Friday, April 27, 2012


"Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7)

Recently, a woman I know mentioned to me that running as an Official runner in the Boston Marathon is on her husband's "Bucket List". "The Bucket List" was a film out a few years ago. I saw it on DVD. It's about a couple of old guys doing all the things they want to do before they "kick the bucket", or "pass away" or die, depending on what term you prefer. It's a pretty good film.

I was standing passing out flyers at BJs Wholesale Club today, but I must confess I started dreaming and thinking about what items I'd put on MY "bucket list". Some of these may seem very selfish, but a "bucket list" is really not meant to be altruistic; it's a list of things YOU really want to do before you die. These are in no particular order of preference, but these are some of them:

- I'd like to buy a brand new car and enjoy all that goes along with that. It's been a lot of years since we've even had a late model car. As cars cost what houses did fifty years ago, this one would take a major miracle. I would NOT prefer a luxury vehicle. Just an ordinary car or a small SUV (and yes, there ARE "small SUVs") would be fine. I have a slight preference for Ford products, but it would not HAVE to be a Ford. I LOVE the "new car smell". Granted, they say that's caused by toxic chemicals, and the new car smells of today are NOT as pleasant as they were thirty years ago, but I still love that...and the thrill of not having a used car.

- There are places to which I'd love to travel and visit. Believe it or not, Israel is NOT one of them. Most Christians want to go to Israel. I have no desire to go to the Middle East. I really don't have much of a desire to go to Europe, but I MIGHT like to visit the British Isles. Some of my ancestors were from Scotland. That would be a nice place to visit. I'd love to visit Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, and in fact, the U.S. Virgin Islands. Those places would be good for winter visits! I'd also like to visit the Dakotas; to see Mount Rushmore, and visit the International Peace Garden in North Dakota. Of course, I would only visit the Dakotas in the summer! I would love to go back to Alaska. We've visited the Inside Passage (Juneau, Skagway, etc.). This time I'd like to see Anchorage, Fairbanks and some other places.

-I would love to speak in Central Bible College chapel. Considering 2012-2013 will be the final academic year before C.B.C. is merged into Evangel University that does not seem likely. Most ministers who preach in Bible College are those who are considered very successful,and that I am NOT considered. However, I'd love the opportunity. I believe it would be a chapel sermon they'd appreciate and never forget. Maybe preaching at Zion (soon to be Northpoint) in Massachusetts is a little bit more realistic, but I'm not holding my breath in waiting for an invitation.

-I would love to be a fill in radio talk show host on a major Boston station, just one time. I DID do some broadcasting on the now defunct J-LIGHT CHRISTIAN RADIO back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I had fun when I hosted "The Mortgage Guys" a couple of times. No, I don't know anything about mortgages, but I'd get to say things like, "Welcome back to 'The Mortgage Guys'; Jack from Ashland has a question
about construction loans for 'The Mortgage Guys'; Jack, you're on the air!" Well, lets face it, that's more than most people have done! Just once, just once, I'd love to come in and do three or four hours on WTKK or WBZ or WRKO or a station like that. Just once.

-I would love to write a newspaper column and get paid for it. Some people tell me I should have my own newspaper column. That's flattering, but the fact is newspaper circulations are declining, and newspaper positions are rapidly being eliminated. This one is a dream and may never get beyond the dream stage.

-I'd love to be interviewed by Emily Rooney on "Greater Boston" on Boston's PBS station. Now, I would NOT want to be on there for something BAD I'd done, but rather for something GOOD I'd done. And, until I do some great thing, I probably won't be on there. But if and when I do, Emily please call!

-I've never been to a New England Patriots game at Foxboro. I would LOVE to go! I was actually not much of a Patriots fan until well into the 1990s. I started watching on Sunday afternoons when things were not going well at the church and I was depressed. Watching the Patriots win would really make my day. And, honestly, it's more fun to hear it announced on the radio by Gil Santos. (Rumor has it, Gil may retire soon...say it's not so!!) I'd love the whole experience of going there and experiencing a game live.

-I would love to attend a Presidential Inauguration. I don't really care about the Inaugural BALLS. You can "have" those. I mean the whole speech and swearing in thing. Yes, even if it was President Obama being sworn in for a Second term or a future "President Hillary Clinton" I'd even like to be at THAT. Of course, a Republican President would be even better! I do love history and politics. THAT experience would be just thrilling for me.

So that's some of my "Bucket List". Whaddaya think?!

Monday, April 23, 2012


"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Associate Pastor Janis Collette opened yesterday's Sunday morning service by reading from Isaiah chapter 55, including the above verses.

