Friday, June 27, 2008

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

It is already Friday. We've had a wonderful VBS week. Of the 8 kids I had sign-up for my class, I had 7 on most days. We've had some sickness floating around, there was a new baby born, and one of the little boys had his tonsils out last week. We were hoping he could come some, but he's taking a little while to recover.

I think my kids have learned quite a bit. They know what the 7 I AMs are talked about in John: I am the vine, I am the good shepherd, I am the light of the world, I am the bread of life, I am the door, I am the way the truth and the life and I am the resurrection. The I Am wall was a big hit. I'll get a picture on here of it as soon as I recover from today.

The kids also know what 7 miracles are recorded in John: Water to Wine, Nobleman's Son, Lame Man healed at pool of Bethesda, 5000 Fed, Jesus Walks on Water, Blind Man Healed, Lazarus Raised.

Some of the classes are including Jesus' resurrection in that list and are talking about it today. I chose to talk about it everyday with 3 activities I put together for the kids. I wanted them to really understand that all these things were done so "that you may believe". Knowing that some people don't necessarily know what they are to believe in, I wanted my kids to be sure they understood that they are to believe that Jesus is the son of God, that he died, was buried, arose and lives in Heaven.

They can all tell you all of the things mentioned above. Now, whether or not they can do it next week or 6 months from now, time will only tell. But they can now.

After VBS today, we'll take all the kids to the park down the street. The ladies of the congregation have prepared a picnic for all of us. This is so nice for so many reasons. It gives the kids a chance to play together. As you can tell from reading these lesson plans, our VBS is not play time. It gives the teachers a chance to sit and relax for a little bit while someone else does the work. And it gives the other ladies in the congregation that don't feel comfortable teaching a way to help out with the VBS. We all look forward to it.

Yesterday, at the end of class, my class was treated to a skit the 9/10 year old class put together. They had some costumes and acted out the story of the blind man in the activities room. This room has a village scene on the walls which was a great back drop for the story. The older kids did a great job and my kids really enjoyed it. It was fairly impromptu. They had a simple prepared script, but the kids did not have much practice time. I was quite impressed with some of their acting abilities.

Lesson Plan:

Activities Room: We have a large tomb in the room that we'll use to talk about burial traditions of the time.

Classroom: We've been sitting on the floor, but we brought another table in yesterday so we could spread out a little. That pretty much took up our floor room. If everyone shows up, we'll sit at the table, if we have a couple missing, we'll take the table out and sit on the floor again.

I Believe glovesI
Review previous miracles
Tell story of Lazarus using book Miracles and Wonders. I've used this book 3 times this week. It has very accurate text and I really like the pictures.

Move to tables: Uncover 7th picture. Sing: That You May Believe while student points to each miracle. I'll need to let each one of them do this at some point in the class today since all the pictures are uncovered.

Pass out pop-up books. These pop-up books are now complete with the covers on them. Review each of the stories and then retell (or let the kids retell) the story of Lazarus. Let the kids glue Lazarus inside the tomb. Let them put their pop-up book in their backpack. The backpacks came from Oriental Trading company. They can either be used as a backpack or as a drawstring bag. We put an iron-on transfer that is similar to the book cover on the backpack. I need to remember to have backpacks hanging on the back of their chairs before class.

Attendance Chart: I want to do this earlier in class than normal so the glue will have a chance to dry before they take them home.

Take bathroom break

Pass out I believe card rings. Review these with them and let them put them in their backpacks.

Review I Am wall. Let each kid go to the wall and say the I Am's as they point to the appropriate picture.

Talk about the last I Am: I am the way, the truth, the life.

Pass out I Am books and let them put all the pictures in the correct pocket. Let them put the I Am books in their backpacks.

Pass out I believe Story wheels. After reviewing them, let them put them in their backpacks.

Let them put the I believe gloves in their backpacks as well as their Jesus walking on the water activity.

I made a CD of all the songs we sang in VBS. I originally made it for the teachers so they could learn the songs, but decided the kids might enjoy a copy also. I added the other Bible class songs I've written. I figured, since there was more room on the CD it might as well be full. Pass them out (one per family) and let them put them in their backpacks.

