Wednesday, September 30, 2009


“Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.” (Matthew 10:26-27)

A few years ago, I heard an ad broadcast several times over Boston’s WTKK 96.9 FM during their highest ratings hours. It was from “Grace Church of Dover”. The ad was short, but “sweet”. It was very professionally done. I can still hear the announcer proclaiming that the church featured, “married priests and ordained women”. It was pretty obvious this was a “split off” of the Roman Catholic Church. It was probably a group that got tired of waiting for married priests and ordained women to happen in the Catholic Church, so they started their own church. And, whatever you may or may not think of that, it was an impressive and memorable ad. The fact that the church is located in Dover also suggested there must be some “money people” in it. I mean, a week’s worth of radio ads on a station like WTKK cannot be cheap!

I don’t think a church running radio ads on a secular station at prime time is a bad idea at all. In fact, I think it’s a good idea. One time when I was driving through the Springfield, Massachusetts area, I also heard a very professional ad on WHYN promoting a local western Massachusetts Baptist church. I think it ran during the Howie Carr Show. Again, I’m not sure how they afforded it, but I salute them for putting the ad on the air. For sure, radio advertising on a major secular station has GOT to cost a fortune. It’s far more than most churches could even THINK about, unless there was some very generous benefactor who’d pay for a week of advertising or something like that.

Several years ago, I began to dream and think about what kind of ad I’d put on a major Boston station if by some miracle money was no object. I haven’t thought about that for a long time, but my brain works in strange ways. Last night I was preparing homemade macaroni and cheese, making up the rue and macaroni on the stovetop before I combined all the ingredients into a large bowl and put them in the oven. I DIDN’T have the radio on but for some reason I began thinking about that fantasy radio ad of mine from years ago.

If I COULD make such an ad, I’d get several people to help me record it. I’d probably record it at my friend D.K.’s studio in Bellingham. (He used to record and produce all of our church radio programs when we were on a Christian radio station in the 1990s.) I’d try to have several men and several women speaking on the ad. I’d like to have the voice of a professional sounding male announcer, also, and if such a person were not available, perhaps I’d do that part.

The ad would feature a group of people- men and women, boys and girls, and the announcer voice at certain key places. The group of people would be heard from individually, and each would sound hopeful and excited. It could go something like this:

MAN: Where is the 5000 seat auditorium?


WOMAN: Where’s the bookstore and the doughnut shop?

ANNOUNCER: First Assembly of God of Framingham- a small group of real Christian people who love Jesus, and want to grow deeper in their faith.

MAN: Where’s the 27 adult electives?

BOY: Where are the parking lot attendants?

WOMAN: Where’s the health spa?

ANNOUNCER: First Assembly of God of Framingham- a small group of real Christian people who love Jesus, and want to grow deeper in their faith.

MAN: Where’s the power point?

DIFFERENT (“character”) WOMAN: Where are the electronic back scratchers?

ANNOUNCER: First Assembly of God of Framingham- a small group of real Christian people who love Jesus, and want to grow deeper in their faith.

PASTOR BOB BARIL: This is Pastor Bob Baril. Maybe our church doesn’t have all the bells and whistles,but we hope you’ll come and visit us at First Assembly of God of Framingham, anyway! Please log on to

(AGAIN!) (“character”) WOMAN: Where are the electronic back scratchers?

If I could get her, I’d absolutely have my good friend Sue F. do the “Where are the electronic back scratchers?” part. She’s got the PERFECT voice and inflections for it! You can’t quite tell if she is serious or “tongue in cheek”. She can often sound strong and yet curious and a little silly.

Well, it would take a TON of dough to make that ad!

But if I had a ton of dough and several friends willing to cut the ad at D.K.’s studio, we’d make it!

What do you think of my proposed church radio commercial?
Would it make you want to visit First Assembly of God of Framingham?


Just as a quick explanation, there have been some questions about why the entries on my blog are often posted at 3 or 4 a.m. Some people think I must be up at all hours of the night on-line and writing on my blog in the middle of the night!

Blogspot is a service of Google. I assume Google/Blogspot must be located on the west coast because all of the entry times on my blogspot blog are in PACIFIC TIME! To be really specific, right now they’re in Pacific Daylight time.

So, whatever the time is listed that I posted a piece, you’ve got to add 3 hours to that to convert it to the Eastern time zone. Thus, entries that state I posted them at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. were actually posted at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. No, I’m certainly NOT “up all night on the computer” as some may believe!

Incidentally, I talked to my high tech son Jon about this and he explained that there is a (bit complicated) way of going into the blog controls and changing the time zone. I may eventually try that but for now I think I will leave it alone!

I hope that helps clarify things!

It COULD be worse! Google/Blogspot could be on GUAM time!

Friday, September 25, 2009


“Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:7)

I may shock many of my conservative Republican friends with this statement, but: Michael Dukakis should have been chosen as the four-month interim U.S. Senator in place of Ted Kennedy and not Paul Kirk. Today’s MetroWest Daily News has a great editorial saying exactly that, and Margery Egan had a column in yesterday’s Boston Herald also saying exactly that.

Recently I wrote “never say never” in a posting on this blog. This could be an example of that, except that technically I did not say that I’d never write a puff piece about Michael Dukakis on this blog, but if somebody had asked me the question, I’d certainly have said that I’d never write a puff piece about Michael Dukakis! Michael Dukakis and I probably disagree on 75% of the issues. I think he’s way too liberal. I think his final years as Governor were not particularly impressive ones. All that said, he deserved the honor of being named interim Senator. He WAS Governor of Massachusetts for I believe three terms. He was the Democratic candidate for President in 1988. He is a hardworking man of character. It would have been a fitting honor.

