Thursday, August 30, 2007


“...whither thou goest, I will go...” (from Ruth 1:16)

I want to make known (especially for people in the Framingham and MetroWest areas) two upcoming events at the small church I pastor which is First Assembly of God of Framingham:

FIRST, this coming Sunday (Sept. 2) morning we’ll be having an OUTDOOR service in our church parking lot.  This Sunday’s service will begin at 9:30 a.m. (our Sunday morning service is usually an hour later than that).  Dress is casual.  I won’t be wearing a dressy suit or anything like that...I’ll probably be wearing jeans and some sort of a casual short-sleeved shirt.  Most of our music is ROCKIN’!  Not that there’s anything wrong with your grandparents’ church music, but MOST of it ain’t your grandparents’ kind of church music.  We’ve got just a handful of musicians and a drum machine but visitors are always surprised by the quality of contemporary Christian worship music that we have.  I’ll be speaking.  My speaking style is no different that it would be if I was telling stories around a kitchen table.  Probably 75% of the people who hear me speak really love it and probably 25% can’t stand it, but if you enjoy this blog it’s most likely you’ll love it.  We LOVE having guests at our services.  As Billy Graham says, “You may be Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or no religion...” but whatever you are you’re more than welcome to visit our outdoor service on Sunday, Sept. 2.  If you plan to attend on Sunday, Sept. 2, bring a lawn chair or two if you have them, and make sure you wear sunscreen.  The service will be at the end of the parking lot closest to the building...our small church has plenty of parking and we’ll show you where to park your car, if you need us to.  We’re located at South and Taylor Streets, directly behind Route 135’s “Chicken Bone Saloon/Restaurant”.

ALSO, on Sunday morning, September 9 at 10:30 a.m. our special guest speaker is Mrs. Princess Davis from Sharon, MA.  Princess Davis is around 73-years-old but she’s got the heart and energy of a 25-year-old.  An African-American, she was born into poverty in rural Arkansas and came to Massachusetts in the mid-1950s..  Anyone who has ever met Princess Davis has commented that she’s one of the most interesting and amazingpeople they’ve ever met.  Now, THIS service will be indoors, but knowing Princess Davis, she’ll have us all “reved-up” to share our faith outdoors as soon as we leave!  You’re also more than welcome to attend the Sunday morning service with Princess Davis on September 9!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


“...many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”  (from Daniel 12:4)

On Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., Mary Ann and I arrived home from spending a couple of days at Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  What a great place!

Tuesday, August 28 was our 25th wedding anniversary.  We’d have liked to do a “big” trip such as our 2002 trip to Alaska which was in honor of our 20th anniversary, but financial and time constraints meant we could only “do” 3 days and 2 nights and no more than a few hours from Framingham.  Boothbay Harbor,  Maine “fit the bill” nicely.

We stayed at the Mid-Town Motel which promotes itself as “a true 1950s classic”.  That it is.  It’s like going back in time to 1955, except that they have modern portable color television sets and cable.  For those who like air conditioning, there is no air conditioning.  The last time we stayed at a motel with no air conditioning was at a motel on Cape Cod in 2002- before that it was at a New Hampshire motel in 1982.  No “a/c” is quite rare today.  In looking at the travel brochures for Boothbay Harbor, only one or two other places have no a/c.  It WAS kind of warm for Sunday night, but there was a fan and it was NOT unbearable.  The temperature and the humidity dropped quite a bit for Monday and Tuesday and so we were pretty comfortable.  While the Mid-Town Motel has no “a/c” the owner, Mr. Lewis, could not have been a more pleasant and gracious host.  He’s a very friendly 70-ish guy.  The rooms are all very clean and very well maintained.  We ate several meals at a downtown restaurant called “Ebb Tide”.  It’s sort of a “hole in the wall” with reasonable prices and great food.  John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Walter Cronkite, Charles Kuralt, and Robert Duvall were among the celebrities listed as having eaten there. 

