A Gospel Worldview

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Yesterday I made my first political post on facebook.  It went like this:

Dear Christians,

What if every time we saw a political post on here, we prayed and asked God how WE can share and be the Good News to our nation, to our neighbor.

We don’t need Jesus for president because Jesus is already King. If we want more of His influence in the world it starts with making Him LORD of our OWN lives.

Salvation, hope and restoration came through ONE man, and it wasn’t any Presidential candidate.

After Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice He was given ALL authority, and then He gave us a commission.

Matt 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Yes, Presidents are important, but their leadership doesn’t negate our commission to steward well, influence, forgive as we’ve been forgiven and love like He loved us.

We’re still called to open our mouths and share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to make disciples who know and have encountered the goodness and truth of His scandalous love and who hear the Fathers voice and OBEY.

God’s with us always, to the very end of the age. The next president only 4 maybe 8 years.

#ThinkKingdom#ThinkEternal

/politicalrant

@jimjessbaker

Oh interwebs… you are a funny place.  We should expect pushback especially on the internet.

A friend shared my post and someone commented on their share this:

In my opinion, this is attitude is problematic. It demonstrates the predominate mindset for Christians whenever challenging political or societal questions arise, and has become a major factor in why our society is in such dire spiritual and political straits – few christians take a stance on polarizing topics.

This mindset is not far off from putting your head in the sand/clouds. The end result of this worldview is to be lukewarm in every non-theological discussion. Id rather be right or wrong on tough societal and political issues, then be “meh”

The conversation went on and I chose not to get involved.  Because you know…

My mind was completely changed on an issue because of an argument I had online said no one ever.

I’m teaching on worldview in a couple weeks in all of the RED Schools.  And I’m basing my teaching heavily on this book.  Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey.

It talks about how we’ve put Christianity in a subjective personal religious box and how people are okay with it if it’s just your private faith.

But when the gospel is preached, it changes communities and economies.  Remember in Acts 16 where the fortune telling woman was a big money maker and she gets set free and everyone is mad?

Or how about in Acts 19 when Demetrius is TICKED cause no one is buying idols of artemis anymore.

When the gospel is proclaimed it should be transformative.  It should change the way we live our lives in every realm.

Crooked tax collectors met Jesus and repaid their debts and stopped ripping people off.

Prostitues stopped prostituting.

The kingdom of God isn’t a political Kingdom, otherwise Jesus would have taken over Rome.

So if you want to have influence (and we should) in the political arena, in policy making, in the moral discussion, in culture shaping, it requires that be:

  1.  Under the Lordship of Jesus which means we OBEY and we’re teaching others to hear and obey
  2.  Actively involved in the culture, creating value.  No one wants to listen to a back seat driver.  If you want influence, be an influencer, create value in every sphere!  And then watch people value your other opinions.

And oh man… obedience.  Obedience last the longest in a trusting relationship.  I’ll expound on that one soon.

There’s some afternoon thoughts for ya… whatdaythink?  Comment and let us know.

It’s Not What You Say It’s How You Say It

sometimes-your-tonewill-disqualify-youGood morning, woke up a little after 5am this morning.

Last week I set a goal to get up at 6am every morning.  When you work from home there’s not a time you have to be at work.  But I feel like 6am is an adult time to wake up.  When I get a hard start to my morning I have much better days than when I just wake up whenever I want.  I’m celebrating that I set a goal and have been killing it!

As I shared in the last post I’ve been trying to start my day with a creative project, putting a thought on “paper” and sharing it.  It causes me to have to sit and think about something as well as do something slightly creative and productive to start out my day with a win.

The one I worked on this morning was not the one I ended up posting.  I ended up sharing the one above.

My original thought this morning needs to be reworked, I even started writing a blog post about my original idea, but the tone was so negative.

Something my dad said a lot growing up was “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”  And it’s stuck with me.  Parents keep planting seeds, a lot of the things my dad has said over the years have stuck with me.

