Saturday, October 31, 2009

10.31.09 - last year at this time... and friends

oct 31 2008 - kailua kona, hawaii

Last year Sandi Walrod and Jess (then) Stiles (now BAKER) came dressed to the Hallelujah party at my apartment in Kona as me. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. ;)

Crazy that a year later we're all still hanging out only this time in Baltimore MD for the VOA conference, luckily neither of them are dressed as me. (At least I don't think Sandi is ;) she's at the conference today, Jess and I took the day off)

It has been GREAT to run into some friends at this conference. Friday night I ran into three friends Augustine and Sarah Park and Hannah Brogi. I met them in Comitan, Mexico on a missions trip. There I saw the greatest outpouring of the holy spirit that I have seen to this day during a worship service.

We also ran into Jared and Brianne Miller too. Jared is the brother of my good friend Mark's wife Jeanette. He and his family are just pursuing revival in their home town by being intentional with the people in their neighborhood. They are partnering with other local churches in the area and they said that they have seen God do the most in the liquor store on the corner.

I think I realized that I've hit my traveling quota for right now. Jared asked me how far I lived from here at lunch yesterday and I just stared at him blankly and could not figure out where I was.

Tomorrow we are back to NY with the help of a lot of good people.
JIM baker

p.s the new Cory Asbury album is epic, i've been listening to it over and over again all night.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

10.29.09 - adventures on the road and VOA

changing spark plugs

So about 4 hours into our trip to baltimore Jess turns down the radio and asks "whats that noise?" and I hear a loud clicking from the engine... we pull up to the toll booth pay the toll and the car stalls out. I start it back up and get off of the exit and pull into a parking lot in time for it to stall out again. Real long story short, got towed, guy wanted $187 for a tune up, called Brian Adelgren, he told me that was a rip off, the Walrod family came to our rescue (they were headed to baltimore from jamestown NY too and were about an hour behind us) we picked up the parts on our own and Tim Lease walked me through how to do it over the phone. Car still didn't work correctly so I left it sitting at a gas station in Breezewood PA right off of the turnpike.

my spark plug changing friends
(Jess, Bob, Linda, and Sandi)

I am seriously surrounded by the most GENEROUS and AMAZING friends ever. The Walrods rerouted to come pick us up and Bob paid for the parts that I needed. Tim Lease took the time to walk me through how to change my spark plugs over the phone. My parents are driving us to Heidi Fraisers house and then she is going to drive Jess and I back to Breezewood on Sunday and Nate Adelgren is going to drive 4 hours from Jamestown to Breezewood and drive us back to Jamestown with our car.

worship last night at Voice of the Apostles

We are here in Baltimore for the Voice of The Apostles Conference. We have seen hundreds of people receive physical healings, hearing testimonies of creative miracles and metal in peoples bodies dissolving. Major things, minor things all being healed in the presence of the Holy Spirit. We have sat under some of the most amazing teaching from modern day apostles like Bill Johnson, Che Ahn and John Arnott. It's been a blessing to be at this conference. Heidi Baker is speaking tomorrow.

God's GOOD.
JIM baker

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

10.27.09 - AFRICA!!!

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" - Romans 10:14-15

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." - James 1:27

My heart is pounding with excitement and I have a huge smile on my face as I write this post. Jess and I are headed back overseas for a 10 day trip to KENYA!

We will be in Kenya late January early February. It seems like forever ago that I've done any international missions work. And this will be our first international trip as a married couple!

I have been asked to go and do portraits for some of the orphans at an orphanage in hopes of getting them furthered sponsorship. I'm excited to do something so significant with my photography.

Jess and I along with two other adults from our church, and two of our students from the youth group will be teaching english and the bible to students in the Msomi Academy.

Please click here to find out more about where we will be working!

JIM baker

If you are interested in supporting this trip financially or through prayer please contact us!

