Monday, November 26, 2012


Psalm 111:10 says "the fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding." I'm thinking a lot of about wisdom today...because in an hour from now, I will do something that I was told needed to be done 30 years ago. I'm having my wisdom teeth pulled. I don't mind telling you that I'm nervous. I'm not a big fan of medical procedures, hospitals, and medical stuff in general. I know this is rather routine...I just don't like shots and stuff (not to mention having teeth yanked from my skull and pain in general). So, I'm taking some wisdom verses into the dentist chair this morning. Strange but connecting my wisdom teeth saying "bye-bye" with wisdom verses is a good way to implant something in my mind. Another thing, I really feel guilty for being so worked up about wisdom teeth being pulled when so many people have it so much worse health wise. So, I'm also thinking (and praying if I can concentrate) for those who are dealing with cancer, heart problems, back surgery, etc... In a sense, I'm praising God for my health. Finally, I guess it's only soft foods for a time...someone said pudding was good. If this is true there are only two options for this recovery meal: chocolate and tapioca. Maybe this won't be so bad after all!

Monday, November 19, 2012


A great thing about Thanksgiving is that the holiday describes a Christian attitude I should have all the time. It's really hard to celebrate Thanksgiving while having an ungrateful this morning, ahead of this great American tradition my mind is moved to the things I'm thankful for (hopefully this will trigger some thanksgiving in your heart as well) 1. I'm thankful for my wife - best 27 1/2 years of my life and my favorite person in the world. 2. I'm thankful for my sons - by far my favorite artist and preacher are represented in these two lives that are truly a part of me. 3. I'm thankful for God's calling on my life to preach. I am so grateful to have a place to preach every Sunday (I'm also thankful for that place - Eastview Christian Church) 4. I'm thankful for food to eat. This Thursday, I'll gather with Sara's family in Cincinnati and some of my favorite tastes in the world (turkey with gravy and pecan pie among them) will be on the table. I'm thankful for that. 5. I'm thankful for my health. I'm planning on running a Thanksgiving Day 10K in Cincy with my sister-in-law and niece...glad my legs, heart and lungs still work. 6. I'm thankful for the team of people I work with here at church. I know I'm supposed to say that as the pastor, but I truly mean it...grateful for each one. 7. I'm thankful that the grace of Jesus has saved me, the Spirit guides me and the Father will bring me home someday. Words cannot express. All praise to an awesome God from whom all blessings flow. Thank you Lord!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

rainy day in Jerusalem

Even though we spent last night in the city of Jerusalem, today was the first chance to get into the city itself. Since it was Sunday morning, I had two thoughts - one was for all of my brothers and sisters (my family) at Eastview Christian Church. I truly miss them-the second was to organize communion for the group as to celebrate the Lord's Day together. I grabbed some bread at the breakfast buffet (a baguette actually) and the head waiter brought some small bottles of wine. It sounds easy, but with buses, traffic, and weird food, and no convenience stores's hard to get all of this together. God visited us in a very cool way next the olive grove in Gethsemane as we celebrated the Lord's supper together. We sang the hymn, "Nothing but the blood" and prayed and served each other communion. Every one was moved deeply...very cool time of worship and reflection! We then headed to the Mt. of Olives where we got a great view of Jerusalem as Jesus would have seen it 2,000 years was windy, and cold, and then the rains came..and lasted throughout the day. J.K., Scott and Ryan (our videographers) were troopers taping the teaching on the southern steps of the temple while it was crazy...good. I also made the video guys schlep (new Jewish word I've adopted) down to Hezekiah's tunnel (2,700 year old tunnel from the Old Testament) - very cool day..even if we did experience the wailing wall in the rain...very tired..heading to bed even as my people in Normal hit mid afternoon.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

En Gedi/Massada

Today we hit the southern area around the Dead Sea and were introduced via J.K.'s teaching to the Hebrew word - matsad - it means stronghold. It is the word used to describe the cliffs and caves of En Gedi when David and his men were on the run from Saul and his enemies. It also where the word Massada comes from where Herod built this incredible fortress/winter palace with incredible views to the Dead Sea. The point J.K made was a great one: David's stronghold physically was at En Gedi, but his real stronghold (same Hebrew word) he reveals in Psalm 27:1 - "the Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid!" Is is possible that David wrote this Psalm in the very caves I walked below today? What is your stronghold? Very inspirational stuff! We also saw two animals at En Gedi you can see only here: Ibex and Hyrex (also called conies and rock badgers). The Ibex is a deer like animal, but the males have long horns...and the Hyrex is kinda like a rabbit. They are mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:4&7..pretty cool. I can't seem to download pictures on this site right now, so I'll try and post some on my twitter account @bakerpastor Shalom!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

First Century Boat

Sitting here while most of you are sleeping back in Normal having just sailed across the Sea of Galilee from Tiberias to Genessaret...the exact same route I taught from this morning from Matthew 14..Jesus walked on water and invited Peter to do the same...and he did. Very moving for all 60 on board! A great challenge for our fears: 1. What unknown are you afraid of (it's a ghost) and 2. What step do you need to take that seems scary? Now I've found some free internet action and I'm trying to catch the first century boat (actually found in 1986). Heading to Mt. of Beattitudes!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Isreal trip: take 2

Well, heading to Tel Aviv today with 60 from Eastview via Chicago and Paris (no you can't see the Eiffel Tower from the airport!). After an incredible day yesterday which saw 67 baptized into Christ - flooded by His grace (Noah sermon) my soul is blessed and filled with joy. Now I lead a spiritual pilgrimage for others, but I'm excited to experience it again myself. If you are so inclined, you can read daily updates via this blog and/or my twitter page @bakerpastor. I'll try to send some pics as well. Of course, when it's all said and done, we will release about 19 teachings on location which J.K. and I will record over the next week and a half. Looking forward to Sea of Galilee, Caesarea, and Capernaum most of all. Stay tuned...