Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jesus is Baptized -- Mt 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-11; Lk 3:21-23; Jn 1:29-34

John began teaching and baptizing because he was instructed to do so. We don't know how he was told to do so, whether it was from the mouth of God Himself or from a messenger of God (angel). We know that John was told to teach and baptize to prepare the way of the Lord. He was told he would know the lamb of God by a sign -- a dove sitting on Him. That's what happened when He baptized Jesus. A dove descended and sat on Him. A voice from heaven said, "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." At this moment, we see God in 3 persons -- the father, the son and the spirit. Why did Jesus have to be baptized? Had he already sinned and needed to repent? Jesus told John that He should be baptized to fulfill righteousness.

Wednesday evening I gave the students a little help to memorize the first 7 Beatitudes. It is: PMMHTMMP. If they can just remember those letters in that order it should help them. They stand for: Poor in spirit, Mourn, Meek, Hunger/Thirst, Merciful, Pure in heart, Peacemakers.

Lesson Plan:

Stations: As students come to class have them begin working in the stations.

Memory Work: Call the students together. Review NT books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Add Acts today.

Review: Review Wednesday night's lesson about John's ministry.

Lesson: Reading from John, tell the story of Jesus being baptized.

More memory work: If time is available, review the Salt passage and introduce the light passage.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

John's Ministry Begins -- Mt 3:1-20; Mk 1:1-8; Lk 3:1-20; Jn 1:1-28

Tonight we get to see how John's ministry begin. This is the first event in the gospels that is covered in all 4 gospels. We will concentrate on Luke's account since we have been reading from Luke every class session.

Lesson Plan:

Stations: As students come to class have them begin working in the stations. Some of the students are beginning to complete all the work at a particular station. It shouldn't be too long now until I get to start listening to them recite the passage from memory.

Memory Work: Call the students together. Review NT books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Review Beatitudes. Concentrating on the middle section.

Review: Review the circumstances around John's birth. Remind the students about the speech Zacharias gave when he was finally allowed to speak again.

Lesson: Give a brief overview of what John's ministry was like. Read Luke 3:1-20. Stress the prophecy that was fulfilled (Is 52:10). Discuss the 3 questions he was asked by the people, the tax collectors and the soldiers. This would make a great matching activity. I'll have to think about doing that one of these days.

More memory work: If time is available, review the Salt passage and introduce the light passage.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jesus Grows Up -- Matthew 2, Luke 2:41-52

We have a lot to talk about this morning. There is not much said about Jesus' growing up years but to put what is said into one class session is a bit much. Today's lesson starts with the visit of the wise men. This visit could have happened anywhere from his birth to when he was 2 years old. We're not sure, God didn't tell us, it isn't important to the story. What is important is that God chose to tell men that were not Jews that His Son had been born. These men knew that this was a special event and wanted to be part of it so they traveled from a great distance, following nothing but a star, to worship and offer gifts to the special baby.

The story then continues with Herod's slaughtering of the babies of Bethlehem. Such a sad story but not a surprise to those that had studied the scriptures. This event had been prophesied by Jeremiah. Joseph takes his family to Egypt just as the angel of the Lord had told him to. The family remained there until Herod died. Then, at the word of the angel, they moved back and settled in Nazareth.

The next event in Jesus' life is his visit to the temple as an older child. This is the first time we read anything that Jesus actually said. He not only amazes the teachers in the temple with knowledge and understanding but he says something that Mary keeps in her heart -- Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?

Lesson Plan:

Stations: As students come to class have them begin working in the stations. As soon as it is time for class to start, begin the lesson

Bible Reading: Remind students to put a sticker on the back of their project folder if they completed the Bible reading. They should soon be in the habit of doing this when they first come in.

Memory Work: Call the students together. Review NT books (Matthew, Mark, Luke). We'll add John this morning. Review Beatitudes.

Review: Let them tell the story of Jesus' birth.

Lesson: Read Matthew 2 and discuss the wise men's visit to baby Jesus. Read Luke 2:41-52 and discuss the events surrounding Jesus' visit to the temple.

