Friday, April 27, 2018


Football Drafts and Church Politics

Last night was the first round of the NFL Draft and -- because I am really weird -- I found myself thinking about church politics.

So here are a few thoughts.

Every team got exactly who they wanted in the draft.  It all worked out just like they planned.  So our team is smarter than everybody else.

Listen to church leaders talk to the congregation.  Everything is good, wonderful, and working out exactly as planned.  Every church has the best staff, the greatest programs, and we all love each other and buy in to the vision of the leaders.

So why doesn't every team win the Super Bowl?  I mean I know there is only one winner, but most teams do not really compete for the Championship.  How can that be when every draft worked out just like they wanted?

Same reason every church is not growing like it should.  Truth is your preacher is not better than every other preacher.  Your elders are not smarter and more in tune with their flock than the other churches around.  You are not smarter than everyone else. 

Every year at the draft I am reminded that football is a simple game.  Offense, defense, special teams.  The problem is that the game is played on the field.  And that is not as easy as it seems in the Draft War Room. 

Love God.  Love your neighbor.  Make disciples.  Simple.  Except this has to be done in the world.  And that is not as easy as it seems in classrooms, offices, and meetings.

Someone is in charge of the draft.  It may be the GM, or the coach, or the owner.  But someone is in charge.  No matter how much they talk about all working together.

Someone is running your church (and yes I know every church says it is Jesus but, ...).  It may the elders,  or a small group of elders, or an elder, or the preacher, or the staff, or the elder's wives.  But trust me, someone has the power.  No matter how much the talk is about working together.

After the draft, real games will be played.  And someone wins and someone loses.

Churches grow or they do not.  They are functional or they are not.  They are healthy or they are not.

And in football, someone eventually takes the blame.  Usually a coach.  They are the easiest to fire.  Not always their fault.  Sometimes of course it is their fault.

Maybe like the preacher.  Sometimes not their fault at all.  Sometimes of course it is.

But here is the one difference that really matters.

In a thousand years it will not matter to anyone what happened in this NFL draft.

But be careful about church politics.  In a thousand years, it still really does matter.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


So who showed up in Wichita to hear about Jesus?

Last week I preached in an evangelistic event in Wichita, KS as part of a Hope for Life campaign there. Those of you that know me, or have heard me preach, know what this means.  I just told stories every night.  Stories about Jesus, stories about people who decided to follow him -- both from Scripture and from people today.

There were 20 - 25 visitors they identified as interested seekers.  But what was interesting to me was how the visitors decided to come to the event.

Several were invited by Christians from the Celebrate Recovery ministry at a couple of the churches.

Some came from a targeted low-income apartment ministry one of the churches conducts.

I met one visitor from a Retirement Center where one of the congregations conducted services.

Several came with family members.

And several came with friends.

Some came because they were told it would be like "regular church preaching."  One was told I was not like a real preacher, that I just told lots of stories.  One was promised that at least I would be funny.

I really appreciate the people who invited friends to come because one of the things we said every night was that if they wanted to know more about the story they heard, or more about Jesus, or about what to do to follow Jesus that they should talk to the person that brought them.

But we did also say that their friends could even connect them with someone that could help them start their Jesus journey.  And that their friend would buy the coffee.

So here are my take--aways  to be a more evangelistic community of faith.

Celebrate Recovery needs to be offered.

Community service ministries really open doors and give credibility.

People listen to friends and family.

Preachers are not the answer.

Use your gifted evangelists.

So God I ask you to bless all those who got introduced to You last week in Wichita.  Open their hearts and give words, strength, and courage to those who are helping make them into disciples of your Son.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Hate the Sin ("eye roll" here) But Love the Sinner

Who comes up with these sayings anyway?  I cannot even explain what a trite sentence is, but I think this may be one.  Just say the first two words and everyone can finish the statement.  It is that thing that seems to make sense but it has been said so much that no one even understands what it means anymore.  It is that thing you say when you don't know what else to say. 

Love the sinner, hate the sin. 

But I get it.  I really hate sin.  I hate the sin in my life.  I hate the sin in the lives of my faith family.  I hate the consequences of sin.  Broken lives, broken relationships.  I hate the chains of guilt and shame that sin puts on people.  I hate sin because it separates us from God.

