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Showing posts from January, 2020

From My Autobiography: Sensei

When I was a first classman at the Academy, I read an article in PC, the British Officers’ Christian Union Magazine. It was written by Irene Webster-Smith, an Irish Quaker missionary to Japan with the Japan Evangelistic Band. The article was about how God used her in leading Japanese war criminals to the LORD in Sugamo prison.

At the end of WWII, Miss Webster-Smith was ministering with Inter School Fellowship. Before the war, she had run the Sunrise Home, a girls’ orphanage in Kobe, Japan. When she returned to Japan, there was no orphanage. Miss Webster-Smith had led to Christ a very bitter woman whose husband was on death row in Sugamo Prison for war crimes. The woman asked Sensei (Japanese for “teacher”), as Irene was known, to take her place and visit her husband. Sensei gave him a gospel of John and introduced him to the Father through the Son. She also told him that Jesus was named “Jesus” by God before Jesus was born, because He would save people from their sin.

When his wife …

Growing up in Nebraska

Here is another outtake from my autobiography:

Growing up in Nebraska, I did not know what an accent was, but I spoke Nebraskan. I was in many places during my eleven years in the Navy, so I lost the Nebraskan dialect. It got so I could recognize which part of the South someone was from—Carolina, Alabama, or Texas.

In the 1960s, the faculty of the Biblical Seminary in NYC was on the liberal side, but the students were evangelical because the seminary put a heavy emphasis on inductive study of the Bible. These students ran church youth groups in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, and Jersey City.

The students decided to have a conference at the seminary for all the youth groups and invited me to be the evangelist. Each group had a different accent. The accents were so thick you could cut them with a knife. During a break in the meetings, one group of school kids was talking together. Pretty soon, one of the kids came over to me and asked me where I was from. I told…

Evangelism on the Train

My autobiography has been written and will be in print soon. In the meantime, here is a little outtake from my many travels for speaking engagements:

One time in 1957 or 1958, I caught an overnight train home from the Coast Guard Academy to D.C. I had planned to spend the 8-hour ride sleeping.

The train stopped at Penn Station in New York City, and a woman boarded with several suitcases. I got up to help her stow her bags.

She sat down next to me. “You are the first person to be polite to me on this trip,” she said. “What do you do for a living?

I told her I was a graduate of the Naval Academy and ministered the gospel at the service academies to help cadets and midshipmen come to the Father. It is hard to imagine that I could have said anything that would have impressed her more. If I had said I was the Queen of England, that might have done it.

She told me she had been a Follies Girl for Ziegfeld back in the twenties and thirties and had dated midshipmen from the classes of 1928…

He Came Along

When Jesus sent the apostles as told in Matthew 28:19-20, it was much different from the way we send people on any kind of errand or missions. We send people because we cannot or do not wish to go ourselves. The sender separates himself from the one sent. The one sent goes alone. This is with mutual agreement, for if the sender said that he would accompany the sent one, the sent one would reply, “Why do you send me if you are coming along? Go do it yourself.”

That is not Jesus’ way. He sent and then He said, “Lo, I am with you always to the close of the age.” Jesus sent, and then He “came along.” Isn’t that wonderful?

But that is not the first instance of “sending and coming along” in the Bible. Jesus said, “And He who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone” (John 6:29). The Father sent the Lord Jesus, and then He came along. “He who sent me is with me.” He sent us, and now He goes along with us. How great it is to realize that no matter where we are or what our mission, He is …

Don't Be A Pharisee

“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing, He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

"The first," they answered.

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him." (Matthew 21:28-32)


Jesus is not teaching the merits of delayed obedience here. He is teaching repentance for both the person who initially refused and the one who promised to obey. It seems to be easier, however, for those who know they are disobedient to repent than i…

Faithless Amazement

“When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get his wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked. ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’ And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith” (Matthew 13:53-58).

The people in Jesus hometown were “amazed” but not positively so. They knew his power and authority were true. They did not like it. When they asked, “Where then did this man get all these things?” they did not want to know the answer. The question was accusative. They took offense. And because of their lack of faith, they deprived themselves of …