Thinking about HOW to say something is interesting.  You can be saying the same basic thought, but it can be perceived very very differently based on how you deliver it.

“Sometimes your tone can disqualify you.”

I originally had will instead of can.

Sometimes your tone will disqualify you.

But can is a bit more passive, and less harsh.  Less severe.  Will sounds like it definitely will disqualify you where can gives a bit of ambiguity.

I also thought about removing the word “sometimes” but that sometimes again softens the blow.

Your Tone Can Disqualify You.  vs Sometimes Your Tone Can Disqualify You

Again adding in a bit of ambiguity makes it more palatable.  Without sometimes it sounds so accusatory and scolding.

When you stare at words this long and think about them like this they start to fall apart and not make any sense at all.

Row-ad.  (Tommy boy?)

Anyway, if you often feel you’re misunderstood, I encourage you to check your tone.  Ask someone who you trust and and who loves you if your tone is getting in the way of the good things you have to say.

Sometimes communication is an art form that requires practice.

God gave us a filter.  Just because a thought comes to our mind doesn’t mean we have to say it.

You have good things to contribute, maybe that thought needs an edit, a flair, a finesse to be received well.  It takes practice and discipline but it’s worth it.

Creativity Productivity And Perfectionism

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I recently decided I wanted to up my twitter game.  So I’ve set a goal to follow 5 people a day and be more active on twitter.  I’ve been faithfully following more and more people and well so far… I’ve gained less followers than I have followed but thats okay.  Slow and steady wins the race right?

Part of my new daily strategy is to create little “memes” with some thought I’ve had.  It’s a nice daily discipline that requires a little bit of creativity and requires me to take something that has been floating around in my head and condense it down to clearly communicated idea, which is really not easy.

There’s a million ways you can say things.  Words are hard.  Communication is hard.  So it’s a great exercise.

Sometimes I get stuck, and then I’ll ask input from my wife who majored in English.

Feedback is hard sometimes too, because I subconsciously want what I’m saying to sound a certain way, to include certain words and I’m coming at it from my own understanding of which my wife knows nothing about because I haven’t communicated those things.

Anyway… after a certain point I just have to publish what I’ve got.  Today’s thought is above and it’s not A+ work it’s probably about a C.  But I had to post it on instagram otherwise I’d keep revising and I’d kill it in the process and lose momentum.

I can always come back and revisit the thought and communicate it clearer next time.

The difference between posting something average, and feeling defeated and not posting anything is a small but huge difference.  It seems minimal, but I really think it has an affect on my day.  Because being productive even in small things helps push your momentum forward.  If I wouldn’t have posted that meme (is a text graphic even considered a meme?) I probably wouldn’t be posting this blog, and who knows what momentum posting this blog will push me towards.

Be creative, share it with the world, don’t let perfectionism stop you, keep your momentum going, average or even below average work published is better than the defeat of no work.  Fight fear and resistance.  Publish.

Follow me on instagram and twitter @jimjessbaker

Ignore Everybody

My new neighbor Clayton just opened a barber shop, and he’s also quite the talented artist.  He and his wife came over for some taquitos and brownie sundaes and a round of catan.  On the way out I took this book of my bookshelf and let him borrow it.

I think my buddy Cory Pampalone recommended it to me.  And now I’m recommending it to you.

Quick, easy and inspiring read.  A little foul at times so reader beware.  But it’s good and practical which creativity doesn’t always seem to be.

Friends Friday :: Jennifer Lee Hester

YAY!  Another friends Friday.  From time to time I like to showcase one of my friends that’s doing amazing things.  I met Jenn in Honolulu and recently she’s been putting out some amazing design work on Instagram so I asked her to do an interview.  Here it is!

