I praise God for the privilege of presenting the gospel message last week in Boston, Massachusetts, in the course of seven sermons/lessons from Hebrews in two separate venues. Thursday through Saturday, I had the honor of extolling the accomplishments of Jesus Christ our Savior four times to pastors, delegates and spouses of the Eastern Regional Association of the Advent Christian Church, meeting in annual convention in Peabody, Mass. On Sunday, I was privileged to do the same thing three times at the Church of Christ in Burlington, Mass., a congregation planted by a group of Southerners who moved to that area in the 1960’s as “Exodus Burlington.”
At the Advent Christian Convention I enjoyed visits with old friends Sam Warren and Roger Brown, pastors in whose churches I have preached (in Oregon, Florida and New Hampshire), and made numerous new friends. We rejoiced also that gracEmail subscribers attended from fellowships other than Advent Christian, from Rhode Island (Church of Christ and Baptist) and from Maine (Church of Christ). On Saturday night, I sampled authentic New England seafood with Boston-area gracEmail subscriber Ray McDaid (Congregational pastor) and his friend Lance Ball (former Vineyard pastor) at a perfect-choice, hole-in-the-wall, unbewitched restaurant in Salem, Mass.
The Sunday morning assembly at Burlington Church of Christ included numerous local gracEmail subscribers, plus others from throughout Massachusetts, Maine and elsewhere. A highlight on Sunday was seeing Bob Sciascia and his wife Marie. Bob was the Italian body-builder I told about in my book, The Sound of His Voice (p. 92-94; Beyond the Sacred Page, p. 112-114), through whose personal outreach God transformed hundreds of unchurched young people from drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals and vagabonds into zealous disciples of Christ. They all met on Sunday in a school in Wakefield, Mass., to encourage each other, study the Scriptures and worship the Lord. Sara Faye and I visited the Wakefield church for a week in September 1975, and we were never afterward the same. Bob (now 85 and still muscular) was 51 then, and I was 31, but when we embraced last Sunday, it was as if that all had happened yesterday.
After the morning assembly, elder Lynn Wooley and wife Jane treated me to Italian food, joined by Burlington’s preacher, Tony Thompson and his wife (all long-time gracEmail subscribers). Lynn and I then retired for a couple of hours to his home, where we sipped hot tea, discussed spiritual leadership and watched snow fall outside the windows. The Christian fellowship throughout the four days warmed the heart as surely as hot tea warms the tummy, and on Monday I flew home to Houston in good health and with gratitude to the Father for more blessings than I could possibly begin to count.