Author Archives: CFYC Contributor

Digging up Talents

I really, really like to cook. I think anyone who comes into our home, walks into our kitchen and sees our large Viking range would know that I like to cook. I like to cook for my family, for members of the Lord’s church, for just about anyone. When I learn that someone is ill, my first thought is, “Time to cook!”  It is, for me, my gift to them so they know we care and want to make sure they have the nourishment they need. Now, for those who do not know my background, they might think that I grew up with Betty Crocker as my mom (I know my mother is chuckling about now). But, that was not my experience. Although my mother was a good cook, there were other, more pressing concerns for her (like keeping a roof over our heads while my father was ill). When I was a young girl. I learned a few cooking tips, but it would be stretching it to say that cooking was my “natural talent,” or something that just came easily for me.  In fact, I once had to cook a meal for a Home Economics class assignment when I was a pre-teen and my mother and father, bless their hearts, ate it. I couldn’t. So, you get the picture….I was not a naturally talented cook.

For many of us, when we think about our “talents,” we consider what we are “good” at, and have always been “good” at. That is, we think about what is easy for us, what we do well already, and what comes naturally. I can’t argue with that reasoning, and admit that those are our “natural” talents. But I ask us to consider that perhaps a biblical talent is a bit more… well, complicated and quite a lot more sacrificial than “natural talent.” Let’s consider the Lord’s view of what a “talent” is. A quick turn to Matthew 25 or Luke 19 gives the all-familiar story that most of us have heard: the parable of the talent (or money) and the servants. We have probably heard countless sermons about why we should use our “talent” that Lord has given to us, or we will be in danger of losing our souls (Matthew 25: 29-30).  The Lord commands us to use our talent; it is serious stuff. However, I believe there is more to this parable, something deeper and much more difficult than just using what we do best or what comes easily, our obvious “natural talent.”

First, consider that in the parable each man was given something according to his ability/talent, or what he did naturally/easily and well already (Matthew 25:14). The master assessed their abilities, and gave each of them what he believed they could use well. Second, the key, I believe that we often overlook is that two men gained more talent, or money. They knew that sitting on what they had was not an option, even the one who did just that knew he was in trouble. Yes, they knew the stakes were high. They even acknowledge that their master was tough and expected them to produce more talent (Matthew 20:24; Luke 19:21). They knew their master’s work ethic and expectations. They knew they would have to work hard to grow more “talent.” I have no doubt that they were tired and they were uncomfortable in gaining more talent. I’m sure they had to do things they weren’t used to, or really even wanted to do to gain more talents. However, knowing the expectations of their master, they did it anyway.

Have we considered the greatest “talented” individuals of all, the Lord’s chosen few? Do we realize that the Lord called the apostles to become His mouthpiece after He left this earth, and not a one of them had a known natural “talent” as a public speaker?  Have we considered that not one of them was asked to use their “natural” talents catching fish, collecting taxes, etc. as their talent in their work for the Lord? Not one of them was chosen by the Lord for what they were doing easily, “naturally,” or comfortably as a profession. In fact, they didn’t even know they had “talent” for the Lord, according to John 21 when they decided to go back to fishing. Now, I understand they had the Holy Spirit, or divine intervention when they spoke.  Still, it must have been very hard to walk through all of those towns and speak to all of the people in synagogues, in marketplaces, and among so many who hated them. To stand before government officials as a humble fisherman (Matthew 4:18), a tax collector (Matthew 10:3), or a tent maker (Acts 18; 2-3) and speak when they didn’t even know they had the “natural talent” must have been difficult. But, as they develop in their walk with our Lord, their talents grew and became new talents. We see the “sons of thunder” cultivate an “unnatural talent” for understanding and kindness. We see Peter, who naturally struggled with forgiveness bring our Lord’s message to the lost people, the Gentiles. Yes, it must have been hard. Was it their natural talent? Well, perhaps…but not one they knew they had, until they tried and followed the Lord’s will above their own.

