50 Years of Power For Living
Profiles in SAINTHOOD
After more than 50 years of penning PFL profiles, I KNOW the Gospel works for today.
by James R. Adair
It started with a phone call in 1944 when I was 21. "There's an ad in Carl McIntire's Christian Beacon that may interest you," a friend told me. She knew that my mother had been praying that I would get into "Christian journalism." At that time I was a newspaper reporter for the Asheville (N.C.) Times. Though I never actually saw the ad, it led me in July 1945 to Scripture Press, then in Chicago. It began an adventure that only God could plan.
Having years earlier placed my faith in Christ, I began as an associate editor of a new Sunday School take-home publication, Power (later, Power for Living). My assignment: write and edit articles answering, "Does Christianity work today? And if so, what is the evidence?" I soon became editor and for almost 30 years traveled from time to time far and wide to interview countless people who had been transformed by Jesus Christ. Their stories, and those by other writers, gave strong evidence that there is "power in the blood," as the old song by that name proclaims. Subjects included the educated and uneducated; the rich and the poor; the young and old; laborers and executives; those from many walks of life--janitor, plumber, barber, rancher, student, athlete, surgeon, scientist, general, governor, senator, and so on.
I did not have to leave my workplace to find excellent examples of those who had found that there is "power in the blood." Scripture calls those redeemed by Christ saints, and the couple for whom I worked, the founders of Scripture Press--Victor and Bernice Cory--were excellent examples. In a Power for Living article, I told their story. In their early adult years he had worked as an electrical engineer and she had taught high school English teacher. They had prided themselves as being good people, but at Bernice's aunt Jennie Rader Valentine Party they discovered their righteousness did not qualify them to be members of God's family. Responding to the Gospel at the party, they each laid their sin on Christ, accepting His righteousness, and became "spiritual twins." They quickly became enthusiastic followers of the Savior, and in time God laid it on their hearts to begin Scripture Press and publish Bible-based teaching materials that eventually impacted Sunday Schools across America and abroad.
One of my early Power stories introduced readers to Raymond Lilly, a black man I met at a dinner. In conversation, I discovered he was a brother in Christ. He had once worked for a circus as a trapeze rigging man and later for a steel company. A janitor had witnessed to him, and later in a rescue mission he came to Christ. His life was turned completely around; he left a sinful life and in time became a powerful witness at Chicago's Cook County Hospital. At a time when he was penniless, he walked 70 blocks to bring the Gospel to patients while he ministered to their needs--giving shaves, cutting hair, trimming toe nails, perhaps giving a comb, a hair net, a pencil. Lilly became a close friend, and I rejoiced when he was named the first official black chaplain of the hospital. He was indeed a trophy of grace, and I'm sure his story impacted readers!
Another early Power story told of '"LUCKY" LOU ZAMPERINI'S narrow escapes from death. An Olympic hero in 1936 in Berlin, Germany, he had climbed a flap pole to bring down Hitler's private Swastika, and guards fired at him, and he "luckily" escaped with his life. In World War II Japanese fire downed his bomber in the Pacific; he lived 47 days on a life raft, then spent 28 months in prison. God transformed him when he encountered Christ in Billy Graham's Los Angeles Crusade in 1949. Lou became a herald of the Good News, even going to Japan in the late 1950s to proclaim Christ.
In the mid-'50s a Saturday Evening Post article introduced me to a surgeon who, with his associate, had perfected a revolutionary method of treating hydrocephalus for children.ÂÝ He was a Christian, the article mentioned. I made an appointment to interview him at Children's Hospital, Philadelphia, where he was chief surgeon. My interview with DR. C. EVERETT KOOP, later to become surgeon general, gave me insight into how his sensitive hands had performed delicate operations on infants and children, to save their lives.
And it was thrilling to hear from Dr. Koop that, at age 30, under the preaching of Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse, he had invited Jesus to be his Savior. In time he shared his faith with his Jewish associate, Dr. Eugene B. Spitz, bringing him to acknowledge Christ as his Messiah.
Jack Wyrtzen, founder of Word of Life, Schroon Lake, N.Y. whom I had met before coming to Chicago, tipped me off to several good stories. One involved two hippy generation young people--VICKY RICCARDELLA and TASOS MAHAIRAS. In their drug trips in the 1960s, they reached out for love, peace, and a Supreme Being. Tasos at one point thought he had become an incarnation of Christ, and was committed to a mental hospital. Eventually, both he and Vicky were invited to Word of Life youth camp, and there both encountered the Savior. They later married and established a Gospel outreach in New York City.Ý
Another trophy of God's grace who stands out in my memory is MAXEY JARMAN, who at that time was chairman of General Shoe Corporation, and today you can buy shoes that bear his name. He had faced the sin question as an 11-year-old boy and trusted Christ. I remember his declaring to an audience: "I believe that Christ should be evident in every phase of my life; so certainly that means in my business. The people with whom we are associated in business are watching us. We want to make sure they see Christ." Through the Jarman Foundation, Maxey Jarman made funds available to foreign missions, Bible institutes, orphanages, and other organizations which were "true to fundamental doctrines of the Bible."
