Richard French

Before I cared about knowing Jesus I was on top of the world at the age of 23. I had just graduated from the Naval Academy, purchased my graduation car and was in Pensacola, Florida going through Navy flight training. My life was centered on me; my flying, my car, my friends, my freedom and my regular attendance at notorious parties. My significance came through my status and my security was in my abilities. I was convinced that I could do anything and needed no one to help me do it. I was all that I needed. My insidious problem was what I experienced when I was all alone; by myself. When I was alone, I was very unhappy with who I know I was. There was no one who knew the real me because I hid it from them. I was profoundly afraid that if people knew who I really was inside, they would not like it and reject me. I would do just about anything to protect myself from that pain of rejection. How I became aware of God's grace In July of 1969, I went with a friend to a church. During the service, the speaker passed out 3X5 cards. He wanted us to write on them whether we thought we were going to heaven or not. I paused for a minute, reviewed my life briefly, and then confidently wrote, "No". When the speaker called for all those who put "No" or "Maybe" on their cards to come forward, I was amused that only 6 of about 300 people went forward. If going to heaven was really something you could know for sure, then I reasoned everyone should have gone forward. I rationalized that this was either a church full of liars and cowards or, possibly, they knew something I did not know. It bothered me that I had honestly written and honestly believed that my answer was 'No'. Later that night, after the meeting was over, I talked to the speaker privately. He not only told me what I did not know about going to heaven but he helped me understand how I could confidently write "Yes" on my card. He said there were three things that I needed to know. I asked if he could show me those three things and prove them true. He said, 'Yes' and later that night, about 9:45 in the evening of July 18, 1969, I scratched out the 'No' on my card and wrote 'Yes' in its place. I understood that if I died that night, Jesus would let me into His heaven not because of what I had done but because of what He had done. After Christ became real to me After that, all the things that I had heard about Jesus in the past seemed to be very clear and simple to me. For the first time, this arrogant, thick-skinned Navy pilot began to see some noticeable changes in his life for the better. The greatest change was that I began to read the Bible and actually enjoy and understand it. Through the eyes of Jesus, I saw a new, authentic, accepted, loved Ric, unafraid of being known by other people and unafraid of facing death. I was no longer obsessed with hiding my real self. Jesus knew me inside and out and loved me. That began the process of me humbling accepting who I was in Christ. Subsequent to that day when Jesus and I committed ourselves to each other, I saw several of my friends get interested in what had happened to me. When I told one of my closest friends what had happened, he asked, "How can I write 'Yes' on my card too?" We talked about it and that's when I shared with him that 'God saved me by His special favor the moment I believed. It is a gift of God. It is not a reward for the good things I have done so that I can not say that I earned it or deserved it.' Eph 2:8, 9 If you were asked whether you are sure you are going to heaven or not, what would you write on your 3X5 card?

My Life

Favorite Quote

Teaching is more than talking and learning is more than listening

Friends describe me

Quiet, committed to excellence

My hobbies


Fantasy dinner guests

John MacArthur, John Piper

My undergrad alma mater

U.S. Naval Academy

My worst subject in school

Atomic Cascade Physics

In college I drove

could not own a car

If I weren't a professor, I would

be on the mission field

Favorite books

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

Favorite movies

Blazing Saddles

Favorite city

where ever home is

Favorite coffee

Dunkin' Donuts cinnamon

Nobody knows I

am so critical of myself and others

My latest accomplishment

becoming certified by Apple