Friday, July 03, 2020


One more celebration of Joe Don and Jamie Ridgell

I write these very personal blogs occasionally because I want my people to know how special they are.  I tell them but I think enough of them to say some things publicly.

So they just had their 20th anniversary.  That is a big one.  In our culture you do not really see as many 20 year anniversaries as you would think.

So here are a few quick things that make me proud about their twenty years.

They are still in love and they work at staying in love.  They do date nights.  They have get-away weekends.  

They are great parents.  That may be true because the kids are clearly 3rd in the heart order.  They come behind Jesus and their folks.  But they are ahead of anyone else.

Strong work ethic.  They are both successful at their job.  They are involved in ministry, both public and in those things no one knows about except those they help.  They actively support their kids.  

Their home is a ministry tool.  Lots of people come to the Ridgell house.  Their kids friends.  The neighborhood kids.  Their various church groups.  Family.  Friends.  Those in need.  Lots of meals go out of that house.  Lots of prayers are said in that house.  

They love Jesus.  He is absolutely the center of their home.  Everyone that knows them knows this to be true.  By what they do and by what they say.  

So I love them and am proud of them.  

And to Joe Don and Jamie.  Have fun getting away.  Don't worry about the kids.  What happens with Mimi and Pops stays with Mimi and Pops.

 Thanks God for Joe Don and Jamie.  Give them a long life together serving you.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020


My son Joe Don is 42

So Joe Don turned 42.  I always blog about why I love and am proud of my people on their birthday.  I do this so they see in print what they already know.  so here goes...

Great Dad.  His kids -- all three -- adore him.  They want to hang out with him, be with him.  He is intentional in speaking -- and showing -- love to them.  Models forgiveness.  Holds them accountable.  But there is no doubt that they know they are loved.

Great husband.  He really loves Jamie.  Works hard to help her.  Does projects to enhance their home and backyard.  takes time to be with her.  She is his Queen.  He listens, loves, and cherishes her.

Great son.  He is really good to Jamie's folks.  Treats them like he does us.  And he is great with us.  Calls -- tho not as much as Jamie.  :)  He does stuff for us.  Changed our car battery just this last weekend.  

Will be the extended family patriarch someday, and will be good at it.  Siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews all want to be with him.  All ask him for advice.  Will come to him when they are in trouble.  My time as the leader of our family will pass someday.  He will -- already is -- ready to take that mantle.

Loves Jesus.  He is 100% sold out to Jesus.  Good Bible teacher.  Good shepherd already.  Will make a great elder someday.  Generous.  

Every Dad wants his son to be a better man than he is.  

Mission accomplished.

Thanks God for blessing me with a son like Joe Don.  Protect him and watch over him.  Give him many years to serve you and others.  Do great things with him and through him.  For Jesus.


Thursday, June 25, 2020


Three questions every Christian better answer

Our world is a mess.  Covid, riots, hate, greed, racism.  Abortions.  Marriage, sex, gender debates.  And it may get worse before it gets better.  

If you are a follower of Jesus -- and if you are not but might be interested, hit me up -- you better decide what your answer is to three questions.

Are God and Jesus real?  You would assume anyone claiming to be a Christian has answered that.  But you better be sure.  Because I think our culture is going to get increasingly antagonistic toward God and Jesus.  Our brothers and sisters have faced persecution and death in many places in this world.  We have had it easy as a church in this country and it shows.  We are lazy, out of shape, and not always serious about our faith walk.

Is the Bible true?  Don't let your church or some preacher decide this for you.  You need to decide what you believe about Scripture.  Because the Bible and the values of our culture are going to be at war.  I think that has probably always been true, but at least there was lip service played to believing the Bible.  Not anymore.  You are going to be attacked if you believe the Bible is actually the Word of God.  

What kingdom do you belong to?  The kingdom of God is not synonymous with the United States of America.  Never has been.  The United States as you have known it may be changed for ever.  Good in some ways.  Bad in others.  The Kingdom of God remains the same.  And that is a good thing.  Always.  Decide what Kingdom you want to represent.

I have said for some time that it is going to take great courage for my grandkids to follow Jesus in this culture.  And I think they will be a part of a Kingdom growth explosion.

The difference between us and the world will be dramatic.  People will be drawn to what Jesus has to offer.  And we will help them.

And then we get to go home.  



Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Five Reasons I love Family Vacation at the Beach

We recently took our annual Ridgell vacation to the beach.  Port Aransas, TX.  Thanks Cinnamon Shores.  So here are five reasons I love it and suggest you figure our what it is your family can do that gives the same benefit.

1.  We are together.  No ballgames, no preaching, no other friends to keep up with.  Just the ten of us.  It keeps us connected.  Legacy stories are told.  Lots of laughs.  Lots of conversations.  

2.  The ocean.  We don't see the ocean often so it always amazing to us.  Just majesty and power of the ocean.  Marveling at God's creation.  In awe.