Take the attendance charts off the wall and let them put them in their backpacks.

Spend the rest of class time singing their favorite songs. If there's still some kids that didn't get to sing That you May believe as they point to the miracles, do it now.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Blind Man is Healed

Today's lesson just has one miracle. We've had 2 for the past 2 days. There is so much review to do each day that one lesson will be just right. We'll be talking about being blind in the activities room. I'm going to take a couple of pieces of fabric and let any kids that want to be blindfolded and see what it's like. I wish I had gotten hold of some braille before class. I would like to talk to them about the differences in being blind now and being blind back then.

Yesterday, the kids really enjoyed trying to walk on the water in the little pool. It was kind of surprising to me that most, if not all, of them did not know the difference between the words "in" and "on". Even the most verbal one of the bunch had to have it explained to her. If you don't know the difference between "in" and "on", the miracle of Jesus walking on the water doesn't make much sense. As one little girl said, "I walked on the water at the beach." It is so important to be aware of what your class understands. You may be going on about one thing and they have a totally different thing in their mind because they don't have the vocabulary to understand all the little details of the English language.

We will be looking at two "I am...'s" today. One is "I am the light of the world". This is represented on the I AM wall by a candle in the window of the house. The other is "I am the door". This is represented by the door of the house on the I AM wall.

Lesson Plan:

Activities Room

Sit on floor for Bible story. Let kids look at their I Believe gloves to remind them what the miracles found in John are to help them believe. Review previous miracles, tell story of blind man.

Tables: As they are settling down, uncover 6th picture on wall. Let kids that want to take turns pointing to pictures as we sing That You May Believe.

Pass out Pop-up books. Review each of the previous stories again as they look through their pop-up book. Then, let them slide the eyes of the blind man back and forth to see him go from blind (with mud on his eyes) to seeing.

Take a bathroom break

Return to class and sit at tables.

Pass out I Believe card rings. These are cards that have pictures just like on the I Believe glove. They are attached by rings. They are another way to remind them what we are to believe.

Review what we've learned about the "I am..." wall. Let each child go to the wall and point to each picture and say, "I am the vine, I am the door, etc." Sing I Am together.

Pass out I am books. Let the kids put all the pictures in the correct pockets. We just have one pocket that doesn't have a picture by now. We'll get that picture tomorrow.

Pass out I believe story wheels. This is another reminder of what we are to believe. Using the same pictures as the glove and the card rings, this story wheel will just emphasize the importance of it one more time.

Attendance Chart

Sing until time for class to end.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jesus Feeds 5000 and walks on the Water

This is the third day of our VBS. I had a couple of kids missing yesterday. One was at the hospital while her aunt had a baby. I'm not sure where the other was. We had a good class anyway. My youngest is in my class. I haven't taught him in a year and a half. He was acting up a little yesterday. It could be that I'm the teacher, but I think it may be that his regular teachers are letting him get by with things I wouldn't let him get by with. I'll be his regular teacher starting in July, so he'd better watch out. :)

Today in the activities room, we'll have a cloth spread on the floor. We'll sit down with kids picnic style and talk about what the people ate when they were traveling back in Jesus' days. This is an introduction to Jesus feeding the 5000. I have some loaves of bread to pass around. I wasn't brave enough to bring any fish. We'll just have to imagine that part.

Later in the class, after we've talked about Jesus walking on the water, we'll take a walk outside to a small wading pool that is set up. The kids are going to see if they can walk on the water. I really don't expect many of my kids to want to get their feet wet. We've got quite a bit of timid kids. Maybe we can plan on being out there when the next class is there. They are anything but timid.

Later on in class we will talk about "I am the bread of life".

Lesson Plan:

Activites room: do activity explained above

Classroom: Sit on floor for miracle review, I believe glove and story of Jesus feeding the 5000

Table: Pop-up book page for feeding 5000. Uncover 4th poster

Bathroom Break

Classroom: sit at table and tell story of Jesus walking on water. Pop-up Book page for walking on water

Outside: walk to pool to attempt to walk on water

Classroom: sit at table for I am book, review I am wall, read bread flip chart, pass out I am books and place pictures in appropriate place

Attendance Chart

Sing until time for class to end.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nobleman's Son and Lame Man Healed

The first day of VBS is always a little stressful. This one was no different, but the stress was unfounded. The morning went great. We had 7 in our class of 5 and 6 year olds. There are 8 signed up, but one was had his tonsils out last week and probably won't get to come until the end of the week.

