Inspired by a 95-year-old

By Vic Kohring, January 10, 2017 

Every Sunday as part of our worship "service," my mother and I tune in on television to Pastor Harold Salem of the Christian Worship Hour, broadcast from Aberdeen South Dakota. Salem, at a remarkable 95 years old, has been preaching the Gospel for seven decades. As he delivers his sermon each week, I feel as if I'm watching someone 25 years younger. Pastor Salem looks healthy, his voice is strong and clear and his mind sharp. Amazing for a man nearing the century mark. Most impressive is his unwavering faith in God and command of the Gospel. 

Salem accepted Christ in his youth and began his ministry as a preacher at 23. Over 70 years later, he's still going strong. He presents an in-depth knowledge of the Bible and does so in a simple, down-to-earth, grandfatherly manner. You can hear the sincerity in the man and easily see that he's completely genuine.

Pastor Salem's love for the Lord and heartfelt compassion for others is clearly evident as is his desire to win souls. Listening to him gives me comfort and peace in this tense, problem-filled world. I've never wavered in my faith, but Pastor Salem helps solidify and build on that faith and my growth as a Christian. His teachings, straight from God's word, always make me feel rejuvenated and fulfilled in the spirit. 

Salem is not fazed by his age. The old saying, "You're as young as you think you are" comes to mind. Salem is living proof that one's attitude is crucial to their physical and mental health as well as longevity. His great attitude toward life is grounded in his faith in God and the fact that he knows where he's going when he departs this earth. He often talks about how he's looking forward to entering God's glory in Heaven, "Hopefully sooner than later!" as he puts it.

Pastor Salem often mentions how thrilled he will be not only to finally meet his Lord and Savior, but to join his wife and other loved ones who've arrived before him. His excitement for the future definitely shows, which serves as encouragement to me and should give all Christians hope and assurance that better days are yet to come. 

I think of my dear father who today is with his Lord (he was born the same year as Pastor Salem, so he'd also be 95). The similarities between my father and Salem are striking. As a Christian man with a rock-solid faith in God, my dad also had a great attitude toward life, always worked hard, was honest, humble and had a positive outlook each and every day. All the way up into his early '90's when he entered Heaven in 2013. As with Salem, my dad was a great encouragement to me. A man with a kind, gentle spirit and enormous heart.

In this crazy, upside down world of wars, terrorism, economic hardship, fighting between political parties, immorality and perversion, it's comforting to turn on the TV and listen to the calming, steady, reassuring voice of Pastor Salem. His sermons remind me of my youth when I attended Church in the Wildwood in Eagle River a half-century ago. It was a small, non-denominational ministry where our pastor - a kind, older gentleman much like Salem - taught direct from the Bible in terms I could easily understand.

Pastor Salem is a true inspiration. When feeling down or otherwise having a tough time and in need of a boost, I think of him and his example. It always brightens my outlook and puts a smile on my face. Please join me in watching the Christian Worship Hour on Sunday's at 11:00 am on KYES Channel 5 or online at I'm sure you too will be blessed.