Tuesday, September 30, 2008

20 Resolutions from James

Sinclair Ferguson gives us 20 resolutions from James:

James 1:5 To ask God for wisdom to speak and with a single mind
James 1:9-10 To boast only in exaltation in Christ, & humiliation in world
James 1:13 To set a watch over my mouth
James 1:19 To be constantly quick to hear, slow to speak
James 2:1-4 To learn the gospel way of speaking to poor and the rich
James 2:12 To speak always in the consciousness of the final judgment
James 2:16 To never stand on anyone’s face with my words
James 3:14 To never claim as reality something I do not experience
James 4:1 To resist quarrelsome words in order to mortify a quarrelsome heart
James 4:11 To never speak evil of another
James 4:13 To never boast in what I will accomplish
James 4:15 To always speak as one subject to the providences of God
James 5:9 To never grumble, knowing that the Judge is at the door
James 5:12 To never allow anything but total integrity in my speech
James 5:13 To speak to God in prayer whenever I suffer
James 5:14 To sing praises to God whenever I am cheerful
James 5:14 To ask for the prayers of others when I am sick
James 5:15 To confess it freely whenever I have failed
James 5:15 To pray with and for one another when I am together with others
James 5:19 To speak words of restoration when I see another wander

HT: Between Two Worlds

Saturday, September 27, 2008

No More Frustration

It's the season of the year when I start getting more messages like this one:

"The guy just talks and talks and TALKS and takes all the air out of the room! I'm not getting through the lesson. He obviously can't read our body language, because he just keeps..on..going..forever. I talked with him once and he said he was sorry. Then he did it again even worse the next week. Two people have dropped out because he finds a way to go from our Bible lesson to the presidential political race (and of course they don't like his preferred candidate). Glenn, I'm about to close down this study, because it's just not worth it. What should I do? How do I fix this guy?"

Small groups and new Bible studies are starting up, and after a couple of weeks the "difficult" people become evident, don't they? This guy is describing the classic "excessive talker." You can also run into know-it-alls, lesson-hijackers, therapy-seekers, non-responsives, and aggressive skeptics.

I've made about every mistake you can make, at least with the difficult people who usually appear in Bible studies and small groups and adult Sunday School classes. And God has graciously allowed me to learn about ministering effectively with "tougher-to-love" people that He puts in my classes and groups.

If you need this information, you need it bad!

If you don't need it now, you likely will soon. Every Bible teacher encounters these people. It's part of our growth plan!

By the way, the answer to "How do I fix this guy?" is "You don't. You love them." No where in the Bible are we told to fix people -- that's work that only God can do. But how do you love people in a way that helps them develop, giving them useful and constructive feedback? That's what this audio lesson is all about!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Suggested Self-Check

A suggested self-check for Bible teachers: What's the temperature of your passion for Jesus?

Passion is not purely an emotional state. It covers drive, grit, determination, joy, and hope.

Take a few minutes for a self-assessment. Write in your journal about it. You'll learn things from our Master. You'll learn things about yourself (and you might not like all of them) -- watch how much rationalization surfaces in your thoughts.

Surrender all of it to Jesus.

Friday, September 19, 2008

There are Many Benefits for the Teacher!

Our prolific friends at Sunday School Revolutionary documents some of the many benefits received by the teacher/leader of adult Sunday School classes.

It's absolutely true -- the process of study, lesson preparation, teaching, and follow-through will put you on a fast track to personal growth, so long as you remain humble before our Lord.

Warnings on Hebrew/Greek word study

Peter Mead has several warnings about original language study. I say a hearty Amen! This is one of the strengths, I believe, of my introduction to Hebrew and Greek word study.

I believe competent Bible study includes the practical ability to look up words in the original language, using trustworthy tools, and staying doctrinally "healthy" in the process!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thoughtful Views on the Emergent Church

If you're confused about all the "emergent" church conversations, and maybe a little concerned about what you're hearing, you aren't alone.

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, helpfully talks about four different streams of the emergent movement, based on a 2-x-2 "grid":

Don't Change Change

Pastor Driscoll argues for retaining orthodox doctrines (consistent with Jude 3), and being willing to change our practices to reach a changing culture. He helpfully warns about the problems that are occur when we abandon doctrines on scripture, Jesus Christ, gender, sin, salvation, the cross, hell, and authority.

Go here to get the 4 page PDF file, titled "A Pastoral Perspective on the Emergent Church." Excellent, concise, worth reading.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where Do You See Bible Teaching Going?

I'm curious...where do you see Bible teaching going? What are the trends in your church or neighborhood? Are there enough Bible teachers? How are people responding to teaching? Are lives being changed?

Your comments appreciated.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

CCEL Resource

Great resource: The Christian Classics Ethereal Library

The CCEL provides most of the major works from Christian history for free and a “Study Bible” feature that pulls up historical church commentary, sermons, hymns, . For example, if you're studying 1 John Chapter 1, then you have access to all this.

CCEL links to The Hymnary, a wonderful search tool to find hymns by keyword, tune, and verse. Hymns, in my view, are an under-utilized source of commentary and encouragement.

Add this to your favorites list.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Put Personal Devotion First

I received an interesting email from Jill. She has a lot of time pressures, and writes "because of all the lesson preparation time, I don't have any time left for my personal devotions."

My counsel is to prioritize personal devotion time first, ahead of lesson prep/planning time.


You can't teach to change lives if you aren't first connected and re-connected and tight with our Lord. Wrestle through sin issues (like fear and anger and anxiety) before you teach. If you're concerned about how much time this takes away from lesson prep, put it aside. Hear the testimony of experience: lesson prep will go smoother and faster and better AFTER personal devotion time with the Lord.

YOU are the tool God will use to reach people. Put yourself in a regular position to be "worked on" by the Master, and you will be much more useful to Him.