Lesson Review Station: Demonstrate the folder activity that has the student choose between the real events that happened surrounding the birth of Christ and the events that the world has added in their Christmas celebrations.

Stations: If time allows, let students continue or start work at the stations.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jesus, Simeon and Anna -- Luke 2: 21-40

What a beautiful story. Simeon and Anna had both been waiting for the same thing for years. They knew that God would keep his promise of sending a messiah. They both waited patiently at the temple, serving God, hoping that they would be blessed to see the Messiah coming in their lifetime. God honored them by allowing them to see Jesus at just a few weeks old. Imagine the joy they felt as they realized who this baby was. Simeon's words are very touching:

"Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel."

I think we're beginning to settle into a nice routine for our class. There is a total of 6 regular students. Wednesday evenings they spend time before and at the beginning of class at the stations. The last 25 minutes or so, we spend on the lesson. Doing the lesson last allows us to all be through at the same time so we can leave as soon as the 2nd bell rings. They start the worship in the auditorium as soon as everyone is seated so we have to get out there quickly. If they are doing their stations last, then it takes a long time to finish and gather up their things. Sunday AM, we do the opposite. We do the lesson first and stations last. We have at least 10 minutes maybe 15 before worship in the auditorium begins so we can take our time to leave the classroom.

Lesson Plan:

Stations: As students come to class have them begin working in the stations.

Bible Reading: Remind students to put a sticker on the back of their project folder if they completed the Bible reading. They should soon be in the habit of doing this when they first come in.

Memory Work: Call the students together. Review NT books (Matthew, Mark, Luke). Review Beatitudes. See if they can say the first four by memory.

Review: Discuss the law that God gave Moses at Mt Sinai. Briefly review the 10 commandments and then the laws that relate to babies (Leviticus 12)

Lesson: Read Luke 2:21-40 and discuss the events that took place shortly after Jesus' birth.

More memory work: If time is available, begin to introduce Salt/Light passage and discuss the activities at the stations. Be sure to tell them what they are expected to do in their project folders while at that station.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jesus' Birth -- Luke 2:1-20; Matt 1:18-25

Today is the big day. Everything we've been studying so far (since Gen 1) has been leading up to it. It is an event that changes everything. It all happens just as God said it would (Isa 9:6-7). God promised Abraham way back in Gen 12 that it was coming. In God's own time, it has happened just as He said. The Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace has been born in the lowliest of conditions. God announced it to the world not through the current media, not to kings and important people but to shepherds watching their sheep in the field. God is always amazing.

Lesson Plan:

Stations: As students come to class have them begin working in the stations.

Bible Reading: Remind students to put a sticker on the back of their project folder if they completed the Bible reading.

Memory Work: After a few minutes, call them together for the lesson to begin. Review the NT books we've learned so far and add Luke. Read together through the Beatitudes. Begin discussing ways we can memorize it. (Look for patterns, see it/read it/write it).

Review: Review the Bible story concentrating on creation, promises to Abraham, David's reign as King. Then review our NT lessons concentrating on Jesus' birth announcement. Read the opening of Matt 1. They should have read this at home already so it is not new to them. They should recognize many of the names in the genealogy, especially after David (the kings).

Lesson: Read Luke 2:1-20 and discuss the birth of Christ. Stress that it happened just as it was prophesied.

Lesson Review Activity: Read Isa 9:6-7 and point out that God said Jesus would be called several things. Add the folder activity that about the names of Jesus. This activity involves the students looking up passages and noting what name was used for Jesus.

Stations: Work in the stations. We have a 10-15 minute break between Bible class and worship on Sunday mornings. This means that the students can work a little after the 2nd bell rings. This is very helpful so they can finish up what they started before class. The students that don't get to come on Wednesday evening will find this time very helpful as well.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

John's Birth -- Luke 1:57-80

Wednesday night was not a very good night for me personally. I wasn't feeling well and it was all I could do to get to class and present the lesson in an acceptable manner. So, I didn't get a lesson plan before hand. This lesson plan is what we did not what we were going to do.