I never voted for Dukakis, but my parents did. Most of you know my father was a career state employee; most of that career was with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Dad got to see and hear a LOT of political stuff that went on behind the scenes...the kind of stuff Howie Carr often talks and writes about. It’s true that we largely owe “The Big Dig” to Michael Dukakis and his Engineer Fred Salvucci (they were the ones who first broached idea back in the mid-1980s) and it's true there was some corruption in the Dukakis administration. According to my Dad, however, the Ed King administration was MUCH more corrupt than the Dukakis administration. There’s been a lot of controversy regarding the incompetence of the current Registrar of Motor Vehicles. Shortly after he assumed office in the 1970s, Dukakis named a career RMV employee, Bob Panora, as Registrar. My father had high respect for Panora. He’d started as a Registry Inspector (later known as “Registry Police”) the same way my father did, and he’d worked his way up through the ranks. In fact, Bob Panora was the guy who in 1955 convinced my Dad (then a Boston cop) to take the Registry exam. Bob Panora knew the RMV inside and out like almost nobody else did. He was the perfect choice for Registrar. Unfortunately, there was a lot of controversy about Panora. I don’t remember the details, but I do know Dukakis was pressured to appoint someone else. The career employees at the RMV printed up bumper stickers which said, “PATRONAGE OR PANORA?” One of those stickers still graces the wall of my sister’s garage in Canton. Eventually, Dukakis did appoint someone else from outside the RMV.

My parents attended the Inauguration festivities for Dukakis back in 1975 when he was sworn in as Governor. They did NOT vote for him for President in 1988, however. They liked him as a person, but for my anti-abortion and pro-capital punishment parents, Dukakis was just too liberal to be President.

I watched Michael Dukakis interviewed on Emily Rooney’s “Greater Boston” public affairs television program a few years ago. To my surprise, I liked him! He was talking about the same things he’d been talking about for years- some of which I’d considered crazy. But I realized that society itself had become SO crazy over a twenty year period that now Dukakis actually sounded sensible! Earlier this week, Margery Egan had a column about how Michael Dukakis walks two miles to work (at Northeastern U.) and back each day and how he carries a trash bag and picks up litter on his walk. I know. What a geek! Well, don’t be too quick to say that, because sometimes I DO THAT, TOO! Anybody who is willing to walk when he can and not too proud to pick up litter has my respect.

If Dukakis were RUNNING for U.S. Senator I wouldn’t vote for him. I am strongly for Republican Scott Brown for U.S. Senate. However, I’m sad for Michael Dukakis that he didn’t get to be interim Senator. If he ever wants to come out to South Street, Framingham and help me pick up litter, he’s more than welcome to do that, and afterwards we can get a bite to eat at the Chicken Bone Restaurant!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


“and all the days of Methu'selah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.” (Genesis 5:27)

I don’t know if you comic strip readers out there noticed this, but “Dolly”, the little girl in “The Family Circus” had a birthday and turned 6 years old on Wednesday, September 23! Dolly joins the ranks of all sorts of people in my family and my extended family who have September birthdays! In fact, my sister-in-law Sandy’s birthday (Mary Ann’s sister) is September 23. Also, September 23 was the birthday of my mother’s cousin Connie who was born in 1936 and died in 1993.

It’s unusual for cartoon and comic strip characters to age. Many times the artists let them remain the exact same age for decades. Mike Judge, the creator of the animated cartoon series (which JUST ended after twelve years) had his characters age just slightly...about 18 months in 12 years. Bil Keane (who is going to be 87 in early October) had kept Dolly at 5 since the strip began in February of 1960. I wonder if he’s going to add a year to all of them in the next few months, and then he and his son Jeff who will eventually take over the strip totally, will perhaps keep them the same age for another forty years or so!

I think Dolly is perhaps the funniest kid in The Family Circus! My favorite was a cartoon that appeared several years ago. Dolly is smiling and enthusiastic as a television game show is visible in the background. She proudly announces, “When I grow up I want to be an intestine on a T.V. game show!” When I read that I laughed so hard I nearly threw up!

Another funny with Dolly is tacked up on the wall in the Secretary’s office at our church building. It shows a wet, confused, and dismayed Dolly announcing, “I just learned a lesson: Don’t ever try to baptize a cat!”

So, Happy Birthday, Dolly! And, Happy Birthday, Bil Keane, in a few days!


You may be surprised at who gets mentioned in Michael Graham's column in today's Boston Herald. Check out:


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Last night, I sat through a very powerful presentation in Westminster, MA.

The speaker wore a bright orange tee-shirt, carried a Bible with an orange cover, and even used a plastic orange pen. He was Pat Manzo, a resident of Florida who was formerly pastor of the North Providence (RI) Assembly of God church for over 25 years. Pat Manzo moved to Florida a couple of years ago. He spent one year as an Associate Pastor at a very large Assemblies of God church in suburban Orlando, but has now embarked on a very special mission from God:

Pat has founded Run For Freedom, a non-profit organization with the purpose of rescuing teenage girls (and boys) from the bondage of human trafficking.

I hope you will check out

The audience in Westminster last was mostly stunned, saddened, but greatly moved by his presentation. Most of us have stereotypes of who is being held captive in human trafficking in America. We usually picture foreign...mostly Asian girls who speak little English and have been lured into this lifestyle. That certainly is going on and these foreign girls are among those who need to be rescued. But we had no idea of the thousands upon thousands of American teenagers who grew up in middle-class American homes that have been kidnapped and are being beaten, raped, abused, and expected to "service" 10-20 clients every night.

The reason for the emphasis on the color orange is to raise awareness of this horror. Pat wants to do with the color orange what the breast cancer activists have done with the color pink.

A number of people who are reading this are not Christians nor are they religious people. Of course, Pat wants to see these kids who are rescued commit their lives to Christ, but the immediate issue is rescuing them from their slavery! Whether you are a Christian or not, religious or not, that should be something you can get behind!

Please check out

and if you can help in any way, please do!


“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of
God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Romans 13:1)

My sermon on Sunday morning was on Romans chapter 13 and the title was, “Some Inconvenient Truths”. The chapter is mainly about our responsibility to obey the civil authorities “ (i.e. “the government:”) unless they tell you to do something which is absolutely contrary to the Bible (such as Nazi Germany). The chapter tells us to obey the law and pay our taxes. These are definitely “some inconvenient truths”! I’ve been very critical of the closing of the Framingham branch of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, so I had to apply Romans chapter 13 to my own life as I renewed the registration on our Dodge Caravan at the new (partial service) Natick express RMV branch located at the Natick service plaza on the MassPike eastbound.

