Monday, July 30, 2012

AGE 29

"...she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord..." (from I Samuel 1:20)

Our first child; literally our firstborn son Jonathan David "Jon" Baril was born on this day, July 30, twenty-nine years ago. To me it seems like maybe SEVEN years ago. I remember that hot and humid late July Saturday vividly.

I had mixed emotions about having a son. Oh, don't get me wrong, I was pleased. I just wondered how "good" of a father I would be. I also hoped Jon would not be very much like me. I was frequently aware that in many ways I was a disappointment to my own father. Gene Baril, although not really a very big man, was an outstanding athlete. He was particularly accomplished at baseball, softball, and hockey, although he was a decent football player, as well. Gene Baril was also a very good mechanic. Gene was confident and macho. He loved being a law enforcement officer, and fearlessly confronted lawbreakers. In so many ways, I was much more like my mother. I was not mechanically inclined at all, and not very athletic. I couldn't imagine stopping cars and writing tickets to the offenders in an intimidating fashion. That just was not me.

Well, Jon DID grow up to be like me. Jon is gifted with a very high I.Q. which I do not have. He is much more outspoken than I am, and thus can offend people easily. Like me (and to a degree like my daughter Rachel) Jon is usually very shy one-on-one. Jon, Rachel, or I could entertain a crowd of thousands (or even millions on television) with great confidence. We all have what's known as "stage presence". It's meeting someone and having to have a one-on-one interview with them, or really meeting any person for the first time that tends to be terrifying to us. We have these magnanimous stage personalities, yet privately we'd rather be alone and reading a book, watching a movie, or writing at the computer.

It has saddened me when people have misunderstood Jon. It's been painful, because in life I have often been similarly misunderstood.

When Jon was born I was twenty-eight years old, and just weeks from my twenty-ninth birthday. Today, Jon is twenty-nine.

I wish for Jon a blessed birthday and a wonderful year. At that age, I had several great miracles happen in my life that propelled me ahead for decades. I wish and pray such miracles for Jon.

To use an expression my late mother would have used, "Say a prayer for Jon today".

And, please check out his blog. His blog is at:

And if you want to send him a birthday greeting, let me know and I'll help you do that.


"But without a parable spake he not unto them..." (from Mark 4:34)

I have written an original short story entitled, "Historical Lawn". If you would like to read it, please request it by e-mail at:

and I will e-mail it to you. Thanks.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


"And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet." (Acts 4:36-37 New King James Version)

I started The Blog of Bob Baril in early 2006. It was originally on the old AOL Journals, which AOL ended three or four years ago. Since then it has been on Google/Blogger (previously known as Blogspot). When I started writing The Blog of Bob Baril, I took it very seriously as though I were a newspaper columnist and I determined to have three postings a week. In more recent months, it has been very hard to do three postings a week, and sometimes there is not even ONE posting a week. I realize this one MAY not mean much to a lot of people, but Wednesday was a special morning for me.

This past Wednesday, the John 17:23 Fellowship, a ministry of Barnabas Ministries Inc. had a special "Regional Prayer Meeting" for pastors. It took place at the facility of Chinese Gospel Church on Route 9 Westbound in Southborough. I know. Right now, I'm not a pastor. And, that's true. I did, however, belong to the John 17:23 Fellowship when I WAS pastoring. The most important ministry of the John 17:23 Fellowship is small, confidential support groups for pastors. These groups usually consist of anywhere from four to ten pastors, and usually meet every other week. I was a "regular" at one of those groups. The John 17:23 Fellowship also offers a Retreat each March and several special events per year for pastors, including the Regional Prayer Meetings.

I was invited to this meeting by Dan Condon who is pastoring the "restart" of First Assembly of God of Framingham which I pastored. The "new" church is called Meeting Place Church and is meeting at Mass. Bay Community College. Dan is a very nice guy, and it meant a lot to me that he invited me. I hate to admit this, but there is SO much I took for granted about pastoring. I took for granted that every Sunday I'd either be preaching a sermon or at least acting as "Master of Ceremonies" for the Sunday morning service. I took for granted that I'd be teaching the Adult Sunday School class. I took for granted that I'd be attending activities such as the Regional Prayer Meeting that I attended this week. I took for granted that I was a "player" in the evangelical community of MetroWest; albeit a "small" player. Sometimes that all seems so far way to me now. Frankly, I LOVED making my own schedule. I LOVED being able to just get up and take a walk when I wanted to. I loved having a lot of freedom and flexibility. I used to thank God that I wasn't "stuck at one spot sitting at a computer all day".

