Monday, October 29, 2007

The Theology of Using Video

Mark Driscoll gives a terrific presentation on the theology of using technological means to promote the Gospel. He exegetes 1 Cor 9. Great church history in here, too -- you'll learn about pews, concert hall acoustics, the printing press, speakers, radio, TV, as well as video.

This is not focused on how to use video effectively, but on addressing the question of why using video is consistent with our mandate to make disciples of all nations, beginning locally and working out regionally and worldwide. It might help you with the answer to "we've never done it that way before," and "if it was good enough for Jesus it's good enough for me."
Do's and Don'ts for Teaching Adults

Daryl Wilson has a nice article for teachers leading adult groups. I'm think most of these recommendations apply for teaching any age -- including a mixed-age group (like home devotions with your family).
Great Bible Teaching Flows from Life in Christ

Are study and teaching tactics important? Yes.

Is good content organization important. Yes.

But the most important thing is to be connected with Jesus. (John 15:5)

Consider this post from the Biblical Preaching blog:

“We shall never have great preachers until we have great divines.” That was
C.H.Spurgeon’s opinion. In the busy world we now inhabit, a world of phone
calls, emergencies, emails, travel, financial complexities, family
responsibilities and ministerial intricacies, we need to freshly recommit
ourselves to the core vision of the preacher. Our core vision is not a
philosophy of ministry, a theological stance or sense of calling. Our core
vision is God Himself.

We have the privilege of being so captivated by
the greatness and grace of our Lord that every moment of our lives is lived in
the shadow, no the glory, of that vision. A deep awareness of who God is will
continue to drive us back to His Word, diligently pursuing more of Him so that
we might respond further. This is not about discipline and effort, this is about
delight and response. We dive into His Word so that we might see Him more
clearly, be captured more fully, and be stirred more deeply. Then we will preach
more effectively.

Our preaching should flow from a personal intimacy
with God and a personal commitment to His Word. That is what our people need.

This is true for great Bible teachers like you, too! Create the time and space today in your life to reconnect with Jesus.

Friday, October 26, 2007

For My Reform Theology Friends

You have to know some Reform Theology and Reformation history to appreciate these cartoons.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Point is Learning... and Action!

Daryl Wilson has a nice article titled "Crafting a Sunday School Lesson to Lead to Learning AND Action" on his Sunday School Revolutionary blog. Good stuff.

"Our Lord did not command us to make disciples by teaching people to "know" his commands. He commanded us make disciples by teaching them to obey his commands (Matthew 28:19-20). Unfortunately, I have attended many Sunday School sessions that failed to deliver here. Frequently, the teacher simply did not prepare well. Often the teacher attempted to teach too much. You see, application takes time. Many lessons rush or ignore completely responding to God or any leadership to do something about the lesson (obedience)."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Want Balance? Strive for Rhythm.

There's plenty of advice out there about getting balanced in your life. Usually it comes up in articles titled "7 Easy Steps to Balancing Work and Family." (As if we need seven more things to do!)
It's a common prayer request.

But balance is not a concept you find in the Bible.

Really, how much balance is there in these commands?

"Love the Lord your God will all your heart, mind, soul, and strength."
"Love your wife as Christ loved the Church."
"Pray without ceasing."

Let me suggest to you that balance is the outcome of rhythm of action and rest. Balance comes from obeying the Lord, not satisfying selfish desires.

What we do see modeled in the Bible is rhythm. There are periods of work, and rest. Periods of being with people, and periods of solitude. Walking and sitting. Travel and staying. Prayer saturating all of it.

Pay attention to rhythm, and God will work balance into your life. If we aim for balance, we make that a higher goal than obedience to Christ. That leads to frustration, longings, and [too often!] sin.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Outliving Nature

" Nature is mortal; we shall outlive
her. When all the suns and nebulae have
passed away, each one of you will still be

C.S. Lewis, "The Weight of Glory"

"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
2 Cor 5:16-22

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bible Explorer Software

You can download (free!) a very powerful Bible study package called Bible Explorer. Gets great reviews. I have not tried this one myself, but a teacher on my mailing list recommended it. It looks like you can upgrade to get more translations and features for modest prices -- but you'll know whether you like the interface using the free version.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Teaching Young Adults

My teenagers can't remember not having the Internet. Their cell phones are just for making and receiving phone calls. They interact with information and people very differently than I did at their age.

