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Life Lessons From Dad - Andy Stanley

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
April 29, 2023 12:00 am

Life Lessons From Dad - Andy Stanley

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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April 29, 2023 12:00 am

Full of personal anecdotes, fond memories and moving stories about his relationship with his father, Andy’s message will encourage you to live out these biblical lessons in your own life, and pass them on to the next generation.

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In Touch
Charles Stanley

Welcome to In Touch, the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley. Today, we'll hear from his son, Andy. The reason I remember that story is because early on, he really put it in my court. You have got to learn to discern the will of God.

Ultimately, Andy and Becky, you are accountable to God, not to me, and I would rather you learn some lessons and learn some lessons the hard way, why you still live here, so that when you're on your own, you understand the sense of purpose that you have, because ultimately, you're accountable to God, and God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Those who are closest to us often have a unique perspective on our lives, and that was certainly true for the late Dr. Stanley. In celebration of his life in ministry, we'll devote some time to hearing from two influential men as they recount the impact Dr. Stanley had on them.

In today's program, we'll hear Andy Stanley share insights into the man he called Dad. I want to tell you four things I learned from my dad. I don't know that these are the most important, and they're not necessarily in the right order, and what you'll see are these are just the themes of his life. These are the things that he has shared with you year after year after year, and in some cases, are the things that I think he would want you to take away from being a part of this ministry and sitting under his teaching all of these years.

Let's start with the first one. It's really simple, that God has a plan for my life, and the way he would say it is this. Andy, God has a plan for your life. Becky, God has a plan for your life, and you don't want to miss it. You don't want to miss it.

You don't want to miss it. I think it's the you don't want to miss it that scared me into submission and obedience through my adolescence, because there was a sense in which if God has a plan for your life, and he never said this, but kids, you hear it different ways. I thought, well, if God has a plan for my life, and God decides to tell me his plan for my life on Thursday night at seven, and if I'm goofing off doing something I shouldn't be doing it Thursday night at seven, I may miss God's will for my life, and he never really said it that way, but there was a sense of holy fear and reverence about growing up with the sense that God had a plan for our lives, that God wanted to do something specific with our lives. One of the first passages of scripture I ever memorized, because he told me this would be a good one to memorize, comes out of Psalms.

Here's what it says. It says, I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go. I will counsel you with my eye upon you. He taught me that verse. I memorized that verse as a child, and that became part of my prayers.

It's something I prayed over my children. I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you will go. I will counsel you with my eye upon you. And he'd say, Andy Becky, God has a plan for your life.

You don't want to miss it. And just pray this prayer. Say instruct me and teach me in the way that I'm going to go.

Counsel me with your eye upon me. And then, of course, like many parents, he taught us Bible stories, and a lot of the Bible stories had to do with this idea. And one of the earliest stories we heard, many of you growing up in church heard this story. It was the story of Samuel and Eli. Remember that story?

The story goes like this. Samuel's a little boy, and he's laying in bed, and he hears a voice that says, Samuel, Samuel. So he thinks it's Eli, the prophet.

He was living with the prophet at the time. Remember the story? So Samuel gets up, and he runs into Eli's room. He says, what is it?

What is it? And Eli says, I didn't say anything. Go back to bed. So he goes to bed, and he hears Samuel, Samuel. And he gets up, and he says, Eli, Eli, what is it? And Eli says, I didn't say anything.

Go back to bed. And on the third occasion, Eli says, Samuel, next time you hear someone call your name in the dark, you say, speak, Lord, your servant heareth. Now, my dad taught me this story as a child, thinking it was going to inspire me to listen to the voice of God.

It just freaked us all out, didn't it? And I would lay in bed at night and pray, God, if you want to say something, please don't whisper in the dark. Say it in the daytime. Say it outside. Speak to somebody else. But if I'm laying in bed, and I hear, Andy, Andy, my mom's going to have to put the plastic sheets back on our bed. So I want to know your will.

I just don't want to hear a voice. But the point was, as from childhood, we view the scriptures as very personal, and we view the scriptures as something that was a tool that God would use to clearly speak to us about our life. And I'm telling you, and I'll give you an illustration in a minute. This was so impactful on me as a kid. This whole idea of a sense of destiny that God had something for me, I'm telling you, through adolescence, it was such a guide.

It was such a light to me. Now, one of the things that my parents did, and my dad led the way on this, because God had a plan for our life, he refused to make decisions for us that we couldn't make for ourselves. In fact, we would go to him and say, Dad, what about this? And he would say this. He'd say, why don't you pray about that?

And we'd go, because we just need an answer. But yeah, and it was amazing. Very early on, he just pushed the decision-making responsibility right back at us. But it wasn't just you decide, I think you can make a good decision. It was you pray about it. And what he did early on was said, you're accountable to God. You're accountable to God.

Ultimately, you're not accountable to me. Years and years ago, I guess I was a junior in high school, and I was a huge Elton John fan, huge Elton John fan. And Elton John was coming to Atlanta. He was going to be at the Omni. And to go to this rock concert, I was going to have to miss church on Sunday night. So I went to my dad, and no one with the answer would be, hey, Dad, hey, Elton John's coming.

Could I go to this concert? And here's what he said. I was a junior in high school. He said, you pray about it. And whatever you think God wants you to do, you do that. And the implication was, if you think God wants you to miss church on Sunday night and go to a rock concert, that's fine. And I was 16 or 17 years old, so I prayed, and I didn't hear anything.

And I went to my dad, and I said, and here's the thing, and here's what's amazing. Whatever controversy me going to that concert created, that's long gone. No one even remembers that story except me.

But the reason I remember that story wasn't the concert. The reason I remember that story is because early on, he really put it in my court. You have got to learn to discern the will of God. Ultimately, Andy and Becky, you are accountable to God, not to me. And I would rather you learn some lessons and learn some lessons the hard way why you still live here, so that when you're on your own, you understand the sense of purpose that you have, because ultimately, you're accountable to God, and God has a plan and a purpose for your life. When I was a senior in high school, the fall of my senior year, my dad had always encouraged us to pray and have a quiet time and read our Bibles. And the summer before my senior year, I went to a camp where a guy who taught the high school camp told us that we should have a journal, that we should start taking notes and writing our prayers and writing our insights into scripture.

And I thought that was a great idea. So my first high school journal, the first page, September 29th, 1975. Here is my first entry into my first spiritual journal as a senior in high school, if I can get through this. I need to tell my boy at a young age that God told me he was going to use my son in a great way. This greatly influenced my life.

Lord, I pray that it will his. That growing up hearing that God had a plan for my life and that God wanted to use me had made such a powerful impact on me by the time I was a senior in high school that when I decided to begin writing what God was telling me, that is the first thing that came to mind. If I ever have a son, make sure you teach him to learn and listen to the voice of God and to pray, God, show me your will for my life. Second one, be generous, stay out of debt.

Now, you know what's interesting about this? When you hear pastors or preachers, you hear us get up and talk about give and tithe, I know in the back of your mind you're thinking, well, of course the preacher's telling me to tithe. He wants my money, okay? And there are preachers that tell you to tithe because they want your money. But I grew up in a household where tithing and generosity and staying out of debt had nothing to do with getting people's money. It had everything to do with obeying God. It had everything to do with this idea that you've heard my dad say, you can't outgive God, you can't outgive God, you can't outgive God. What we were taught is this, that giving first, priority giving, is an invitation for God to be involved in our personal finances. And so from day one, it's, Andy, everything belongs to God. Give first and simply stay out of debt. This passage was one that came to me a lot later on, but it certainly underscores that. The rich rule over the poor and the borrower becomes the lender slave, right?

You've seen that before. So growing up, we had no debt. When I went out on my own, I was so opposed to debt, one time I leased a car and I felt guilty for three years.

I just couldn't wait and I thought, well, I didn't really borrow it, I leased a car. The whole idea of carrying debt, I just have no tolerance for it and it's not because I'm a spiritual person, it's because early on throughout my life my dad taught us. God owns everything.

Finance or fund his kingdom first and live off the rest and stay out of debt. And so much of where we are as a family financially has so much to do with that principle. And it has never been difficult.

It has never been difficult for me to be generous. And the reason is because from day one, my dad taught us, God owns everything. And you can't out give God. And a tithe is a beginning because at the end of the day, God owns it all. And why would you want to owe anyone anything and become their slave because if you owe people money, you are their slave. And we have been called to be bondservants of the Lord Jesus Christ. So be generous and stay out of debt.

Be generous and stay out of debt. And it's so funny to me now because there are lots of organizations and people on radio and television that talk about this all the time and people are like, what a great idea as if it's some new idea. And every time I hear that or every time I see those books which I appreciate and love the fact that that message is getting out in a new and significant way in our generation, I just think back to my dad.

I thought he knew this all the time. I remember a time when we were having a tough time financially and there was a bump. Sometimes financially you have a bump and uh-oh, weren't expecting that. And I can remember he and my mom talking about where they could find more money to give. And I can remember thinking, wait a minute, I thought you just said need and now you're looking for more money to give.

That's how deeply he believed it. This third lesson is an example of a principle that our actions speak louder than words. But if you're a parent or a grandparent, sometimes your actions echo into the next generation. Yeah, all of our actions speak louder than words, but every once in a while you're going to do something in a time of difficulty. And what you do in a time of difficulty, those actions aren't going to simply speak louder than words. They're going to echo into the next generation. And I saw something when I was in high school that my dad did that echoed into the next generation into the most difficult decision-making environment that I would face as an adult. The third one was simply this, as a leader, sometimes you have to stand alone.

I saw this in the eighth grade. You've heard some of these stories and the details aren't important, but it's so much a part of my past. When my dad first came to this church, he came as an associate pastor. Many of you know that. The pastor left and so there was a group looking for a real pastor because he was the associate pastor. And they didn't think he was educated enough to lead this church. They didn't think he was smart enough to lead this church. They didn't think he was a good enough preacher to lead this church. And I know we're all thinking they must have been crazy, and they were, but the real problem was that they were leading this church.

And here's what I remember. I remember he'd go to church on Tuesday night or Monday night and have a deacons meeting. And he'd come back so discouraged. He'd say, what's wrong? And he would say, you know, I say to this group, you know, we need to find God's will for our church.

And they'd just look at me like, what do you mean? We're at a deacons meeting. And I would say to these men, we need to pray and seek God's will for the church.

And they would look at me like, what do you mean pray? This is the deacons meeting. And there was so much discouragement. And again, he became the pastor in such a tumultuous time.

And I'll tell you a story about that in just a minute. But just the discouragement of feeling all alone as a leader and knowing what God wants you to do and knowing you have to do it regardless of what the people around you tell you you need to do. That sometimes when you're a leader, you have to stand alone. I remember him saying, I feel like I'm Daniel in the lion's den. Every time I'm with the church leaders, it shouldn't be that way.

But when you're a leader, sometimes you just have to stand alone. And then the defining moment for me in this regard was a Wednesday night at a business meeting. And I've told this story so many times, but I love to tell it, I think because of what it meant to me and how I interpreted this as a son and as an eighth grader.

I was about five pews back down at the downtown property. It was a Wednesday night and there was this group that really wanted to get rid of my dad and they just didn't know how because the church kept growing and people kept joining the church and people kept getting saved and something about that bothered them. I think it's because they knew eventually they were going to be outnumbered and they were going to lose their leverage in the church. You know, in every church there's a they and they were the they and it was time for they to be gone. So anyway, we're in the process of that.

And again, it's easy looking back because you know how story's in, but in the middle of a story you don't know how the story's going to end, right? And you just have to obey God, leave the consequences to him. So one Wednesday night there was a gentleman up there, he was standing at the pulpit, he was going on and on about something, I don't remember what, but in going on and on about something he used profanity. Now we didn't even hear profanity in movies back then, okay? It's like here we are in church and this guy just let one fly and so my dad's sitting back here and I'm sitting right over there about five rows and he stands up and he walks up and he walks up right next to this gentleman, if you can call him that, and he says, we're not going to have, he says his name, we're not going to have that kind of language in the church. And he looked up at my dad and he pulled his arm back and he said, you better go sit back down or you might just get punched. And exactly, just like that, oh. And my dad just stood there and stared at him.

Sometimes, in leadership, you have to stand alone. And this guy pulled back and hit my dad in the jaw, in church. Nobody missed church after that, it was so exciting.

I mean, he had to pay for that kind of stuff, right? Just come on to my church, you know, anyway. So when that happened, here's all I remember, I just remember breaking down into tears, of course. The next thing I knew I was down front, I don't remember if I went over the pews or around the pews, but I was down front, it was so very, very emotional.

And God used it in an extraordinary way to just surface the things that needed to be surfaced and God used it to bring about incredible transition at this church and much of what we experience now as a result of that kind of courage and those kind of events that you just wouldn't sign up for, you wouldn't choose. But in the middle of that, as an eighth grader, I saw that his grandfather was right. That if God tells you to run your head through a brick wall, you start running and you trust God to make a hole. That's how he lived his whole life.

Now, here's the other point I wanna make as we move on. It's possible to live as if God is with you when everything and everyone are against you. It's possible to continue to live as if God is with you when everything and everyone is actually against you. When my dad became pastor of this church, I was, I think around 1969, and so I was just going into the sixth grade. And so he came as an associate pastor. He'd always been a senior pastor at the other churches.

He was pastor of First Baptist Church of Miami, First Baptist Church of another city in Florida and came to Atlanta as associate pastor. You may have heard this story. They gave him this little office. There's a big wooden old desk in there that was locked and no one knew where the key was and no one cared. Dr. Stanley, we're so glad you've joined our staff. This is your office. There's your desk. It's locked.

Good luck. My dad was given responsibility for all the things that nobody else wanted to do. That's why the pastor brought him in.

There were just things he was tired of doing. Anything he didn't wanna do, my dad got to do it. Whenever there was a sermon to be preached on a holiday, Labor Day, Memorial Day, the summer, Fourth of July weekend, Christmas, anytime everybody was going on vacation and the pastor wanted to be gone, Dr. Stanley, this is your responsibility.

You take care of this. Put him in charge of things with students that nobody wanted to do and everything he placed in my dad's hand, it's as if my dad just knew. God, in fact, he would say this, God called me here for a purpose. If this is what I'm responsible for, this is what I will be responsible for because that's what you do when you're confident that God is with you. I remember as a kid, I was talking about this and it was so difficult and it was so dark and it was so heavy and nobody knew who liked who and then things got really weird because the pastor left, the senior pastor left, so my dad had to fill in on Sunday morning and the group that ran the church, you've heard some of these stories, the group that ran the church didn't really love my dad and they didn't like his preaching, so get this. They said, now, Dr. Stanley, we gotta find a real pastor, okay? So while we're looking for a real pastor, we need you to preach.

We need you to preach while we're looking for a pastor so that we don't have to listen to you preach. Is that okay? Now, how honoring is that, right? I mean, how uplifting is that? And you know what my dad did? He studied his brains out. He told me back then and said, Andy, I prepared every sermon as if it was gonna be my last. I preached every time I preached as if it was gonna be my last. He said, I preached beyond the people who were sitting there. I preached beyond the bad attitudes. I knew who was for me and I knew who was against me, against me, against me, against me, against me, against me, against me, against me. I know who liked me, two people in the back row. I know the rest that were just waiting for me to leave. I could tell by the looks on their faces and I decided, you know what? I'm not preaching to them and I'm not preaching for them. This is the responsibility God's given me. I'm gonna be responsible with my responsibility and I'm gonna be responsible with my responsibility.

Right? The reason this organization has such influence all over the country and all over the world is because during a dark series of years, my dad simply said, what would I do if I was absolutely confident that God was with me? What would somebody who's me do who was confident that God had put me here, led me here and given me this meager and ever-changing responsibility?

Let me ask it this way. So what do you do when they ask you to preach while they look for someone to preach because they don't wanna hear you preach? But you're confident that God is with you.

That's what he did. That's the legacy that I have and I think about it just about every single day. What would you do if you were confident God is with you? Let me pray for us. Heavenly Father, it's a little bit scary to think about honestly because you will call some of us out into some uncomfortable places. You'll call some of us to take responsibility for things we have run from perhaps all our lives. You're gonna call some of us to go back and re-engage with our families. You're gonna call some of us to re-engage in marriages that we've checked out of even though physically we're still there.

We just checked out. For some of us, you're gonna call us back to that initial calling on our lives when you called us to serve you. For some of us, it's to get our financial house in order. For some of us, it's to be ethical.

For some of us, it's to confess, whatever it is. Would you at least give us a glimpse of what our lives would look like if we were to live as if you were with us and then give us the courage to live as if you're with us? And we pray all of these things in the matchless name of our Savior who died with the confidence that his heavenly Father was with him. In Jesus' name we pray, amen. Amen. Thanks for joining us on In Touch. After listening to Andy Stanley's message, maybe you're considering the impact your life is making on your children.

It's never too late to make some improvements or changes. You can begin to live a life of godly influence right now. To study more about how to live a life of godliness that will leave an impact on the next generation, visit us at intouch.org.

Has Dr. Stanley touched your life? If you'd like to share a brief story, post your thoughts on our commemorative page at intouch.org. And that's where you can take a look at how we're celebrating his life and ministry and listen to this radio program again, intouch.org. If you'd like to order a copy of the message you heard today from Andy Stanley, Life Lessons from Dad, visit our online bookstore. Again, log on to intouch.org or call 1-800-INTOUCH.

To write to us, address your letter to Intouch, Post Office Box 7900, Atlanta, Georgia, 30357. When you encounter one of life's storms, the right response will help you grow in your relationship with God. Coming up in today's moment with Charles Stanley. The Christian life is an exciting journey with great joys and challenges. We don't always know the right questions to ask or the best way to approach Scripture in search of answers. Dr. Stanley's Handbook for Christian Living is an easy-to-use help system that will bring Scripture to life so you can see God moving powerfully in your life.

To order, call 1-800-INTOUCH or go to intouch.org slash store. God uses life storms to grow a believer's faith. Here's A Moment with Charles Stanley. A storm in your life can destroy you or it can develop you. It can build your strength, your wisdom, your knowledge, your understanding, your commitment, your devotion, your faith, your serenity, your peace, your joy in your life. That is, some storms when God gets through working them into our life, we're just so much better off. We're cleaner, we're purer, there's more peace, there's more joy because you know you're the sin of the will of God.

So, sometimes they develop us, sometimes they destroy us. And that depends upon how you respond. So, when storms come, what do you do? You fight against God?

You argue with Him? Lord, I didn't ask for this. I don't deserve this.

What's this all about? You pray for your friends to bail you out of that storm quickly as possible? And isn't it interesting how we can just pray. Now, Lord, get me out of this as quickly as possible.

I don't deserve this. And you know what? He must just hum away while we're down here struggling when He wants just to get our attention because He's got something in mind. He doesn't want a storm to destroy us. And the truth is, only when we allow Satan to get a grip to get a grip on us in the times of difficulty, will it happen?

But we have to insist on looking at it our way and bailing ourselves out as quickly as possible. He's not going to let it happen. He can destroy us. He can develop us.

That is, a storm can put you on the shelf so that you're never used of God, or it can equip you to be a fantastic servant of God. Dr. Stanley's radio ministry will go on. For now, though, we'll continue looking back over his life with the help of a guest speaker, Andy Stanley's longtime friend and fellow pastor, Louie Giglio. He shares the powerful lessons he learned from Dr. Stanley as he grew up with Andy at First Baptist Church of Atlanta. I hope you'll join us for that on In Touch, the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley. This program is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-29 03:17:54 / 2023-04-29 03:30:16 / 12

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