian, this is the day we remember the most important event in historythe resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There have always been those who don’t believe, of course. But ever since that first morning when the women showed up to an empty tomb (Matthew 24), untold numbers have staked their eternity on the testimony of those who “heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).

As a matter of fact, one cannot call himself a true Christian if this day means nothing, for unless one “believe in his heart that God hath raised him [Jesus] from the dead,” he cannot be saved (Romans 10:9). The resurrection is so important to the Christian faith, “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14 RSV).

I don’t know about you, but this is one case where all my eggs are in one basket; my eternity depends on it.

Again, have a happy Easter. He is RISEN!

Easter Morning Sunrise over Chattanooga

 

3 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Easter, Faith

So, You Think You’re Worthless?

A while back I there was a conversation in which I was asked, “Tell me, name one thing I do well?” Distraught and depressed, broken and humiliated by disabling pain, feeling like a burden to everyone else, this person said, “I’m worthless. I can’t do anything.”

The Violin

As I remembered those words, especially at this time in my life, the image of a musical instrument, a violin, came to mind. Then I thought of my guitar and other instruments; each one capable of making beautiful, worshipful music, but only in the hands of one with talent enough to play.

I imagined the violin asking, “Tell me, name one thing I do well?” All I could think to reply was, “Nothing.” What can a violin do on it’s own but rest in a case, sit on a shelf, or gather dust in a closet? In the hands of one with no skill, with other things to do, and with no love for music, the violin could even become a wearisome burden over time.

In the wrong hands the violin is “worthless.” It has no value, no worth, no ability, no projection, no tone, and no song on it’s own. Alone, it really can’t do anything.

The Master

Then, right on cue, another thought exploded in my brain: What are we but instruments in the Master’s hands? We have no ability on our own. The violin never plays itself. The only way a musical instrument can ring out notes of joyous praise is when it is given life by the energy of the Musician.

But some may say, “I’m not a violin, a guitar, or anything like that.” Maybe so, but in the hands of a skilled musician even a trash can can bring an audience to its feet.

You may not feel like you’re valuable. You may feel worthless. But don’t believe the lie of the Enemy! Your value is not determined by what you can do, or what you look like, or by what others think, but by how much the Master was willing to pay.

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” – 1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV

Dear friend, don’t let your inadequacies, your mistakes, or your disabilities make you feel worthless. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, thought you were worth dying for, and willingly shed His blood to purchase your soul. In your own strength you may be incapable of anything but being a burden on others, but in the hands of the Master, your life can be an instrument of praise in the concert of the ages.

Who knows? You may already be on stage … so don’t give up … the audience may be ready to applaud.  

4 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Do not judge, Faith, General Observations, Life Lessons, music, self-worth, Struggles and Trials

Standing Sure In a Crumbling World

imageOriginally written in 2014, I’m re-posting this in memory of the innocent lives lost in France on Thursday.

World Events

Let’s get real for a moment, shall we? The world seems to be coming apart at the seams right now. Russia and Ukraine are fighting; Israel and Hamas are fighting; ISIS is trying to take over the world; airplanes are crashing or being blown out of the sky; new diseases are popping up everywhere; and more former Disney child stars are choosing to cry out, “I don’t want to be a role model!” while exposing their bare behinds.

Face it, the world is going to hell in a hand basket and Toto has already jumped.

But seriously, as bad as the world is, it’s not like we have Nero for a president. Oh, but wait! America isn’t the only country in the world, you know, and Christians are being killed as often today as they were in the first and second centuries (along with anyone who refuses to yell “Allah Akbar!” as he beheads his sister).

Life Goes On

But even as we look around at a world in turmoil, does that mean we must forget about living? Sure, the temptation might be to down a bottle of Prozac and curl up in a ball, all the while waiting for the first warhead to hit your town.

However, kingdoms rise and fall and nations come and go, yet children still need moms and dads, strangers still need a kind word, and the way we live is still important.

As a matter of fact, right before another group of people’s world was about to be turned upside down, Jesus Christ gave some timeless instruction on living from a hillside (The full text can be found in Matthew, chapters 5-7). His words still apply today. Below are a few excerpts:

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” 

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 

Jesus then concluded his sermon with the following encouragement…

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” – Matthew 7:24-25

Though the world might be falling apart, we don’t have to. 

5 Comments

Filed under America, Christian Living, current events, the future

#Noogastrong

#Strong

It is becoming commonplace to insert the name of a city between a hashtag and “strong,” thereby symbolizing a community’s solidarity following tragedy. There was #Bostonstrong, #Charlestonstrong, and now there’s another one – #Noogastrong (and #ChattanoogaStrong).

It’s becoming all to common, isn’t it? And for me, it’s WAY beyond “close to home”; it IS home! Chattanooga, nearly eight hours away from Charleston, SC, the place I just visited. Chattanooga, the place where I came home to after praying on the steps of Emanuel A.M.E. Church. The world is just too small these days.

But Chattanooga, my city, is not just another hashtag in a list of tragedies. Chattanooga is a strong community with a strong sense of pride. And even though our town is full of nominal, backslidden Christians who can barely tell the difference between theology and skiology, Chattanooga is still a place with strong faith in its veins.

Community

photo (1)Today I got an email from our Mayor’s office. We can pretend that makes me special. It was an invitation to an “interfaith” prayer vigil at Olivet Baptist Church on MLK Boulevard.

(Here is a link to a news story about the prayer vigil.)

At first I felt a little apprehensive, for I am not one who subscribes to the ecumenical belief that all faiths are equally valid and true; I believe Jesus Christ is the only way to God. However, as a Chattanoogan, I felt the need to come together with others, despite our differences, to encourage not only peace, but the realization that good can come from evil, love can conquer hate, and that Jesus is the Way.