My how life can change!

It had been well over a year since I had attended my John 17:23 small group, and probably close to two years since I'd attended any of the other activities. I was well received on Wednesday. Honestly, I felt like I was home. If I'd have let myself go, I probably would have cried like a baby. The tears would not mainly have been tears of sorrow. Well, maybe a LITTLE sorrow. But, they mostly would have been tears of joy. It meant SO much to me that I was accepted as "one of the pastors" although I am not now a pastor. The worship and prayer and time in Scripture was SO special. I also want to add that Pastor Dan Condon was SO warm and welcoming to me. I don't think there are too many guys I would have felt could effectively come into Framingham and "restart" that church as something new and better, but through the wisdom of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, I believe he is the right guy for the task.

There are a couple of titles I ALMOST gave this piece. One would have been, "A Piece of the Action". THAT was the title of a classic Star Trek episode. It was about a planet which had rival street gangs modeled totally after Chicago of the 1920s. Of course, in THAT sense, "A Piece of the Action" refers to MONEY and POWER. My title, "A Piece of the Action" would have meant that in some sense I was still "one of the guys/one of the pastors" and that I still have a role to play as a preacher, teacher, and discipler in God's Kingdom. I feared this title being misunderstood, so I did not pick it.

The other I almost picked was, "There's No Place Like Home" based on the famous line from the film "The Wizare of Oz". I felt THAT could also be misunderstood; that people would think I still considered myself the pastor of the church in Framingham or that I was thinking of starting a church in MetroWest. No, neither of those is an option for me. But in the sense of being in fellowship with pastors of "like precious faith" I felt very much at home.

Thank you, Rev. Dick Germaine, for your vision and leadership with Barnabas Ministries and the John 17:23 Fellowship. Thank you guys (and a few female pastors, too!) who made me feel so welcome! And, THANK YOU GOD that I could be there on Wednesday morning!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” (Romans 12:15)

I was one of those “holdouts” who stayed away from Facebook for a long time. I finally joined in early December of 2010. For the past year and a half, I have enjoyed reconnecting with a number of folks I went to high school with as well as others. I enjoy reading people’s “Status updates”. Some of my Friends post some very uplifting items on Facebook. But, there are also sad news items you hate to read. I received one of those this morning. Pastor Dan Condon of Meeting Place Church of Framingham, Massachusetts posted THIS update:

"Nothing like being robbed on a Monday to start your week out! Thanks to the guy who has my wallet and ipod and some hard earned pay! Praying for ya! close all accounts try to get some ID restored! Thank God not hurt - just feel dirty!"

Dan did not give any more details. As a naturally curious guy, I wondered WHERE the robbery took place and HOW it took place. I guess those details really don’t matter, for whatever the specific details are, Dan was robbed. It’s got to be a very bad feeling!

I mentioned (above) the church Dan is pastoring. “Meeting Place Church” is the “restart” of First Assembly of God of Framingham, the church I pastored for twenty-three years and that was officially incorporated in 1922 and begun informally in 1921. Dan moved into Framingham about a year ago. He and his wife Lynn have been holding home meetings and a few services at Mass. Bay Community College at 19 Flagg Drive. I learned that some people thought I would be furious when I learned the Assemblies of God was bringing Dan in to “restart” the church. It’s true that I was devastated by First Assembly of God of Framingham’s closing and a lot of peoples perceptions and opinions about that; and in some ways, I still am grieving that loss. BUT, I rejoice that the church is going on with a new face and mission. In fact, one close friend of mine who was even more upset about the church’s closing than I was confided in me,

“I want to see Pastor Dan SUCCEED. Too many of us gave too much of our blood, sweat, and tears to that church in Framingham, and engaged in spiritual warfare and other experiences many people could never understand. The worst part was feeling it was all for nothing. Seeing Pastor Dan come in and seeing the Holy Spirit work through him to build a viable ministry in Framingham would feel like what we did was worthwhile after all.”

I fully agree with that.

