Wednesday, December 28, 2011


What I am going to focus on this year...

I hesitate to call these resolutions. My resolution is like Paul's: to know nothing but Christ and him crucified. And maybe I am getting old, but I really want to concentrate on two things this year in my personal ministry and as a shepherd. These are two things I am gifted at and well ... they are two things I care about. I am not saying other things are not important, but I am going to say no to some things.

I am going to share Jesus with lost people. I am passionate about teaching and sharing Jesus with those who do not know Him, or those who have not given their lives to Him. I am not going to commit to long term new convert care. I think that is important, and I am committed to the care of new spiritual babies. But I am not going to provide that care. I can find people to do that. And I will. But by temperment and talent, I am an evangelist. Others are good at ministering to new Christians and discipling them.

I am going to focus my shepherding on people in spiritual crisis. I am a "triage" elder. By temperment and talent I am drawn to Christians in crisis. But I am not going to commit to long term mentoring and shepherding. I will get them thru the emergency but hand them off for long term care. We have elders and others who are good at that.

So I think most of my personal ministry, my preaching, and my writing will be in these two areas -- either directly or by motivating or equipping others in these two areas.

I have several seminars on Sharing Our Story booked thru Herald of Truth for next year. I am developing a seminar on restoring Christians caught in sin. For those that ask me to do seminars, retreats, special Sundays, interim preaching... know that these are the things on my heart. I am going to finish the book on Can I Tell You a Story? -- it is about sharing your faith thru stories.

I am teaching the Fellowship North class at Southern Hills for the first part of the Spring (at least when I am in town) and we are studying James. But I notice in my prep I am heavy on these two topics. And James does say a lot about these.

So that is my thinking at this point for this year -- and probably the next ten years if God gives my strength and if He wills it. For me, life is too short for anything else. I am going to bring people to Jesus and I am going to fight Satan when he tries to take God's people back.

It is my heart. It is my calling. I do not want to get distracted from these.

Check with me in a couple of months and see how I am doing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


And now lessons from Malcolm's funeral...

I know it seems as if all I do is post about funerals lately, but it seems that is all I do these days. I have helped do four funerals in the last month or so. Honored. Learning a lot. Yesterday was the funeral for Malcolm Herttenberger, Marsha's uncle. I could say a lot of great things about him, but I thought I would share what I learned from his funeral.

There is something special about churches in small towns. Everyone in that church brought something for the family lunch. Lots of people helping. Speaks well of Malcolm. Speaks well of them.

I like small towns in farming country. Yes, Malcolm was mayor of Rule for 14 years but that town turned out to remember one of its own.

John Greeson has preached in Rule for close to 40 years. He could have moved on many times. He stayed. His life is in that church and that town. I like that.

Family is a big deal. The Herttenberger clan is big and close. I like a family that adopts everybody into it. In-law's. In-law's relatives. Friends. Everyone is family. I like it. And yes, of course I am a Herttenberger because I married Marsha. Malcolm was sure proud of his son Lane. And Cathy. and the girls. And all of the nieces and nephews. Loved them all lots.

You can always come back home to Jesus. John and I both talked about Malcolm coming back to the Lord. He did it when his oldest grandchild was born. And there was no maybe about it. He was faithful and active for over twenty years. People need to know you can come home.

And I watched my parents -- well, Marsha's folks but they are my other set of parents -- and Marsha. Love the way they live out their faith. Loving and caring for family and each other. Being loved. Being Jesus.

Glad I got to pray several times with Malcolm and the family in the hospital and ICU. Made me stronger.

And glad I don't have to grieve like those who have no hope. I believe Malcolm lives. I believe I will see him again. And I'm glad. So I am encouraged to live faithful till I go home. Like him.

Friday, December 09, 2011


Why you always want to do the Jesus thing...

I pulled up to my local pharmacy yesterday to get my annual Zpac -- and with a sore butt from my steroid shot. I noticed a car close by with the hood up and what appeared to be an older gentleman in it. Should have stopped to help, Holy Spirit kept working on me ... so on the way out I went over and asked if he needed help.

It was clear he was confused but said his car would not start. So I pulled my truck up on the sidewalk, got out my jumper cables, hooked us up, and jump started his car. He got out to thank me. He seemed vaguely familiar but since I think I know everybody I didn't really think much about it. When he thanked me I told him I was a Christian and that's what we do.

I asked if he went to church and he said he did but he had trouble getting the name right. He finally said it was Southern Hills. Oops.... that's where I am an elder. When I got him to tell me his name, I recognized it and of course knew why he seemed familiar.

About that time his wife showed up. He had called her and a friend brought her there. She got out and said "hi Steve".

So what do I learn from this? Well, maybe learn my flock better. Or maybe it is that I should always do the right thing because I may go to church with them. Or maybe even always listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Or maybe even pat myself on the back because now they think I'm a good guy.

But here's what I think. Always do the Jesus thing. No matter how you feel. It's who we are. It's who I am. And that's what we do. It wouldn't have mattered who he was. Maybe he could have been someone who was rude and not appreciative. Maybe he could have been someone I could lead to Jesus. Maybe he could have a Christian I didn't know and I helped a brother. Might have been an angel.

But he was one of my flock and that was a pretty neat bonus. So to Jud and Juana... glad I could help. That's what family is for.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


I had a good time at Mattie B.'s funeral

Mattie B. was 95 when she died on her way to get the morning paper. Still driving, living by herself, and in church every Sunday. I got to help with the funeral and it was fun. Here are some reasons why I love Mattie B. and had fun at her funeral.

... a few years ago someone dropped a communion tray and Matt said to scratch him from the list of potential pallbearers. The Sunday after she died someone dropped a tray. I think God and Mattie B. had something to do with it.

... she bought a big ol' Lincoln Contenental a couple of years ago. She wouldn't drive it downtown because she couldn't see over the hood.

... as an elder, I don't have many in my flock that I ask if they want to dance. But I did Matt. Every Sunday. She always said yes.

... she had a great conversion story. Her daughter was converted at 13. The night her daughter was baptized, Mattie B. decided she needed to also. About a year ago that story was told to the mother of a young lady we were baptizing. It inspired her to give her life to the Lord.

...we were part of her family. Close to her kids, grandkids, and their family. I guess we were not technically related, but we thought we were. It was Marsha and her Mom who went to tell Mattie B. the news of her grandson-in-law being killed in an oilfield accident. Close. Like family.

...she used to read her Bible in the bathroom. Said it was the only way to get any peace and quiet when her girls were still at home. Read it thru every year for about 60 years. Impressive. She never would say if she still only read in the bathroom.

Great faith, lots of love. Joy and laughter always, even when times were tough. Modeled grace and love and forgiveness to everyone.

And today she is dancing around the throne of God.

Save one for me Matt. I'll be along shortly.

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