The theme of our VBS is -- That You May Believe. We are studying the 7 miracles as recorded in the book of John. The passage found in John 20 says, "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (20:31). We are also taking a look at the "I am..." phrases mentioned in John. Some of the older classes are including the witnesses to Jesus mentioned in John.

Here is the schedule:

Monday: Water to Wine (I am the vine)
Tuesday: Nobleman's Son and Lame Man Healed (I am the good shepherd)
Wednesday: Feeding the 5000 and Walking on the Water (I am the bread of life)
Thursday: Blind Man Healed (I am the light of the world)
Friday: Lazarus Raised (I am the door and I am the way, the truth and the life)

Our first day we studied Jesus turning the water into wine and "I am the vine". My lesson plan (in my previous post) was pretty sketchy. I'll try to do better from now on. I haven't taught class in 6 months. It's amazing how rusty I had gotten. Hopefully, by the end of the week, I'll have gotten up to speed. I'll be teaching again starting in July, so I definitely need to get moving again.

In years past, we've had an art room we took the kids to each day. One of our ladies here is the high school art teacher and really enjoys doing this for VBS. She has tried to make the art relate to the lesson we were studying. This year, she had to be out of town, so we are without an art room. Instead, we're using the same room as an activities room. Our wonderful art teacher decorated it before she left and we go there each day to get a little taste of the manners and customs of the day. The room has a tomb for Lazarus to come out of, a village scene with a few building fronts, a corner for a wedding feast and palm trees placed around to give a feeling of being outside.

Yesterday, we went to the "wedding feast" corner and talked about weddings. We talked about wine and let the kids crush grapes to make their own grape juice. Today, we'll go to the village corner where there is a square of blue cloth on the floor. This will be our pool of Bethesda. We'll sit around the pool and talk about what would happen there when the angel came. We'll talk about what it was like to be unable to walk back then.

Lesson Plan:

Go to activities room after meeting in auditorium. Do activities mentioned above.

Go to classroom and sit on the floor.

Pass out I Believe gloves. These are gloves that are used to take a shower with. There are 5 pieces to be stuck to each finger with the loopy side of velcro. The pictures are of Jesus' crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension. The last is a rectangle with the words -- I believe. We'll talk about what miracles are and the reason for miracles. We'll talk about what the miracles are to help us believe.

Sing: That You May Believe -- this is a song I wrote for this VBS. I'll try to get it put on line soon.

Review yesterday's lesson using flip chart pictures. Sing: This Beginning of Miracles and Jesus Turned the Water Into Wine. Both of these songs are by Bettye Locklair and can be heard by following the links.

Tell today's story using flip chart pictures. Then read the story from the Bible.

Uncover 2nd picture on wall.

Go to table and pass out pop-up books. Let kids glue Nobleman's son in place. Take up pop-up books.

Give the kids a restroom break. This will not only get them moving a little but will help them keep the 2 miracles we'll be studying separate in their minds.

Go back to the floor and tell the story of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.

Uncover 3rd picture on wall.

Go to table and pass out pop-up books again. Let the kids glue the lame man in their book.

Sing: Rise Take Up Thy Bed -- another song by Bettye Locklair

Take a few minutes to help them decorate cards for Adam. Talk to them about how Jesus was able to heal the sick. We can't heal the sick, but we can help them feel better by doing things for them when they're sick.

Read sheep/shepherd flip chart. This is a flip chart I made for a previous class. It sure was nice to still have it and to know where it was when I needed it.

Now that they know about the shepherds talk to them about Jesus saying, "I am the good shepherd". Point out the shepherd on the "I am..." wall. Pass out "I am..." books and let them put the shepherd's staff in the appropriate place.

Sing: I Am -- This is another song I wrote that I'll try to put online soon.

