Norman KahlbergMay 6, 2020
“The two facets of Adrian Rogers that had the greatest influence on us were his rock-ribbed love and trust in the Lord and the encouragement in the value of regular prayer and Bible study”
It was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, 1980, and Norman Kahlberg wanted nothing more than to be “at one” with his Heavenly Father. Like others among his family and friends, he had set this day aside for fasting and other religious restrictions–no leather shoes, no gold jewelry, and intimacy with God alone. He entered into a period of intense prayer best described as a vigil, a time in which the supplicant waits for a sign of God’s absolution for the past year’s sins. A common phrase, “May you be inscribed in the book of life,” reflects the belief that by the end of Yom Kippur, God will have decided who gets to live another year.
Norman’s history with this day, arguably the most important day of the year for a devout Jew, had been spotty at best—one year a sense of the forgiveness he’d sought, another year a closed door, as if the “heavens were brass.”
This was a brass experience, Norman said of 1980. “I could not seem to ‘get through’ to God. Still more frustrating was the fact that throughout that day, the name ‘Jesus’ kept flashing through my mind. At the end of the fast I felt dirty, irritated, and unforgiven.”
Nearly three years and two more unsatisfying Days of Atonement would pass before the “brass” (a reference to Deuteronomy 28:23) overhead would finally be removed, and the heavens that God had “shut up” would be opened for Norman Kahlberg. After reading the book of John with his wife, Norman said, “we knelt down together to pray. Very apologetically, I asked God to show me, a Jew, how I should relate to the word ‘Jesus.’
Finally, after a lifetime of trying to find absolution, “on 13 February, 1983, I invited Jesus into my life. When I rose to my feet, I was a new person.”
Since that date, Norman has spent nearly four decades telling others about Christ’s amazing forgiveness. He starts with the book of John, and with a particular sermon by Adrian Rogers, available through Love Worth Finding.
When he first came to Christ, Norman said, “I wanted to learn as much and as fast as I could.” The Kahlbergs shared LWF recordings and video tapes with family and friends. They sent copies of their favorite sermon, The Value of a Soul, “to many unsaved people with the prayer that they would repent and be saved.”
In that sermon, Adrian Rogers tells us that the individual human soul is of infinite worth, that it is “endless, dateless, measureless…worth more than all the rubies and diamonds and gold and silver that this world has to offer…and that the human soul could no more cease to exist than God Himself could cease to exist,” because it is made in the image of God. “In the truest sense,” Rogers says, “you don’t have a soul; you are a soul. You live in a body.”
In the sermon, Rogers compares neglecting the soul while pampering the body to the actions of a fictional would-be bride effusing over a beautiful velvet-covered, satin-lined box but discarding the diamond ring inside as refuse. No spoiler alerts here though, readers who want to discover the five insightful reasons why the soul is of infinite value can go to LWF.org/valueofasoul to listen to the audio broadcast.
As for the Kahlbergs, they are still growing in Christ, still sharing their faith, and still enjoying well-loved copies of LWF resources such as the Adrian Rogers Study Bible and books of “Adrianisms.”
Which resources will you use, dear reader? Whose valuable soul will you reach?
“The Lord has used Adrian Rogers and LWF mightily in our lives,” Norman says. “To God be the glory.”