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Jenn thanks so much for doing this interview, I love love love your work.  I don’t think you remember this but when were in Honolulu together working one time I was cleaning out the sound area and you were doing landscaping and I stomped on this spider egg sack that manifested thousands of spiders and I screamed like a girl.  I remember looking around and only seeing you around and being like… gosh that girls gonna think I’m crazy.  hahahaha anyway…

What do you do?

I am a painter, crafter, and graphic designer.

How’d you get started in that?

I have always loved arts and crafts so that has always been in my life. Graphic Design was recently introduced to me about 2.5 years ago. My brother’s girlfriend graduated in graphic design and it sparked my interest so after coming home from a lot of traveling and figuring I wouldn’t be settling soon I decided to finish my degree in graphic design online.

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What is the most amazing thing you’ve seen?

The most amazing thing I have ever seen is just the natural beauty in the world. The landscapes beat anything.

What is the most heartwarming thing you’ve seen?

This is so hard and I can’t think of anything pertaining to art but the most heartwarming thing I’ve ever seen is when I went to the Philippines and worked at an abused girls home and there was a tiny girl there that was about 4 or 5. Every morning I would wake up she would run up to my legs and hug them and look up at me and say Hi Ate! (Older Sister in Filipino)

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?

The craziest thing I have ever seen is sidewalk chalk art done by Julian Beever. He makes 3d Illusions using sidewalk chalk and I remember the first time I saw it I was obsessed and blown away. Check his stuff out at julianbeever.net!

What is the most encouraging thing anyone has ever said/done to you?

My husband reminds me of inner beauty here and there but when we went to Lake Tahoe for our honeymoon we were standing right in front of this beautiful and mighty waterfall. He looked over at me and said, “You know you are way more beautiful than any of this…It’s so true.” He reminds me how much God loves me and in my opinion just getting that reminder that you are loved like that is the most encouraging thing in the world.

 

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What’s your biggest mistake?

I was a wild and rebellious kid in high school so I wasn’t very present but if I could start over I would get way more involved in art programs and events at school.

What’s your biggest struggle and how did you overcome it?

My biggest struggle was to be happy with my style and finding true enjoyment with what I do. Instead of trying to do what others are doing you need to find what you love to do and become really good at it. Endurance is key!

What keeps you inspired to keep going/creating/working?

It just brings me peace and joy to do it and it comes natural. I love seeing reactions from people when I post new art and when I give people gifts. Also, it’s a part of how I express myself and maybe in a way that I can’t exactly express with words and I think everyone has a special way of expressing themselves.

Who or what resource has been inspiring you lately?

I have been really into hand lettering and typography so there are hundreds of people that I follow to learn all kinds of stuff from. Instagram seems to be my number one resource for inspiration because its right at my fingertips. A few people I follow on Instagram are @handletteredtruth @designspiration @jacycorral @frenchpapercompany @1924us and many more. I also love going outside in nature, there’s so much out there to be inspired by.

What disciplines in life do you depend on to be consistent?

I think it’s important to do something every day whether it be a small doodle to a huge project. Another thing to do is to learn from others and be inspired by their work. We all learn from each other. It’s also very important to get the right tools and stay up to date on them because that can make the world of a difference.

 

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What does your average day look like?

I wake up and drink some tasty iced coffee and spend time in God’s word. After that I’m ready for the day and I go on to check on what work I have for a company I do part time graphics work for. After that is done I utilize the free time I have to jump into doing any kind of art whether it be painting, drawing, hand lettering, graphic design, etc. I pretty much do that on and off and also fit the rest of the schooling that I have left into my day. Then, my husband comes home and we hang out. He may play some music while I work on my art…then the day is done!

Here’s some  fun personal questions

If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?

If I had a million dollars, I’d pay my parents’ house off and let them retire and do whatever they want to do with the rest of their lives. Then I would travel for a year to wherever I wanted with my husband and whoever else wanted to come. I would use the rest to buy everything I would need to start an awesome business.

What’s your most recent go to favorite food/restaurant?

