Train Up Fear

 

I hate flossing. It’s annoying. Every time I would go to the dentist my hygienist would always tell me that I should be flossing. I never did. Then I went to my most recent dental appointment. I had a brand new hygienist this time. As she was flossing my teeth, she said the usual company line, “you really should be flossing.” Only this time she added more to it. Words I hadn’t heard a dental hygienist utter before. “There is some gum recession around one of your molars. Do you know what that means?” Sure, I thought. Recession is never a good thing. She then told me that if I start flossing, I may be able to build up more healthy gums around the tooth. So, naturally, I started flossing. I haven’t missed a day since that appointment. Why? Because I am terrified that I will lose my tooth.

Proverbs 3:7-8 “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”

We often state that fear of God is a reverent fear and respect for God. While I agree, I also believe we need to teach our kids to have a terrified fear of sin. Would it make you live differently if you were terrified of your sin? Terrified that God was there with you all the time – watching what you watch, reading what you read, listening to what you listen to? Put Psalm 101:3 over your TV set. “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” That will change what you watch!

I find it interesting, particularly for me, that the promise attached to fearing God is health! Who doesn’t want to live a healthy life? We need to teach our kids to fear what sin can do to them, and when needed, to develop healthy habits to erase any negative impact of their sin.

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Colossians 1:9-10 “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

We as Bible teachers are not merely around for “content dump.” We are there to help apply the content to the kids’ lives.

1)  Power of Prayer – Paul said they “do not cease to pray” for the Colossians.  We NEED to be praying for the children we minister to!

 2)  The Goal – Start with content: “knowledge of His will” with “spiritual wisdom and understanding.”  We want the kids to get the knowledge that is in Scripture, but it is much more effective when it is applied to their lives. The ultimate goal is to see the kids “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.” Paul wanted the Colossians to live to the Christian life, not just know about it. I once heard wisdom defined as the “application of Biblical knowledge.” Do we not want those we minister unto to be wise Christians no matter their age?

 3)  The Outcome — “bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” Do we not want the kids to do good works? Do we not want them to be growing (actively and continually) in God’s knowledge on a daily basis?

May we as teachers seek to apply the Bible in a practical way so that the kids will see the Bible is relevant for today and that they have a desire to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Warning! Colossians 1:24-28

Well, it’s been a VERY long time since I have been able to blog! Here is a quick lesson to help us remember our responsibility to the children we are entrusted with each week.

Every man, every child, must be warned.

We have a job as teachers to warn our students of sin and of their need for salvation.

It’s the replacement principle! – When we warn, we must teach them to do better. Warning and teaching must be done together.

We must warn with wisdom

  1. Teaching to their maturity (capability)
  2. Teaching at the right moment (circumstances)
  3. Teaching with the right method (capacity)

Our aim should be the improvement and salvation of our students

Our teaching must be with labor and not negligence

–  The more we labor in the work of the Lord, the greater measure of help we may expect from Him.

Object Lesson on Sin

Here is another object lesson but this time it is from our new boys club we have on Wednesday nights over the summer. We are attempting to make this boys club more than just a teaching time in the classroom. We are trying to have the boys be active and then apply an activity to a Biblical principle. So today I taught on “Sin: not always just missing the mark.”

I brought out a target and a BB gun.

I told the boys that a lot of times we look at our sin as just “missing the mark” of God’s holiness, but it is much worse than just “missing.” We do miss His mark of holiness, but I wanted the boys to recognize the seriousness of sin. On my shooting target, you get 10 points for a bulls-eye and 9 for just missing. Sin is much worse than a 9 on God’s target. Sin is saying, “oh, that target over there is Ephesians 6 and I know I’m supposed to obey my parents, but that target on the other side of the shooting range looks much better” and we take the shot. We don’t always just miss God’s target for our life, many times we outright shoot at an entirely different target.

We are defiant in our sin, we don’t just mistakingly sin. We know what we are supposed to do and where we are supposed to go, we just don’t want to obey!

All too often we make sin to be much less than it is. “Oh, I just missed the mark, I just made a mistake.” Sin isn’t just making a mistake or missing the mark. It’s finding our own target and aiming for that. We need to be careful, especially with our children to not desensitize them to the wickedness and dangers of sin.

