Wednesday, January 30, 2013


"...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (from Matthew 12:34)

I know many of my readers believe I should be exclusively posting about spiritual, Biblical, and pastoral issues and become disappointed when I write a totally secular piece. Well, if that's where you're coming from, you may be disappointed in this one. This is a "grammar police" positing. Now, my son Jon is truly an English grammar and spelling expert. Seriously, he should probably be working as some sort of editor at a Boston publishing house. Now, I'm no Jon Baril, but I do know enough about English grammar and spelling that I wince at certain common writing errors. Incidentally, I think instant messaging and texting has made this far worse, and its one of many reasons that I absolutely refuse to send or to read any text messages ever! Now, to what's really bugging me:

I have received so many written communications from nice and reasonably bright people who will write things such as:

"I would of attended if I had the time.", or "I know I should of called you first.", or "You could of opted out of the dinner, it was an optional event.".

Listen, what do "would of", "could of", "should of" mean?! In fact, it's supposed to be "would have", "could have", and "should have". Another similar phrase is "must have" often written as "must of". (Remember the song lyric, "It must've been love, but it's over now"?) Now, notice I wrote that as "must've". "Must've", "Could've", "Would've", and "Should've" are what people are trying to communicate when they write, "would of", "could of", "should of". "Could've" and the others are conjunctions. Now, I suspect my son will write me that "would've", and "could've", and "should've" are not even correct. They're sort of unofficial, improper conjunctions. They are not found in most dictionaries. That's true, but I will admit I'm willing to give a pass to "would've, could've, should've" because at least they are using the concept of the word "have". "Of"??? That word no more belongs when you're trying to say "would have, could have, should have" than the word "Baril" does!

Another thing that drives me crazy is when "suppose" is used instead of "supposed". The primary example is: "It's suppose to snow". Really? There's no such English usage!! "It's suppose to snow" is absolutely incorrect! The correct phrase is, "It's supposed to snow!" Did you catch that? The word is "supposed"!

Finally, I am amazed at how mahy people do not understand the proper usages of "two, too, to", or of "they're, their, there". The number 2 is spelled "two". The word "too" means "also".

"I think I know how to use proper grammar, too!" for example.

Now when it's not the number 2 you're writing about and it's not "also" you're trying to say, then the spelling of to is "to"!!

As far as "there", see if this makes sense:

"They're going over there to get their shoes". Each is spelled correctly for the proper usage.

Finally, how do you spell "You're welcome"? It's not "your welcome". I honestly believe 90% of American adults do not know how to spell "you're welcome"!

Now, if you think I'm being harsh and if my criticisms of your grammar has stung, don't worry! My son will probably send me an e-mail explaining that I had a couple of incorrect usages of grammar in this piece!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


"And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." (Luke 19:37-40)

Last week a very powerful 36 minute video was posted on youtube. Its title was: The Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast...MUST SEE!! PLEASE WATCH! It was found at:

No, I didn't post it, but I did watch it. This was a video of the entire keynote address at the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast which took place on the morning of Monday, January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC on Inauguration Day (also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). The speaker was Messianic Jewish Rabbi/Pastor Jonathan Cahn of "Beth Israel/The Jerusalem Center" in Wayne, New Jersey.

If you go to that link on youtube now you will discover the video is no longer there- it has been taken down. I heard about this last Thursday night at the prayer meeting at Bread of Life Church in Westminster, MA. The Rev. Janis Collette, pastors' wife and Associate Pastor of the Church encouraged those of us who were present to watch it. She said that Jonathan Cahn had spoken as a prophet to the entire nation on the morning of Inauguration Day. I was very curious, and so early on Friday morning, I found Pastor Janis' link to it on Facebook and I watched most of it. Wow. It was very, very powerful. Cahn was certainly not politically correct in what he had to say. He was also not, however, hateful nor inappropriate in any way. He spoke with the energy and fervency of an Old Testament prophet, warning America to amend our ways and turn back to God. Something he shared that I did not know is that President George Washington, at his First Inauguration, led a group of key leaders to a site in the nation's capital where he charged them to follow God and commit themselves and the nation to Him. This was a very solemn and very serious and very sacred event. Cahn then stressed the significance of the exact site of the nation's capital where Washington and the national leaders did this. Cahn then reminded his listeners that the nation's capital at that time was not Washington, DC. It was New York City. And the site where Washington and the leaders had the sacred assembly and made the sacred and solemn commitments to God? None other than Ground Zero.