I’d been to Maine several times before but never to the “Boothbay Region”.  As the crow flies, it’s about 25 miles northeast of downtown Portland, but by actual driving, which is  certainly NOT “as the crow flies” it’s about a 45 mile trip from downtown Portland.  You go through Brunswick, then Bath, then Woolwich, then Wiscasset, Edgecomb, Boothbay, and Boothbay Harbor.  Much of the area is very woodsy.  The harbor itself is very beautiful and there’s a wooden footbridge from one side of the harbor to the other which we walked a few times.  We took a harbor cruise on Monday which was a blast....there are loads of beautiful islands and we saw some seals.  Early Monday morning, we took a drive one hour northeast of Boothbay Harbor to Pemaquid Point and visited Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.  (That’s the lighthouse on the 2003 State of Maine Quarter.)  We actually got to go INSIDE the lighthouse and climb to the top!  On Monday night, Mary Ann took several sunset photos at Boothbay Harbor.

Tuesday, we stopped at Cape Elizabeth (just southwest of Portland) on our way home.  I’d been there several times.  Cape Elizabeth is a very ritzy suburb of Portland and is also a popular vacation community for mostly wealthy people...sort of like Chatham, MA on Cape Cod.  Fort Williams Park and Portland Head Light are always worth seeing and it was fun to stop there.

The mini-vacation was TOO short.  It’s been tough to get home and I’ve had so much work to do that to use my famous expression, “I’ve been running around like a nut!”  Even so, it was a great trip to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and I would definitely go there again!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


“But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.” (2 Corinthians 1;18)

I spend a lot of time on the streets. I do a lot of driving but I also do a lot of walking.  Framingham (especially downtown Framingham) is a tough place to try to drive around; it’s an even tougher place to WALK around.  As bad as it is now, it used to be much worse.  The intersection of Routes 126 and 135, for instance, has only had “pedestrian crossing” buttons for a few years.  Before that, there was NO pedestrian crossing designation at that intersection.  You just stepped our and took your life into your hands. Even so, the setup at Routes 226 and 135 to get a “walk” signal can be very difficult.  Sometimes you push the button and get an immediate “walk” signal.  Other times, I’ve pushed the button and waited almost two full minutes for the “walk” signal.  If you push the button and suddenly a train comes- FORGET IT.  You’re just NOT going to get a “walk” signal. 

One of my sons pet peeves is that many people push the button for the “walk” signal, then they immediately cross the street WITHOUT it.  Two minutes later, the “walk” signal comes on.  All the traffic stops, and many times there is NO pedestrian in the intersection!  I’ve had the occasion to spend a lot of time walking around downtown Medford recently.  (Maybe in another blog entry, I’ll tell you why.) The Medford Square area is old and congested, but it’s frankly MUCH nicer maintained and much more attractive than is downtown Framingham, AND it’s very pedestrian friendly.  Now, they’ve got a lot of streets and a lot of traffic and a lot of CRAZY intersections...worse than Framingham.  BUT their intersections have SENSORS!  There are no pedestrian buttons.  Within between 30 seconds and 1 minute of arriving at a crossing, the “walk” signal automatically comes on! You just walk across the street.  It is SO nice.  I don’t know why we can’t have that in Framingham. For that matter, they don’t even have that in downtown Boston! 

When walking in Medford Square, you really feel like you’re in the 21st Century!

Monday, August 20, 2007


“And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign?  verily I sat unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.” (Mark 8:12).

I have not had a complete physical examination since 1989.  (Well, in a sense, I’ve NEVER had a complete physical examination because I’ve never had a colonoscopy.)  To the best of my knowledge the last time I saw a doctor was in 2002 when I had a massive nosebleed I could not stop.  At that time my nose was cauterized by the doctor on duty at the E.R. at Framingham Union.  Prior to 1993, I had no problem with going to the doctor. In fact, I thought people who were afraid of going to the doctor were just weird and wrong.

