Monday, February 27, 2006

Men or Methods?

E.M. Bounds is well known for his books on prayer. For those of you not familiar with him, he was Civil War chaplain for the south. He even spent time in a Union prison camp. He served with a unit out of his home state of Missouri. After a battle in Nashville, in which the south lost, E.M. Bounds took an oath of loyalty to the United States. After the war, he returned to the site of the battle and became pastor of a Methodist church in Nashville. I would not agree with much of his ecclesiology and a few other doctrinal areas, but have been impressed with his works on the subject of prayer.

One book of his that has really impressed me is "Power through Prayer". Here is a quote from page one: “The Church is looking for better methods, God is looking for better men.” Oh, how true this is. Today, churches are striving to find new methods for accomplishing the work of God. Some are turning to “seeker friendly” type programs. Others are turning to psychology. Some are turning to entertainment. Pastors go from conference to conference to try and find the best new way to “build a church.”

It is not about programs and methods. It is not about this soul winning course, or this soul winning method. God does not use methods, He uses men! He is looking for better men, not better methods. If we as Christians would concentrate on our personal walk before the Lord we would have the key to success. God has chosen to use men as the means to work in this world. He has chosen men to proclaim the gospel. The key, then, is the man himself. A man that is yielded to God, so God’s power can be manifested through him. Look throughout scripture and you will see this; David a man after God’s own heart, Job who was perfect, upright, and stayed away from evil, Daniel who purposed in is heart not to defile himself, etc….

If you are lacking the power in your ministry, it is not time to find a new method; it is time to examine your heart! It is not time to change your music in the church to give life to your service. It is time for you to humble yourself before an Almighty God, and seek Him. Too many churches today are built on programs and methods of men and not the power of God. You don’t need a drum set or a NIV to give life to your church, you need the Holy Spirit! If your own personal life lacks God’s touch, it is not time to find a new church; it is time to look at your own heart. It is not time to drop your standards and convictions. It is not time to turn to Calvinism. It is time to seek the Lord!!!

Here are a few verses about this:

(Romans 12:1,2) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

(2Ti 2:20-22) But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

(2Ch 16:9a) For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.

The Lord desires to show himself strong before us. The question is, then, are you “…The vessel unto honor”? Are you the “…Living sacrifice holy acceptable unto God”? It is our character, not our methodology, that God is looking for!


SoloZealot said...

Bro Terry,

It is so true that the answer to success in the Christian ministry is not finding new methods. I often like to hum the song, "The Old Time Religion", basically, that says it all for me. If our job was only to find new ways of doing things, we would soon turn aside from the old Authorized Version, and turn to a modern abomination. Maybe we would even look for a new Saviour from our sins--a new religion? What can grow out of making such an error, what at first seems to be simple and innocent!

Good post. Keep it up.

Terry McGovern said...
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Terry McGovern said...

Much like the song, the book of Jeremiah put it like this:

(Jer 6:16) Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

Many today don't like the old paths. The old paths deal with our sin. They deal with holiness, righteousness. Many would rather find a new method!