Chickfila or this place called Zeus (Greek and Lebanese) If they had a Korean restaurant where I lived it would be that…well, if they were good!

What music have you been listening to lately?

Bethel-Synthesia (It’s a No words album), Us the Duo, Random Jazz

What tv show have you been watching?

Arrested Development

What’s the latest movie that inspired you?

Zootopia was artistically a beautiful movie and it was actually really funny.

Share with us something most people don’t know about you?

If I could start life over, I’d be a professional dancer.

What have you been doing for fun? A current hobby?

Decorating my house! It’s so much fun.

What’s your process look like when you are creating?

I’m usually really excited to just start drawing in my sketchbook so I get my markers, pencils, and pens out and just start going at it. I like thinking of phrases or quotes to draw about or just certain things going on in my life. It either ends up with me drawing something, painting, or turning my drawings into graphics and making a design out of that. Music usually is a great addition to the creative process but sometimes it’s nice to just create in silence.

What question should I have asked you that I didn’t? And go ahead and answer it.

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Fried Lizard. It tastes better than fried chicken.

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My name is Jennifer Lee Hester and I was born in Petersburg, Virginia. I was raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was recently married to my husband Luke and we’re loving the married life. I love being an artist and I am especially in love with arts, crafts, hand lettering and design. I am currently in the process of opening Jszolis Art & Design to pursue my dreams of being an artist. I hope that through my talents I can share the word of God and support missions around the world.

Follow Jenn on Instagram @jszolisartanddesign

Linky Wednesday 09.07.16

jimjessbaker.comIf you are having problems viewing this please click on this link to see it in your web browser.

 http://jimjessbaker.com/linky-wednesday-09-07-16

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THE AMERICAN DREAM!

So… I noticed a couple of weeks ago that the tile in the bathroom near the toilet seemed “squishy”  I wondered if maybe it’s always been like that.  I took note of where it seemed squishy and told Jess about it and said that if I felt like the squishyness was expanding that I’d take a deeper look into things.  I checked in the basement under the bathroom and found lots of orange and black mold.  I removed the insulation and wiped it down with bleach.  A couple weeks later Jess said she was noticing the squishyness too so I went back down to the basement and found that where the toilet pipe came down the wood had cracked.

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I’ve not a handy man bone in my body.  We asked a friend to come over and look at it for us.  He thought we could just cut out a small area of mold in the subfloor and be done with it.  But as he got into the project he realized that joists needed to be replaced and this house has just layers of stuff built on top of one another, so under the moldy subfloor was another layer of plywood and underneath that was tile in concrete.  All of this had to be torn out.  The bathroom floor was so uneven, more than an inch off from corner to corner.

When we asked him how much he wanted to be paid for the work he insisted that he would not charge us, and “that’s what friends are for.”  It’s so humbling to be on the receiving end of a gift that you couldn’t pay back.  If we were to hire someone to do this work it would have cost thousands.

We needed a jig saw so I called a neighbor to see if he had one, he didn’t, but called another neighbor who I had never met, and he walked it over to our house.  It was amazing to see the outpouring of neighborly generosity.  Our neighbor with the jigsaw stayed for a while and shaved a ton of time off the project.  We had the electricity turned off because we had to replace some of the joists and running through those joists was electrical wire.  The neighbor brought over wire testers for us which allowed us to get the electricity back on.  And then although he could not physically help a lot, he gave direction to us on how to get the joists up using 2×4’s and leverage instead of just trying to hammer it into place.  I was so blessed to see the outpouring of neighborly love, and the generations working together.  The older neighbor sharing his wisdom, which my friend received with the typical southern honor of “yes sir.”  The neighbor came into check on us again and complimented my friend “You’re doing a good job, son.”  It was beautiful.

I’ve been sick twice in the past month… I think I know why.  We’re making good progress and are hoping to be having things back up and running soon.

