About JB

Jerome has served in youth and young adult ministry 19 years under the leadership of his pastor, Bishop Barry Walker in Carrollton, GA. Jerome is the author of two books: Success Killers and Watch Who You Hang With.

Posts by JB:

4 Things To Consider About Halloween

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By Jerome Baker

When I was a teenage I remember every October 31 going around the neighborhood knocking on doors asking for candy.  It became such a tradition among me and my peers on November 1 after basketball practice we would go out again and ask for leftovers.  Unfortunately, at that time I never knew the history of Halloween, the origin of dressing up in costumes, or even what some of the popular symbols meant that were displayed during this time of the year.  Hosea 4:6 says in part, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

After doing a little research over the years and gaining some knowledge I changed my perspective and behavior about celebrating Halloween, especially as a born again Christian.  I also broke that cycle in my children and began to give them insight I learned. Here are just a few considerations about celebrating Halloween I believe every parent, teen, and youth leader should know.

Demon treats? (Read 1 Cor. 10:20)

1. Consider the history of Halloween?
Oct. 31, “All Hallows Eve” began over 2000 years ago celebrating the “lord of the dead”, named Samhain. It was a practice of the ancient Druids in Britain, France, Germany, and the Celtic countries. The Druids believed that on this particular evening the spirits of their dead relatives and pets returned to their former home to visit the living (why people wear costumes).

If the living did not provide food (“treat”) for these evil spirits, they believed all types of terrible things would happen to the living because they would cast a spell (or “trick”) the living in that house.

2. Consider who celebrates Halloween?
Some reports state that present day witches and followers of Satan still preserve the early pagan beliefs. They consider Halloween a sacred and deadly powerful time. And Halloween’s overall theme involves death, magic, or mythical monsters.

3. Consider some of the meanings of Halloween symbols?
Pumpkins: On the British isles, the scary face of the jack-o-lantern was used to frighten away evil spirits and cast a “spell of protection over the household.”  The Celts carved the frightening faces into gourds or turnips, not the American pumpkin.

Fire: Has symbolized warmth and protection as well as death and destruction to cultures around the world. During Samhain, the Druids used it for protection against bad spirits and for ritual sacrifices (both animal or human) to their gods.

Skulls, Bones, & Skeletons:  Symbols of death, disease and the shortness of earthly life.

4. Consider if Christians should celebrate Halloween?
In my opinion, no.  I believe Halloween is a tradition of the world and Romans 12:2 says, And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. And, I also believe 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 which states But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

To me, most Christians miss opportunities to share the gospel with people that may not know the good news of Jesus Christ.  Some Christians turn off the house lights to indicate that they do not celebrate Halloween, which is understandable.  But kids and teens coming to my door looking for a treat! Oh, you better believe I want them to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalms 34:8) I’m dropping a gospel tract (and maybe a pack of Now-N-Laters) in their bag! Here are some of my favorites I have used over the years by Chick Publications that I pickup from my local Christian Bookstore (click here to view and read them).

Also, at our church we use this night to witness to others about Jesus, Hell, and salvation.  We do skits, we produce our own movies, and we have had Christian singing groups to come minister.  There are people all over that grew up like me that just didn’t know the truth.  And to have ministries that focus on letting people know the truth during the season of Halloween is needed.

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© Copyright 2014 Jerome Baker Jerome Baker is the author of “Success Killers” and “Watch Who Hang With”, and the youth pastor of A Place of Refuge Church in Carrollton, Georgia.

Four Reasons Youth Should Not Fear Ebola

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By Jerome Baker

I believe any type sickness or disease that comes upon a person is no laughing matter and should given the necessary spiritual and medical attention as needed. However, it seems that the coverage of the Ebola virus in the US is stirring up fear in numerous youth and adults. Though I am not a medical professional everywhere I turn people are talking about “The Ebola”. It is clear that some are quite fearful of the reported virus. Here are some Biblical reasons Christians should not be fearful.

1. God did not give us the spirit of fear.

Fear is a spirit that does not come from God. When a person operates in fear, they become tormented (1 John 4:18). Afraid to sleep, eat, shake someone’s hand, are go about their normal daily agenda. Instead of walking in fear, we are commanded to walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), or to simply trust God’s Word. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2. Our God heals from diseases.
If the Lord allows any type sickness to come upon us, we should be like Job and not fear, but believe that our God lives and can redeem (Job 19:25). The Word is filled with people that God healed and besides that I have witnessed God heal people at my church from various sickness and diseases. The doctors gave up on them, but God did not. He promised His people healing and God can not lie. No need to fear, our God is the healer. Psalms 103:1-3 says, Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,

3. I believe some media outlets over hype issues for viewership.
The more bizarre the report, the more people will tune in. In actuality, we need to tune them out if we consume their reports mores than the Word, because death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). The more death and gloom reports we feed ourselves the more consumed we become and less likely to believe God’s Word. So either we will believe the news report or the God’s report.

4. God is with us.
Since God promised He would never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), whether Ebola, Bird-Flu, Mad Cow Disease, etc comes it will not scare the Lord away. We have no need to fear, because the Lord is our Shepherd (Psalms 23). I believe that no weapon that is formed against us will prosper. (Isaiah 54:17)

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© Copyright 2014 Jerome Baker Jerome Baker is the author of “Success Killers” and “Watch Who Hang With”, and the youth pastor of A Place of Refuge Church in Carrollton, Georgia.

