I had the great privilege of meeting Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries last night, Dr. Stanley was in town for a book signing at one of my favorite bookstores. I must admit I was excited at having the chance to meet one of my favorite practical teachers. I've listen to Dr. Stanley at 7a, 4p and 9:30p for the past 16 years on my local christian radio station. It was with much excitement that I was able to finally see in person the man whose teaching has brought me through many test even as recent has November 2009.
As we waited patiently for Dr. Stanley's arrival the bookstore was crowded with excited followers and listeners. In the background there were stories, testimonies and praise reports similar to my own at how God used this Man of God to deliver such power teaching in his personal non-condemning, practical, loving style. However, what I noticed was different about this crowd was they weren't there to worship a MAN but was there to express love, appreciation and gratitude.
Typically when a Christian personality visits it's usually the women who are in the majority but last night there were families with their children, husbands with their wives, the elderly in wheelchairs and walkers, women and many many men. It was clear that those in attendance loved Dr. Stanley and the impact of his ministry was evident. People had light in their eyes, the joy of the Lord was present and the love of God was expressed among those present. People weren't there to get but to give.
When Dr. Stanley arrived the spiritual paparazzis with cellphone cameras in hand (my own included) flashed excitedly for the man whose voice of his ending prayer rang in our hearts "And Father we thank you". As Dr. Stanley passed through the crowd I observed his manner, his clothing, his personality. He was unmoved by the crowd, never posed for the many flashing cameras and even found it difficult to acknowledge the many voices coming from the crowd calling out his name, I sensed, for fear of taking any Glory from God.
As Dr. Stanley took his seat people waited expectantly to hear words of wisdom yet for most of the evening he sat unmoved and undistracted by the emotions expressed by the people. His manner was always humble, meek and loving as he communicated with broadcasters, store employees, security and the many people whose books he came to sign.
We are all aware of Dr. Stanley's teaching style but admittedly we wanted to know the man Charles Stanley; but we found it not. He exemplified Christ. I looked again at the many shining faces, the bright and hopeful eyes, the love and joy in hearts expressed. Tears welled up in my eyes as I turned to leave. I heard myself say out loud JESUS. What an awesome privilege to witness the Spirit of our Lord and Savior.
And Father we thank you that we have the Spirit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ living on the inside of us. We thank you that you have given us the ministry of reconciliation and have anointed us to "preach good tidings, to bind up the brokenhearted, to set at liberty those who are captive" may we not overshadow your light within with any of ourselves, help us to remove all that would block, shadow or overshadow your Son (light). I pray you continue to anointed and bless Dr. Charles Stanley and In Touch Ministries. And keep those little In Touch Magazines coming that have so enriched our lives.
In Jesus name I pray AMEN.