What's that famous saying: something about, "the best laid plans of mice and men..."?
Yes, for Earth Day, I'd invited any brother in Christ to join me to come and have fellowship and pray at Webster Lake Beach and Recreation Area, which is only about a five minute walk from where I live. Well, I hadn't anticipated the huge rainstorm that would hit for April 22 & 23. I was a bit disappointed, but there's jut no way we could have gathered for a time of prayer and fellowship with the rain, wind, and cold. I've got an important church function to attend next Sunday afternoon, but I'm planning to move the "Earth Day" prayer and fellowship to Sunday, May 6 at 3:15 p.m. I hope you can join me.

Here is the original piece I posted a few days ago; just change the date from April 22 to May 6 and pretty much everything else remains the same:

"I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." (I Timothy 2:8)

Earth Day is this coming Sunday, April 22.
I am blessed to live a 5 minute walk from the Webster (Mass.) Lake and Recreation Area.
I often walk down there to enjoy the scenery and pray on Sunday afternoons.
I feel the Lord has put it on my heart to pray especially for our country and its needs
on Earth Day, and I'll be doing that on Sunday afternoon, April 22;
walking to the lake, enjoying the Earth, and praying to God. Although I usually reserve such times as precious times for myself, I feel strongly that the Lord wants me to open this up to any Christian brothers who would like to join me. I'm planning on walking over to the Lake Beach and Recreation Area around 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, April 22. This whole thing should take slightly over an hour.

For anyone who joins me, we can stop at one of the nearby eating places such as Lake Pizza and Restaurant afterward and grab a bite to eat and fellowship. If you'd like to know more and/or you'd like to join me, please e-mail me at

Brothers, I am serious: I would love to have you join me on April 22 and to bring a friend. Don't hesitate to contact me for more information. I believe God will meet us on April 22 in a special way!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


"No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.
And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles." (Mark 2:21-22)

Roughly three weeks ago, toward the end of a Saturday morning grocery shopping trip, I made my way down the crackers aisle. Premium Saltine Crackers was one of the final items on my list. I hadn't planned to buy the full-sized box of saltines; just one of thehalf-sized boxes. A quick scan of the shelves revealed that something was DIFFERENT. There were plenty of boxes of off-brand saltines, but I didn't want off-brand saltines. Such crackers are often SO flimsy, they regularly break into pieces when you press on them with a knife to add peanut butter or cheese spread. Now, I DID find boxes of Premium Saltine Crackers, but they were very different. They looked more like boxes of cereal. The boxes were mostly white, and the wording on them DID read "Premium Saltine Crackers". But there were pictures of ROUND saltine crackers on the boxes. It was almost as though they were some kind of hybrid of Ritz and Saltine crackers that had been created.

At home, it was DIFFERENT having crackers and Old English cheese using the new crackers. On the one hand, the round-sized crackers are thicker and stronger than the old square-sized ones. On the other hand, there was a feeling of familiarity and of everything being right with the world when you ate the old "normal" square crackers with cheese that's, well, gone. There's something about the loss of TRADITION. I didn't realize anyone else was experiencing this new adjustment to the rounded saltine crackers until I heard WBZ radio's late night host Steve LeVeille comment this week on, "What's happened to the saltines?" Steve wonders if this is some sort of a test marketing thing that's only happening in our geographic area. He said he's gone onto the Nabisco website and there's nothing there about the new saltine crackers.


Funny how a little thing like changing the saltine cracker can mess things up.


We evangelicals and Pentecostals are often guilty of criticizing the TRADITIONS of the Roman Catholic Church.

"They have the Bible PLUS TRADITION," we say, "and THAT'S wrong!"

Oh, we can make fun of the mass where, "they say the same thing over and over again," and don't even get me STARTED on The Rosary. Tradition.

Funny how we evangelicals and Pentecostals find it so easy to criticize the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church without realizing we have our own, and often
strangely defended traditions. I remember that on my first Sunday as pastor of the old First Assembly of God of Framingham in 1987, I conducted the Communion service differently from the way the congregation was expecting.

"But, this isn't how WE do Communion," I was told. Well, I was new, and I was bringing a different Communion tradition.

Back to the Catholic Church, when the changes from Vatican 2 took place in the early 1960s, it really shook my parents' generation. They had been told the Catholic Church never changes and never would change. The Latin mass, and the priest facing away from the people were just the way Catholics did mass. When the priest began facing the people and saying mass in English, my mother commented that her Church had, "turned Protestant". I used to get a kick out of that. She said it the way someone would say that the milk had turned sour!