Dan and Lynn are holding a service this coming Sunday morning at 10 a.m. at Mass. Bay at 19 Flagg Drive. I believe the devil is furious with Dan and Lynn and with everyone who is in any way a part of Meeting Place Church. He wants to discourage Pastor Dan and his wife. He wants to discourage the church’s small core group of people. He wants to see them totally give up on the plan to restart the Framingham church. Satan wants to drive the nails into the coffin of the church, and have a belly laugh about it. Listen, it’s not only the church of the past twenty years that I’m thinking about...I'm remembering Ollie Dalaba, and Janet Rowe, and Brother Lewis, and Dick and Iris Pelley, and Tom Gurney, and Pastor James and all sorts of others who also poured their blood, sweat, and tears into First Assembly of God of Framingham. God has great plans for Dan and Lynn and that fledgling congregation- that “shoot” that is growing up from the stump of what was First Assembly of God of Framingham.

Dan’s no novice. He’s been in the ministry for years and served as Associate Pastor of First Assembly of God of Worcester for many years. Dan has weathered personal crises and challenges; times of great pain and heartache. I believe he is God’s man to pastor the Framingham Church at this time.

I cannot imagine how upset I would be if my wallet sere stolen. I’d be more upset about credit cards and my drivers’ license being stolen than about any money stolen. Surely this is a very difficult time for Dan and Lynn.

Let’s PRAY this week for Pastor Dan Condon and his wife Lynn and their unborn baby. Let’s pray God’s richest blessings and anointing upon them. Let’s pray (according to Romans 8:28) that this whole situation that the devil meant for evil would be turned around for good. As difficult as it is, let’s pray for the person that stole Dan’s wallet and ipod...for that person’s salvation. Let’s pray that Meeting Place Church has an outstanding Holy Spirit anointed service this coming Sunday morning.

If you are on Facebook, check out the Meeting Place Church page at:

If you want to send any sort of encouragements to the Condons I have their e-mail address and U.S. mail address. I will be happy to share those with anyone who personally contacts me. I can be reached at:

And, feel free to pass this on to your Christian friends.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


"Do all things without murmurings and disputings:" (Philippians 2:14)

I hate to admit this but when it comes to fast food establishments, I CAN be the kind of customer who's a little difficult. I don't have a lot of patience with mistakes made in the drive thru lane! I suppose we've all gotten the wrong order, no straw for our drink, received incorrect change, etc. One time, about ten years ago, for example, I got really perturbed with the lady at the drive thru at a Wendy's. My kids (teenagers at the time) were "wicked embarrassed" as we New Englanders say.

Well, THIS time, I want to give credit where credit is due!

Last night, I left my job around 7:35 and headed toward home. I pulled into the drive thru lane at McDonald's on Route 126 in Ashland to buy a $1 hot coffee. (Well, I think it's $1.06 with tax.)

I ordered a medium hot coffee with no sugar and 5 creams. (5 creams MAY sound like a lot, it really isn't. It's about the same amount of cream they give you at Dunkin' Donuts, except that their cream is kind of on a "tap" and McDonald's has those little cream containers you have to open and pour in.) For some reason, the young man taking my order got all confused. The more I tried to explain it, the worse it got.

Finally, I said, "O.K., let's just start over!"

I gave the order again. I said it slower, and in a different way. He GOT it.

But to my surprise, when I pulled up to get the coffee, it was a LARGE coffee. The young man profusely apologized to me for misunderstanding the order. I did not expect that.

"It's fine," I said, "these things happen. It's O.K. Thanks."

Yes, I can be SUCH a complainer but can forget to recognize when someone attempts to give GOOD service.

I don't know that young man's name, but I appreciated it.

I thought I'd give a plug to this young man who was working Saturday evening around 7:45 and to the McDonald's on Route 126 in Ashland, MA!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


"And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory." (Revelation 16:8-9)

In the Northern hemisphere, we're now in the midst of Summer. This is the season of lots of bright sunlight and at times, intense heat. These are, as Nat King Cole sang fifty years ago, the "lazy, crazy, hazy days of Summer". This is the season of people, particularly females, laying out in their backyards trying to get tanned. It's the season of even more girls and guys on beautiful, sandy beaches laying out in the sun, playing volleyball in the sun, and swimming and surfing in the water under bright sunlight.

