Monday, June 29, 2009

Follow The Spirit, Galatians 5:16-26

Eli Landrum, Jr. wrote the LifeWay Adult Leader Guide commentary for “Follow the Spirit”, this week’s lesson from Galatians 5:16-26. In his opening remarks, he indicates that Christians need guidance as we exercise our freedom in Christ. To illustrate a “guidance system” he mentions automobile navigation systems.

In particular, Landrum says he wants a navigation system better than the one featured in a commercial he saw. I think I found the commercial he referenced, but what Landrum doesn’t mention is a surprise—who’s behind the voice of the navigation system?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

PPT Slides for "Claim Your Freedom," Gal 5:1-15

A first on this blog is for me to post the PPT slides of one of my co-teachers (their usually not finalized in time). Randy Stewart allowed me to post his slides for Claim Your Freedom.

Randy and I both pray that these slides will help you.

Some of you readers out there are great teachers, and I would be all too happy to post a link to your slides if you send it to me before Sunday. ronnieward [AT SIGN] yahoo [DOT] com.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Circle drawers

You might be able to use children’s responses to the question: “What does freedom mean to you?” to introduce some levity into your lesson, “Claim Your Freedom”. You might simple ask your class the question, “What does “freedom in Christ” mean to you?” List a summary of their answers on a marker board as they call them out.

The commentary by Dr. Sam Tullock describes the Judiazers as what he calls “circle drawers”—Bible preachers or teachers who build their identity or following by claiming to be guardians of some great truth, or rediscovered truth (I have in mind the Emergent church movement). In what ways do today's followers of such “circle drawers” give up their true freedom in Christ?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First Baptist, Chester, IL is back!

FBC, Chester, IL posted their question based lesson plan for “Claim Your Freedom”, which I reproduced below since their link is not sticky.

Galatians 5:1-15
“Claim Your Freedom”

-Share your name with the class and give us your definition of freedom.
-If you break the law can you expect to loose your freedom? Can you be forgiven by God if you break the law? Is there any sin that you can commit that God will not forgive you for?
-How many translations of the Bible do we have in class today? Let’s read Galatians 5:1a from the different versions. What does this simple verse say to you in your own words?
-Have you ever been imprisoned by an unfulfilling job? How about a difficult relationship... a lengthy illness or a financial problem? How did you feel when you broke free from that situation? How is that freedom comparable to the freedom you receive in Christ?
-Have you ever intellectually accepted something as true but then acted as if you did not believe it? Does anyone want to elaborate?
-The Galatians listened and said they believed Paul when he taught them about “faith” alone but then they still tried to earn their salvation! Does that sound like anyone you know?
-Why do you think Paul told them to “STAND FIRM”? What is the yoke of slavery that he told them to avoid?
-Truth time! Have you ever allowed your faith to become burdensome, like a yoke? How were you able to have that burden lifted?
-If you could give some good advice to another believer about not becoming burdened and bogged down with legalism in their Christian life, what would you say?
-Do you know anyone who has fallen from grace? Can someone explain how a Christian can fall from grace?
-What does Paul tell us the person living by faith is eagerly awaiting?
-If a person wanted to be righteous or to be in a right relationship with God; can they do so by following a list of dos and don’ts?
-If you were placed in prison for several years and finally were released, would you choose just to stay there instead of enjoying your freedom? As a Christian freed by Jesus why do you sometimes place yourself back in chains?
-Does the promise of future righteousness offer you hope in your Christian faith?
-What two metaphors did Paul use as he wrote about Christian faith and legalism?
-Would you describe your Christian life as a sprint or a marathon? What would you like it to be?
-Is it possible to compromise the Christian truth? Can small compromises lead to bigger ones?
-Here is the million dollar question!!! Is Christian freedom a license to sin? What did Paul say in verses 13-15?
-Have you ever seen Christian freedom abused? How? What do you do to avoid such abuse in your own life?
-Do you know of any church that has ever fought among themselves? Why is possible that Christians can experience huge bitter disagreements with fellow believers? How much damage can such conflicts do to the kingdom of God?
-To sum up Paul this week, what is the essential ingredient to a saving relationship with God?
-Let’s pray, asking God to fill us with His spirit of love for one another, thanking Him for our freedom by His love for us.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Claim Your Freedom, Galatians 5:1-15

Gauging the volume of post-lesson comments I received, the “picture commentary” approach I used last Sunday worked well. Over 160 people downloaded my PPT slides, so I hope you had an equally good response.

This week’s lesson, “Claim Your Freedom,” based on Galatians 5:1-15, may be a bit tougher to teach.