Around twenty years ago, the Pentecostal Church world was also jolted by the abandonment of hymn books and most traditional Protestant hymns for singing modern folk and soft rock chourses with the words projected onto the church sanctuary wall. Older generations of Assemblies of God laypeople were probably more shaken by this than were the Roman Catholics of thirty years earlier. Such "music wars" are still not fully resolved in the evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic church world.

A prominent northeastern Bible College announced the changing of the school's name. This school has been around for many decades, has many alumni, and also has, well, lots of tradition. From what I understand, the school was deluged with angry letters opposing the changing of the name. It kind of made me chuckle, because my own alma mater, Central Bible College, is being merged into Evangel University within the next year or so. Evangel is the dominant school in the merger, and C.B.C. will essentially lose its identity. I couldn't help but think, "THEY'RE so upset about a name change, but we're LOSING our school!" Yet, as much as I feel sad about the loss of Central Bible College, I know things change, life goes on, and we can't allow our love of traditions to cause divisions and factions which do damage to the Body of Christ.

I must confess that in a lot of ways, I DO miss the Assemblies of God that I joined in the 1970s. Pretty much, all the churches were alike. We all read the Pentecostal Evangel magazine. We all used Gospel Publishing House Sunday School materials. We all used Assemblies of God hymnals. The format of the services in each church were very similar. It's very different today. Assemblies of God churches differ as stars in the sky. Another new trend is that of our pastors "dressing down". I think that largely came in from the influence of Vineyard Christian Fellowship and of Calvary Chapel; and also Rick Warren and his Hawaiian shirts! I must admit, I really like it that my pastor, Gary Collette at Bread of Life Church still dresses up for the services. Yes, I like the pastors to dress up and in a lot of ways I'd love to go back to the 1970s.


But we DO have to be careful about being bound by our traditions, don't we. That's why SO many religious people in Jesus' day did NOT follow Him. He shook up their traditions and they didn't like it. What would Jesus think of Christians who won't go to church because the pastor dresses like Rick Warren and they sing soft rock worship songs?

Even worse, what would Jesus think about people who are genuinely upset about the new shape of their saltine crackers while thousands of people in this world are STARVING?

Monday, April 16, 2012


"I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." (I Timothy 2:8)

Earth Day is this coming Sunday, April 22.
I am blessed to live a 5 minute walk from the Webster (Mass.) Lake and Recreation Area.
I often walk down there to enjoy the scenery and pray on Sunday afternoons.
I feel the Lord has put it on my heart to pray especially for our country and its needs
on Earth Day, and I'll be doing that on Sunday afternoon, April 22;
walking to the lake, enjoying the Earth, and praying to God. Although I usually reserve such times as precious times for myself, I feel strongly that the Lord wants me to open this up to any Christian brothers who would like to join me. I'm planning on walking over to the Lake Beach and Recreation Area around 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, April 22. This whole thing should take slightly over an hour.

For anyone who joins me, we can stop at one of the nearby eating places such as Lake Pizza and Restaurant afterward and grab a bite to eat and fellowship. If you'd like to know more and/or you'd like to join me, please e-mail me at

Brothers, I am serious: I would love to have you join me on April 22 and to bring a friend. Don't hesitate to contact me for more information. I believe God will meet us on April 22 in a special way!



"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)

I must admit it rankles me when it's Patriots Day and people ask, "What holiday is it?!"
Here is what I want to say to them:

This is PATRIOTS DAY. It's a holiday only in Maine and Massachusetts. Perhaps it should be a holiday for the whole country. Today, we remember the start of the American Revolution in April of 1775, when a group of simple farmers from Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts took on the British Empire. As you know, the rest is history!

Each Patriots Day the Boston Marathon is run. That's been true for over one hundred years. THAT'S what holiday this is!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


"...even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (from Daniel 12:4)

On a the evangelical children's radio program, "Children's Bible Hour" they often had a "go along with the story song". Well, THIS is a "go along with my last post STORY"!
(My last post was "MODERN CYBER-TECHNOLOGY: A RUNAWAY TRUCK?". ) The U.S. Postal letter carriers are demonstrating against Senate bill 1789 which would not only cut Saturday mail delivery (well, THAT may not be so bad) but ALSO potentially STOP ALL DOOR-TO-DOOR MAIL DELIVERY! This would be very bad for elderly, disabled, poor, and anyone who is not on-line. If you're concerned about this, I hope you'll speak up about it.