This lesson takes us back to the first lesson in our series when Gabriel announced to Zacharias that he would have a son. The students really enjoyed the review of this lesson and listened with interest as we read the "rest of the story".

Lesson Plan:

Stations: On Wednesday evenings, the class periods are a little longer than Sunday AM. This allows a little more time to spend at the stations. As students arrive encourage them to pick up the project folder and choose a station to begin working at.

Memory Work: Before the lesson begins, spend a little time reviewing and introducing some of the memory work. We have already learned 2 books of the NT so these will be reviewed. They will begin reading the Sermon On The Mount in their personal Bible reading this week. Discuss the memory work we're working on that comes from this sermon (Beatitudes, Lord's Prayer, Salt/Light, Wise/Foolish Man).

Bible Reading: Remind students to put a sticker on the back of their project folder if they completed the Bible reading.

Review: Review previous lessons concentrating on John's birth announcement.

Lesson: Reading from Luke 1 (continuing where we left off last class) let the Bible tell the story of John's birth commenting when necessary to keep kids engaged.

Lesson Review Activity: For many of the lessons there will be a new activity added to the Lesson Review station. Tonight there is an activity that reviews children of the Bible.

Stations: If there is any time left, let students work in stations.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lesson Schedule for 1st Quarter -- Life of Christ

This is the lesson schedule that our classes are following this quarter. It is laid to meet our needs (Wednesday evening singing is scheduled in) which should make it lots easier for the teachers to know what they should be teaching. In the past we have used a curriculum that gave a lesson per week that was to be divided amongst the two class sessions (Sunday/Wednesday). If there were 2 different teachers in these classes they worked together to decide who would teach what. The passages to the right of each lesson is roughly what the Bible reading that is published in the bulletin each week.

Jesus' Birth Announced -- Luke 1:26-56

Last week, we got off to a good start. The kids are enthusiastic about their new classroom and the new way of doing class. Today we will talk about Jesus' birth being announced. This is a beautiful story. Imagine being Mary and having Gabriel come talk to you. Zacharias was at least a priest and was actually working in the temple when Gabriel appeared to him but Mary was just a young girl. I plan to start class with a review of last week's lesson. Then, I'll narrate the story. After they get the idea of what the Bible says, I will read it from the Bible. I think they'll understand the reading of the Bible better if they already know what they are going to hear. I also want to keep a list on the white board of all the people that we meet during out study. I'll add Zacharias, Gabriel and Mary today.

Lesson Plan:

Review: John's birth being announced. Write Zacharias and Gabriel on the white board.

Lesson: Tell the story of Jesus' birth announced and then read it from Luke 1. Stress the fact that what we are reading is fulfillment of prophecy. God's plan is being worked out according to his schedule. His power is undeniable. Write Mary on the white board.

Project Folder: Pass out project folders. If any of the students read their Bible reading last week, (Matthew 1-3) let them put a sticker on the back of their folder.

New Testament Books: We introduced Matthew (written by Matthew to the Jews about Jesus fulfilling prophecy). Today we will introduce Mark. The cards I use for these were made by my husband. I will put a new card each Sunday on the white board. Discuss with the kids what they are expected to do at the New Testament books station. There is an envelope for each book. On the outside of the envelope is a key verse from that book. Inside the envelope is a smaller version of the picture I am putting on the white board. In their project folders is a place for them to glue the picture and copy the key verse. They will be doing this for each book of the New Testament over the next 2 quarters.

Stations: If there is time, let the kids work independently in their stations. The kids that get there early will be allowed to work in the stations before class. In years past, this has been when most of the work got done.

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Cup of Feeling Inadequate

Tonight is our first ladies' Bible class of the year. I get to lead the discussion tonight. We have been studying from the book, LET THIS CUP PASS, by Jane McWhorter. Tonight's lesson is on feeling inadequate. I don't know about you but I feel this way frequently. Mrs McWhorter says we need to look at these feelings of inadequacies as opportunities to succeed. Looking back over my life I see what she means. If I hadn't felt inadequate at something, if I had felt like I knew it all, I would not have sought to improve in anything. So, if the attitude is in the right place, feeling inadequate can and should be a blessing.