I remember my first real sunburn. I was ten and it was the summer of 1965. I was wearing a shirt, but no undershirt, and I was sitting in the bright hot sum waiting for my mother to pick me up after a Summer morning band program. I sat there in the hot sun for about forty-five minutes with no sunblock on. Well, in 1965, nobody ever heard of "sunblock". In those days, it was "suntan lotion". Less than twenty- four hours later, my back, especially my upper back and shoulders was beet red and SORE. It felt like it was burning up. To touch that back and shoulders brought excruciating pain! I was also taking swimming lessons that summer, and even the cool water against the sunburn made it feel painful. My next real sunburn was at age twenty-one. A group of us twenty-somethings went to the beach down in Harwichport on Cape Cod for the day. We DID apply "suntan lotion". I think it was SPF 7 or 8, which was pretty typical for the 1970s. We did not realize that any sun lotion under SPF 15 really doesn't give you much protection at all, and that it really needs to be reapplied about every two hours. I came home with a burn all over my body. My FEET were burned. I could hardly put on sneakers or shoes and walk! My legs were burned! My face was burned. My back and chest were KIND OF burned, but it was the legs and feet that got the WORST. That, also, was not fun! I also remember that when my son Jon was an 11-month-old baby we had him with us at a home fellowship group social (from our church) at a park in Rhode Island. Jon was in the sun or several hours. He ended up with a VERY bad sunburn on his face following that day.

Over the past twenty years, we've been educated about the danger of ultraviolet rays,and we've learned that a person who has experience a severe sunburn such as I have described here can develop various types of skin cancer from this- sometimes the skin cancer does not manifest for thirty or forty years! We've learned to apply not "suntan lotion" but "sunblock". I used to use SPF 15 sunblock, but today that's frowned upon as being not strong enough. I will say, sometimes I've been out all day in the sun with SPF 15 on. Even if I've reapplied it, I can come out with a very dark tan that's an "almost burn". In the past couple of years when I've put on sunblock, I've usually used SPF 30.

Now, as important as it is to prevent sunburn and skin cancer, do you know there is a BAD aspect of wearing sunblock? Well, there IS! The sun is the BEST source of Vitamin D that we have available to us. MOST of our Vitamin D comes from sun exposure. Another source of Vitamin D that's not nearly as good as the sun is drinking MILK, believe it or not! But it's mainly the sun that gives us Vitamin D. When we use sunblock WE ARE BLOCKING VITAMIN D! No kidding, since Americans have become conscious of the dangers of sunburn and skin cancer, we've also become Vitamin D deficient! The overwhelming majority of Americans are not getting enough Vitamin D, and many of us are sick and unhealthy because of this.

Do you know what the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are? If you research it on-line, you'll find that DEPRESSION, ACNE, SOFT AND BRITTLE BONES, HEART DISEASE, some types of CANCER, and FATIGUE AND VARIOUS ACHES AND PAINS are the result of not enough Vitamin D.

Interestingly enough, we all ideally need about twenty minutes a day out in bright sunlight with NO sunblock on to give us a very healthy supply of Vitamin D and keep us from Vitamin D deficiency. Of course, rainy days limit this, and of course, we get less Vitamin D in the winter. (I wonder if most prison inmates are Vitamin D deficient, and I suspect they ARE.) If you check this all out on-line, you'll find out it's true. I know I'm prone to depression, adult acne, fatigue, and various unexplained aches and pains. Honestly, I've tried to get out into the sun for about twenty minutes a day (WITHOUT ANY SUN PROTECTION ON) each day I COULD over the past three months, and NO KIDDING, it has been helpful.

I wanted to be careful about HOW I shared it. Sometimes these "health matters" are so DELICATE. Many of you know I'm an Assemblies of God minister. Officially the Assemblies of God in the U.S.A. does not allow any drinking of alcoholic beverages. Now, probably a third of our laypeople DO drink alcohol but it's very much frowned upon. I have not had an alcoholic beverage, myself, in over thirty-five years. I say this to tell you about H.J. who was a Member of the church where I served as an Assistant Pastor in the 1980s. A biochemist, he strongly believed in the health benefits of drinking a glass of red wine with his evening meal. He told me privately that he drank a glass of red wine every evening and explained what it does for the body and why it's very healthy for you to drink a glass of red wine each evening. I will never forget what he added, however:

"I know some folks would say, 'If one glass of red wine is good for you, then TWO or THREE have got to be even better!' but that is not at all the case. To overdose on the red wine is actually to do great harm to the body. The good of the one glass of red wine is ruined by doubling or tripling it. It does not make things better, it makes things worse. You have to stick to ONE glass only."

It's like that with the sun and Vitamin D. Twenty minutes a day out in the sun with no sunblock or protection is very good for you but MORE of that and you'll BURN and/or be subject to skin cancer. For any more time in the sun than that, you'll need to put on sunblock, preferably SPF 30 or higher.

