Friday, November 14, 2008

Get Visual

You have to see the beauty of a mountain sunset to really understand how spectacular they are, but a picture can help. Visuals help us see and understand.
It is so important that our children discover the truths conveyed in simple Bible stories. But if we bore them to tears, they won't hear us or the message our stories carry. We must grab their attention and convey the message effectively if we want them to grasp the truth we love.

Get a visual of your class listening and learning and in that visual, you’ll be using good visuals. But hold everything. I know how busy just living life can be these days. Maybe you’ have asked, “With so many balls to juggle everyday, is adding visuals to my class really necessary? I would have to answer with a resounding, “Yes. Visuals are necessary. Visuals play a vital role in impacting your audience.” If you want to make Bible stories come alive, then you need to use visuals.

God used visuals throughout the Bible. So many of the Bible stories use visuals as illustrations. I would call Ezekiel the object lesson book of the Bible. The tabernacle is a visual aid on a grand and glorious scale. Jesus used visuals when he spoke to farmers about seeds or the lost coin or when He asked the woman at the well for a drink of water. I believe Jesus was the ultimate master teacher and He established a pattern for modern teachers to use when He used visuals.

Visuals unlock understanding. In the parable of the sower, Jesus used four types of soil to explain the kingdom of God to His disciples. In all of the soil types the seed sprang up and grew except one. The seeds only lay on the hard ground and the birds gobbled the seeds. Do you remember what the meaning of the hard ground was? Jesus explained, “The hearer did not understand.” Brain research has proven that your brain dumps 90% of everything you do not understand. When people leave our classrooms without understanding the message or truth we have presented, then their brain dumps 90% of that information. That makes teaching for understanding essential. Visuals help you teach for understanding. The old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” really is true. Read the remainder of this article...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Prayer That Works

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

There it is, that enormous two letter word –if. God’s promises have conditions. If we want to receive the promise, then we must meet His requirements.

…my people, which are called by my name-
God is not talking to the sinner, He is talking to His children- Christian. Sometimes we get caught in the trap of thinking, "If those rotten sinners would change…God says if my people.
…shall humble themselves- Wait a minute, humble-me? We would rather strut than struggle in prayer. Isn’t there another way, one that will glorify the flesh instead of crucify it? But God says if we will humble ourselves and….

…and pray-
How long has it been since you wept over the children in your class? I wonder if maybe one reason we don’t see more lasting fruit is because we have lost our passion to pray? You wouldn’t think of going out every afternoon to look for ripe tomatoes in the garden if you had never planted any tomatoes. Why do we expect to reap a spiritual harvest when we have not done the things God requires to receive that harvest.

…and seek my face-
This denotes intimacy. This is a place where we know God, we know His will and His desires become ours. Psalms 103:7 "He made know His ways to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel." Israel saw what God could do, but they didn’t know God. You can know God, if you are willing to pay the price to seek His face.

I attended a ladies conference when my children were young. It was nice to get a way with other young mothers. After the service, we began to cut up and play silly pranks on each other. After a while, one young mother excused herself. "I need to get to bed, I pray at 5:00 every morning. Somebody asked why she needed to pray with all the spiritual emphasis of the conference. She explained, "I haven’t always had a regular prayer time, but one night in a dream. I saw Jesus crying. I asked Him, "Why are you crying?" He said, "I want to spend time with you and you re always busy." That was a turning point in my life, now I spend time with Him every morning. It’s just our time to be together." We can’t know Him, if we don’t spend time with Him.

…and turn from their wicked ways-
Do we really have to talk about this one? If we want results we must turn from our sins of unbelief. We must turn from the sins of omission and commission that would rob and defeat us. It is a loving father, not a cruel judge that demands that we release the poisonous snake of sin that brings death.

We don't pray to fill a required time slot. We pray to get results. We must pray expecting. That is why praying the scriptures is so important. What does the Bible say about the situation you are walking through? What are the promises that you can wrap your faith around as you approach the throne of God's mercy and grace.

Last week I discovered an amazing site with scriptural references to guide a believer as they pray for the American Presidential election. Pray the Vote This page contains scriptures to pray or you can click on the daily prayer to see specific prayer guides for each day.

The Presidential Prayer Team page is a guide to pray for the president and his activities daily. This is a great prayer resource regardless of who wins the election because the new president is going to be facing some critical issues.

If we are not hearing from heaven, maybe we need to check our schedules. Have we made time for God or have all the good things we do as teachers and children’s pastors crowded Jesus out. We must have a personal relationship with Jesus and that only comes when we make room for Him.

…will I hear from heaven
God promises that He will hear us. God’s ears are tuned to hear your prayer. Prayer is the key to the all of heaven’s resources. Faith turns the key. Go to the scriptures for your need. When you pray the scriptures, you’ll have the confidence to believe God for what you are asking

…and will forgive their sin- Are you sick of the crime that has infested our land? Are you sick of shooting in our schools and the garbage on the television. It’s time to do something about it besides gripe. It’s time to pray.

…and heal their land-
We experienced a drought in Florida. Even though we are on a private well we could only water our lawns twice a week. Every time I walked in my yard, my wilted flowers reminded me to pray for rain. And when I prayed for rain, I prayed for revival to sweep this land. Only the rain of God's spirit will quench the spiritual thirst in our land.

The Welsh revival, the Charles Finney revivals and all the revivals where great numbers were saved came as a result of prayer. I want to encourage you that God has awesome plans for the children of your city. I believe God wants to raise a Joshua generation. A generation of children that will believe and receive the promises of God. But it will not happen unless the Moses’, the leaders, the teachers, God’s people begin to pray and turn from their sin.

See resources to help you teach children to pray.