I am glad God sent Jesus to destroy, defeat, and forgive sin.  Broke the chains.  Restored our relationship with him. 

Because God loves the sinner.  So do I.  I love the sinners in my church family so much that I will do anything to help them to repentance and restoration when they have sinned.  I spend my life talking about Jesus to sinners.  Because I love them and I want them to have the same forgiveness I do.

I love sinners so much that they are always welcome in my house.  I hate sin so much that their sin is never welcome in my house.

Love the sinner.  Hate the sin.

And God help me to never get that backwards.  I never want to love the sin.  Never hate the sinner.

Hate the sin but love the sinner.


And that is why I think I will keep saying this over and over.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


A Salute to my siblings: Jan, Phyllis, Donnie, and Richard

So today is national sibling day.  So here is a quick shout-out to my four siblings.

Jan Frank.  OK.  She is my sister, and the only blood sibling I have.  The first thing to say is that it was a good thing I was born first.  She was and is way smarter than me.  More popular, better looking.  Well, you get the picture.  Not someone I could have followed because everyone would have expected me to be more like her.  High expectations.  I admire her today because of the way she loves her family and her church.  I admire the way she works hard.  She raised three smart and talented daughters.  Love you Poo (Sorry, I had to throw in the nickname).

Donnie Herttenberger.  I got Donnie as a brother when I married Marsha.  There are a lot of things I appreciate about him.  Loves sports, loves Jesus, loves family.  But I really appreciate that he is a constant supporter and encourager of my ministry.  And he shows up at a lot of my grandkids activities.  Most of all I love him for being a faith fighter.  Love people that never quit on Jesus.  Love you brother.

Phyllis Herttenberger.   I got her too when I married Marsha.  Phyllis loves God and loves her family.  Doesn't have grandchildren so has adopted ours.  Shows up at games, keeps up with them, supports them.  I so admire her for the way she took care of her parents till they went home.  Love the way she takes care of my Mom and of her Uncle Jerry.  She does for people.  Love you Phyl.

Richard Blaisdell.  And everyone has that person that you grew up with who was not your sibling by blood but really was in every other way.  For me, that brother was Richard Blaisdell.  Met him when we were in the church nursery.  Best friends all the way thru.  College roommates.  Richard was, and is, the most consistent person I have ever known.  In lots of ways, he was what I really wanted to be.  It was probably hard for him to realize it at times, but I cannot imagine where I would have ended up were it not for his example and influence.  Great follower of Jesus.  Love you Blais. 

So thanks to my four siblings.  I wrote about you today, but truth be known ... I love, admire, and appreciate each one of you every day. 

Thanks God for the two I got to grow up with, and the two I got when you gave me Marsha.  Bless them and their families every day.  

Tuesday, April 03, 2018


So My Wife Has a Birthday Coming Up Friday

So Mimi Marsha is about to turn 65 on Friday.  Here is why she is awesome and I love her.

Age really does not matter to her.  She doesn't look 65 and she doesn't act 65.  But I love that she is not afraid, ashamed, or awkward about it.

She pours out her life for others.  She was a great daughter to her parents before they passed.  She takes care of my Mom.  Helps with her Uncle Jerry.  She spends a lot of time helping with our grands.  Loves to keep them, watch them, hang out with them.  She is a card writer, meal cooker, crises prayer for lots of people.

She gets what I was made to do and lets me do it.  I literally go all over the States (and a lot of the world) talking about Jesus.  That means I am not there for a lot of things that need doing.  So she does them.  She not only lets me go, she believes it is what I should be doing.

Our home is a great place to come when you are wounded.  And most of that is because of her.  She makes our home a place of Jesus, Bible, prayer, love, food, and hugs.  She sets that tone.

Jesus and family are the driving forces in her life.

But maybe the best thing I can say about her is this.  If you want to hear about Jesus, find me.  But if you want to see Jesus, find her.

It is true.

I am blessed.

So thank you God for Mimi.  Because of you she is a great daughter, wife, Mom, Mimi, and friend.  Continue to bless her and keep giving her the time and energy to make a difference in this world for your Son. 

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