Have you found D Truth About Sunblock to be interesting? You might want to share this information with others.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


"One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." (Romans 14:5)

Sometimes people are surprised when I tell them that my favorite holiday is the 4th of July. (My second favorite is Thanksgiving Day and probably my third favorite is Patriots Day which is only a holiday in Massachusetts and Maine.) They're surprised that it's not Christmas, especially since I am a minister. In many respects, I don't like Christmas, but that's a topic for another day. I was SO happy that I only had to work in the late afternoon and early evening yesterday so I got to attend some 4th of July events.

I lived in Framingham for twenty-four years. During that time, I began attending the Natick Fourth of July parade. (For those of you who are NOT "locals" it's pronounced "NAY-tick" with a long A sound.) Their parades were longer and better in the 1990s but they are still very good. I was thrilled to attend the Natick parade yesterday. It must have been around my 20th Natick parade. I did not attend last year's as I was working on Independence Day morning last year. My daughter Rachel usually attends the parade with me. I really missed her being with me...she's currently on vacation in Missouri.

It was POURING rain when I arrived to watch the parade around 9. I was there with my foldup canvas chair and umbrella. I noticed some people had set up canvas chairs along the route ahead of time. All were SOAKED and each had a pool of water in the seat part! I found a place and set up, carefully holding the umbrella. There was about twenty feet on either side of me with no chairs set up. The sun broke through and the parade started a little late.

I love to watch the antique and classic cars that drive in a caravan in the early part of the parade. Usually there are at least forty of them. Yesterday there were only twelve. I suspect a lot of classic car owners did not want to take their vehicles out in the rain. My friend, the Rev. Rich Hurst is usually in the parade driving his father Skip's 1939 Ford convertible. He was in the parade in the car yesterday but his son was driving.

The next part may sound very racist, and I DON'T mean it that way. I'm just reporting what happened and how I felt. An elderly Chinese man walked across the street, and set up his chair DIRECTLY to my left. It was somewhat uncomfortable. Within five minutes, the Chinese man's relatives arrived; his wife, a couple in their thirties, and the couple's young children. Some set up chairs to my left and some set up chairs to my right. They were actively and eagerly talking to each other in Chinese. At times, the older man would stand taking photos and blocking my view. I felt like a piece of furniture in the Chinese family's living room; or something like that. I thought about getting up and moving, but I did not want to come across as hostile or racist. Congressman Ed Markey and his entourage walked by as part of the parade. The older Chinese guy got all excited making comments in Chinese. The only think I could understand is "Ed Markey...Ed Markey". I remained sitting there but it was uncomfortable for me. The Chinese family seemed very nice and the little kids were cute. I was just not sure why a family would cluster all around a person who was already sitting there and then proceed to function as though that person were not there!

One person I love to see in the parade is Rex Trailer. Rex had a VERY popular childrens' television show ("Boomtown") n Channel 4 Boston in from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. He's a genuine cowboy. Each week there was a group of probably thirty kids on the show as an on-air audience. I was on Boomtown in December of 1960. Back in the 1990s, Rex still rode a horse in the parade waving at everyone. Around five years ago, he began riding on a float, singing and playing his guitar. Yesterday, he was on a small wagon with several other folks pulled by a horse. Directly behind this wagon was a silver Ford pickup truck with banners advertising Red Trailer's website.

The weirdest entry in the parade was "Occupy Natick". I did not even know there WAS an "Occupy Natick" group. Someone took a video clip of the Occupy Natick people marching in the parade and posted it on youtube. It is found at:

The person who posted that video missed most of the BEST PART of the Occupy Natick marchers, however. The finale of that group was a float with a large figure of a Wall Street tycoon holding money bags...marchers around the float held up signs that read "BOO!" and "HISS!" It looked like something out of Saturday Night Live! The video on youtube does not show the Wall Street tycoon figure and only shows one woman holding up a "BOO!" sign.

My friend Rich Hurst and his family host a large cookout every July 4 at Rich's parents' home in Natick. I have gone for the past three or four years. It was my privilege to be part of that cookout again this year. Three of us did the grilling, and all of us were named "Bob"! You know that Beach Boys song "Barbara Ann"? Well, we could have had that song playing with the words sung as "BOB - BOB - BOB" and that was US yesterday!

Well, I had to change into my answering service uniform and go to work in the mid-afternoon. It sort of felt like Cinderella's chariot turning into a pumpkin, but it was all fun while it lasted...a VERY Natick July 4!