Friday, July 31, 2009

PPT suggestions for "Let's Be Fair About It", James 2:1-13

To conclude the lesson, you might want to read Jeff Meyer’s plan for teaching “Let’s be fair About It,” from James 2:1-13, since he uses a sports example to illustrate how we show partiality.

If we can conclude that James wants us to grow into mature Christians, then an ending single-picture slide that might work follows. May God bless your preparation this week! I pray that you will be able to use the PowerPoint slide suggestions made this week to help you get out of a teaching rut.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A choice to make

I suggest one of the following single-picture slides for step 4 of the lesson, “Let’s Be Fair About It” from James 2:8-13 follows. If you permit an inanimate image, the billboard is ok, but for this lesson, I like slides with people in the pictures.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Different standards

My suggested single-picture slide for step 3 of the lesson, “Let’s Be Fair About It” from James 2:5-7 follows. All the other elements in the passage seem to flow from the phrase “God chose.”

James says that people practice a different standard than God when they show favoritism. That begs the question, "What standard do you practice regarding the moral behavior of various people?"

Do you treat the moral behavior of those you prefer differently than you treat the moral behavior of others?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


As I understand it, showing favoritism doesn’t involve the expectation of receiving something in return. Favoritism simply elevates someone based on appearance, power, or wealth. My suggested single-picture slide (see yesterday’s post) for step 2 of the lesson, “Let’s Be Fair About It” from James 2:1-4 follows. The word I keyed on in the passage is discriminate.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Let's Be Fair About It, James 2:1-13

As a teacher, I’m getting that feeling of being in a rut again. Also, I worry about using PowerPoint because there is a risk that class members will stop listening to you and just read the slides.

One idea to get around both of these problems is to compose a set of slides that offers a single picture for each step of the lesson. That picture becomes a starting place for you to teach the key point of that step.

For example, to teach this week’s lesson, “Let’s Be Fair About It” from James 2:1-13, the LifeWay Adult Leader Guide divided the teaching plan into five (5) steps. For step 1, create a slide containing the lesson title, a reference to the focal verses, and a single picture—the only “power point” on the slide. Describe the point you intend the picture to make, and then go on to complete your introduction without using any additional slides. Your class will focus on listening to what you have to say as opposed to just reading a dense slide!

The content of James 1 and 2 suggest some “class distinctions” were made in the early Church—poor versus wealthy, and which of these had been given God’s grace. Three key ideas emerge from reading the focal verses—favoritism, the royal law, and mercy. Force yourself to pick one of these as a MAIN point and make a slide for it. Below is my suggested opening slide for this week’s lesson. P.S. I’m not too enamored with the use of the word “fair.” I hear a common complaint in our culture today, “That’s not fair!” It begs the question, “Is fairness to be expected?” I think James was not discussing fairness, but that’s just my opinion.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blurry image

Teacher, George Thompson posted his outline plan for teaching the Lifeway lesson, “How Genuine Are You,” which is based on James 1:19-27. Aside from liking his focus on Scripture, he asked a good question: “How closely does the image you project as a Christian match who you know yourself really to be?” Perhaps you could show a blurry image, too?

Kelly Kinto posted her lesson plan, too. Of all things, she describes a kind of “Word sandwich”. I’ll leave it to you to decide if you like it.

This just in: co-teacher, Randy Stewart posted PowerPoint slides for the lesson, "How Genuine Are You?" Thanks Randy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Take your pick

A couple of illustrations (suggested by some notes I have in my Bible) might be useful in teaching the lesson, “How Genuine Are You,” based on James 1:19-27. The first is a washing machine, and the second is the idea of natural instincts.

While it might better pertain to last week’s lesson, a washing machine includes an agitator, whose purpose is to knock dirt out of clothes during a wash cycle. In the same way, trials in the lives of believers act like agitators to help mature and grow us to be more like Christ during this life. Ask members, "At the moment, do you feel like you are inside a washing machine and getting beat up by the agitator?"

In the “tests of life” presented by James, some might trust their natural instincts, which includes fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, etc. However, to pass the test, God wants us to rely on Him and His Word.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Randy Stewart's PPT Slides

As a help to you, co-teacher Randy Stewart has made available his PowerPoint slides, which he used to teach various Explore the Bible lessons in the past. In particular, as you prepare to teach this week’s lesson “How Genuine Are You?,” take note of Randy’s slides (James1_19-27_22Jun08.ppt) for this week’s focal passage, James 1:19-27.

Co-teacher, Randy Stewart also posted updated PowerPoint slides for the lesson, "How Genuine Are You?" Thanks Randy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

How Genuine Are You, James 1:19-27

Driving this morning, I thought about an analogy to use in teaching the lesson, “How Genuine Are You,” from James 1:19-27. We’ve all heard about various types of cowboys— rodeo, drug store, urban, midnight, etc., but what is a genuine cowboy?

The lyrics of this song help to delineate a real cowboy. That’s probably as far as you need to go to make the analogy interesting and keep it appropriate. This sets up the question, "What delineates a genuine Christian?"

Friday, July 17, 2009

PPT slides for "When Common Sense Isn't Enough", James 1:1-18

I worked on the Lifeway lesson plan to make it my own, and came up with the following PPT slides for “When Common Sense Isn’t Enough”. My prayer is that they will be a blessing to you!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Common Sense

Slide 4 of my initial PPT slides for the lesson, “When Common Sense Isn’t Enough,” asks members to describe a person with and without common sense. To make progress on the goal of making the Lifeway lesson plan “my own,” I prepared a slide that has the blanks filled in (see below). This has a couple of benefits.