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We go through seasons where things are REALLY slow… and then seasons where things are slamming busy.  September is BUSY.  We just started 3 new RED SCHOOLS, tonight we are kicking off the local one in Clarksville TN, and last week we started one in Livingston TN and Russellville KY and are wrapping up a 4th in Elkton KY.

Here’s a photo of Jess teaching Inductive Bible Study in Elkton Kentucky.

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Bought this guy on amazon recently.  The mosquitos are CRAZY this summer.


Please remember we’re AMAZON AFFILIATES.  :)

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OH MY GOODNESS!  After 7 months we just posted a NEW episode of Doing Ministry Well.  Click below to hear the episode and check out the new webpage:)

%22maybe there is a gift laying dormant in another person that you need to be pulling out.%22
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Did you find something in this week’s Linky Wednesday useful?  Please click the LIKE and SHARE button below!  

A Healthy Tension

So last week I talked about how God is a generous giver, and I ended that blog post by saying that we are to be LIKE Him in that way.

I wrote in a ministry update a few months ago explaining my internal struggle being a homeowner.  It’s hard for me to spend money decorating my home when other people don’t have homes.  Obviously the issue of homelessness is much bigger than that.

I also feel a healthy tension when it comes to entertainment.  How do we spend lots of money on being entertained, when other people around the world are dying from lack of basic needs.

Is having a well decorated home a sin?  No.  Is spending some money on entertainment a sin?  No.

But it is a problem if not proportioned correctly.  And there’s no magic formula.  I believe it requires going to the Lord and asking Him directly, is there an area of my life that you want me to sacrifice for a season so that others could benefit?

Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.  There was inherit risk in His ultimate sacrifice.  He gave a gift and we’ve dragged it through the mud and spit on it.  Yet He still gave.

Let’s use wisdom in giving.  But let’s also be led by His spirit when giving too.  Sometimes faith and foolishness look very similar, and the only thing separating it is God’s voice telling us to do it.

Here’s a good article I saw recently along these lines:  Missionaries Are Supposed To Suffer So Am I Allowed To Buy An Air Conditioner

How do you balance your giving and entertainment?  Let us know in the comments

Garden Report 2016 #FAIL

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So… 2016’s garden was a fail.

I’m glad I don’t have to rely on these crops for food or income.

Where we lived in Hawaii didn’t want me putting anything in the ground.  So everything I planted was either in aquaponics (which I SO miss!) or in containers.

I was excited to have my own place where I could put a garden in the ground.

I loved the documentary Back To Eden, and really enjoy the concept of bio intensive gardening as well.  However after just buying a house there was zero extra money to get anything to do raised beds.  So I thought I’d just give it a try directly in the ground.

I attempted the 3 sisters in the backyard.  The corn came up, but we’ve had record breaking rain fall for the month of July.  Which I learned today is bad for corn since the pollination happens from the tassels at the top of the plant, to the tassels on each ear of corn.  I had no clue that each tassel of corn went to a specific kernel of corn.   You can see in the photo that some of the kernels obviously didn’t get fertilized.   One bean plant came up, maybe two but never really did anything and I had a zuchinni plant that flowered, but I don’t think anything ever came of it either.

The soil here is heavy in clay.  I broke a shovel when I was digging the three sisters bed.  I double dug the beds like the bio intensive method tells you to do.  I should have taken the grass layer and disposed of it, I just turned it over into the dirt which caused my beds to be overrun with weeds.

I’m a mosquito magnet and I hate being hot.  So being outside and getting eaten by mosquitos in the 90 degree heat didn’t sound like much fun.  So my beds were not well weeded.

I planted some mums in my front garden bed with the tomatoes.  I learned about companion planting from some friends here.  The mum plants got ginormous.  In the future I’ll keep all of my flowers in pots so I can move them around.

My tomatoes got taken over by stink bugs, which I read was partly because I didn’t weed well.  Whoops.