A teaching plan by Jon Klubnik from Second Baptist Houston tackles all of chapter 5. I really like his outline exert of the flaws of Pharisitical system from Fan the Flame, by J. Stowell.

I read the lesson commentary and the challenge is help adults recognize the freedom they have in Christ and to exercise that freedom in ways that honor Christ.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

PPT slides for "Living by the Gospel" Gal 3:26-4:31

I uploaded my PPT slides for the lesson, “Living by the Gospel”. I added slide notes to help you figure out the presentation since I decided to use a “picture commentary” approach. That is, I present the Scripture and read thru it, and then show a series of pictures and structure my teaching about the verses around each picture.

I just thought it would be interesting to try a different approach. I wanted to stick with the LifeWay theme of growth in Christian maturity, but I also wanted to teach the context and application of the various Scriptures in the focal passage. Otherwise, why stick to the passage? We could just read it and jump off to other passages about spiritual growth. But we are studying Galatians, so I want to be sure and teach it.

Have fun. May God bless your lesson!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Live by faith

Jeff Meyer’s lesson plan for “Living By the Gospel” notes that “growth and life go hand-in-hand”. Personally, I’ve discovered that growth not an automatic (I may use the analogy of an automatic transmission vs manual shift to move to higher gears).

I previously posted PPT slides for an Explore the Bible lesson titled “Growth is Intentional” based on 2 Peter 1:1-11 taught back on May 6, 2007.

I’ve posted many times on ‘growth’ as we are discussing in this week’s lesson. For example, you may want to look at Evidence of Spiritual Growth. It references, Transformational Discipleship, by Barry Sneed & Roy Edgemon, published by Lifeway from which we have the following evidences of spiritual growth and seven some specific hindrances (see p. 32).

1. The Life of the Transformed Believer Models Love, Trust, and Obedience
2. The Transformed Believer Lives in Harmony with God’s Word.
3. The Transformed Believer Sees the World Through the Lens of Scripture-- Phil. 4:8-9
4. The Transformed Believer Has a Relationship with Other Believers
5. The Transformed Believer Makes God’s Love Known to Others

Hindrances to Spiritual Growth
1. The warfare of Satan
2. The ways of the World
3. The war against self
4. Lack of knowledge and understanding
5. Drifting away
6. Rebellion
7. Distraction

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Living By The Gospel, Galatians 3:26-4:31

To illustrate step 2 of the lesson, “Lesson By the Gospel,” (Galatians 3:26-4:31) I will use a couple of analogies of how players come from different teams with different customs to form a new team where the old customs no longer apply.

For example, I played high school football on a very competitive team. Our enemies were other teams in the same district. They practiced, for example, in different ways than we did. Respective offense and defense strategies were very different. Later on, some of us players who were once competitors in high school were on the same local college team. We practiced in new ways from the ways we did in our respective high school teams. We ran a new offense and defense. We were no longer members of teams with different customs. We were now members of the same team with a whole new way of playing the game. Our team was very successful.

That was not the case in a second example I experienced in a business environment. I worked for a very successful computer manufacturer. We competed against other manufacturers. Each of the companies had their own strategies for success. I knew many of the players in the other companies. Later on, while working at a different start-up, hi-tech company, some of those same players worked at the new venture. As a business we failed. Everyone wanted to do things the way they had experienced in prior companies. We failed to adapt and change and do what was necessary to win in a new market environment.

Perhaps you’ve had similar experiences you can draw on to illustrate Paul’s point in Galatians 3:28.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Feeling free

I like Kelly Kinto’s lesson plan for “Receiving the Gospel.” It draws attention to the idea of being free, or feeling free—and not wanting to return to it. She mentions some of her own “freedom” experiences, to which your class members can relate. She goes on to recount two people who were once freed from slavery only later to be returned to it (and then freed again). I recommend that you give some thought to her approach.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

In God we trust

Simply teaching what the focal verses mean for the lesson, “Receiving the Gospel,” is a good teaching plan. Galatians 2:11-3:25 is so rich in meaning.

However, you may want to include illustrations regarding trust. One idea is to ask members how we demonstrate trust as we go about our living in modern society.

For example, we exhibit trust when driving that an on-coming driver will stay in his lane. Momentarily, we put our safety in their hands as we wiz by one another. As another example, we put our livelihood at risk when we trust co-workers to perform their jobs to a level that everyone succeeds. And we trust the pastor will be prepared to deliver a message from God’s Word on Sunday morning when we gather in the worship center to hear him preach.

Finally, IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin. Hold up a US coin and ask how Christians exhibit “in God we trust”?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Receiving the Gospel, Galatians 2:11-3:25

I noticed in teaching last week’s lesson that Christians tend not to be precise when “Talking About the Gospel.” To get at the lesson aim “to help class members demonstrate they have a clear understanding of the gospel,” I asked them early in the lesson to choose the best statement of the gospel from a number of variations listed on a slide.