Whatever your political preferences, if you think things in America are just "hunkie dorie" and couldn't be better, you're either very blind or very foolish. It's true that some very good things have happened in our country over the past forty years. It's also true that President Obama and other leaders have led the country in some good endeavors. But the fact is that for every good development and achievement of America of the past forty years, there are just scads of really bad things. I'm not letting conservatives or Republicans off the hook, either. I happen to be a registered Republican. I think in general the GOP has espoused some far better ideas and philosophies than have the Democrats and liberals. However, both sides have failed and miserably fallen short. I am not a fan of Mitt Romney. I think George W. Bush is a very nice guy but he only did a mediocre job, at best. I happen to like John McCain, but he also has many faults and shortcomings. As Cahn pointed out, as much as America has rejected God and His Holy Word, we need God and His Holy Word, now more than ever!

Had Jonathan Cahn been advocating very loose moral living and/or a squishy relativism, do you think there's any way his address would have been taken down? I will tell you the answer: NO!!

Is there a place for people to disagree with Jonathan Cahn and with those who espouse his views? Of course! This is America. We have Freedom of Speech. Or do we? I wonder- WHO forced the person who posted the video to take it down? Someone may answer, "Well, youtube did!"

Yes, but WHO pressured youtube to force this person to take it down?! Was it President Obama? Was it someone close to President Obama? Listen, I've taken some heat from conservative and evangelical friends for writing and posting some positive things about President Obama. I still think he did a great job in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown, CT school shooting. If the President and the Administration do something good, I'll commend them. But this smells of sensorship. I don't like it one bit, and I think that video needs to BE PUT BACK UP!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh" (Luke 6:45)

A couple of months ago,I wrote a piece on my blog entitled, "Strangers on a Plane". Today, I am writing "Strangers in a Public Library". In both cases,it's amazing what people will say in public! This one, however, is much more amazing than was "Strangers on a Plane". I am at the Framingham Public Library and I'm on a day off from my answering service job. I sat at a desk and worked on homework for our church's Adult Sunday School class. It was hard to concentrate, though, because just a stone's throw from me were two young adults, a man and a woman, both probably no older than 28,if that. They were talking loudly about some sort of housing dispute they were having with a woman who owed them lots of money. They also were comparing notes about all the stuff they can get from the system, be it churches or government. They named two churches who had helped them. The guy loudly praised an independent Protestant church as being far better than a Baptist church, in that while both gave them a lot of help, the independent Protestant church did not try to push any of their beliefs on him. He made it a point to say he does not embrace Christian beliefs but is happy to take a church's money. Then, in a tirade pepperd with "F-Bombs" he spoke of the woman they are in a dispute with. He stated he plans to kill her if and when he sees her, and underscored how serious he is about that.

What does a Christian do in such an instance as I was today?

You know, many years ago, I would have probably leaped to my feet, and rebuked them, while quoting a bunch of Bible verses. Yes, that is what I would have done back in the 1980s. Today, I was just not sure what to so. For to them, I'm a stranger. I'm old enough to be their father. I was young in another era. My faith is very precious to me. I found their conversation appalling. Yet, if I am to be totally honest, sometimes I have hatred in my heart. Sometimes I think bad things. Sometimes I am very selfish. I did turn and I stared at the woman, who was facing my direction. I gave her a look as if to say, "You're in a library, and you both should be very ashamed of yourselves!"

She did not flinch. They just continued on. After awhile, their conversation quieted down and then stopped. I got my Sunday School homework done. Yet, I just couldn't leave the library without sharing this.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." (I Timothy 2:1-2)

Yesterday, I was dismayed to hear a female substitute radio talk show host on National Public Radio (or is it "Public Radio International"??) keep calling the Boeing aircraft company "Boing" as she was trying to host a discussion about the problems with the Boeing 787 "dream liner" fleet. That fact has absolutely nothing to do with this posting except that it underscores that I tend to be very much a news and current events geek. I suppose many other listeners would not notice or even care that "Boeing" was incorrectly pronounced as "Boing"! I guess it also underscores that I'm a stickler for detail and for getting the facts correct. President Barack Obama is about to be inaugurated as President for the Second time. Honestly, I can't see the necessity of "second" Inaugurations. I realize the second Inauguration begins a new presidential term, but it all seems like such a waste of time, energy, and money. (Listen, my complaint is not that its a very liberal, Democrat President who is getting a second Inauguration. I feel the same way about Ronald Reagan having had a second Inauguration.)

