Jack Wyrtzen's Testimony
Can you really know where you will spend eternity? Can you really know if you're going to heaven when you die?
I have good news for you!
You can know for sure. You can also find real meaning to life on earth...a life that is purposeful, full of excitement and promises a certain future. I know. It happened to me. At first I fought it like everything. But then I took a simple step, and life changed for me into one great experience. Would you take a few moments right now and I'll share my story...
As a young man working in the insurance business in New York City, I spent my weekends leading a dance orchestra, playing for fraternity clubs and sorority dances. My interest in music resulted in my joining the 101st Cavalry Band in Brooklyn, NY to play my trombone one night a week on horseback in the U.S. Army National Guard Mounted Band.
One of my fellow cavalry band players, a baritone horn player named George, surprised me one evening by handing me a red booklet. I looked at the title, Gospel of Saint John, the fourth book of the New Testament, and asked, "George, are you crazy or something?" He told me he had been saved, and went on to explain that this meant he had been born again by taking Jesus Christ as his personal Savior from sin. I tried to shove the red booklet back to him, but George insisted that I take it home with me.
I put it in my pocket and forgot all about the conversation. Then while waiting for my train at the railroad station, I put my hand into my pocket and took out the red booklet. I smiled as I read, Gospel of Saint John. Somehow that Saint business burned me up. The last thing I wanted to be was some kind of saint! So I tore the booklet to pieces and a cold January wind sent the pieces flying in all directions.
The following Monday night at band rehearsal George asked, "Jack, how are you getting along with the Gospel of John I gave you last week? Have you read it?"
Cockily, I replied, "Read it? Why George, I wasn't interested and threw it away before I got home."
Unabashed, George pulled out another red booklet. "Well, here's another one. Keep it and read it. There's good news in it."
Week after week George gave me "good things to read" and I tossed them away as soon as I was out of his sight. No Holy Joe stuff for me!
Six months passed, and George and I found ourselves in army camp together. I decided to keep a sharp eye on my friend. I knew that the summer before he had committed every sin right down the list. Now, in army camp, old George would slip back to his old ways. I'd see how "born again" he really was!
The first day at army camp, I saw George step forward as several fellows were using the name God and Christ to spice up their conversation. "Listen, guys, the name you are dragging down is the name that is taking me up to Heaven." George's courage impressed me!
I had heard that a Christian would read his Bible and get down on his knees to pray before going to bed. Surely George wouldn't have the guts to read his Bible and pray with all the other fellows looking on!
Taps sounded — lights out — and George had not read or prayed. Sure enough, old George was slipping! Then the next thing I knew he was fumbling in his barracks bag and pulling out something. He sat down on the edge of his cot and by the light of a flashlight read his Bible. Then he kneeled and prayed.
This went on for the rest of our time in camp. We would curse at him and throw shoes, but he stayed there until he was through talking with God. What a fellow, this George! Something really had happened in his life. I decided that he had a quality of life that I wanted. Not that I wanted to be a Holy Joe, but I sensed George had some new power in his life that would be good for me.
That summer after we returned from army camp, I began reading a Gospel of John. That fall, the cavalry band got together again, and my buddy George invited me to a meeting over in Brooklyn. "The Gospel will be preached," he said. "Come along with me."
Curious, I went. At the meeting several people stood in the audience and gave what you might call little "commercials" for Christ, telling how He had changed their lives and made them happy. Except for what George had told me about the change Christ had brought to his life, I'd never heard anything like this. But that night God, in His love, spoke through the preacher directly to me. I began to feel sinful and separated from God. I got angry. I didn't like the way the preacher talked about sin and the judgment to come. He spoke about the real heaven and a real hell, and also about the prospect of the Lord Jesus Christ returning to take with Him to Heaven those who belong to Him. He seemed to speak directly to me and told me my only hope was a new birth — to be born again.
I left the meeting quite shaken. That night at home, as I lay on my bed in the darkness of my room, the blackness of eternity seemed to loom before me. I realized clearly that my sin separated me from God and that my only hope was in the remedy God had provided Jesus Christ, God's Son, had died and shed His blood on the cross of Calvary for me to forgive my sin. As I thought about it, I slipped from my bed to my knees and admitted to God that my life was truly stained, marred, and ruined with sin. I asked Him right there to save me and to enter my life.
I don't remember just how or what I prayed that night, but I do know that I passed from death into life, from the grasp of Satan into God's forever family. I knew that my sins were forgiven and that in the biblical sense I had been born again.
Since that day God has given me a wonderful family and five children who are all serving Jesus Christ in different parts of the world. It works!
If you would like to know forgiveness of your sin and become a member of God's family, you too can experience the new birth that Jesus spoke of when He told a man named Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). Simply acknowledge that you want to receive forgiveness of your sin, and that you believe Jesus died and rose again. By faith exchange your sin for God's eternal life. Romans 5:6 says, "Christ died for the ungodly." And II Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ , he is a new creation, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." It's as simple as stated in John 3:16 — "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
I invite you to take the simple step that I took to change my life. Receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior right now and then write and tell me about it. I'll be glad to send you a free copy of the Gospel of John — just like the one I tore to pieces and threw away.
For more information about Jack Wyrtzen contact: Word of Life Fellowship, P.O. Box 600, Schroon Lake, NY 12870-0600 USA
This testimony was published in Testimony Newsletter in the November/December issue of 1992.