After the talk the activity was to have all of the boys shoot 3 times and they each got to keep a target and a BB to help them to remember that sin isn’t always just “missing the mark.”

Life of Elijah Part 4

Part four of my series on the Life of Elijah.

Feel free to use for yourself!
Elijah’s Self PityHave you forgotten God and what He’s done?
1 Kings 19:1-18
I. Elijah’s Running (1 Kings 19:1-3)
  • Elijah flees from Jezebel (19:3) – After a great victory for God, Elijah is ensnared by the fear of man
II. Elijah’s Request (19:4-14)
  • Elijah requests the God take his life (19:4)
  • God asks Elijah twice what he is doing in a cave rather than serving Him (19:9 & 13)
  • Elijah responds both times in the same manner; “I am all alone. No one else is serving you.” (19:10)
  • After giving Elijah two chances to respond correctly, God finally gives Elijah his final order.
III. Elijah”s Replacement (19:15-18)
  • God tells Elijah to go to anoint Elisha to take his place as prophet. (19:16) – It amazes me sometimes that we live our lives as though God needs us to serve Him. God can use anyone, but He doesn’t have to use anyone. God at this point says to Elijah, “Go anoint your replacement.” I can’t help but think of the other things Elijah may have done for God before anointing Elisha. I do believe Elijah recommitted himself to the work of God, but what if he remained committed throughout? 

I know that this is a bare outline, but I am hoping this will help someone!

Teaching Lessons from Deep Sea Fishing

Saturday I went deep sea fishing and I had a blast. The one thing I couldn’t get out of my mind was my Sunday School teacher training on Sunday. As I fished I had numerous examples in deep sea fishing that we can apply to our ministry with the kids.

1. Be prepared!

We had to spend the time necessary to prepare before hand for our fishing trip, just like we should be spending time on our lessons prior to Sunday AM. We need to pour our lives into the ministry we have to these kids. The kids can sense when there is lack of preparation on our part. How dare we spend more time in preparation for fishing and other hobbies than we do in the work for God!

2. Bait your lesson so you can hook them and reel them in.

We needed to use something to entice the fish to bite and get hooked. In our lessons, we need object lessons, real life stories and we need to be animated to get the kids hooked on our lessons. We can’t do this unless we are following point number one of being prepared before!

3. Waves knocked us off balance.

We may have some trouble kids in our classes, but don’t let them take you away from the main focus of your lesson. Don’t lose your cool when dealing with them.

4. You will lose some fish, but don’t get disappointed. Go get more!

We are going to have times in our classes when we lose students, but we are not to get discouraged and quit. I am reminded of Jesus who lost followers in John 6:66 and He also lost Judas, but he never stopped loving him. We are never to stop trying to get our students back to Christ.

5. Deep sea fishing left an impression on me. I got sunburn. Bad.

We only have 1 to 2 hours a week with the kids God has entrusted to us. Let’s do all we can as teachers to leave an impression on them!

Object Lesson on Knowledge and Wisdom

Here is another object lesson from Elementary chapel. It was my last chapel with the kids before school ends for the summer so I preached on Solomon and his asking for wisdom. I told the kids they need to ask God daily for wisdom. All year long they have been sitting in class gaining knowledge, but knowing to do right isn’t enough.

I brought out a sponge and a squirt gun.

 

I told the kids that the water was the knowledge they have been given during school and that they were the sponge. I squirted the water on the sponge and it soaked it all in. I told them that we are like the sponge and we sit in school, in church, and we get lots of facts, but the facts themselves aren’t enough. We need wisdom. Wisdom is the practical application of knowledge.

I asked the students for one of the 10 Commandments. “Thou shalt not covet.” I said you know the Commandments, that’s knowledge, you can tell me all of them. Wisdom is when I have the opportunity to covet something and I CHOOSE not to! Wisdom is knowing what is right and choosing doing it!

I took the sponge and I began to squeeze it. As I squeezed I told the kids that when we are pressured to choose, the knowledge within us makes us wise when we choose to do right.