Friday, October 31, 2008

PPT slides for "When Responding to Loss", 2 Samuel

Two principles suggested by Sonshine help to crystallize the lesson, “When Responding to Loss.” The first, “Lamenting and Memorializing of others in death is a godly trait” fits with the LifeWay topic. The second, “God is dishonored by presumptuous sins. Avenging is God’s work, not man’s” underscores the opportunity for broader application of the background passage, 2 Samuel 1:1-4:12.

I’ve posted the PPT slides which I plan to use Sunday (Lord willing). Be sure and “play” the slides, otherwise you’ll miss some of the text. May God bless your preparation this week, and thanks to all the commentators and others who published lesson preparation helps this week! They are such a blessing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beware of man's selfish ambition

The lesson, “When Responding to Loss” is aimed at those who will suffer loss, which includes all of us. It is not intended for those surrounding a person who suffers loss.

As part of the background passage, it’s instructive to compare how David responded to the loss of Saul and Jonathan with his response to the loss of Abner (2 Sam 3:28-39) and Ish-Bosheth (2 Sam 4:9-12). Furthermore, contrast Joab’s murder of Abner (2 Sam 3:22-26) in response to his having legitimately killed Joab’s brother in battle (2 Sam 2:18-23).

Mark Rathel’s commentary doesn’t stick to the “responding to loss” topic. Instead he takes the passage 2 Samuel 1-4 more for the spiritual principles it teaches.

You also might consider Bob Deffinbaugh’s “black hat and white hat” approach (See the section titled 'What we can learn from Joab and Abner'). I think it could be made to work with all four chapters (2 Sam 1-4) with an alternate title of "Beware of man's selfish ambition".

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Inappropriate Twitter

Proverbs 26:27 is true. What Saul wanted to happen to David (die in battle against the Philistines) happened to Saul. David’s greatness is illustrated in how he deals with the loss of Saul and Jonathan. His sincerity provides us insight “When Responding to Loss.”

Each week, I always watch how God orchestrates events in my life to help me prepare to teach His Word. For example, we received news today that the son-n-law of a friend lost his battle with cancer. I’m thankful to be studying this lesson. What’s happening in your life this week to help you prepare?

Writing about 2 Samuel 1:1-27, Bob Deffinbaugh advises against the pop-psychology adage to “get it all out” by saying everything that is true should not be told. For example, David’s lament regarding Saul wasn't a tell-all of what David knew to be true about Saul.

Ask members to name what they’ve found to be inappropriate at a funeral. An example is illustrated in the story, “Colorado Newspaper Twitters Three-Year Old’s Funeral.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When Responding to Loss, 2 Samuel 1:1-4:12

Peter Hicks offers a number of things to say and do in his book, “What could I say?”. Concerning the topic of “loss”, he offers specific advice on what to say and what not to say when facing abortion, bereavement, divorce, illness, miscarriage, trauma, and unemployment.

These are particularly helful for very practical Christain response to loss. I've used my copy many times. I pulled it off the shelf and reviewed it as I started preparing to teach this week’s lesson, “When Responding to Loss”, based on 2 Samuel 1:1-4:12.

Most of us want to avoid saying something inappropriate in the case of bereavement. Would you recommend joining a “grief and loss” group to someone suffering loss?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Handy learner handout

Mark Cimijotti posted a lesson plan for “Conform to God’s Agenda” that includes a two-page learner handout. Cool! Mark is a single-adult teacher at Carmel Baptist Church.

Given their potential influence and usefulness, I’m still wondering why more teachers and church leaders don’t publish their own Internet version of a weekly lesson plan?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Helpfulness of a lesson plan?

I won’t post PPT slides this week, but thankfully Jeff Meyer at Bayleaf Baptist published a lesson plan for teaching “Conform to God’s Agenda”. My perception is that plans like his are helpful (vs commentary) because they are trustworthy, concise and make it is easy to incorporate key points into your own lesson plan. Am I right about this?

