Sunday, July 5, 2009


I took a trip but never left home

As is my daily morning custom I checked my internet for any emails and “bingo” one flashed loud and clear—“Stan Toler elected 39th General Superintendent!”

I have known him for many, many years and have watched how God has used him in so many roles in his denomination. I rejoiced with tears when I read of his election to this high and precious position. Weeping, I blurted out, “God has done it again!”

Dr. Toler used to always sign his card or message to me with “You are loved” and now the fruits of his humbleness and blessings to others is rewarded by this selection by his peers. The Church of the Nazarene denomination has honored a great man whose ability and love for Christ will be evident in the functions he will perform.
Over the years I have seen so many moved to higher leaderships who did not aspire to the role, but God in His wisdom placed His servant to roles where servant leadership was needed.
Our first meeting is not remembered, whether in the college were he went (One I have spoken at a number of times), a Christian bookstore owned by my denomination in Columbus , Ohio , or in a seminar I held at his denominations convention at his church. Where ever it was, it started a sincere and close friendship that has transcended over the years.

Later, when I became the President/CEO of Randall House Publications and General Director of our National Sunday School and Church Training Service department, I introduced Stan to my group allowing him to be used in a national forum and other venues. I know many in my ranks are probably expressing the same warmth for him that I am today.

Stan has been used in countless other religious bodies over the years and has the respect of so many outside his own movement.

From a West Virginia family, his family like many others, moved to Columbus , Ohio . His father passed away when Stan was 11 in a construction accident and he and a younger brother were raised by his widowed mother in a small holiness church in the downtown section where the world would have concluded, “This is no hope for this family.”

But the two sons she had been raised right both became successful ministers. Terry, Stan’s bother, is an outstanding song writer with my favorite being “Just Thinking about Home” with countless gospel groups recording it. Terry is a Vice-president at Southern Nazarene University. Both went on to receive doctorates in their fields of endeavor. Stan’s mother was remarried later and to that union came another son and the three have sung in many areas as the “Toler Trio”. These three came from less that a modest home but today all three are ministers of the gospel looking for a city “whose builder and maker is God”.

The thoughts of this new success to the Toler family caused me to remember a book printed by Scripture Press Publications, where I once worked, entitled, “God Can Use Nobody’s.” And He still does. Many have risen to great heights that had little to start with but were faithful to God’s plan for their lives.

I was honored to write in the introduction of three of Stan’s 70 books he has written. His talent has been seen by many other denominations and now by his own.

At the breakfast table I shared the good news with my wife after she saw my tears which I told her were from rejoicing.

So today I took a trip down memory lane stopping in various places during the 40 year trip. I was great I did, because it was a great one.

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion , Thy God reigneth!” -- Isaiah 52:7

“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” --Romans 10:15

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