ACTS International
Home Page of ACTS International
Home Page of ACTS InternationalHow to Find and Know God without having to be religiousLife Help Articles dealing with faith, family, and practical helps for purposeful livingDaily and Weekend Encounters with more than a third-of-a-million worldwide subscribersSupport the Work of ACTS International a not-for-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible for U.S. donorsCurrent report on the ministries and services of ACTS InternationalOnline Store of ACTS ... ACTS CommunicationsAbout ACTS International
ACTS International Home Page Click here for the current issue of  Daily Encounter
Tell a Friend Site Map Share and/or Bookmark
Articles > About Faith: > Life's Detours

Life's Detours

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."1

"The year was 1920. The scene was the examining board for selecting missionaries. Standing before the board was a young man named Oswald J. Smith. One dream dominated his heart. He wanted to be a missionary. Over and over again, he prayed, 'Lord, I want to go as a missionary for you. Open a door of service for me.' Now, at last, his prayer would be answered.

"When the examination was over, the board turned Oswald Smith down. He did not meet their qualifications. He failed the test. Oswald Smith had set his direction, but now life gave him a detour. What would he do? As Oswald Smith prayed, God planted another idea in his heart. If he could not go as a missionary, he would build a church which could send out missionaries. And that is what he did. Oswald Smith was pastor of The People's Church in Toronto, Canada, which sent out more missionaries than any other church at that time. Oswald Smith brought God into the situation, and God transformed his detour into a main thoroughfare of service."2

Years later Oswald J. Smith had a dynamic impact on my own life that changed the course of my life and ministry. Forty years ago when I was the South Australian director of Youth for Christ, I helped organize a week of meetings with Oswald Smith in the city of Adelaide. In one service Smith preached on the power of the printed page. Now I've never heard God speak to me audibly, but that night I felt like I was hit with a big "wham" from God. I felt tremendously challenged about getting into literature (even though I never wanted to be a writer) and walked out of that meeting telling God that "some day I would do something about literature but right then I was too busy with my high school ministry!"

What a dumb thing to tell God! Two weeks later my high-school ministry collapsed. For something to do I wrote the gospel message I had been teaching in the classrooms, printed it, and mailed it to several hundred high school student leaders from some 50 high schools in the greater Adelaide area. Nobody was more amazed than I when I received numerous responses. I've been writing and publishing gospel literature ever since—for the first three decades in printed form and for the last decade via email and the web.

And what was that first message I wrote, printed, and mailed to those high-school students? It was, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian … without having to be religious." More than three million copies of this message have been printed and distributed. Multiplied thousands more have read it on the web and responded to it. It has also been translated into several languages. You can see a copy at:

So, when God puts a detour in your path, you will never know what results it may produce. And I am only one person among thousands that were impacted by the ministry of Oswald J. Smith—and multiplied thousands more have been impacted by ACTS literature and our writing ministry.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that when I daily commit and trust my life to you, you do direct my paths and lead me in the way you want me to go. Please continue to do this for all the days of my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Romans 8:28 (NIV).
2. Brian L. Harbour, Rising Above the Crowd. Cited on


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.

    Back to Return to previous page Previous Page    
Site Map   Top
Find Peace With God footer
About God
About Faith
Ask the Teacher
Better Living Tips
Words of Love
Words of Inspiration
People Power for Jesus
Simple and Effective Witnessing for Christ

Spanish Espanol
French Francois

Daily Encounter
Weekend Encounter
Encuentros Diarios
When God Is Silent
Prayer Partners

Special Needs

Helps and Studies
Today's Reading
Annual Reading

Today's Quotes
Happiness Test
Stress Test


ACTS Websites
ACTS in Action Report


Syndicate ACTS Articles
"I Hate Witnessing"
   Audio—No Charge

Opening Closed Minds
Effective Communications
Jesus, the Communicator
Punching Holes in
   the Darkness

About ACTS
Be an ACTS Friend

People Power Invite
Privacy Policy
Snail-Mail List
Contact Us/Feedback

Online Bookstore

Site Map
Report problems to ACTS International
All pages in this site © Copyright 2005-2019 by ACTS International
P.O. Box 73545, San Clemente, CA 92673 U.S.A.
HOME   Daily Encounter  Find Peace With God