Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Solomon's Giving Pattern

9 [The queen of Sheba] gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. There had never been such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon ….  12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for; he gave her more than she had brought to him. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country. (2 Chron 9:9,12)

22 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 23 All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 24 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, and robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules. (2 Chron 9:22-24)

King Solomon was fabulously wealthy with goods and wisdom.  I’ve highlighted two parts of 2 Chronicles 9 to make a few points.

1.       The queen of Sheba gave him tons of gold and more – but Solomon gave the queen more than she brought to him!  This is the model set by God for us in all our relationships.  Our Creator God gives us infinitely more than we bring to him.  Parents give their children more than they give to them.  We should give our brothers and sisters in Christ, and not-yet believers more than they bring to us. 

Test yourself to see if you are following this pattern of giving.

And what did Solomon give the queen of Sheba?  Gold?  Horses?  I suspect not.

2.       In verse 23 we see that wisdom is what people considered most precious of all.  Even in our affluent cultures today [and we enjoy many things which even King Solomon did not have!], wisdom is the prized possession that people seek.  And where does wisdom come from?  God. 

Are you seeking wisdom above all else?  Do you recognize its True Source?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Women in the Roman World, and Early Church

Lynn Cohick gives some terrific information about women in the Roman world, and in the early church.  I recommend these to you for some good background that will enrich your teaching. Women were not sequestered, but active in social life, and did a lot together with men.  They held significant positions (think Proverbs 31 and more).  It's insightful that Jesus interacted frequently with women.

Watch these three short videos and learn.  Might be a good thing for a small group to watch together and discuss, too.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Are You Following These 10 Commandments for Bible Teachers?

Please print off this article by Sinclair Fergusen, "A Preacher's Decalogue" and study it -- it applies very well to Bible teachers like you!  He outlines 10 commandments to help preachers/teachers minister well:

  1. Know your Bible better.
  2. Be a man of prayer.
  3. Do not lose sight of Christ.
  4. Be deeply trinitarian.
  5. Use your imagination.
  6. Speak much of sin and grace.
  7. Use the “plain style.”
  8. Find your own voice.
  9. Learn how to transition.
  10. Love your people.

Outstanding!  Read and study this.

HT: Justin Taylor

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How are Galilean and Judeans like Texans and New Yorkers?

I found this short article very helpful: "7 Differences Between Galilee and Judea In the Time of Jesus."  This definitely helps you understand the narratives of Matthew and Mark much better!

"even an impeccably Jewish Galilean in first-century Jerusalem was not among his own people; he was as much a foreigner as an Irishman in London or a Texan in New York"

Recommended for you teachers -- and an easy recommendation for you to make to your students.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Insert Silences -- Here's Why and How

It's an old family joke that I'm a babbling Brooke.  I've got a lot of words when I teach!  I have so many ideas!  I have so much I want to share!  I'm able to fill every split-second of silence!

For years I've been working hard at teaching less material, and teaching it well.

More recently I've begun working on intentionally inserting moments of silence around key points.  I want people to have space and time to allow important truths to sink in.  I want to give people time to chew and swallow.

(How am I doing?  Terribly, if you must know.  But I'm working at it, and I am confident God can help me get better at this.)

How can you do this?

The first step is to pray that you would operate under the power of the Holy Spirit.  ("Apart from me, you can do nothing.")

I plan ahead to where my key points are -- where I want to insert some silence.  Then I plan for two breaths, which works out to be about 10-12 seconds.  It feels about right.  I try to make eye contact with a few people across the room.

Very important: know what you're going to say next before you have the silent moment.  It's not nearly as effective if you're staring at your notes or shuffling pages in your Bible or handouts.  You want to be still and silent yourself.

I've noticed that my students are quick to jump into silent spaces with their own words.  It helps if you gesture as a signal for silence (perhaps holding up a finger or your hand -- this will vary across cultures) and say, "Think about that for a moment."

Try this -- you'll see the power of God at work.  Let me know if you have other tactics to help make this silence effective.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Strong Advice, Not Followed Nearly Enough

My friend Matt Perman pointed pastors to Jonathan Edwards counsel: "Ministers, in order to be burning and shining lights, should walk closely with God, and keep near to Christ; that they may ever be enlightened and enkindled by him. And they should be much in seeking God, and conversing with him by prayer, who is the fountain of light and love."

This is every bit true for teachers as well, my friends.  

Stay close to Christ, and teach to change lives!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quick Answers to Frequently Questions

I get some questions frequently, so I recorded short answers to a few of them.  Do you have one of these questions?

"How can I really know if my students are growing from the teaching they are getting when I teach?"    Listen to Glenn's Answer here

"Due to a policy that a Sunday School teacher must be a member of our church for one year before they [are allowed] to teach, I am sitting on the sidelines until October.  What are some things I can do over the summer to make sure I'm ready come fall?" Listen to Glenn's Answer here

"What do you do when called on to teach impromptu or last minute and your mind just seems to be blank of subject matter.  You may have been studying something personally, but that is not appropriate for the time. Am I right in assuming you should just always have something in your spirit that you could teach if called upon?"    Listen to Glenn's Answer here

"I'm a new Christian, 4 years, and I'm teaching a class of older Christian ladies who have been church members many years.  I feel they know of every possible lesson that I can teach.  How do I make the lesson as exciting for them as it is for me?" Listen to Glenn's Answer here

"How do I become very good at quoting Scripture, even without looking at the Bible?"  Listen to Glenn's Answer here

"People seem to get bored and ready to leave toward the end of my lessons...what should I do?"Listen to Glenn's Answer here

"What Study Bible should I use?" Listen to Glenn's Answer here

"What do I think about [baptism, baptism of the Spirit, speaking in tongues, the unforgivable sin, etc.]?"   Listen to Glenn's Answer here

"Do you know why I'm not teaching good lessons now? Because that other teacher has all the advantages, that's why my teaching isn't as good as his!"  Listen to Glenn's Answer here

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Julian Treasure -- Improve Your Listening

Conscious listening skills will greatly improve your ability to teach to change lives. You'll be better at hearing from God's Word and His creation, at observing people, at understanding the questions (spoken and unspoken) that your students have. This 7.5 min talk by Julian Treasure provides some terrific tips and simple exercises to improve your listening.

Listen well to teach well!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Free Training Videos for Small Groups

I know many of my blog readers are leading small groups and neighborhood Bible studies.  Here's an excellent (and free) resource: 27 training videos for small group leaders.  

Friday, August 05, 2011

Short blogging break

I'm taking a short blogging break, be back soon.

Teach Authentically -- "All Your Krazy Kats!"

I have friends and family who hope I never dress up like this again! This was the most entertaining way I could make my point that you need to teach from who you are, not imitate others.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Why I Don't Publish My Lessons

I'm asked almost every week questions that start with "Do you have a lesson on _____ that I can use?"  Sometimes I do. But I don't share my lessons with others to use for their classes.  (It's not what I'm called to do.  I'm not opposed to others publishing sermons and lessons.) I want you to do the harder -- and BETTER work of preparing lessons that are tailored for your students at this time. This video explains why.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Shake Up Your Lessons!

Are your lessons "samey-samey," perhaps predictable?  Are you looking for a way to shake up the group a bit?

This interesting Psychology Today article outlines the SCAMPER strategy to shuffle your content and presentation.  (Don't let this call you to teach false doctrine!)

The basic idea is look for ways to:

S = Substitute?
C = Combine?
A = Adapt?
M = Magnify? = Modify?
P = Put to other uses?
E = Eliminate?
R = Rearrange? = Reverse? 

Read the whole article to get some ideas.  Your students will thank you!

HT: David Murray