Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When Life is Unfair, Mark 15:1-16:20

"When Life is Unfair" is the last lesson from Mark. It comes from Mark 15:1-16:20.

To help class members focus on the issue of unfairness, consider showing something like the following slide and having them answer its question after they examine each picture. The first is based on Luke 18:1-8. The second is a scene from nature. The third is a man appealing to a judge as a couple of members of the jury look on. To me they are pictures of injustice, partiality and deception.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lesson plans

Here are a few lesson plans in case you are still deciding how to teach Sunday's lesson: "When you have difficult decisions".

Co-teacher Randy Stewart's PowerPoint slides

Houston's Second Baptist, James Patterson

Bayleaf Baptist, Jeff Meyer

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On prayer

It's clear from the focal passage of the lesson, "When you have difficult decisions," that Jesus believed in prayer. That is, he prayed, so he clearly viewed it as necessary and desirable. But why? In what ways is prayer beneficial? Why is it necessary?

Monday, February 15, 2010

When You Have Difficult Decisions, Mark 14:1-72

Bible lessons are grounded in Scripture, but the message should also be clear and relevant.

In addition, the lesson should be interesting. This usually requires a degree of creativity.

What creative ideas do you have for teaching the lesson, "When You Have Difficult Decisions"?

Perhaps you can share your ideas as a guest blogger on this site? I'm open to the idea!

As an example (and one that is relevant to this week's lesson), read a post by a guest blogger, Two Questions To Ask Yourself Before Making A Difficult Decision.

I suggest using these two questions to open your lesson on Sunday, then ask class members to critique the two questions.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lesson ideas

If you plan on an exegesis of this week's lesson from Mark 13 you might want to read the outline posted by Brian Harbour (see page 11).

Also, Gary Payne posted his PowerPoint slides for "When you feel overwhelmed."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mark 13 in pictures

While studying the Gospel of John last night, I had an idea for how to teach Mark 13 and the lesson, "When you feel overwhelmed."

The idea was to present the text in a series of pictures. I searched the web, and you can stitch together a disconnected set of images concerning each passage, or you can use a series of pictures like this one.

It's actually pretty cool. Give the author credit, which is Brendan Powell Smith, and he calls it the Brick Testament.

What I would do is place each image on a PPT slide and I would also stick to the verses in Mark rather than make references to other verses on the slides as he does.

Let me know if you need help making PPT slides of his pictures.

Monday, February 08, 2010

When you feel overwhelmed, Mark 13:1-37

If you're like me you probably feel overwhelmed just thinking about preparing to teach this week's lesson from Mark 13:1-37. The passage involves the then future destruction of the temple, the Second Coming of Christ, and the end of the age.

An exegesis of the key verses seems appropriate, but the thought of preparing and cramming it into a 40 minute lesson seems overwhelming. The lesson is appropriately titled: "When you feel overwhelmed."

What to do?


Read the passage.


Trust God to make clear what to do.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

See anything helpful?

Remember to look at the question based lesson plan offered by First Baptist, Chester, IL.

Also Scott Susong of Second Baptist, Houston posted his lesson plan, which might be helpful. His angle is "loyal love".

Gary Payne posted his PPT slides for the lesson, "When Your Priorities are Challenged," as did co-teacher Randy Stewart (see Presentation_Mark_11_12).

If you see something else that would help teachers on Sunday, be sure and post it as a comment.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

What's your mindset?

The Lifeway material presents the lesson, "When Priorities are Challenged," in a time-management context. I'm not saying that's not an issue, but managing overly busy lives is not the focus of Mark 12:13-17, 28-34.

Those trying to trap Jesus wanted to put him on the "horns of a dilemma"-- a place where regardless of his answer he would be open to further accusation. Jesus skillfully moved away from the issue being paying or not paying taxes to the priority of meeting both obligations -- to God and to government.

Where in our lives do we face such dilemmas? For example, should a young mother take a job or stay at home? Either way some element of modern society will judge her. Should a sports-minded individual pay for cable TV in order to receive desired sports channels and along with them offensive programming on other channels, or not and miss some fun sports events? Should a high school kid make a choice that will gain some friendships, perhaps some not with the best character, or stay at home and play video games alone?

Anyway, I thought the lesson passage was teaching that we should be priority minded--that is, meet our obligations first regardless of what the resource issue is--time, money, talent, energy, etc.

Perhaps a way to start talking about "mindset" is to ask the class to match the opposites in the following list:

1. Broad Minded A. Weak Minded
2. Double Minded B. Closed Minded
3. Strong Minded C. Earthly Minded
4. Spiritually Minded D. Narrow Minded
5. Open Minded E. Single Minded

Then ask which mindset best characterizes their perspective:

I. Literal minded
II. Money minded
III. Tough minded
IV. Career minded
V. Mission minded
VI. Business minded
VII. Priority minded

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

When Your Priorities are Challenged, Mark 12:13-17, 28-34

The lesson title this week is "When Your Priorities are Challenged." Its focus is taken from Mark 12:13-17, 28-34.

Perhaps a way to get your class involved in the lesson is to begin by asking them, "Name some things you 'had to' do this past week?" The emphasis is on "had to". Make a note of things people mention. "I had to go to work." "I had to go to a funeral." "I had to renew my drivers license." "I had to pay my taxes." etc.

After that discussion, ask members another question. "What did you 'get to' do this week?" Put the emphasis on "get to". The gig is over at this point they will catch on and may clam up. Some may mention a few things like "Baby sit the grandkids," "Attend church," or "Take a friend to the doctor," but the key is the first question exposes our typical mindset. Ask rhetorically, "Are you a 'have to' person, or a 'get to' person?"

You can close your introduction and get into the lesson, by asking members the question, "What is your mindset about your obligations to God, to government, to others?" That's the focus of this lesson.