Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm done

I am thankful for pastors that post their Bible study lesson plans. They are a great help to Southern Baptist adult Bible teachers. For example, Jeff Meyer starts his lesson plan, “When Considering Matters of Life and Death” with an illustration of the instability of the recent financial market.

James Patterson also posted a lesson plan for your consideration, and an Exciting Bible Study lesson plan by David Williams is available for $5.00. It’s worthwhile if you want to explore a change in your approach.

Considering the aim of the lesson, “to help adults acknowledge the security that can be found in God’s salvation,” I thought it might be helpful to consider a previous lesson plan with a similar aim. For example, an old lesson, “Always Trust Christ” from Jeff Meyer begins with an illustration of how a pilot trusts his instruments versus his gut.

Since most of us are pretty full after yesterday’s gorging, it’s probably not wise to start a conversation about “guts,” so I’ll close by calling your attention to Steve Guidry’s post of a Study Guide for this lesson (scroll thru the document to the last page).

Our Thanksgiving table is pretty full, but there's always room for more. If you are aware of other lesson resources for SBC Bible teachers, make a comment and let us know about them.

Take care my friends and may God bless your teaching this week!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Avoid muddying the water

While driving up to Little Rock yesterday to celebrate Thanksgiving, we discussed how to share the gospel with someone. After lots of talking, the most clear, Biblically correct expression emerged as a single question. “Are you trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?”

Avoid “muddying the water”. Use this as you teach the lesson, “When Considering Matters of Life and Death,” by placing two glasses of water on a table. One should hold clear water and the other should be full of muddy water. Ask members which one they think would appeal most to a thirsty person.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving, be open to an opportunity the Lord brings into your life and ask, “Are you trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?” Ask it with an emphasis on the presence tense as David did in his song of praise to the Lord, 2 Samuel 22:1-51.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Trust meter reading

In the background passage 2 Samuel 21-24 for the lesson, “When Considering Matters of Life and Death,” it struck me that David sought the LORD (21:1), sang to the LORD (22:1), and then sinned against the LORD (24:10). David is another proof point of man’s fallibility. Given David’s example, why do we continue to put our hope and trust in men?

Looking at the passage again, I noticed that God answered prayer (21:14), delivered David (22:1), plagued Israel (24:15) because of sin, was grieved (21:16), and again answered prayer (24:25). The passage is another proof point for God’s faithfulness, His integrity, and His salvation. Considering His person, why do we fail to put our trust in the Lord?

The writer of the text seems to encourage us to trust the Lord, who does not fail (compare 2 Sam 22:2-4 to Psa 18:1-3). My alternate title for the lesson might be just that. Trust the Lord, who does not fail. Ask members to examine their “trust meter”.

Monday, November 24, 2008

When Considering Matters of Life and Death

To help focus attention each week on what the key verses teach, co-teacher Curt and I almost always offer an alternate lesson title to what LifeWay suggests. For example, I titled the lesson, “When Tangled in Sin” to a more direct message of “Love God’s Word and Obey It.”

How would you alternately title this week’s lesson, “When Considering Matters of Life and Death?” It’s the last in our series from 2 Samuel, and is based on chapters 21-24.

Mark Rathel named it “David the Worshiper.” Judi Page titled it, “Reflecting on the past.” Sonshine labeled it, “Closing the Life of David.”

To answer this question, I pray for God to help me understand what the background passage teaches. Then I read it, and write a single sentence describing what I think it teaches. Then I work at shortening this sentence to use as few words as possible while retaining the direct message. Please click the comment link below and tell us your alternate title for this week's lesson.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Study Guide

For the lesson, “When Family Bonds Shatter,” Steve Guidry posted an interesting Study Guide (scroll thru the document to the next-to-last page). I say it’s interesting because you could pass out copies of it to your class members and ask them to complete it as you teach the lesson. I think Steve is affiliated with First Baptist, Tyler?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holding a grudge

Jeff Meyer’s lesson plan for “When Family Bonds Shatter” suggests opening with a discussion of famous broken families. To prepare for this consider using examples from the Pope Family Feud, Donovan Family Feud, and the Brown Family Feud. If you’d rather use these as examples in Step 5 of the lesson, then focus on what schemes were used instead.

Karen Conner opens her lesson plan using an example family feud that has a happy ending.

Lastly, regarding “holding a grudge,” I liked this statement: “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” I found it in the comment section of this post.

Evidently there is some science as to how holding a grudge affects the heart.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Non-reconciliation, Let me count the ways it cost thee

Dan Kassis, Internet Producer at LifeWay Sunday School sent an email with a special note for teaching the lesson, “When Family Bonds Shatter.” The following caution contained a suggestion for opening the lesson:

“Due to the sensitive nature of this lesson, refrain from offering a light-hearted or amusing icebreaker to begin your class session. Instead: Allow each learner to share one thing about their families - either spouses and children, or the families they grew up in - for which they are thankful to God.”

In step 4 of the lesson on Reconciliation, consider sharing selected elements of the article “The Many Costs of Conflict.” The author outlines the expense of non-reconciliation in four areas: Direct Cost—Fees of lawyers and other professionals; Productivity Cost—The opportunity cost of what those involved would otherwise be producing; Continuity Cost—Loss of ongoing relationships including the "community" they embody; and Emotional Cost—The pain of focusing on and being held hostage by our emotions.

