Saturday, November 22, 2014

From Where God Sits

Herb Shaffer, pastor-church planter alias Life Coach was but a name until recently. I encountered him at the Crowne Plaza in Lansing, MI while conversing with friend Bill Jones as the 94th session of the General Assembly of the Church of God in Michigan got underway. Now retired from pastoring 18 years and working at a slower pace writing, editing, and promoting books, I can no longer undertake the expense of attending the full Assembly but I attend the BIG day (2-day affair) as often as possible.

Concluding my conversation with Bill, I strolled over and this tall, lean-looking stranger shooked my hand. I recognized him from pictures in “Michigan Action”. This peer-stranger became a friend--especially when he picked up a book, wrote in it, and handed it to me – From Where God Sits. I found this to be his quest to see life from where God sits. 

Having met numerous other Shaffers’ in many places across the country through the years, I learned Herb is a product of Maiden Lane Church of God in Springfield, OH. Now, to a Wolverine that suggests just another Buckeye, but everything I learn about Herb spells o-k-a-y . . . As a Life Coach, he administers the ISL Program formed in the minds of Area Administrators of IN, IL, MI, OH, & PA.  Initially envisioned by Don Smith in 1987, then Assistant State Minister of Indiana, the dream was to educate Ministers and Lay leaders in practical applications of church growth principles and teach a methodology for churches to embrace and practice. 

This Five Church System became the first framework around which the ISL Curriculum was designed. Currently, it teaches the Natural Church Development system designed to bring churches to health with the understanding that healthy churches grow naturally—a sensible conclusion. Meetings are planned for two day seminars (Friday-Saturday) each spring-fall for 12 hours of instruction, workshops and small group interaction.

Since books are dear to any Minister’s heart, you can understand my enthusiasm. On reading From Where God Sits, I found Herb’s highly-intriguing insightful analogies and descriptive phrase-turns, one liners, unique thoughts spun into short stories, an utterly wholesome view of life. He wrote them conversationally in easy-to-grasp concepts that frequently pushed the envelope for good devotional reading - forty-eight chapters in 146 pages!

His dry humor first hit my radar antennae. At other times I laughed out loud. A one-liner that captured me announced “behind every don’t is a bigger do.” Try applying that to the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses! He didn’t write all of this in what I consider the most refined grammar and sentence structure, but what he did do was capture my attention! He challenged me--to examine myself more closely than I am accustomed to doing in the much reading that I do.

If you trip when he doesn’t write in the theological language or brand of conservatism--liberalism your theology prefers; rest easy, he will deliver a sound conclusion befitting those lessons taught by Jesus and modeled by Peter, John, Paul and the multitudes within Christian orthodoxy.

I am a better person for having taken this walk with Herb, and let me be quick to add “Thanks Herb, for Chapter Forty ‘Over the Hill or Top of the Ridge’” (Ch. 40, p. 117). I wrote my first piece on “Life Begins at Forty” nearly fifty years ago, but your myth debunking made me cackle. And frankly, it made my adrenaline pick up its pace ... 

You can always reach Herb at, shown at right n a teaching session. From Warner’s World, 
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