Thursday, February 25, 2010
John Piper gives a succinct explanation that will help you address these questions. His response is packed with Scripture, tender in its approach, and will help you see the importance of the glory of God.
"Why then does God tolerate Satan? The key is that God aims to defeat Satan in a way that glorifies not only his power, but also the superior beauty and worth and desirability of his Son over Satan. God could simply exert raw power and snuff Satan out. That would glorify God's power. But it would not display so clearly the superior worth of Jesus over Satan. That will be displayed as Christ defeats Satan by his death and then by winning superior allegiance from the saints over the lies of Satan."
Read the whole page.
HT: Matt Perman
- You still need to know what you will emphasize.
- You still need to keep people's attention, keep them engaged.
- This kind of teaching works best for groups who have the big story, who know the fundamental themes and ideas. One of the problems with a completely steady diet of this kind of teaching is that people zone out. If they don't have the big picture, they aren't going to get it verse by verse.
If you're teaching in a smaller group, be sure to leave plenty of time for interaction. Remember, people will remember most what they said -- so get them talking. Use dialogue to reinforce key points.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
- They tend to set big goals for their students.
- They perpetually look for ways to improve their effectiveness. They constantly re-evaluate what they are doing.
- They maintain focus on things which contribute to learning.
- They plan exhaustively and purposefully by working backwards from the desired outcome.
- They work relentlessly.
- They frequently check for understanding. (This is not done by asking "Any questions?")
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
I use mind maps quite a bit, just for me as I read and think and plan, but also to create presentations for others. Some people have seen my maps and would like to do this too, but need a little help getting started.
The main thing to remember: you can't produce a bad mind map. They are tools for you to use. Play with them, move things around, expand and collapse, draw connectors -- that's the point. Don't get hung up or self-conscious.
How to make a mind map
How to use mind maps to solve problems
(There are many YouTube videos on different kinds of mind maps, usually to promote a particular piece of software. Just search for "mind maps"and start exploring.
A short tutorial for using Freemind (which is one of the best free tools for mind mapping)
A series of tutorial for MindManager Pro from MindJet (this is my favorite tool; you can get a free 30 day trial version)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
One of the most intriguing and useful books I've read in months is Dan Roam's Unfolding the Napkin. The subtitle gives you the value of this book: "The hands-on method for solving complex problems with simple pictures."
For years I've been an inveterate doodler. One friend at work jokes with me that "it hasn't been a meeting until Glenn gets up to the whiteboard. Maybe he likes to sniff the dry-erase markers."
The book is actually like a workshop. It's helpful to practice the drawing process along with the author.
The primary methodology is built on the FACT that our minds like pictures. Pictures communicate. Pictures are memorable. Pictures -- especially simply pictures -- engage our intellect and imagination.
I really liked Roam's process of breaking down problems into 6 elements (who/what, how much, when, where, how, why) and then using a SQVID process (it's an acronym) to figure out how to work through problems and present solutions to different types of stakeholders. Brilliant stuff! I think even a lot of the Ph.D.'s I know would appreciate this, and I'm confident that most teenagers would instantly get it.
Roam also gives at the end some very practical advice about tools. Nope, you don't need elaborate software, even for a computer intensive group that loves complicated software.
For me, this goes back into the reread in 2 months pile after I've practiced with pictures.
If you're a leader or teacher, you need this book. What I should say is, you need this capability to use pictures to communicate and solve problems.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
- Open up the Internet browser on your Kindle, by going to the Home screen, pressing Menu, choosing Experimental and then choosing Basic Web.
- Enter this URL on your Kindle browser:.gutenberg.org/browse/scores/top
- Either browse or search to find a book you like.
- Click on "Mobipocket/Kindle to download it to your device.
- After you accept the download, the book should appear in your Home screen.
In the not-distant past, one of the ways banks found counterfeit money was by feel. They trained tellers by having them spend hours handling authentic bills. Just moving bills in their hands. A teller so-trained could take a stack of bills, riffle through them fairly quickly, and toss to one side any bill that didn't feel right. A large fraction of those "wrong" bills were confirmed to be counterfeits.
The best way to train people (of any age) to be able to spot Satan's lies is by having them spend a lot of time in the Bible. Even if they can't articulate why something isn't right, they'll have a such a strong feel for the truth that they'll be suspect of it.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
It's about 12 inches from a person's head to his or her heart. If you desire to teach to change lives, the most difficult 12 inch gap you must traverse is the distance between their heads and their hearts!
