St. Clair resident Jack Henderson finished writing a book 26 years after he started it. But, the story and message remain the same today as it was all those years ago as well as centuries before that.
The book, “The Journey of Life,” centers on what Bible-believing Christians believe is the most important decision an individual can make — to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
“I’ve sat and listened to sermon after sermon,” Henderson said. “And I’ve heard the plan of salvation presented in many, many ways. Sometimes, it takes a mastermind to figure out what’s being said. You don’t need eloquent words or complicated phrases.
“I just thought, especially today, the message needs to be made more plain and simple. You need Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. It’s not complicated.”
Henderson, a retired minister, started writing the book in 1988, but said he lost the manuscript shortly after he started. He found it less than a year ago and was inspired to finish it.
The book is written from a 12-year-old boy’s point of view. Henderson got the idea when one of his own sons was 12, and he started asking questions about God and what it takes to get to Heaven from a biblical perspective.
That son is now 38 years old.
“I started writing the book back then,” Henderson said. “I wanted to exercise his train of thought. But, I lost the manuscript. We found it in some boxes last summer.”
He said when he started writing it again, the text “just flowed.”
“I truly was inspired by God,” he said. “The idea is to present God’s plan of salvation in as simple a way as possible.”
Biblical Christians believe that faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior is the only way to heaven, and that the Bible specifically lays out that plan.
The title page of the book uses Hebrews 11:1 as an introductory verse.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
And Henderson himself quoted Acts 16:31 when talking about the purpose of writing the book.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
“The Journey of Life” contains 10 chapters and is a short read at under 100 pages.
Henderson himself said he was saved while driving a cattle feed truck.
“I was by myself and probably about 28 years old,” he said. “I had been battling pneumonia. I was so sick I could have died. My fever was excessive.
“I got to thinking in the cab of the truck. If I died, I knew I would go to hell. I didn’t want to go to hell. As I was driving along, I knew what I needed to do. I decided that night to truly trust in Jesus Christ.”
That decision all those years ago led Henderson to where he is today.
“As I started to write the book, I wanted to use it to help others find Jesus,” Henderson said. “And I want to draw Christians closer.”
Henderson said his mother, Frances, planted the Christian seed in him when he was a child.
“She talked to me about God,” he said. “She prayed with me.”
Henderson said his mother also was a born-again Christian.
His mom died while Henderson was in the Navy. His father, Charles, died shortly after that.
Henderson remains active in his church, St. Clair Southern Baptist, as a Sunday school teacher and volunteer. He was a charter member of the church.