I often think of the parable mentioned above, or the Lord’s apostles when someone who claims to be a strong and faithful member of the Lord’s body neglects, or even refuses, or just won’t even try to help in the work of the Lord because it isn’t comfortable for them. Maybe they say something like: “I just don’t have the talent to say hello, or greet people when they come in the church building,” or “It is just easy for [fill in name] to teach or help with a Bible classes. I can’t; it is just not my talent.” I think of these excuses and then consider that no man was “born” an elder, a preacher, a song leader. No woman was born a Bible class teacher, eloquent with words for comfort, or… yep, even a cook. I believe that each person has to work hard, even sometimes make herself uncomfortable, uneasy, even perhaps emotionally vulnerable to grow what we think, or see as a “natural talent.” I bet those “natural talents” didn’t just appear. I am sure it wasn’t easy, comfortable, or even what they wanted to do to cultivate the talents they appear to have today.

I don’t believe I have much “natural talent.” Everything seems to be hard for me, and a lot of what I do, I honestly don’t always enjoy. I am convinced that we often excuse ourselves from doing what is right and good by saying we don’t have a “natural talent” because it makes us uncomfortable, uneasy, is perhaps very difficult for us, or we just plain don’t like it. No, I don’t think I am very talented, but I do take my Lord seriously. I also know that He knows me better than I know myself. You see, I was not born with a pot and spoon in each hand. It took me years of hard work, and many burned “offerings” to dig up my meager talent for cooking and to cultivate it, to nourish it. You see, I wanted to be a good cook. It was important to me. Yes, it took a lot of burned dishes and a few near gastrointestinal disasters before I, or others would label me a “good” cook. So, what does that mean? One talent down, many more to go. I guess it is time to get out that shovel and ask ourselves: What does the Lord need? Time to start digging!

By Tracy Frederick
Tracy is the wife of Greg who serves the Arkansas City church of Christ as an elder. She and Greg have one daughter who is married to a full-time pulpit minister in the Lord’s church, serving the New Madrid, MO community. She manages the page “Sister to Sister” and the Sister to Sister Facebook page.  She teaches Bible class, interprets worship services for the deaf members, assists with Ladies’ Days and speaks at Ladies’ Days. Tracy holds a Ph.D. in communication and is a full-time Professor of Communication at a nearby college.

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Blessings of Keeping

Keeping scrapbooks and photos and memories,
Keeping late hours as seamstress and maid,
Keeping up with appointments, schoolwork and chores,
Keeping guard when someone is afraid.

Keeping food in the pantry and gas in the car,
Keeping warranties, coupons, receipts,
Keeping bouquets of dandelions, locks of blonde hair,
Keeping score when the children compete.

Keeping tabs on where everyone’s going,
Being sure that my cell phone is near.
Keeping sleeping bags stashed in my closet
For those friends who always end up here.

But mostly just keeping on keeping on,
For life’s about sowing and reaping,
When one day my home finds a place at his throne
I’ll praise him for blessings of keeping.

By Cindy Colley
Cindy is a Christian homemaker, wife, mom and author. The home she “makes” is in Huntsville, AL where she lives with her husband (Glenn Colley), also an author, as well as minister and elder for the West Huntsville church of Christ. Her children, Caleb and Hannah, both collegiate, have published books as well. Cindy has authored five books for Christian women and co-authored several more. She keeps a blog, Bless Your Heart, which discusses many pertinent faith and culture issues.

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If it Feels Right, Do it

I was recently told “It is the 21st century, there is no right and wrong anymore.  If it feels right, then do it.” If we venture out into the world we do not have to look far to see this phrase in action. We live in a world of constant Political Correctness. Almost every show on television promotes a sinful message. Casual Sex? Sure, and as a bonus no consequences! Drink, party, drugs?  No problem. We will dance the night away with all the “fun” we are having. Adultery/Divorce? It is just the norm, so accept it! Homosexuality? Of course! Everyone deserves love! In today’s world to be “open minded” is to be tolerant of sin, and Christians are (insert negative adjective here) if we stand up and say not just that we believe in right and wrong, but we KNOW there is right and there is wrong.

The mindset of “anything goes” spells disaster. Look at Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes” (NAS). Over and over Israel played the harlot and disaster overcame them. We are told in the New Testament to watch for the one who will deceive our souls. “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). We also need to listen for those who “deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting” (Romans 16:18). Look at what brought down the great nation of Rome: rampant immorality and full acceptance of it!