Monday, October 26, 2009

10.26.09 - wild goose chase

Taken in Oahu March of 2009
(yes I realize that's not a goose)

Our students were awesome tonite, they had a pastor appreciation ice cream party for me and Jess,
unfortunately Jess was home sick this evening.

Corey Errett came and spoke tonite. He taught out of Luke 18 and 19 and asked us who we were more like... are we the rich young ruler who simply wants a ticket to heaven? Or are we Zacchaeus who wants Jesus and is willing to climb a tree to see Him.

Corey also taught from a book that has been instrumental in his life called "Wild Goose Chase." by Mark Batterson. The premise of the book is that in the gaelic language the word for Holy Spirit is also the same word for wild goose. Corey explained that following the leading of the Holy Spirit is meant to be an adventure.

Corey outlined 6 things that hold us back from really following the leading of the Holy Spirit.


He asked the group to share which one they felt like they struggled with and how we can help one another along through these things.

This is what I took away from the evening.

While we cannot negate responsibility, we also cannot fall into the trap of trying to control everything, we still have to TRUST in God's goodness and provision.

Mudane routine is only as mundane as we allow it to be, we have to seek the adventure of where God has us. Sometime it simply takes a perspective change. Seeing things as God sees them. And a willingness to step out and take risk.

Our assumptions need to meet TRUTH.

Our guilt needs to meet FORGIVENESS.

Our failures need PERSPECTIVE on what we are seeking to win and what our reward really is.

Our fear needs an encounter with BOLD PERSISTENT LOVE.

JIM baker

Sunday, October 25, 2009

10.26.09 - Hidey Wedding

This weekend was Chris Hidey's wedding. I snuck a quick pic of Hidey brothers and me in the bathroom right before the service.

Jess and I had the honor to attend one of the most fun and beautiful weddings we have ever been to. It was held at the botanical gardens in NYC.

I read scripture during the service in English and then Sharon's cousin read it in Chinese. We read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Right after the wedding service we were taken downstairs for cocktails and finger foods which included a sushi bar. Then back up stairs for dinner, which was AMAZING. I had the filet mignon. You can tell by the number of forks how many courses there were.

Chris and Sharon were a stunning bride and groom. Congrats!!

And here's an iphone pic of Jess and I from the hotel right before we went to the wedding. Third time wearing a suit in 3 months, and I've got to wear one next month too...

JIM baker

Thursday, October 22, 2009

10.22.09 - Grandpa Stiles 90th Birthday

Grandpa Stiles (Jess' dad's father) on his 90th Birthday
(iso 1600 shot with the g11 for you photo geeks)

We're hanging out tonite in Youngstown Ohio. We just spent the evening with Grandpa Stiles who is ninety today. When I asked him how it feels to be ninety he replied, "I don't know how's it suppose to feel?" He said that when we turn ninety he'd be there to sing to us :)

Jess sitting with Grandpa as he opens his cards.

Just a quick update, back to Jamestown tomorrow and NYC on saturday. Baltimore on Wednesday for the Voice of the Apostles conference. Yup... on the road again.

JIM baker

10.22.09 - vision and on the run again

jess' eye

When Woody Woodson was here speaking he spoke so much on vision.
"You can't receive it until you can see it."

We are having a ministry fair at our church this weekend (Jess and I will be in NYC for a friends wedding) but as I was preparing a dream list of needs for volunteers, I began to see these things taking place. I saw our sanctuary filled with teens. I saw small groups forming in peoples homes providing a place for teens to be transparent and real and form real healthy relationships and encounter Jesus.

Mike Montes has been working with our staff and has been trying to prepare us for
when we add another zero to our number. Making sure that we have a framework in place that will be able to support that change. I feel like we have this season until 2010 to get ready and get prepared, to get a foothold and then watch out we're running forward.

We're headed out to Ohio in a little bit here to go to Jess' grandfathers 90th birthday party. We had a great time with my grandparents last night. We spent some time doing some photography together. My Grandma is a digital photographer you can see some of her work here.

