Loosening the Shackles of Fear
Tyler Donaldson

“Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching, and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given to you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

-1 Timothy 4:11-16

Last Wednesday’s guest chapel speaker was Mr. Anthony Samuels. Mr. Samuels is the founder of DRB Facility Services and has been President/CEO since its inception in 1993.  The company has grown steadily under his leadership.  Today, he oversees a company that employs over 600 team members and is a recognized leader in the business community.  Mr. Samuels has a degree in Computer Aided Drafting from RCC, and attended the University of Massachusetts’s Management program and The Tuck Executive Education Program at Dartmouth College.  Mr. Samuels is a philanthropist, serves on numerous non-profit boards, and is a mentor to other business owners and youth in several local communities. He is the grandfather of BTA Senior, Taylor Tucker, who also joined him on stage for the message.

Mr. Samuels began his address with a question, “Why do we let fear prevent us from achieving what the Lord has for us?”

He then explained the focal point of his message would be on this topic of fear and the ways it creates a barrier in receiving God’s gracious gifts which He can bestow upon us. He continued, “I think fear affects everyone in different ways. Fear causes us to doubt ourselves. Like for example, when we have an answer to a question in class and fear causes us to doubt ourselves. Instead of answering we stay silent and it turns out we are right. In this situation, fear held us back from giving the right answer. As a grandfather, I’ve seen Taylor deal with some things as well, like where to go to college.”

Taylor Tucker ‘23 then stepped up to the podium. “Yeah, there is no doubt picking a college is tough. Naturally, while attending BTA, it is one of the top things on your mind. You have to think through scholarships, admissions, and meeting expectations. Luckily I have my grandfather to walk me through it. I also had a conversation with Mr. Belk at the Prefects Breakfast that allowed me to strive to be better. I sent my college applications on time and found the will to persevere this year.”

Mr. Samuels then interjected, “One thing I noticed about Taylor as she went through this process was her noting the acceptance rate of these schools, which were usually very low. I encouraged her to believe that she is a part of that 5% or 10% or whatever it is. You need to believe you will be accepted.”

He continued, “Usually doubt comes from worrying about what others think. That is one of my biggest concerns, always doubting myself, what I’ve said and what I could have done better. There’s a lot of freedom in not worrying about what other people think. When you get to the point where you stop worrying about what other people think about you - it is liberating.”

Mr. Samuels expounded upon this central topic of fear and the ways it suppresses us through a personal story, “Fear can make us avoid dealing with necessary situations. Like sending college applications on time. Fear stops us from moving out of our comfort zone. If you aren’t doing anything that causes the devil to get upset, it means you aren’t doing anything. If you aren’t doing anything to lift up God's kingdom, you are just existing. I have an example to share that is very personal to me. Looking back, I almost didn’t do it. I have a niece and nephew that I raised since they were 8 years old. My wife’s sister passed away from cancer and she asked us to raise them. My wife was strong and said yes we are going to do it. At the time, Taylor’s mom just went off to college and her brother had just gotten into Catholic Memorial School. I was pretty comfortable, and then all of a sudden, I have a pair of 8-year-old kids that will come live with us. And, in all honesty, raising those two twins has been the biggest blessing I could have asked for. While I’m sitting here worried about how to afford daycare, the lord has provided every step of the way.”

Mr. Samuels finished his message with this warning to the younger generation, “God gives us everything we need that he has planned for us to do. It’s up to us to take the step and not be fearful when walking through the process. You can do anything you want to do if you are willing to work hard at it. I notice in the younger generation, some co-op students that are around me, want the status and the position but they don’t want to work hard. My warning is don’t get caught up in that. I see a generation that just wants to go from here to there overnight. Don’t be afraid to work hard to get what you want. And finally, don’t allow fear to stop you from reaching your goals and choosing what you wanna do because, in the end, God is with us.”

Surrendering Your Will to God
Tyler Donaldson

Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? - Luke 9:18-25

Last Wednesday’s Chapel speaker was none other than Pastor Dave Hill. Pastor Hill grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania loving sports, hunting, and fishing. He attended Dartmouth College where he joined the Dartmouth Area Christian Fellowship. It was a transformative experience where he was filled with the Holy Spirit and guided by strong biblical teaching on what it meant to follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly.  He joined in the vision God gave the church to plant similar churches in college towns around New England.

