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Who Are the Saints?
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Thursday, March 21, 2013
J.L. Robb

We have a new Pope.  I’m not Catholic, so I say ''we;'' because without the Catholic Church, there may not have been a central Christian religion for the rest of us (we) to spring from.  Plus, it was at Catholic school in High Point, NC where I first really heard about ''saints.''  

If I’m not Catholic, why did I go to Catholic school you might ask?  I only went for one year, sixth grade and found out later in life that I was somewhat of a ''problem child.'' Moi?  No way!

It was later in life that I found out one didn’t have to be Catholic to be a saint.  But saints always mimicked the works of Jesus; helping the poor, the lepers, the weak and abused, educating others about God, all for no personal gain.  Because of their efforts during their lives to glorify the name of God while helping, they were often thought to have a “divine” relationship with the Almighty.  Their gain was somewhere else.  So who are the saints?  Here’s a definition:

saint (noun): a person of great holiness, virtue, or benevolence; a founder, sponsor, or                    patron, as of a movement or organization.

I wasn’t really sure what I would write about for this week’s article.  The plan was to write about the nephilim or possibly the abundance of sink holes plaguing the news lately. A man in Florida was sound asleep a few weeks ago when the ground gave way under his bedroom.  The whole room and furniture fell into the sink hole and the man hasn’t been seen since.  I thought that would be pretty interesting.

Then Jack Kinsella died.

I have been influenced by many people in my life, sometimes good; sometimes not so good.  In the good-category three men come to mind right off the bat.  The first was Hal Lindsey.

I have never met Mr. Lindsey, except in his books and movies.  In 1973 or ’74 I bought The Late Great Planet Earth but never read it.  It was in my future, but I was a new college graduate and was just too busy.

My life went on, I slipped further and further away from my religion, became successful in a business sense and in 1978 some friends and I opened Atlanta’s “hottest” disco according to Billboard Magazine.  Sex, drugs and rock-and-roll.  In the fastlane, almost anything goes, especially breaking God’s rules.  Had the nightclub not failed, I may have never found God.  It was His wakeup call, at least in my opinion.

One night shortly thereafter I discovered that The Late Great Planet Earth was playing at the movies, and I went.  It was a life-changing and life-saving experience.  The next morning I was at the bookstore as soon as it opened, I bought a Bible, went home and read it, front to back.  I didn’t skip around like they did in Sunday School, I read it just like one would a novel.  Had it not been for Hal Lindsey on that Tuesday night in a movie theater in Atlanta, I probably would have never considered writing the books I write.  I did wait until I was 63, but that’s the new 43 from what I hear.  Better late than never.  This event led me to the second man who was such an influence, Ben Haden.

I’ve always been an early riser, even as a kid.  When I was five I would get up Saturday mornings at 6:00, sneak into the living room and watch Mighty Mouse, Fury, Sky King and other informative shows.  TV was relatively new then, and I think ours weighed about a thousand pounds or more.  The screen was about the size of an iPad.

As I was reading my new Bible, on Sunday mornings at 6:00 I would get up, go get a coffee and ride around and meditate about what I was reading.  Surfing the radio channels one Sunday, I came across a preacher who wasn’t preaching as much as he was teaching.  The name of the program was Changed Lives and the preacher was Ben Haden.

One of the things that impressed me about Preacher Ben was at the end of his 30-minute radio show out of Chattanooga, Tennessee he would pray, and they were great prayers; but he would never ask people to send money.  As a matter of fact, he invited the listener to send in a post card and they would get a free book, video or tape.  I did, and never did I get a solicitation for contributions.  Never did he say that contributions would enhance our relationship to God like I heard so many times.  Ben’s radio show and I became good buddies, and there were very few Sunday mornings that I missed him.  His show is still on today.  If you want to hear great messages from another man who glorifies God, take a listen.  He makes religion easy to understand.

For the next 32 years, I read as much as I could about the God of Abraham and his promised salvation and a life that continues after this one.  Who would not be interested in that?  As far as zoology has determined, man is the only species who believes in an afterlife.

I read the Quran, Book of Mormon, Bible Archeology Review, Josephus, you name it.  I couldn’t quench my thirst.  Today when I hear someone say they might believe the Bible if there was only proof that it was true, I know they haven’t read it, much less done any research.  I read LaHaye, Jenkins and Josh McDowell; I watched Jesus movies or anything biblical I could find.  I think they call that obsessive compulsive.  I learned a lot.  A lot of people have asked over these 32 years, “Why don’t you be a preacher?”  I explain that I’m too big a sinner to ever be a preacher, but I can write; and that’s how I try to glorify God and bring people to reason.

By the time February 2012 came around, I was finishing up the second book of The End The Book Series.  Being self-published, no marketing team was available unless privately funded; and at my age I didn’t feel I had the time to wait for an agent and go the normal publishing route.

One day I received a letter from a lady I am now friends with name Chris Zimmermann.  Somehow I got on her mailing list and she sent me a column from Omega Letter, a newsletter out of Canada of which I was unaware.  I read it and was hooked from the start.  Some things you just feel good about.

I contacted Omega Letter to see what it might cost to advertise my books on their site.  We shared a few emails, and I sent a book for review.  The associate editor, Kari Velemirovich (Kinsella)  asked if I might be interested in being one of their writers.  I said yes, I would love to give it a shot; and I did.  That brings me to the third great man of influence, Jack Kinsella, Publisher and Editor of the Omega Letter.

I began writing weekly.  Last summer I was talking with my close friend Connie Zimmerman, also an investor in my novel series, and mentioned that I would love to go to Canada and meet Jack and Kari.  In a blink of an eye, she said, “Let’s go,” and we did.  It turned out to be another gift from God, another in a long line of undeserved gifts.

On the flight up, I looked at Connie and said, “I hope Jack’s not one of these ‘holier than thou’ Christians like I see in some of the Christian facebook groups.”  She asked what I meant, and I said, “I hope we can at least have a glass of wine together.”

After checking in to the hotel in Niagara Falls, Canada I promptly called Kari, the first time we had actually spoken.  She said that she and Jack would come by and go to dinner and did we just want to meet in the lounge.  See, God answers prayers!

We spent two days with Jack Kinsella, and some things you just know from the get-go.  Some things you just feel good about.  That’s the way it was.  Jack had the smile, the charm, the goodness and most of all, the true biblical knowledge that would be the envy of many Pope’s.  At only 60 years old, he was a picture of good health, ex-military, ex-police, what you might expect.  We became friends.  It didn’t last long enough.

I cried when I heard about Jack Kinsella’s death last week from cancer and other complications.  I didn’t cry for Jack but for those of us left behind without his contributions, smile and great attitude, his open mind and for his family and his subscribers.  Jack Kinsella is well loved, and a Google search offers proof to anyone interested.

So what really makes a saint?  According to the definition above, all three of the men I have mentioned are saints.  Some things you just feel good about.

Rest in peace Jack Kinsella, and how’s the weather up there?  We love you and will miss you greatly.

About J.L. Robb

Last week: Dancing with the Morons

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