Pointer's to Progress

Monthly pulpit pointer's by the Ministry staff.

By the Ministry staff. 

FORMULA FOR SUCCESS

With the message all prepared and the sermon notes all in order, then the ser­mon has to come off the paper into the preacher's soul. The fire must be kindled after the fuel is gathered.

"My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue" (Ps. 39:3). When David wrote these words he laid down the perfect formula for preachers. What a re­vealing text this is! It was when the fire burned that he spoke with his tongue. The divine illumina­tion gave him utterance. And dare a professed mes­senger of God speak unless the fire is burning? Iron cannot be welded when the fire is low. A pan of ashes in a pulpit is pathetic.

After completing the preparation of the sermon, the preacher must prepare his heart. Go for a walk, or go to the place of prayer. And there, in the presence of God, meditate upon the message; give yourself wholly to it. Go over it point by point. Picture the congregation before you. Think of their needs. Call up the faces of certain ones you expect will be present, some whom you know need this very message. Ponder every point prayerfully. Plead with God as a true intercessor. Let your prayer be: "O God, help me when I come to this point. Give me words that will burn this truth into the heart of that man on the back seat. Help him and his family to see light in Thy light. Give me wisdom and grace to present this message so that the people will not see me, but Jesus only."

The audience knows when a preacher has himself been profited by his preparation, for if the ser­mon is to be a power, it must first become a living thing in the heart of the preacher. It must have laid its own warm hands upon him, bringing to him the very unction of God. When his own heart is aflame, the people will recognize the leaping forth of the fires of God.

R. A. A.

INDISPENSABLES

To what extent do visual aids, beautiful music, sound equipment, and other like "indispensables" con­tribute to the winning of souls? Many evangelists have conducted campaigns with all these material advantages, but with disappointing results. On the other hand, with poor equipment and less means, surprising results have sometimes been achieved. Of course the opposite is also true.

Few men engaged in evangelism would advocate the frugal approach in these times. This is not to protest the use of material aids, but rather to discourage dependence upon them. Their absence should never become a source of discouragement to the soul winner with a limited budget or with no budget.

Armed with the "sword of the Spirit" (the Bible) and filled with the "Spirit of the sword" (the Holy Ghost), with less complaining (about our defi­ciencies) and more explaining (the truth to men), we will yet finish the task committed to our hands.

E. E. C.

THE CHURCH  BUSINESS MEETING

It is difficult today to attract our church members to a church business meeting. There are reasons for this, of course. Our members scatter into the suburbs of our cities and few live near the church. Again, they must work long hours, both men and women. In the evening shopping must be done, the main meal of the day prepared and eaten before another pro­gram outside of the home can be considered. Where church plans require attendance a number of eve­nings during the week we need not be surprised that our most enthusiastic supporters find them­selves in conflict with time and health.

Recently while visiting one of our city churches we were invited to a "fellowship meeting" on Sat­urday evening at the school building. That day had been filled to the full with the regular Sabbath services and a special program of instruction in the afternoon. In fact we had a good attendance every evening of that week, in spite of January's snow and ice. Naturally we wondered about the arrange­ment of this fellowship gathering, and what it would produce. But at the appointed time, an hour and a half after the close of the Sabbath, this gath­ering began. Despite the weather, the meeting was unusually well attended.

First, there was a fellowship supper with much good cheer. The food was simple but nourishing, a variety of salads and warm dishes that had been prepared the day before, a hot drink, and a simple dessert. We met in the church school cafeteria. After the supper, for which an hour was allowed, the tables were quickly cleared and all remained to enjoy the excellent and graphic reports of the church's activities for 1955. No one complained of boring statistics, for every report was different and

intensely interesting. The pastor, leading out in a friendly spirit, carried the church with him. Being an evangelist, busy with radio, a correspondence school, and similar projects, he could inform his members regarding new plans in development. Each seemed to cheer the other onward, and this interest­ing "fellowship meeting" climaxed in due time with a hearty doxology.

It is true that a meal should not be the main attraction for a business meeting, but this type of gathering does provide seasonal fellowship. The proper timing of church business may well be stud­ied by church officers. At any rate, in this meeting we found food for thought, and felt that those who had helped us to spend such a profitable and pleas­ant evening should be commended.

Just one caution might here be timely. Where a meal is planned in such a connection, it should be appropriate for the time of day, simple and nourish­ing, with many sharing the work of preparation.

L. C. K.

THE CROSS 

The cross was a form of punishment borrowed by the Romans from the Phoenicians. It was expressly designed to inflict the maximum pain for the minimum of unconsciousness, for since no vital organ was in­volved, death came with excruciating slowness. Cicero chose his words carefully when he called the cross "the most overwhelming and pitiless doom."—LESLIE BADHAM, Love Speaks Front the Cross.


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By the Ministry staff. 

June 1956

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