We must teach to get across information. Your students need to know the story of the Bible, the principles and commands and the promises. That's basic education, and we can never walk away from that responsibility. (Also, do not underestimate how many repetitions of these basics are valuable!)
But life change does not come from head knowledge alone. This is why we prayerfully seek the power of God to be at work in our student's lives! They need a lightning strike of insight and changes their conviction. They need to hear the still quiet voice that shatters the walls of their hardness.
In God's plan, He has a part and he gives us a part.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Let me stress this to those of you who want to teach the Bible to change lives: worship before you teach.
It's true that our whole lives should be worshipful. (Equally true that they aren't.)
Before you begin teaching a class or leading a small group discussion about God's truth, create some time and space for personal worship. Consciously reconnect with God through praise and celebration! Listen to music, sing songs, pray aloud with hands raised high, whatever you can do, but get your whole mind and heart and body engaged in worship that pleases God.
Having worshipped the living God, your teaching can flow from that. And that's teaching that can change lives!
It's a common question: "Are Christians required to tithe?" Let's be good students of the Word and think through this together. (By the way, this might make a really nice lesson for your students.)
- Everything we have is God's, not just X%. (See Psalm 24:1)
- We will be held accountable for how we steward what has been entrusted to us (Luke 16:12; 19:11-27)
- We should support church leaders and those who minister to us (see Galatians 6:6 and 1 Tim 5:17-19)
- We should help the poor, including widows and orphans (many passages)
- We should support missions outreach (many passages)
- The tithe to support the Levites (see Lev 27:30,32; Num 18:24)
- The festival tithe (see Deut 12:11-12)
- The welfare tithe (see Deut 14:28-29) [This model provided for the whole community without any further government functions in an agrarian culture.]
Friday, February 05, 2010
The story is told of an atheist philosophy professor who performed a parlor trick each term to convince his students that there is no God. "Anyone who believes in God is a fool, " he said. "If God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking. Such a simple task to prove he is God, and yet he can't do it." The professor then dropped the chalk and watched it shatter dramatically on the classroom floor.
If you meet anyone who tries this silly trick, take the roof off. Apply the professor's logic in a test of your own existence. Tell the onlookers you will prove you don't exist.
Have someone take a piece of chalk and hold it above your outstreatched palm. Explain that if you really exist, you would be able to accomplish the simple task of catching the chalk. When he drops the chalk, let it fall to the ground and shatter. Then announce, "I guess this proves I do not exist. If you believe in me, you're a fool."
Clearly, this chalk trick tells you nothing about God. The only thing it is capable of showing is that if God does exist, he is not a circus animal who can be teased into jumping through hoops to appease the whim of foolish people.
- Greg Koukl, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, p.150, 151
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Monday, February 01, 2010
I generally don't have problems coming up with questions to use in Bible lessons. But many people write me and ask for help with this.
Someone in my family gave me the Serendipity Bible for Personal and Small Group Study for Christmas.
My first polite thought was "Well, that's nice, but I don't need that." A few days later I picked it up and started leafing through it. I was impressed at how well organized this is for small group leaders -- and for any type of small group leaders. The questions are actually very good.
Here's some description about the Bible:
"It provides Bible study leaders with ready-made, life-changing discussion questions on any passage of Scripture. In-text study questions help groups open discussion, dig deeper into the meaning of a passage, and reflect on life application. The 200 studies and 60 course plans address the needs of ten different groups, including men, women, singles, youth, and more. With the ready-made studies in the Serendipity Bible, the only thing a group leader has to prepare in the coffee!
Features include: • Thousands of penetrating study questions • 60 felt-need course plans for ten different kinds of groups • 16 topical study courses offer basic and deeper question tracks for study • 200 Bible story questionnaires offer another study alternative • Separate studies for each book of the Bible • Lectionary-based Bible studies for churches that follow the church year calendar • 200 general group studies address the needs of ten different groups, including men, women, singles, youth, recovery, and more • "Open-Dig-Reflect" questions help you discover each other’s hearts and apply God’s Word to your life • 32 two-color introduction pages help you use this Bible more effectively."
I heartily recommend this as a resource for Bible teachers and small group leaders.
I'm using it as a resource for my devotion and lesson prep the way I use commentaries. I spend a lot of time in the Bible text itself, chewing it over and over, and praying for insights. Then I will look up that same passage in this Serendipity Bible and check out the questions they have lined up for that passage. I'm usually picking up at least one really good idea with this approach.
I haven't yet tried any of their recommended courses (which take you topically through multiple passages of Scripture), but they look promising.
Teachers and small group leaders, add this to your resource library.