Thursday, July 27, 2017

Teaching Like Jesus Taught

The past several weeks our Sermons4Kids lessons have focused on the parables of Jesus. When Jesus wanted to teach people a lesson, his lesson quite often begins with, "The kingdom of heaven is like ______".  You can fill in the blank! Matthew 13:34 says, "Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable." Later in that chapter, after telling several parables, Jesus asked his listeners, "Have you understood all these things?"

"Yes," they replied. And that is why Jesus taught using parables!

When I first began teaching children, I spent most of my preparation time looking at the things around me. When something caught my eye, I would ask myself, "How could I use that to teach the children something about Jesus?" Almost all of my lessons began by showing the children an object and asking things such as what is it, how does it work, and what can it do for us? Then I would segue into the Bible lesson by saying something like, "That reminds me of something that happened in our Bible lesson today."

Jesus taught in parables, object lessons, and stories so that people would understand what he was trying to teach them.  Wouldn't it be a good idea for us to teach the same way? I have seen many teachers lose the children because they didn't engage their imagination in that first few minutes of the lesson. The right object will get you off on the right foot to learning about Jesus.

If that's not the way you're teaching, try it!

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Fond Memories of Days Past

Some of you who are reading this may not know that I am a retired school teacher. I taught music in El Paso and Clyde Texas while also serving as Minister of Music in local churches. What wonderful memories I have of those days. Those memories are brought to mind at this time of year as we receive announcements of graduation, wedding invitations, birth announcements, and other notices of milestones in the lives of former students.

A couple of week's ago I attended a voice recital at Hardin-Simmons University and was thrilled to see three of my former students.  All three were majoring in music. A couple of days later I attended a concert presented by our local Civic Orchestra at the invitation of the principal trombonist who is also a former student of mine graduating from college with a major in Music this month.  Just a week later, I attended another voice recital at Hardin-Simmons to hear a former student present a solo recital.

Today, as I browsed my Facebook page, I was delighted to see a photo posted by another one of my students. The photo is of my students singing a song we used to sing in the first-grade music class at Clyde Elementary. A Thanksgiving song called "Five Fat Turkeys Are We."  It goes like this:

The children in the picture are now in college. A couple of them are studying to become teachers and one of them is in nursing school. I was blessed with some wonderful children when I was teaching, but the real joy comes in seeing what they have become as adults.

Thanks for the memories, kids!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord

On Easter Sunday 2017, “60 Minutes” ran a story about two doctors, Dr. Sanduc Ruit and Dr. Geoff Tabin, who have helped reverse blindness in more than 4 million around the globe. The doctors work in Burma, also known as Myanmar, performing surgery on people who have lost their sight due to cataracts.

Dr. Ruit uses a technique that requires no stitches. The surgery involves making a small incision and the lens inside the eye which has become cloudy is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. The two doctors started a lens factory that produces the artificial lens implants — for a fraction of the cost in the United States — and they have a hospital in Nepal that has trained hundreds of doctors and nurses in their technique.

The surgeons have operated in more than 20 countries, including North Korea and Ethiopia, and restored sight to 150,000. Four million others have regained their vision through surgery performed by doctors trained by the duo.

“For these advanced cataracts, I'm performing the same quality of surgery that I would be doing in America,” says Tabin, a professor at the University of Utah Medical School in Salt Lake City.

I find this story quite interesting since my wife and I have both had cataract surgery on both eyes and I can attest to the miraculous improvement the surgery made in our vision and we were nowhere near blind. The people these doctors are operating on are literally blind!

We cannot help but think of the healing power of Jesus when we hear stories such as this. We are reminded of the story of Blind Bartimaeus who sat begging on the streets of Jericho when he heard that Jesus was passing by. As Jesus passed by, Bartimaeus began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus replied.

Bartimaeus answered, "I want to see."

"Your faith has healed you," Jesus said — and immediately, Bartimaeus received his sight.

Jesus was filled with compassion for the physical needs of people, but he was even more concerned with their spiritual needs. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you and I would point others to the one who said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)