As a sticker for correct news, facts, and detail; and as a news and current events geek, I must say I'm very apathetic and a little sad about Barack Obama beginning a second term. Listen, I would also be apathetic and a little sad about Mitt Romney beginning a first term. I could probably write forty pages on that subject. When I consider the tremendous divisions in our country at this time, and so many "off the wall" beliefs and propaganda by both the left and the right, I just want to cry. In November, I voted with great enthusiasm for Scott Brown for U.S. Senator. I also voted for Mitt Romney with absolutely no enthusiasm. I had written and said over and over and over that I would never vote for Mitt Romney for President. I felt like a liar and a phoney when I voted for him. But I felt that as bad of a choice for President that Mitt Romney would be; Barack Obama's reelection would be an even worse proposition. Of course, we all know how it turned out! Ironically, Barack Obama's swearing in is actually going to take place at midday on Sunday with pretty much nobody watching. All the festivities and and crowds and parades will be on Monday. The swearing in on Monday will be just a formality for show. This is because the traditional January 20 Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday this year, so as when Christmas and the Fourth of July fall on a Sunday, the legal Inauguration Day is celebrated on the Monday after that Sunday. Interestingly enough, this year's legal Inauguration Day is also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

In evangelical Christian circles (with the huge exception of predominantly Black evangelical churches) Barack Obama is viewed very badly and frankly disdained by most. In theologically liberal churches, Black churches, and "progressive" circles, Barack Obama is viewed so positively as to be absolutely Messianic. In those circles, conservatives and Republicans are viewed as selfish, evil hate-mongers.

In my lifetime, I don't think the country has ever been so polarized.

It's hard for me to understand how or why Barack Obama is viewed as a Messiah, as one of our greatest Presidents, as a figure on the level of Ghandi or Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King, Jr. I've also heard him described as "evil" and "possibly the Antichrist" by some white evangelicals. I've never voted for Obama, and for the most part (except for the killing of Osama Ben Laden) I have highly criticized him and disagreed with him. Yet, in very public forums on the internet I wrote in high praise of Obama's initial handling of the Newtown tragedy. I commended his excellent and comforting speech to the community of Newtown on the Sunday evening following the event, and I sympathized with and supported his desire to restrict military style assault weapons. Well, for a number of folks on the right side of the aisle, one would THINK that after I did that I had just become a card carrying member of the Communist Party or renounced my Christianity by the amazing response I got from people! Listen, I'm still a Republican, I'm still fairly conservative, and I still support the Second Amendment and gun owners rights in almost every instance! Now, lest my liberal friends have a good laugh over what I just wrote, I had been quite used to being considered a Bible thumping, stupid and narrow minded facist by many of my liberal and Democrat friends!

To my conservative and evangelical friends: Barack Obama is more of an empty suit than he is an evil mastermind. If you want to know what a truly evil and antichrist governmental administration is like, consider the German government of November 9-10, 1938. That was the night called "kristallnacht" (or "night of broken glass") when mobs went out with sledgehammers smashing the windows of Jewish businesses and synagogues in Germany and Austria and arresting Jews. Over 1000 synagogues were destroyed that night as were over 7000 businesses. When the President and the Government start that kind of stuff, then I'll call them evil and antichrist. I do agree with the right, however, that as a nice guy who is essentially an empty suit, Obama is eager to please some of the craziest elements of the far left in our society. He's not a mastermind. But I admit he could easily be used as a tool of people who do have an agenda to destroy our country. The problem with Mitt Romney is that you really can't believe much of anything he says, and he is a tool of some of the worst elements of big business in this country.