I'm actually off to go get that hair cut that I was talking about yesterday but never got because I canceled it.

JIM baker

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

10.21.09 - just checking in

Brianne, Decklin, Daylan and Corey.
the Errett Family

Hey everyone, just checking in. 3 days without posting a blog seems like forever.

Earlier in the month (where has october gone?) I did family portraits for the Errett family. Corey is the youth pastor at Lakewood Baptist in Jamestown and is a good friend of mine. He actually is coming to speak to our youth this upcoming week.

Check out the rest of the photos I took of the Errett family here.

Anyway, later this afternoon Jess and I are headed over to their house so Brianne can cut my hair. She runs her own hair studio out of their home. And then we're headed over to my grandparents house to spend some time with them. They are graciously letting us store our all season tires in their garage since we don't have room (yup the snow tires are on both cars) and do a couple loads of laundry since we don't have a laundry machine and they are feeding us dinner :) Then later tonight we might be getting together with some friends to pray.

Nothing super significant, just telling you whats up for our "day off."

Enjoy your day,
JIM baker

Sunday, October 18, 2009

10.18.09 - presentation

I walked out after church to see a bunch of the cupcakes my wife made left over on the bake sale table. Everything else sold :(

Not knowing we were selling things individually, I brought the cupcakes to church in a tin. We then ended up at the last minute putting each cupcake in the only thing available, plastic bags. The bags ended up hiding and smearing the original design, making them quite unattractive to the potential buyer. Packaging is important, because it forms our first impression.

Woody Woodson is here at our church sharing with us this week. He is talking a lot about "what we see." We need to expand our vision and see what God is seeing.

When we look at people, do we see what God sees? Or do we judge the "book by its cover?" It's our call as Christians to look past the plastic bag that is stifling peoples inner calling and beauty and call those things forth.

When Woody prayed for me today he said a few things, that there is a depth with me and God, that I would have creative bait, and that this week people would come to know who they were because of being around me.

While I'm not fond of the word "bait" and don't consider myself uber creative, (like my friends Jon Barnes and Cory Pampalone) I'm more than okay with people coming to know who they really are .

My heart for ministry is rooted in people finding out their real identity. Stepping into what they were created for and falling in love with their creator. So stop and ask God right now, what was on your heart when you created me? What was my original design? And now ask God to help you walk in those things because it is where you will feel alive.

Some of my students came to me after church and said that the did not want to go to Woody's meeting on monday night, which will replace our regular meeting time. When I asked them why, they said he was hard to listen to. I replied two things. First, that I'm under our pastors authority and he asked that we be there, so we would be there. And secondly, myself included, we need to learn how to look past a persons style of communication and get the truth out of what they have to say.

God help us to look past the packaging.
JIM baker

That's a lot of revelation from a cupcake.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

10.17.09 - bake sale!!!

Tomorrow our church is having a bake sale to support the
New York City School of Urban Ministry
trip that Jess and I will be going on in November. Two of our students will also be going on this trip.

Jess being the creative one that she is decided to make these cupcakes in hopes that the kids like them and persuade their parents to pay tons of money for them :)

chocolate cupcakes

frosting (thanks donna adelgren) the first batch didn't really work out.

large gum drops
(does this answer your inquiring questions on facebook as to why I was going out to get large gum drops?)

Frosting the cupcakes.

Decorating one of the cupcakes with more frosting.
(yes thats a chop stick, sorry we didn't have any paint brushes)

and the final product! My wife is amazing. She is quite the BAKER isn't she? :) I had nothing to do with this whole project at all, just taking pictures and sharing it with you all.

JIM baker

Friday, October 16, 2009

10.16.09 - a tribute to my great late canon sd870

canon sd870 (Dec 2007- Oct 2009) R.I.P

Notice all the wear and tear, owned the camera for about 2 years and it got a ton of use.
The lcd took its last breath earlier this summer (I'm actually surprised it lasted as long as it did, in 2008 i got hit by a pretty big wave with camera in hand, and the lens has mechanical problems from time to time, probably caused by sand)

I was looking into getting it fixed but recently decided it's time to put it to rest.

