Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Human Brain Mapping

I've been watching a lot of neurobiology and psychology research these past few years, hoping to gain more insights into how people learn -- which helps us teach to change lives!

There is a remarkable scientific cataloging project going on to map the features of the human brain and patterns of gene expression.  Here is one sentence that captivated my attention:

"As they assembled the brain images and genetic data, the researchers were surprised to discover that by this neural measure, any two people are 94% alike."

Teachers, take some comfort in this: your teaching approach can be effective with many, many people. God has prewired people to be influenced powerfully by His Word!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Taking a Blogging Break

Folks, I'm taking a short break from blogging to focus on another project.  Be back later!  Until then, keep on teaching to change lives!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mining Proverbs About Money and Possessions

Kevin DeYoung gives a wonderful outline on money and possessions from Proverbs.  This would be a good foundation for some nice lessons!

Here are the ten key truths from Proverbs:

1. There are extremes of wealth and poverty that provide unique temptations to those who live in them (Prov. 30:7-9).
2. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Jones’ (Prov. 12:9; 13:7).
3. The rich and poor are more alike than they think (Prov. 22:2; 29:13).
4. You can’t out give God (Prov. 3:9-10; 11:24; 22:9).
5. Poverty is not pretty (Prov. 10:15; 14:20; 19:4).
6. Money cannot give you ultimate security (Prov. 11:7; 11:28; 13:8).
7. The Lord hates those who get rich by injustice (Prov. 21:6; 22:16, 22-23).
8. The Lord loves those who are generous to the poor (Prov. 14:21, 31; 19:7; 28:21)
9. Hard work and good decision-making usually lead to increased prosperity (Prov. 6:6-11; 10:4; 13:11; 14:24;  21:17, 20; 22:4, 13; 27:23-27; 28:20
10. Money isn’t everything. It does not satisfy (Prov. 23:4-5). It is inferior to wisdom (Prov. 8:10-11, 18-19; 24:3-4). It is inferior to righteousness (10:2; 11:4; 13:25; 16:8; 19:22; 20:17; 28:6). It is inferior to the fear of the Lord (Prov. 15:16). It is inferior to humility (Prov. 16:19). It is inferior to good relationships (Prov. 15:17; 17:1).

And then he crafts these themes or principles -- this is good teaching! Help your students learn how to derive principles from the whole of Scripture.

    * You’ll probably acquire more money if you work hard and are full of wisdom. But if all you care about is getting more money, you are the biggest fool.
    * Money is a blessing from God, but you’ll be more blessed if you give it away.
    * God gives you money because he is generous, but he is generous with you so that you can be generous with others. And if you are generous with your money, God will likely be more generous with you.
    * It is wise to save money, but don’t ever think money gives you real security.
    * Wealth is more desirable than poverty, but wealth is not as good as righteousness, humility, wisdom, good relationships, and the fear of the Lord.

And best of all, he ties is back to Jesus Christ by reviewing 1 Cor 1:30-31.  Excellent teaching model!

Read the whole article.

If you'd like more information about how to study the Bible for principles and not be limited to "verse" theology, check out Biblical Frameworks.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Uhm...Some "Bible" Things Which Are Not True

Here are some "Bible things" that are often told...which are not true.  Worth studying, dear teachers!

1. The “eye of the needle” refers to a gate outside Jerusalem.
2. The high priest tied a rope around his ankle so that others could drag him out of the Holy of Holies in case God struck him dead.
3. Scribes took baths, discarded their pens, washed their hands, etc. every time they wrote the name of God.
4. There was this saying among the sages: “May you be covered in your rabbi’s dust.”
5. Voltaire’s house is now owned by a Bible-printing publisher.
6. Gehenna was a burning trash dump outside Jerusalem.
7. NASA scientists have discovered a “missing day” which corresponds to the Joshua account of the sun standing still.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

What Olive Oil Teaches Us About Gethsemane

This would be a fun video to share as part of a lesson -- practical story about how olive oil was produced in the first century, but also a key insight into the sacrifice of Jesus.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Free Audio Book: The Next Story

Flash update: Tim Challies' excellent book on how we should think about this massive rush of technological change, "The Next Story" is available as this month's free audiobook download.  Recommended.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Making Your StoryTelling More Engaging

Andy Le Peau gives some excellent suggestions to improve the engagement and interest level for your stories.  Don't just tell them chronologically! 

Start with the first half of a story and leave it hanging.
Loop back to the beginning.
Use in medias res.
Tell a story within a story.
Tell the story of how you learned something.
Raise a problem.

I encourage you to read his article for the details.  Excellent!