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January 19 Methods or Men?

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Daily Meditations

from the book -

The Daily Devotional

for the 21st Century!

 

Today's subject: PREACHING

 

Titles under this subject-

Methods or Men?-Jan 19

Messengers without Message-Mar 9

Chaff or Grain?-Mar 18

Messengers or Managers?-May 10

Lost by Lust!-Aug 19

Input & Output-Sep 3

Worship, but no Word!-Oct 18

 

(General Index of  Subjects)

 

Previous Day

 January 19

Next Day

Methods or Men?


Reading: Zachariah 4:6-14

"You must no longer live as the Gentiles do,

in the futility of their thinking" (Eph 4:17)


 

The writings of prayer warrior E. M. Bounds (1835-1913) on prayer are unequalled. No author who writes about this holy exercise fails to borrow from Bounds. He penned, "The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men!" It is necessary that we change our methods in ministry according to culture and context. But this we must do within the boundaries of Biblical principles. Otherwise we will lose the message. John Blanchard (1729-1785) warns, "Never put yourself in the position where you have to evacuate the message in order to accommodate the method."

Skills can be sanctified by the Holy Spirit (Ex 31:1-5). But He is grieved if we depend on them. Zerubbabel was a remarkably skillful worker. Yet the word of the Lord to him was, "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit" (Zech 4:6). Uncommonly talented preachers must be extra-cautious, otherwise they will no more be God's spokesmen but simply great speakers. A conscious acknowledgement of our total dependence on the Lord to speak through us must be made before stepping on the pulpit. Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994) wrote, "The pulpit can be a shopwindow to display our talents; the closet speaks death to display."

I am ashamed to watch theatrical performances on the pulpit. I can understand singers holding microphones in their hands close to their mouths. But as a preacher if both my hands are not free, how can I turn the pages of the Bible to read out the references and expound the passages? We don't preach to excite people but to edify them. We must dress smartly but not showily. Addressing those who had listened to John the Baptist, Jesus asked, "What did you expect when you went out to see him in the wild? A sheik in silk pyjamas? Not in the wilderness! What then? A prophet? That's right, a prophet!" (Mt 11:8,9 The Message). Photo and video consciousness also tampers with the message.

Computerisation of Bible study materials has opened before us a world of Biblical references. With just a touch of a button hundreds of sermon outlines can be browsed. Because of such facilities we become strangers to the painstaking study methods of our forefathers. When we spend more time sitting in front of a computer screen than kneeling before God, our sermon outlines will be nothing more than lifeless skeletons. "The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor 3:6b).

There was a "man" sent from God; his name was John!
 


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Preaching: NextMarch 9