About the Author
As I reflect back over the course of my life and this book I wrote over twenty years ago, there are several memorable episodes or experiences that stand out. We know from the scriptures, and I suppose confirmed by life's experiences, that the testimony of one's life can affect other people. I hope that my testimony will help and bless you as you read it.
The first experience or episode involves the second most important person in my life, my wife Carol. Before Jesus came into our hearts, our life together was, like many couples, going from one emotional high to another. Alcohol and its abuse along with the lust for money and worldly pleasures, drove me to almost destroy this wonderful lady that I now see as a gift from God. If anyone could justify ditching a marriage she could. The shameful things I put her through in the name of fun and entertainment are disgusting to me now.
But the Lord called us, and it was Carol who first responded. Just before the Lord, however, at this time in our lives we had what most would say was a rather successful life on the outside. Our retail business in a rural community in Iowa was doing real well. We had lots of friends and family but inside, deep in our hearts, we were lost because of me. For I had failed to be the spiritual leader and example to my family.
This brings me to the second episode. Back in 1974 a family moved into our community from Kansas City. We became close friends and traveled the party and country club circuit with them and many others. Sandy and Joyce were different from everyone else, however, for he was Jewish and the only one in town. But he was very outgoing and friendly and seemed to fit in the social circle quite well. His being Jewish didn't seem to matter, even though "Jew" jokes would be told behind his back.
I think even today many in that community would deny that his being Jewish had anything to do with the trouble they brought upon Sandy and his family. But underneath it all there laid a raw anti-Semitism.
I will try to make this story as brief and simple as possible. Sandy had arranged to have some work done for the city parks department, using products that his company sold. The work was not done properly due to the inexperience of volunteer city workers. Well, the city leaders decided to blame only Sandy, and proceeded to go after him. It got so ridiculous that even the county sheriff was sent to their home to seize property, even the kid's toys from the garage.
One day I was in my office and Sandy came in with a stack of legal papers. He was being legally pursued by the city. I had been on the city council and his friend so he probably figured I could help him. But instead, he started talking about Jesus, going to church and such things. I was astonished. Even though I had unashamedly declared myself an atheist and not interested in God, I know enough from my saintly Mother, that Jews as a whole rejected Jesus. And before me sat the only Jew in this small German, Christian town. I said, "You're not serious, are you?" But he kept insisting that Carol and I go with them to church. We did.
At the end of the church service, which by the way, was a prophecy movie on the Rapture and Tribulation Period, there was an altar call. From the back row, without a word, Carol and Joyce jumped to their feet and started down the aisle leaving Sandy and me behind. We looked at each other, said not a word, and followed our wives to the altar. The pastor, in his prayer, related how Jewish people would be hated and hunted during the Great Tribulation, even worse than Hitler had done!
I cried as the pastor was talking and praying, knowing that in a small way, Sandy was going through this in our community. That night Jesus became our Lord. As days went by the trouble for Sandy grew worse. I was now fully engaged to help him and to get the city council and community to see what they were doing. Sandy and I witnessed about our new lives in Christ to anyone who would listen.
My friends in the bank, on the council, and at the country club, as a whole, turned against me. The bankers even called my wife in to convince her to put everything in her name, for 'Jack is out of it with this Jesus stuff'. Sandy was now helping me in my furniture business. This was the last straw, for then my friends at the bank called in the bank notes and forced me to sell and sign over everything.
But the Lord had everything under control. Not all my friends were against Sandy and me. A greatly respected man, named Bob, saw what was happening and came to our defense. He went to the bankers to tell them he was financially going to back Sandy and me. Bob knew what they were doing was wrong. They were utterly shocked that Bob would do this. To this day, I will never forget the look on their faces as Bob witnessed to them.
I know that my friends who were against us had trouble with our new-found faith. They remembered our old lives of sin and worldliness. As Jesus would forgive, so do I. They will always be my friends and hope each one finds Jesus as Sandy and I did.
It is now over 20 years later and Sandy and I and our families are still together, through thick and thin.
This brings me to the last, most memorable episode of my life. When Carol and I became believers during all this turmoil with Sandy, there was one person that I first had to go see. My mother. For ten years earlier, after my return from the Viet Nam war, I looked my Godly mother in the eye and said, "I don't believe in God anymore, it's a crutch, it's foolishness." The look in her eyes was horrible. It was like I stuck a knife into her heart. She cried and pleaded, but I was heartless and unmoved. I told her the loving God she told me about would never let what I saw in the war happen. She tried to explain, but I would have no part of it. My mind was fixed on this world's fun and foolishness.
When I got to my mother's house I knew exactly what to say to her. I got on my knees before her, looked in her eyes and told her how sorry I was for mocking her Jesus. I told her that the Lord had answered her prayers for her prodigal son. We cried and cried. If only my father was still alive to experience this glorious reunion with Mom and me.
Five years went by and my saintly Mother was now ravaged with cancer. Carol and I had somewhat been seduced by the so-called "health and wealth gospel." As my mother was dying in the hospital, I went to her expecting for a miracle healing. I wanted her healed, not in Heaven. As I approached her bedside and began witnessing to her about healing, a strange quiet came over both of us. She was so weak and sick and could hardly speak. I said, "Mom, do you want Jesus to heal you?" She looked at me, tears streaming down her cheeks and said, "No Jack, I want to go home and be with Jesus. I love you." She died a couple of days later. She went home.
From that moment on my study and understanding of the Bible changed. My mother showed me what "real faith" is all about: standing at death's door with the assurance that our Jesus and Heaven are on the other side. This "health and wealth gospel" is a perversion of the truth. It centers on this life, this world.
I hope this testimony helps all who read it. Please make sure you have faith in God like my precious Mother. If I would have listened to her upon my return from Viet Nam, I would have heard her say, "Jack, the reason men fight and kill each other in wars, is not because God has stopped loving men, but because men have not started loving God."