6 Truths About Salvation For Teens

6ts-bBy Jerome Baker

One the main reasons I did not receive salvation through Jesus Christ as a teen is because it was never really explained to me. I had heard of Jesus, but understanding why I needed to receive Him as Lord and Savior was not presented to me in a simplistic way Biblical way did not happen until I was a sophomore in college. Here is God plan of salvation explained for today’s teen.

1. Man was born in sin because of Adam’s disobedience to God.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

2. Because of our sin, we were separated from God and deserving of death.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No matter how good we are, we can not redeem ourselves of our own sins. Making good grades, not hurting anyone, never using drugs, or using profanity would not gain pardon of sins.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

3. Because of God’s love for man, He would send His only Son to live a sinless life, and ultimately pay the price of sin that mankind might have remission of sins, and eternal life.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

4. To be saved from sin and make Jesus Lord and Savior, one must repent of their sins.
Repentance is more than asking for forgiveness, repentance means to turn. So when a person repents, they turn from sin and they begin to think, speak, and act according to the Word.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

5. Salvation only comes through the name of Jesus.

Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

6. Sadly, if a person does not choose to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life they are choosing to remain in sin. Upon death that person will suffer the wages of sin in Hell. Hell is a place of eternal torment that was created for the devil and his angles and for those they reject God. Once in Hell, there is no escape or repentance.

Matthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

Psalms 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

I am glad I made Jesus my Lord and Savior at the age of 19, you can too.

Next is to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit….check back soon.

© Copyright 2013 Be A Trendsetter! Jerome Baker is the author of “Success Killers” and “Watch Who Hang With”, and the youth pastor of A Place of Refuge Church in Carrollton, Georgia.

Sexual Consent Mobile App Available For Students

Before two young people decide to have sex, there is now an app for that.  Good2Go is a mobile phone app for IOS and Android phones targeting college-age adults. The Good2Go App Twitter page describes this technology as a “…simple sexual consent app facilitates communications.”

According to the website’s FAQ page the Good2Go App was created, “….to help people make responsible choices. Sexual assault is a rising issue on campuses across the country. We hope Good2Go will facilitate communication between two consenting adults, which will result in fewer situations in which one party is uncomfortable, unwilling, or unable to give consent for sexual activity.

The app asks if both people consent to having sex, then it asks how drunk the participating parties. Selections include sober, mildly intoxicated, intoxicated but Good2Go, and pretty wasted.

Only one person needs the app and a phone number must be entered.  Checkout the video below about how the app works.  What do you think?

Five Ways To Deal With Peer Pressure

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By Jerome Baker

Sooner or later you will have to deal with some type of peer pressure. Peer pressure is real and it is not limited to youth and young adults, even grown folks have to deal with peer pressure from time to time. Here are five quick tips to help young people properly deal with peer pressure.

1. Nobody can make you do anything.
There is always a choice. We often crack under pressure when we are fearful of rejection, ridicule, or retaliation. If you will be successful under pressure you can’t be worried about what people say and do. Don’t allow yourself to be forced to do something you know is not right. If your peers want to do wrong let them do it all by themselves.  And if the pressure is to hard to handle, talk to a person that is mature and can be trusted, you are not alone.

2. Flip-flop the situation.
Misery loves company! Some folks just want you to do dirt with them. I have learned to flip-flop the situation. When someone puts the pressure on me, I flip it and put the pressure on them.

Dude: “Hey Bake…let’s go to the club. Let’s get our drink on and our sex on…you wit it?”

Me: “Bruh, is you crazy? I ain’t hearing that I’m trying to stay outta mess, but hey if you wanna go that’s on you. I’m saved now! As a matter of fact, I know I place we can go that’s better than the club!…”

Dude: “Fo real, where?”

Me: “Church….are you wit that?”

Dude: “Bake you trippin..”

Me: “Well, I’ll be a trip then… I gotta go”

See what I mean?…flip-flop it, take the pressure off you and reverse it!

3. Think about the consequences.
There is always something to lose when we make bad decisions under pressure. If you are like me, you have a lot to lose if you succumb to peer pressure. I have learned that some things just are not worth it. If I have to choose between acceptance from people or approval by God, God’s approval wins every time. Is caving to the pressure worth losing your anointing, position, influence, character, etc? Think about the consequences.

4. Don’t be scared to stand up for yourself
If you don’t stand up for yourself, everyone will walk all over you. People in the church and outside the church will consider you a pushover. Ask God for the courage to be bold in the mist of adversity and pressure. I have learned that when I consistently stand up for my own personal beliefs I build a reputation of not being easily influenced to do what is wrong. Stand up for yourself and peer pressure will not have be able to get a tight grip on you.

5. If you mess up, get up.
Sometimes we get caught up, the key is not to stay caught up. Simply repent (which means to turn), learn from your mistake and move forward. Then, the next time the pressure comes remember how you messed up the last time and be determined to make a better choice this time.

© Copyright 2014 Jerome A. Baker All rights reserved. Jerome Baker is a youth pastor at his local church in Carrollton Georgia and the author of  two books, “Success Killers” and “Watch Who Hang With”. Like his FaceBook page at http://www.facebook.com/jabmin or Twitter http://www.twitter.com/_jabmim