Volume. XXII, No. 3
Sunday, 15 July 2007

From the Pastors Heart: Prayer

My most recent mission trip has been very profitable for my personal meditation before God.  Thank the Lord for giving me opportunities to meet up with God-loving and fearing people and to see His works in different places.  Wherever I went and whatever I saw reminded me of our dependence on God.  The best way to reflect our dependence on Him is through prayer.  The people of God can reach Him through prayers.  From our experiences, we know that the best time to pray is when we are in our most helpless state.  In a sense, if we do not pray, though we are helpless, we are simply showing either our ignorance of God or our independence of God.  All of God’s children know the importance of prayer and its blessings, but not many of them are engaged in prayer life.  Edward McKendree Bounds (1835-1913) has been known to be an author of many books about prayer.  I may not say that his books are perfect and inerrant.  I did find some expressions that I do not like to use when I talk about prayer.  Despite this, there is no doubt that he was a man of prayer and wanted to ignite the flames of fire into our hearts to pray more.  I’d like to quote from his writing to encourage all of us to pray more.  All the more, I must confess that I have failed to reach the level of prayer life as he tried to teach.  E. M. Bounds was a Methodist minister born in Shelby County, Missouri.  He studied law and was admitted to the bar at 21 years of age. After practicing law for three years, he began preaching for the Methodist Episcopal Church.  He said the following under the title of Men of Prayer Needed:


“Study universal holiness of life.  Your whole usefulness depends on this, for your sermons last but an hour or two; your life preaches all the week.  If Satan can only make a covetous minister a lover of praise, of pleasure, of good eating, he has ruined your ministry.  Give yourself to prayer, and get your texts, your thoughts, your words from God.  Luther spent his best three hours in prayer. -- Robert Murray McCheyne


We are constantly on a stretch, if not on a strain, to devise new methods, new plans, new organizations to advance the Church and secure enlargement and efficiency for the gospel.  This trend of the day has a tendency to lose sight of the man or sink the man in the plan or organization.  God's plan is to make much of the man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God's method.  The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.  “There was a man sent from God whose name was John.”  The dispensation that heralded and prepared the way for Christ was bound up in that man John.  “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.”  The world's salvation comes out of that cradled Son.  When Paul appeals to the personal character of the men who rooted the gospel in the world, he solves the mystery of their success.  The glory and efficiency of the gospel is staked on the men who proclaim it.  When God declares that “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,” he declares the necessity of men and his dependence on them as a channel through which to exert his power upon the world.  This vital, urgent truth is one that this age of machinery is apt to forget.  The forgetting of it is as baneful on the work of God as would be the striking of the sun from his sphere.  Darkness, confusion, and death would ensue.


What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use -- men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.  The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men.  He does not come on machinery, but on men.  He does not anoint plans, but men -- men of prayer.


An eminent historian has said that the accidents of personal character have more to do with the revolutions of nations than either philosophic historians or democratic politicians will allow.  This truth has its application in full to the gospel of Christ, the character and conduct of the followers of Christ -- Christianize the world, transfigure nations and individuals. Of the preachers of the gospel it is eminently true.  The character as well as the fortunes of the gospel is committed to the preacher.  He makes or mars the message from God to man.  The preacher is the golden pipe through which the divine oil flows.  The pipe must not only be golden, but open and flawless, that the oil may have a full, unhindered, unwasted flow.  The man makes the preacher. God must make the man.  The messenger is, if possible, more than the message.  The preacher is more than the sermon.  The preacher makes the sermon.  As the life-giving milk from the mother's bosom is but the mother's life, so all the preacher says is tinctured, impregnated by what the preacher is.  The treasure is in earthen vessels, and the taste of the vessel impregnates and may discolor.  The man, the whole man, lies behind the sermon. Preaching is not the performance of an hour.  It is the outflow of a life.  It takes twenty years to make a sermon, because it takes twenty years to make the man.  The true sermon is a thing of life.  The sermon grows because the man grows.  The sermon is forceful because the man is forceful.  The sermon is holy because the man is holy.  The sermon is full of the divine unction because the man is full of the divine unction.


Paul termed it "My gospel;" not that he had degraded it by his personal eccentricities or diverted it by selfish appropriation, but the gospel was put into the heart and lifeblood of the man Paul, as a personal trust to be executed by his Pauline traits, to be set aflame and empowered by the fiery energy of his fiery soul.  Paul's sermons -- what were they?  Where are they?  Skeletons, scattered fragments, afloat on the sea of inspiration! . . .  .The sermon cannot rise in its life-giving forces above the man.  Dead men give out dead sermons, and dead sermons kill.  Everything depends on the spiritual character of the preacher.  Under the Jewish dispensation the high priest had inscribed in jewelled letters on a golden frontlet: "Holiness to the Lord."  So every preacher in Christ's ministry must be moulded into and mastered by this same holy motto.  It is a crying shame for the Christian ministry to fall lower in holiness of character and holiness of aim than the Jewish priesthood.  Jonathan Edwards said: "I went on with my eager pursuit after more holiness and conformity to Christ.  The heaven I desired was a heaven of holiness."  The gospel of Christ does not move by popular waves.  It has no self-propagating power.  It moves as the men who have charge of it move.  The preacher must impersonate the gospel.  Its divine, most distinctive features must be embodied in him.  The constraining power of love must be in the preacher as a projecting, eccentric, an all-commanding, self-oblivious force.  The energy of self-denial must be his being, his heart and blood and bones.  He must go forth as a man among men, clothed with humility, abiding in meekness, wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove; the bonds of a servant with the spirit of a king, a king in high, royal, in dependent bearing, with the simplicity and sweetness of a child. . .” .


This message must be applicable to all of us, the believers of God.  I trust that his words edify us to be better people of God.



Lovingly, Your Pastor


More Lively Hope




Vacation Bible School next week, 17-21 July. Speaker: Bro Gabriel Lee. VBS invites on literature table. Meals roster for Bro Gabriel & Sis Grace Lee on notice board.

20th Anniversary Church Magazine now available. 1 copy per family please.


Looking Ahead

ACM & Session Election on Sat, 28 July. All members expected to attend. Those wishing to nominate a Church member for session election, please fill in the nomination form available from Elder Michael D Lee.

Pastor Ki house-blessing - 21st July, 1:30-4pm. Address: 14 Beckman Ave, Highbury, SA 5089. Telephone number: 8265 7573


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies - Bros Jonathan Liao & Jonathan Yeo, Sisters Min Yen Chia, Shu Jun Liew & Vanessa Tan (Adelaide); Bro Daniel Volvricht & Sis Nikki Ching (Melb); Sisters Amanda, Amelia Tan & Grace Tan (S’pore) & all who have arrived safely at their destinations.

YAF Music Night - Songs Under the Stars.

Wednesday & AFG Bible Studies.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Winston Selvanayagam, Hans Ziegelman; Sisters Mariam Atijatuporn, Shu Ai Cho, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe, Chrisanthi Selvanayagam, Juanita Tong, Susan Veradi, & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - Bro Sam Nang & Sis Chulamy.

Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim.

Journey Mercies - Bro Gabriel & Sis Grace Lee, Bro Daniel Volvricht (Adl); Sis Dabi Han & Mrs Han (Germany), & all those travelling this week.

Jobs - Sisters Nikki Ching, Gillian Ong & Juanita Tong.

Uni placement: Sisters Lydia Fan (Whyalla), Charlotte Lin (Mt Gambier).

Sister B-P Churches in Australia & S’pore.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041