Thus, it seems that publishing a lesson plan has the potential to be very influential among the teachers in a given congregation. Assuming this I wonder why more pastors and ministers of education don’t publish their own Internet version of a weekly lesson plan? Any ideas?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Confession of sin

For the lesson, “Conform to God’s Agenda,” it’s interesting to compare Saul’s reaction to David in 1 Samuel 24:17-19 to David’s reaction to Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:13. Constant confession of sin is a mark of godly character (Step 4). To demonstrate how times have changed, read how Spurgeon illustrated his sermon in 1865 in the case of Dr. Pritchard and Constance Kent.

Commenting on this lesson from 1 Samuel (p. 8), Dr. W. B. Tolar, distinguished professor of biblical backgrounds, emeritus, of Southwestern Seminary, notes the following applications of the text for this lesson:

1. David had many fine characteristics and one of them was the respect he held for legitimate leaders.
2. David showed his high character by refusing to assassinate King Saul and make himself king immediately.
3. We Christians would do well to learn to control our ambitions so that we honor God as we treat others in a Godly fashion.
4. All Christians need to learn to operate by God’s timing and not by our own selfish ambitions.
5. God’s ways are best and God’s timing is always best!

No matter who wins the current election for President, Americans will be tested on his first, second and third points.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Filled with the Spirit

At a bible study last night, which I attended, the teacher, Dr. Harry Leafe, linked the Holy Spirit’s control and influence in our lives with Paul’s admonition to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” Col 3:16. That is, as we live life and make decisions moment-by-moment, the Holy Spirit uses our knowledge of the word of Christ to influence us to do God’s will. The choice to follow His influence is ours to make. I could relate this to our lesson, “Conform to God’s Agenda.”

An illustration came to mind from of my camping experiences. Exiting the tent one night to go to the restroom, the rocky trail traveled in a zigzag fashion downhill, and the night darkness was pitch black. I used a flashlight, and pointed it down since I could only see the trail illuminated in the circle of light from the flashlight.

Have you ever used God’s Word as a flashlight in a dark world and depended on the Holy Spirit to influence your thought processes toward God’s agenda (Psa 119:105)? David did when he was in the cave and avoided killing Saul, which was the easy way out of his situation.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Conform to God’s Agenda, 1 Samuel 24-31

Today it seems we often just leave God out of our fast-paced lives rather than “Conform to God’s Agenda,” the title of our lesson this week, which is based on 1 Samuel 24:1-31:13 (1 Chron 10:1-12). As Rathel’s commentary notes, it’s instructive for us to read Psalm 57 and 142 to gain insight into David’s thinking as he fled from Saul.

I like how Louis Johnson, North Park Baptist Church, Abilene, defines God’s agenda in his commentary on the lesson—“we work toward God’s goals, limit ourselves to God’s methods, and operate according to God’s timetable.” I encourage you to read the article to see how David adhered to God’s agenda when he was falsely accused.

How do you respond to false accusation (see Adult Leader Guide, p. 89)? I also recommend adapting the True/False quiz in my previous post on Unjust Suffering for use in your lesson.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

PPT slides for "Cultivate Godly Friendships", 1 Sam 18-23

The lesson, “Cultivate Godly Friendships” encourages believers to cultivate godly friendships. The writer of the article, “True friends are with us through thick and thin” suggests enduring friendships “just happen in a relationship”, and are not planned.

The article, “How to Determine Who Your true Friends Are”, categorizes friends as “fair-weather”, “know-it-all”, and real and simple friends. Another approach mentioned in the article is to liken friends to parts of a tree. Fair-weather friends are like leaves that drop off as the seasons change, and real friends are like tree roots that bring aid when you need it and add to your life.

I posted a draft of my PPT slides for “Cultivate Godly Friendships”. Hopefully they can help you prepare your lesson. As always, feel free to suggest changes as comments (see Comment Link below).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Take a bullet for

In studying to teach the lesson, “Cultivate Godly Friendships,” I noticed that there are 172 uses of the word friend in the NIV translation of the bible. I wanted to see what friends do for each in the bible (I may make a slide summarizing these). One that we all remember of course is Jesus declaration in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

I once responded to a request to contribute to a review of fellow manager’s employee by saying, “I’d take a bullet for him.” Secret Service agents would take a bullet to protect the President. That’s their job.

