Thursday, February 28, 2008

Montreat

Montreat, North Carolina is a special place for Charlie. When he was fourteen, two events that year led him to believe that God had called him to gospel ministry.

It began when he heard a chaplain speak at his father's church during a lay renewal conference. "He talked about ministering to soldiers -including those who were dying, and it gave me a real sense of urgency for the spiritual well‑being of men and women." The services were eight days, which Charlie thinks was important
because he had time to think about calling.

For many summers his family went to Montreat to enjoy the mountains and the teaching. Stuart Briscoe spoke at Montreat in 1972. Charlie said he couldn't tell me a single thing he said, but his earnestness and ability to expound the scriptures impressed him.

In 1979 Charlie went to Urbana. John Stott preached from Romans. "At that conference," Charlie said, "I learned the type of preacher I wanted to be - expository, preaching through books of the Bible."

While we were in Asheville, Charlie took us to Montreat so we could visit the same places he visited as a child. It was wonderful to go inside Anderson Auditorium with him; this was where he heard Stuart Briscoe. Thirty-six years later, God's call on Charlie's life and ministry are strongly confirmed: he has never wanted to do anything else - he thoroughly loves the ministry.

I love how he puts it in his biography: "It is my duty and joy to assemble with the church in response to God’s call to worship, to unite them in confessing faith in the God we trust, to hear the reading and preaching of his word, to gather in communion around the Lord’s Table, and to testify to the world of God’s redemptive love in Christ Jesus."

It is my joy to visit these places with him and see the Lord's good and gracious providence at work.

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