In 1981, he got married to his wife, Ingrid (our Bible Department Chair), and was set apart as a minister of the gospel two weeks later as they helped lead a church planting team in Amherst, Massachusetts.  Pastor Hill and Ingrid now have six children and five grandchildren while also starting churches in Boston where they have resided since 1989.  They hope to keep being a light for Jesus in the city and to see a book of Acts awakening in Boston. He also still loves to go fly fishing for trout!

Pastor Hill began his address by asking, “What is Ash Wednesday?” Ash Wednesday is a day of prayer and fasting that is the beginning of lent. Lent is a period of 40 days before Easter to pray and fast and draw closer to God. People may give up food, their favorite tv show, or anything they desire to draw closer to God. Pastor Hill stated, “I have a friend who instead of giving up anything for lent is talking to at least one person every day about the Gospel.” The purpose of giving up these things or these goals like the one Pastor Hill’s friend has is to ultimately draw closer to God.

Pastor Hill continued, “Death is sobering. If life is all that there is, then death is the worst thing that can happen to you. But luckily this life is not all that there is. God's kingdom awaits us, and in order to enter this kingdom, we must humble ourselves and be born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and thus the same spirit that lived inside Jesus will live inside of us. The only reason we can be saved, however, is that Jesus chose the path of humility and love.” 

He then explained, “Jesus said whoever was to be his disciple must pick up their cross and follow Him daily. The world tells us the way to be happy and enjoy life is to look out for number one and to get what you want. This is in contrast to Jesus who says true life comes from denying yourself and embracing God's will. To a lot that sounds miserable and awful. But this brings life, and it requires faith that The Heavenly Father loves you and wants what is best for you.”

This led way to Pastor Hill explaining how always getting our own way leads to anxiety and worry, and not getting our way lends to anger and frustration. It creates conflict. People will say “I want it my way” while another will say well, “I want it my way”, and this in turn creates that conflict. Getting our own way feeds self-absorption, pride, and self-pity. It’s the opposite of love that seeks to put others first. 

Pastor Hill then posed a question, “Ask yourself this question. Do you enjoy being around someone that always insists on getting their own way? Think of someone you deeply admire. What kind of person are they? Are they someone that is always trying to get their own way? Probably not.”

He continued, “I know surrendering your will to God is scary. I remember almost fifty years ago, fearing what God may have in store for me, part of me really wanted to be a vessel for what the Lord called me to but I couldn’t help but be fearful. So I prayed that the Lord would show me and use me and bend me to his will.  If you asked me when I was a senior in high school, David, you are going to be a pastor one day! I would have laughed out loud. I come from a line of doctors - I’m going to be a doctor. But, God had different plans. He has different plans for all of us and I don’t know how he will touch you or answer you. But he will provide grace. And if you allow him, something good will happen and you will be more like Jesus.”

Pastor Hill finished with this, “What would happen if everyone at BTA prayed earnestly that His will be done? Everyday. Lives would be changed, relationships would be changed. This school would become an even greater place for the Glory of Jesus Christ.”

Poverty and Wealth
Tyler Donaldson

Because of my integrity, you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. - Psalm 41:12

​Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done. - Proverbs 19:17

Mr. Robert H. Bradley III, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Boston Trinity Academy, was the keynote speaker at last Wednesday's Chapel. Mr. Bradley serves as Chairman of Bradley, Foster & Sargent, Inc, an investment management firm based in Hartford, Connecticut with approximately $5.3 billion in assets under management, which he co-founded in 1993. 

He graduated from Williams College in 1966. Joining the U.S. Navy directly after graduation, Mr. Bradley served as an officer on the USS Savage (DER-386) for two years and during 1969-1970 with Coastal Division 12 based in Danang, South Vietnam where he was Officer-in-Charge of a Swift Boat and later Operations officer of Coastal Division 12. He received his Master's degree from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1971.

Mr. Bradley began his address with prayer and an introductory statement to set up his message, “Anytime you watch the news or anything in the public sphere, particularly in America you see people talking about rich and poor, poverty and wealth and the state of these things. The question I want to ask you is: Are we really poor in this country? What is poverty in America?”

Mr. Bradley explained he would be exploring these questions through the lens of the Bible. Boston Trinity Academy was built on the foundation of the Bible - our values and our vision stem directly from the Bible. The Bible clearly talks about taking care of the poor and those in poverty.

