Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Trip to Intouch

On my way home from Woodstock yesterday I stopped in Atlanta by Intouch Ministries, the preaching ministry of Charles Stanley. The last several years they have built a nice facility right off of I-85 past the 285 loop. I was warmly greeted and given a tour by one of the Intouch staff. Much like visiting The Billy Graham Library, where one sees how God worked through Billy Graham, or visiting the Jerry Falwell Museum at Liberty University, the Intouch offices and mission center serve as a testimony to the faithfulness of God through the life of one of His servants. When you are there, you are reminded of how God raised up one man to take the gospel to the world. Like the design of the Grahams' Cove, it is tasteful enough to not be gaudy yet grand enough to reflect the greatness of God.

Dr. Stanley’s teaching influenced me greatly years ago. I listened to his messages 4-5 times a week as a college student. I vividly recall listening to his book on cassette, The Wonderful, Spirit-Filled Life, while driving on 385 from Greenville to Clinton. And I remember thinking I had hit the jackpot when someone from his church gave me a tub of about 100 of his sermon cassettes! His books How to Listen to God and The Source of My Strength were life-changers for me.

Dr. Stanley’s most familiar phrase, Obey God and leave all of the consequences to Him, is inscribed on one prominent wall in the building. Antonia, my Intouch guide, told me the story of their building the first building. She said something like, Dr. Stanley believed the Lord had told him to build the first Intouch building. But he said that in prayer the Lord told him that he was not allowed to ask anyone for money. So they made plans but did not make any public appeals for money. Instead, he chose to trust God. One day a man called Dr. Stanley out of the blue and asked what Intouch needed. Stanley told him, “Well, actually, we need about 2 million dollars!” The man replied, “I think I can handle that,” and the man gave Intouch the cash for the building. Then Antonia said, Everything here is a result of Dr. Stanley’s faith in God.

Around one fountain are inscribed the four phrases that Charles learned from his grandfather, George Washington Stanley. These four phrases became key guiding pillars in his life:

Obey God and leave all of the consequences up to Him.
God will move heaven and earth to reveal His will to you.
God will provide all your needs if you trust Him.
Fight your battles on your knees.

One amazing tool they are currently using is called the Intouch Messenger, a solar-powered hand-held device that holds 35 messages. The Messenger was created to give to soldiers in the Middle East to allow them to hear Dr. Stanley’s preaching. So far 125,000 have been distributed in seven languages and 105 countries.

The Intouch Ministries complex challenged and encouraged me afresh today to trust in God. When I left today, I got in my car and prayed, Lord, I don’t know what You want to do with me, but I want to trust in You and allow You to work in my life however You choose.

I think that is a good prayer for us all to pray.

As a church, let us not be like the people of Nazareth, of whom the Bible says, He [Jesus] did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith (Matthew 13:58).

On a side note - The Salvation Army invited Dr. Stanley to preach at their 9-11 remembrance service for the families of victims in New York last Sunday on the 10th anniversary of 9-11. You can listen to the message he preached to them here.

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