3.  Fishing.  The guys charter a boat every year and fish one morning.  Love it.  This year we limited on trout the first hour.  :)  I can see the day coming where it will not be me being sure the boys are doing OK.  It will be them seeing if Pops is doing OK.  And that is the way it should be.

4.  Food, games, and movies.  We love to hang out.  Nice that we great cooks and grillers in our family, including some of the grands.  Jigsaw puzzles, lots of beach games.  Talking and laughing thru the movies.

5.  Family worship.  My favorite church service every year.  Listening to my grands.  Sharing communion.  Knowing when I die that faith will go on in my family.  

So you see the common themes.  Lots of God.  Lots of family.  Being together.  Loving each other.  

Not too far off from what I think heaven might be.

So find your beach, mountains, retreat, farm, place for family get-away.

Be intentional about conversations and listening.  

Make memories.

Thank God.

Share faith.

We do it every year and it is a blessing.

So...  thanks God. 


Thursday, June 18, 2020


You cannot be a follower of Jesus and continue to be racist

For Christians.  You cannot be racist and believe in God.  Like any sin, it is incompatible with God's character.  So it must be confessed and changed (repented of).

Here is why.

From a sermon by Paul recorded in Acts 17:26

From one man he made every nation of men...

You do not want to tell God he did a wonderful job on your people but he has a manufacturer defect in other people.  God made us all.

From a sermon by Peter in Acts 10:34-35.

I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

God does not play favorites.  Not by countries or by race.  Do not play God.  You are not him and you are not going to be very good at it.

And from a vision John had as described in Revelation 5:9-10.  It is a praise song to Jesus sung in heaven by God's people around his throne.

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God.

If you cannot worship, fellowship, do life with people that are of different races and nationalities here on earth, I cannot imagine how miserable you would be in heaven.  

Of course, all of this is rooted in my conviction that following Jesus is the answer to the hate in this world.  

God is love and he demonstrated that love by sending his Son to die for us.  All of us.  And for those that believe, we are a truer family that any earthly tribe, color, or nation will ever be.


Thursday, June 11, 2020


My daughter Julie

So my daughter Julie had a birthday last week.  Here are a few of the reasons I love her and am proud of her.  I do these for all my people because I want them to know how loved and valuable they are.  I want my people to see themselves the way I see them.

So for Jules...

She is tough.  Life has not been easy.  Abuse survivors have to be tough to make it thru.  Single Moms have a hard time.  Teenagers make it tougher.  Nurses have it hard during pandemics.  You have to be tough or you don't make it.

She is a faith fighter.  We all struggle with our faith, but Julie has learned the most important thing.  Never give up.  She is not perfect.  But she fights to hang on to her faith.  Prays.  Treats people like she should.  

Loves her family.  Loyal to her friends.

Hard worker.

Her heart is good.  Still trusts and believes in people.  Doesn't see color.  Or money.  Sees people.

People helper.  Being a nurse fits her heart.  She prays for -- and sometimes with -- her patients.  Friends count on her.  Gives advice and listens well.

Our family celebrated her birthday last week and we all said things we love about our Jules.

Here are just a few.

Always had -- and has --your back.  Happy.  Fun.  Works hard to take care of her family.  Never gives up.  Loves.  Faith.  And variations of these themes.  

So Jules... here's to the future.  Better every day.  A lot of people learn how to face tough times by watching you.  And I am one of them.  So thanks.

Thanks God for our Julie.  Bless her and her kids.  Use her to help others in a hurting world.        


Thursday, May 28, 2020


A few personal notes

So let me catch you up on a few personal things that have been going on.

Next week we will be at Cinnamon Shores near Port Aransas with our kids and grands.  Lots of talking, laughing, sleeping, reading, game playing, fishing, and family worship.  One of the highlights of our year.

I am about half-way through my new book.  It is for those struggling with their sin demons and wanting to defeat them.  And it is for those committed to helping them.  

Really excited to be scheduling -- and rescheduling -- my seminars and preaching events.  I am working on my Fall schedule and the schedule for the Spring of 2021.  So if you are interested in one of my seminars (Followers Making Followers or Can I Tell You a Story), let me know.  Or if you want me to come do evangelistic story telling.  So excited to hit the road again. :)

And I started a You Tube Channel.  Short stories from life, the Bible, and our world.  Thoughts and ramblings about faith, life, and Jesus.  So subscribe.  Apparently subscriptions are a big deal on You Tube.  

And if you read this, you know Marsha and I just celebrated 47 years.  Wow.  God is good.

As most of you know, I finished up interim preaching at Winters shortly before everything shut down.  We have no idea where we will teach, preach, serve, lead, worship, evangelize next.  But trusting that God does.

Still doing U.S. campaigns for Herald of Truth.  Part of a major emphasis from them to reach our country with the gospel.

So life is good.

God is better.


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