I was a little concerned when many people didn’t see any differences in the various statements! However, after the lesson, most members were focused on the issue and for the time being, less accepting of variations to the gospel, which add to it, or change it in some way.

It may not be as simple in this week’s lesson, “Receiving the Gospel” (Galatians 2:11-3:25), to accomplish the lesson aim—Help adults indicate they have placed their faith in Jesus.

Perhaps a good way to start the lesson is to use an old illustration. Set a chair before the class and ask members if they believe the chair will hold them if they sit in it. Explain what the Bible means “by faith in Jesus Christ.” Tell them that faith has an object, and Jesus Christ is the object of a Christian’s faith. Using the chair as an illustration, and say, "it does not hold your weight until you actually sit in it." Believing it will hold your weight is not the same as actually trusting it with your weight by sitting in it.

Can anyone suggest a different illustration?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

PPT slides for "Talking about the Gospel" Gal 1:1-2:10

I posted my slides for “Talking About the Gospel.” You may also be interested in reading Jeff Meyer’s lesson plan.

Let me know how your lesson goes!

Friday, June 05, 2009

A confusing gospel is not good news

I hope to post my slides for the lesson, “Talking about teaching the gospel,” no later than tomorrow, and I plan to answer the question: “What is the gospel?” I posted on this last year, “Avoid Muddying the Water.”

That post references an article by Dr. Harry Leafe, who answers the question this way, “The Bible states that "The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). Being a Christian involves an informed confidence in Jesus Christ (the God-Man Savior). A person is informed about His death as a satisfactory payment for their sin (the Gospel), and that person places their confidence or trust in that payment. That informed confidence and trust is what the Bible means by the term believe. Anyone who places their confidence or trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin and eternal life is a Christian.”

The true gospel is good news. A confusing, or misleading message is “really no gospel at all.” (Gal 1:7). Jay Hancock answers the question in his lesson plan from Carmel Baptist.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


What was it about the message (false gospel) of the Judaizers that appealed to the Gentile Christians in the Galatian churches? What inspired those believers to quickly embrace a different gospel?

For Step 3 of the lesson, “Talking about the gospel,” I’m thinking about highlighting a few of the reasons people converted to Judaism. For example, Andre Tippett said, "The thing about Judaism that has got me excited is the tradition," says Tippett. Bob Tufts said, "Having grown up and questioning my beliefs a little more, I was more attuned to trying to live a better life in the here and now rather than in the hereafter."

These statements can be set over and against the God inspired truth of the gospel in Paul’s life.

Does anyone have recent statistics for Baptists converting to other denominations, or cults?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How different does different have to be?

For teaching Step 2 of the lesson, “Talking about the gospel” from Galatians 1:6-9, consider using this sermon illustration, suggested by the Forum on the Lifeway lessons. I’ve shortened the list of confusing statements about the gospel to the following. I’ll reduce it even further to fit a few key ones on a PPT slide. I will ask members to pick the most correct statement from the list. After that I will ask for volunteers to state how they have misunderstood the gospel in the past.

1. Repent, believe, confess your sin to God, and confess Him before men and you will be saved.
2. The clearest statement of the Gospel in the N. T. is found in Luke 9:23: “If any man wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
3. May the Lord reveal to the sinners that the only way for them to be saved from their sins is to repent with a godly sorrow in their hearts to the Lord.
4. Utter the prayer of the prodigal son—ask Jesus to be your Lord and Master.
5. Place your hand in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus
6. Find Christ by praying through to Him.
7. Believe in Him, trust Him, accept Him, and commit your life to Him.
8. We have the warning of Christ that He will not receive us into His kingdom until we are ready to give up all, until we are ready to turn from all sin in our lives.
9. God offers eternal life freely to sinners who will surrender to Him in humble, repentant faith.
10. Do we literally have to give away everything we own to become Christians? No, but we do have to be willing to forsake all.
11. Matthew 7:13-14 is pure Gospel: “Enter by the narrow gate...”
12. No one can receive Christ as his Savior while he rejects Him as his Lord.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Talking About the Gospel

I started working on my slides for this week’s lesson, “Talking about the gospel” from Galatians 1:1-2:10, and I think I’ll begin with a brief review of the eligibility requirements for membership in the organization: Daughters of the Republic of Texas. I’m doing this since DRTA is pretty clear about their eligibility requirements, and the principle one is a right of birth.

During the lesson I want to make the point that we must be clear about what the true gospel is, and not confound it with other unbiblical ideas.