GENERAL WILLIAM K. HARRISON, JR. is one of my favorites subjects. A prominent physician and close friend of the general related the story to Power. General Harrison was leader of the United Nations' truce delegation that negotiated with the Reds in Korea before an armistice was signed in July 1953. A stalwart believer, he retired after 44 years of continuous service in the U.S. Army, and declared to a friend, "I have made up my mind that I am going to devote the rest of life in full-time work for God." He became director of the Evangelical Welfare Agency in Chicago and led it through a most difficult period of expansion.
A surprise phone call from an acquaintance in the late '40s put me in touch with I man Americans had reason to hate:Ý "CAPT. MITSUA FUCHIDA, the lead pilot who started bombs falling on Pearl Harbor, is in town. He is now a Christian. Perhaps you would want to meet him and interview him." It was indeed a memorable experience for me to sit down with the man whose command, "Whole squadron, plunge into attack," plunged the USA into World War II. A Gospel tract given to him in Tokyo caused him to buy a Bible. Fuchida believed the Gospel, became a new creation in Christ and eventually preached and distributed Pocket Testament League Gospel portions in his homeland.
Indeed, during the many years I've written articles for this publication, I have found overwhelming evidence that Jesus saves, that there is "power in the blood," that He can transform a sinner into a saint, as Scripture calls believers. I continue to thank God for giving me the opportunity to meet and write about so many of his choice saints.
James (Jim) Adair is a former editor of Power for Living and its predecessor, Power. He served on the staff from 1945 to 1975, after which he became editorial director of the Victor Books arm of Scripture Press. He worked for the firm until 1996. Before becoming a newspaper reporter, he studied at Bob Jones College, and after joining Scripture Press in Chicago (now part of Cook Communications Ministries, Colorado Springs, Col.), he atteded Northwestern University Evening School. He is the author of seven books and has complied a dozen others, his most recent being Be Quoted, a collection of quotations by Warren W. Wiersbe.
A resident of Wheaton, Ill., Jim is married. He and his wife, Ginnie, have adult twin daughters, Mary and Martha. Jim continues to write from time to time for Power for Living and still serves, after 50 years, as editor of the PGM News, the monthly newsletter of famous Pacific Garden Mission, Chicago.
Dr. A.W. Tozer, Adair's first pastor in Chicago whose writings are today still widely read, wrote the foreword for his first book, a collection of Power stories, Saints Alive. Tozer had this to say about a true saint:
"The real saint is one who has turned to God from idols to serve the true and living God and to wait for His Son from heaven. Sober habiliments do not make a saint, nor self-torture, nor poverty, nor isolation from society. Not any of these, nor all of these can turn a sinner into a saint; much less can a saint be created by ecclesiastical decree. It is faith that does it, real faith the puts a person through the fires of repentance and brings him broken and defenseless to the shelter of Christ's redeeming blood. Then God receives him and sets him aside as one of His special friends, elect, and precious, a son indeed and a saint in the final sense of the word."
Answers at Last
by James R. Adair
A young woman's long search for truth finally ends in an encounter in the Alps.
Growing up in the hippie era, Jayne Good wrestled with perplexing questions, some of which she believes most children begin to inwardly ask: "Why am I here?" "Does anything I do really matter?" "Is there purpose in life?"
"I had a lot of questions on the inside, as early as five years old. That's one reason I am in kids' ministry," she stresses. As director of children's ministries in Valley Springs Presbyterian Church, Roseville, Calif., Jayne, wife of the church pastor, David George, oversees a Christian education program designed to provide answers to questions she pondered well into college years.
Though in her youth she attended church regularly, she regarded the Bible as no more than a worthwhile book of mythological stories that teach valuable lessons. "I regarded it on a plane with Aesop's Fables. When I read or heard a story, I didn't take it as being true," she recalls. "So I never really got a punch out of the stories."
Attractive with green eyes, waist-length auburn hair and wearing long skirts, Jayne began an earnest search in her teens for truth. "When I grew up in the '60s, I was one of those people searching for meaning. Time magazine published articles about 'searching for meaning'," she continues. "I watched people carefully who were talking about this issue, and the people I respected were not coming up with answers that satisfied me. They were saying, 'I don't know if there's meaning or not. Just go ahead and create meaning for yourself. Be a good person.' "
In high school in Swarthmore, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb, Jayne studied various religions. Within herself she questioned the existence of absolute truth. Cross-cultural reading convinced her that all religions had some good and bad points, but nothing she read convinced her that any had the answer to absolute truth.