Monday, April 9, 2012


"...even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (from Daniel 12:4)

On the Massachusetts Turnpike Eastbound (also known as Interstate 90) just prior to the Westfield Exit (#3) is something called a "runaway truck lane". You notice while traveling through the rolling Berkshire hills for some distance prior to it, there are signs advising of the runaway truck lane ahead. As you might guess, the runaway truck lane comes after a long downhill stretch of roadway. Truckers are able to veer right, and along a slight incline with giant plastic containers filled with sand. I wonder if any truckers have ever needed the runaway truck lane. At least it's there to prevent a disaster.

Holiday dinners and gatherings can often bring out lively conversation and discussion. Yesterday, my wife and I joined two of our grown children for Easter dinner at a restaurant. We had a nice meal, but somehow the topic of rapidly changing cyber technology came up. It might surprise you that Jon and Rachel, both "twenty somethings" are very leery of technological trends that would replace hard copy books with books on-line only, would get rid of textbooks in favor of books on electronic "tablets", would make CDs obsolete in favor of all recorded music being downloaded from cyberspace, and would make the U.S. Postal Service go away. I agree with them, but of course, at fifty-seven it's not so unusual for people my age to lament these rapid changes. Jon gets pretty headed and angry about the way society is FORCING these changes upon us. He believes if the day comes, for instance, that we have no more hard copy books or CDs and no U.S. Postal Service people will deeply regret what they've lost, but it will then be too late to do anything about it.

"What girl grows up dreaming of her wedding- for which she'll send out E-MAIL wedding invitations?! Don't they all want formal printed invitations with response cards to be send by traditional mail?! Have they forgotten that if there's no post office THAT will be lost?!" Jon angrily protests.

"And, I WANT to purchase CDs." he adds "Sure, I'll load their content onto my computer, but I want the hard copy CDs, too!"

I agree.

You may find's Rachel's comments every more surprising. She pays absolutely NO bills on-line. For each bill, she makes out a check, stuffs it into an envelope, puts a stamp on it, and drops it into the mail.

"I NEED that experience of putting that stamp on the envelope and dropping it into the mailbox." she says.

Yes, Jon and Rachel can be "a bit O.C.D.". So can I - they get that from me! Now, Jon and Rachel HAVE each purchased items on-line. The main reason for this is that SOME items can ONLY be purchased on-line and no other way. I've also purchased some items on-line, but neither my kids nor I prefer purchasing items that way.

As our conversation wound down, I said, "Well, I guess we're just old fashioned."

Jon couldn't have disagreed with me more.

"No!" he protested,"We're NOT old fashioned! 'Old fashioned' is using only a rotary dial phone and not owning a computer. We're not old fashioned. We don't object to computers or cell phones or modern devices. We just want CHOI8CE and don't want traditional options such as hard copy books, CDs, newspapers and such to become lost forever."

Once again, I agree. The progress is happening just WAY too rapidly. Think about what automoblies were like one hundred years ago. We didn't go in four years from the Model T to the Trans Am. That took more like forty-six years. We also didn't go from the Orville and Wilbur Wright bi-plane to the Boeing 707 in four years. That took around fifty-four years. Today, if your cell phone is four years old, people laugh at you. You might as well throw it into the trash. And, if your computer is five years old, it's a dinosaur - donate it to a museum! I got my first cassette tape recorder in 1968. It took over thirty years for that to become out of date.

Again, Jon and Rachel and I are not anti-technology. Look, I write a blog. I'm on Facebook. Rachel's on Facebook. Jon writes a blog (you can read his MacaroniWaffles blog at ). But why do so many precious parts of our society have to be run over by the runaway truck of rapidly moving and rapidly changing cyber-technology?

Are there simple, tangible things those of us who DON'T want to lose traditional options can do? Yes. I, for one, for the past few months have written and mailed a traditional letter to a friend on the 15th of each month. I got this idea from a "save the post office" site on-line. Jon pointed out that there's currently a contest for fans of "The Biggest Loser" where fans can ONLY enter by sending an entry by U.S. Mail. Tell businesses that you want the option of using regular mail or having hard copy books or hard copy CDs and don't take "no" for an answer.

And, if you agree with us, send the link to this to all your friends!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


"Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets." (Luke 6:26)

It's been all over the local Boston media in the past couple of days that former State Treasurer Tim Cahill has been indicted. The main issue is several highly professional and promotional television ads for the Massachusetts State Lottery which ran on television outlets throughout the Commonwealth in 2010. Tim Cahill as (then) State Treasurer was master of ceremonies and narrator for the ads, proudly presenting the Mass. State Lottery as the most successful in the country. This was all perfectly legal and appropriate for a State Treasurer to do. However, Tim Cahill at the time was also running for Governor of Massachusetts as an Independent. Cahill is seen as blatantly violating the public trust; essentially disguising "gubernatorial campaign ads" as Lottery ads, and thus getting many of his television campaign ads paid for by the taxpayers of Massachusetts. Attorney General Martha Coakley in her VE-RY PER-FECT STACCADO VOICE WHICH AL-MOST SOUNDS LIKE A COMPUT-ER GEN-ER-ATED RE-CORDING has made public statements which are being played on all the local news broadcasts about how Cahill allegedly violated the sacred trust of his Office, etc.

