Since I’ve made more than one reference on this blog, to the two main radio ministries I’ve been associated with, maybe a look farther back to the beginning might be in order.
Thinking of doing that, I can’t help but recall “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, and the self-important newsman, Ted Baxter, when he’d say, “It all started at a little 5 watt station………..”, etc. Maybe it wasn’t a “5 watter” - seems to not even be legal - but the start of the narration is what always made me laugh.
Or Bill Cosby’s interminable comment, “I started out as a child.”
So………..“I started out in a Christian home”. My Mom and Dad, followed by my sister Miriam, were the epitome of the Christian family. I came along “riding on a wave”. I sang “Jesus Loves Me” - and others - at church, and went every Sunday.
At about age 10, my family and I drove to the city of Bellefontaine, Ohio, to attend a rally led by the ebullient preacher from Indianapolis, E. Howard Cadle. We used to listen to him on WLW every morning.
I don’t remember his message that night, nor his emphasis, but he was loud, and flowery. As is the norm for Protestant/Evangelical preachers, he never failed to give folks an opportunity to “decide for Christ”. This meeting was no different.
I need to say right here, that my sister Miriam came to Christ (got saved, as we always say) at an early age. I don’t recall how that came about, if I ever knew. But, like many things on this blog, when I can’t think of a fact or two, OFTEN, they become clear before I’ve finished the posting for the blog. (Not here yet.)
Anyway, at this meeting in Bellefontaine, when the invitation was given, Miriam INSISTED that I respond, by standing up. Remember, I was about 10, and Miriam 21. This age gap many times led her to “assist” in my upbringing - such as the time when I REFUSED to drink tomato juice that Mother gave me - as well as other such things good for me. I guess I finally relented, and drank the juice. I don’t rightly remember whether it was Mother - or Miriam - who finally got me to “surrender”.
Well……….the insistence, cajoling, pleading, and I suppose some other actions, prevailed, and I stood up. That meant, of course, that I was saved!
Not so fast!
I was TOLD that I was saved - but I didn’t FEEL saved, nor did I really BELIEVE that I was saved. It didn’t appear to me that ANYTHING happened.
But.....what was I to do?
I just went along - not really trying to deceive, but just “going along.” I was “saved”, surely, everyone thought - including me, after a time, I guess.
Fast forward to my High School Graduation. Guess what my sister’s gift to me was. A BIBLE - of course!
I opened it and read it, occasionally.
I had begun dating my future wife, Jean, while still in High School. We also went to church together. And, after graduation, I bought my Grandpa’s 1927 Model T Ford automobile for $25, and took Jean to church in it. Well…… we got as far as a block away, like downtown, then we walked the rest of the way. Jean never understood why we didn’t drive all the way. "In a Model T? Really", I thought.
As I’ve related here before, I drove a truck for Bud Perry, and then went to Coyne Electrical and Radio School, at 501 South Paulina Street in Chicago.
Finally, our old friend, Uncle Sam, wrote me a nice letter, that started out, “Greetings”. I was drafted.
A month later, Jean and I were married, in a Church Parsonage, by the Rev. Paul Wachs, with his wife Helen, Bob Holman and Miriam with us.
When I went into the Army, I took along the Bible Miriam had given me at graduation - hardly cracking it open the whole time. I did attend church services in the Army - occasionally. Hadn’t I always before? At home, Jean attended church also.
Again, “fast forward” - to 1951 - with two boys being added to our family, along the way - Jimmy and Johnny.
We had settled in our home on Pleasant Street in Mechanicsburg, OH - while I repaired radios - then televisions at the R.W. Schetter Jewelry Store - that also sold radios and TV’s. (I don’t think the apostrophe after “TV” is proper since it is not “possessive“, but It doesn’t look right without it.)
Sometime in the fall of that year, our oldest son, Jimmy (age 4), developed a sore lump on one of his lower arms. It seemed to be not a big deal, at first, but as time went on, it didn’t get any smaller. In fact, it seemed to enlarge. I don’t recall what the doctor said, but we, and Jean, especially, were worried.
Up to this point, Miriam, and her husband Stanley, regularly “witnessed” to us about Christ. But, neither of us was very interested. We had gotten a little “tired” of it, I think.
But………when trouble came - guess whom we called?
Miriam, of course!
She invited us down to Springfield, where they lived on Kramer Road. We left Jimmy and Johnny with Grandma Anderson.
Since it was December, it was dark by the time we arrived. We just sat around in their living room - and talked. That is, Miriam and Stanley talked. We listened. Thinking about Jimmy, Jean was a little “teary”, I guess.
They began telling us about Christ, and how He gave up His Life on Calvary’s Cross, to pay for our sins.
Right. I knew that. Nothing new.
What Was new, was that they began making His death on the Cross personal to US. How it affected US. How His death meant eternal life for US.
In spite of my “growing up in church”, I hadn’t a clue as to what that had to do with me - much less what I could do to benefit from it. I used to sing “Into my Heart. Into my Heart. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus”, but I didn’t “connect”.
Finally, while Stanley was trying to describe our “receiving Christ”, he handed Jean his Bible, and she reached up to take it. “That’s how you receive Christ. Will you receive Him?”, he said.
I was “flabbergasted” (A good old fashioned Mechanicsburg word.), because Jean started bawling and said, “Yes!”. She liked to never stopped crying.
I looked around, kind of in a daze, and thought, “Right. Jean did that. What about me?”
After that, we talked for maybe 3 hours more, before I was willing to let my sister hear me admit that I was a sinner. She KNEW it - and so did I. But, Oh, it was hard!
Finally, I said, “You mean that if I admit my need of Christ, and accept the Gift of Eternal Life from Him, that I will be saved?”
Yes…….DUMMY! (Not Stanley’s words, but mine right now.)
So, I did.
John 1:12 “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.”
When we FINALLY got home and gathered up the boys, before I went to bed, I got out the Bible Miriam had given to me 9 years earlier, and read until I nearly went to sleep.
Oh….Jimmy’s “lump” on his arm seemed to go down, with no apparent ill effect, sometime after that.
(You know, this is getting REAL long, so I think I should end here, and pick up the story in a later posting. OK?)