"I did not want to be a person who believed in God without convincing evidence," she relates. "I couldn't bear the thought of giving my life over to God and later discovering that he didn't exist.
"My friends were searching for meaning," she remarks. "One friend went to India to study under a guru. Another friend married into Hare Krishna. I had a brilliant friend, age 17, who was influenced by a trusted person to try drugs to find reality. He ended up in a mental institution. Another friend asked his dad, a deacon, if he really believed in what his church taught, and his dad responded, 'Oh, I don't know. Let's just pretend for the sake of your younger sister that what we are taught has meaning.' So I was surrounded by people who were confused. Finally, I concluded that God did not exist after all."
But her search continued. As an exchange student in high school, she spent three months in Thailand and examined Buddhism closely. "I found no satisfaction," she says.
Back home, a friend invited Jayne to a Bible study. She was shocked to meet people who spoke as having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. After several months, she prayed, "'God, if You're there, come into my life. I've just got to make sure that You're real." And that was the beginning, as she terms it.
However, the group of believers with whom she associated "believed the Bible because it's the Bible." They did not deal with intellectual questions. "That was hard for me," she recalls, "because I had all these questions. 'If there is evil, why does God allow it?'--and so on."
Jayne's quest broadened. At a Quaker study center she studied Hasidism, a Jewish movement of the early 1800s that emphasized mysticism, prayer, and devotion over formal learning. She became deeply involved in social action projects and antiwar demonstrations.
After enrolling in Cornell University, she became involved with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter. Here in meetings with Christians and seekers, she sought the truth about God. "I must know if I'm right or wrong about believing in Him," she told herself.
One Friday night at Cornell she sat in a TV room feeling very much alone. "Everyone on my dorm floor was either sleeping with her boyfriend or drinking and/or doing drugs," Jayne recounts. "An InterVarsity friend comes in and tosses me a book, saying, 'Here, read this book; you'll like it.' I looked at its title, L'Abri, by Edith Schaeffer. It was a cold night, and I sat by the fire and read that book from start to finish.
"I was overwhelmed that in Switzerland there was a community, L'Abri--French, meaning 'Shelter'--where, under the teaching of Dr. Francis Schaeffer, a Christian intellectual, travelers were coming to discover if Christianity had the answers to difficult questions, and discovering that Christianity did have answers," Jayne remembers.
"I closed the book and started crying because the book was over, and I yearned to visit L'Abri. And all of a sudden I got this idea. 'I'm going to visit my brother, Mark, in Germany this summer. Maybe we could visit L'Abri.' We were planning to travel a bit," she explains. .
"So I sent the book over to Mark, a very bright person--he was teaching in Nuremberg. He had little interest in Christianity, but I hoped the book would capture his interest. The night before I arrived in the summer of 1973, he reluctantly read the book and agreed to visit L'Abri for one day. We ended up staying two weeks! As a result of going to L'Abri, Mark became a Christian." Today he is president of Cornerstone Institute, Annapolis, Md., which he founded to provide training in relationship-based Christian mentoring skills.
"As for me, while at L'Abri I learned that people who were a lot smarter than I, some with postgraduate degrees, were struggling with the same issues with which I struggled and coming out on the side of faith," Jayne continues. "That helped me, because most of my previous experiences with Christianity had been on the side of emotion and heart feeling--'Just believe.' That's not bad, but I needed to use my head as well as my heart in struggling through these issues."
At L'Abri she discovered that the Bible is a historically accurate document, completely reliable--"A fact entirely new to me," she adds."With the advent of understanding biblical inerrancy, I began to ask questions in the spirit of faith instead of the spirit of skepticism. Previously I had decided if something in the Bible didn't make sense to me, it was one more reason to doubt the validity of the Bible and existence of God."
Jayne began to see that God is infinite and personal, that in Jesus there is absolute truth. "Discovering there is absolute truth gave life meaning to me, something to live for," she reveals. "I was so grateful for the opportunity to study these issues in an environment in which all questions are important, and if Christianity is true it will withstand, not crumble, under scrutiny."
Dr. Schaeffer showed respect and graciousness to all people, Jayne remembers, "even those who asked what I considered ridiculous questions. I discovered that he had a very high view of all people, based on the fact that all people are created in the image of God. This had a big impact on me. I had previously shown respect only to those that I deemed 'worthy' of respect. Sort of a self-centered product of growing up in the '60s.
"On a hill in the Alps, with a deeper knowledge of who God is and an understanding of the Bible being God's Word, I thanked Him for being truly real. I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins, and I committed myself to Him as my Lord and Saviour," Jayne recalls fondly. "I prayed, 'Lord, if You do nothing else for me the rest of my life, this is enough.' "
Having discovered there was absolute truth, her biggest question finally answered, Jayne felt truly free: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). "I felt truly free: free to be and become the person God had created me to be," she concludes. "I now believed that God had created me in His image, and He had given me life; I was not here by chance. Things I do really matter--I am accountable to God. And as His child, my purpose in life is to enjoy God, serve Him, and share His truth with others."
