Monday, February 22, 2010

Passing on the Faith

In Deuteronomy 6:1-9, God commands parents to pass His Word on to their children. And He reminds us as parents, teachers, and ministry leaders that we need to know God’s Word ourselves before we can effectively share it with others. What can we do to internalize God’s Word and then grow in it?
1. Get to know the Son of God. Realize that the object of your faith should be Jesus Christ. Don’t put your faith in a pastor or a teacher or ______. (You fill in the blank.)
2. Get to know the Word of God. Learn and study it so you really come to know God’s truth. Ask God for wisdom before reading the Bible, so His Word will be revealed to you as you read.
3. Get serious about strengthening your faith in Jesus. If you don’t exercise your faith by applying God’s truth to your life, you won’t grow.
4. Read the following Scripture passages and determine what principles of faith they are describing: Matthew 17:19-20; Mark 11:22-24; Romans 10:17; I Corinthians 2:4-5; Galatians 2:20; and I Peter 1:3-7.

True faith in Jesus Christ is active and is continually at work in our lives. As we develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, God calls us to:
Fear the Lord all the days of our lives — Deuteronomy 6:2
Love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and strength — Deuteronomy 6:5
Establish habits and traditions for recalling and retelling the ways God has worked in our own lives and in the lives of our ancestors — Deuteronomy 6:7-9
Live lives of gratitude, remembering that where we live, our talents, our families, all we have, are gifts from God — not the result of our own efforts — Deuteronomy 6:10-12

As you read God’s Word, determine how these verses apply to your own life. Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to learn to trust God more?”

Then thank God for all He’s given you and your family. Praise Him each day for the opportunities before you. Share His greatness with those around you including your students, family, and friends. Remember, you may be the only Bible some people will ever read!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Awesome God

God is amazing! No matter how serious the sin, no matter how perplexing the problem, no matter how daunting the challenge, no matter how tantalizing the temptation, no matter how dark the day, no matter how dysfunctional your family may seem at the moment, consider these promises from God:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” — Psalm 46:1
“God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:19
“[God] will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” — I Corinthians 10:13.
“Great peace have they who love Your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” — Psalm 119:165

No matter what we’re going through, God says:
 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; 
  you are Mine.” — Isaiah 43:1
 I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” — Hebrews 13:5
 “I am with you always.” — Matthew 28:20

As Christians, we can say with the psalmist, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” — Psalm 4:8.

Your Christian witness helps lay the foundation for others’ faith. When you’re preparing your weekly lesson, carefully read the Scriptures presented for the week. Pray about the lesson. Consider how the Scriptures relate to your life or what they have meant to you in the past. Think of specific examples of God’s guiding hand evident in your daily life. Share one or two of these with your students. Let them not only read God’s Word, but also see it at work through your life.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Be Prepared!

A good leader is always thoroughly prepared. A concert pianist wouldn't dream of going into a recital without hours and hours of practice and preparation. Why should a Bible teacher or Sunday school leader feel that his performance demands less practice?

Remember—when teaching from God's Word, we're dealing with the souls of children! How this should challenge us to be more diligent in our preparation of every Bible lesson, craft, project, or game time! Don't minimize the importance of your calling as a leader by a slothful attitude toward your preparation for the task of teaching and training children.

Here are a few tips to help you feel well prepared:
  • The week before your lesson or activity, read through the Scripture passage and/or memory verse. Start praying about what concepts God wants you to focus on with your students. 
  • During the week, ask God to continue to give you insight as you meditate on His Word. Jot down ideas as they come to you. You may even want to keep a pencil and pad of paper near your bed at night! 
  • A few days before your lesson, decide which activities you will be using, and collect all the necessary supplies. Modify activities as needed for your students (or your location or your class time). Make any notes as reminders of the changes you're planning. 
  • You may want to prepare a sample craft or try the activity ahead of time so you are able to help your students. Be sure to remove any stumbling blocks. (For example, if your preschoolers cannot yet draw faces, bring wiggle eyes and mouth shapes for them to glue onto a circle or head shape.)
  • Pray for each child, that God would open each heart to the lesson and to His Word. Ask God to guide you so that you model the love of Jesus throughout your time with your students.
Now that you’re prepared, have fun. As you share God’s Word with your students, do it with a smile. After all, you’re serving the Lord!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Caution: Children Growing!

There may be a wide range of spiritual development among the children in your class. Some children may be immature for their age and cannot make a judgment between right and wrong. These children still need an adult to tell them what is right and what is wrong.

By the time they hit school age, many children know the difference between good and bad. These children are ready to understand God as Authority and Power. More mature children are beginning to define right as what good people do and wrong as what bad people do. No matter their spiritual development, you can help your students understand that they should act to please God.

As they grow, children learn things in seven different ways. Are you providing activities for children that use all seven learning styles? Or are you creating dead ends in the lives of your students by giving them only logic-oriented activities?

For children who are WORD oriented, provide reading, writing, and story activities. For children who are LOGIC oriented, provide brain teasers, puzzles, and strategy games. For children who are ART oriented, plan crafts, art projects, and design opportunities. Bring maps, puppets, and visuals to help reinforce the Bible story.

For children who are PHYSICALLY oriented, allow for plenty of play time, sports activities, and active games. For children who are SOCIALLY oriented, include sharing time, relationship-building activities, discussions, and parties. And for children who are INDIVIDUAL oriented, provide personal activities like journaling, independent study projects, monologs, and individual art projects.

By using all seven learning styles, you will be helping every one of your students to succeed in the ways that God created each one.