I Am Not Ashamed!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:
for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;
to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16 KJV

“Excuse me,” I said looking up at the man. He was huge. Powerful. Broad chest and shoulders clothed in a white karate ghi. And he looked every bit the part, a professional fighter with a knack for breaking bones. In fact he had just broken a pile of concrete blocks…with his head. “Um, Mr. Barlow?”

“Yes?” Frank Barlow turned and looked down at me. “I’m in a hurry, son. How can I help you?”

“I, uh, I just wanted to ask you…” I hesitated and then just blurted it out. “Do you know Jesus?”

Mr. Barlow appeared stunned, caught off guard, but then he chuckled and retaliated as a humored smile broke the stiffness on his face. “Son,” he said, “I don’t have time for religion right now. I have more important things on my mind.”

I grinned sheepishly. I knew I was licked. Besides I didn’t know what to say or do next. For that matter, I had no idea why I’d even asked him the question. It was just something I felt compelled to do.

“Okay,” I said. “I really enjoyed your presentation.”

Mr. Barlow nodded, smiled at me, and walked away. I never saw him again. A few months later my mother told me a story. She had been at a gathering of Christian women that day, a lady’s luncheon of sorts. “We had a guest speaker,” she said. “He was a karate expert.”

“Really?” I was enamored with the notion of karate. Of black belts and fists. Of breaking boards and blocks and people’s heads with nothing but hands and feet. “Who was it?”

“Frank Barlow.”


“He gave his testimony,” she explained. “About how he’d become a Christian. About how he was on his way back to his car after a karate exhibition when this high school kid came up to him and asked him if he knew Jesus.”

“Mama that was me!”

“I know,” my mom said with a smile. “I just thought you might want to know you had an impact on his life. He accepted Christ.”

The gospel of Christ is powerful. Life changing. And it’s meant for people of all nations—Jews and Gentiles. Everyone.

That was thirty-five years ago. For more than twenty of those years Mr. Barlow operated a dojo in my hometown, called “Judo and Karate for Christ.” Today he is a Karate Master, with a 6th Dan black belt in Shorin Jiu Te Do Karate and expertise in numerous other disciplines. But today something else is different about him too…today Frank Barlow knows Jesus.

Are you a Christian? Is there someone you know who needs to know the truth? Then tell them about Jesus. If a skinny eighteen-year-old kid can turn a powerful karate expert around by asking him a simple question, then imagine what you could do.

Your Turn

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Who do you need to tell about Jesus?

by Pat Patterson

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I am a paramedic, an educator, a family man, and an adventurer. I love life, and live to go fast. I used to race motorcycles, now I ride a mountain bike. I have sailed since I was nine, taken a million pictures, studied many topics, and bandaged a lot of people. I write about what I know. So if my stories are gritty, a little fast, colorful and full of adventure, it’s because I’ve been there, on the water, in the woods, and on the street, with dying people in my arms, and that has left a deep impression on my heart.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.