The Scripture I quoted above exhorts Christians to pray for those who are in authority over them. Listen, just about all of the political rulers in the Apostle Paul's day really were evil! The Roman emperors demanded to be worshiped as gods! And, we just read at Christmas time about Herod the Great having a bunch of little boys slaughtered! That's evil and antichrist. But Paul said we should pray for those in authority over us, even types like the Herods and the Caesars. That's because when we pray for them, there's actually the potential for things to go better for us. I almost never pray for the President. It's not just that I don't pray for Obama. I didn't pray very much for George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton, or Ronald Reagan or anybody else, either. And I almost never pray for Governor Patrick or Senator Kerry or my State Rep. or State Senator. For my cynical evangelical friends who want to reply that it's a waste of time to pray for a bunch of liberal and secular-humanistic politicians, tell that to the Apostle Paul!

SO, on a very human level, I am not excited at all about this Inauguration nor about Obama continuing as President. But I have a challenge from God's Word to pray and so do you! Will we lift our hearts and voices in prayer for our leaders and our country or will we continue to judge and complain? Listen, as a guy who has done more judging and complaining than most people have, I've got to search my own heart about these issues on the threshold of this "second Inauguration".

Friday, January 11, 2013


"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." (Psalm 116:15)

Yesterday morning, my daughter Amy from Springfield, Missouri, phoned me. She opened sounding solemn and definite:

"Have you heard the news?" she asked.

I was quite puzzled about what she was talking about. Of course, I asked, "What news?"

She immediately said, "Rex Trailer died. Rachel [my other daughter] just called and she's upset because now she'll never get to meet him."

I had heard recently on a radio broadcast that Rex Trailer was visiting in Florida and while there had been taken ill and was hospitalized. It was sad to learn of his passing.

It probably sounds strange that to two young ladies under the age of 30 Rex Trailer's death would be such a big deal. Well, Rex Trailer was featured every year in the Natick, MA Fourth of July Parade. Several years ago, my daughters were quite surprised when I smiled, waved, and yelled out, "Howdy, Rex!" to this elderly cowboy on horseback, as did several other "fifty-somethings". I later explained to them who Rex Trailer was and what a huge part of the childhood of all Boston area baby-boomers he was. The girls learned a lot about Rex on-line, and Rachel became determined to meet him one day. For years he rode his horse in the parade, but about four years ago, he was no longer on horseback, but rather sitting on a float, playing his guitar and singing. Last July, he looked pretty feeble and elderly to me, although he still had a big smile and played and sang with all his heart. I wondered if that would be his last 4th of July Parade, and of course, it was.

Rex Trailer sounds like a made up cowboy name, but it wasn't. Well, Rex did change the spelling of his last name. His original birth name was Rexford Traylor, and he grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. He was a real cowboy. If you do an on-line search you can learn a lot about Rex Trailer. His "Boomtown" children's television show ran on Boston's WBZ-TV channel 4 from 1956 until 1974. On each show, there were about forty or fifty kids in the audience. Several were picked to have parts in the show. For each show, there was a sheriff, deputy, and outlaw. I think there were other parts, as well.

I was on Boomtown along with my brother and sister in December of 1960 when I was a 6-year-old. My father had a good friend, Bill Schimmel, whose Dad was a WBZ-TV executive. Through the Schimmels, Dad got tickets for us to go on the show. Each kid normally had to be at least age 6 to go on. Eddie and Dianne were under 6 but I guess they made a special exception. At that age, I thought Boomtown was a real town and the "bunkhouse" was a real bunkhouse. I did not realize that when Rex and his sidekick Pablo rode their animals from the bunkhouse to Boomtown each Saturday morning that was just a film that WBZ ran. I was very surprised that the bunkhouse was a room at channel 4 with contact paper on the walls! When Rex and Pablo "rode to Boomtown" the studio assistants had all of us kids walk from that room to the main studio where the Boomtown set was. Then we all cheered Rex and Pablo as they arrived, and Rex led us in singing his famous, "Boomtown" song.

I was also very surprised that Boomtown was not a real town, but it was all fascinating to me. During commercial breaks, we kids got to meet "Big Brother Bob Emery" who had a kids' show on during the week. When you were on Boomtown, you were facing legendary Boston weatherman Don Kent's weatherboard. Thee were no computers in those days! Don drew a weather map on a chalkboard each day! I remember that after the show, each child got to sit on Rex's horse "Goldrush". Rex and Pablo lifted you on and off the horse- I forget which did which. As with so many Boston area kids, Boomtown was a huge part of my chldhood!