In early 1993, my wife Mary Ann had lapriscopic (may be spelled wrong) gall bladder surgery at Framingham Union.  Things did not go well.   In the days following surgery, she got VERY sick and nearly died.  The doctors at Framingham (for the most part) “missed” what was wrong.  To make a very long story short, Mary Ann spent several weeks at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.  Under the outstanding care of Dr. Carr-Locke and his associates, she got well, but Mary Ann nearly died.  My mother-in-law, a nurse at Newton-Wellesley Hospital had encouraged her to have the gall bladder surgery.  In fact, being a nurse, she’ll encourage you to see a doctor if you have a hangnail.  When Mary Ann was hanging between life and death, I was amazed to find that my mother-in-law, who is always telling people to go to the doctor, actually had LITTLE trust in doctors!  That whole experience shocked me and it badly scarred me.  While I’m proud that my daughter Amy is a Pediatric Nurse, I tend to view many medical people, clinics, doctors, medical technicians, and ESPECIALLY health insurance companies with suspiciion and sadness.  I went to the E.R. with the nosebleed because it was bad enough.  In 2000 I severely burned my hands when there was a burst hot water pipe in my church office.  I reluctantly went to the E.R. then.  Thank God my hands are fine and show no signs at all of the severe burns they received. I DID have a “general checkup” at a doctor’s office in 1994 but it was a far cry from a completely physical.

Now, I DO go to Optometrist appointments for my eyes.  I HAVE to have eyeglasses to drive and I have a reading prescription.  I also go to the Dentist.  Honestly, the dental is MUCH more for cosmetic reasons than for medical reasons.  I just don’t want to look like some redneck missing 5 or 6 teeth! As it is, I had a dental checkup last week and I was kind of horrified that the hygienist posted a QUOTE of mine on my dental records on the computer saying, “Patient made the comment, ‘I don’t like to floss much!’”.

Remember I wrote on this blog a few entries ago about the 51-year-old who dropped dead of a heart attack?  Well, today a couple of people  (NOT my immediate family) gave me an EARFUL about how SELFISH that guy was and that people who don’t go to the doctor and risk heart attacks, etc. are very selfish.  I frankly suspect it was a “shot” at me because these people know I pretty much don’t go to the doctor...that I’ve not seen a doctor at all in 5 years and that I’ve not had any kind of a “real” physical in 18 years.  I will admit I feel kind of guilty.  Am I selfish?  Well....maybe. 

As a pastor I always try to encourage those who are in the hospital or who have medical issues.  But in my heart of hearts, I really don’t want to be real old or (like many old people) I don’t want my life to be nothing but hospital stays and doctor visits. 

On the other hand, maybe God is calling me to let go of the 1993 experience with Mary Ann, and maybe HE wants me to be the type that’s at the doctor’s a lot more often.  I know that Jesus went to the cross for me, and IF he wanted me to live to be 100 even with Alzheimer’s or whatever, I guess I have an obligation to Him no matter how I feel. If it seems as though this whole thing about “Is it morally wrong to not go to the doctor and is it morally wrong to risk having a heart attack or something else?” is a major internal crisis for me, and a spiritual struggle for me- IT IS.

I called this piece “People Mechanics” because my friend (and First Assembly of God of Framingham church member) Bill Lincoln (who is a car mechanic and shares my aversion to going to the doctor) calls doctors “People Mechanics”.

Now, please ... if you have any nonjudgmental and non-condescending thoughts about my struggle re. doctors, hospitals, etc. I am willing to listen.  AND, if you feel led to pray that I’d change my ways and get a physical...go ahead.... as much as I’ve said “I’ll never get another physical”,   I HAVE learned that with God you “never say never”.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


“And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” (I John 5:8)

I’m not superstitious.  I don’t believe in any of that “Friday the thirteenth” stuff.  I don’t believe carrying around a rabbit’s foot is good luck.  I don’t believe bad things will happen if you walk under a ladder or break a mirror.  Even so, some of you MAY accuse me of being superstitious because I believe things happen in 3s.

Some of you who are my age or older and have lived for a long time in the Boston area will remember Dave Maynard who was the morning D.J. for many years on WBZ.  (Dave is still alive.  He’s retired, almost 80, and now legally blind.)  Dave used to ask various pop culture questions to callers.  A number of times I’ve heard him ask, “Do things happen in 3s?” and in fact, most people said “yes”.