I tried to get into the Natick service plaza from their back entrance on Route 27.
Although the information. in the newspapers has said you can access the Natick service area off of Rte. 27 (you USED to be able to) that road is now CLOSED to the public! I then had to go back to Speen St. and get on the MASS PIKE at Exit 13.

When I arrived at the RMV I took one of the little "tickets" which stated the
estimated waiting time would be 5 minutes. The actual wait was 25 minutes.
There were a number in there for license renewals including a guy probably
in his late 60s who could not pass the eye test. While waiting I spoke to a middle-aged woman from Framingham who was also waiting. She had also tried to get into the service plaza from Rte. 27 and had been unable to do so. She had asked a Natick police officer for directions tothe RMV and the cop directed her to downtown Framingham! She was also unhappy we'd have to drive to 128 and then backtrack to Framingham...way out of our way just to do this.

Well, I finally got called and paid and got out of there. The NEW registration certificates are MUCH larger than the MA registration certificates used to be. They're now an 8 1/2 by 11 piece of paper, which is less convenient to deal with.
Including waiting and driving time, this whole procedure took 70 minutes.

I wish we still had the Framingham RMV downtown! Incidentially, if you call the Massachusetts RMV’s toll free telephone number it still lists downtown Framingham as a valid branch which is open for business!

Yes, I obeyed Romans chapter 13 on Monday!

Monday, September 21, 2009


“He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.” (Proverbs 26:6)

In the days before Alexander Graham Bell, people often had to rely on sending messages using unreliable messengers; thus the value of the telephone and particularly of the cellular phone. It’s hard for me to believe that as of November, I’ll have been a cell phone user for ten years. (I was once one of those people who said I’d NEVER have a cell phone. I also once said I’d never use a computer. Yes, as I wrote in my last posting, “never say never”!)

My collectibles sale on my 55th birthday this past Saturday went very well. I was hoping for at least thirty people to show up and I believe the actual number who came was twelve. Yet, those twelve spent some serious money. I’ve had some successful auto collectibles sales in the past, but this was (financially speaking) my most successful collectibles sale! I was so excited that I picked up my cell phone to call my daughter in Missouri and tell her. In the middle of that call the cell phone flew out of my hand and slammed onto the asphalt driveway. I picked up the phone trying to use it, but it kept automatically shutting itself off. This was the third actual cell phone I’ve owned and I’ve had it since June 2006. Yes, I was fifteen months overdue for an upgrade. I had been receiving letters and e-mails from Verizon telling me to come in for an upgrade, but I kept putting it off.

Some folks think people who write blogs are really computer savvy. With me, nothing could be further from the truth! I’m VERY technically challenged. Each time I get a new cell phone, I practically need a class to teach me how to use it! I can’t IMAGINE ever having something like a Blackberry (but I’m not saying “never”!). After the collectibles sale, I went into the Verizon store at Natick’s Sherwood Plaza. I found an LG phone which seemed to be the Fall 2009 version of the phone I had. My name was called by a saleswoman. She couldn’t have been any more than 24, IF that. I felt like I was 85 instead of 55 as I described my problem and said I wanted a very simple phone as close as possible to the one I had been using. She led me right to the LG phone I’d picked out. She wanted to put “Bluetooth capability” and all kinds of other stuff on it, but I said “no”. She was AMAZED that I had never programmed ANYTHING into my cell phone...nothing for speed dialing or anything! (I actually DID with the very first cell phone I ever owned, but it was so complicated for me to do, that I never bothered with it on the next phones.) Looking at me as if to ask, “What time do you have to get back to the nursing home?” she said, “Enjoy your new phone”. I will say I WAS glad they took my old phone as a “donation”.

I had to ask my 22-year-old daughter to help me understand the menu and a few other things about the new phone. This one plays a song instead of “ringing” and I’m not used to that. (Don’t even ask me about downloading ringtones...are you kidding?!) I DO know how to put the phone on “vibrate” so I’m proud of that!

I’m actually considering the new phone a birthday present so it’s been kind of cool. This is the first phone I’ve ever had which is also a camera. Of course, I don’t know how to use the camera feature yet, but I hope to figure it out, or more likely have someone show me!

So, on Saturday, it was time for me to call on Verizon for a new phone so I can continue to make phone calls!

(Anybody else out there as technically challenged as I am?)

Friday, September 18, 2009


“Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses;
nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.” (Matthew 10:9-10)

“A Journey to Boston” is actually the title of a novel from the early 1960s about a couple of farmers who take the Massachusetts Turnpike from Westfield to Boston to sell their produce and are killed in a tragic accident on the way. I couldn’t resist stealing the title for this piece!

For the past several years, I’ve had a tradition that on my birthday (September 19) OR on the day before or after my birthday, I take the day off and take the train into Boston to just “chill”. I did that this morning, and boy am I glad that I did!
In the past few years, I’ve always had a nice day for my trip, and I’ve always spent part of my time walking around the Boston Common and Boston Public Garden.

This year, although I’d scheduled September 18 as a day off weeks ago, I ALMOST opted out of my annual birthday journey. I reasoned that I had a lot to do to get ready for my Saturday morning collectibles sale, and that I was behind on other responsibilities, as well. Earlier in the week, the forecast was calling for “rain” or “showers” for Friday. On Thursday, I made myself go into Garbarino’s on Route 135 and buy the train tickets. I was picturing that it would probably be pouring rain on Friday, but I figured I’d hang around Copley Place and the Prudential Center and still have a good time. What a delight that today turned out to be so beautiful! Most years the day I do my “birthday trip” is the day they’re pulling the swan boats out of the man-made pond at the Public Garden and putting them in storage for the winter. Last year, to my surprise, the swan boats were still in the pond and rides were still being given on September 19. Today, the boats were still in the pond, but all tied up together and the boat ride business was over for the season. One amateur photographer was snapping a bunch of photos of the swan boats. Another guy was painting a beautiful oil painting of the Public Garden and pond.

I had a wonderful time of prayer in there today. I have to be careful because it looks like you’re talking to yourself and you’re some kind of a nut! Well, since the popularity of Bluetooth and other technologies, people walking around or sitting around talking don’t look QUITE as weird as they used to! I also spend some great time reading and thinking about some Scripture passages. As part of my journey, I spent some time in the Boston Public Library which is a great and peaceful place. (Did you know they have a beautiful courtyard surrounded by their buildings?)