After L'Abri, Jayne sought to know her heavenly Father in a deeper way. In her junior year at Cornell, just after Christmas in 1973, she joined thousands of other college students at a missions conference sponsored by InterVarsity on the campus of the University of Illinois.
"That conference included such speakers as Paul Little, Edmund Clowney, and Gregorio Landero," she remembers. "The conference left a deep impression on me. I remember to this day the talks of Clowney and Landero. Landero's application of the feeding of the five thousand was, 'You organize and God will do the miracle.' That's what I do today in ministry."
For her senior year, Jayne transferred from Cornell to Earlham College in Indiana to graduate with a major that included religion courses that I could not get at Cornell. Then she took courses at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.
One Sunday in a church service she heard a handsome seminarian speak on what God had taught him about being single, giving an exegesis of 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 that speaks of the unmarried caring "for the things that belong to the Lord."
Much impressed, she went home that night and told a friend, "You are never going to believe this, but I have met someone who is like the man I would love to be married to the rest of my life." But she didn't have much hope; she had the impression he was engaged.
A few months later, their paths crossed again. She was wrong. The man of her dreams, David George, had no ties. She learned that God also had touched his life at L'Abri. They began to date, and in seven weeks they were engaged. They were married on August 30, 1975. They have four children. See David's story below.
A young man with questions
by James R. Adair
Like Jayne of today's cover story who became his wife, David George set out in his college years on a spiritual search. From a devout Christian family in the Philadelphia suburb of Aldan, he considered himself a Christian but struggled inwardly with questions. "God, are You real? Where are You?"
"In my mind, Christianity was anything but lively and contemporary," he recalls. "In fact, faith in Jesus Christ was a struggle for me. I was hung up on the reality of God's power to answer prayer, the validity of the Scriptures, and my general inability to focus my faith on anything."
In 1970 David accompanied a group of college students to Jerusalem, half expecting to find God there. But he didn't. When the Israel trip concluded, he began hitchhiking to various points in Europe. He made stops in Athens, Greece and Vienna, Austria, where, as a gifted violinist, he enjoyed a Beethoven festival. Then he traveled on and visited an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship conference in a castle in Mittersill, Austria.
"They made me feel very much a part of their Christian community," he recalls. "I was happy when we sang hymns and Christian songs, and I was moved by many things our devotional leader said. I decided that I was really a Christian after all."
But back on the road, he sensed a depressing loneliness. "At Mittersill I had felt so warm inside! Now this religious feeling had quickly died," he remembers. "I realized I didn't have a strong faith in God. My enthusiasm at Mittersill was built on other people's faith, not my own.
"Leaving Mittersill, I hitchhiked on to Switzerland, to visit a Christian community called L'Abri. Here, I had heard, people could come and see for themselves the reality of God. Under the instruction of Dr. Francis Schaeffer and his staff, they could find answers to intellectual questions about the Bible, the Resurrection, faith, and philosophy."
David's first days at L'Abri were not happy ones, for once again he saw enthusiastic Christians who were very loving. This reminded him of Mittersill and of the fact that he did not have this type of Christian enthusiasm. He didn't want to fake it again.
"After spending several days listening to tapes, talking to people, and attending Bible studies, I became impressed that sooner or later everyone must be honest about his own beliefs," David recalls. "Either God exists or He doesn't; either the Bible speaks truth about God or it doesn't; either Christ's promises are true or He was a liar; either Christ rose again or He is dead. These were things I had to face and be honest about."
As David reevaluated his beliefs, he concluded that trying to live as if there were no God would be the most despairing experience he could face. Without the loving God of the Bible, who sent His Son into the world, this world has no eternal meaning, and, therefore, no meaning at all.
"I soon discovered for myself that I had been playing games with God for too long, and that my biggest problem was that I was not willing to really put my faith in His power," David continues. "I was not even willing to bring my spiritual struggles to Him in prayer. I had been convinced that I could make it on my own.
"One evening, exhausted from my questioning, I prayed, asking God to take me and my doubts and use me as He would. I invited Christ to be my Lord and Saviour and gave myself back to the Person who had created me," he concludes. "I knew that I would continue to have occasional doubts, but at last I had decided to give them to God and allow Him to teach me. This act of personal dedication was followed by a new peace. My life was completely in God's hands. He would lead me, and He would teach me."
David George and his wife, Jayne, served two churches in Wisconsin, and in 1989 God led them to begin Valley Springs Presbyterian Church, Roseville, Calif., which now has new facilities and a Sunday congregation of some 1,300. Jayne, as director of children's ministries, oversees a program touching the lives of some 400 youngsters. A graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary, David also earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in 1999 from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.