Pass out I believe "cards on a ring". These are the same pictures as the glove. Talk to them again about what the miracles were for and what we are to believe.

If there is time left, sing some songs that they choose.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jesus Turns the Water Into Wine

Our 2008 VBS starts this morning. I'll come back and give more details but I need to write down a lesson plan.

Lesson Plan:

Meet together in auditorium

Go with 3/4 year old class to the actiivities room. There will be a small wedding set up where we'll talk about what weddings are for and what happens at them. There will also be some grapes that we'll use for teaching about how wine was made. We'll let the kids squeeze their own grapes and make grape juice.

Go to the class room and sit on the floor. Talk about what a miracle is. Sing: What is a miracle?

Read the story of the water to wine from the book MIracles and Wonders.

Read story again from the Bible

Sing: This Beginning of Miracles

Go to table

Pass out 1st page of pop-up book and review story.

Uncover first poster on wall

Sing: That You May Believe

Talk about the I am wall. Specifically discuss the vine.

Go on walk outside to see a tomato vine.

Return to class room and sit at table.

Pass out I am book and let them put the grapes in the appropriate pocket

Sing: I AM

Put first piece on attendance chart.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Marking Your Bibles -- Part 3

Tonight is our 2nd Ladies' Bible class where we mark our Bibles. We had 12 ladies come last time and they all seemed to enjoy it. It was the quietest class we had ever had, so I wasn't sure if they were enjoying it, but they were working marking their Bibles. They said they wanted to do this the rest of the summer. Our class meets every other Monday night. That will mean 6 more sessions.

Tonight we will be finishing marking the authority scriptures. These passages are outlined in green and the next verse is written in the margin. Last week we marked the following passages:

Genesis 1:1
1 Corinthians 10:26
Hebrews 1:1-3
Matthew 28:18-20
Ephesians 1:20-23
Colossians 1:18
John 13:20
Ephesians 3:3-5
John 14:26
John 16:13
1 Corinthians 2:9-13
2 Peter 1:21
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Jude 3
2 John 9-11
Deuteronomy 4:2
Deuteronomy 12:32
Revelation 22:18-19
2 Timothy 1:13
2 Peter 1:2-3

After going through these passages, it is easy to see that the New Testament is our final authority. We can go to it for all we need and there will be nothing new added. After coming to an agreement on this, it is much easier to discuss anything else in the Bible. The passages we'll mark tonight will help explain how we are to interpret the scriptures. Then we'll answer the question "What about the Old Testament?" All 3 of these topics -- Chain ofAuthority, interpreting scripture and "what about the Old Testament?" -- will answer many of the questions that people commonly ask about the Bible.

When teaching someone, it is best if you both have a Bible open and, if possible, have the one you're teaching read the passages, or at least read along with you. It is important for him to see what God says with his own eyes. It's also a good idea to have a pad of paper (legal pad works great) with you. As you turn to a passage, write it down. Make any notes to the side that seem appropriate. Then, at the end of the session, let the person you're studying with take the paper home.

Tonight we will start marking our Bibles that show how to interpret scripture or to follow the pattern. There are just two passages that will used. These two passages will show an example of using a direct command, apostolic example and necessary implication. These three things are what we use in our every day life to interpret anything we read or see or hear. If you tell your child to wash his hands, you expect him to wash his hands. That would be a direct command. If your child sees you wash your hands before you eat, he'll learn that by your example that he is to wash his hands before he eats. If you tell your child that you want him to wash his hands before he eats, it implies that you want him to wash his hands every time he eats. That's the same logic we should use when studying scripture.

A common example when studying the pattern is the Lord's Supper. Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, before His death. We learn that this command was followed and taught after His resurrection and ascension. In 1 Corinthians 11:24 (if you didn't mark 1 Corinthians 11:24 at 2 Peter 1:2-3 do it now) we see where Paul was teaching the Corinthians to take the Lord's Supper. He quotes Jesus saying, "do this in remembrance of me". This is a direct command. Outline the passage and write Acts 20:7 in the margins. Also write Direct Command in the margin to help you remember what the significance of this passage to this study.

