Tuesday, March 6, 2018

EDUCATION: Gospels & Acts Workbooks

FINALLY!! I've finally finished the middle school workbook for the Gospels and Acts and I also updated the middle school Old Testament workbook. (Answers are intentionally not included so that students feel free to share their thoughts, allowing leaders to discover what the students think or believe about what they’ve read. It will also enhance discussion and help leaders to know when students are misunderstanding what they’re reading.)

Gospels & Acts Description (sample)
Find it on Amazon.
The Gospels and Acts Reading Plan and Workbook for Middle School is a one year, 33 week reading plan with comprehension questions. It tells the story of Jesus’ ministry through the gospels and Acts, up to Paul’s first missionary journey.

It begins with the Gospel of John as it is written in a more theological than a logical or chronological style. Following are the three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which are compiled to give a complete, but not redundant reading experience. The plan ends with the first part of Acts. The questions are primarily written to give students an idea of what Jesus was telling the people. They are not meant to be all encompassing or theologically comprehensive in nature. They are meant to get students thinking about what they are reading and what is happening in each account.

The first page contains information about the gospels and their writers describing how they are similar, different, and their intended audience. There are also both student and parent instructions as well as recommended implementation and tips on the art of leading discussion.
There is also a cool project, Bible Culture in the New Testament, included in this workbook! Students have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the culture of the time by researching and presenting a cultural topic they find interesting such as: food and cooking, fashion, music, schools/learning, government, etc. A list of options is in the appendix. 
This book is also available on this website in pdf form. It is $75 and can be photocopied as needed for each member in a class.

Old Testament Description (sample)

The Old Testament Bible Reading Plan and Workbook for Middle School is developed from the 70 Most Important Events in the Bible (http://www.angelfire.com/il/lcms/events.html), It is a one year, 33 week reading plan with comprehension questions.The reading plan begins with creation and ends with the rebuilding of the temple. 
Find it on Amazon.
Reading them in order, students will gain a better understanding of how the smaller stories create the bigger story of God’s plan of salvation for his people, and an overall understanding of the story of God's relationship with the Israelites. This book also contains both student and parent instructions as well as recommended implementation and tips on the art of leading discussion.
There is a cool project, an Old Testament timeline, for students in this book. Each week they study, they create a timeline. They can create a book individually or create a wall timeline. Each week a new piece of the Old Testament story will be posted down a hallway so that by the end of the year anyone who walks down the hall will learn about God's love through his relationship with the Israelites. 
This book is also available on this website in pdf form. It is $75 and can be photocopied as needed for each member in a class.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

SERVICE: Homeless Bags

When I pass somebody standing on the corner asking for help I feel terrible. I want to help and have done so before, but am always cautious of handing out cash. I heard that some people create "blessing bags" or backpacks for the homeless and I've seen the lists of what people put in them. They give about 20 things like cans of tuna, a few crackers, mouth wash, lotion, and bottles of water. Those seem to be a little much for me. Somebody also told me their child created bags to donate as a service project and some people carry them in their car to hand out to those they meet on the corner holding up signs. I LOVE that idea. I always want to help, but I don't want to give cash or, on the other hand, spend a lot of time packing up and giving them a bunch of things they may not want. When I pass someone standing on the corner I simply want to hand it out the window.

Here's what I am putting in my quart size ziplock bag:

  • $5 McDonalds gift certificate (there's a McDonalds in every town)
  • small comb
  • 1 pr socks (I can't imagine no socks or cold, wet feet)
  • travel toothbrush and paste 
  • card with an encouraging Bible verse and my church info on it
That's it! Why not all the other stuff? Because I think there's a difference between donating something to a shelter and handing it out to someone standing on the corner. There are a million lists of things online that you can use if you're donating bags to a shelter and, if you need a service project, by all means that's a good one. But if you just want something to have in your car that will provide a meal, warm, dry feet, and a bit of encouragement from our Lord, then this is a way to do it. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

BAPTISM: I Am Jesus' Little Lamb

"A far cry from a signed certificate. What a great way to commemorate a baptism. It is not just a signature on a form, but an explanation of the significance and importance of having been baptized in a form kids will appreciate as they grow older." (Amazon Reviewer) 

Find book on Amazon. Click here.

See sample pages below.
One of the gifts we receive is the Holy Spirit.

Information from the parent section. Good information for godparents.

Friday, November 3, 2017

EDUCATION: Luther's Kids Prayers in Song

It has been brought to my attention by a pastor that with a couple of simple changes, the Luther's Kids Morning and Evening Prayers I wrote can be sung to the Tallis Cannon or Old Hundredth tunes. What an exciting observation! I might suggest that if you're teaching them to children that you choose a different tune for each prayer. That way they won't confuse the words.

I've created posters of them and will be getting new bookmarks as well. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 27, 2017

EDUCATION: The Atheist Delusion Video

All Americans have not heard the truth. You don't have to go to the mall and reach out to perfect strangers because everybody has a friend or family member they need to talk to about what God has done for them through Jesus Christ.

