Monday, August 31, 2009

God is Revealed, Psalm 19:1-14

The lesson title this week is “God is Revealed,” and it’s based on Psalm 19. The aim of the lesson is to help adults respond positively to God’s revelation of Himself.

How do you get to know someone? You might ask questions, or follow these suggestions on how to get to know someone.

Ideally, the lesson should encourage believers to please God, obey His Word, and to personally pray. So it might be interesting to start the lesson with a discussion of what encourages believers in your class. Afterwards, they would be keyed into being encouraged by the lesson.

Ask members to complete this statement: “I am encouraged when . . .”

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to live with confidence, James 5:1-11, 13-20

There is nothing better to create doubt and destroy confidence than sinful behavior. The lexicon tab on the Bible.cc page for James 5:14 shows that the Greek word astheneo, rendered as “sick” can also be translated as “weak.” If verse 13 is taken to cover those troubled with sickness (they should pray), then the discouraged in verse 14 may refer to those who are spiritually or morally weak (inclined to sinful behavior). James may be instructing morally weak believers to not only pray but to also call on the elders to pray for them to be delivered (made well).

To help you teach this week’s lesson, “How to live with confidence,” consider the PPT slides created by Randy Stewart for a lesson he taught last year from James 5. The deck also includes a summary of the lessons from James.

I like the opening question of the lesson plan offered by First Baptist, Chester, IL. “Where will you be in five years? What will you be doing? How sure or how confident are you about your future? Why? Explain this old adage; “If you lie down with dogs, you will wake up with fleas.”

Friday, August 21, 2009

PPT Slides for "Who is Your Best Friend," James 4:1-17

Co-teacher Randy Stewart posted his slides for "Who is Your Best Friend."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Posting this week

I am traveling this week, and it is difficult for me to post. If I get a chance to, I will.

I'd be glad to post any suggestions you have, however.

God bless.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

PPT slides for "How to Sail Through Life," James 3:1-18

A member of my class, Dave Richards, volunteered to teach this week’s lesson, “How to Sail Through Life.” Dave has taught previously in other churches, but he is new to using PowerPoint. He prepared a set of PPT slides for the lesson, which he agreed to share with you.

Also, David Parker suggested a contest regarding this lesson that might add some fun to your class.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

1000th blog entry

The lesson, “How to Sail Through Life,” is based on James 3:1-18. James uses the illustrations of bridles and rudders to make the point that small things exert great power.

If you Google (or Bing) the phrase “smallest and most powerful” you see lots of things that make that claim. As a teaching suggestion (to help keep the lesson interesting), make a list of your Top 10 “smallest and most powerful” things, and put the tongue as #1.

P.S. Thought I'd mention that this is my 1000th blog entry after beginning in May, 2005. God is good. According to statcounter.com, the site averages 1, 446 returning visitors each month. The PPT slides are downloaded well over a 100 times each week that I post them. I believe all of us teachers want to do a good job on Sunday morning. We just need all the help we can get! May the good Lord continue to use us! Thanks for stopping by. RW

Monday, August 10, 2009

How to Sail Through Life, James 3:1-18

This week’s lesson is titled, “How to Sail Through Life,” and it’s based on James 3:1-18. David Self says, “the passage is aimed squarely at teachers…”. Sobering.

Mark Rathel titled his commentary “Wisdom reflected in speech.” It includes a pithy poem, which I like.

We studied last week that works make faith visible. Our behavior makes visible what wisdom we use. Here is a funny video concerning wisdom that you might show to gain interest. After the class watches the video, you could ask some questions. Eg. Did the video mention use of the tongue? (no). What type of wisdom was its subject? (good sense). Have some fun!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

PPT Slides for "Show Me Your Faith," James 2:14-26

I posted my PowerPoint slides for, “Show Me Your Faith,” based on James 2:14-26. Compare them to the slides I posted earlier for the LifeWay plan. Comment please if you think I’ve got it wrong. Hopefully, I added some value! At your suggestion, I can tweak them between now and Sunday morning.

I want to remind you about the Finishers Project, which is a web information service designed to help adults get involved in short-term, or even permanent mission projects. Consider speaking to your class about this as a way to help members get involved in serving the Lord. To view the opportunities that are available, you do not have to log into their site, or register.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What goes together

I invite you to read Thomas Constable’s commentary on James 2:18 (p. 32) as you prepare to teach the LifeWay lesson, “Show Me Your Faith,” based on James 2:14-26. Given the carnal behavior of many Christians today, the issue of assurance may come up in people’s minds as you teach about works. Constable’s comments may help you prepare. The LifeWay commentary briefly mentions the security of a believer.

The Lifeway plan suggests an opening using the idea of “opposites attract”. The idea is that faith and works attract. I think I will change this and use the concept of “what goes together?” as illustrated in the following PPT slide.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Making the invisible visible

Jeff Meyers posted a copy of Thomas Constable’s commentary on James (see here for all of Constable’s commentaries). I encourage you to read p.28-30 in preparation to teach James 2:14 for the lesson, “Show Me Your Faith.”

The lesson commentary by David Self at First Baptist, Houston is also useful. He includes a chart contrasting Paul and James, and comments specifically on James 2:14.

I really like analogizing faith as love and corresponding works as body language in the lesson commentary by Leroy Fenton, South Prong Baptist Church, Waxahachie. I liken this to a couple in love (invisible) getting married (visible display of their love).

If you think about it, wind (faith) is invisible, but it has very visible results (works). A microscope (works) makes the invisible (faith), visible. Lastly, an invisible man is made visible by his clothing.

These ideas are summarized in a slide like the following.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Show Me Your Faith, James 2:14-26

To get started preparing the lesson, “Show me your faith,” based on James 2:14-26, I made PowerPoint slides for LifeWay’s suggested teaching plan. I added a few visual aids to help the presentation, and used the NIV translation, but otherwise I did not change their plan.

There may be issues with their interpretation of this focal passage from James. For example, it interprets the use of faith in the focal passage as saving faith, or faith leading to one's ultimate righteousness before God. However, other interpreters see James as writing to Christians, and his use of the word save referenced a deliverance from a judgment of works.

This passage requires the hard work of understanding the author’s meaning. How do you plan to present the meaning of these verses? I'm still praying about it. May God give us all spiritual wisdom and understanding this week!