Pastor's Pen
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September 3, 2014, 9:23 AM



   Recently, my wife and I were fixing dinner and we had Pandora on the computer in the den. One of the music groups we like to listen to is The Righteous Brothers, and, of course, the volume was up a little when their song entitled, “He” came on. There is a good orchestra piece leading into the song and then you hear the two guys sing these words:


                        He can turn the ides and calm the angry sea

                        He alone decides who writes a symphony

                        He lights every star that makes the darkness bright

                        He keeps watch all through each long and lonely night


He still finds the time to hear a child, a child’s first prayer

                        Saint or sinner calls and always finds him there

                        Though it makes Him sad to see the way we live

                        He’ll always say, “I forgive”


                        He still finds the time to hear a child, a child’s first prayer

                        Saint or sinner calls and always finds Him there

                        Though it makes Him sad to see the way we live

                        He’ll always say, “I forgive, I forgive”


   When I read these words and then think of all the good things that Jesus did and how he taught us how we should live … and when I think about how Jesus is introduced by John in the fourth gospel, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14) … (“only” meaning He is unparalleled; one-of-a-kind; no one equivalent to Him before and no one equal to Him in the future) … full of divinity (John 1:1-5) and full humanity (John 1:9-18) … and how He loves us … let it be known … that I choose to be loved into heaven rather than scared into heaven. 08.31.2014

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:


August 25, 2014, 11:00 AM




    “You are the light of the world … let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

   I have written recently about our community children returning to school, obesity, and last of weekend food for some children. We have a wonderful person, a local school teacher in our church, who calls her students “her precious ones.” Let me use that phrase here as I attempt to address another concern. I want for our children to be able to have the good smells of home, especially while food is be prepared for dinner. I know a lady who has confessed to me that several times a week, all three meals in one day come from McDonalds.

   I know that today many families are made up of both parents working and in single parent homes, that one parent is usually working. I also understand that “time” is not always on our side so many meals are take-out or microwaved.  Could it be that too many children pop food into their mouths without joy? They eat the main course without the appetizer of anticipation.

   I have spoken with many young people in schools where I have lived and I have gathered a list of ways that they can help themselves … actually this can be a list for you and for me, too!

  • Treat yourself with special care as you would treat a best friend.

  • It’s okay to be who you are. You need only to be in competition with yourself to make a better you.

  • Eat well and take your vitamins. Your body is a sacred temple.

  • Realize how much your family loves you, and say “I love you” often.

  • Keep optimistic.

  • Make a commitment that you want to live – everyone has dreams and talents that we all need to make a better world.

  • Care about each other.

  • Be thankful for all your many blessings.

   I would suggest that health is achieved when we establish a balance of mind, body, and spirit.

Remember, “You are the light of the world…” 08.24.2014

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:

August 18, 2014, 1:00 PM

Remembering Fireflies





Remembering Fireflies


   A few nights ago, I was in the backyard and I believe I saw several fireflies. Do you remember fireflies? When we lived in upstate South Carolina fireflies were everywhere during the summer months. As the evening deepened, the fireflies covered our backyard and I believe they came to light the world of backyards … at least our yard! I was never one for catching these little flying light bulbs, they were too enjoyable! And to think of them confined to a jar is unthinkable to me!

   Last week I wrote about getting children ready for the upcoming school year and I touched on “obesity.” I thank those of you who responded … especially the school teacher who is constantly worried about what some of her students have to eat on the weekends. I’m glad we have week day food programs at our schools, especially breakfast! (Who doesn’t like pizza every once and a while for breakfast?)

   This week, I am still thinking about children and how we might help them in keeping alive their inborn sense of wonder, joy, excitement, and the mystery of the world we live in and share with the fireflies.  I wonder how many of us can be that kind of companion to children. Do we still marvel at our own sense of inner creative joy that looks at everything as though we were seeing it for the first time? I guess most of us rely on children to help us adults see things in a new light; we use them, sometimes, to refresh our sense of wonder. Let’s also find joy in helping them fuel their creativity.

   Six years ago, this month, I was a patient at the Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City. Getting rid of Atrial Fib was a blessing and today I am so much healthier than I was then! Readers of this article, members of our congregation, and friends from around the country shared thoughts and prayers for my health with Joyce and me. They were like the glow from fireflies lighting the path toward wholeness for me! I am so grateful that friends took time to help me explore new perspectives on the healing process. Some very close friends even helped renew in my mind the need to bring back more creative time in my own life.