I took an earlier train home than I’d usually have because I DO have a lot to do in order to get ready for my collectibles sale. But today in Boston was a wonderful birthday present from the Lord to me!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Never say never!

I once said, “I’ll never send my kids to a Catholic school!”

Well, all three of my kids graduated from (Catholic) Marian High School in Framingham (Jon in 2001, Amy in 2003, and Rachel in 2005)! My wife, Mary Ann, has worked at Marian High for several years. Mary Ann started out as a part time volunteer, then a paid part time substitute teacher and helper, then a paid full time substitute teacher and helper, and for the past three years as the school’s Administrative Assistant. People say, “She runs the place!” And, with no disrespect intended to the Principal, Sr. Cathy Clifford, or any of the other staff, in a sense, she does! Mary Ann puts in a lot of hours and does anything and everything at Marian, but she really does enjoy her job.

I was raised Roman Catholic. I attended public school, but I attended religious education at a Catholic school. My image of Catholic school was the pre-1970 Catholic schools of old-fashioned uniforms and incredibly strict nuns smashing rulers across kids' knuckles...stuff like that. And, like many baby boomers who grew up Catholic and then became born-again Christians in the youth revival of the early ‘70s known as the “Jesus Generation”, I’d resented the Catholic religion for “hiding the truth and pushing empty meaningless rituals.” Hence, I wasn’t big on Catholic schools. Ironically, I’m a graduate of a Catholic college, Stonehill College in Easton (I went there before I went to Central Bible College). I’ve never put Catholic colleges and universities in the same category as parochial schools for grades K-12. Stonehill was a very progressive and diverse college. If not for small crucifixes in the classrooms, most of the time it didn’t feel like a “Catholic school” at all!

In the early 1990s, two of our families at First Assembly of God of Framingham sent their kids to Marian High School. I was surprised. “Don’t you HAVE to be CATHOLIC to go to that school?” I asked. I was surprised to find out that you didn’t have to be Catholic to attend Marian. The teens from our church who attended Marian flourished there. Frankly, in their behavior and in other respects, they were a cut above other kids. I participated in an interfaith assembly at Marian High in 1996. I was VERY impressed. For high schoolers, the kids were very well behaved, and the school seemed very much like a (public) high school of the early 1960s . Mary Ann and I decided to send Jon to Marian and he started there in 1997. Like a lot of kids, Jon HATED middle school. I remember really sweating out whether he’d like Marian...whether he’d fit in. I picked Jon up as he was walking home from his first day at Marian.

“So, how was it?” I nervously asked him.

In a positive tone he answered, “It was O.K.!” Jon did well at Marian, as did my girls. This was definitely the right move for us.

Marian has had some amazing sports teams through the years. Even I was surprised to read they beat Keefe Tech in Football this past weekend! See:

Keefe’s a MUCH bigger school with strong sports teams, so that’s quite an accomplishment for Marian.

With the exception that Amy played some basketball there, my kids weren’t real big in the athletic department, but they were very active in the school’s outstanding drama program. Framingham High gets a lot of publicity for its great drama program, but I suspect you didn’t know Marian has a drama program that’s just as good as Framingham High’s, and I’d say slightly better!

Marian also has been named one of the best private school values in the Boston area by Boston Magazine. See:

You probably think Mary Ann or Sr. Cathy told me to write a puff piece about Marian on my blog. They didn’t. No one did. I was just thinking about Marian a lot this week. My daughter Amy’s a nurse in Springfield, Missouri. She credits Marian’s science teachers, especially Mr. Gilligan with having a very strong impact upon her that helped her greatly in nursing training. My daughter Rachel has lots of praise for Mr. Costello, a math teacher who taught for many years in inner city schools in Worcester. He’s one of those really outstanding teachers - the kind parents very much want their kids to have. That’s also true of English teacher, Mr. Herlihy who has got to be one of the finest high school English teachers in New England. While I’m bragging about the teachers, I’ve got to put in a good word for Religion Teacher Mr. McGarry. He’s used me as a guest speaker numerous times in his classes, and I’ve always enjoyed that.

If you’re concerned about the education your teenager is getting (or not getting) and if you’ve got younger kids and wonder where they should go to high school, I highly recommend Marian if you’re in Boston’s MetroWest suburbs.

Check out:

Monday, September 14, 2009


“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God,
I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh:
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams:” (Acts 2:17)


Your old men shall dream dreams.

I will be 55 on Saturday. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m getting to be an “old man” because I tend to dream A LOT when I sleep!

I learned recently that “dream interpretation” is the latest craze in the “cutting edge hyper-Charismatic” churches. I know some of you will not understand what I’m talking about, but in Christian circles, and then in evangelical circles, and finally in Charismatic circles there’s always an “in church” that “everybody” is going to, or an “in thing” that everybody is doing. In the 1990s, one of the “in things” was “holy laughter”. At a number of “cutting edge hyper-Charismatic” churches in the 1990s, scores of people in the congregation would be ERUPTING with laughter during the service...even during Holy Communion or the pastor’s sermon. This was seen as a very good thing...that they were opening up to the Holy Spirit and enjoying His presence. I went to one of those services one time and I spent half of it laughing my head off. I later told my wife, “I don’t think I was laughing in the all just struck me so funny I couldn’t stop laughing!” (In fact, I DO think the Holy Spirit CAN move upon you in a supernatural way and give you SUCH joy that you WILL laugh. However, I would not expect that to happen to scores of people simultaneously, and I certainly would NOT expect that during a sermon or an observance of Holy Communion.) At other times, there have been such behaviors as people howling like wolves, crawling around like animals, etc. supposedly being “in the Spirit”. (I’ve got a video which shows such behavior going on at a Boston area church in the 1990s.) God is a God of order. And while SOMETIMES God can move in what we’d consider unconventional ways, I DON’T believe He promotes chaos and foolishness.

