Sunday, December 31, 2006

Looking Ahead

Celebrating the New Year tends to warm us up to goal setting, and looking ahead. Can you list two or three things that you would like to improve as a Bible teacher? How about a new challenge for teaching? I encourage you to stretch your thinking and try new things.

Bring fresh bread to your students, not stale bread.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I'm going to be enjoying the Christmas week with my family, and not blogging. So we'll see you again in 2007.

Teach to change lives!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Do You Ask Yourself These Questions Before You Teach?

Francis Chan gave a wonderful talk at the Hawaiian Islands Ministry conference, titled "How to Teach Dynamically and Effectively." He organizes the talk around these seven questions which preachers and teachers need to ask:

1. Am I aware of God's presence and want to please Him?
2. Do I genuinely love these people?
3. Am I accurately presenting this passage?
4. Am I depending upon the Holy Spirit's power, or my own cleverness?
5. Have I applied this message to my own life?
6. Will this message draw attention to me, or to God?
7. Do people desperately need this message?

This is an excellent set of questions, and I strongly recommend you take notes as you listen here:

Click on the title link to this talk to listen to his message (streaming). This opens a new window and the message (about an hour) will stream. I couldn't figure out a way to get it as an mp3, but this is dynamite content, so make the time to listen to it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Hey, Great Bible Teachers! Thank you for all you've done for your small groups, classes, and Bible studies in 2006. It's impossible to put a value on the lives that have been changed because God worked in and through you as a Bible teacher. Thanks for the decisions and actions you took to cooperate with God's work!

Going into 2007, I'm confident that more lives will be changed as we follow this wonderful teaching ministry, a gift to us from our Lord. There is work to be done! I want to be right here encouraging you and helping you all the way.

Teach to change lives!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Appropriate Vulnerability Gives Credibility

Yesterday some adults in the class I was teaching told me that they paid more attention to what I said because I was open about my own struggles. (I was talking about praying for people that I didn't want to be with myself.) It was a good reminder to me of an important principle:

Appropriate vulnerability gives credibility

Why? Because people can identify with you. You are not talking at them from some ivory tower position, but as a fellow disciple in process.

(Notice that I said "appropriate" vulnerability. Check yourself carefully. There are some weaknesses and sins that you should not discuss with just any group. It is especially important not to put relationships at risk by airing out unresolved difficulties.)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Did Jesus Have Bad PR?

I recently gave a Christmas devotion for the seniors group at our church. I tried to help people think about the terrible public relations job around the birth of the Messiah. From a human perspective, this was a PR disaster! Listen to it here.
Christians in Culture

Pastor Tim Keller makes good suggestions for Christians impacting the culture where they live - especially in urban areas. This article would be good material for group discussion on the topic.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Would You Like That in Mauve or Taupe?

Bible publishers are doing a booming business as they repackage the Bible into a astounding array of formats, covers, and colors. And sales are up! There is a tremendous consumer hunger for the Bible -- that's good news. We're so affluent that you can get a Bible that fits the image you want to project to others. (Reminds me of ladies shoes.)

Soon you'll be able to get a Bible for your ipod -- more good news for those who are ipod-centric.
One part of my brain is celebrating the proliferation of Bibles. Making it interesting and accessible to more people should be a good thing.

Another part of my brain is concerned that we pay more attention to format and show than to absorbing the content. Let us be careful to avoid feeling good about a Bible format, but denying its power. (See 2 Tim 3:1-5)

P.S. To consider for Christmas giving: support the Wycliffe Bible translation ministries. There are over 6000 languages in the world, and over 5000 do not have the complete Bible translated.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Learning from Esther and Jonah

Mark Buchanan writes an excellent article title Preaching in the City of Man. Part 2 is here. He lists some lessons that we can learn from Esther and Jonah about proclaiming truth in a fallen world. His comments about purity being attractive to this current generation are worth reviewing.
Give Because You're Part of the Community

I enjoyed Doug Pagitt's article about The Consumer Trap and how it affects the church in the US. We don't give to the church offering as payment for services rendered to us, but because we're part of the community.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bible Study on YouTube?!

This is a new phenomenon, I think -- Bible teachers taking advantage of the immense popularity of YouTube, posting videos of their Bible teaching. Here's one on Romans 6, for example.

What do you think? Is this something that might be an effective extension of your teaching ministry? Anyone doing this now, or plan to? Add your comment.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Addressing Questions about the Virgin Birth

This is the time of year when questions surface about the virgin birth of Jesus. Looking for answers on how to address these questions? Start here, and here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dealing with Difficult People

Nearly all Bible teachers are also leaders in their church -- and get into situations with difficult people.

One key to success is to understand (and accept) that the Lord has provided a growth opportunity for you. We only learn some lessons from things we didn't volunteer for!

Also, I recommend you check out this article for some useful advice.