Xulon Press Successful Author Spotlight: Jack Hempfling

Filed in Successful Author Spotlight by on January 4, 2013 3 Comments

The first Xulon Press Successful Author Spotlight of 2013 features Jack Hempfling, author of “Before You Go: Forty Days of Preparation for a Short Missions Trip: A Daily Devotional”. Pastor Jack is a lifelong cross cultural missionary who was on his way to help Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey when we started communicating for this interview. Pastor Jack is a man with a heart for missions, from his beginning in 1985 when he and his wife were called to the mission field of Denver, Colorado to learn from the leader of “Youth With A Mission”, Peter Warren. He and his faithful and devoted wife Sandy have been going “wherever God will lead” ever since.

Xulon Press author Jack Hempfling

As you hear the passion in Pastor Jack’s voice, it compels you to review your life and ask, “How can I help? Where can I go? What can I do?” And he leaves you with the question, “Is the preparation of the heart for short term missionary work more important than all of the details that go into preparing for a missions trip? What prepares the heart for missions?” Pastor Jack answers that question with his 40 Day Devotional geared for all who are about to embark on a missions trip, either cross cultural or inner city. It is the preparation of the heart that is the one “must have” for any missions trip to be successful!

I asked Jack what was the one experience that changed the course of his life? He replied, “There was a single moment in time that turned us in a directional way. My wife Sandy and I had been praying about using a vacation to serve the Lord instead of just hanging out at a beach somewhere. It was 1985. I was employed in forestry in Ohio. Someone at our church mentioned an outreach in Denver. “We’ve already been praying about it, let’s just go! Let’s stop praying and let’s just go.” My wife Sandy actually led us to Denver and Youth With A Mission. And that was the beginning of our life in missions. Other the course of our missionary experiences, we have found– when you put yourself in the unfamiliar, life can be so familiar. Being in a comfort zone, we can start depending on ourselves. When you get out of your comfort zone, your faith level goes up… then you experience the Father coming through in so many ways, and you get to know Him better.”

Since Pastor Jack’s book is a 40 day devotional, I questioned him on his method for writing a devotional. He responded, “I need blocks of time to concentrate. Takes a little while to get on track and get going. I don’t need privacy. I’ve written much of my book in McDonalds– Just uninterrupted time. This book was about taking all of the “preparation training” that I had been teaching for mission trips for years and placing it in a daily devotional format. I deal with the heart preparation. The best preparation takes place while in the presence of the Lord. I just put it in a devotional form. I was working at it a little at a time. As I transitioned into pastoral work, the book kind of got put on the back burner. But then, while I was attending a conference, the Holy Spirit put His finger on my heart. He said “the time for your book is now, get it done and get it out there!” I became a late night person to finish the book. God said “get it out there!” It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of hard work, too. I spent twice as much work to get it out there as I did writing it. It was God’s vision, He wanted it done. I am not satisfied that it has gotten out there like it should. I am not conventional in my marketing. For example, I checked out the internet for missionary teams and felt led to approach them about my devotional. I contacted them via email, introduced my devotional to them as a necessary preparation prior to going on a trip– and some have started using it, like “Touch the World Ministries” out of North Carolina. You have to find your target audience and communicate with them in a gracious way, offering to help them prepare for their mission trip. That’s what the devotional is all about – heart preparation for the road ahead!”

Because of Jack’s devotion to the mission field, I was curious. What was the one message he wanted conveyed by the story of his life? “Just keep stepping of your comfort zone. Keep stepping out in faith. Not being careless to keep us from being foolish. We have so many opportunities to step out. It’s “out there” where we just keep meeting God again and again. We need to boil it down to see what is keeping us from doing what we always wanted to do for God. Which life do you plan to do that in? You only have this life to do something for God. Unless you take some steps along the way, you will never do anything. Are there gifts that you have that you are not using for God that no one knows about? Why not use them for God? He will ask someday, “What did you do with what I gave you?” I just want to say… here’s what I did!”

When I asked Jack what would inspire others about his personal relationship with Jesus Christ, he enthusiastically responded, “The most gratifying, comforting thing in my relationship with the Lord is just being His son. Whether it was struggling as a new Christian or stepping out to write a book– however you are serving the Lord. I think of the scripture when Jesus was being baptized. “Behold, this is my son and I am well pleased.” Before He did any miracle, healed anyone, raised anybody from the dead – God was pleased with His Son. Just because you believed– He is pleased with His children before we’ve done anything. That brings me out of any discouragement. That brings me out of my valleys. He is well pleased just because I am His son, before I have done a single thing and not because I do anything, just because – I am His son!”

When I asked my signature “What would you want on your gravestone?” question, Pastor Jack surprised me with his answer. “He was faithful! Not just faithful in what he was asked to do– but full of faith while he did those things. Consistent. Trusting Him along the way!”

That just made me think – full of faith while… we can’t all say we are overflowing with faith “while” we are going through it and doing what He has asked us to do!

Questioning Jack about his favorite scripture, he shared, “Psalm 84:5 “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee: in whose heart are the highways to Zion!” That talks about pilgrimage. It’s the journey along the way with our Father that is so amazing. We take steps. We have to keep stepping out in faith. My heart is set on growing, pursuing God, stretching my faith! The journey has been more memorable than any single life event. It’s all about the journey we share with God as we walk through this life– no matter where the journey takes us, He is always there with us!”

As we came to the end of our conversation, Pastor Jack surprised me with a question. “What are the devotionals you use to strengthen your daily walk?” I was honored that he would ask. I shared with him the men’s devotional on “Living a Life of Passion for God” that I start each year with to refocus my life.

We shared a moment, as fellow pilgrims on a “journey” that has been more memorable than any single life event – all because God really is “well pleased”– not because of what I do – He is “well pleased”…   just because I am “His son!”

And I could see – why preparation of the “heart” is the key ingredient to every mission trip we take!

Find Jack Hempfling’s book “Before You Go: Forty Days of Preparation for a Short Missions Trip: A Daily Devotional” in the Xulon Press Bookstore.


About the Author ()

Alan P. Scaglione is a writer who reflects on the simple contradictions and complexities to living this ”gift from God” called life. He believes that Life is a journey that, with compassion, a little levity and perspective, we help each other get through. His greatest compliment was being told “you draw pictures with your words!” He has devoted his life to “drawing”...in his poetry, his songs, his weekly “Reflections of Life” blog entries, his monthly SAS articles, his short stories and now, his novels! Alan is an everyday guy who refuses to let circumstances dictate his view to life; he lives an attitude of gratitude and spreads his positive outlook everywhere he goes. His BEST day is a day shared making a memory that will last a lifetime! Please check out Alan's books "One Unexpected Event - How Would Your Life Change?" and its sequel “One Unexpected Event - Aftermath!” in the Xulon Press bookstore.

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. avatar ndidi nwaokafor says:

    Oh, my heart is full of joy at reading this. Thanks for inspiring me to go on my own mission field. I feel the Spirit of God urging me now to go ahaed this year and let out the visions He has put in my heart to bless lives. I say, YES, LORD, HERE I GO!”

  2. I would like to request permission to quote a chapter from Jack Hempfling’s book – Before you go Forty Days of Preparation for a short term mission. Please let me know with whom I should speak and contact information. Thanks,
    Larry Secrest

  3. Larry, I’ll send you an email through my Xulon Press account. We can discuss how to proceed with your request.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *