The Man Who Could Do No Wrong by Elizabeth Sherrill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I very much enjoyed reading this book. It is an autobiography of Charles Blair's life. The first part of his life is so encouraging and much to learn from this man. The second half of his life is tragic. Very similar to the Jim and Tammy fall from grace. He made a lot of mistakes. It seems he learned from them and he lists 10 lessons he did learn at the end of the book.
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Below are some great quotes from the book:
I have set before you an open door which no man will be able to shut. If you will walk through it in obedience I will bless you in so much that men will be amazed and glorify God! p. 103
“Son, God doesn’t know anything about reaching cities. When He was on earth he reached individuals. And that’s how He seeks and finds us today.” p. 111 - Advice from Dr. Robert G. Lee, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church of Memphis, on how to build a church.
"But after His hearers have taken that step,” Dr. Louis Evans (pastor of Hollywood Presbyterian Church) went on, “if He then doesn’t give their newborn souls what they need to grow on, those people are going to keep moving. They’ve got to have nourishment and they’ll keep looking until they find it.” p. 114 - Giving advice on what Charles should be preaching on after most of the church are saved.
It isn’t the need we see that tells us what to do; it’s finding God’s will for our particular lives. p. 117
What I did not know then was that a Christian is in greatest danger not at his weak points but at his strong ones. Where we are strong we are also off guard. Where we are confident we are not often on our knees. p. 135
Lessons in Listening
“I don’t believe God has us go through either success or failure for ourselves alone. My experience happened to come through attempting to build a geriatric center, but the things I learned could apply equally well to anyone in the act of building: a young couple building a home, a career woman getting started, the officer of an organization. All of us are in the process of creating. All of us can face some variation of the temptations which beckoned me.
Also I’ve spent time reviewing what happened at Calvary Temple. The process of transformation is still going on. I have not achieved complete, permanent release form old habit patterns, but I have some hearing aids I didn’t have before:
Test the spirit behind your dreams.
The Bible tells us to try spirits to see if they are of God (1 John 4:1). To this day I am confused as to whether that original vision for Life Center came from God or from my own ego. Seen as guidance, it appeared to have lots of confirmation. But there were persistent Christian voices challenging this.
Unity between husband and wife.
The primary person to question my dream was Betty. She objected with gentleness, because this is her nature. But I never doubted her position. We were not in accord. Today I would not dare violate the injunction of Ephesians 5:21, that we be submitted one to another. I never really prayed through this major project with Betty until we were of one heart and one mind. I never really submitted my dream until we reached the place where we could say, “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28) to proceed.
Seek a Body of spiritual peers.
The protection a husband and wife provide each other can be extended (or supplied, for the unmarried) by entering into relationship with a small group of men and women committed to life one another regularly to the Throne of Grace. Such a group provides not only support but—crucial in any time of building—correction. This is what makes spiritual peerage: not age or education or social position, but the willingness to speak the truth in Christ.
Are your co-workers a completion of yourself?
Or simply an extension? Ideally, in any Christian undertaking, there will be as many facets of Christ’s personality represented as possible. If I am called to leadership and find helpers who are simply echoes of myself, I double my strengths but I also double my weaknesses.
I spent too much time reasoning, not enough in storming heaven.
When time is short, the most important way we can use it is in prayer. In any crisis there comes a time when human logic is worthless. Then we need the tools which are available to us as children of God. More-than-usual doing must be balanced with more-than-usual praying.
Impatience was my biggest problem.
I simply couldn’t wait. Today I have committed myself to a new route: when my timing is thwarted I will divert my restlessness to prayer and do nothing until I have a clear directive from God, confirmed by the Body. Then we will put our feet where He has trod.
Catching God’s vision is only half the battle.
The second half is discovering His means for bringing it about. We know His objectives by revelation. The battle plan will have to come by revelation too. It will probably be different from any plan we could have devised. What human being, after all, would have thought of blowing trumpets before a walled city!
Beware of prior successes.
The success of yesterday tempts us to lean on a formula rather than on God. Moses struck the rock with his staff and water gushed forth. When he tried to provide water the same way a second time, God reproved him. Faith is progressive. At Calvary Temple we mixed fund raising with borrowing, successfully. At Life Center we repeated this mix—to our sorrow. We weren’t allowing God to take us another step in discipleship.
Faith versus presumption.
When we faced obstacles I kept telling myself that no great endeavor is without opposition. I’d “believe” my way through every difficulty. I made the mistake of having faith in faith. What God call us to, however, is faith in Him—and Him alone. I have to be certain that I am believing in God, and not in my own willpower.
To sum up: there are three things to listen for: The Dream. The Method. The Timing.
We must hear His voice on all three. And that can occur only through much listening. We did this naturally as we were building Calvary Temple. But by the time Life Center came along we were pretty successful, and certainly we were busy. We just did not take the scores, the hundreds of hours necessary to ask:
Is the dream His vision?
Is the method His way?
Is the timing His moment?
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