Joseph Herrin (06-16-2014)
My Daughter Kristin and I - Father’s Day 2014
It is hard to imagine that Summer has not yet started here in Georgia, USA. The first day of Summer is June 21, so there are five days of Spring left. It already feels like Summer. We have started the typical pattern of hot and muggy days with scattered afternoon and evening thunder storms. Temperatures have been reaching the low 90s for a couple weeks (32-35 Celsius for international readers). My newly installed rooftop air conditioner should get a good work-out this summer.
I have spent some time recently praying and thinking about what projects Yahweh would have me to pursue at this time. There is no end of possibilities, but I believe the Lord would have me prioritize a number of items for completion this Summer. I will detail those items below.
• Completing the FOUNDATIONS series.
I have made a good beginning on this series, which will eventually be posted online as a book. My word processing program shows the chapters completed thus far as spanning 152 pages, and I have a long way to go. This could end up being one of my lengthier books. I last posted a chapter on April 24th, taking a hiatus to write the two series Double Jeopardy and Deception.
• Expanding the Parables Bookshelf Newsletters.
The Father directed me to convert my books, and many of my other writings to a newsletter format several years back to share with men in prison. Each newsletter ranges from 16-26 pages in length. They are sent out weekly to all who ask to receive them. There are 88 newsletters total in the series, so it takes a man about 1-1/2 years to go through all of them.
A significant number of men have now gone through the entire series and have asked for more newsletters. There is a general dearth of quality Bible teaching material that promotes sound doctrine and spiritual growth to maturity. Prison ministries sadly reflect the state of Christianity in the culture. There has been a falling away from truth. Teachings seldom rise above that which the apostle Paul described as “elementary things.”
Parables Bookshelf Newsletter
There are a surprising number of men in prison who are spiritually awakened and hungry. For a remnant of men, the prison system represents a low point in their lives where they reach bottom and begin looking up to God. I have had precious correspondence with a number of men who have demonstrated significant spiritual growth in their lives while incarcerated. Some have asked to continue receiving the newsletters after they were released.
Many of the men receiving the newsletters have lengthy prison sentences. Their earliest release date is years down the road, sometimes decades. Some who receive the Parables Bookshelf Newsletters have life sentences without parole. I truly sympathize with those who must endure the dark, godless environment of the prison system for such extended periods of time. It is a blessed opportunity to be able to provide teaching material to these men at no charge.
“I was in prison, and you came to Me.”
I have not added any new material to the newsletters in a couple years. Books that have been written in that time include Dragon Flood, No Apologies, Yahweh’s Book, Push Back, and, when it is completed, FOUNDATIONS. With a number of shorter series and standalone writings, I could easily expand the newsletters to provide another year’s worth of material for these men in prison. It would likely take me a couple weeks to create the newsletters. This is a top priority item for me as I now have a backlog of 36 men who have received the entire series and I have no more material prepared to send to them. My top two priorities, therefore, are to complete the FOUNDATIONS series and then convert all of these recent writings to newsletter format.
• Audio Books
There is a page for audio messages on the Heart4God website. This has proven to be a popular offering for many Christians. Some have written to me to share that they have listened to all of the audio messages that are available which currently number about 80. These are all messages recorded live during my years at the Macon Rescue Mission as I spoke during chapel services, or during my travels across the country to meet with small groups.
For some time it has been on my heart to record all of my books in audio format. This would be a fairly simple task, though it would take some time as FOUNDATIONS will be my 19th book. All of my books are available freely in digital print format at no cost on the Heart4God website as PDF files. Ten of the books are also available in Amazon’s Kindle format. Amazon has a feature where Kindle books can be synched to audio recordings of the books so that the reader can listen to the book being read aloud as they follow along on the page. This feature is called Audible and would be a nice option to make available to readers who use Kindle devices or apps. At the same time I would like to record the books in MP3 format for anyone to listen to on a wide range of devices.
A further benefit of creating audio versions of these books is that it gives me a chance to read through all of them again. Believe it or not, I sometimes forget the things I have previously written. It is good to refresh my mind and memory by reviewing those things the Spirit of Christ has revealed to me and directed me to share with others over the years of ministry.
Once I have created quality audio recording of my books, I would like to create videos from a number of them. This would require matching images, text, and various screen shots to the subject being read. Books such as Dragon Flood, Yahweh’s Book, Push Back and Living Epistles would be readily adaptable to a video format due to their inclusion of many graphics and photos.
• Update Heart4God Website
Any time I create new material I try to catalog it and make it available through one of the pages on the Heart4God website. I need to keep the site current with new books, newsletters, audio files, videos and other material.
• Correspondence and Current Events
Although this does not fit the description of a project that is pending, handling personal correspondence tends to be one of the items that regularly consumes significant amounts of time. It can be one of the most fruitful and rewarding uses of my time, and I consider it a privilege and an honor to provide counsel, encouragement, and fellowship to the people of God through e-mail. I anticipate that correspondence will continue to be a regular part of my summer activity.
Additionally, as significant events occur over the next three months I will take time out from current projects to address that which is important.
• Daily Living
I think some readers envision me as sitting behind the computer all my waking hours, but like everyone I have matters of daily living to attend to. I ride my recumbent trike to town, a round trip of 30 miles, about once a week to fetch my mail at the post office and to buy groceries. I live alone and cook my own meals and wash my clothes, hanging them out on the line to dry. I can be found outside in the evenings mowing grass 2-3 times a week. I also take my dog Champ for runs as often as I can squeeze them into my schedule.
This physical activity is a good counterpoint to the mental activity of writing and ministry. The body needs exercise, and the mind functions better when the body is healthy.
As you can see, I have many opportunities set before me. I am eager to see these projects develop and be brought to completion. As with anything we do in the kingdom of God, our own strength and abilities are inadequate for the task. I therefore entreat readers to pray for me that I would have an anointing from Yahweh to perform each labor so that when all is said and done I might know that it is pleasing to the Father.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063