In Acts 20:7, we see both an apostolic example and necessary inference. An apostolic example is something the apostles did and so we do. A necessary inference is something that has to be concluded in the passage. It can't be understood any other way. The passage says that on the first day of the disciples came together to break bread and Paul spoke to them. This is an example of the disciples and Paul taking the lord's Supper on Sunday. This examples tells us that we should do the same thing. The passage states that this was done on the first day of the week. The first day of the week is Sunday. Every week has a first day (or Sunday). It is implied that we are to do this every first day of the week. To pick and choose the first day of the week that we want to take the Lord's Supper would be to add to scripture. We learned back in 2 John 9-11, Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 22:18-19 that we are not to add to scripture. Write 2 Timothy 2:15 in the margin. Also write Apostolic Example and Necessary Implication

It's amazing how something as simple as that can be so misunderstood. We need to hold to the pattern and not our own desires.

Well, What about the Old Testament? It is inevitable that someone will ask about things that were commanded or practiced in the Old Testament. It is important that we understand how God wants us to use the Old Testament. Turn to 2 Timothy 2:15. Paul tells Timothy to be diligent (or study) and to rightly divide the word of truth. Timothy is to use the word in the correct manner. This implies that there is a wrong way to use scripture. Outline the passage, underline study and rightly divide, then write Galatians 3:22-25 in the margin.

The Scripture referred to in Galatians 3:22-25 is the Old Testament. The Old Testament guarded the Jews until faith came. The law is the tutor to bring us to Christ. After faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. In other words, after Christ has come, we do not need the old law any longer. It was there to prepare the Jews for Christ. Outline and write Colossians 2:14-15 in the margin.

In Colossians 2:14-15 Paul is teaching the Christians in Colossae that the what was the before (the handwriting of requirements) was again us. But Jesus took it out of the way. He nailed the old law to the cross. Outline and write Hebrews 8:6-7 in the margin.

The Hebrew writer in Hebrew 8:6-7 tells us that Jesus has given us a better covenant, established on better promises. The first covenant (old testament) was faulty, the second covenant (new testament) is better. Outline and write Hebrews 9:16-17 in the margin.

He goes on to say in Hebrews 9:16-17 that without Christ's death, there would be no testament. There must be the death of the testator, for the testament (will) to be in effect. This will that came into effect after Christ's death is the New Testament. Outline and write Hebrews 10:1-9 in the margin.

Again the Hebrew writer goes on in Hebrews 10:1-9 to compare the old law to a shadow of what is to come. It wasn't the very thing, it was a shadow. At the end of this passage he that Christ "takes away the first that He may establish the second." He took away the old law (the shadow) so he could establish the new law (the image). Underline "the law" and " a shadow" in verse 1. Outline "takes away the first" and "establish the second" in verse 9. Outline and write Romans 15:4 in the margin.

So, if the Old Law was nailed to the cross, taken away, and faulty, why do we have it in our Bible? Turn to Romans 15:4. Paul tells the Romans that whatever was written before was written for our learning. We are to learn from the Old Testament. What are we to learn? We are to learn how God created the world. We are to learn how sin came into the world. We are to learn how God responds to sin. We are to learn how God chose Abraham to be the father of His chosen people. We are to learn how much God loved the Israelites. We are to learn what He does to those that He loves when they obey Him. We are to learn what He does to those that He loves when they disobey Him. There is so much to learn from the Old Testament. Knowing all of these things about God and what He wants from those who follow Him should give us hope.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Marking Your Bibles -- Part 2

I left off my last blog about 1/4th the way through our study on Bible authority. We are outlining the following passages in green ballpoint pen:

Genesis 1:1
1 Corinthians 10:26
Hebrews 1:1-3
Matthew 28:18-20
Ephesians 1:20-23
Colossians 1:18
John 13:20

So far we have learned that God has the ultimate authority because He made it all. He then gave all authority to His Son, Jesus. We left off with Jesus saying, "...he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me." We already know that God sent Jesus from the passages we've studied. To find out who Jesus sent turn to Ephesians 3:3-5. Before turning to the passage in Ephesians, write Ephesians 3:3-5 in the margins next to John 13:20.

