Jon signed with the Baltimore Orioles organization as a pitcher after graduating from Bradley University. He married his college sweetheart Bev, and they have three children and sixteen grandchildren. After baseball Jon became a Christian while owning and operating a professional dry cleaning business. During those years his teenage ministry grew to over two hundred in attendance as he taught from the Bible.
Jon became a real estate agent and from there the birth of Family Focus USA Inc. ministry. God grew this ministry into a family seminar that was presented throughout the United States.
Jon and Bev began their radio program twenty-nine years ago on WPEO in Peoria, Illinois that ended in July 2012. They have seen hundreds of people come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, marriages saved, suicides avoided, bitterness, rebellion, guilt and addictions stopped as God honored their Biblical counsel.
All three of Jon's books, "The Winning Pitch" , "In The Big Inning", and now his latest book, "HIS" Extra Innings", are full of exciting short stories of how Jesus changed lives for His glory. You may purchase all three of Jon's books, at the AMAZON link below.
testimony from his first book:
The evening came to go to the banquet with Maurice and Opal. When we got there Bev and I were ushered into the basement of a big church in Washington, Illinois. Many people were sitting there talking and waiting to be served the meal. Our seats just happened to be very close to the head table. At the head table sat the speaker, the Chairman and his wife, the master of ceremonies, the song leader and the soloist.
I was eating away trying to make small talk with my mouth half open and full of food. My wife gave me some undigested glances from time to time but my glance back reminded her that I was only there for the meal.
The song leader got up and wanted everyone to start singing a song. I wasn't done with my desert, plus I wanted to finish off what Bev had left. The group could get along without me singing. I continued to feed my face.
The songs they were singing were hymns. This was beginning to sound like a church service. That didn't bother me. I had been to church before. It had been a good place to look over the crop of good looking girls that might be available.
They were into their third song when some lady came along and took my plate away. This was a huge hint to stop eating. The fun was over and the time to endure the rest of the evening was upon me.
The Master of Ceremonies goes up and introduced a man who told a story about how a fellow soldier helped save his life on the battle field. He made a promise that if he ever got out of the war alive that he would give his life to God. He would also try to be as diligent as though he were two men for the sake of his buddy who died to save this man's life. I was impressed.
The soloist sang a few songs. I noticed that no one was smoking and talking while she sang. This was really a genuine evening. I wondered what the main speaker was going to say. The guy that spoke before was cool and I was getting into this.
The Chairman of the meeting stood to introduce the speaker.
'Ladies and Gentlemen, we are privileged to present to you this evening a man who is a retired general from the United States Army. This was one of the men who signed the Second World War Peace Treaty. Lets welcome General William Harrison'.
The place quieted down after a round of applause.
General Harrison was not a very tall man but he stood there with
authority. He looked slowly around the room with a smile on his
face. He took his time and seemed to look into the eyes of everyone there before he said a word.
Finally, I poked my wife in the ribs and said: 'This guy's weird. Look at him staring at us!"
Then General Harrison spoke. 'Did you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?'
He began to present the gospel in a very clear and understandable way. He continued.
'Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so there are spiritual laws that govern our relationship with God.
If I stand here and drop a pencil it will always fall to the floor, due to the physical law of gravity. If a person jumps off a twenty story building he will fall, due to that same law of gravity, and he's likely to die when he hits the ground.
These spiritual laws are just as consistent and profound as God's physical laws.
God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Are you experiencing that plan?'
The General quoted
I had heard that verse before. Then he looked into the audience and said: 'God included everyone in this room when he spoke about loving the world. He brought it down to one person when he said, "Whosoever".
Hold the phone. That got my attention. He said the word, 'hell'. I figured this guy was alright. He was talking my language now.
Then he really got my attention when he said: 'Which whosoever are you? If you believe in Christ, you're going to heaven. If you don't believe in Him, you'll go to hell. Believe means to commit your life to him.'
I was beginning to see how he got to be a General in the army. He
shot from the hip. He didn't mess around and I liked that.
A real man’s man. I was hoping that I was one of the good guys. I had tried to convince Preacher Boy that I was one of the good guys.
He quoted from
I sure wasn't. He said: 'Do you know why most people are not experiencing that kind of life?
Man is sinful and separated from God, and thus he cannot know and experience God's love and plan for his life.'
