Monday, July 30, 2012

The Sunday School Teacher Pep Talk

My heart is especially stirred up about Sunday School lately.  I love the special times of extra stirring from the Lord.  I think the extra stirage is partly from sharing in Richard's Bible college homework and partly from a VBS high but mostly because the Lord is good and loves to get us excited about ministry.  My husband is just finishing up a Bible class on Inductive teaching and he asked me many questions on how I would teach this or that to the kids at church.

I told him I was not going to give him the answers because that's cheating.....just kidding.

In usual Rachel fashion, when I get excited about something, I expect everyone else in the whole world, and all the astronauts in space, to be excited about the same thing.  This is how the good Lord made me and if you're not excited that the Lord has made me excited about being excited about teaching Sunday School then go read something more athletes' comments to news reporters (yeah, I felt pretty good out there. yeah, my strategy was to go really fast. yeah, I guess the other guy was just a little faster.  yeah, cuz he won by a little bit because he was a little faster).  What? They ask athletes stupid questions! Those poor guys!

Well, I am excited about Sunday School! VERY excited about it lately! I now have two 2nd graders and have seen the full fruitage that comes from teaching these kids the Word of God! I could write a lot of sentences that end with these "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" about all the amazing exciting things the Lord has been stirring up in my heart over teaching these kids but we will just focus our thoughts around two points right now(hehe Calvary Hanford).  Actually, I really only have one point.

MY POINT------->> Go Beyond Entertainment and teaching Application

Wait wait wait wait....this is the cool thing about teaching kids.  You can shepherd and disciple these kids in an animated way that isn't just pure entertainment.  You can walk into that Sunday school room with your flannel graph of Scripture empowerment and knock their socks off with an animated retelling of the Bible story.  BUT DON'T stop there. Don't forget the APPLICATION part.  This is where the fruit comes from and if you think those kids are not going to understand the application part then you're full of bologna!  This is the hardest part to teach sometimes.  You have to figure out a way that a child would apply this Bible lesson and make the application memorable.  This is a tough one.  You want some tips?  Too bad.  I tell you anyway.

Take an Inductive Bible class.  Learn how to break down the scripture with the I O A; Interpretation, Observation, Application.  You will get tons and tons and tons of benefits from learning that stuff.  Just google it right now and get a quick overview.  It will help in your devotionals and whenever you teach.

Use props and costumes for the application lesson.  It helps it stick to their brains and hearts. Those kids will eat it up!!!

Share the gospel often.  I mean all the time. Talk about the Holy Spirit often.  The kids need to know that God would never ask them to do something they can't do.  They need to know that they will mess up but God is not an angry God who wants to punish them but a loving God who is quick to forgive and so pleased when we want to please Him.

Sing about everything.  Do you know the one thing that has never left my brain from my childhood?  Not math facts, not spelling rules, not my naughty deeds (I think I was an ideal child).  It's the songs!  They are permanently in my head. Start singing!  sing Bible verses, teaching points, frequent bathroom trips songs. Sing.  Right now.  Come on.

Stop thinking these kids can't take all this in.  They can.  I'm a lame teacher to think otherwise.  Application, application, application....the ability to apply the scripture to our walk with the Lord.  I am extra stirred up about children's ministry right now!  It's been extra exciting to see the fruit coming from the kids!  They are memorizing scripture, sharing the gospel with kids at the park, encouraging each other to obey the Lord.  It's just so cool.  They know the gospel so clearly.  It just amazes me. They don't stay babies forever drinking their little baby milk! Give them steak....they will eat it up and ask for seconds!

Are you excited now? Good.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

MODESTY (every christian has to have at least one blog post about's a rule)

I know I'm blogging about what every christian blogger blogs about all the time in all the blogs but why not?  I don't write this out of exasperation or fed-up-ness or offense.  I am not surrounded by scantly clad women who need a turtle neck offered to them and need to be scurried into the church bathroom for a sound rebuking.  On the contrary, my peers are lovely women and girls who have the Central Valley casual ambiance of jeans and Old Navy sales rack tops that speak of coffee-loving, Phil Whickam-song-guitar playing, and afternoons at yard sales kind of look.  I feel super duper blessed to live in such a casual town because frankly...I'd rather rascal with a moose than go clothes shopping to keep up with the styles.  Since I go to jean church and have jean friends and have a jean husband the pressure of looking like a hottie is far from my mind. 

But since you asked I guess I'll share. 

I really am scared stiff to end up at church looking too hot.  Is that vain?  Is it so much the opposite of vain that it goes full circle and becomes vain?  Regardless, I have shared many conversations with close friends and now my growing daughter on what is and what is not appropriate to wear to church.  It seemed a lot simpler when I was single.  I was not claimed therefore I must be quaint and quiet and covered.  I figured that when I got married I could wear whatever I darn well pleased since I belonged to someone.  Of course my husband very kindly told me that that was utter nonsense and thenceforth have come to very much trust his man's view on things since he is...well...a man.  So here's the question...

How do you judge what is modest and immodest for a christian woman to wear?  Especially to church?

You know what?  Now that I'm an old lady and have spent so many years being around Christians and watching Christians and listening to Christians debate over our christian liberties and what we should do and not do and wear and not wear and listen to and not listen to I have come to this all purpose conclusion....

Hold on a has two parts...let me see if I can make the words they can't rhyme this time.

Dress in Context.
 If I'm going to the beach, I'm going to wear my swim suit of course.  If I'm going to the gym, I'm going to wear my tight stretchy pants because I'm going to do tight stretchy stuff of course.  If I'm going on a missionary trip and they tell me in this culture the women only wear long skirts then I'm only going to wear long skirts.  If I'm going to Cambria on a honeymoon with my husband and he says, "Hey sugar muffin, you want to go out tonight?" I'm going to put on my black strappy dress and say, "Why Richard, I'm so glad you asked!"  If I'm going to church (remember I go to jean church) I'm going to more than likely put on jeans and maybe sometimes get fancy and wear a "church dress" which is what I tell my daughter to put on.  See what I'm saying?  You dress out of context and you might end up at church looking like a hot date and don't you think that might be kind of distracting?

Dress with wisdom
If you decide to dress out of context and end up with too much bear skin at the wrong place and the wrong time surrounded by people that you have caused to be completed distracted from the word of God then that is anything but wise.  The loving thing is always the better choice.  When I think, "It is my womanly human right to look hot" I have absolutely stopped loving others and I am now completely loving myself. 

Heaven forbid you try to copy my fabulous style!  I am a horrible example of stylish meets modesty.  My style is called LAZY meets LAZY.  I'm going to start a new line of clothes called "Don't Care AS Long As I Don't Have To Iron It".  It will be a drive through clothes store where you can choose the color, the size, and the style without ever getting out of the car and unbuckling and buckling your kids and saying "get out of the clothes rack" or "why don't they have these cute shorts in an after four kids size" and "boys I asked you not to play hide-and-seek in the clothes rack" and "Anna, is that Ben in the cloths rack?"  And whatever happened to going to the tailor for clothes!  When they could professionally accommodate every extra lump that God hath given you and the color that suits your eyes and your favorite cut of skirt?! I do plan on getting better one of these days.  In other words, if you want to pay for my closet makeover I won't say no. 

All sarcastic Rees/Cook humor aside, I am SO thankful for the modest women that surround me that are always dressing in context and with great womanly wisdom.  And would you just look at yourselves!  You are all just gorgeous!

Do the loving is so much better than insisting on looking hot!  Amen?