Mr. Bradley then recounted a personal story, “The reason I started giving this talk is because of a visit with a former board member in Singapore. We got into a discussion about the breakdown of family dynamics in America. My colleague and I agreed that one of the main reasons for poverty in this country was the breakdown of the family structure. The breakdown of family correlates to poverty directly, through a multitude of factors. After our discussion on this, the board member and her husband urged me to give this message, so ten or twelve years ago I began to give this very same message with their charge.”

He continued to share his perspective, “So, what is poverty in America? I don’t know how many of you have traveled around the world. But, the lowest 10% of the wealth in America is wealthier than most places in the world. So, when politicians talk about rich and poor, it is a lot of the time to sell newspapers and get elected. You often hear politicians talk about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. However, it is important in this country to look at social mobility. The lowest 20% of income earners in America don’t stay there. Most leave the bottom 20%. Usually, when you come out of college you are in that 20%, and as you get a good job and move up you leave that lowest 20%. 42 million Americans are on food stamps, medicaid, and housing systems. America is very generous to those in the lowest 20%.”

Mr. Bradley transitioned from his research on poverty and wealth in America to his own experiences with the topic in his adolescence, “Let me tell you a story about an American boy. He had a younger brother and an older sister. His parents didn’t own a car or a tv, or a phone, and they rented a house. There were no appliances in the house. There was no air conditioning at home or in the car. The boy would shovel snow and cut grass for money to help the family. That boy was me. Despite all these things my family never acted poor. Poverty in many ways is a state of mind - it’s an attitude.”

Mr. Bradley continued his talk, “There are always going to be poor people. In Deuteronomy 15:11, ‘There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.’ Poverty is a part of the world. So, why are people poor? Circumstances and sin. Poverty has stricken people by wars, environmental destruction that led to famine etc.” 

He then explained, “In the Bible, you see God caring for widows, orphans, and the sick - these three circumstances were avenues to poverty. There were also corrupt rulers, and corrupt courts, and the list goes on. But, you also had sin. Proverbs is a fantastic book that talks about making bad choices.  Topics covered include laziness - if you don’t work, you end up not getting paid. Another topic is pleasure. It can spurn into addiction to things like alcohol and drugs.”

He continued to address these topics with the guidance of the Bible, “You can see from the very beginning of the Bible we are meant to care for the poor. To be generous, care for them, and engage them with an open hand. There should be an attitude that the Grace of God would want to convey to them. The Bible is very realistic about work in the Bible. Essentially the theme is if you don’t work; you don’t eat, and right now data shows that 15% of working-age men between 25-35 are not working at all and living off their government, their parents, and their wives. This is in contrast to the Bible, work is good, and work is glorifying God. Work gives dignity to life as opposed to not working at all.” 

Mr. Bradley’s final point came from the Ten Commandments. He explained how the first four commandments deal with the vertical relationship between you and God. The next five commandments are horizontal between you and your neighbor and the 10th one is the only one that is an attitude: Do not covet or envy. He told the audience, “There are plenty of things in this life to envy. Be careful and don’t let your heart get to a place to envy something someone else has.”

Mr. Bradley concluded his main point by urging students to finish high school, get a job and get married. He stated that facts show 42% of Americans are born without a mother and father in marriage and this number is escalating. A broken family leads to poverty. He finished his talk by saying, “God Willing, you will do these things and live a blessed life. Some final things to remember. Do not envy, love deeply, help the poor, and thank God that you are at a place like Boston Trinity Academy.”

He Runs Out to Meet Us: The Father's Love in Central Asia
Tyler Donaldson

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” - Luke 15:11-32

Last Tuesday, Trinity Term week kicked off with Chapel. Trinity Term’s week-long focus was on the Silk Road and the speakers of the Chapel address were familiar with that part of the globe. Damian and Grace Long served as missionaries in Kazakhstan for over ten years together with their three kids - Moses, Gloryann, and Tesla. Together with a team of locals and internationals, they founded the Drive School of Basketball where Damian was the head coach, while Grace worked with local Kazakh leaders and ministry teams. 

The Drive Umbrella group enabled them to run a basketball academy for players and training coaches, coach local teams (including the boys and girls Kazakhstan Junior National Teams), host international tournaments and camps, and build outdoor basketball courts - all as a means of building community and loving people into the family of God!  They have now been back in the US for two years where Damian serves as Pastor to Young Adults and Small Groups at Park Street Church while Grace works as a tutor at Park Street School while journeying with many across the world in spiritual direction.