A couple of weeks ago on a Friday evening there was a lot of excitement in the part of Framingham where I live.  (I live in what used to be called the “Lokerville” section of Framingham.  It’s near the intersection of  Concord and Hartford Sts. and roughly bounded by the Framingham District Courthouse on the west and the Natick town line on the east.)  On that recent Friday evening, a strange man flagged down a police officer who was driving along Concord Street.  As the story was reported in the newspaper, the man claimed there was a body near the Masonic lodge.  As soon as the cop got out of his squad car, the man pulled a knife and charged him.  The cop shot the man dead- less than half a mile south of my residence.

Five days later, a Framingham D.P.W. trash truck was picking up trash on Howe Street about a half mile east of my residence.  All the major Boston television news programs reported that a bag of trash exploded into flames as it was thrown onto the trash truck.  The subsequent response of the Framingham Fire and Police Departments produced the conclusion that the bag contained materials used in making the drug known as “meth”.  (I know what “meth” stands for, but I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t spell the longer word!).  The residence at 70 Howe Street was searched and the owner was arrested.

After that, I commented to my wife that since two “crime/excitement” incidents had each happened in our part of Framingham within a few days of each other, there would definitely be a third such incident coming very soon.   THERE WAS! Four days later, we had friends over for a Sunday afternoon cookout.  My friend Tim and I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood after our meal.  When we got to the corner of Harrison and Concord Streets we were shocked to see at least five Framingham Police squad cars with their emergency lights flashing, as well as a State Police squad car with its emergency lights flashing.  We quickly learned that a Framingham Motorcycle Police officer had been hit by a Honda minivan.   The officer had been injured and taken away by ambulance.  (We’ve since learned that his injuries are fairly serious.)  The Police had closed that section of Concord Street while they took measurements and investigated.  A news crew from WBZ-TV channel 4 shot some footage.  This particular incident happened only a QUARTER MILE from my residence, and yes, it was incident number 3.

As nutty as this will sound to some, God HAS programmed order into the Universe, and there is even some REMARKABLE MATHEMATICAL order that we mortals definitely do not understand.  Again, I hope you won’t call me superstitious, but things do happen in 3s.  

Monday, August 13, 2007


“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
(James 4:14)

At our church, 50-something Robbie Fregeau is a vital part of our
music/worship team. Robbie plays guitar, sings, and operates our drum machine. (For a number of reasons, a drum machine can be better than a live drummer!) Robbie is divorced and has shared living space with two other guys, Gary and Paul, for several years. At one time, the three guys bought and “re-habed” an old house in Wrentham, lived in it awhile, and sold it at a profit. Currently, they’ve been living in an apartment in Norfolk that’s owned by Gary’s mom.

It’s common on Saturdays for the three guys to have various things to do and to go their separate ways, but this past Saturday Robbie and Gary spent most of the day together including going out to lunch. In the late afternoon, a friend invited them to a cookout and they accepted the invitation.

Having just finished washing his car, Gary told Robbie, “I’ll take my shower first, then you can shower up and we’ll go to the cookout!”

“Great!” Robbie replied, “While you’re in the shower, I’ll put that truck
you want to sell on ‘Craig’s List’!”

A few minutes later, Gary came out of the bathroom. “Boy, I don’t feel so good,” he said, “I’ve had diarrhea, and I’m sweating like crazy!”

“We don’t HAVE to go to that cookout if you’re not feeling well,” Robbie replied, “Take a Zantac and lay on the sofa for awhile.”

A few minutes later, Paul came home, washed his car and went into the living room. Gary had now been on the sofa for about an hour. Paul was horrified to find Gary UNCONSCIOUS! He yelled for Robbie who rushed out of the other room. Paul and Robbie tried to revive Gary with no success. They called “9-1-1” who responded very quickly. Gary was transported to Norwood Hospital and pronounced dead.
Sunday morning, Robbie told me he’d just been through the worst experience of his life. I offered to let him opt out of ministering in music, but he said he really believed God wanted him to continue playing and singing as he does
every week. At the beginning of the service, I had the whole church pray for Robbie, and he did a great job. Later, I talked to my sister. Gary had done quite a bit of carpentry work for her, and she’d recently spoken about having him come back and do another job. Like Robbie, she’s shocked that Gary is gone.

Gary was 51. I’m 52. It really does make you stop and think.

Tell me, are you ready to meet God should that happen today?

