Thursday, January 3, 2013

he was no wemp

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls.

It was one of my first classes at college as I walked in the door of the downtown Dallas campus of the Bible school I attended.  This was a huge step, and I was excited.  The people I would meet and the professors I would sit under would change the strength and path of my life. 

Dr. Wemp in 1981 at Liberty U
One of the first people I met was Sumner Wemp, and over the course of the next 16 weeks this old man’s passion for winning souls would influence all who listened and learned.  I was one of about 30 people in that Personal Evangelism class.  Dr. Wemp was passionate.  We read a few of the books he had written, we heard story after story of people coming to know Christ, and I even experienced some people coming to Christ through the connections in that class.  It was awesome.

What I didn’t know was much of his story.  Sump Wemp accepted Jesus when he was 17 years, and he had not even seen a Bible or heard of Jesus up to this point.  His life was radically changed.  He ended up being a pastor, college professor and much more with his wife by his side making a huge impact in our world for Jesus.  He was one of the first administrators hired at a brand new college in Lynchburg, Virginia back in the early 1970’s (now known as Liberty University). 

Wemp impacted thousands of lives through his life.  He taught people like me to find comfort and confidence in sharing my faith in every situation of life.  There wasn’t a special formula or some memorized script.  It was simply sharing your faith with as many people as you can.  He also introduced me to some other people who have influenced me big time.

In the spring of 1991 I went on a mission trip to Merida, Yucatan, Mexico because of the push of Dr. Wemp and an organization he was part of.  I saw many people come to Jesus that week, and the most amazing was a group of middle school age girls walking home from school.  I couldn’t speak Spanish so I asked our translators and a couple of teenagers to share with these girls.  I sat on the curb near by praying and watching.  In the next few minutes several of those young teen girls asked Jesus into their heart.  If I remember correctly, 8 of those girls were saved that day.  WOW.  It was amazing.

This past week Sumner Wemp passed from this life to the next.  I stopped in my tracks when I learned of his death.  Over the years I have kept up with Dr. Wemp and even received a weekly email from him that sent to hundreds of readers who wanted to share their faith.  Learn more about Wemp at

Because of this one man’s passion thousands and maybe millions of lives have been changed.  His influence has gone far beyond that classroom in the fall of 1990.  His influence means that I share what God has done in my life often.  Be careful if you sit next to me on an airplane, strike up a conversation in the line at at grocery store, wait on me at a restaurant or walk in our church because you are going to hear some of my story of how Jesus changed my life.

We need more Wemps.  He was no wemp, I mean wimp.  We need people who have met Jesus and who are willing to simply tell their story so others will have a story about Jesus in their life.  Other people have influenced me to share my story of how Jesus changed my life(Phil Dietz, Dan Korver, Harry Thompson, John Adams, my dad and my brother just to name a few).  

Let’s start this New Year with an extra push and more passion than ever to tell what Jesus has done for us.  If you know Jesus, you have a story to tell.  Tell someone.

Isaiah 52:7
How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Acts 2:21

NOTE: Dr. Wemp’s funeral is this Thursday in Dallas, TX.  Learn more about him, see his writing and his books at

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happy birthday, Julie

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