For our family, another special Boomtown memory was that my cousin Bobby Littlefield's dog "Rip" was prominently featured in a special "Paul Revere's Ride" episode of Boomtown. Kids were invited to write to the show and explain why their dog was talented enough to play that role. Rip was chosen and at the end of the special show, Rex introduced Bobby and thanked him for sharing Rip for that special day. Our household watched and was very proud of Bobby Littlefield and Rip. (Many years later, Bob Littlefield was honored to be chosen as Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. Sadly, he passed away a couple of years ago.)

My title says Rex is now riding the Heavenly trail. That's because he was a highly committed Christian. Not only did Rex run Popeye cartoons on the show, but he also ran the claymation series "Davey and Goliath" put out by the Lutheran Church. I actually remember Rex once telling the Noah's ark story on the show and explaining that God would never again destroy the world by a flood because the Bible says next time it will be by fire. Well, that was in the very early 1960s. I wonder if a children's show could get away with putting on a Bible presentation like that today- probably not!

Amy and my little grandson Ben will be visiting in Massacusetts for next 4th of July. Sadly, they won't get to see Rex Trailer. I wonder if they will still have a Rex Trailer float with a band playin his songs? Maybe. Rex also sang a song called, "Litterbug, Shame on You!" which taught children to dispose of trash properly, and my favorite was his cowboy song, "Hoofbeats!"

Rex, have fun riding that Heavenly trail, and from all of us, thanks for the memories!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." (Romans 14:1-8)

The start of a new calendar year brings a sense of freshness and the sense that it's an opportunity for a "do over"; or what my friends who play golf call a "Mulligan". In evangelical and Pentecostal Christian circles many of us take these matters very seriously. I made it a point to read Philippians chapter 3 on New Year's Day this year. I love that passage about forgetting the things that are past and pressing on to what is ahead! In January, most of us, whether heathen or Christian, are aware that we have gained a few extra pounds over the holidays. I've been overweight for at least twenty years and I certainly became more overweight between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Day! In many, many "Bible believing" churches, the practice of "doing a Daniel's fast" in January has become very common, especially in the past few years. This year, it seems like "everybody" is "doing a Daniel's fast".

Maybe I need to "do a Daniel's fast" but I'm not one of those Christians who is joining in that practice. In talking with some of my fellow born-again Christian brothers and sisters I find that there are a lot of questions about the Daniel's fast. Some are not sure what it is or where the practice originated. Some think it's a practice that's originated very recently in the Twenty-First Century. In fact, the "Daniel's Fast" has been around for quite awhile. I "got saved" back in 1970 and I first heard of it from some women at the Evangelical Baptist Church in Sharon, MA where I went to church for awhile. I don't think these young women actually did the Daniel's fast, but they knew all about it and felt it was a good thing to do and a good alternative to hard core fasting of all food except for water. There's a book called "God's Chosen Fast" by Arthur Wallis which covers everything you could possibly want to know about Christian fasting. I read it back in 1992. I am not sure if I own the book or if I borrowed it from someone- it was so long ago. But I do remember that there was a chapter in that book on what has come to be called, "the Daniel's fast". Ironically, the Bible never uses the term "Daniel's fast". The Bible also never commands us to "do a Daniel's fast" nor does it recommend that we "do a Daniel's fast". The idea of the Daniel's fast comes from Daniel chapter 1 and from Daniel chapter 10. In Daniel chapter 1, Daniel and his teenage friends, new captives in Babylon, eat only vegetables and water rather than the "king's meat" and they are found to be healthier than those who ate the "king's meat". In Daniel chapter 10, Daniel purposes to seek the Lord with all his heart earnestly in prayer. He does this for 21 days. During this time, he abstains from "pleasant food," meat, and wine. It's this passage from Daniel 10 that is most commonly cited as the basis for the "Daniel's fast".