I would like to open the class by reading 2 Corinthians 12:10: Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Moses is a wonderful example of someone that felt inadequate. He had lead a different life than most of his day.

The government had tried to kill him when he was a baby but failed.
He grew up in the palace like one of the princes.
He tried to defend his people.
He ran away to Midian and became a shepherd.

God had asked him to do something he had never dreamed of doing. He didn't want to do it. He was happy with his new life. He gave the following excuses:

Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh... (3:11)
Who shall I say sent me? What is your name? (3:13)
What if they don't believe me? (4:1)
I don't speak well. (4:10)

Read Exodus 3 and 4. Depending on how much time I have, I may skim over these two chapters and highlight where Moses gave his excuses. Moses went and was very successful. Not because he was so good and what he was doing but because he trusted in God.

Why do we feel inadequate? What makes us think that we are any less capable of doing something than someone else?

Fear (failure, rejection, doing something different)
Pride (if we can't do it like so-and-so, we don't want to do it all)
Selfishness (we think more of ourselves than we ought -- it is a protection/self-preservation attempt)
Failure (we've done it or something like it before and it didn't turn out like we wanted)
Unprepared (we don't have the knowledge, skill, experience to do the job the way we think it ought to be done)
Disbelief (we don't believe that God will help us)

What is the consequence of feeling inadequate? What does it matter if I don't do something?

The work doesn't get done.
Those that need to be taught don't get taught.
Our friends and loved ones are lost.
Brethren that are in need, are still in need.
Others have to carry my load and their own.
The church is weakened because I am not all I can be.
I am a discouragement to others.

What can I do about it?

Philippians 4:10-19 -- Paul knew that his strength came from Christ. It is foolish of us to think that we can do anything on our own.

Study God's word -- equip yourself with the tools necessary to fight the battle (Eph 6 -- Whole Armor of God)

Pray for faith (eliminates disbelief)
Pray for wisdom (eliminates the foolishness of depending on yourself)
Pray for courage (eliminates fear)
Learn a new skill (eliminates unpreparedness)
Ask others for help (eliminates pride and selfishness)
Just do it! (overcome previous failures)

What will be the consequence if I strive to overcome inadequacy?

God's word will spread
My courage will become strong
I ready myself for the next challenge.
My brethren's load is lifted.
Others are encouraged.

Moses felt inadequate to do the work God asked him to do. He trusted God would help him and he succeeded. We can succeed in doing the work God asks us to do if we will take the steps necessary to succeed.

How can I help my children/family to succeed?

Take a lesson from successful people of the past.

Beethoven became deaf in later life.
Napoleon was a poor student.
President Wilson was a poor student at Princeton.
Sir Isaac Newton was bullied.
Leonardo da Vinci was a an illegitimate child at a time when that was scorned.
Benjamin Franklin had little formal schooling. (a bad thing?) :)
Abraham Lincoln lost his mother and had little education as well.

The point being, many people that we look to as successful people had rough beginnings. How can it be that they were successful but didn't have the best tools available, the best instructors available, the best living conditions available? It took strength to overcome these weaknesses. Strength they would have never looked for if they had not had the weaknesses.

For our kids. Don't give them every advantage. Make them struggle. Give them a challenge to overcome and let them overcome it. Success takes day to day, minute by minute, steady work and is often seen only at the end (or sometimes after) of one's life. Teach them patience, diligence, humility, honesty, courage, etc.