Well, back to the topic of “dreams”. Yes, “dream interpretation” is the latest craze in cutting edge hyper-Charismatic churches. On the one hand, God CAN and DOES definitely give Christians dreams. We find clear examples of that in both the Old and New Testaments. Joseph in the Old Testament was given dreams and was given the ability to interpret dreams. In the New Testament, another Joseph was told in a dream not to be afraid to marry Mary and that she was indeed supernaturally pregnant...a virgin who would give birth. I’ve had a handful of dreams in my life which were supernatural, and TWO of them were absolutely from God. These dreams were VIVID. They were in color and as REAL as REAL LIFE! They’re very personal to me and I’m not going to share them at this point.

On the other hand, I have dreams all the time. Do I believe they’re all from God? Maybe some of my brothers and sisters in Christ would disagree with me, but I don’t. My old friend D.C.M. used to say that most of our dreams came from “eating too much pizza” and he’s probably right. Dreams ARE interesting, however. It’s AMAZING the stuff our brains will put together...better than anything Hollywood dishes up!

I remember a dream my mother spoke of having. She was not a particularly big Celtics fan, but she dreamed she was at Boston Garden and Bob Cousey was showing her all around. Why would she dream that? Over the weekend, my son dreamed he survived a nuclear holocaust. Why would he dream that? I worked at Draper Mills in Canton when I was in my late teens and early twenties. These were awful factory jobs. Amazingly, sometimes I will dream I’m back working at Draper’s! In fact, when I was working there, one of the few Christian guys I knew that worked there (his name was “Buster”! No kidding!) said he once dreamed he worked at Draper’s all night, then he had to get up and go to work again. He said he felt like he worked a double shift! Saturday night, I had a whole series of dreams. It was like I had watched a bunch of T.V. shows. I also felt like I needed to go back to bed after I woke up! In one dream I had gone to Antarctica. I’ve never dreamed that before! I was at an American settlement that looked like a small town. There were roads and telephone poles and such. I was driving around. I turned down a street. The snow was piled so high, I had to turn the car around. I asked someone what season it was there and he said, “It’s October but this is like April in this hemisphere.” He explained that it was one of the more pleasant months there. On Sunday, I told my wife about this dream and Mary Ann told me that Antarctica is actually a desert, and that it snows very little there. (Of course there are huge ice shelves, etc.) In another dream, a family from our church in Framingham was going to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter Amy in Springfield, Missouri. I was telling them to be sure to visit the Bass Pro Shop and other things to do there. I had another dream in which I lost an important letter. I was trying and trying to find it. I then realized I’d mailed it, but I forgot to make a number of corrections to it and it was annoying that I put it in the mail too soon. I think I had another dream or two, but I’ve forgotten them now.

I wonder what the modern “dream interpretation” people would say about my dreams?! I think my friend D.C. M. would say I ate too much pizza, but I haven’t had pizza for over a week! I do think they were just nonsense dreams! I’m just curious why my brain put those plots together.

Anyway, I DO want to be in tune with God. I never want to stop being open to visions and dreams FROM HIM and I never want to stop doing HIS will!


“The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.” (Proberbs 16:33)

Who will fill the late Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy’s seat in the U.S. Senate? Several Democrats are already in the running, and on Saturday, September 12, Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown (Republican) of Wrentham announced that he is a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat.

For those of you who live outside of MA, this will be an interesting race for a number of reasons.

First, Scott Brown is an “American Idol Dad”. His daughter Ayla Brown was in the top 24 in Season 5 of American Idol. She made it to #13 but missed out on being in the Top 10. Ayla is often featured singing at special events around Massachusetts AND is a very good basketball player. For more info. about Ayla Brown, check out

Ayla’s not the only famous person in the family, however. Gail Huff, Scott Brown’s wife and Ayla Brown’s mother is a well known television reporter at Boston’s ABC affiliate, WCVB channel 5. You can read more about Gail Huff at

Scott Brown and family reside in the small town of Wrentham, MA which is on the Rhode Island border and is located a very short distance from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA.

Brown is a very bright and likable guy. He’s not perfect- nobody is. But, he’s conscientious, levelheaded, hardworking, and conservative on most issues. I would not, however, call him an ideologue. He’s a common sense guy kind of guy who would be able to “work with both sides of the aisle”.

I’m delighted Scott Brown’s running and I wish him well. You can read more about the launch of his campaign at:

Friday, September 11, 2009


"And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (Luke 12:15)

The following was not written by me. It was written by Pastor W. Martin Hughes of Smith's Grove, Kentucky. Martin writes just like he speaks, with a rural Kentucky accent, but don't let that fool you. I believe he's got a Master's Degree in Education and he's not only a very smart man, but he's a very caring and wise man. I have gleaned and learned much from him. Several years ago, his church bought 2 small glass angels to donate to a family on the occasion of the funeral of an elderly relative. The amazing response to this gift is Martin's story which he entitled, "FEUD". Here's Martin's Funeral Story:

I was doing an old lady's funeral. She had a ton of flowers and two beautiful little angels.
Two of the granddaughters wanted the two angels, they would not split them, with one taking one,
and the other the other.
They decide to go in front of the funeral home and fight, winner takes all?
The two women around 30 went out to fight.
I stayed in the funeral home.
A man asked aren't you going to watch?
I replied no, I don't want to be a witness in court!
The two duked it out... the winner came in to claim her prized two angels...
They were gone...
Someone when out the back door with them while the fight was going on...
The lady came to me and asked me who took her angels?
I don't know I was in the lobby...
She called me a liar!
I told her if I knew who took the angels and she asked I would have to tell her.
I thought it was funny neither fighting party got the angels...
I bought the angels from our church, I paid $19.99 for both of them...
This family still has hard feelings over less than $20.
Kind of sad... From that day to this, 8 years or so, if I do angels I write on the angels
where I think they should go, then there is no fight.
How stupid to fight over worthless things?
Want to say; SELFISH?
Hebrews discusses the root of bitterness --- whereby many are defiled?
You are worth more than glass angels...


The following is the text of an advertisement I've been e-mailing and "snail mailing" out this week. I generally try to not use this blog for advertising and things like that, but I'm trying to get this word out to as many people as possible in as may ways as possible, so here goes:

Saturday, September 19 8 to 11 a.m.
(rain date, Saturday September 26)
authentic MASS. INSPECTION STICKERS 1935-1981
at $2 apiece!
(actual value is $5-$20 apiece depending on year, etc.)
(sorry, 1954 thru 1958 and 1970 NOT available!)

