Monday, November 30, 2009

How Can Jesus Help Me, Mark 1:1-45

The lesson “How Can Jesus Help Me?” is the first in a series of lessons based on the Gospel according to Mark. How to introduce the first lesson is typically not an issue since time is devoted to introducing the book (of Mark in this case).

The Lifeway material suggests an introduction which includes a question asking members to share qualities of “their favorite childhood superhero”. More important to me is the introduction in Jeff Meyer’s lesson plan. It focuses on the issue of the relevance of God’s Word, or Jesus in people’s lives today.

Dr. Meyer’s point can be followed with the idea that even believers overlook how Jesus can help them in today’s world. There lies the challenge of this lesson. How to motivate people in your class to seek Jesus Christ and His Word for help in their lives?

Perhaps introduce the lesson with the question “What are the most overlooked verses in the Bible?” You may not agree with that list (or this list), but the point is not the list as much as the fact that we overlook verses in the Bible that can be a help to us.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

PPT slides for Obey God's Word, Psalm 119

Co-teacher Randy Stewart posted his slides for the lesson, "Obey God's Word."

Friday, November 27, 2009

I'd see that again!

Regarding teaching Step 4 of the lesson, “Obey God’s Word,” I had an experience this week with one of my son-n-laws. We saw a movie together, and as we left the theater, he said, “I’d see that again!

People often return to the theater to see a movie multiple times. For example, I’ve read that people, who saw the movie Titanic, saw it an average of 4 times.

Ask members to name movies they have enjoyed seeing. Follow that by asking what movies they have seen more than once. You can carry it one step further by asking who buys DVDs of favorite movies. I suppose we do that to view it again and again at our convenience.

The Psalmist writing Psalm 119:12-16 treated God’s Word as a positive experience that he repeatedly read. Studying it was a joy to him (14, 16). He did not forget it either. He meditated on it and memorized it. How can you help your class make a commitment to personally study God’s Word?

P.S. Growing up, one of my daughters read the Trixie Belden books. She’d often read the books multiple times. I think you can use books instead of movies in your discussion.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Own it and it owns you

Concerning teaching, someone once said to me that it was necessary to own a lesson before I could teach it. This person had in mind the idea that you can only teach what you know and what we know best comes from experience.

To effectively teach this week’s lesson, “Obey God’s Word,” you have to own it. The material must belong to you. Step 3 focuses on Psalm 119:11, or treasuring God’s Word in your heart (or the center of your will—Deut 8:2, 1Kings 8:17, Jer 23:20). Our will can only be properly directed by God’s Word.

Perhaps a way to approach Step 3 is to ask members about their belongings and how their belongings influence their actions. For example, using a swing set, James Dobson once spoke about how the things we own really own us. They demand our time and our attention, and in a sense they control what we do.

What do you own that demands your time and attention? Maintenance on your home, repairing your boat, configuring your computer?

My experience in teaching the Bible is that the more of God’s Word I know (by memory) the better I teach. Treasuring it (or owning it) demands my time and attention, but that’s the very thing that leads to owning and effectively teaching a Bible lesson. Own it and it will own you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Passport Identification

Step 2 of the lesson “Obey God’s Word” uses the various terms for “Scripture” found in Psalm 119:1-8 to emphasize the importance of living the Word. One of the terms, “decrees,” has a root meaning “to bear witness.” We bear witness as we live out the Word daily.

This reminded me of how God created us in His image to be little image bearers. Ultimately, His plan is for us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.

The past two months, I’ve travel abroad twice and relied on my US Passport as identification many times during these trips. This reliance was tested as each Passport Control Officer examined it for validity and compared the image it contained to me. There better be a match!

God’s Word is like a passport for me as a child of God. It declares who I am as a believer and I must bear witness to the image it contains of a Christian. Consider taking your passport to class and using it as an object lesson, or use your driver’s license as an alternative.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Obey God's Word, Psalm 119

To start the lesson, “Obey God’s Word,” which is based on Psalm 119, consider asking class members to name things they take for granted. For example, they may call out such things as family, freedom, jobs, food, good health, time, electricity, etc., etc. The list is endless since we have a capacity to make assumptions without much effort.

What does it mean to take something for granted? I have in mind things we fail to appreciate, or fail to give attention to. Specific to our lesson, do you take the Bible for granted? Do you revere the Bible, but seldom read it?

The goal of this lesson is to help us treasure what God says so that we study and obey it.