These people that we mentioned were not born successful. To look at Moses' life without knowing "the rest of the story", we would have thought that he would not have a chance. He was a failure because he had to leave the palace at 40 years old. It wasn't until he was 80 years old that God called him to do the great work he did. All of his lifetime experiences and his trust in God is what helped to be successful in his work.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

John's Birth Announced -- Luke 1:5-25

It is time to begin a new quarter. We've spent the last two years studying from the Old Testament. This morning we begin with the New Testament. Ever since last January, I have been teaching the same class (Sunday AM and Wednesday PM). I get to teach them again. There will be 6 regular students and some semi-regular visitors in this class. We will be using the stations that we did 3 year ago. This should be easier than last time because most of the hard work is done. If you weren't reading this blog back then, you can follow this link to see what it's all about -- Lesson Plans on the Life of Christ.

The last time I taught this, we were trying out a new schedule. We had been using the Amplified Bible Curriculum, which is great in many ways, but we felt it could spend more time on the life of Christ than just one quarter. So, we spread out the life of Christ over 2 quarter and then studied Acts for 2 quarters inserting epistles as they were written. This left a few weeks at the end of the last quarter to spend some time on other epistles and on Revelation. It worked out very well, so this time, all of the classes are going to follow this schedule.

Our first lesson is on the announcement of John's birth. One of the advantages of teaching the same kids over and over is that I know exactly what was emphasized in their study of the Old Testament. We spent a lot of time reviewing the whole Bible story, learning about the promises to Abraham and when they were fulfilled and looking forward to the last promise being fulfilled. For the past few weeks we've been doing a lot of review of our memory work and reviewing the Old Testament. Wednesday night I stressed that between the OT and the NT there was a "famine of words" just as God had said there would be. There was 400 years of silence. Imagine the surprise and fear Zacharias must have felt when, as an old man all alone in the temple, an angel appeared to him.

Lesson Plan:

Review: We are in a new classroom that is set up quite differently from any classroom these kids have ever been in. They are going to be excited and inquisitive. We will start class with a review of the Old Testament (brief version).

Lesson: We'll move right into the lesson of the day. I want to make sure we spend enough time on the Bible lesson and still have some time at the end to introduce the different stations, their project folders, and go over the rules of the class.

Introduce Stations: Here's a picture of the set-up. This is half of the room. There are a total of 8 stations in all. Each station is on a different subject and has folder games and activities to help them learn the material independently. Click on the picture to see pictures of the posters.

The 8 stations are:

New Testament Books -- this is their chance to really memorize the books of the NT. There are folder activities that have them looking up passages in each book of the NT as well.

Maps and Timelines -- They will be familiarizing themselves with the map of Jesus' time and a timeline of his life.

12 Apostles -- the apostles will be memorized and they will read a passage from the Bible and write down what they learned about that apostle. There are also folder activities to help reinforce the apostles' names and what it took to become an apostle.

Life of Christ Lesson Review -- This station will have a new folder activity added each week. These activities are specifically about the lesson.

The other 4 stations are passages to memorize from the Sermon On The Mount. They include

Salt and Light
The Lord's Prayer
Wise Man/Foolish Man

Each of these stations have folder activities. The students will be required to do all of the activities at a station and be able to either write from memory or copy the passage/list their memorizing before they can recite it to me. After they recite the passage/list, there is a sticker to place on the back of their project folder.

Project Folder: Each student will have his own project folder. He will carry this around from station to station, working in it as he goes. There is an activity that reinforces what they are learning at each station (except lesson review). By the end of the year, they will have 4 project folders (one for each quarter) that will be a great momento and resource of what they learned at Bible class. Today, I will pass them out and walk them through some of the activities. These project folders stay in the classroom.

Bible Reading: We have a Bible reading that the families are supposed to be doing at home each week. In addition, the students will receive bookmark that has a Bible reading schedule that they are expected to do on their own. It starts out fairly slow. We will be reading through the gospel over the next 6 months. Then, we speed it up at the end of the year to cover the rest of the NT. If they choose to go along with this reading, they will have read the complete NT on their own (or with a parent's help). Each week, if they did the reading, they get to put a sticker on the back of their project folder.

Memory Take Home: They each will take home a hand out that has all the memory work we are working on in class. We are doing our memory work from NKJV so I typed it all out so there would not be any conflict if they didn't have that version at home. This also keeps the family aware of what is expected of their child.