Thursday, August 9, 2007


“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

Many of you know that our little church, First Assembly of God of Framingham, is located in the downtown Framingham area and that I live just about a mile north of downtown Framingham. The PERCEPTION of downtown Framingham is usually bad. Many people will not even venture into downtown Framingham. There are fears of shootings, gang fights, high crime, and being surrounded by strange people who do not speak English. While some of that stuff admittedly HAS happened in downtown Framingham, I’ve found that downtown Framingham is MUCH nicer and MUCH safer than most affluent suburbanites believe it to be. In fact, in the thirteen years since our church relocated to downtown Framingham from the “Lokerville” section near the Natick line, I’ve experienced downtown Framingham becoming NICER and a little safer.

On Thursday, August 9, I attended the “Downtown Framingham Renaissance” meeting at the Memorial Building. (I’ve been attending those meetings for about a year and half.) At this week’s meeting, Engineer (and M.I.T. graduate) Frank Mahady of FXM Associates presented the results of a “Downtown Market Potential” study, using Power Point. I would NEVER be able to write about ALL the statistics and conclusions of the FXM Associates study as there are just SO many
of them, but here are some interesting FACTS:

     1. 2,299 people in the IMMEDIATE downtown Framingham area.
     2. The racial breakdown of these 2,299 people is:
          61% White; 9% Black/African-American; 29% Latino;
          1 %“other”.
     3. The median household income for residents in the IMMEDIATE
         downtown Framingham area is $32,158.

I constantly have people telling me that “downtown Framingham is full of minorities who can’t speak English”. While downtown Framingham DOES have a high number of Portuguese-speaking Brazilians, Spanish-speaking “Hispanics”, and Russian-speaking Russians, the above statistics do indicated that well over half of the residents of downtown Framingham are “White” and my experience of BEING in downtown Framingham constantly is that the first-language of the overwhelming majority ofthese Whites is English.

The demographic figures for those who live one mile from downtown Framingham (in all directions) skews much higher for White people and for income level. And, the demographic figures for those who live three miles from downtown Framingham (in all directions) shows that most of this group is quite affluent.

The study concluded that downtown Framingham is a GOOD place in which to locate a business, especially a “destination restaurant”.

Incidentally, I hope no one takes this piece as being racist. It is not
intended that way at all. Rather, I just wanted to present the facts. For
instance, most of my own ethnic background is French Canadian. My grandparents were from Quebec. It is common for people to say things such as, “Nobody in Quebec speaks English.” or “Everybody in Quebec is French”. In fact, there are communities in Quebec where 50-75% of the people speak English as their FIRST language...and at least 20% of the population of Quebec have no French ancestry.

It’s always interesting to learn the FACTS rather than going by rumor and perception.

Downtown Framingham is NOT the horrible urban jungle that so many scared, white suburbanites believe it to be. We’ve got the FACTS to prove it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


“...I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written...”
(from Revelation 2:17)

Recently the Ford Motor Company changed the name of one of it’s models. The Ford “Five Hundred” which was introduced a couple of years ago is now the Ford “Taurus”. In fact, all new Ford Taurus models are classified as “2008” models to differentiate them from the 2007 Ford Five Hundred. The Five Hundred was based on the Volvo sedan (Ford at least used to own a controlling interest in Volvo). It has been marketed to compete with the relatively popular Chevrolet Impala. (Ford still makes ANOTHER full-sized car, the Crown Victoria which uses mostly very old technology and is marketed to police departments, taxi companies, and males over age 55.) The “Five Hundred” has surprisingly been
a very poor seller. Ford Motor Company believes that renaming the car the “Ford Taurus” after the model that was Ford’s biggest seller in the 1990s will greatly boost the car’s sales. I believe it will. I also believe that back around 2000 when Chevrolet reintroduced the “Impala” name, if it had instead named the same car (say) the “Citation”, it would have sat on dealer’s lots!