THE 1970s and 1980s. 5 for a dollar!
(actual value is $5 apiece!)


RARE Massachusetts auto listing books from pre-1910! $20. per book.
Sorry NO discounts on these!

Other collectibles and some “regular yard sale stuff” as well!

Location: 40 Harrison ST Framingham (off Hartford St. near Route 126)
more info. call 508-523-4595 or e-mail

(Incidentally, Sat. Sept. 19 is also my 55th birthday!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


“And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” (Luke 9:52-56)

The other night I was flipping through the channels with my remote when I stumbled upon a local cable access program which was featuring clips of Fred Phelps and his “Westboro Baptist Church” of Topeka, Kansas. If you’re not familiar with this group, they preach a message of hate, and in my opinion, they cause confusion and dissension and give true Christians a very bad name. (I had a friend who pastored a Baptist Church in Westboro, Massachusetts who was constantly having to explain that he was NOT part of that group!) The Westboro Baptist Church group goes around the country picketing. They hold up signs which state vile messages of hate against homosexuals. They also hold up signs which read “God Hates America”, “God Hates Jews”, and even “God Hates Israel”. Possibly the most controversial viewpoints of this group are that 9/11 was a WONDERFUL thing and that soldiers who die fighting for the U.S.A. DESERVE to die. These hate mongers have been known to show up at the funerals of servicemen and servicewomen holding up disgusting anti-American signs and chanting horrible sayings. Fred Phelps had a large family and most of his own children have large families. Thus, MOST of the Membership of this Church are all related to each other.

Among the clips the local cable show ran were speeches where Fred Phelps denounces Billy Graham and (the late) Jerry Falwell as false prophets. One of the little children from this group was interviewed. The kid spewed vile statements against homosexuals and Jews. It was obvious he was just reciting what had been drilled into him, but he didn’t really understand what he was talking about. Another clip showed teenagers from the church doing a parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”.

Halfway thorough the local cable show, the show’s host announced that he’d be showing the “other side” about Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church; about how much GOOD they have done.

“Good?!” I thought, “How can a group so filled with HATE be good?! What POSSIBLE good could they have done?”

The local show then ran clips about the early days of Fred Phelps' ministry in Topeka, Kansas from the 1950s. It turns out he arrived in Topeka shortly after the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. Fred Phelps was very much involved in the civil rights movement. He had SUCH a passion to help defenseless Black people that he went to Law school, got a Law degree, and defended many African-Americans who’d been discriminated against. Phelps has been recognized by African-American groups for his heroic work during the civil rights movement.

According to the reports, during the 1950s and 1960s, Fred Phelps, and his family and church were real heroes, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, bravely defending the rights of African-Americans and always ready to help the poor and downtrodden. The black & white photos of Phelps and his family from that period show a kind, warm, Christian family preaching and demonstrating the love of God. Videos of the group from the past fifteen years of so show the EXACT OPPOSITE kind of people!

I must say, I was most surprised at Fred Phelps’ background, and I was quite perplexed at what he and his group have become. Here was (apparently) a group of good, decent, kind, loving Christian people that has morphed into a bunch of half-crazed hate mongers. I can only conclude that Phelps’ and his family and church foolishly switched from ministry in the power of God to ministry in their own strength. They likely became puffed up with pride and allowed themselves to become totally deceived by Satan. I Corinthians 10:12 warns about those who are overconfident, unaware they are in danger of falling.

The local cable host concluded that Phelps is exercising his free speech which he viewed as a very good thing. The host obviously missed the real message which is that a good man and ministry have been subverted and perverted into something vile and evil. (Please don’t misunderstand me. I disapprove of homosexuality, but God so “loved” the world [John 3:16] and the homosexuals, like all other people, need God’s message of love and reconciliation, not a message of hate.)
For me, watching this half hour cable show was quite sobering!

Monday, September 7, 2009


“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” (Matthew 21:28-32)

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking through a parking lot in downtown Framingham, and I noticed a bumper sticker attached to the rear of a car: “PRACTICE RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS”.

It reminded me of a popular bumper sticker from about fifteen years ago, which read, “PRACTICE RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS AND SENSELESS ACTS OF BEAUTY”. That one used to crack me up! What are “senseless acts of beauty”?! I used to think, “If they’re SENSELESS, why do them?”. Maybe that’s why the newer stickers have dropped the second line of that saying.

My son will probably be upset with me for posting this. (He does read the blog.) But I think it’s a good example of “practicing random acts of kindness”. Guys like Jon, and to some degree me, get a bad rap. Jon and I are not what you’d call “people persons”. I know, I know... how can you be a pastor without being a “people person”?! I’ve gotten asked that from time to time! Well, my first pastor in the Assemblies of God, the late Lloyd A. Westover, was not at all a “people person”. Westover had retired after a successful career as a company representative of Birdseye Foods. (He used to negotiate with farmers to buy their crops for the company.) Westover took Bible correspondence courses and became a Licensed minister, and later at around age 50, an Ordained minister. He could be a real “fire ‘n brimstone” preacher. He taught a Sunday School class and would write ‘YOU’RE LATE!’ on the board for late arrivals. One Sunday, he brought a bullwhip to church, snapping it, and bluntly asking how we thought Jesus felt to be whipped? (That time, even many of his friends and supporters thought he had “lost it”.) Yet, his knowledge of the Bible was profound, and his common sense was rich. I learned SO MUCH from that man! One of my professors in Bible College, Dr. Terry Lewis had served as an Assistant Pastor under Westover. Lewis told me, “Brother Westover is the most Godly man I know.”

SO, Lloyd Westover proved you don’t necessarily have to be a “people person” to be a pastor. (Just as a sidenote, my wife has been an invaluable help to me in the areas of hospitality and people skills!) But back to me, and specifically back to Jon. We would not be described as “people persons”. We can relate to my friend Tom who served 7 years as an inmate at Cedar Junction Prision in Walpole, MA. Tom spent one year in solitary confinement. He has told me it was (spiritually speaking) the greatest year of his life, because he could be alone with God and the Bible and pretty much have nobody bothering him! (Now, granted, I don’t think Jon nor I really want to go to prison!)