Here's an interesting video that helps you understand how today's college students are learning and interacting. (Would be similar for many older teens.)

I recommend you watch this and consider how our teaching presentation should be most effective to help people learn.

I think the answer is teaching the Jesus way -- with questions, story, and dialogue. I've started a new blog focused on this if you want to check it out (free audio available there).

I'll keep this blog going too. :-)

Monday, October 15, 2007


There are seasons in life (see Psalm 1), and you do not need to be Susie Sunshine and Gilmore Glow all the time. It is not a lack of faith if you experience hard times. God takes us right through difficult times rather around them, knowing that we will be closer to him. We weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. We put our confidence in Jesus, knowing that He love us, leads us, cares for us, provides for us, shapes us, and will reward us.

Stand firm in your faith. Tears are ok.

Keep on teaching to change lives!

Friday, October 12, 2007

600 Thanks and Hint About What's Coming Up

I recently raised $600 for a ministry need through a special sale on my ebook, Teach the Bible to Change Lives. Here's a picture of me holding the check.

The other thing I have on that page is the first hint about my next project -- which will result in a megalesson for teachers. More next week about that, but here's a hint :-)

The Sunday School Revolutionary writes about my Hooks report.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

5 Dimensions of Growing Adult Sunday Schools

I like Daryl Wilson's adapations of Rick Warren's material for growing churches:


Check out his recommendations here.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Two Dangerous Prayers

Mark Batterson suggests these two dangerous prayers:

Use Me
Disturb Me

Let's roll...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Devotion for Godly Men

Check out my other blog, "Be Bold, Be Gentle" for a devotion on 1 Cor 16:13-14 that I gave to some godly men.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Just a Quick Note of Encouragement

I've heard from six teachers this week, all struggling with discouragement and set-backs.

It's tough. Jesus didn't promise that it would be easy, only that He would be with us.

Here's a thought to cling to: Jesus himself is praying for me. (see Romans 8:34) There is nobody better you could have interceding for you before the throne of grace!

Keep on teaching to change lives. Don't listen to whispered voices in your mind that discourage you and siphon off your passion. Read the Word, hear God, put your feet on the Rock.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Applications Come From Your Personal Study

I was coaching a young Bible teacher by email recently. He asked this question:

"I know I should have an application for my lesson, but I don't see one. This happens a lot."

Here was my response:

"The application will become clear as you invest time studying the Bible passages, pray for your students, and watch what God is teaching you. Our Lord nearly always works lessons in us before He teaches through us. So keep careful watch and pray."

A few days later I received this in an email from this teacher:

"Isn't there a study Bible I can get with applications already written out? I don't have a lot of time."

My response:

"You have the same amount of time as anyone, but we all have different responsibilities. There are many study Bibles claiming to make things easy for you. (It's good marketing.) And these no doubt can be helpful. But if you insist on sticking with baby food -- nothing to chew, just swallow it -- then you are missing out on nourishing meals the Lord prepares for you. Some meals require a lot of chewing. Follow as the Lord leads. I believe you will learn more if you work at a lesson, and your students will learn much more, also."

I would add this, too: the key is lead time. Start working on lessons well in advance, so you give yourself and the Lord time. Reviewing a short passage every day for a week in advance will (usually) generate more insights and understanding than 2 hours cramming it in the night before you teach.
Skype Videoconferencing with Missionaries

Our church has a missions team in Craiova, Romania right now. During our worship services Sunday we held a skype videoconference with them, projecting it onto the big screen. How wonderful to be able to hear and see them despite the distance! The performance was excellent, and since the video feed and sound are both coming on the channel, they stay in synch. (When you have video over the Internet, and a teleconference phone call, you usually hear their words before you see their lips move :-).

And the cost? Free, if you have the inexpensive equipment (webcam, simple mic) at both ends of an Internet connection.

We've also done teleconferences with missionaries we support in Brazil during the worship time. These really help the congregation feel our connection to the larger body of Christ worldwide. They're tremendously encouraging to the missionaries, too!

If you'd like to learn more about Skype, check out . There are many video tutorials available on Youtube and elsewhere -- just search Google for "how to use skype video."