Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Filtering a message

In preparing for Step 3 of the lesson, “Responding to God with Faith,” you may want to read the comments of Bob Deffinbaugh on Genesis 28. I particularly like his application of John 1:51 (Jesus is the ladder of communication) to Jacob’s dream.

Today’s world offers many ways to send a message—phone call, text message, fax, email, snail mail, blog comment, etc. However, among the various messages we receive, how do we distinguish which ones are prank calls, solicitors, junk fax, spam, etc versus genuine communication from people we love and trust? We must apply a filter to each message. Ask members to discuss what filters they use to discern if they are receiving a message from God.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Moving tips

While considering Step 2 of the lesson, “Responding to God with Faith”, I thought about the times I have moved (relocated to another city, or state) in my life.

To help members study Genesis 28:1-10, ask them to recall a time they moved to a distant city. Perhaps it was dictated by the company they worked for, or it happened when they were in the military. What advice, or tips did they receive? To help with the discussion, share a few of these tips when moving to Los Angeles, or these moving tips from FlyLady.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Responding to God with Faith, Genesis 28:1-22

Genesis 28, the background passage for this week’s lesson, “Responding to God with Faith,” includes the account of “Jacob’s ladder”. The lesson aim is to encourage members to grow closer to the Lord by choosing to make “steps of faith” (ties into the idea of a ladder).

The (of which NAMB is a member) created a list of ten steps of faith. Consider working this list to produce a ladder of steps of faith your class members can chose to take based on where they are in their relationship with Jesus Christ. The Leader Guide is silent on possible steps of faith members might take, so such a ladder may be helpful to you for encouraging members as you present your lesson.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Exploiting the net

Based on Genesis 25:1-27:46, the lesson, “Do you help or exploit?” is rich in possible lesson applications: individual motivations, favoritism, exploitation, and victimization to mention a few. What direction are you going to take the lesson?

With his lesson plan, David Flanigan offers a learner handout that may help set your direction on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Blessing vs Birthright

You may want to read up on the difference between birthright and blessing before you present Step 3 of “Do you help or exploit?”, which is based on Genesis 27:6-8. The LifeWay Adult Leader guide confounds the two (p.144). As I understand it, birthright passes patriarchal authority in the family, whereas blessing passes on financial assets.

Ask members if they are familiar with the meaning of “bless his heart”, or “bless her heart”? I can hear Rebekah saying "bless his heart" about Esau as she gives her instructions to Jacob for stealing his blessing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Less than they bargained for

Step 2 of “Do you help or exploit?” selects Genesis 25:29-34 as its focus. Esau got less than he bargained for—lentil soup rather than a stew.

Search Google and you’ll find lot’s of people who get less than they bargained for. If you give your class members a minute, they will tell you about the worst product they ever bought.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Do you help or exploit? Genesis 25-27

My, my. Last week’s lesson contained “Chick flick” elements, such as the love story between Isaac and Rebekah. This week’s lesson, however, “Do you help or exploit?”, reads more like an action/adventure story that’s full of intrigue.

The interaction between Isaac/Rebekah and their sons Esau and Jacob features parental favoritism, sibling rivalry, deceit, rebellion, and the Lord’s active role in the lives of men and women.

Start the lesson by asking members to tell about a time when they got a really good deal. This will start the class with members in a happy frame of mind since they were winners in some deal. Then ask them to describe how the loser in the deal must have felt?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

“Do you believe in ‘signs’?”

Do you plan to ask the discussion question, “Do you believe in ‘signs’?” as part of Step 3 in the lesson, “Do you seek the Lord’s Guidance?”? If so, read comments on the issue from pastor Ron Ethridge at Woodward Avenue Baptist Church, Muscle Shoals, AL.

To spur the discussion, start by reading the example of someone wondering if God gave them a sign about stock market investing using an incident of washing and drying blankets.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How I do my job

Step 2 of Do you seek the Lord’s Guidance underscores the importance of understanding the details of a job, or task in order to complete it successfully. Consider asking members to tell a neighbor “how they do their job”. For fun, afterwards have a few members explain how someone else does their job.

Here is a story on the way blogging changed how one person does her job. Ask members to identify factors that changed how the reporter does her job. Apparently, the Lord is not a factor.

Read the quote below from this story and identify how the person does his job. He leaves God out, too, yet he is apparently successful. Why?

“When I broadcast, I wear my feelings on my sleeve. I let the game dictate to me how I do my job. I don't prepare a lot of statistical notes, my institutional memory is what I depend on. I never know where they're coming from or when they're going to be there, sometimes they don't mean anything and sometimes they mean more than others.”

Monday, February 11, 2008

Do you seek the Lord's Guidance? Genesis 24:1-67

Over the next three weeks, I’ll be involved in teaching a special series of lessons pertaining to 2008 Impact, our church wide campaign. However, I’ll continue to blog about the lessons from Genesis since we plan to teach them eventually.

LifeWay titled this week’s lesson from Genesis 24:1-67, “Do you seek the Lord’s Guidance?”. Its aim is to help members seek the Lord’s guidance in daily living.

Members will probably be familiar with a number of the decision-making techniques listed. Surely, some have used methods to consider the pros and cons, or conducted a cost-benefit analysis when faced with a choice.

Consider introducing the lesson by showing a list of such techniques and asking members about their experience with such methods at work, home, or church. Ask them to name a method they use that’s not on the list. Hopefully, someone will mention praying for guidance from the Lord.

Powerpoint slides I used to teach this lesson (combined with the previous lesson since I taught both as one lesson).

Friday, February 08, 2008

Make a commitment to be obedient

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sam Tullock’s commentary on the lesson, “Do you obey in faith?”. Particularly, note how he listed the various tests that Abraham faced in Genesis 20-23. This makes for a great overview of the background passage to use in your class.

In case your interested, David Flanigan posted a complete lesson plan for “Do you obey in faith?”. I don't know David, but if anyone does, tell him to stop by and say hello.

As you think about how to wrap up your lesson, don't forget to encourage members to make a commitment to be obedient to the Lord. If there is an obstacle, or barrier preventing someone from making this commitment, it can be overcome by faith in God.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Spinning your wheels

In the LifeWay lesson, “Do you obey in faith?”, Step 4 is titled, “Do we follow through?” To follow through, we need to be accountable. Follow through on our commitment to be obedient is a measure of our trustworthiness.

Ask members how lack of follow through is like “spinning your wheels”?

As far as obedience is concerned, you’re not going anywhere.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Selective obedience: buffet style Christianity

I recommend reading Mark Rathel’s commentary on the lesson, “Do you obey in faith?”. He does a good job of relating other scriptures to Abraham’s task to sacrifice Isaac, such as Heb. 11:19, and John 19:17.

In reference to modern day believers, Rathel uses the term “selective obedience”. For example, Saul demonstrated selective obedience in 1 Sam 15:9. Perhaps you can use an illustration of eating from a buffet in Step 3 of the lesson. The video is a bit long, so use the points you want to make, and don't show the video?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Illustration of testing

The phrase, “When God doesn’t make sense” is usually associated with evil, or tragedy in the world. But you might also associate it with God’s command in Genesis 22:1-2, where Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac.

We can only imagine how valuable Isaac was to Abraham, and perhaps that is why God's command made sense. God wanted to test, or prove Abraham’s faith. The question is this: did Abraham still trust in the Lord, or had his faith shifted to his son of promise?

Can the fulfillment of a promise possibly supplant one’s faith in Jesus Christ? In what situations does God prove our faith today? (see 1 Peter 1:6-8)

As a teacher, I use exams to determine how well students understand material we’ve studied. Think about giving a brief quiz during step 2 of this week’s lesson, “Do you obey in faith?” It might work as “illustration of testing” if you reduced your quiz to three questions.Here other example quizzes.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Do you obey in faith?, Genesis 20:1-23:20

When I read the background passage, Genesis 20:1-23:20, for this week’s lesson, “Do you obey in faith?”, I thought of topics such as, God acting to protect Sarah, or God’s view of marriage, or negotiating an agreement Abraham style.

However, the LifeWay lesson emphasizes the notion of thoroughly obeying God. So I started thinking about examples in life where I am very careful to do as instructed. For instance, correctly completing a ballot. Get that wrong, and I waste my vote.

To start the lesson, have a discussion of modern day examples where we must follow instructions thoroughly and carefully. A few examples include: filing a rebate form, follow directions to a new destination, mixing an adhesive compound, and filling out a tax return. What others examples can you think of?

Powerpoint slides I used to teach this lesson (combined with the next lesson since I taught both as one lesson).

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Powerpoint for "Do you care for others", Genesis 18-19

To teach “Do you care for others” from Genesis 18-19, consider using these questions posted by Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Tx.

Again, this week I’ll mention lesson commentary from Michael Reynolds, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Marion, Ohio.

Also, I posted my PPT slides that might be useful to some of you in teaching the lesson. Add your own comments, or questions, or change the photographs to make it your own!

Remember to pray for your class members. Ask God to transform individual lives as a result of your teaching His word!

Friday, February 01, 2008

What distracts you?

I’ve been in east Texas this week without Internet access, but late tomorrow, I hope to post at least a draft my PPT slides for “Do you care about others”.

What distracts you in life? A father made this watercolor painting after noticing how the T.V. distracted his son, who "looked back" as he passed through the room. What distracts class members enough to cause them to turn and look back?