I shall never forget it. I was 10 years old. I was desperately reaching through a mob of fans to get the signature of the hero I idolized. People were pushing and shoving. I was asthmatic and nearly suffocating as I fought to press my way forward. My once-in-a-life-time chance could not, must not, pass me up. I had to get that autograph. The rudest people were the adults. I think they knew that, being older, there would be fewer chances for them to get within reach of their icon before they died. Little guys like me could be stepped on. But I got it! The little asthmatic got it! I trembled with excitement in the presence of my hero. And I still have the signature today.
It wasn’t a rock star, or a sports icon. It was Jack Hyles.
I have a number of signatures in my old Bible. I found it today when I was rummaging through the basement. I don’t like the sign-the-Bible tradition. But I have to admit that my collection makes me smile. And, though a grown five-point Calvinistic man, I am not ashamed to admit that Jack Hyles’ influence in my life wasn’t all negative. I know God used him even though almost everything about the man’s ministry turns my stomach.
Take a look at a few from my “collection.” Please note: To own their signature does not mean that I endorse them now!
Bill Gothard. I’m not a fan now.
E.Robert Jordan. Great church planter and the only preacher I’ve ever heard say “butt” from the pulpit. Calvary Baptist Church and Theological Seminary is a great ministry.
Ernest Pickering. I loved this man. He seemed to understand me when others wrote me off as a troublemaker. I am deeply indebted to this man and for his many excellent writings.
John C. Whitcomb. I was a little boy when I heard him give a series of lessons from Isaiah. I have loved that book ever since.
Alfred B. Smith. We used his hymn book for years. I think I heard him lead the music at a Sword Conference many years ago.
Rudy Atwood. I practically worshipped the way this man performed. I remember listening to his recordings when I was a kid. Don’t have any now. Probably wouldn’t be that impressed anymore. Nonetheless, I like Rudy Atwood and when I met him at his home church one year while with my folks on furlough, I asked for his signature in my Bible.
James B. Irwin. A Christian astronaut. Heard him speak in Central Africa Republic in the early 1980s.
Filed under: Things I have learned |