"...remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." (From Acts 20:35)
The following is the text of an e-mail I sent out to a number of friends last week. I have received (I think) seven enthusiastic responses about it. However, I was honestly surprised that there were only seven responses. I guess sometimes I'm very naive and sometimes I very unrealistic, but I fully expected to hear from three or four times that number of people! I know this piece is very long; maybe it's too long! My daughter Rachel thought it was too long, however, she "edited it down" and posted it on her own Facebook page and strongly encouraged people to participate in this 60th Birthday wish of mine. I will always be grateful that Rachel did that! Since writing this, I've sent off my contributions to each ministry and charity I named. No, they weren't huge amounts, but boy did it feel good to give! I've decided to give this thing one more try today. I hope you'll give it some thought and prayer! Thanks and God bless you! Well, here's the text of what I wrote ten days ago:
September 2, 2014
A 60th BIRTHDAY WISH:
From Bob Baril.
My Facebook page is:
(Even if you're not a Facebook Member, you should be able to VIEW my Facebook page.)
It does not seem possible that on Sept. 19, 2014, I turn 60 years old!
I vividly remember turning 40 in 1994. I was miserable. Our
church had bought a building and seemingly NOTHING was going right with
this purchase. I already felt very depressed and like an absolute
failure; but then turning 40 really got me down! Honestly, I
acted like a whining obnoxious baby when I turned 40 and I probably made
most of the people closest to me frustrated, miserable, or both!
Ten years later, I very much wanted to make up for my sadness and "being
a jerk" at 40! I decided to make turning 50 a big, happy celebration.
My 50th birthday fell on a Sunday. At the time, I was still pastoring
that small church. I made a big deal of it and invited all sorts of
friends and relatives to church that Sunday and to a big birthday dinner
celebration at a local restaurant. My close friend Ed from Texas came
and was the guest speaker that day. It WAS a much better event than was
my 40th. In retrospect, however, as great as that event was, the mistake I made with that celebration was it was all about me...probably just too much so.
Now, don't get me wrong: I certainly look forward to having a special
birthday dinner or two with family and friends this year; and I always
enjoy birthday cake and ice cream! And, hey, should anybody decide to
give me any sort of a present, I'll be most happy and most grateful!
HOWEVER, over the past few weeks, I've been giving this whole
thing about the "milestone" of turning 60 a lot of thought. I want to
CELEBRATE it and have fun this year- NOT be depressed and a jerk like
when I was 40. But I also DON'T want to just have this big "it's all
about ME" atmosphere like I promoted when I was 50.
At 60, in so many ways, I'm not where I wanted to be in life at this point.
(Many of you know the losses and disappointments of the past 5 years or
so.) At THIS age, I wanted to have a LOT more...NOT so I could "eat,
drink, and be merry"- NO. But I really LOVE giving... and at this age, I
wanted to be the kind of a guy that could write out several large
checks to several ministries and charitable organizations I really care
about, AND be able to do that several times a year every year! I can't do that, and believe me, I have deep regret about that.
Recently, I asked myself what the ministries and charitable
organizations are that I really care about and that I'd write large
checks out to on the occasion of turning 60 IF I were able to do that. There are six of them. Four are ministries, and two are secular charitable organizations.
Within the next few days, I plan to make a donation to EACH of these
organizations. Some of those donations may be as little as $5, but my
feeling is, "It's SOMETHING". In addition, I've had A THOUGHT: What if
I asked people I care about to make donations to these six in honor of
my turning 60? And, that's what I'm doing here. Listen, I'm ASKING, and you may say "yes" or "no". AND, I am NOT asking anyone to make a donation to every one of these six! Rather, I'm asking that you take ONE
of them and make a donation. IF you want to comment that you're
making a donation in honor of a friend's 60th birthday, you certainly
may do that, but it's probably BETTER if you DON'T say anything about
that at all! Just send the donation! If you're afraid of being added
to a mailing list, just (if possible) make a notation to that effect.
AND, what would really be exciting is if you forward this to a friend of yours who may not even know me, but who might be willing to add to this effort. I can't make HUGE
donations to any or all of these fine ministries and charitable
organizations, BUT if quite a few people made donations to them- big or small, THAT would be just as good and would really make me VERY HAPPY on the occasion of this 60th birthday!
There's a poignant old song lyric which opens with the words, "Try to remember a kind of September..."
I'd love to make THIS September of 2014 a September to remember!
Though I may be unable to do MYSELF what I'd love to do; I'd be
thrilled to have a bunch of friends band together for such a good and
Godly purpose this September.
NOW, these are the SIX ministries and charitable organizations:
1. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. No organization
helped me more with my own discipleship and Christian growth than did
that organization in the early 1970s. They're still very much alive and
are doing a great work of evangelism and discipleship! You can donate to them online, or you can get information on how to mail them a check, if you'd prefer:
2. Convoy of Hope.
Convoy of Hope is affiliated with the Assemblies of God, but this
practical "hands on" organization helps ANYONE in need and works with
many, many faith groups. They send in "Eighteen wheelers" loaded with
clothing, food, and medical supplies
to large and small cities all over North America (and
have done so in several foreign countries). This ministry REALLY makes a
difference! Find out more about Convoy of Hope and how you can donate
on-line or by sending a check at:
3. Good Samaritan Project.
I've been to rural Haiti twice and my daughter Amy has done medical
missionary work there on three occasions. I've not specifically been to
THIS ministry in Haiti, but I have been very impressed with the work of
(Baptist) Pastor Jean Enock Deroseney in Grand-Goave, Haiti.
(Grand-Goave is very close to the epicenter of the January 2010
earthquake.) The needs there in Grand-Goave are STARK! You can learn
more about this ministry and learn how you can give on-line OR mail a
check to their Florida office:
4. Your Local Church's Missions.
If you're a part of a good local church which has a missions budget and
has a number of missionaries they support, you really should get behind
that effort. Drop a check in next Sunday's offering earmarked for the
church's Missions program and you'll be a real blessing! Now, if you
are not part of such a church but you'd like to support local church
missions, I have the link to the church I belong to which is Bread of
Life Church in Westminster, MA. Their address is listed at their
website, and THERE IS ALSO A WAY YOU CAN GIVE ON-LINE USING PAYPAL.
It's all explained at their site. Just remember to designate the gift
5. Samaritans USA. We have heard a lot in the news lately about the need for suicide prevention. The issue of suicide prevention is one that I care a lot about and that has touched me very deeply. The Samaritans do a lot of good with their crisis hotlines and other outreaches. I know they have a chapter in Framingham, Massachusetts, but they've got a number of others, as well. Honestly, I'm NOT sure if you are able to donate on-line to Samaritans, but you CAN get addresses where you can send donations, and you can learn more about the organization:
6. Alzheimers Association.
My father suffered with Alzheimer's Disease and lived into the very sad
"late" stages of the disease. A number of my other relatives have
suffered with Alzheimer's Disease, as well. This is a charity I care
about. More information available at:
THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH!