Friday, May 30, 2008

A question based lesson plan

First Baptist Church, Chester, Illinois posted its Sunday School Questions for the lesson, "Empowered to Witness" (I reproduced the questions below since the link above is not sticky).

Their tact is very different than that of Jeff Meyer's, which I posted yesterday. If you use the question-based plan, at some point you have to insert the reading of at least the key verses. Otherwise, the lesson is just a discussion that's not centered on a Bible passage.

Empowered to Witness
Lesson Passage Acts 1:1-2:47

-Tell the class your name and tell us if you have ever been called to testify in a court of law.
-Have you ever warned someone of a potential physical danger? If someone was about to pick-up a downed power-line that you knew was still live, wouldn't you tell them? Most of us would agree that we would have no problem warning others of eminent danger, sooo... why do we have difficulty in warning others against an eternity spent without Christ?
-Jesus had given a seemingly impossible mission: to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and throughout the earth. How were His followers supposed to achieve this undertaking?
-What did the Disciples expect to happen according to verse 6? If you had been part of that group that day, how would you have reacted to Jesus' words?
-In your own words, how would you explain the nature of the power that was given by the Holy Spirit to the Disciples? What was its purpose?
-How should churches and individual believers go about making decisions concerning what sort of ministries to be involved in? When a ministry decision needs to be made; do you worry about how much it will you worry about not having enough you worry that it is something we've never done here before?
-True or False? Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit gives a believer the ability to be obedient in doing whatever God requires of him or her.
-Quickly someone tell us about the individual miracles that occurred in Acts 2:1-4. Do you believe God still brings about miracles like these today? Have you experienced any miracles? What was your experience? If you haven't experienced a miracle or you doubt that they still happen, what would it take for you to believe in the Holy Spirit's power?
-What was the purpose of God's using the Disciples to speak in languages they had never learned? Did the Holy Spirit quit working among men after that day in Jerusalem? Is there something that prevents you from depending on the Holy Spirit's power and help as a witness to others?
-Peter preached a powerful message. The Holy Spirit used his words to convict the hearts of thousands. What did Peter ask his listeners to do in response to his message? Why do you think Peter instructed the new believers to be baptized?
-Is personal evangelism an activity reserved for pastors, missionaries, deacons, or some kind of Super-Christians? Are you empowered by the Holy Spirit? What will you do with that power? As we close, pray that God would give you the desire, the power, and the opportunity to share your faith with someone this week.
-Next Sunday, the lesson is called "Empowered To Help". Study your lesson and read Acts 3:1-5:42. Answer this question; "When has the Holy Spirit worked through you to meet others' physical and spiritual needs?

Three section lesson plan

Jeff Meyer of Bayleaf Baptist Church offers a lesson plan for "Empowered to Witness". His lessons have three sections. He first introduces the lesson using LifeWay's suggestions. Next he does a verse-by-verse commentary on the focal passages. Lastly, he uses his remaining time to ask members a set of discussion questions.

I like this tact because his introduction gets people thinking about the aim of the lesson. Then he makes sure he covers the key Scriptures by commenting on each verse, and finally, he gets his class members involved and talking by asking good discussion questions, which he has prepared in advance.

How does your lesson plan compare?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Characteristics of a witness

I can identify with the story related by Daniel Haigwood in Talking about the wreck. Last February, we were involved in an automobile accident, and since I was stunned by it, I so appreciated one eye witness who went out of his way to make sure arriving police officers knew what happened and who did what.

As you teach this week’s lesson, “Empowered to Witness”, ask members if they recall an accident scene where they remember the important role some individual played in explaining what he/she witnessed at the scene. Or you can work thru this interesting approach of explaining a Brush With Death. As Haigwood does, relate these ideas to our lesson in an effort to help members appreciate key characteristics of a witness--they feel compelled to tell what they know.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Empowered to Witness, Acts 1 and 2

Sonshine’s study questions for the lesson, “Empowered to Witness,” focus on the disciples’ transformation into powerful witnesses for Christ. Start thinking now about how you will present Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-6,37-41, the focal passages for this first lesson from Acts.

For a variety of reasons many Christians do not have a habit of witnessing for Christ to unbelievers.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Yearbook predictions, or Name tags

While teaching the lesson, “Remain Faithful”, ask members to recall their high school yearbook prediction. Share the first part of this story, which mentions a yearbook prediction.

Or consider “adapting” Phyllis Merritt's approach for chapter 45 below to help you teach chapter 49. Use her name tag idea, but make up your own questions that can be answered from the text.

Pin a large name tag on yourself entitled, TV Reporter. Pass around name tags for each person to choose and wear. Use these names first: Joseph, Reuben, Judah, Simeon, Benjamin. If more than five persons are present, add the others brothers’names (Genesis 35:23-26).

Ask each person to listen for the answers to the following questions as one person reads Genesis 45:4-15 aloud. Before class, write the following questions on paper large enough for everyone to see.

• Joseph, how could you control your emotions so well? (Genesis 45:1-2)
• Reuben, what was the first question Joseph asked, after telling who he was? (Genesis 45:3)
• Judah, what was your first thought when you found out who Joseph was? (Genesis 45:3-4)
• Joseph, why did you not use your powers to hurt your brothers for the wrongs they had done to you? (Genesis 45:5)
• Simeon, how did your brother Joseph explain God’s part in his unusual life? (Genesis 45:7-8)
• Reuben (or another brother), what instructions did he give you all? (Genesis 45:9-11)
• Benjamin, what concerns did Joseph say about your father? (Genesis 45:3,9,13)
• Simeon (or another brother), were you able to really believe that Joseph had forgiven you for selling him into slavery so many years before? (Genesis 45:14-15)

The text above is quoted from ADULT BIBLE STUDY IN BASIC ENGLISH TEACHING GUIDE GENESIS 12-50: FAMILY LIFE, Published by the BaptistWay Press.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A promise kept

The news story of the broken promise in “Remain Faithful” is not helpful to me. The idea in Step 2 of the lesson is how a promise from God can motivate us to faithful living.

Instead of using an example of a broken promise, consider picking a story that emphasizes, “a promise kept”. I liked this line about the student-athlete Bailes: “…despite being left out of the lineup all spring, Bailes maintained a great attitude and work ethic.” He was diligent and faithful despite adverse circumstances. I suppose he believed the promise made by his coach.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Remain Faithful, Genesis 47:27-50:26

After the death of Jacob, in Genesis 50:20-21, Joseph said to his deceitful brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.”

Joseph viewed the then current feeding of the children of Israel (Jacob) as having a Godly purpose. It was an act of Godly salvation in the context of extreme famine. That understanding enabled Joseph to promise to faithfully provide for his brothers as well as their children.

Joseph promised to remain faithful to his fearful brothers because he knew God was at work in the situation. This suggests that our faithfulness is enabled when we experience God’s faithfulness.

This leads me to ask, have you perceived the presence of God working in a situation? Did it lead to faithfulness on the part of those involved?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Theology points

We’ve all heard of the idea of “talking points”, but are you clear on what “theology points” you want to teach in the lesson, “Make Major Life Adjustments”? Essentially, what key beliefs about God, as revealed in Genesis 46 and 47, are you going to make? For example, you can make the point that God is faithful.

Senior Pastor, Kent Berghuis, of First Baptist Church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, makes some theology points in a sermon outline for Genesis 46. For example, he asserts: “God confirms His promises.” But is that always the case in Scripture?

Have class members read the lesson focal passages, Genesis 46:1-7, 28-30, and 47:7-12 and call out what they teach about God.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Teaching points

David Self’s lesson plan for “Make Major Life Adjustments” suggests four teaching points in a time of life transition: (1) First seek God, (2) Consider everyone’s needs, (3) Plan ahead, and (4) Be humble.

I prefer these over what is suggested by the LifeWay Adult Leader Guide: (1) Apprehension, (2) Joy, and (3) Fulfillment.

Have you decided on your main teaching points for Sunday's lesson? Remember, we are not just teaching the Bible as a history book. Our desire is to see people’s lives changed by learning about God and their relationship with Him.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Turning points

Bob Deffinbaugh’s commentary on Genesis 46 and 47 is titled, “Life begins at 130”, since he sees the passage as describing turning points in Jacob’s life. Turning points can happen in different life categories, such as family (getting married), education (graduating), work (retiring), health (surgery), or spiritual (believing in Jesus Christ). Here is an example.

Perhaps you can use the idea of a life turning point to introduce your lesson. Ask class members to identify the top three or four turning points in their lives. Use this discussion as a springboard into your lesson.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Make Major Life Adjustments, Genesis 46,47

If you type “Genesis 46, 47” in a Google search box, you’ll get thousands of commentaries on Genesis 46:1-47:26, the background passage for this week’s LifeWay lesson titled, “Make Major Life Adjustments.” Filtering thru all those commentaries is impossible and not even desirable. I’m sure some of them would even take us down unwise paths.

However, I always enjoy looking at Sonshine’s study questions for the lesson to see what application angle she takes with respect to the given background passage. This week her application is to “prepare for now and eternity”.

Do you plan to apply the background passage this week in the manner described by the Lifeway Adult Leader Guide?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

PPT slides for "Work Toward Reconciliation"

In case they might help you prepare, here is a link to my PPT slides for the lesson “Work Toward Reconciliation”.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Need a plan?

Well, Jeff Meyer continues to make his Genesis lesson plans available—see this link for his comments on Work Toward Reconciliation. I’m a little surprised, but I always enjoy his insights.

For a more detailed plan to teach the lesson, "Work Toward Reconciliation", see Russ Rosser's comments here (Carmel Baptist Church in Matthews, NC).

I’ll try to post my PPT slides, but it will be late Saturday (tomorrow) given all that I have on my plate :-) .

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The joy of reconciliation

It looks like LifeWay’s Adult Extra will change in June (see the note at the end of this post, Work Toward Reconciliation, our lesson this week). The last part also makes it clear that reconciliation is not always possible.

I thought of the Godfather scene called “the kiss of death”, where Michael identifies his brother Fredo as the one who betrayed him. After their mother dies, Michael signals his henchman to do away with Fredo.

It's a sad scene and not very uplifting. However, it characterizes the results of a failure to reconcile. Contrast its pathos with that of the joy experienced by Joseph after he forgave his brothers of their treachery (Genesis 45). We have that to look forward to if we will reconcile broken relationships with others.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Getting started

For the lesson “Work Toward Reconciliation”, I thought about defining reconciliation, and then delineating how to achieve it.

The article, “If Look’s Could Kill” by Chip Bell brings out the importance and urgency of reconciliation. He also defines it as “change thoroughly”. He makes the point of how different God’s kingdom is from life in America using God’s word and quotes from two popular TV shows.

The article, “Effective Interpersonal Relationships” by Emery Nester offers a discussion of reconciliation in the context of developing effective interpersonal relationships.

In a previous post I mentioned the use of a peace pipe to help turn a broken relationship into a friendship. I presented the peace pipe as a gift, and the door to reconciliation was opened (see Prov 18:16a).

Monday, May 05, 2008

Work Toward Reconciliation, Genesis 43-45

To prepare to teach the lesson, “Work Toward Reconciliation”, I recommend that you first read the entire background passage: Genesis 43-45. It is emotion packed and full of drama. The story will touch your heart as Joseph finds purpose in all that has happened, and gives credit to God Almighty.

Not wanting to send Benjamin back with his brothers, verse 43:10 indicates that Jacob had delayed a return back to Egypt (poor Simeon, wonder what he must have been thinking?!). Jacob finally relented after the famine continued and the family was threatened again with starvation.

Ask class members under what circumstances do they employ procrastination? Ask them to name things they put off doing until the last moment, such as going to the doctor for a physical, or the procrastination examples offered in this video.