I will admit, I am probably no expert at fasting. I will occasionally fast for a day. When I do a fast, I drink only water. I eat nothing. I usually will fast for twenty-four hours and sometimes for as much as thirty or more hours. At one time I fasted at least twelve days a year, but I have not fasted that much in the last couple of years. Most of the time, I do drink water when I fast. I think it's generally understood that when fasting, you drink water, but the Apostle Paul fasted in Acts 9:9 of all food and water for three days. In the Old Testament, Esther fasted food and water as did Ezra. That was pretty extreme fasting! I know a guy who has done five day fasts in which he eats no solid food but drinks water, tomato juice and V8 brand vegetable juice. He has had no difficulty doing such fasting, but I've never been quite that ambitious!

Honestly, I do have some difficulty with calling what Daniel did in Daniel 10 a "Daniel's fast" because I really don't think it's a fast. In fact, it's a diet. Now, please don't get me wrong here. Daniel purposed to seriously seek the face of God. He purposed to give up pleasurable foods during that time. Such behavior is highly commendable. IF someone chooses to emulate that behavior, I have no problem with it. I just wonder if some Christians have "gone overboard" with the whole "Danie's fast" thing. Most of the Daniel's fasting is done very publicly. People all talk about it. Sometimes whole churches do the Daniel's fast; or leadership teams to it; or Bible study groups do it. Again, everybody talks about it. But the Bible says we are not supposed to talk about fasting. We are to do it in secret. I know, I talked about some of my own fasting here, and I'm not completely comfortable about that!

I opened this piece quoting a portion of Scripture from Romans chapter 14. That chapter teaches a very important message: That God works in different ways with different people. One person may decide that to honor the Lord he will eat no meat. Another thanks God for his steak dinner, eats it and is content. One person does not watch television to honor the Lord. Another enjoys the family movies she watches on the Hallmark Movie channel. One person prays every morning for an hour using a regimented pattern. Another talks to God throughout the day and does not have a formal prayer time. Each "does their thing" as unto the Lord. And, one person wants to emulate Daniel and eat just fruit, vegetables, and water for 21 days while earnestly seeking the Lord. Another says, "more power to ya'" but just doesn't feel the need to do that. Honestly, I think the modern evangelical church may have "gone too far" with the whole Daniel's fast thing! I know Wallis included it as a chapter in his book, but I just don't think it passes muster as a "fast". Again, it's a diet. I think it's no coincidence that so many churches and Christians are doing Daniel's fasts in January. They're really trying to shed their holiday pounds. And, again, I think it's all been made much too public. In certain cases, people may be pressured into joining in a Daniel's fast, and in certain cases, people may come close to bragging about doing a Daniel's fast. Certainly, there are many believers who earnestly seek the Lord in private and who decide to emulate Daniel's eating pattern for 21 days to honor the Lord, get closer to Him, and to see spiritual breakthroughs in our churches and in our lives. I think that's commendable. I honestly don't envision myself ever doing a Daniel's fast, but I also know God has a sense of humor, and so HE may call me to do one someday. If HE does, I'll do it! But I won't call it a "Daniel's fast". I may call it a "Daniel's FOCUS" which is, I think, a much better thing to call it! It's a time of FOCUSING on the Lord while laying aside meat and fattening food for a season. And, if God ever does call me to do a "Daniel's FOCUS" I may tell my closest family members just so it doesn't mess up meal plans, but that's about it. I would not tell "everybody" about it; I would not make a big deal out of it; and I would not exhort others to join me at the same time.

I hope this has not made my brothers and sisters in Christ angry. I know it could. Again, I'm not at all opposed to a person eating only certain foods for a certain period of time and really seeking the Lord during that time, but it's got to be totally voluntary, mostly in secret, and preferably not called a "fast". I think keeping all of that in mind makes it pass the "Romans chapter 14 test"!

I also hope all my brothers and sisters in Christ will keep Romans 14 in mind as you re-read this, and that our fellowship is still in tact!

Sunday, January 6, 2013


"And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do." (Acts 15:36)

My friend David C. Milley once said, "God calls to people, not places !" I guess that's true, for the most part. So, with that in mind, he might have a problem with the verse I am using to begin this posting! The posting is about going to visit people, and today I went to visit a place. I moved out of Webster, MA on June 28 after having lived there for over fifteen months. I had not been back to Webster or even near Webster since moving, until today. When we first moved to Webster in March of 2011 I wondered if I'd ever feel sentimental about the duplex apartment or the community of Webster. We had lived in Framingham, in a circa 1890s single family house, for twenty-four years. Our kids had grown up in that house and that dwelling and community contained many (mostly) happy memories. I lived in Framingham longer than I'd lived anywhere else, although Canton, MA comes in at a very close second place. It was very hard to move out of Framingham. There was a lot of of sentimentality and emotion. I couldn't imagine that I'd ever feel anything like that for the new place in Webster.