Most people would take a bullet for their spouses, parents, siblings, friends, and perhaps a pet. Who would you take a bullet for?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Godly friendships

Marc Reeves, makes a stab at defining godly friendship in his commentary on the lesson, “Cultivate Godly Friendships.” I learned to value proactive teaming at work, so I particularly liked the part, “It is a friendship that is looking out for what is best for the other person.”

First Baptist Church, Chester, Illinois posted their question based lesson plan, which I reproduced below (their link is not sticky). I liked the question, “When is the last time you made a new friend?”

-Let's begin class by sharing our names and telling the class the name of your childhood friend.
-What is the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you?
-When is the last time you made a new friend?
-What does it mean in a Christian's life to have godly friendships? What qualities attract you to other Christians who become your close friends?
-Have you ever seen a friend excel in something you also were striving to achieve? How did that make you feel?
-Jonathan was a logical choice to follow his father, King Saul, to the throne, how do you think he felt about David?
-How did Jonathan describe his relationship with David?
-Have you ever openly or privately promised your best friend something? Did you keep your promise? Have you been promised something by your friend? Did they keep their promise?
-Why do you think Jonathan gave his robe and other gifts to David? How do you think Jonathan came to handle this situation so spiritually?
-Have ever had the opportunity to defend a friend? Briefly, what was the situation?
-Jonathan took a huge risk in defending David to his father, could you have done the same?
-Can defending a friend prove to be costly to you? Is the friendship worth the cost? Would your friend do the same for you? How can you be sure?
-What role does God play in establishing friendships in your life? Is God in all your friendships?
-Take a close look at 1Samuel 20:8; what two favors did David ask of Jonathan?
Look at verses 12 & 13; David literally put his life in Jonathan's hands. What did Jonathan have to lose by keeping his covenant with David?
-Of the three men in this lesson, Saul, Jonathan, & David, who do you identify with the most? Why?
-The scriptures say that Jonathan encouraged David; how can you encourage a friend in their faith?
-When you offer your support and encouragement to a friend is it like laying down your life for them? If not, should it be?-As we close in prayer, let's go around the room and say the first name of your best friend, lift that friend up to God in a simple one sentence prayer.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cultivate Godly Friendships, 1 Samuel 18:1-23:28

Because of the lengthy background passage, I will construct a map and summary slide of the six chapters from 1 Samuel 18:1-23:28 to use in this week’s lesson, “Cultivate Godly Friendships.” I may structure it as a contrast of actions between Saul’s insecurity and David’s security in the Lord, which is an alternate application from the same Scriptures.

Because I’ve noticed a difference in the way men express friendship compared to how women express friendship, I may introduce the lesson using some ideas from the article, “Men, Women, and Friendship.” Some key points include the following:

1. intimacy is crucial to friendship
2. men express intimacy by helping each other
3. men express friendship side-to-side doing things together
4. men’s conversation is not about themselves
5. women share information about themselves face-to-face

6. women support each other conversationally

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Most and least likely to succeed

I was troubled in two areas after reading 1 Samuel 16-17. First, the Bible attributes God as the source of an evil spirit that tormented Saul (1 Samuel 16:14). How do you plan to comment on this in your lesson?

Second, 1 Samuel 17:55,56,58 notes that Saul asked about David’s father even though he had considerable experience with David’s father in 1 Samuel 16:18-21. What do you make of Saul’s condition that allows such a lapse?

Sam Tullock’s commentary on Embrace God’s Perspective brought to mind the notion of “least expected” in God’s selection of David as King. Consider using your high school annual to discuss the person voted “most likely” to succeed and the “least likely”. Class members will probably have some examples of their own to share after you jog their memory.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Embracing God's Perspective, 1 Samuel 16-17

Hi everyone! It is good to be back. Thanks for your patience, and I appreciate the kind notes some of you posted.

To introduce the lesson, “Embrace God’s Perspective” from 1 Samuel 16:1-17:58, consider using a Termeshpere (select one, and then click and drag to look around). Note the perspective of the termesphere, which were painted by Dick Termes.

Also, I made a previous post, “Take God's perspective into account” that may be helpful as you prepare to teach this week.