Again, guys like Jon and I get a bad rap. Jon particularly can be very blunt and can make pretty caustic comments. Next to some sweet talking car salesman or somebody like that, guys like Jon or I can seem like real jerks. But the real life lesson is what people DO when there’s a REAL NEED and nobody’s watching. We’ve got a woman who attends our church that I’ll call Andrea. Andrea is around 40 and has a number of physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. She lives in subsidized housing and receives a government check each month. Andrea had a very sad family background. I didn’t learn Andrea’s background until I’d known her for a number of years. Although she DOES have a number of emotional problems, etc., when I learned her background I was amazed she even functions as well as she does. Andrea doesn’t handle the ordinary stresses of life very well at all. I’ve seen her sobbing because there was a problem with her telephone, for instance.

At last Friday night’s Bible Study, Andrea literally put her head in her hands and was sighing as if she’d just learned she had cancer.

“Andrea, are you all right?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s just this stupid T.V. of mine,” she responded almost in tears.

She then told us the story that her very old T.V. set had been functioning very poorly. A couple of friends had given Andrea a used T.V. set which was much better than the one she had. They’d come on Friday and hooked up the “new” T.V. but now Andrea could not get anything on it but a recurring blurb saying to call her cable company. I’m not very handy nor am I technically inclined. But I was pleased when Jon offered to look at her T.V. after the Bible Study.

“Aren’t you alergic to cats?” Andrea asked, “What about my cat?”
Jon said he thought it would be O.K.

We went up to Andrea’s apartment after the Bible Study and Jon had his work cut out for him with a maze of wires! There was one line going into the system from the apartment complex security system. There was the cable line. There was a DVD player and a VCR. There were several “splitters” for the lines. And the “new” set was a 27-inch which barely fit into Andrea’s “entertainment center” cabinet. AND, the blurb from the cable system kept playing over and over no matter what Jon did. The cat was meowing and all over the place. Andrea is even less technically inclined than I am, so she had no idea what some extra wires were,nor could she answer other questions Jon had.

I know how short-fused and impatient Jon can be, and I have to say I was proud of him because he could not have been more patient, more polite, nor more gracious in dealing with Andrea. It was getting late, and Jon still couldn’t solve the problem. He assured her we’d be back on Saturday.

Saturday morning, Jon went on the computer researching information about Andrea’s (frankly) unusual cable box, and we went back to Andrea’s apartment. It was about another hour of Jon fiddling with cables, and the cat bugging everybody, but finally Jon figured it out and Andrea had T.V. once again!

Jon COULD have just blown Andrea off on Friday night. It really wasn’t his problem. And, who needed a small apartment, and a slightly emotionally disturbed and sickly woman, and an annoying cat, not to mention a mess of a T.V. hookup?! But, Friday night and Saturday morning, Jon acted like Jesus, and Andrea’s problems were solved.

Again, Jon will probably tell ME off for posting this, but I gotta tell ya, if he can practice a random act of kindness, then there’s no excuse for any of the rest of us.
That’s a big part of what the Lord has called us to do...not just mouthing Spiritual nicities and gobbildygook....but actually, tangibly, practically HELPING people! So, today, “PRACTICE RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS” and I will even add, “AND SENSELESS ACTS OF BEAUTY!”

Friday, September 4, 2009


“Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.” (Luke 12:3)

Today, I was “on the road” at lunchtime and I ate lunch at Friendly’s at Routes 27 and 109 in Medfield. To my surprise, Friendly’s was CROWDED. I did not expect that on a weekday, especially with a bad economy. It was filled with teenagers and parents with young children, so I quickly realized that Medfield must have had no school today as part of the Labor Day weekend.

Sociologists frequently speak of “demographics” and I felt the “demographic” of Medfield as I sat and waited to order. I live in Framingham which President Bill Clinton described in 1994 as, “a town that looks like America”. What he meant is Framingham is a very diverse community. Framingham’s neighborhoods range from quite rural and very pricey (near the Sudbury border) to congested, poor, and urban in parts of downtown. The neighborhood I live in is about a mile north of downtown and has been compared (I think fairly) to Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood. It’s working class with older homes, but a relatively safe and nice neighborhood. At just about any restaurant in Framingham you’d be used to seeing a number of Brazilians, many of them speaking Portuguese. There would typically be some African-Americans, some Hispanics, and even some Russian immigrants. Medfield’s Friendly’s had a distinctively white, upper-class Republican feel to it. I actually felt UNCOMFORTABLE with no poor and minority people present, and I’m a Republican!

Later, as I sat eating my cheeseburger (D.C.M. - don’t laugh!) I could hear two elderly women in the booth behind me talking. I heard the word “sermon” and THAT made me perk up and start trying to hear what they were saying. One woman complained that her pastor’s sermons are too long and too boring. She was very unhappy that church lasted an hour and forty-five minutes and that up to five hymns are sung. The other spoke well of her church saying that her minister knows enough to never preach more than twenty-five minutes, and makes sure the service never lasts more than an hour. She happily said they limit the hymns to three! I SO wanted to turn around and give them a talking to...but I didn’t!

Now, don’t get me wrong...I don’t even like services that go on FOREVER... that is if the Holy Spirit is not moving and some guy just wants to hear himself talk. But, if the Holy Spirit is moving and wonderful things are happening, it’s a pleasure to be in the house of God no matter how long it takes! My African-American brothers and sisters have this right. It’s not unusual for an African-American service to last two or even three hours. The people tend to be “dressed to kill” and frankly, I like that. The choirs and other worship teams know how to sing and know how to praise God! And the service isn’t like a funeral- it’s a celebration! Recently my daughter Rachel commented that she likes the way Black preachers preach. There’s that ENTHUSIASM, and even that musical quality to it. It ain’t boring!

Yeah, demographics! I guess over twenty years of living on the southside of Framingham has rubbed off on me because I sort of felt like a “person of color” an outsider, in upper-middle class Medfield today. And, I wonder how Jesus feels at those churches the elderly ladies were talking about. Check out the New Testament passages about Jesus turning over the tables and throwing people out of the Temple (in John 2 among other places); that may not be far off as far as how He DOES feel about it!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


“...I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
(from Psalm 122:1)

The following is from the text of an e-mail I sent out this morning to some folks I know. It concerns two upcoming church events in Framingham. Before you dismiss this, please read it, because you just might be interested in one or both of these events!