Gov. Bill Haslam (TN) was only one of several distinguished speakers at tonight’s meeting (our congressman and both senators were there, too). But it was Governor Haslam who made the case for a community prayer service, even if we considered this city a “Babylon.” He spoke of the captivity of Israel and the command by God to build houses and plant gardens, and “seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace”(Jeremiah 29:7).

Uncomfort Zone

One of the most amazing things to see tonight, however, was the number of Muslims who came to the service – a predominately Christian service, in a Baptist church, on what was supposed to have been a day of Muslim religious celebration. They came to show their solidarity with their fellow Chattanoogans. As a matter of fact, the Imam that spoke nearly broke into tears as he condemned the actions of the Muslim shooter.

But what was truly incredible was what happened toward the end of the Imam’s speech. He asked that all those Muslims present who agreed with him, who condemned the actions of July 17, who wanted peace, to stand in unified allegiance, not as Muslims, but as Chattanoogans! They did! At least a hundred or more! All I could think at that moment was, “Man, that guy just became a target.” OH! If only more Muslims would do this publicly!

One man that stood up was an older man who was sitting next to me on my right. I stood up, took his hand to shake it, then embraced him. As we embraced I said, “Thank you!” He said, with tears in his eyes, “No, thank you! I served in the Army, too.” Later he told me that his heart was so heavy, and that he loved Chattanooga so much, that even after he moved to Florida, he kept his Chattanooga license plate – and comes back each year to renew it!

Later, when the meeting was over, I seriously stepped out of my comfort zone – seriously. I walked up to four guys who looked as stereotypically Muslim as could be, reached out my hand, and said, “Thank you for coming.” Of course, in conversation I told them who I was, so…it’s all in God’s hands. My uncomfortable zones are never outside God’s zone.

“Witnesses of Me”

It is easy to believe that everything is out of control, that God and Elvis have left the building. I mean, the more #strongs we see, the more likely we are to conclude that the Enemy is winning, correct? Well, don’t get too discouraged! Remember, the battle isn’t even a contest; it’s fixed – God wins!

Just look at all that has happened. Seriously! Here we have a radical, hate-filled Muslim “extremist” thinking he’s going to bring honor and glory to his cause by killing unarmed Marines, policemen, and everyone else. Sure, his name and cause gets mentioned, but what else happens?

The name of Jesus Christ is broadcast day and night! On radio and television! Around the world! This happened in Charleston, too! What the Enemy meant for harm, God has used to proclaim the forgiving, restoring, gracious love of Risen Saviour! For crying out loud, folks! There were over a hundred Muslims who sat through a Christian prayer service tonight! People were praying – in the name of Jesus! Even politicians!!

Never forget the full ramifications of Acts 1:8 and what it means to be a “witness.” Sometimes our Father calls us to be witnesses of His Son by becoming martyrs (the word translated “witness” [μάρτυς] is the word from which we get “martyr”).

We Need Him

A lot of people came to the prayer vigil that were not followers of Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, both Jews and Muslims had words to say, along with “Christians” of every creed and color. Nevertheless, the name of Jesus Christ was proclaimed within those walls and to people watching around the world.

And even though it could be rightly argued that many in attendance worshiped a false god, there was something very positive and encouraging permeating the prayer vigil my little girl and I attended: it was humility. You see, whatever else you want to say, Chattanooga was humble enough to admit that there is a Higher Power to Whom we must go for help in times of need – not Washington or our local mayor – we need God!

I firmly believe Chattanooga is the best mid-size city in America. But it was like what our former Governor, and former presidential candidate, Senator Lamar Alexander said in his final words about the whole “Chattanooga Strong” thing: he prayed, “God, make Chattanooga strong.”

With God’s help, Chattanooga will heal. And as we are blessed with healing, we will be a blessing to the world.

Please continue to pray for Chattanooga, my hometown.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1

A powerful prayer was offered by a comrade in arms.

A powerful prayer was offered by a comrade in arms.

National News Media were everywhere.

National News Media were everywhere.

2 Comments

Filed under America, Christian Unity, current events

Standing Sure In a Crumbling World

World Events

Let’s get real for a moment, shall we? The world seems to be coming apart at the seams right now. Russia and Ukraine are fighting; Israel and Hamas are fighting; ISIS is trying to take over the world; airplanes are crashing or being blown out of the sky; new diseases are popping up everywhere; and more former Disney child stars are choosing to cry out, “I don’t want to be a role model!” while exposing their bare behinds.

Face it, the world is going to hell in a hand basket and Toto has already jumped.

But seriously, as bad as the world is, it’s not like we have Nero for a president. Oh, but wait! America isn’t the only country in the world, you know, and Christians are being killed as often today as they were in the first and second centuries (along with anyone who refuses to yell “Allah Akbar!” as he beheads his sister).

Life Goes On

But even as we look around at a world in turmoil, does that mean we must forget about living? Sure, the temptation might be to down a bottle of Prozac and curl up in a ball, all the while waiting for the first warhead to hit your town.

However, kingdoms rise and fall and nations come and go, yet children still need moms and dads, strangers still need a kind word, and the way we live is still important.

As a matter of fact, right before another group of people’s world was about to be turned upside down, Jesus Christ gave some timeless instruction on living from a hillside (The full text can be found in Matthew, chapters 5-7). His words still apply today. Below are a few excerpts:

 

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” 

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 

Jesus then concluded his sermon with the following encouragement…

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” – Matthew 7:24-25

Though the world might be falling apart, we don’t have to. 

1 Comment

Filed under America, Christian Living, current events, the future