There’s a lot to this name stuff. If you are alert and notice trends,
you’ll notice, for instance, that during the past fifteen years, a number of
Baptist churches have changed their name and removed the “Baptist” label. There are Baptist churches in Southboro, Dedham, and Norwood, among other locations who have done this. Research has indicated that the public at large(rightly or wrongly) view Baptists as people who carry around twenty pound King James Bibles telling everybody they’re going to Hell, and that they also oppress women.
(My experience is that such behavior DOES characterize about 10% of Baptists but absolutely does NOT characterize 90% of them.) Baptist churches
who change their name usually find that it’s helpful. A number of Assemblies of God churches have also changed their name and removed “Assembly of God” from it. Usually “Assembly of God” is replaced by “Christian Center”. In New England a huge percentage of Assemblies of God churches now use the name “Christian Center”. Our church still prominently uses the Assemblies of God name and logo,
but we’re now part of a distinct minority. The Assemblies of God churches have changed the name because when the public thinks of “Assemblies of God” they think of sleazy television evangelists and a bunch of nuts rolling in the aisles and yelling in other tongues. (In over thirty years in the Assemblies of God I have NEVER seen anyone rolling in the aisles, and in the few instances in which people were inappropriately yelling in other tongues, usually the leadership corrected the abuses of speaking in tongues and did not allow things
to get disorderly.) In all fairness, I have to hand it to Pastor Phil
McCutchen of Bethany Assembly of God of Mendon. Phil has kept an very traditional, old-fashioned church name, and despite that, his church is growing by leaps and bounds. In all honesty, our church is struggling to attract visitors. Would a different name help us? I don’t think so, although I’m not sure.

I pretty much like my own name, Robert Eugene Baril. The one problem with Baril is that most people say “barrel”. It’s not “barrel” it’s pronounced with the accent on the second syllable--- kind of like “Berr - ILL”. “Robert” means “bright in fame”. I really DON’T like “Bobby” although for the first eleven years of my life I was always “Bobby”. In the first grade, I had no idea who “Robert Baril” was. I only knew I was “Bobby”. My sister always calls me “Bobby”. I really don’t like it, but I know it’s a habit and she just can’t change it. I like “Bob Baril” ...almost as if it was one word, “BobBaril”. My middle name “Eugene” means “wellborn”. My father’s name was “Eugene”. He didn’t like it because he was Gene Baril but everybody would assume Gene Baril was a girl, as in Jean Baril. Sometimes I wish I had a Biblical name, but I guess “Bob” is fine.

A female friend of mine was born Melody Pace. She HATED the name “Melody”. As a very little girl, her mother called her “little Punkin”. Eventually her name became known as “Punk”. To her family, it was a name of endearment, but others would hear it and think she was some sort of a wild maniac. Around age thirty, she legally changed her first name to “Tobiah” and goes by “Tobi”. Sometimes I still slip and call her “Punk”. She takes it in stride and realizes that “Punk” means it’s someone who has known her for a long time.

Did you know that “Jesus” is really NOT the name of Jesus. I have to be
careful when I write that because some rural Southern evangelist types will get mad and say, “He’s AGAINST the Name of Jesus!!!” No, I’m not. I do use “Jesus” when I pray and teach about Jesus, but His real name was “Yeshua” or “Joshua”. That means “Salvation” or “Jehovah is Salvation”. In Biblical times, names were VERY important.

So what do you think? Would you be more inclined to by a “Ford Taurus” over a “Ford Five Hundred” even though they’re really the same car? Would you be more inclined to visit a church called “Calvary Christian Center” rather than “Calvary Assembly of God”? What’s in a name?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


“And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”  (Mark 13:37)

That verse is the theme verse of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “Watchtower” magazine.  (I have a lot of disagreements with the J.W. theology, but I do admit to having read snippets out of the “Watchtower” from time to time.)  Today, I’m not applying the verse in any way to the Jehovah’s Witnesses nor am I applying it to “end time theology” (although that IS the context of the verse).  Instead, I’m thinking of BODY LANGUAGE.

I don’t think I ever heard of “body language” until I took psychology courses in college.  There I learned that no matter what you’re SAYING, it you are LOOKING or ACTING in a manner contrary to what you’re saying, the VISUAL is the message that really comes across.  We public speakers know all about body language, and that’s what sparked this entry.  There is nothing worse than speaking to a group while that group is giving you awful body language! 