Outline the Ephesians 3:3-5. Verse 3 of this passage says that Jesus made known the mystery to Paul. Verse 4 says that we will be able to read what Paul learned about Jesus. Verse 5 says that the Holy Spirit revealed the mystery of Christ to His apostles. It might be helpful to underline "revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets" to help you remember what to emphasize in this passage. Write John 14:26 in the margins.

Jesus is talking to the apostles in this passage. He tells them that the Holy Spirit will be sent by the Father in Christ's name. The Holy Spirit will teach the apostles all things and help them to remember the things Jesus told them. Outline this verse, underline the words "the Holy Spirit" and write John 16:13 in the margins.

This verse is another assurance Jesus gives His apostles that the Holy Spirit will come and tell them the things they need to hear. Outline and write 1 Cor. 2:9-13 in the margins.

Paul is talking to the Corinthians in this passage. He is telling them that God has revealed the things He freely gave to them through the Holy Spirit. And it is these things that the Holy Spirit teaches that Paul and the other apostles are speaking. Outline and write 2 Peter 1:21 in the margins.

Peter says basically the same things that Paul and Jesus said -- that holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Outline and write 2 Timothy 3:16-17 in the margins.

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God..." 2 Timothy 3:16. That sums up what we've been studying so far. God gave Jesus authority who sent the Holy Spirit to the apostles who wrote down what the Holy Spirit revealed to them. Since all scripture is from God, we can use it all for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction. Doing this will cause anyone following God to be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." Outline and write Jude 3 in the margins.

Jude states clearly that the faith was "once for all delivered to the saints". It was delivered and is complete. There will be nothing new if it has been "once for all delivered". Outline and write 2 John 9-11 in the margins.

Since we know that the scriptures come from God and have been once for all delivered, it is important for us to respect what they scriptures say and to obey them. John says that if we do not obey the teachings of Christ, we do not have God. If we do obey, we have both the Father and the Son. He goes on to say that we should shun anyone who does not bring the teachings of Christ. Outline the passage and write Deut 4:2 in the margins.

This next passage takes us way back to the Old Law. It gives us an insight into how God expects those who follow Him to handle His Word. God clearly says that no one is to add to the word or take away from the word. Underline the words "not add" and "nor take from". Outline and write Deut 12:32 in the margins.

This passage echoes what was in the previous passage. God commanded the Israelites to observe His commandments. They were not to add to them nor take away from them. Again, underline "not add" and "nor take away". Outline and write Rev. 22:18-19 in the margins.

From the beginning of the Bible to the end, God expects the same thing from those who follow Him. Obey His words, do not add to nor take away from. Revelations 22 echoes the same thoughts that were in Deut. It adds a consequence of tampering with God's word -- "God shall take away his part from the Book of life...". Anyone who truly believes that God is the creator of all and the one true God, must believe His Word found in the Bible and must respect it enough to obey it without changing to in any way. Underline the words "adds" and "takes away". Outline the passage and write 2 Timothy 1:13 in the margins.

Paul tells Timothy to "hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me..." Paul wants Timothy to do what he has instructed him. He calls his instructions a "pattern". This pattern is written for all men to read, understand and follow. Since God gave us a pattern, we must follow the pattern if we want to be what God wants us to be. If we do not follow the pattern, we will not be followers of Christ (Christians). Underline "the pattern". Outline the passage and write 2 Pet 1:2-3 in the margins.

Peter summarizes the whole concept of Biblical authority. Jesus has given us all things that we need to live a godly life. Underline "all things". Outline and write 1 Corinthians 11:24 in the margins.

So far, we have seen that God has authority over everything because He made everything. God gave all authority to His Son, Jesus. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to reveal all things to the apostles. The apostles taught those they came in contact with and wrote down (scriptures) what they learned from the Holy Spirit so that all men could read what the one true God wants them to do.

If the person you are teaching is receptive to what you've presented so far, then you now have a common ground to study other things. The next step in Marking Your Bibles will be looking at Bible interpretation by looking at one topic: Lord's Supper. This will lay the ground work for looking at all the other topics in the Bible. Then we'll take a look at the difference in the Old Testament and the New Testament. I'll try to cover both of those in my next blog.