We are clearly told to stand apart from the world, and to stand firm in our faith (1 Corinthians 16:13, Phil 1:27). We are often quiet about our beliefs when talking to the world at large. We often have no issue proclaiming God’s rights and wrongs to a room full of like-minded Christians, but what about when we step outside of our bubble? Will we lose friends? Probably. Could we lose our job? Maybe. Will we be called names? Definitely. But we need to consider what Jesus said in Matthew 16:26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Jesus also told us that we will be persecuted, and we should be glad! (Matthew 5:10,12) Glad?! Yes. Jesus was persecuted as were the prophets before him. To stand up for God is to stand up against the world. 1 John 2:15 tells us “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” James 4:4 says “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” An enemy of God? Let this not be the case. Instead we are supposed to be light! In Christ there is no darkness! Right and Wrong! “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).

Often I am reminded of a song we sing to our children. “Be careful little eyes what you see….ears what you hear….mouth what you say…hands what you do…” Our Father is in Heaven above. He is looking down in love. We need to be careful what we expose ourselves to, and what we see as “acceptable sin.”  James 4:17 says “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” We all know what we need to be doing. There is right and there is wrong. Let’s stand up for God and sin no more!

By Kristin Neill
Kristin is a working mom, is married with two beautiful children. She and her family worship at the Southwest church of Christ in Ada, Oklahoma.

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Joy Even in Darkest Times

Have you ever cried tears of joy? I remember once when Aaron was just an infant of 12 days old; it was one of the most difficult times for Jon and I as parents. Seven days earlier we had rushed our sweet little baby into the ER after a long night of calling the hospital because he refused to eat and finally he was now having violent seizures. It took nearly 24 hours to stop the seizures and now they were handing my tiny little boy back to me, telling me that he had only dehydrated and if I fed him tonight, we could go home. Since this was our 8th baby, deep down inside I knew there must be something more going on and I was very frightened. I was terrified that he simply would not eat. For the first 4 hours he refused and I panicked. My husband had gone home to be with the other children and I felt alone. I prayed, but continued to worry. I was suddenly reminded of the song, “Be Still and Know That I Am God.” I must admit, I still panicked, but I put my child, who was sound asleep in his bed, right next to me, I lay down and admitted to the Lord that I did not know how to be still. I cried out to my God that I knew I would not be able to sleep that night, but I would try to trust in Him and attempted to close my eyes. The next thing I remember was waking up to my crying, very hungry son…four hours later. He ate every 2-3 hours after that! I learned such a comforting lesson, My God is Able and HE IS GOD!
​I chose this topic because sometimes I still struggle with finding joy during moments of great trials and fear. Shame on me! Do you ever feel like one of the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness and no matter how many times the Lord does mighty wonders in your life, you still cry out and complain instead of exalting in His mighty wonders and power when trials come your way? I sure do! Well, there are answers! We will look at Biblical examples of overcoming fear and hardships and finding joy in the midst of them.
​First, even in difficult circumstances, we can find Biblical examples of people praying joyfully. In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 we find that we must pray for each other and in 2 Corinthians 1:5, we will find comfort in abundance when we share in Christ’s sufferings and we can do this through prayer. In Acts 12:6-16 we find Rhoda, the servant-girl and many people praying for Peter and he is released and they are joyful for his return!
​Second, even in difficult circumstances, we can find Biblical examples of people preaching joyfully. The Apostles are beaten in Acts 5:40-42, yet even then they rejoice and are teaching and preaching, “and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”
​We can read in Acts 13:50-14:1 that Paul and Barnabas taught and are filled with joy. And in Acts 14:19-22, after Paul is beaten, Paul and Barnabas preached, encouraging the disciples in the faith. Also, in Philippians 1:12-14 we are admonished to teach without fear, by Paul.
Third, and finally, even in difficult circumstances, we can find Biblical examples of people singing joyfully. Acts 16:22-32 is the beautiful and inspiring picture of pure faith and joy, “The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,” While Paul and Silas are found singing here, you also find the example of them praying and later teaching, as well. This example of great faith and teaching resulted in the conversions of the jailer and his household.
​We can go back into the OT to find other examples of singing. The most obvious is found in the book of Psalms. David regularly sings to the Lord during times of extreme trials. Psalm 6 is a wonderful example of a moment of despair turning to praise through song!
​This is my favorite way to battle fear. It seems to calm my fears now, as well as the fears of my own children. It certainly seems like the easiest and most calming thing to do when our fears are at their highest. Songs that may help when you want to praise God instead of being fearful and when you would rather find joy might be songs that make us think about Jesus and His strength.
• Master the Tempest is Raging
​“The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will, Peace be still!
​Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea, Or demons, or men, or what-ever it be, ​No water can swallow the ship where lies The Master of ocean and earth and skies;
​They all shall sweetly obey Thy will, Peace be still! Peace be still!”
• Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
​“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
​Look full in His wonderful face,
​And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
​In the light of His glory and grace.”
• Tell Me the Story of Jesus
​“Tell of the cross where they nailed Him, Writhing in anguish and pain.
​Tell of the grave where they laid Him, Tell how he liveth again.
​Love in that story so tender, Clearer than ever I see.
​Stay let me weep while you whisper, ‘Love paid the ransom for me’
​Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word,
​Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.”
• Lamb of God
​“I was so lost, I should have died, But You have brought me to Your side
​to be lead by Your staff and rod, And to be called a lamb of God,
​O Lamb of God, sweet Lamb of God, I love the holy Lamb of God. O wash me in ​His precious blood. My Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.”
​Our trials and fears can turn to praise if we follow the examples set before us. ​Instead of dwelling on those fears or being taken down by our trials or temptations, we can train our thoughts to dwell on joyous things. We can choose to pray to the Lord and give all of our cares over to Him in order to find joy. We might even find ourselves being bold enough by choosing to let go completely of our fears and preach Christ and His Gospel to others! Take some first steps by choosing to step outside of our bitterness and fear and simply sing praises to the King. We can invite others to join us in song and even use this as a tool to reach others for Christ. The joy that we will feel will be evident and contagious and very soon our trials and fears will be things of the past!​

