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Teach, and Pray, Toward Children’s Faith

What characterizes good Bible teaching for children? Number one on the list is obvious: teaching that acquaints children with the whole counsel of God through the faithful proclamation of the Scriptures, with the aim of making children wise for salvation in Christ. But over my years of teaching, I also have become more and more aware of a second item on the list: good Bible teaching needs to be undergirded and permeated — soaked — with earnest prayer. (more…)

Help Your Teens Get Wisdom

What if you were to ask your teen the following questions:

  • What does the Bible have to say about using Facebook?
  • Are you honoring Jesus as you participate in sports?
  • Do you have a biblical view of doing your homework?
  • Are you wise in the friends you choose?
  • Why are the answers to these questions important for your life?

What kind of answers might you get in response? Would your teen be able to explain his or her answers using specific verses and biblical truths? What might the answers reveal about his or her heart? (more…)

When Children Aren’t Being Discipled at Home

God has ordained parents as the primary teachers and disciplers of their children and it is a sacred responsibility and privilege. All the many wonderful Sunday school classes and other children’s and youth programs in your church are no substitute for parents’ calling to nurture the faith of their children. Consider these words from Charles Spurgeon:

Let no Christian parents fall into the delusion that the Sunday school is intended to ease them of their personal duties. The first and most natural condition of things is for Christian parents to train up their own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let holy grandmothers and gracious mothers, with their husbands see to it that their own boys and girls are well taught in the book of the Lord.

  • But what about the children who come to your church who do not have believing parents?
  • What about children who are receiving a minimal amount of spiritual nourishment in their homes due to a variety of factors?
  • What about children who live in a one-parent home—and that parent is doing the best he or she can but is overwhelmed with simply holding things together?

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Doing God’s Word, for Change

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (James 1:22-25).

How easy it is for us to read the Bible, close the pages of this life-changing book, and walk away unchanged. Our response to God’s Word is much like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and forgets what he looks like.

When a man forgets his reflection in the mirror, is it because there something wrong with the image reflected in the mirror? Is the mirror faulty? No, and neither is God’s Word faulty, though we walk away unchanged. The problem is with us. We read but we do not apply; we do not consider what God’s words mean for our everyday lives. (more…)

Why I Stole a 1st Place Ribbon from a Child in Sunday School

Imagine the scene: a jumping-jack contest in Sunday school with the teacher pitted against a first grade student. The student easily wins the contest, but the teacher claims the beautiful 1st Place ribbon for herself. The children break out in LOUD disapproval: “That’s wrong. You didn’t win. That’s not fair!” Righteous indignation spews from a group of 30 children over a stolen award. What kind of teacher does this? (more…)

Making the Most of Classroom Worship

For many children, one of their favorite activities of the Sunday school hour is singing. Loud, happy, energetic singing maybe even accompanied by musical instruments, clapping, jumping, and other visibly active expressions. However, as much as I delight in watching a roomful of 6- and 7-years-olds jubilantly sing songs of praise to God in the classroom, I am reminded of these important words from worship leader and song writer Bob Kauflin: (more…)

Spiritual Benefits of Active Learning

One of the God-given means for influencing the heart and the will is to encourage students to be active participants in the learning process. Most people would agree that active participation by students creates a positive learning experience. Most of us could even give reasons why this is so:

  • Participation makes the lessons more interesting, aids in holding the attention of potential wandering minds, and minimizes boredom.
  • Involvement maximizes the possibility that concepts are retained over a longer period of time.
  • Discovering truth rather than just hearing it provides a greater potential for truths to be internalized. The critical thinking skills involved in discovery can not only inform the mind, but also offer a more profound impression on the heart.

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Help for Reaching the Hearts of Your Students

Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge.
(Proverbs 23:12)

Each Truth78 curricula lesson is built upon two foundational pillars: the Large Group Lesson which emphasizes instructing the mind with God’s Word, followed by the Small Group Application which focuses on engaging the students’ hearts and wills in response to God’s Word.  Both are vitally important in nurturing faith. (more…)

Are You Gripped by the Truths You Teach?

I can vividly remember the incident even though it happened years ago. I had just finished preparing for Sunday’s lesson. It involved teaching just one basic truth to my first grade class: God is eternal. The visuals, props, and lesson notes were ready. The Scriptures being taught were all carefully marked in my Bible. I had rehearsed the lesson several times. I was confident – I’ve got this! And then I was completely undone as I reread the key verse for the lesson:

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Psalm 90:2).

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Four Reasons to Use a Printed Bible When Teaching Children and Youth

Before advocating for teaching children and youth primarily from a printed Bible, I want to fully affirm that the following are true whether we teach the Bible from a digital device or from a traditional printed book:

  • The Bible is “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)
  • The Bible is inerrant and completely trustworthy.
  • The Bible is the full canon of Scripture—all 66 books—given to us in written form.
  • The Bible is characterized by its absolute authority, clarity, sufficiency, and necessity.

The medium we use does not change or alter the above truths. However, there is something we should not lose sight of: The medium we use cannot be completely disassociated from the message. (more…)

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