Tuesday, December 20, 2016


What to say to your family over the holidays...

If there is one thing I am relentless about over the holidays, it is to intentionally spend time with everyone of my family to give them a special message.  If you regularly read this blog, you will know what it is.  I tell each one of my family how much I love them and why I am so proud of them.

It is the same thing I do on this blog for all the birthdays and anniversaries.

I do it because it matters.  It matters to me because I want them to know they loved.  And why.

It matters to them because we all need to feel valuable and loved.  All of us do.

And to be honest, some of them will not be here next year.

I may not be here next year.  And I do know what I want them to remember from Pops.

You need to do this for the people in your family also.

But credit where credit is due.

I stole this idea from God.

Go back and read what God tells his son at the end of Matthew 3.

Identify the relationship.  Parents, kids, grands.  I remind them of why I am glad about our relationship.

Express love.  Never miss a chance to say I love you to the people that matter.  By the way, this is not just for the holidays, but always.  I am asking my grands how they know that Pops loves them.  Everyone of them without fail says it is because I am always telling them.

Say you are proud of them.  And tell them why.  I do talk about athletics and academics.  I do talk about professional success.  But mostly I talk about the things that really matter that make me proud.

Faith legacy.  Fighting for their faith.  Sharing their faith.  Living like Jesus.  Loving God.  Loving others.  Things that matter.

So tell your people this year.

I am going to tell mine.

So thanks God for my people.  I do love them and I am proud of them.  And I give you the glory for who they are and what they do.  Help them to always know because I tell them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Marsha's Dad, Don Herttenberger, turned 89 last Saturday

Last Saturday Marsha's Dad, Don Herttenberger, turned 89.  Life's hard for him these days.  Body giving out.  Mind getting really fuzzy.  He's got cancer now and it is spreading fast.  To be honest, his heart is just not in this life anymore.  Since Marsha's Mom died a couple of months ago, he has been slipping away.  I think in his rational moments he wants to go home to God and Granny.

But here is why I love him so much.

He took care of Granny for over 71 years.  That was his job and he did it well.  He loves his family.  The Herttenbergers are a big family and he loves all of them.  He loves his kids, grands, and his great-grands.  He adopts people into his family.  His care sitters, special friends from church, and any friend of his blood family.  All are welcome.  Including me.  When my Dad got Alzhiemers so bad, Grandpa became my Dad.  And treated me just like a son.

He loved the farm.  Grandpa is a farmer.  Farmed and/or managed the family farm up until they sold it a couple of years ago.  There is something spiritual about watching things grow.  I have listened so many times to Grandpa thanking the Lord for the harvest, the rain, and for calves born.  He really got the "give us this day our daily bread".  Still thanks God every day.

He is a great man of faith.  Before his eyes got so bad, he would sit and read his Bible.  I loved to hear his family prayers.  He doesn't pray much out loud anymore but he still loves the family prayer circles.  Our church asked him several times to serve as an elder and he would never do it.  But he encouraged me to.  I asked him for advice many, many times.  He always gave really good advice.  Lots of trips to the farm together.  Lots of farm talk, but lots of Jesus, shepherding talk.

I suspect his days here are winding down.  He wants to go home and it is time.  But he got in one more birthday.  And we celebrated like we always have.  Lots of family, prayer, laughs, and food.

Holy times.

So thanks God for Grandpa.  He did a lot of good for the Kingdom.  He led his family well.  It sure seems like he is getting closer to going home.  But until he does, bless him with peace and keep the pain away.  


Thursday, December 08, 2016


My Mom, Juanita Ridgell, had a birthday recently

So Thanksgiving weekend my Mom turned 86.  Here are three reasons why I love her and am proud of her.

She took care of my Dad for several years when he had Alzheimers.  She kept him at home.  For the last year she basically had to feed him, clean him -- and clean up after him -- and dress him.  Day after day and year after year.  No complaining.  It was faithful ministry because she loved God and loved my Dad.  Great example of what faithfulness and love really mean.

She just moved to a independent living facility here in Abilene.  Moved from her home of the last 20 years in East Texas.  Made the decision herself.  Planned and executed the move herself.  Sold her house herself.  She got advice and help from my sister and me but mostly it was her.  She did not want to be one of those parents whose kids make her move someday.  Independent.

She wants to make a Kingdom difference.  No slowing up for Jesus because of age.  One of her biggest worries about the move was finding ministry opportunities.  One of the things I love about her is she asks my advice about talking to her friends about Jesus.  Love that.

What a great role model for the women and girls in our family.

So God thanks for my Mom.  Thanks for her example of faith as your follower.  Keep giving her Kingdom opportunities for the rest of her days. 

Monday, December 05, 2016


Andrew Joel Ridgell is 9

My grandson, Andrew Joel Ridgell, turned 9 a couple of weeks ago and here is why I love him so much and why I am so proud of him.

He loves Jesus.  Everything about Andrew starts with this fact.  It shows in everything he does.  I love to worship with him.  He sings with enthusiasm about Jesus.  I am humbled when I hear him pray.  When Marsha's Mom was in her final days, she always wanted Andrew to pray with her.  He wants everyone else to know Jesus.

He loves people.  Loves his family, dogs, friends, teammates.  Andrew loves everyone.

He is a smart guy and a very good athlete.  I love those things about him.  He likes to fish with Pops.  He will get up early to have special time with me.  Love those early morning talks and prayers.

It makes me proud to hear others talk about him.  Teachers, friends, extended family.  They all say the same things:  good kid, loves lots, very positive, helps others, athlete, Jesus follower.

God is going to to amazing things with -- and thru -- Andrew.  I cannot wait to see them.

So God thanks for my buddy Andrew.  It makes my heart full to be with him.  Protect him from the evil one.  Use him in powerful ways for your Kingdom.  Help me to keep learning from his example.  He always gives you credit for the good things -- so I will praise you for Andrew.  

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