By Laura Warnes
Laura Warnes and her husband Jon serve with the Miller Street church of Christ. Jon works at the Bear Valley Bible Institute where he serves as Alumni Director. Laura is a homeschooling mom to their seven children still at home, (two have flown the coup) and is also a proud grandma to three beautiful grandchildren with one on the way in February.

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How to Deal with Dirt on Your Back

One day a farmer´s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn´t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer´s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.

Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off. 

The Moral of the Story: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. What happens to you isn’t nearly as important as how you react to it. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step upward!

I recently came across this fable and thought of several Biblical principles that can be applied.  The poor donkey found himself in a seemingly impossible situation.  He cried for help and the one that came was the farmer.  The donkey’s owner also judged the predicament as impossible and the best solution he saw was to put the donkey out of its misery.  Notice he recruited his neighbors to help him as he worked to help the donkey the best way he knew how – throwing dirt one shovelful at a time.

There are certainly times in life when we have dirt thrown on us.  We are tempted, tried, persecuted, and brought down low.  This ‘dirt’ can come from a variety of sources – those we work with, ones we consider friends, family members, situations in life, and sometimes even ourselves.  When our focus is on the dirt, we will get buried.  The donkey initially began crying even more fervently when he realized what was being done.  However, he quickly changed his tone when he discovered that what was intended to bury him could save him.  The same can applied to our lives.  “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).  The ‘dirt’ that is thrown on us can work to make us complete in Christ by producing perseverance which leads to perfection, completion, a lack of nothing.

The effect the dirt has depends on our reaction to it.  One line in the moral of the story said, “What happens to you isn’t nearly as important as how you react to it.”  How true this is!  What do you do with the dirt that is thrown on your back?  Cry hopelessly, drown yourself in pity, give up? or Do you . .

Look upward.  Psalm 61:2 says, “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”  There is nothing that happens to us in this life that we cannot take before our Creator.  “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:17-19). The terminology in the original Hebrew of one who has a “broken heart” and “contrite spirit” carries with the thought of being “crushed” or “broken down.”  Through these times, the Lord hears and delivers from all troubles.

Shake the dirt off your back.  The Hebrew writer wrote about laying aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us . . . (Hebrews 12:1). This carries with it the thought of not allowing anything to weigh us down spiritually.  The mindset to shake off any “dirt” that life throws at us and not allowing it to weigh us down.  Think of the donkey, if he hadn’t taken the actions he did it would not have taken long for the amount of dirt to be so overwhelming that his hope of survival would have been lost.  While our initial reaction to “dirt” might be to cry, we must quickly begin to shake it off, giving us the opportunity to rise up.

