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Rev. Francis Balla, M.Div

Rev. Francis Balla, is the senior pastor of Evangelical Congregational Church in North Quincy MA. He served with Youth With A Mission in Hyderabad, India for twenty years. He holds a M.Div in Urban Ministry from Gordon-Conwell theological seminary. Please checkout the Church Website. www.eccquincy.org

 Articles by this Author

THE GIFT OF SLOWING DOWN

Almost every one is busy. Whether a teenager pushing books under a heavy course load or a soccer mom driving kids to sports while managing a demanding job or a stay at home mom with small children, a corporate executive, a cab driver, teacher, a pastor, a self employed, rich or poor, Christian or not, we are over scheduled, preoccupied, fatigued and starved for time.
A football or a basket ball coach understands, if they want their team to win the championship no matter what it takes they must maintain unity at all times. Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers head Coach understood the need of the hour, when he said “Individual commitment to a group effort-that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” The current coach of the Los Angeles Lakers notes, “The strength of the team is each individual member...the strength of each member is the team.” The civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said "Unity is the great need of the hour"
Irish novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett received great recognition for his work--but not every one savored his accomplishments. Beckett's marriage, in fact, was soured by his wife's jealousy of his growing fame and success as a writer. One day in 1969 his wife Suzanne answered the telephone, listened for a moment, spoke briefly, and hung up. She then turned to Beckett and with a stricken look whispered, "What a catastrophe!" Was it a devastating personal tragedy? No, she had just learned that Beckett had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature! Why couldn’t she rejoice with her husband’s success? Is this reaction common?

FROM RAGS TO ROYALTY

February 14th is observed in many parts of the world as “Valentines day” We give and receive Valentine’s Day cards and gifts. Watch out what you might get in the mail: A guy walks into a post office one day to see a middle-aged, balding man standing at the counter methodically placing "Love" stamps on bright pink envelopes with hearts all over them. He then takes out a perfume bottle and starts spraying scent all over them. His curiosity getting the better of him, he goes up to the balding man and asks him what he is doing. The man says, "I'm sending out one thousand Valentine cards signed, 'Guess who?' "But why?" asks the man. "I'm a divorce lawyer," the man replies. Some cards may be not as bad as these. Some children’s Valentine’s Day cards seem to communicate the crying need for love and friendship.

THE NEW PARADIGM OF MISSIONS

What was initially created as a nerve tonic, stimulant and a headache remedy in 1886 became a world renowned brand today; Coke. Most of us enjoyed a can of Coke at one time or the other in life! Right? But how many of us know what the vision and the mission of the Coca-Cola Company is? Here is how they look at the future and their mission statement:
In 1800, only 2.5% of the world's population lived in cities. In 1900, the number had grown to 10%. Today, half of the world's population lives in vast metro areas. By 2020, 75% of people will live in cities! Floyd McClung the author of “Spirits of the City” notes, “Cities are the mountain peaks of society-trends, Ideologies, and fashions are born in the fermenting cauldron of city life- and then flow down and out to influence the populace.” Cities world wide including, Boston and Quincy share the same problems: single generation families; poverty; chemical dependency; mental illness; housing and development issues; gangs, justice and prison systems, prostitution; HIV/AIDS and much more. And also these swirling, teeming cities are multi-cultural (Jeremiah 29:7).
Ahmad Deedat a Muslim scholar challenged Josh McDowell in a debate on the subject "was Christ crucified"? The debate took place in August 1981, in Durban, South Africa. Deedat posed the following challenge to McDowell “Throughout the length and breadth of the 27 books of the New Testament, there is not a single statement made by Jesus Christ saying "I was dead, and I have come back from the dead." The Christian has been belaboring the word resurrection. Again and again, by repetition, it is conveyed that it is proving a fact. You keep on seeing the man, the man's eating food, as though He was resurrected. He appears in the upper room - He was resurrected. Jesus Christ never uttered that word that "I have come back from the dead," in the 27 books of the New Testament, not even once.” What do you think?
Saleem was the son of a Muslim Mullah in Kashmir, India. He came to Mumbai to sell Kashmir carpets and shawls. He had high hopes of making a huge profit however he ended up being cheated by locals and lost a lot of money. He was dejected and lonesome; to find peace of mind and get away from the scorching heat of Mumbai city he went into a nearby park and sat in the shade of a tree. A group of young people came up to him and began to talk to him about Jesus and his gift of salvation. Salem was very argumentative and upset about the claims of Christ.
A medical sociologist named Janice Egeland has done some really interesting research on depression among the Amish. One of her findings was that rates of reactive depression are significantly lower among the Amish than among all other segments of the population. In comparison, among evangelicals as a whole, there is virtually no difference in the incidence of reactive depression as compared to the general population.”

Surviving Tough Times

We often hear people saying “Life is Tough” or “I am going through tough time, but hanging in there.” A man who excelled in crisis, Winston Churchill, notes, “Never, never, never, give up. A pessimist is the one who sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist is the one who sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
Have you ever wished that the night would be longer so that you don't have to face the day? Or on the other hand do you have terrible nights where you toss this way and that way, no matter what you do you just can't go off to sleep? Do you find yourself worrying about the credit card, and mortgage payment? Have you ever felt like giving up because no matter how hard you tried you seem to have no victory over a bad habit? Have you ever had feelings of worthlessness, struggled with false guilt, lack of concentration, experienced fatigue, and lack of appetite or increased appetite? If you have experienced any one or more of the things mentioned above it is highly possible that you might be going through depression.