Here’s what I wrote:


I just want to share about 2 upcoming events:


I received a phone call yesterday from my friend, Pastor Rich Hurst of the Lutheran Church of Framingham. He asked me if I would attend and promote an event at his church which is happening
THIS COMING TUESDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 8. Judith Perry, who is a Lutheran missionary doing some (frankly) risky and dangerous ministry in the Far East will be their special guest speaker.
They're having sort of a "meet and greet" at 6; a free dinner will be served at 6:30, and then Judith's presentation will take place at 7 p.m.

I have planned to be present at the Lutheran Church on Tuesday night for both the dinner and the presentation.
(This event is also mentioned in the "Religion News" in today's [THURS. SEPT. 3] MetroWest Daily News.) They're recommending people call 508-877-2550 to let them know if they're coming to the dinner; I don't think that's absolutely necessary but it would be a courteous thing to do.

The Lutheran Church of Framingham is located at Edgell Road and Lyman Road. If you're heading from the Framingham Centre area to the Nobscot/Sudbury area, it's on your LEFT.

So, I hope you'll meet me at the Lutheran Church on Tuesday night if you at all possibly can!


Just a reminder that this coming weekend is Labor Day weekend. At our church (First Assembly of God of Framingham) we have no Sunday School this Sunday, and the morning worship service will be from 9:30 a.m. to approx. 11:00 a.m. Dress is :"casual" this Sunday. I won't be wearing a suit!

God bless you,

(For more info. about either event, please send me an e-mail or call my church office at 508-875-5030.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


On August 3, 2009 I posted a piece entitled "DISAPPEARING INK" about the (red background - expiring in 2010) Massachusetts inspection stickers which are rapidly fading. Tonight, Boston's FOX 25 News had a story about this. You can check that out at:

According to the RMV a new vender did not meet their requirement of non-fading ink. The Registrar states the problem has been corrected and the newest stickers will not fade. My old Volkswagen has a January sticker which is badly faded. The May sticker on the Saturn my daughter drives is also fading. We have state inspection on the Dodge Caravan this month. If it passes (and the auto shop affixes a new sticker) we'll see if this sticker holds it's ink or not!


“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:1)

To use the old expression, “in my day” school always started after Labor Day. In fact, it usually started on the Wednesday after Labor Day. Tuesday was “teacher orientation day” and on Wednesday school began for the kids. (I always hated school starting up. And one of the really bad things about having a mid-September birthday is that I had to go back to school before I could celebrate my birthday!) The school where my wife Mary Ann works (Marian High School) DOES start after Labor Day (although she has a year round position) but most schools in the Boston suburbs have started classes this week.

In thinking about school and teachers this week, I thought about a female teacher from decades ago who made a huge mark on this world. She was an Albanian and was born Agnesi Gonxhe Bojaxihu. She never married. In fact, she was a Roman Catholic nun. (I still have a lot of problems with Roman Catholicism, BUT the mistake many evangelicals make is to forget the many wonderful, Christian people who are in the Roman Catholic church and are greatly used of God.) Agnesi became “Sister Teresa” and later “Mother Teresa”. She ministered to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India for over 45 years. She was the founder of the “Missionaries of Charity”. Bill Hybels tells her story on the final video presentation of the Willow Creek 2008 Leadership Summit. I was blessed to attend that event in August 2008 (watching by satellite in Greenwich, Connecticut). A few weeks ago, I showed Hybels’ talk about Mother Teresa on D.V.D. for our Men’s Fellowship.

As a young nun, Mother Teresa was an elementary school teacher, but she DESPERATELY wanted to be greatly used of God. She prayed and prayed and prayed asking God show her what she was called to do, and she promised God she would do ANYTHING for Him. This went on for some time, but finally on a train trip in the late 1940s God spoke to her heart and called her to work with the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. Many of us would NOT have considered that to be a great assignment, but Teresa was ecstatic! She would have dug ditches for God....she would have lived in an igloo in northern Alaska, or in a jungle in the Congo basin...SHE JUST WANTED TO BE WHERE GOD WANTED HER TO BE AND DOING WHAT HE WANTED HER TO DO.

Fulfilling that call, however, would not be easy. Teresa went back to her teaching job. She kept asking her boss (the local priest) to give her permission to fulfill her calling. He kept telling her “NO” and to stick with the teaching job. She met with the priest and met with the priest trying to convince him. Rumors started up that she was having an affair with the priest! Finally, she wore him down, and he said, “OK” but now she’d have to clear it with the Bishop. And, it started all over again as she had to convince the Bishop of her calling. Like the priest, he kept saying “NO”. FINALLY, after an exhausting effort, she got all the permissions granted that she needed and she went to Calcutta.

At first, it was all overwhelming. She had to start from scratch building an organization. She hated raising money, but she HAD to raise money and she reluctantly learned to be a fundraiser. She had to buy property. She had to hire people and fire people, and (understandably) supervise people. PLUS, of course, she spent all the time she could ministering to the sick and dying and the poorest of the poor. During her last twenty years of life she was very famous. (She was born in 1910 and died in 1997) but for most of her career she ministered in obscurity. A couple of years ago, her private diaries were released which indicated that at times she went through great depression and doubt- not feeling God’s presence at all and wondering if He cared. YET, she ministered tirelessly and faithfully DESPITE HER PERSONAL FEELINGS.

Hybels held up this little old nun as an example for his mostly evangelical Protestant audience. We can be pretty smug about Catholics being “in error” about this or that. Yet, we’ll go and serve God if there’s a big salary and a new Cadillac as part of the deal, but would we do what she did? The part of the story that particularly touched me is how she pressed on to fulfill her calling, despite the difficulties. Notice that she was NOT defiant. She did not rebel against her superiors. Instead she prayed and trusted God until she gained their permission to go to India.

Some folks would say, “She gave up teaching to do the work she did in India”. NO! She was a teacher all her life. She taught by example. She ministered to the “least of these” (see Matthew ch. 25). On this week of school starting up, may we think about Mother Teresa. She was willing to do ANYTHING for God, and in fact, SHE DID!

Would you do ANYTHING God asked you to do? Would I?