During Easter week in 1946, my grandfather Jerry Osborne was invited to spend his vacation with his cousin Ronald. Later Jerry would write that Ronald had ulterior motives, and that he had “the express purpose of leading me to Christ and getting me saved.” On April 17, Ronald brought Jerry to the Wednesday night prayer meeting at his church. After the service, the pastor, Art Walters, asked naïve Jerry if he had ever been “saved”. Jerry affirmed he had, then told how he was saved from drowning at Huntington Beach. The pastor, who no doubt must have chuckled at his answer, then began a more thorough explanation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Finally, around 9pm, Pastor Walters invited Jerry to receive Christ as his Savior. Jerry would later write that he  simply shrugged him off, but the pastor persisted in his pleas: “I said, ‘Some other time’ to the Pastor. The Pastor said, ‘now!’ I thank God for that Pastor.”

Grandpa didn’t leave the church that night without knowing Jesus as his Savior, was something that influenced his ministry immensely. Even in my life with him, how many times did “Just As I am” play during an invitation, and my grandpa would wait just a minute longer, saying that there was a pastor who waited for him. He would plead with people to come, and he would wait. Sometimes others might have wanted to hurry things along and get the service over with; but grandpa would wait, he would have another stanza played, if he thought there was a slight chance that one might come. I cannot personally hear the song, “Just As I Am”, without remembering my grandpa standing in the aisle, waiting for those who needed prayer, and those who needed salvation. His heart was burdened for the lost, and his ministry reflected that burden in its focus upon evangelism.

With great fervor he wrote, “In these last days we desire to stand straighter and firmer against sin and worldliness, and for God and country than ever before. God helping us we are going to use every means we can, in every way we can, at every time we can to win the lost to Jesus. When you pray for us, pray for souls, for ‘There’s no business like soul business’. Without souls, life to us is as nothing!”

Jerry Osborne knew the power of the Gospel, and my prayer for this church is that we might know it as he did!