Surprisingly, it wasn't long before Webster really began to "grow" on me. The other half of the duplex was an insurance agency office, so no one was there before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. and no one was there on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays. In many respects it was like living in a single family home. The spot where we lived was peaceful and quiet. It was only a seven minute walk from the Webster Lake and Recreation area. On Sunday afternoons and other times off (usually Thursdays) I loved to walk through the Lake Recreation area. Farther down Thompson Road/Route 193 was a pleasant road with mostly former summer cottages all along the lake. Walking that longer route was SO pretty and SO peaceful! We also lived less than a ten minute walk from a Friendly's Restaurant (yes, a few of them still exist) and from several shopping plazas. Just two doors down was Lake Pizza and Restaurant. I love their pizza! In addition, the Webster Public Library was only a ten minute drive away and I spent a lot of my free time there. Finally, Webster has the most impressive Town Hall building and grounds anywhere in Massachusetts! No kidding! There are very impressive war memorial statues and the building itself is a great looking structure.

The duplex apartment had central air conditioning and was very modern. It was homey and comfortable and included a basement. We didn't have a dishwasher or garbage disposal. That I did not like! We also had no washer or dryer at the apartment, but there was a great coin operated laundry just a couple miles down the road. After fifteen months there, I was feeling almost as emotional and sentimental moving out in June 2012 as I had been in March of 2011 when we moved out of Framingham!

Today, it was a craving for a pizza from Lake Pizza and Restaurant that brought me back to Webster. Wow. To be in Webster "fast-forwarded" 6 months was strange! At the busy intersection of Main and Thompson, what had been two vacant lots (and one filled with debris back in June) were now construction sites. At one side, it looks like a bank building is almost done. At the other is an attractive modern shopping complex nearing completion. Down the road from where we lived, the bowling alley got a fresh coat of paint, and a defunct restaurant is being totally reconstructed. I was surprised to drive downtown and see that a number of vacant and dilapidated buildings had finally been torn down! On one lot was a sign stating it was the future site of the new Webster Police Headquarters. The present Webster Police Headquarters is located in offices in the Fire Department building just a tenth of a mile from where we lived and adjacent to the Webster Lake and Recreation Area. I liked having the cops so close by. One night when we lived there, there were two unsavory guys on the loose in the neighborhood. One had knocked on our door and tried to talk his way in- NO WAY that was going to happen! A few minutes later several police cars and a police wagon arrived (Someone ELSE in the neighborhood had called them) and took these guys off in handcuffs! I would have been a little disappointed the police were moving a couple of miles farther away, but that's life.

One thing I do not miss is the long drive from Webster to Framingham. It's 40 miles one way. Frankly, the gasoline and "ware & tare" on the cars was very tough. For 2012 I put 31,000 miles on my old Subaru. Had it not been for the June move to Canton, that would have been over 40,000! When I lived and worked in Framingham, I used to put less than 10,000 miles a year on the car that I mainly drove. Webster really is a pleasant place to live, but I just have never missed the drive! I also hated that the nearest TDBank to Webster was over 11 miles away in Auburn. In Canton, the bank is 2 miles down the road. I wondered if when I visited Webster I'd be sad and wish I still lived there. I loved visiting today and it brought back a lot of happy memories, but honestly, I don't wish I still lived there! The only way I'd ever want to live in Webster again (or in any similar semi-rural community which is "off the beaten path") is if I worked less than 5 miles from my residence.

Well, that was my Sunday afternoon and that was my Webster Watch!

Friday, January 4, 2013


"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

As I begin this posting, I think it's important I do so with a quick disclaimer! For a long time following the closing of the church I pastored in Framingham, MA, I whined and whined about its closing, lamented it, and tried to do everything I could to be back preaching and pastoring in Framingham again. That is NOT what this is about, at all! God has done a work in my heart (well, in my spirit) and that is over. I have totally been released from that ministry and calling. I support what Pastor Dan Condon is doing with the "re-start" church called "Meeting Place Church". (If you want more info. about Meeting Place Church, just do a Google search for: Meeting Place Church, Framingham, MA and you should be able to find their website, Facebook page, and get all the information you need.)

