Our generation is preoccupied with methods. When we find a program that works in one business, we immediately want to package and distribute it so that it will work for others. This attitude carries over into the spiritual life as well. We spend much energy looking for spiritual disciplines, books, seminars, or conferences that “work”in order to feel satisfied with our Christian life. God does not want us to trust in methods. He wants us to trust in Him. - Blackaby
It's interesting to read that portion of my devotionals this morning. We have Churches promoting books from the pulpit, we have books for every form of Sunday School or Lifegroup. We indeed have seen the same thing in the workplace. It works at Company XYZ so it really should work everywhere. In that respect, no it doesn't. Been there seen that. Every company, just like every person is different.
What is wrong with doing things the way the early Church did them? A Bible and that was it. People didn't have bookstores to go to. They prospered far better than the Church of today. People grew in Christ and thousands were being added to the Lamb's book of Life.
So today we have Pastors pushing books they write from the pulpit. Jesus was mad enough to make a scourge of cords to drive people out of the Temple for selling things. Certainly tells me these men have not taken the Bible seriously.
Jesus wasn't miffed. He wasn't upset.
He was angry. The sheer restraint to keep from using a single thought to wipe the place clean must have been incalculable!! He has said that even as He was in that human body, He could have called to His Father and Legions of Angels would have come. But think about that. Jesus COULD have killed them all with a thought. This passage really came to life for me when I began looking at what might have been. Jesus spoke the world into existence. SPOKE. His being arrested, He asked them Who do you seek? He replied "I am" and everyone fell to the ground. He could have said a simple 'be gone!'. Satan was waving that temptation around Him.
But He chose instead to pardon them enough to just out with their lives. That was mercy in action.
So why are people flocking to books, videos or seminars about God? What's so difficult about just asking Him? What's so difficult about just starting a book and seeing where the Spirit leads? Isn't He the teacher? If so why are we looking to videos, books, etc to be taught? We don't need man's interpretation of God's Word. We need God to explain God's Word. It's the only book ever written that the Author is present when you read it.
I will admit that I have gone along with Church programs in getting books to go through the class. What have I gotten from it? A shelf full of books that I haven't picked up again after the class was over.
What book do I keep picking up? My Bible.
It's one thing to sit under the teaching of a Godly man. But to spend money needlessly on their books just to make it through a sermon series is too much.
I also frequently watch Pastors from other Churches. Dr. David Jeremiah or Dr. Michael Youseff. I often go online to Wooster Grace and catch Pastor Nick Cleveland. Two of those do have books they have written and do preach on the same subject ad the book but don't stand there and tell you that you have to have it to understand the series.
I am also not a believer that women should be teaching men. It's honestly against what the Bible teaches. Elder/Pastor/Teacher is a male. Deacon is male, Deaconess is female. Deacon's oversee helping men mainly. Deaconess's should be overseeing helping women.
It really is an issue these days. Look at Lifeway Bookstores. Honestly consider the fact that God isn't blessing the ministry of books when they are closing all the brick and mortar stores. If God's not in it, why should we be a part of it?
Some will say that I am being too narrow minded. Not in the least. Again, go back to the Bible. Jesus says if I go, I will send you a Helper. The Paraclete. One who is like Me who will teach you all things. Doesn't say build a library. Doesn't say anything but look for the One that I will send you.
I do read devotional books. But not to the exclusion of my Bible. The very first of my Daily reading is my Bible. God sometimes talks to me through that, sometimes through the devotional. But He does speak. This writing right now is from part of a devotional Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry Blackaby.
I like his daily writings because it makes me think. It's entirely biblically based and often is thoughts I have already had at some point in my life but hadn't written down.
How is that different from other more modern methods? Well for me it's far more personal. I read about Experiencing God as a series a long time ago. In many ways Henry Blackaby was an introvert like me. He found his calling and pursued it.
His writing's do one thing...points people to the Bible. His writings aren't necessary for life and points you to what is...the Bible. C.H. Spurgeon is another. His daily writings Morning and Evening are like Blackaby. The verses used are intended to point you back to the Bible. Not introspective on your thinking or how-to's.
The last part of what Blackaby said in my quote of him is the important part. God doesn't want us to trust methods but rather to trust Him. Are you?
Honestly it's a learning process. A baby learns to trust their parents in talking, crawling and walking. In eating, in speaking, in learning. Spiritual birth in Christ is the same. The only best place to learn how to do all those same things we did as human babies and later on adults, is the same in the Spirit world. Our Father in Heaven. From the Holy Spirit. From Jesus. Someone once said that being a parent should have come with an owner's manual. It did. The Bible.
The original Temple had in it very few things. God's Word and a jar of Mannah plus Aaron's rod that budded. In our hearts the only thing we can carry with us is God's Word. The only thing we will ever take with us from this world are our memories. Contained within should be God's Word. We get to Heaven, I have questions for Jesus and those who wrote the Bible, don't have a single question for anyone about any book they wrote outside of it. Don't have a single question for any lecturer. Nor any person who taught anything.
If Jesus said that Heaven and Earth would fade away before any part of the Bible would fail. That tells me what is most important to Jesus.
I mentioned this earlier and in other posts, we overcomplicate it. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus. He is our Savior and Lord. We are adopted into His family.
So, ask Him. Ask questions. Jesus loves to answer questions about His Word. Loves to show us more about Him. He speaks through others yes, but He also speaks through His Word and audibly to us. There is no need for any go-between, no mediator between us and God. Jesus says my sheep hear my voice. Soooo listen.
Choose wisely when you choose something to assist your Bible time. Remember that God doesn't want us to trust methods, but in Him.