I’m Jack Morris, head instructor of the American Karate Studios here in Tallahassee, and also Karate for Christ Ministries that I have that works through the business here.
I was brought up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – in a Jewish home – father was Jewish, mother Jewish, grandmother orthodox – very religious. I went to Hebrew school. I was bar mitzvahed when I was 13 years old. But never really felt like I was close to God or anything like that.
And then later on in life I met a woman who was a Christian. But she wasn’t a very strong Christian. And she’s says, “Well, if we’re going to get married, we have to decide, like, how are we going to raise our children?”
I said, “Well, they can learn about Judaism, and they can learn about Christianity, and they can make a decision later on.”
So, anyway, she invited me to go to church one day. And then one of the deacon’s came knocking on my door one day. It was a little Baptist church.
I said, “Nah, I don’t really want to sit and talk about anything like that.” And I kind of, like, sent him away.
Then he came back again. He was fairly persistent, but showing a lot of love. And he invited me to come back to church again. I did that, and then he came over to the house and started taking me through Scripture. And I said, “Boy, this is very interesting. I never heard any of these things, especially with the Old Testament pointing to Christ.”
I said, “Wait a minute. I’m going to have to go to the rabbi. Surely the rabbi will know, and give me the proper answers.”
And I did that. And, it’s even hard to put into words here how he was so angry with me for even asking questions like this. I said, “Well, I mean, rabbi – rabbi means teacher. Teach me, then. Show me from the Bible.” He goes, “I don’t need to do that.”
And, long story short, I went back to the pastor of the church, and he opened up the Bible, explained to me, especially Isaiah 53 about Christ. And then I eventually came to know the Lord then, through that, as my personal Savior.
When I was fourteen years old I started in the martial arts thing. When I went to school I was very small. Kids were beating me up, pushing me around. I said, “I need to do something about this.”
We used to hang out at this little restaurant up in Pennsylvania. The cook, who was a friend, was walking out with his karate uniform over his shoulder. I said, “What’s that?” He goes, “Karate.” I said, “What’s that?”
I mean, you’re talking now, like, 45 years ago. He says, “It’s a fighting art. You gotta come down and watch it.”
So I did that, and the next day I just signed up. I said, “This is it. I’m not gonna put up with stuff anymore,” you know, that kind of thing, thinking along self defense lines.
It just gave me more confidence. I never really had to fight.
And then when I got saved the pastor says, “Hey, you do this martial arts. Why don’t you give a testimony on how you came to know the Lord and all. Just tell them all about all that.”
So I did so and…16 kids got saved. I did it again….saw the Spirit of the Lord working on all the kids and myself. I said, “Wow, I never did this before, and 16 kids come to know the Lord.”
Did it again. 32.
I said, “Wow, this could be a real ministry, too.”
So I was invited to go with the pastor and travel a little bit, and gave testimonies. And every time, tons of kids – and not only kids, but even parents. Been doing that ever since.
When I came down here to Florida, I went through a wicked divorce. And the head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Ernie Stevenson, he invited me to stay with him at his house. It’d just be a short time. And I ended up, like, living with him for a year. And thank God for him. I think my life would have really gone the other way – anger, frustration.
He says, “Look, use your gifts and talents here, with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Give testimonies.” And I did that. And again, same thing…we see God…God really working. Not me. God touching people.”
So all I can say is, “Praise God.” He’s turned my life around.
I used to keep this book, I call it the “Miracle Book,” because it truly was miracles in my life that happened. I have two little girls, and when they happened I said I wanted to write these things down so they could look back and say, “Yeh, this is what God did in my dad’s life.”
And I used to date it and write any kind of description I can on that, like being stuck on a road between Tallahassee and Perry – and if anybody knows that area there, it’s just dark. It was, I guess, about one o’clock in the morning.
Car breaks down. It was an older car. I didn’t have much money or anything then. I said, “Oh gosh, I don’t have any money on me. The car’s breaking down.” The police come and they said, “Oh, there was a man who just drove by, and he said to give this to you.”
It was an envelope with cash in it – enough to get a motel room, to have the car towed, and to repair the car. Now, that just doesn’t happen. That’s one incident.
I get all emotional, because you know, “Wow, God really cares about individuals. He cares about me, my children.”
I didn’t mean to get this emotional, but it does this…