That pastorate is in the past, but listen, when you're used to preaching from the pulpit on Sundays at least forty times a year and you go from that to not preaching at all (last time was as a guest speaker 14 months ago) it does cause you to do a lot of reflecting. I spent a wonderful day yesterday (Thursday, January 3, 2012) at our Assemblies of God District Office in Charlton, MA. (Well, it's actually now called the "Assemblies of God Ministry Network Office!"!) This was the District's annual Day of Prayer and Fasting for the ministers. I had not gone for a few years. In fact, I don't think I've gone since the church closed. I was truly blessed in that yesterday I had a full day off from my answering service job. There's not enough room to write about all of the worship, prayer, fellowship, and public exhortation from many of our pastors and leaders that took place. So much was so good. The District is divided into geographic Sections. Each Section is led by a seasoned pastor in that Section called a "Sectional Presbyter". The Sectional Presbyters took turns speaking, challenging us, and leading us in prayer.

All of the Sectional Presbyters had good things to say, but by far, the one who touched and moved me the most was Karen Rydwansky, pastor of Crossroads Church in Weymouth, MA. Yes, she's our only female Presbyter. It's ironic that I have several minister friends who are women, but I've had a hard time with the idea of a woman being a Presbyter- Yes, I've still struggled with all of that male headship stuff proclaimed by the Apostle Paul. (We'll leave the "women in the hierarchy" thing alone for another day!) Well, this Presbyter may be a female, but she's a female in the spirit of Deborah of old. I could sit under her ministry anytime! Karen Rydwansky shared emotionally about our need as pastors and churches for a genuine move of the Holy Spirit and that no program or gimmick or anything else can substitute for that. Listen, Karen Rydwansky spoke as a prophetic voice in the U.S. Assemblies of God yesterday- much as the late Central Bible College Professor Opal Reddin did on a number of occasions! She's absolutely right!

I did a lot of things right as a pastor and I did a lot of things wrong as a pastor. There is nothing I would more like to have a "do-over" on than the chance to preach regularly in a church again, and if I ever do, I will preach a lot of sermons on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit! I don't know why we in the Assemblies of God have seemingly become so afraid of preaching on the Baptism in he Holy Spirit and almost embarrassed about it, in some cases. I preached about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, and had altar calls for the Holy Spirit Baptism on Pentecost Sunday, and maybe...MAYBE I'd preach on it one or two other times a year. And that was it. Most of the time at our church we appeared to be (for all intents and purposes) a very good, solid, middle-of-the-road Baptist Church! Listen, I know: in the past, many Assemblies of God churches became too experience oriented. They were Biblically weak. The people were Biblically illiterate. We had the proverbial "people swinging from the chandeliers". So many pastors had disdain for that, and understandably so. I did. And, so many of us were so determined to be Biblically sound that somehow we forgot that preaching the old-fashioned Baptism in the Holy Ghost with the initial physical evidence of speaking in outer tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance is Biblically sound!

Preaching on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and leading people into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit can be difficult. It can be stressful. Listen, back in 1976 on the night I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, there was all kinds of yelling going on around the altars...all that "hold on!" and "let go!" stuff. I finally had to mentally block all that out of my mind after forty-five minutes at the altar. That's the only way I got the Baptism in the Holy Spirit- when I blocked all the other stuff out. Yes, you can have people yelling "repeat after me" then babbling nonsense, and then expecting that if someone repeats it, they get the Baptism. Finally, you can have a lot of disappointed people asked why they prayed for the Baptism and nothing happened. As a pastor, you just don't want to have to handle all the phone calls from disappointed people who didn't get the Baptism, so it's easier to just not offer opportunities to pray for it!


In a Pentecostal Church there couldn't be any more incorrect thinking!

So, if I ever pastor again, there will be a major emphasis on the Holy Spirit Baptism in my ministry.

My Pentecostal brothers (and sisters) in ministry, I hope you'll take this to heart. And, far more, I hope you'll take the words of the Rev. Karen Rydwansky to heart!