The focus of their address was Damian's sharing of a story of a couple of young girls who were sisters converting to Christianity. When the girls told their father, he said, "I will no longer cover you." This was a way of saying that he would no longer protect the girls, thus they were exposed and now prone to abduction. The girls were no longer marriageable in that Islamic community as they could become prey to human traffickers. But when the sisters were abducted, their father, who cast them out, did in fact "cover" them: he could not, not do it. He was their father, and he went out and rescued them. It was quite moving and an example of God the Father’s unfailing love for His children.

Damian and Grace then stayed after Chapel and hosted a post-chapel reflection seminar with a group of students. It was a powerful start to Trinity Term and we are thankful for the Longs coming to speak to our students!

Why Not?
Tyler Donaldson

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose - Romans 8:28

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. - Genesis 50:20

Last Wednesday's speaker was Harvard Professor, Colonel Hise Gibson. Colonel Gibson graduated from West Point, where he was a member of the Division-1A Army football team. Following graduation, he was commissioned in the US Army as an Aviation Officer in the UH60 Blackhawk Helicopter. He served with distinction in various command and staff positions for over 25 years with his most recent operational assignment being as a Battalion Commander in the historic 82nd Airborne Division, earning the rank of Colonel before retiring in 2021. He has led soldiers in combat. Among his military decorations are the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Master Aviator Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault badge. He has an MS in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Masters in Operational Art and Science from the Air Command and Staff College. Colonel Gibson earned his Doctorate of Business Administration from Harvard University in Technology and Operations Management. Until July of 2021, Colonel Gibson served as an Academy Professor in the Systems Engineering Department at the United States Military Academy. He also established and directed the Systems Decisions and Analysis Center as well as directed the department’s core engineering sequence and engaged in strategic outreach as a Fellow at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

Colonel Gibson's research and consulting activities have been in the areas of technology integrations, operational effectiveness, leadership, leader development, human capital development, change management, and leading teams through the crisis. He currently lives in Lexington, Massachusetts with his wife Nicole and two daughters.

After reading from Romans 8:28 and Genesis 50:20, Colonel Gibson started his address by exclaiming, “Resilience is the key. Think about the scripture that we just read. It lends itself to resilience. But, what is resilience?” It was at this point Colonel Gibson called on students from the audience. Something he would do throughout his lecture as a way to not only engage with the students but give the audience a glimpse into how he teaches at Harvard. The student called upon to respond replied, “Resilience is withstanding pressure”. Colonel Gibson seemed to agree.

He then explained his address would focus on 3 main questions: Why here? Why now? Why not?

Colonel Gibson began by asking “Why here?”.  He then recounted his life journey, “Back in Texas, I was the captain of my football team. I wasn’t an overly impressive athlete but through a lot of coaching and training, I was able to ascend to be the captain of the team. I wasn’t overly fast or strong but I was smart and was able to put myself in a position to make plays. So, I was fortunate enough to be recruited to play football at West Point. At West Point, we were undersized, we were not the most physically imposing team, but we grew as a team and went on to win a commander-in-chief trophy.” He continued, “My point is you never know where you are going to end up. I went to West Point to play football for free and continue my athletic career. Then in 2003, I ended up in Baghdad with a group of guys going to war as a soldier.  It’s important to do the best you can at every opportunity you are given. Don’t fight it when you find yourself in a position you didn’t expect. Wherever you are, give it your ALL.”

Colonel Gibson proceeded to ask, “Why now? You never know who’s looking at you. You never know who you are a model to. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you can either show up right now or not and someone is always looking at you. There’s someone right now in your hometown hoping you are doing well or keeping tabs on you. Someone is always watching. So, when I think of ‘Why Now?’ I think of how it is up to me to manifest my future.” 

Finally, Colonel Gibson asked the final question to the audience, “Why not?” He said, “When you are about to approach something or an opportunity and you have that feeling - they aren’t going to pick me, I can’t do it. Think… Why not? Get out of your own head. A lot of people don’t try and because of that they will never succeed. I am here to tell you to try, and if you do fail, you get up and do it again, over and over again, until you succeed, and you will. So, why not? Take risks, believe in yourself, and learn from your failures until you succeed. If you take away anything from my message today, let it be to remember: Why not?”