This video, The Atheist Delusion: Why Millions Deny the Obvious is both interesting and enlightening, beginning with the logic behind intelligent design and the illogic of evolution, the interviewer logically takes self-proclaimed atheists down a path of discovery. Show it to your youth and adults! There are a few discussion questions below that will help them pull it all together. It will not only help people when discussing their faith, but will encourage and affirm what they already believe.

The Basic Flow of Questions in the Video
Do you believe God exists?
Can something come from nothing?
Where does the complex and unique information in DNA come from?
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (What evolved first?)
Why do we have knowledge of right and wrong?
Why do we want to live in darkness?
If God exists, does hell exist?
Is it just to punish evil?
Are you a good person?
If judged, would you be guilty and go to hell?
Do you know what God did for guilty sinners so they wouldn't have to go to hell?

If you want to purchase the dvd, you'll find it at Living Waters. It's $4.99 and I believe it would be good for Christians to support their efforts.

Possible Pre-movie Questions
Everybody has a friend (or family member) who is an atheist and believes in evolution because they have not heard the truth. In a discussion with that person, what would you say to support your belief in creation, their creator, and what he did to assure their salvation?

Possible Movie Questions
Either pause periodically to give time to respond to these questions (or any that you add), or give time after the video. At the very least, make sure people have paper and pencil to respond to question 8 on this list.

  1. What is the argument against nothing producing or becoming something? 
  2. What are 3 or 4 points that prove the earth/universe was created by intelligent design? 
  3. When asked about evolution, what is a problem with the idea of evolution from a single cell?  
  4. Once they agree that there must be intelligence behind creation, why is it so difficult for people to admit there is a God?
  5. What is idolatry?
  6. If God exists, and the Bible is true, why do some people still want to sit in darkness?
  7. Do you think it would help to give these people something after a discussion like this that would help them answer their questions? What might that be?
  8. Write down anything that impresses you about the questions that were asked and answered or how they were asked and answered.
Possible Post-movie Questions
Write down a brief outline of what your heard in the video. 
What would you tell your atheist friend or family member now? 

If you want a study or video guide created by the video creators, you can find it here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

CONFIRMATION: How to Give/Take Notes

When I was in confirmation the only notes I took were the doodles on the sides of the pages of my catechism. "What? You mean you weren't completely engaged in the important information?" No. My pastor sat in a chair or stood by a podium and spoke for an hour or so and asked questions nobody really answered.

Recent studies have shown that students learn more when taking their own notes by hand. What does this mean? Using computers, tablets, or recording devices for note taking does not increase learning. Putting notes in handouts and handing them out, does not increase learning.

What does that mean for confirmation? It means that having students take notes is a good learning tool for better long-term comprehension and should be used by confirmation educators. It also keeps students engaged. Students who take notes by hand out-perform those who use technology in responding to conceptual questions. The problem is that most pastors don't expect note-taking and, believe it or not, most middle school students do not know how to take notes. Note-taking is a skill that is expected, but not taught in many schools today. The only people who think taking notes using a computer is better are people who sell computers.

How can you help students take good notes? 

  • Give each student a notebook at the beginning of the year. They should be able to use the same notebook for every year of confirmation. I recommend the composition notebooks that are not spiral so the pages are not easily removable. Put a big name sticker on the front of each one.
  • Develop some short-hand symbols for students to use when taking notes for those words that you use often. For example, Israelites = I, Disciples = D, 10 Commandments = 10C, Old and New Testaments = OT or NT, etc.
  • Remind students often that taking notes is not a exercise in writing down everything you say. 
  • Learn about graphic organizers (a visual display that demonstrates relationships between facts, concepts, or ideas). Sample 1 (Abraham) - Sample 2 (10 Commandments) - Sample 3 (6 Chief Parts)
  • Give periodic notes quizzes. These are short 3-5 question quizzes for which students use their notes to find answers. 
  • Play review games and let students use their notes to show them the value of re-reading them. 
  • Use clues or cue words to help students know when you're saying something they should write down. I used to tell my students, "If I write - you write." If you write while they do, you won't feel impatient waiting.
  • If you use slides, students will copy them down... without thinking about what they are writing. They will also stop listening while they write so stop speaking while they're writing. I often said, "Can I go on?" Give outlines and expect them to fill in the details on their own. Give them time to write definitions in their own words. 
  • Take a moment to ask a quick comprehension question about what they just wrote down. 
  • Either collect or look at notes once in a while and put a sticker or something on them to show that you've seen them and approve.
These are just a few things that can be done to help students take notes. It may seem a bit complicated at first, but the more you practice these things the better you will get at doing them. Remember, you're teaching them the most important thing they will ever learn. Do it well! 

Find other great teaching information in The Art of Teaching Confirmation.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

EDUCATION: Luther's Prayers Bookmarks and the Reformation's 500th Anniversary

As we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation this year we are focusing more closely on what it and Martin Luther did for all believers. I love Luther's prayers. One night I decided to start saying them more often and didn't want to get out of bed to find my catechism. I wanted a bookmark so that they would be readily accessible and couldn't find them anywhere. So, as I usually do, I created some. With the anniversary coming up I have been approached to sell them. So, here they are. If you want to give them to your congregation as a part of the celebration, don't wait too long to order them.

Sold in groups of 25. Quantities can be changed at checkout.

Bookmark Options