Tag Archives: Work

The Greatest Missed Opportunity

I have only a few minutes before I meet with a very important client. I have an appointment at 10 o’clock, but it is running a little bit behind due to some unforeseen circumstances. However, while thinking about this, something came to mind about another appointment, an incredible opportunity missed by so many…

Prayer.

And I’m not talking about prayer in general; I’m talking about the opportunity to speak with the creator of the universe. I’m not talking about the kind of prayer that helps a person re-center, or focus, or find calm in the midst of a storm. What I’m talking about is the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with Jehovah, the great I Am, Holy God!

So often we stress over appointments and deadlines and missed opportunities, but how often do we worry or stress or fret over the fact that we have missed an opportunity unlike any other in the universe?

The appointment to which I’m about to go will hopefully produce some leads for future contacts, and hopefully more income. But should this appointment not produce any positive results, has God ever failed me?

I hope your day goes well, but don’t miss that appointment with God…He will never be a “no show.”

Pray.

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, God, Prayer, Uncategorized

More Than a Career, It’s a Means to a Calling

The following is from an article I published this evening on LinkedIn. I’m just now starting to take advantage of that social networking medium, so if you have any suggestions, let me know 🙂

Heads Up: I’m working on a new book, and this article is a hint of what’s to come.


Means to a Calling

How familiar is the term “bi-vocational” to you? If you are a member of a small church, or if you are a pastor of one, then you are very familiar with the term. However, judging by the uninformed comments on social media (those slamming ministers who ask for millions of dollars to buy new jets), it would seem that much of the public is unaware that the good majority of small-church pastors are bi-vocational – which means they have to work more than one job.

I am a bi-vocational pastor; I’ve been one my whole ministerial life. Even though I have a seminary degree, even receiving the Theology Award when I earned my Masters in Ministry, I still serve a church that cannot afford to compensate a full-time pastor. Unlike many assumptions, this is more of the norm these days, not the exception. Gone are the days when a young man entering ministry could expect to earn his primary living from the ministry. Now, even the most educated and qualified ministers leaving Bible schools and seminaries should also have a skill with which they can find a job to put food on the table and pay the rent.

In Acts 18:1-3 we read of the apostle Paul’s bi-vocational trade. Upon coming to the city of Corinth he met up with a husband-and-wife team named Priscilla and Aquila who “were of the same craft” and lived with them, for “they were tentmakers.” In a general sense, tentmaking was not what Paul was known for, nor was it his primary calling in life; he was an apostle to the Gentiles. However, even this great man chose (even though he could have expected otherwise) to keep up a skill which helped fund his personal ministry. After all, there weren’t many places where he could go preach where people took up large offerings to give him afterwards; in many cases all he got was a beating.

So, even though the ministerial climate in America is much different than what Paul endured, there is still a need for pastors and ministers to be able to support themselves when those they serve have little to offer in return. There is nothing wrong with a pastor earning his living from the ministry, and Paul says as much in 1 Corinthians 9:13 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18. However, church attendance is on a decline across the board and overall giving is not what it used to be; therefore most ministers must supplement their calling with other income. That is why I am writing this article: my job, my own version of “tentmaking,” is not a means to an end; it’s a means to a calling.

Over the forty-five years I have literally had…don’t be shocked…forty-two different jobs! Never mind, you can be shocked – that’s a lot. Now, many of those were part-time jobs that overlapped, but since my first job as a young, teenage preacher, I’ve done around forty different things in order to facilitate what God has called me to do. Granted, even though much of what I have done in the “secular” world has, in some ways, been ministry, none of what I’ve done…no label I’ve ever worn…no title I’ve ever had…has been the main thing I’ve desired to do. All I want to do is preach the gospel and be an under shepherd to the Great Shepherd’s sheep.

Today, and hopefully until the day when I can no longer work – or don’t have to – I am an agent with a great company, Aflac. For the ten previous years I drove a school bus and trained new bus drivers. Driving the school bus allowed me to be a positive influence on children and affect future generations, but Aflac will now give me the opportunity to be a servant of Christ by example and deed in the grown-up world of business and insurance. I will be able to help people protect themselves against financial hardship in the event of accidents and/or illnesses, help businesses take care of their employees and keep good talent while decreasing their tax burden, and most importantly keep food on the table as I serve the Lord’s people and the community in which we have been placed.

If you can introduce me to a business owner or decision maker, I would surely appreciate it! In doing so you will not only help my business to grow, but you will be helping me help others in more ways than you can know. With your help we can “make more tents,” but that won’t be all; the job is just a means to the calling. In reality, bi-vocational ministry is more than having a second job, it’s part of the calling, too.

 

Email me at Anthony_Baker@us.aflac.com for more information on how Aflac can help you 🙂

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Filed under ministry, Work

Post-Surgery Update 1/22/18

Greetings! Good morning!

I hope to make this brief, so read quickly 😉

Today is a big day, and I would appreciate your prayers for godly wisdom, composure, and … for the sake of all my charismatic friends … “favor.”

On the healing front, I am getting better every day and a half, or so. I’m getting a little more flexible with time, and the pain is not constant, only symptomatic – that is, it only hurts when I move my shoulder, try to catch something, or stretch in my sleep. So, sleeping still isn’t the best part of my life.

On the job front – and this is a big one. This morning at 11:30 (eastern) I will be entering into an interview with the VP’s of a major transportation company. This could be a big career move, so please be in prayer for me at this time. No, I’m not leaving the pastorate (I’m bivocational, you know), but driving a school bus might become a part of my history, not my present.

Have a great day everyone, and I’ll keep you informed.

God bless!