One of our neighbors has a BEAUTIFUL garden, he uses the square foot method.  Planting everything in 4×4′ squares.  I think I’ll try that next year.

I harvested some vermicompost the other day, got a little less than a 3 gallon bucket full.  Put it around my raspberry and blackberry bushes, on top of some newspaper which will hopefully keep some of the weeds down.

I got a tree saw so that will help my berry bushes get some more sun when I get outside and start hacking away.

I also built my own compost tumbler.  Compost tumblers are expensive, like $100+.  There are DIY’s for it, but I’m completely not handy at all so that’s out, plus building materials add up too.  I found a youtube video that took a locking lid trash can and drilled holes in it.  That I can do, so once a week I kick/roll it around my back patio to stir it up.  Much easier than trying to turn a pile with a pitchfork.

Compost really fascinates me.

Next year I’ll make sure all of my beds have a newspaper or cardboard layer to suppress weeds.  Which means I’ll have to add woodchips or potting soil and compost.  That stuff really adds up in cost.  I want a small truck so I can just haul this stuff around easily.  A decent wheel barrow (I always thought it was wheel barrel) is expensive too!  Dang expensive hobbies.

I’ve got one bag of potting soil left in my basement, I might throw down some cardboard on one of these beds and grow some green manure seeds that I bought and then chop and drop.

I’d also like a mulcher, but they are wicked expensive as well.  The electronic one which was like $200 doesn’t get great reviews.  Maybe I’ll keep with our amish lawn roots and just chop small limbs manually with some hand shears haha.

Oh yeah… the basil and mint are doing well in pots.

And the poison ivy is doing real well near the driveway.

Thanks for reading #famerjim

Make Moves!

Do you ever get overwhelmed by the vision God has given you?

I do.

It’s paralyzing at times.  Literally.

God has given me dreams I can only accomplish with His help.

I was reading in Joshua the other day and was amazed by God giving him a HUGE promise up front, but then they still have to do the hard and scary work.  It also stood out to me that the leaders had to step into rushing water before God  miraculously parted the Jordan.

Make moves.

“God will fulfill all of His promises to you but He won’t fulfill your destiny.” – Kris Vallaton

For me making small tangible steps really helps.

I just contacted the local food bank in my town, and contacted the chamber of commerce too to get the ball rolling on my vision.

What baby step you can take today?

Be strong and courageous friends.  God’s got a plan for your lives to do amazing things, that will bring the reality of His Kingdom to the earth.

On The Offensive Generosity Of God

This morning after breakfast I read this on facebook.

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And it got me thinking…

Why is a generous God offensive?

We’re offended because His generosity did not meet our expectations.  Maybe some jealous is creeping in, and we think we deserve that gift and didn’t get it.  Hmmm…

Remember my $4000 computer provision?  I’ve shared that story and been accused of preaching a prosperity gospel.  If I was a prosperity preacher I certainly wouldn’t be driving a rusty 2002 mazda protoge.

Ephesians 1:In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,

God’s not stingy.  His grace is scandalous.  His love towards us is UNMERITED.  He loves you more than you know, and not because of anything you’ve done.  He really is a good good Father.

I was at an Ed Silvoso conference in Hawaii a couple of years ago, and I’ve heard Ed get called a prosperity teacher too.

It’s not an exact quote, I lost my notes when my iPod died, but he said something like this:

God doesn’t make you prosperous for you, it’s so that you can be a blessing to your local community.  He challenged pastors who got a tax deduction because of their housing allowance to pour that money right back into the local community.

Convicting.

Ephesians 3: 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

I love that language, exceedingly abundantly…

Michael Hyatt says “Never limit your vision based on your current resources.”

God is an EXTRAVAGANT giver, and demonstrates that to us from who His is.  Generosity is in His character and nature.

And we are to be like Him in that way.

How has God shown His generosity to you?

Who can you be generous to this week?

What is the vision that God has given you and how can it bring the Kingdom of God to your local community?