When members are suggesting their answers, I can concentrate on their remarks and more confidently interact with them at that point (having previously thought of some answers on my own). Secondly, if only a few people happen to respond, then I can easily move on to the ‘answer slide’ and avoid an awkward moment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Introduction to James

To teach the lesson, “When Common Sense Isn’t Enough,” I will add a background slide that presents an introduction to James (see below). For source material, Jeff Meyer posted Akin’s Overview and Intro to James, which I used in addition to other notes when I studied James last year.

Another way to bring up the lesson topic of wisdom is to ask members what they think about scientific studies that tell decision makers to “follow your gut”.

Monday, July 13, 2009

When Common Sense Isn't Enough, James 1:1-18

To prepare to teach the lesson “When Common Sense Isn’t Enough,” from James 1:1-18, I decided to take a different approach this week. I began by spending a couple of hours to build PPT slides for the lesson plan given in the LifeWay Adult Leader Guide.

If you’ll look at their guide you’ll see how I used their ideas. I tried not to be creative, or add to their approach. I simply wanted to start with a set of slides that reflected the time, effort, and prayer they spent in preparing their plan.

I hope this helps you get started on the lesson, and as you prayerfully study James 1:1-18 during the week, modify the slides to make it your own lesson plan.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Why should believers Be Responsible?

To paint a picture of what it means to “Be Responsible” as a Christian, read the “And Today” paragraphs in the LifeWay Adult Leader Guide and make a list of the suggested Christian responsibilities.

As an example, I came up with the following list: assist other believers, restore other believers as a ministry, bear other believers burdens, bear our own load, do good to other believers, give financially to the church, live in the Spirit, help other believers, avoid selfish motives, pray for God’s help, obey the Spirit, seek peace, avoid/resolve conflicts among believers, and seek spiritual wholeness and well-being.

You might have some reaction to even making such a list, but I was struck with the question of why should believers be responsible? Present the list, and ask your class members to give their answer to that question. How about this answer: “… because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 12:28).

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Why some people quit

In the focal verses for the lesson, “Be Responsible,” Paul wrote, “do not give up” doing good works (Galatians 6:9). Because some people do abdicate Christian responsibility, we have to ask, “Why?”

Perhaps a way to bring up this idea is to ask, “Why people quit their jobs?” It is easy to rephrase the top ten reasons given and put them in terms of Christian service, and a believer’s responsibilities. Here is a shorter list of why people quit their jobs.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Be Responsible, Galatians 6:1-18

The LifeWay Adult Leader Guide suggests opening this week’s lesson, “Be Responsible” (from Galatians 6:1-18) with a discussion of the issue of why many prisoners end up back in prison after being released. According to a Wikipedia article, it’s because they find it difficult to fit into a normal life.

The parallel, I think, are Christians who are released into the freedom of Christ by salvation, but find it too hard to live the Christian life. So they end up returning to a former way of life (i.e. a lifestyle of bondage to sin). This is a good opening. However, some people may not get the connection because they refuse to identify with prisoners.

The above approach represents one alternative--a beginning and a failure. Another alternative is to open the lesson with a beginning and followed by continuous improvement. For example, discussion of someone (or thing) that experiences a new birth (or new beginning), and from there continues to improve on to maturity (with needed improvements and maintenance along the way). A new golfer that continues to improve might be a good illustration.

Another example is a remodeled old home; that’s a new beginning. Over time it may need maintenance and makeovers (or improvements). Similarily, Christians need to improve over time, too. Hence, this Bible study lesson.

Another example is a new technology product, such as the new Apple iPhone 3GS. Its introduction is a new beginning, but Apple will have to continue updating it for it to remain competitive. The same is true for some Christians. To remain at the top of their game, they will need to improve based on what they learn in Bible study. hence, this lesson from Galatians.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Man vs Child

In the lesson, “Follow the Spirit,” Paul thought Christians should live under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit, even in life’s minutiae. Dr. Sam Tullock’s comments mention the connection between “what a person is” and “what a person does”. That might be a good statement to make and then get reaction from class members.

It appears to be the same idea Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 7:17-20, “by their fruit you will recognize them.” For example, a person filled with rage, is an enraged person. Hence, his behavior is directed by what he is. Being enraged influences what he does.

For a biblical illustration, Paul said in 1 Cor 13:11-12, “11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

In other words, as a child is so a child does, and as a man is so a man does. For a little humor, here is a video on Man vs Kids (the kids win in the end).

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

How well do you follow directions?

The LifeWay Adult Leader guide pictures the struggle between flesh and Spirit as a civil war. Paul pictured it as Battle of the Mind in Romans 12:2. We all have a worldview—mostly trained by popular media. Even though we are a new creation in Christ, we filter every input thru our worldview. However, our minds must be transformed to think from a Biblical perspective (like God thinks). As a man thinks, so he is. When we obey the Word, the Holy Spirit uses it to transform our thinking.

How do you plan to illustrate Step 2? I don’t see it as “walking behind the Spirit.” Rather, I see it as being alert and responsive to the Spirit's personal guidance in my life.

Going back to the analogy of a personal navigation system, do we listen to the Spirit, or ignore Him?

You may consider using a “test of people’s ability to follow directions” given on slide 10 of my PPT slides for the lesson, “Aspire to Walk With God,” taught in Dec, 2007.