I've had some great memories with this camera.

Click here to see all the pics I posted on flickr with this camera

My 365 days project
(a self portrait every day 2008 and some of 2009)

and here's a pic from Oahu that I took with this camera. Hopefully this will help keep us warm and joyful since the last post I posted had a pic of snow.

If you had some good memories with the sd870 leave us some love.
JIM baker

p.s had an awesome day today with my beautiful wife, just relaxing and getting some things done in erie that we needed to get done. I might blog about those things tomorrow.

10.16.09 - really?!

(view from my back window)

ya know... i spent the last two winters in hawaii...

this is a little different.

Jess and I were suppose to go to a ministry training seminar all day today and tomorrow but we are taking the day to just rest and recuperate instead.

JIM baker

Thursday, October 15, 2009

10.15.09 - abide

(click on the picture above to see the story behind it)

I spoke in church this past sunday about John 15:9.
"As the Father has loved me, so I love you, now abide in my love."

This has become a life verse for me, that has changed how I do things.

It's Jesus speaking, and He's saying that with the SAME amount of love that God the father loves Him, that He loves us with that same amount of love. Stop and think about that, let it impact you a bit because its a huge statement. Maybe even stop and repeat those words... Jesus loves me the same way that God the father loves Him... and thats A LOT!!!

But it's the last part that gets me. It says abide (or remain) in my love.

Jesus is telling us to just stay in that place of being loved by Him.

I've tried to stay consistent in loving God and my level of love never stays consistent, but when I just focus in on the radical loving pursuit of Jesus... my natural response is to love Him back. I don't have to try or strive anymore, it's simply natural.

Dan Baumann a good friend of mine who was imprisoned in Iran for preaching the gospel says this...

"Everything we ever want to do for God should be the natural overflow of intimacy with God."

I think a key element for the Church to move forward in power is this. It's time to put away simply doing things out of obligation and duty, and it's time to be radically loved by Jesus and live in response to that. Not indebted as a servant, but freely giving because we've been freely given.

JIM baker

check out Pastor Rick's recent blog post on
"Everyone is a worshipper"

Monday, October 12, 2009

10.12.09 - higher calling

What do you see below? Just simply a picture of 5 cell phones? Hardly. Recently we've been asking what serves as a distraction at Higher Calling which is the name of the churches youth ministry.

During worship tonite, a student came and dropped their cell phone in the middle of the floor where we were gathered. Putting it down was a tangible display that said, "Jesus you are the most important thing right now." When I looked up from leading worship, more and more cell phones got laid down. I was really blessed to see our students take the initiative to do that without an adult nagging them to do that.

During the worship time I had them pair off and just spend time encouraging one another and praying for one another. I watched as smiles lit up across students faces, its sad that we don't take time to encourage one another more often.

As we moved into the teaching time, I had them write down any questions they have about Christianity, I am trying to get a better feel of where they are and what they want to learn. Then I taught about the importance of CONTEXT when interpreting the bible. (My School of Biblical Studies friends should be proud) and reviewed a basic bible study tool called a "FLQA" which is an awesome simple resource that I got from Nate Bailey.

The students took a piece of paper and divided it up into four parts. We looked at Psalm 91 and wrote down some Facts, the Lesson that we were learning from that portion of scripture, then we wrote down Questions we had and spent time answering them, and then we pulled out Applications.

My application from Psalm 91 is shelter is a stationary thing, and if I do not move and place myself under that shelter, I can stand and still get soaking wet by the storm even though the shelter is right next to me.

We wrapped up the night by breaking up into small groups and processing our day, asking one another how we are really doing on more than just a surface level and praying for one another.

