must no longer live as the Gentiles do,
the futility of their thinking" (Eph 4:17)
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
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."
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.
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).
was a "man" sent from God; his name was John!