   I would suggest that creativity in whatever form – writing, painting, cooking, gardening, etc. – takes us to a higher plane, lifting our spirits and strengthening our healing energy. So, as the evening comes to your yard, take someone by the hand and go out to gaze in awe at the stars above and the fireflies below. And remember that our own light is a beacon illuminating our soul with magic and spreading joy and hope in the night. 08.10.2014

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:


May 14, 2014, 9:00 AM

Pastor's Pen


Mother’s Day


   It is a special day when we honor all the moms who give so much of their selves to their children and to their families!  It is also a day when we remember all those moms who have finished this life and have gone on to the life eternal, whose impact for good is still being felt within our lives today! I hope for all the mothers who are reading this article, that your meals are fixed for you today, or you are taken out … that car doors are opened for you today, and that dish soap escapes your hands. Most importantly, I hope for you that through your family, they show you how much you mean to them and how much they love you!

   A pediatrician has written a book entitled: Through the Motherhood Maze. It struck a responsive cord in me as I watch what mothers do. Moms getting children to school (so do dads) on time and getting themselves to work on time … then to soccer or little league baseball and maybe piano lessons. I’ve seen moms washing dirty faces and you remember, you don’t really want to remember, but you remember how they would lick their thumbs or fingers and wash your face with their lipstick and spit as if that lipstick had some kind of healing and cleansing agents.

   When our two were little, I saw my wife wash diapers (Do you remember doing that, washing real diapers?). And then looking everywhere for the pacifier that was always lost when you needed it the most!  I remember what Erma Bombeck said about motherhood. She said, “I was one of the lucky women who came to motherhood with some experience. I owned a Yorkshire Terrier dog for 3 years. At ten months my children could stay and heal; at a year they could catch a freesbee in their teeth … in mid-air. At fifteen months, I had them paper trained.

   To be a mother today requires not only a sense of humor, but it requires the stamina of the Arbuckle Mountains and the patience of Job. The influence of the parents far outweigh every- thing else! As I have said from the pulpit many times … “The home is where the heart makes up its mind.”

   One day Jesus was delivering the Sermon on the Mount and toward the end He said: “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). May I suggest that what Jesus was saying is the very thing that comes so naturally for many mothers:

  • If affection is what you want, then give it.
  • If a comforting word is what you want, then give it.
  • If time is what you want, then give it.
  • If a warm embrace is what you want then give it.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:

January 13, 2014, 11:23 AM

Words from Rick


I Don’t Believe Any of It!

It was at Terminal A where I met Macalia (That’s how she spelled it).  I arrived at DFW last Sunday about an hour early for my flight to Ft. Myers, Fla. and I was reading a book in the gate area. A young mother with a one year old sitting in a stroller came up and sat beside me. Across from us was a young reddish haired lady. Macalia was her name. She had one of those spiral pads that secretaries used to walk around with and she was sketching.

   The mother and I were talking about church stuff when she told me that her husband interviewed for a position at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. As we were talking, Macalia said to me, “You look famous!” I said, “Well, my mother thinks I am!”  “No, really you do,” she replied.  She said I looked like John McCain and showed me what she was sketching. Darn! She sketched me like those political cartoonist do, and I did look somewhat like McCain. She told me that she was in 11th grade and had been in Colorado visiting her father and was returning to Naples, Fla, where she lived with her mother.

   When we got on the plane, I was in row 25F and Macalia was in 24F. Before we took off, she turned and looking over the back of her seat, she said, “All that stuff you were talking about, that religion stuff, I don’t believe any of it! I’m an atheist!”  I said, “Really? I’ve only met one true atheist. It was years ago and I asked him if he had studied all the realms of science, religion, philosophy, astrology and all those other ‘ologies’ and you have concluded that there is no God?”  And he said, “Yes.” I said, “Well, maybe you are!”  Then I said to Macalia, “Only in the 11th grade, you have done all of that?” “No! I just don’t believe. I want to study and become a geo-chemical engineer and I believe that in all of our technology today, those biblical stories are not needed! Anyway, back then they did not have any technology and so they just sat around and made up these stories.”

   Of course, I did not try to evangelize her, I just asked some probing questions that would lead one to think about some religious ideas. She would squint her eyes and turn around and in a few seconds turn back to me with another question and I would respond. This went on for about an hour. And finally, she turned around and said, “If I don’t believe in any of this religious stuff and don’t believe in God and this plane goes down in the Gulf of Mexico, will I go to hell?”

   My response was, “You don’t believe in God and you don’t believe in any of this ‘religious stuff’, but you believe in hell?”  She turned around and faced forward the rest of the flight. Didn’t speak a word to me, nor I to her as we got our bags from the overhead compartment, but when we got out into the terminal she turned to me and said, “Thanks.” I said, “Macalia, don’t ever stop asking questions … you ask some really good ones.” She smiled as she turned and walked away. 01.12.2014

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:


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