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


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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 10.01.42 AM

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.


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?

Friends Friday :: Daiga Kasa

I’m going to try and highlight a friend of mine on Fridays, sometimes with an interview and sometimes just sharing something of theirs.  I met Daiga in Latvia in 2006.  Here’s something she shared with me that she wrote while teaching English in Mexico in 2009.



There are many reasons people get astray. Astray from God, from others and from themselves. The time, the conditions, the things others expect from us. Suddenly we find ourselves empty in a dreadful silence. Our hearts are deafened. The only rumble we hear from time to time is the crooked sound of our minds. Sick phrases that shout to keep safe and sound, to stay in that safe cage. The outside world can be too challenging, painful or scary. What should we do? Dwell in that silence?  How do we get out of that cage?


‘Daiga Kaša, born in 1986, Latgale, Latvia, Eastern Europe. Graduated from the University of Latvia, English language faculty in 2009. Taught English in international environments in Mexico and Riga, Latvia. Studied performing arts at Discipleship Training School in Germany and Thailand in 2010-2011. A singer, songwriter, artist, dancer, publicist, radio worker. Loves handwritten postcards, journaling, soaking music, reading interviews with profound personalities, drawing on napkins, or any kind of surface.:) Favorite Bible verse: ‘I will not die, but live and proclaim the works of the Lord.’ (Ps.118:17)


Making It Hard To Go Hungry

Making It Hard To Go Hungry from Jim and Jess Baker on Vimeo.

Jess and I and our friend April just returned from a trip out to Sydney Ohio to meet with John Geissler and tour Agape Distribution.

Agape Distribution hosts one of the largest Free Grocery Stores in the state of Ohio. They serve about 85 families daily, each receiving about 75 lbs. of groceries of their choosing at no charge.

I met John in Honolulu in 2015 and when I heard about his ministry I was instantly intrigued and inspired.  It was a honor to sit with him again and be able to see first hand their operation.

Is this model replicable in our own local communities?

If you’d like to hear a full interview with John check out doingministrywell.com/9

Real, true religion from God the Father’s perspective is about caring for the orphans and widows who suffer needlessly and resisting the evil influence of the world.” – James 1:27  

Does your local community have a food pantry?

Friends Friday! – Christopher Bell | Cellist/Audio Engineer


I started out this series calling it inspiring mondays but I like friends friday better.

Anyway, this week we are joined by the amazing Christopher Bell.

Christopher Bell is a cellist/audio engineer based out of Upstate NY. When not traveling around playing music he enjoys cross country skiing and hanging out with his neighbor’s cats.

I met Chris in the late 90’s at a summer camp in Western NY.  I have a vivid memory of him having a shirt that said POLSKA.  And If I’m remembering correctly we played a chevelle tune at the camp talent show that year.

Since then Chris has done some amazing stuff and is a person that really inspires me.  Things like using the cello as his main instrument, going on tour in a canoe, and incorporating other ethnic sounds into his music.  Chris I’ve seen you really push yourself and achieve some amazing dreams.  I really appreciate our chats, I always leave inspired.  I’m gonna let people check out this video of a cover you did that makes me smile and then I’ll let you tell us a little about you.


What do you do?  
Musician, Audio Engineer
How’d you get started in that?  
I wanted my band to have a recording, so i started with Windows Sound Recorded.
What is the most amazing thing you’ve seen?
Landscape of New Mexico and Arizona
What is the most heart warming thing you’ve seen?
Looking back and seeing the sacrifices my father made while my mother was dying as well as his raising me as a single parent for 6 or so years.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?  

I once stayed at a place on tour where the house was so dirty there was a line of ants eating a dead cockroach.

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

Not one thing, but connecting with people and learning i’m not as strange or a black sheep as i initially thought. That was encouraging to know that maybe I didn’t have bad ideas, and it was ok to march to the beat of my own drum.

What’s your biggest mistake?  
Not pushing myself more as a child. Being cocky and
What’s your biggest struggle and how did you overcome it?  
my biggest struggle was putting in the work to get where I wanted to go, and to overcome that, i just needed to canoe from Buffalo to NYC.
What keeps you inspired to keep going/creating/working?  
reading, learning new things.
Who or what resource has been inspiring you lately?  
David Byrne’s book How Music Works
What disciplines in life do you depend on to be consistent? 
I have a set schedule of working out 6 days a week, house cleaning/groceries on sundays. Studying, reading, and at least 1 movie a week.
What does your average day look like?  
I wake up between 8 and 9:30 depending on if I have class. If a class day, then its college, home, nap, work, practice cello, exercise. On no class days its work, practice, exercise.
If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?  
Most to savings, some to pick up a few things
What’s your most recent go to favorite food/restaurant? 
Indian Food
Whats music have you been listening to lately?  
I’ve been studying carnatic music, a south indian style of music, and listening to that a lot lately.
What tv show have you been watching?  
Black Mirror
What’s the latest movie that inspired you?  
World’s Fastest Indian
Share with us something most people don’t know about you?  
too much an open book for that.
What have you been doing for fun?  A current hobby?  
Cross Country Skiing.
Chris thanks so much for being an inspiring friend and for doing this interview!  If you’d like to hear more of Chris’ music or connect with him do so here.

Inspired?  Leave a comment and let us know what you think, and let us know who we should interview next!

Linky Wednesday 07.06.16

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



Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 10.25.55 AM

Check out our friends new app: Taskmaster Daily 5

I’ve really benefited from putting 5 main things on my to do list instead of the overwhelming million that have to get done.

The app is free for a little while.  If nothing else, go check out their BEAUTIFUL website.



The Nomad Barber?!

My friend Clayton was hanging out at my house recently and we were talking about video story telling.He just finished barber school and showed me this video series.

I cut my own hair and could care less about barbers BUT that’s whats so amazing about visual story telling.  I watched these videos and totally got sucked in!  I wanted to know more.

It’s like Donald Miller’s quote from Blue Like Jazz.

“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.”



We bought this hydroflask for our missionary friend in the Philippines.  These water bottles are amazing, they are vacuum insulated, and I got impressed with them in Hawaii when a staff member was cleaning out a van from the previous days beach trip and a student left their water bottle in there and the next day there was still ice in it.


A Decade Later: My Top 10 Insights On Burnout – Carey Nieuwhof



Becoming a Powerful Person: Part Two. Spotting Powerless Relational Dynamics http://bit.ly/29fCFHP



Did you find something in this week’s Linky Wednesday useful?  Please click the LIKE and SHARE button below!