JIM baker

(sorry for the bad photo quality they were taken with my phone, my point and shoot is dead. I'll dedicate a whole post to my late point and shoot soon.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

10.11.09 - pumpkin carving

And a bit of a disclaimer... the last post was not meant to scare anyone. I've gotten some concerned responses to my asking for prayer. Nothing is wrong, the transition is just hard, three HUGE life changes all at once. We were just simply asking for prayer, thank you all for your concern though.

hmmm... which one doesn't belong?

Jess and I went over to Chad and Linnea's last night for a pumpkin carving extravaganza. This was Jess and my first time carving a pumpkin as a couple. I did the top cut and the eyes and scraped most of the guts out, Jess did the rest. We bought a stencil kit at wal mart along with our albino pumpkin (it was cheaper) and were told that if we used a stencil they would smash our pumpkin, so Jess just looked at the stencil and drew on the pumpkin one of the designs.

We also celebrated Jackie's first birthday party. She's not one, but it was her first actual birthday party because she grew up not being able to celebrate. Sorry I don't have any pictures of that. My point and shoot is officially dead, I took these pictures with my phone.

My beautiful wife and our fun pumpkin.

uh, you should comment if you're reading this because we like comments.
JIM baker

Saturday, October 10, 2009

10.10.09 - fall is here

I went for a short walk today, up one side of my street then back down the other. It was great to just be at a walking pace and be able to take the time to take things in.

Fall is very different here than where I grew up in Columbia, MD. The colors are amazing. God is pretty creative huh? I took some time to grab some leaves off of the trees and brought them home and spent some time taking pictures of them to share with you all.

Pray for Jess and I during this huge transition in our lives. New marriage, new job, new city, it gets overwhelming sometimes.

Get out and enjoy a fall day :)
JIM baker

Friday, October 9, 2009

10.09.09 - Heather's senior portraits

Wednesday Jess and I did senior portraits for Heather who is a part of our youth program. We were attacked by swarms of gnats from time to time but Heather did an AWESOME job. Here are my favorite 5 of the shoot.

Check out my other photography on flickr.
JIM baker

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

10.07.09 - my view and what I should be doing...

I'm sitting in my office right now, my window is being held open by a large conch shell because for some reason the window didn't want to catch and stay open on its own.

Its a funny contrast because its 48 degrees here and the seashell reminds me of hawaii, and my weather widget tells me it's 83 there right now. For those of you that don't know I spent a total of nine months in Kona Hawaii with YWAM in 2008 and 2009.

I have the window cracked because Terry and Janie Rohlin did an awesome job of putting up a new wall for my office last month and the paint still stinks a bit. I've got a great view though...

The red building with the RAZOR WIRE fence is the local fireworks stand. Meh... it could be worse. At least I have a window.
(Sorry Brian Lindquist)

Anyway... I should be working on a vision plan for Higher Calling (the name of our youth program) so I'm going to get back to that.

You should leave comments with pictures of the view from your offices or wherever you are checking my blog from.

JIM baker

Monday, October 5, 2009

10.05.09 - First POST!

Hey everyone...

Some of you know me, some of you don't,
I'm Jim Baker.

I just moved to
Jamestown NY and...

my wife Jess and I are youth pastoring at
Praise Fellowship
in Russell PA.

This will be a place for my wife and I to share our lives with people from all over the world, we will do our best to fill you in on the recent happenings which could include anything from ministry updates, rants and raves, random thoughts, pictures and well whatever else we think is worth posting to share with

I'm probably already over my word count for the person who is just skimming and have lost their interest so here's some

pictures of my wife and I from our wedding which happened on August 23 2009
at camp mission meadows.
(Photos courtesy of Sheena Stropas and Seth and Jamie Rainwater)

Check back often. Jess and I will be posting weekly and we will try very hard to write WHO wrote the post at the bottom...

like this,
JIM baker

to see more of our wedding photos check out the albums on my facebook.