Monday, November 17, 2008

When Family Bonds Shatter, 2 Samuel 13-20

We study 2 Samuel 13-20 this week in a lesson titled, “When Family Bonds Shatter”. LifeWay Extra writer Dana Armstrong suggests an introduction using an article that identifies the top reasons for family conflict during holidays.

Writing for Focus on the Family, Mary J. Yerkes describes three scenarios of unresolved conflict. You might consider opening the lesson using the one involving the mother and daughter in the same church.

When considering the failures in David’s family, Sonshine notes the principle given in 1Co 10:6—These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

PTT Slides for "When Tangled in Sin", 2 Samuel 12

Jeff Meyer starts his lesson, “When Tangled in Sin,” with a discussion of cause-and-effect relationships. He ties this to the choices made by David, and their subsequent positive, or negative results. I like this because it clearly ties personal action and later consequences.

Writing to Mississippi Baptists, Ginger M. Caughman’s commentary on the lesson that David’s temptation came during a period of idleness, which reminded me of the admonition, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”

I posted a draft of my PowerPoint slides for Sunday. At church last night, a friend told me about another teacher's use of PowerPoint, which I liked. To make better use of class time, the class coordinator and prayer leader puts announcements and prayer requests (submitted ahead of time) on slides. The slides begin with a clock count down against a fast-paced music background, which encourages members to take a seat. Pretty cool!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What's sin?

2 Samuel 12:9 indicates David despised the word of God. The aim of the lesson, “When Tangled in Sin,” is to help class members confess their sin. Through the law we become conscious of sin (Romans 3:20b). While not exhaustive, Jesus named a number of sins in Mark 7:21-22, and Paul made a list in Galatians 5:19-21.

My point is to use the Word to help members recognize their sin. Articles like this one indicate the need is great! Here is a clip from the article:

A new survey by Ellison Research in Phoenix finds 87% of U.S. adults believe in the existence of sin, which is defined as "something that is almost always considered wrong, particularly from a religious or moral perspective."

Topping the list are adultery (81%) and racism (74%).

But other sins no longer draw majority condemnation. Premarital sex? Only 45% call it sin. Gambling? Just 30% say it's sinful.

"A lot of this is relative. We tend to view sin not as God views it, but how we view it," says Ellison president Ron Sellers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blind to seven deadly sins

In “When Tangled in Sin,” Mark Rathel parallels the “invitation for judgment” of Nathan’s parable told to King David and that of the parables told by Jesus. He mentions our propensity to judge the sins of others more harshly than we judge our own, and he hit home, when he noted, “An individual with an intention to sin can always find a rationalization for sin.” For example, see 1 Samuel 15:24. Saul confessed his sin, but also justified it.

Step 2 of the lesson encourages us to confront our sin. We all have physical blind spots, and this article mentions how we are “blind to our own sin.” The article also discusses Seven Deadly Sins(about a fourth of the way down the page). I’m thinking of mentioning these sins in my discussion to help members confront their sin.

Monday, November 10, 2008

When Tangled in Sin, 2 Samuel 9:1-12:31

Writing in the Texas Baptist Standard, Louis Johnson’s commentary on this week’s lesson, “When Tangled in Sin” emphasizes that repentance is a choice. He notes that we all agree we are sinners until we are individually confronted with a specific sin, then we blame others, or justify our actions.

The heart of this lesson is to help adults confess their sin to God and receive forgiveness. Read Psalm 32:3-5. Consider starting the lesson by asking members to discuss this quote:

"Guilt on the conscience, like rust upon iron, both defiles and consumes it, gnawing and creeping into it, as that does which at last eats out the very heart and substance of the metal."
British Bishop, Robert South

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Death of a vision

Brad Shockley’s illustration of a moving bull’s-eye contrasted with God’s fixed standard is very appropriate for use in teaching the lesson, “When Assessing One’s Lifework.”

Sam Tullock’s commentary encourages those who feel “put on the shelf.” Reading it, I thought of how David's idea of a "dream home" for the Ark came to an end. His vision died when God intervened.

You might share this story of the “death of a vision,” and ask members to discuss how God has intervened in their life plans.

Monday, November 03, 2008

When Assessing One’s Lifework, 2 Samuel 5-8

Michael posted a comment noting that Second Baptist of Houston publishes a lesson plan for Explore the Bible teachers. This week’s lesson, “When Assessing One’s Lifework” should captivate member interest since we all wonder at times whether or not our lives are in line with God’s purposes. The lesson is based on 2 Samuel 5-8.

The text indicates that “progressive success (from the Lord’s perspective)” is the result of God’s blessing. As a servant of the Lord, David’s life successes were designed by the Lord as a blessing to all Israel.

Correspondingly, you might ask, how has your service to the Lord been a blessing to His church. For example, do you have a track record of successfully serving the Lord? Has He blessed you in teaching, administration, giving, etc.?

God gave David a period of rest, but David found it dissatisfying. He wanted to build a lavish home for the Ark of the Covenant, but the Lord intervened. Applying this to your life, you might ask, when has God intervened in my life? Did my failure in some endeavor imply a lack of the Lord’s blessing?

Can 20-20 hindsight serve as a guide for future action? Mark Rathel figures there is no such thing as a self-made man. What are your "secrets to success"?

I'm still trying to understand what application of this particular text is correct for Christians. Have you successfully figured it out?