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Filed under current events

Wednesday Workday Words

Training

As you folks probably already know, I’m a school bus driver. But in case you missed it, I am also a school bus driver trainer (BTW). So, on a regular school day I drive my usual route in the morning and evening, but train new drivers in the middle (3-4 hours).

Part of the training, as you can imagine, is getting out on the road and driving. I don’t drive; I sit behind and beside the trainee, of course, coaching as necessary. The fun part is when I take trainees on demanding and dangerous roads.

The challenging task I selected for today was going up and down a curvy mountain road… and it was as enjoyable as expected.

What Kind of Instructor?

As we were going up the curvy, mountain road, and as the new driver was beginning to get comfortable with the long wheelbase of the bus, he edged the right front tire across the line…right where the road was damaged…right next to the edge…right next to a few-hundred-foot drop!

Thankfully, the school bus trainee was also an experienced truck driver, so he didn’t over-correct by jerking the steering wheel (a mistake which actually contributed to the infamous “Woodmore” crash here in Chattanooga).

Nevertheless, I was calm, cool, and composed. That is when I said the following words…

“If you do that again I guess I’ll become a flight instructor.”

Praise the Lord, we made it back down to the valley without needing wings 🙂

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Filed under General Observations, Humor, Life Lessons

I’m a Word Farmer

“A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompense of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.” – Proverbs 12:14

Word Farming

It should come as no shock to anyone that I use words on a daily basis. I talk, write, sing, preach, teach, and even give dating advice to second-graders on my school bus (but that’s a different story).

Image credit: Wikimedia.org

I am a word farmer, and my mouth could be compared to one of those big machine-thingys (non-farmer terminology) that spreads seed across a field. From morning till evening I am like a John Deere pulling a seed drill (farmer terminology), planting row after row of something that should grow.

The hope is that whatever I am planting will produce a good harvest. And if I am planting good seed, then I will be satisfied with the “good fruit.”

Don’t Work, Don’t Eat

But it is important that we pay attention to the negative side of this, not just  the “fruitful” positive. The New Living Translation of Proverbs 12:14 reads, “Wise words bring many benefits, and hard work brings rewards.

What happens when we don’t plant? What happens when we don’t work? What happens when the farmer parks his tractor, sleeps late, and watches television all day? Plants don’t grow, no one is satisfied, and grown men end up watching the Lifetime Channel.

Rewards are the result of effort; harvests are the result of planting. To be satisfied with good from the fruit of your mouth, you’ve got to plant seed. If you don’t work, you don’t eat.

Just be careful of the seed you plant, “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him.” – Isa 3:10-11 ESV

This post was originally written for Proverbial Thought, 10/2012.

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Filed under blogging, General Observations, ministry, Preaching

Richly Blessed

Getting Rich

You can turn on the television any time of the day or night and hear things like…

  • “Call right now and I will send you a free brochure detailing how you can learn to give me money to learn how to become wealthy like me!”
  • “For a limited time only, you can receive my secret for success for only $199.95!”
  • “Sow a $1000 seed of faith into this ministry, and God promises to bless you ten-fold, show you favor, and magically replace the tires on your Buick.”

Then there are other commercials on television, along with ads of all kinds, that promote the “fun” of gambling…

  • “Somebody’s gonna win – it might as well be you!”
  • “If you love excitement and fun and joy and all that stuff, nothing beats the fun of thinking you may become a millionaire as soon as you scratch the silver stuff off a paper card!”

Everybody wants to “get rich quick.” Nobody wants to have to work for it. Everybody wants to get lucky in Vegas.

Going Broke

The sad truth is that so many people who become wealthy over night turn right around and lose it all. Many who become millionaires in an instant go bankrupt almost as fast. The result is depression, loss, rejection, desperation, and even suicide.

Jesus posed a question in Mark 8:36.  He asked, “What good is it to gain the whole world and still lose your own soul?” Even when you have it all, you can still be completely broke, even destitute.

Richly Blessed

Some of the happiest people in the world are the poorest. I have seen people in the poorest parts of eastern Europe who had more joy and peace than the richest millionaires in Hollywood or New York. The reason is that many of the poor were believers in Christ, and in Him they were blessed. They were rich in mercy and love. They had all they needed, and they were content with what God gave them.

On the other hand, I have known the rich who always wanted more and were never happy.  Their wealth added sorrow upon sorrow. They knew nothing of the “blessing of the LORD.”

It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it. – Proverbs 10:22 NASB

Being richly blessed by God doesn’t always involve being wealthy, but it does include what money can’t buy – the ability to enjoy what one has without regret, or sorrow.

A Prayer

Jesus, thank your for your blessings. Help us to focus not on the passing wealth of this world, but the treasures laid up above. You know what is best for us, so help us to trust you. Remind us that seeking anything outside your plan will only result in added sorrow.

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Filed under wisdom

Five Objectives

Ministry Objectives

Some people take a sentence or two, or even a paragraph, to describe their ministry objectives. I decided to divide mine into five points and put them right up front for everyone, including myself, to read.

My desire is…

I.    To bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ in all that I do (Ps 19:14) and go through (1Pet 1:7).

bibleII.   To “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Tim 4:13) and “to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).

III. To be known as a humble and consistent husband and father whose household serves the Lord (Josh 24:15; 1 Cor 15:58); a forgiven sinner who understands grace (1 Tim 1:15); and a fearless soldier of the Cross (Mark 8:34) who never compromises the truth (1 Tim 4:16).

IV. To affect future generations yet to come as children are grounded, parents become responsible, singles are emboldened, and the aged get a second wind (Josh 4:21-24; Pro 22:6).

V.  To promote the preaching and teaching of the Gospel in every part of the world (Acts 1:8).

Dear Heavenly Father, make them more than objectives… make them reality.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, ministry, Preaching