It pretty much makes me sick.

This is ironic because I am very much anti-gambling. I have NEVER purchased a lottery ticket in my life and I will not. Honestly, I will not even purchase a raffle ticket, for that matter, not even for Teen Challenge...sorry. I publicly supported Tim Cahill for Governor and endorsed his candidacy on my blog. I proudly voted for him. But I don't agree with all of his positions. So it's ironic that I have NO problem with what he did, but I DON'T.

God bless WTKK radio talk show host Doug Meehan who this morning bucked the trend of all those in the media who essentially want to lynch Tim Cahill and treat him like the lowest of the low. I only caught a few minutes of Meehan's program this morning while I was on break from my job, but Meehan made the case well that it was perfectly appropriate and legal for Tim Cahill as Mass. State Treasurer and overseer of the Lottery to make those ads and that he did nothing wrong. Amen.

I took a lot of flack from friends for my support of Tim Cahill. One e-mailed me and told me Cahill was nothing but a shill for Governor Deval Patrick; that it was nothing but a trick and a backroom deal; that Cahill really WANTED Patrick to be re-elected; that he was out to derail Republican Charlie Baker. It was speculated by a lot of people that Cahill would receive some sort of big payout from Deval Patrick in the future for what he'd done. I knew then and I know now that NONE of that was true. I "get" Tim Cahill. This is because I am a "Tim Cahill". I am also a "Ron Paul". And, while most of you won't know who I'm talking about her, I am also a "Dr. Bob Kearns". (Kearns was the inventor of intermittent windshield wipers. His story is told in the film "Flash of Genius". His invention was stolen by Ford Motor Company. He fought this for years and finally won a huge judgment in court, but it cost him his marriage, some friendships, and for awhile his sanity.) People like Bob Baril and Dr. Kearns and Ron Paul and Tim Cahill believe in things and will literally give our lives for them even if it means we are viewed as stupid, eccentric, and very foolish. When you're "one of us" you pretty quickly recognize another, and that person who is viewed as a phony, liar, shill, stooge, etc. is someone you know is really a kindred spirit.

Tim Cahill really wanted to be Governor and believed he could win. Honestly, he SHOULD have. The reality is the Massachusetts Democratic Party establishment decided he had to be totally discredited and destroyed. As my Catholic friends would say, "He committed a mortal sin". As my metaphorically literate friends would say, "He touched the third rail!" He did. Tim, a popular, competent, well liked Democrat politician dared to challenge the Incumbent liberal Democrat Governor and to essentially expose the fact that Romneycare would financially ruin the it were, the emperor had no clothes! Cahill seriously considered running as a Democrat...challenging Deval Patrick at the State Convention and in the Primary. Sadly, the Democrat machine made sure that would not happen. There was no way he was going to be allowed to get the 15% vote at the Convention necessary to put his name on the ballot. Once he left the Democrat party, he was treated as a leper.

Paul Loscocco, the former Republican State Rep. who ran as Cahill's running mate is a good guy. He was a great choice as a running mate. But somebody got to him. Those who carefully follow politics remember when he announced he was dropping out. He did this behind Cahill's back. He pretty much threw Tim Cahill under the bus.

Most of Cahill's ads were NOT those Lottery ads. He had his own ads for Governor featuring his family. A few years earlier, his little girl had become a household celebrity in Mass. with her "Vote Tim for Treasurer" line in his ads. Now, a little more grown up, she proudly said, "Vote Tim for Governor".

To take the line from the famous movie, what did Tim Cahill have that none of the other candidates had? COURAGE!

Most of our state's voters DIDN'T, and the media certainly didn't. Poor Tim Cahill lost badly.

Now, that is not even enough for the corrupt Democrat and Mass. political machine. They're out to annihilate this man...a guy who was a true public servant...a good man. Speaking of "throwing under the bus" current Democrat State Treasurer Grossman has taken some strong verbal shots in the media against Tim Cahill.

I hope there will be some people in our state like Doug Meehan who will speak out on Tim Cahill's behalf. And I hope those in the political machine stop and think about the fact that (as Galatians 6:7 says) what they are sowing they will reap!

If any of my readers knows Tim Cahill or any member of his family personally, I hope you will pass this piece on to him.