I know.  You may be thinking, “Well, you MUST be a really boring speaker.”  I’m not.  If you don’t believe me, contact me and I’ll send you a tape of my speaking, or better yet, come and visit the church if you’re in the Framingham area.  Now, I’m a lousy businessman.  I’m a mediocre manager.   I tend to struggle as a “leader”.  But I’m a very good public speaker. 

I want to be careful how I’m writing this!  Admittedly, just a few sentences ago, I wrote about a “ you awful body language.”  In fact, at least 50% of my church congregation  is always giving me GREAT body language....smiling, laughing, concentrating, and (in our Pentecostal circles) occasionally shouting “Amen!”.  That’s also true wherever I speak.  But you don’t tend to notice the 50-75% who are giving you GOOD body language.  For some reason, you tend to notice the 25% or more who AREN’T.  This past Sunday, I told a story in my sermon’s introduction.  Immediately, a man dramatically (and in a negative manner) leaped to his feet and stormed up the stairs.  It was horrible.  My concentration was TOTALLY thrown off!  I could hear myself trying to formulate phrases that made sense, but I was struggling not to “talk ragtime”!  About halfway through the sermon, a woman dramatically packed up her Bible and her things, obviously giving the message she was through and could not wait to leave.  The  man who had earlier stormed out came back, but he apparently had restless leg syndrome!  His leg was shaking and moving so fast I thought he was about to take off for the moon!  We have a 14,000 B.T.U. air conditioner running in our small sanctuary as well as a fan, so it wasn’t THAT hot, but a woman sat  rapidly fanning herself with a Japanese style fan. Truthfully, if this had been a 5th grade class, I would have taken the fan way from her until after school!  We used to have a guy in the congregation who was good for at least two rude, gaping yawns per sermon.  And, arms folded in a defiant posture is another of the worst expressions of body language. 

Several weeks ago, my wife prepared and delivered a sermon for the first time.  Mary Ann HAS ministered to children for many years and to women’s groups for the past couple of years, but she had never given a sermon to a Sunday morning congregation.  She found that preparing and delivering the sermon is MUCH harder than it looks.  She did a very good job, but I was actually glad she found it to be rather difficult.  I think if everybody had to deliver a Sunday sermon, they might think twice about the body language stuff.

I know the Bible speaks against becoming addicted to foods, but a good strong cup of CAFFEINATED coffee, tea, or cola will do wonders to keep you awake in a service if you think you might be inclined to drift off.  Take advantage of that early morning coffee time if your church has one.  If not, take advantage of Dunkin’ Donuts!  Even if you're kind of bored, fake it.  Out in Springfield, Missouri a friend of mine does not care for the pastor’s preaching.  My friend reads books during the sermons!  I find most of that pastor’s sermons boring, but I’d never read a book during the sermon!  I admit I’ve counted how many light fixtures there were or tried to “guesstimate” the seating capacity of the church, but I’ve also tried to focus on at least ONE point the guy made so I could feel like I gave him some attention, and I went out of my way to not look bored!

I know.  Maybe the people who acted inappropriately during my sermon will read this and be offended.  I’m really not mad at them.  I know they’ve probably just never thought about it.  Why didn’t I confront them directly about this?  Well, because I’m “chicken” of course!  But whether you’re a part of my congregation or not, IN LIFE if you’ll remember to be careful about that “body language” thing, I think it will be to your benefit!


Saturday, August 4, 2007


"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;" (from 2 Timothy 4:2)

Anyone in the MetroWest area is welcome to join us for an OUTDOOR service on Sunday night, August 5 at 6:30 p.m.  In the event of rain, we'll be indoors, but the weather forecast is not callng for rain.

DRESS IS CASUAL.  If you have a lawn chair or two, please bring them.   Our contemporary Christian music is  "pretty rockin' " and I think you'll enjoy it!  I'll be speaking- it won't be boring, and you may learn something!

We're located at 32 South Street (corner of South and Taylor Sts. ) right off Route 135 in downtown Framingham.  For a frame of reference, our property borders the property of the Chicken Bone Saloon/Restaurant which is on Route 135. You can see our little yellowbrick building from Route 135.

Please come and join us on Sunday night.  I think you'll be glad you did!