The Intercessor: Behind the Scenes
January 2017 will mark the 24th year that The Intercessor has been published from the headquarters of the Zerubbabel Total Living Center in Boone/Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Those who moved here to be a part of this ministry had a commission to reach others with the Galatians 2:20 message of our union with Christ, and the magazine has been a crucial channel for spreading this truth. Over 100 issues later, perhaps you, the readers, would enjoy a “behind the scenes tour” of some of the highlights of our history, which many of you have shared since our beginnings here.
In those early days technology was quite primitive by today’s standards. The content of that first January/February 1993 issue was comprised of stacks of paper, some handwritten, some “Xeroxed” (younger readers ask your parents!), piled on a conference table in someone’s law office. Most of us had never laid eyes on a computer, and were barely conversant with a fax machine. Through a friend’s nephew familiar with the printing business we were put in touch with a graphic designer, and faxed (!) everything to him. When the pages of the first magazine came put-putting back to us out of the fax machine, it was a thrilling moment! Back then the magazine was printed in Atlanta and shipped to Charlotte, NC, where we picked it up from a palette on a loading dock at the Charlotte airport in an SUV. At one point Dickinson Press in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which prints all the books we have republished, also printed The Intercessor, and the boxes of magazines would arrive on an 18 wheeler which couldn’t make it up the narrow driveway to our office. A smaller truck would have to meet it at the bottom of the driveway and ferry the magazines up. Now we use a local printer right here in our own backyard, and our turn-around time is days rather than weeks. What a luxury!
Of course, desktop computers, laptops, email, internet and laser printers have totally transformed the process of putting together the magazine, as indeed they have changed modern life. Now articles are emailed from anywhere in the world–a far cry from our first fumbling steps with fax machines. Alan Wingo–who has stayed with us all these 24 years, bless his patient soul–now sends a pdf directly to our local printer.
Printing all the labels has undergone modernization as well. In the “old” days we used a clunky cumbersome process, which chugged out labels from a long roll fed into it and was notoriously difficult. Now our jack of all trades administrative assistant on everything to do with the ministry–Joanna Coatney–prints them out in a snap.
One thing that has not changed all these years–by design–is labeling The Intercessor. We have resisted having them labeled by a third party such as the printer because it is important to us to see every name and handle every magazine. Those who are available gather on a Sunday morning in a living room and stick on every label (if yours is not 100% straight, now you know why). Early on we had a pretty complicated sorting system to comply with Post Office regulations for non-profits, and categorized by zip codes, states and I can’t remember what else. Now all that is obsolete and unnecessary. After Sunday School, taught by Elliot Coatney, the young folks and children join us. We have always included them, and some of our young adults were 5 or 6 years old when the first magazines from Boone were mailed. Now they are grown, and we have a new crop of children–one is two!–who love to help. As piles of labeled magazines grow, they will pick up an armful and take them to the folks who are rubber-banding stacks and adding them to postal bags. They love to throw empty label pages in the trash, or bring their hard working parents and friends a well-earned bottle of water. What a blessing it has been to watch all these children grow up knowing that sending out our magazine is an important event which brings us together in fellowship for a common purpose.
As we work, someone will call across the room that they see the name of an old friend, or question “Do you remember so and so? Didn’t we meet them at a conference?” Or “I think this person has moved. Let’s check the address.” Norman would always talk about the importance of “living links,” links with fellow Christians who know or want to learn the truth of our union with Christ, and the magazine address list is, in effect, a history of some of these links. It has always been a special time, this morning when we are reminded of the privilege we have to “touch” our readers through The Intercessor.
Which brings us to the actual content of the magazine. The lead article in the first Boone issue was “The Missing Truth,” by Norman Grubb, and that title sums up the reason we believe it is so crucial to consistently present a truth by and large lacking in the Christian church. The Biblical fact that there is no such thing as a “human nature,” that we have no independent life of our own and are vessels containing either Christ or Satan is the central truth set forth in every issue of the magazine. As Norman used to say: “Satan-I, then through Calvary Christ-I, never just I-I.”
In that same issue was also “What Makes God a Person,” by Scott Prewitt and “Alphabet Soup” part 2 by Page Prewitt. Highlights from our 10-year anniversary issue included “Body, Soul and Spirit,” also by Page, “Christianity’s Lost Chord” by Norman, and “The Story of the Ten,” one of our favorite reprints from After C.T. Studd. After September 11, 2001 the cover of The Intercessor was simply, in red, white and blue, the 2 Chronicles scripture, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” In “9-11-01,” Scott Prewitt tells his moving story of traveling with the North Carolina Baptist Men’s disaster relief group the day after the attacks to the Pentagon and shaking the President’s hand. In that same issue was “God Determines, Not Permits,” which you will know we often return to, if you have received the magazine for many years.
Norman’s insights into “the mystery of the gospel” have been the foundation of the magazine from its inception. Chapters from his books (many out-of-print until Zerubbabel Press republished them) illuminate the great revelation of our identity in Christ, the centrality of faith, and the principle of intercession which he learned in the Congo with C.T. Studd and Rees Howells, and then leading the WEC for decades. Many are classics, such as “How Acquire Faith” from God Unlimited, “Undiscovered Self” from The Law of Faith, “The Self Can’t Be Improved” from Who Am I?, “Speaking the Word of Faith” from Yes I Am, and “Need is Evidence of Supply” from The Deep Things of God. We return to these and others again and again because of the timeless and invaluable truths they present. Norman also wrote about Biblical figures such as Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and the Savior Himself, describing the faith crises in their lives in order to explain “the way of God more perfectly.”
Throughout the years there have been features that have remained the same, such as “Q & A,” “Letters from Norman,” “Words to Live By,” “A Look at a Book,” and “Tape Talk” (when there still were tapes!). Newer features include “Faith Notes,” “Bible Bedrock,” and “From the Mission Field.” Personal testimonies detailing how an individual came to understand the truth have always been key, bringing a 4th dimension truth into the 3rd dimension, because it is always helpful to see how Biblical truth is actually lived out in an individual life. From the agony of sin and Satan’s deception to the glorious discovery of one’s real identity, contributors to the magazine have generously shared their stories.
We are grateful to all those who have written such articles for The Intercessor and those who have read them. Our faithful readers are the most important group involved with the magazine; without you there would be no reason to publish it. We love hearing how and when folks first received the magazine, what has touched someone’s heart and helped the penny drop, and how we can better serve you. It has been our joy to send out The Intercessor free of charge all these years: at last count to 5,356 subscribers in 50 states and 38 countries. We invite you to join with us in faith to further spread the good news of our union with Christ–what it means and how it works.
The banner of the magazine describes its mission as “Presenting every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28), and our statement of purpose further defines our commitment “to proclaiming to every creature the mystery of the Gospel, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). It has been our highest privilege to publish The Intercessor from our Total Living Center in Boone these past 24 years. It is with great expectancy that we look to the future, striving always to remain true to God’s calling.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 32 No 4
- Faith Illustrations–The Original Christmas
- Two Men of God
- Three Exciting New Projects
- The Holy and Hidden Mystery
- Tell it Like it Is
- Q & A
- From Who Am I?
- From The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Bible Bedrock
- A Letter from Norman
- Except by Faith
- The War and After
- The Intercessor: Behind the Scenes
- The Editor’s Note