When the General mentioned being sinful I started getting upset inside. It doesn't take a mental giant to figure out what sin is. I had quite a foul mouth, told dirty jokes and my thought life left much to be desired. This got me thinking of a lot of stupid things I had done. His comment about being a sinner started all this junk racing through my mind and my face started getting red.
During the years I went to school there would be times when I would be embarrassed in class, for one reason or another. When that happened my face would get red. At those times there always seemed to be someone behind me that would say: 'Look at Burnham's face get red.'
Now here I was at this banquet with my wife, minding my own business, and all of a sudden my face is getting red for all to see. I didn't know the people behind me but I thought sure I heard someone say: 'Look and that guy’s face get red.' Hearing that, my head pounded with every heart beat - Boom, Boom, Boom. My face must have looked like a flashing neon sign. I felt like I opened the door for the General to point at me and say: 'Now here we have a prime example of a sinner. I don't know what your problem is young man but it must be a doozy'
Even though he didn't say a word about me I was ticked at him for triggering my mind to do this instant review of my tarnished mental bank. Now I was paying the price publicly with my red face.
General Harrison went on to explain: 'Since man is sinful he will try most anything to fill the void in his life. He'll try a variety of things like a philosophy, good life, ethics, etc., to fill that void. He will always fall short of the peace of mind he's looking for.'
General Harrison quoted
another scripture -
I never heard anyone break a verse down before. I thought: 'This aught to be good.'
He said: 'The word - all - covers a lot of ground. That means your Mom, Dad, husband, wife, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, Sunday school teachers, ministers, priests, rabbis, and even the librarian.' Wow, who would have thought?
I poked my wife in the ribs and said: 'That means you too.' Wouldn't you know it, her face got red. Now I felt like I wasn't all alone and I began to like the General again.
Then he dropped another
bomb. He quoted another verse,
He said: 'Man was created to have fellowship with God, but because of his own stubborn self-will, man chose to go his own independent way and fellowship was broken. General Harrison said: 'If you die in that condition you will go to hell.'
Now I was down in the mouth again because I knew these verses were talking about me.
My mind went into fast forward. I thought if I didn't die I would have it made. The problem is, everyone dies someday. This is something I couldn't control and I began to feel helpless.
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin. Through Him you can know God's love and plan for your life.'
The General quoted another
The General said: 'There is a gap between sinful man and Holy God.
Man cannot bridge that gap by his own efforts. So what did God do? He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to bridge that gap by dying on the cross to wash away our sins. Jesus made it possible for us to get to God and the abundant life.
General Harrison pointed out that it wasn't enough to know all this or even to believe it.
He said: 'We must receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord by personal invitation.'
He said: 'Let me explain what Savior and Lord means. Savior means He will save you from Hell and save you for Heaven. Lord means He will save you from you. Lord means Boss.'
Coaches have told me that I was my own worst enemy. To have a Lord that would save me from me was what I needed. I saw what had happened to me when I was 'Boss'.
I remember him saying: 'To believe is to commit your life to Christ. After all, who could run your life better than the one who created you?'
The General stopped and looked around the room as if to say, listen closely. He said: 'This next verse is very personal. The Bible says in Revelations 3:20 "Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him..."
It was at this point that I really felt empty inside. I didn't hear any voices so I thought I just wasn't spiritual enough to become a Christian. I must be too calloused.
The General said: 'Let me break that verse down'.
I liked the way he broke
He said: 'Any time you hear what Jesus was quoted to have said, you've heard Him say it. The General said: 'Tonight you've heard my voice quoting what Jesus said. In essence, you heard Jesus say it. What did He say? He is standing, and knocking at the door of your heart and life right now. He wants to come in.'
'The choice is yours.'
What really nailed it down for me was when General Harrison quoted 1John 5:10-13 "He that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself: He that believes not God has made Him a liar; because he believes not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that HAS the Son HAS life (right now); and he that HAS NOT the Son of God HAS NOT life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may KNOW that you HAVE eternal life."
I prayed and asked Jesus to be my Savior and Lord right then and there.
God used General Harrison to throw 'The Winning Pitch'.
What have you done with that 'Pitch'? The following is what I prayed. Do you want to do the same thing? If you do, He will change your life for the better. Just read the prayer claiming it to be your very own prayer from your heart, and He will hear and answer your prayer.
"Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. In Jesus name I pray. Amen"
Good for you. Drop me an e-mail and tell me you just prayed to receive Jesus and I will thrilled to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org