April 2019 Viewpoint

March 22, 2019

Sam Jensen received the old-time Gospel, carried it forward energetically, and passed it on to the next generation.

Sam Jensen published his autobiography and gave a signed copy to Debbie and me seven years ago, three years before he died. The tone was serious when he wrote of serving God, but fascinating and quite funny when he wrote of life in general. He did not know when he died that his daughter, Rosie Lambert, wife of pastor Dave Lambert, would one day be transferred to serve in Portland (read their testimony here).

When he was born, Brother Sam’s mother wanted to name him Samuel John Job Joseph Jedediah Jensen because she wanted him to be like all of those men from the Bible. Since the birth certificate lacked room for that many names, they settled on Samuel John Jensen.

Brother Sam’s parents were both ministers. His father would preach on Sunday morning and his mother on Sunday evening. When he was ten years old, the church was the front two rooms of their home. That is where he prayed through to salvation as his mother knelt alongside him.

Even when he was young, Brother Sam loved to sing. He had a beautiful voice, as did his mother (and his children do as well!). In high school, Brother Sam was first trumpet in the school orchestra and served as vice president of the student body. He was also athletic, setting records in running and winning first place in the long jump. Though he weighed just 145 pounds, he could squat 300 pounds. (However, he once pinned himself to the ground and could hardly escape from beneath the bar!) Brother Sam was not perfect. Not only did he run fast, he drove fast! That resulted in thirteen speeding tickets and the eventual loss of his driver’s license for a time.

As a young adult, Brother Sam became a branch church music conductor. He often sang tenor solos in church services. During sixty years of Gospel singing, he never used written music because he had committed about three hundred songs to memory.

Brother Sam testified from the front row of the congregation, walking back and forth to demonstrate the power of God that had restored him. He said that as he walked, he would repeat to himself with each step, “My legs are strong!”

At the age of seventy-two, Brother Sam was still working out with barbells and doing 250 push-ups daily. Despite a lifetime of healthy eating and exercise, he had a stroke after turning seventy-three, resulting in a paralyzed left side. He learned to walk again, but acknowledged, “Every time I step with that left leg, I have to concentrate on my balance.” At a camp meeting service after his stroke, Brother Sam testified from the front row of the congregation, walking back and forth to demonstrate the power of God that had restored him. He said that as he walked, he would repeat to himself with each step, “My legs are strong!”

Brother Sam is in Heaven today, but the memory of the enthusiastic spirit with which he served God continues to be an inspiration to those of us who knew him. Though most readers of this magazine never knew him, we pray these articles and testimonies will inspire you to serve God in the same fervent manner. I will conclude with the same words Brother Sam used when he signed the book he gave us, “To God be the glory.”