Put one foot in front of the other.  The conclusion of the verse mentioned above (Hebrews 12:1) says, “ .  .  . and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” The Christian life is not a stagnant one.  It requires hard work, persistence, and action! Our adversary is certainly always on the move (1 Peter 5:8), thus we must be people of action in order to defeat him. The donkey would have lost his life if he had chosen to stand there and continue to cry out helplessly. Instead, he chose to start moving his feet; this movement saved his life. Our movement through trials can make or break us as well.  Christ said in Luke 12:34, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” The word “strive” in Greek literally means to “agonize.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines the word as “to contend with adversaries, fight, struggle with difficulties and dangers antagonistic to the gospel.” It is putting one foot in front of the other no matter what “dirt” is thrown on our back.

Use the “dirt” as an opportunity to grow and become stronger.  James 1:2-4 (earlier mentioned verses) elaborates on this point. James begins these verses with “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” What point is James trying to make? Be thankful for the “dirt” because it can work to build a better you. When we trust the words of Romans 8:28, we will look for ways to learn and grow through every circumstance of life. The donkey used the dirt thrown on his back to save his life. Even though the dirt was intended to bury him, he used it to work for good. Likewise, we can use what is thrown on our backs to make us stronger children of God.

Another consideration from the fable is the farmer. He should have been the one that the donkey could rely on for safety and protection. In his hopelessness, however, he was the one throwing the dirt and employing his neighbors to do the same. We can have full confidence in the Lord that He will not parallel these actions. He is always with the righteous and ready to help in our time of need. Psalm 34:15 reads, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” As Christian women, our responsibility is to conduct ourselves in righteousness knowing that God will help us when the ‘dirt’ is being heaped upon our backs.

To conclude, there are other lessons that could be gleaned from this fable – never give up, think positive, keep calm, etc.  All of these things also helped the donkey get out of the well. The question to ask yourself is, “What do I do when life shovels dirt on my back?” Hopefully, this simple fable can be brought to our minds and help us deal with “dirt” in a way that makes us stronger women of God.

By Jennifer Paden
Jennifer and her husband worship with the Royse City church of Christ where her husband has been preaching for nine years.  They have three children – Mya (almost 5), Seth (3 1/2), and Gwen (1).  Jennifer graduated from Freed-Hardeman University with a degree in Education and taught for nine years.  After their first daughter was born, she has been blessed to be able to stay at home with my children. She has been able to participate in mission work, spending eight weeks in Russia during college and traveling to Jamaica twice for two-week mission trips.  She enjoys teaching Bible class, Ladies’ class, and has been privileged to speak at Ladies’ Days.

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Footloose

The year was 1984 and the movie “Footloose” was in the theaters. I didn’t see the movie at the time. From what I remember, my parents wouldn’t allow me to see, and I was just 16. However, I did buy the soundtrack (yes, it was a vinyl record) and enjoyed singing along with many of the fun, upbeat songs.

A year or so later, a member of our congregation (who incidentally later became my brother-in-law) invited the teens over for pizza and a movie. It was the early stages of home VCRs and renting movies, and I’m sure you’ve guessed that he had rented “Footloose.” For those not familiar with the storyline, there is a “Bible-thumping” minister who has helped to ban rock music and dancing from a small town. The preacher is cast in a very negative light, and his strong-hold control of the town and his daughter is shown to have made her wild. A new kid in town challenges the ban and falls in love with the preacher’s daughter.

Why do I bring this old movie up now? Well, a remake was released on Friday, October 14th. The music is going to be on the radio, there will be a resurgence of the “classic” movie. Remembering the 1984 version, the language, sexual content, teen drug and alcohol use and nudity that only received a PG rating makes me shudder at what a 2011 version will contain. The remake is rated PG-13. According to Amazon.com, the 1984 original was “a story of the struggle between innocent pleasure and rigid morality.” The current director says at Salon.com “there is a unique time to be young” and he chose to remake the movie because “a younger audience needed to experience this story.”

You know, in 1984 I just didn’t get it. I wasn’t sure why my parents didn’t want me watching the movie, but after seeing it I did. You see, my dad was a preacher, and me a preacher’s daughter. People automatically assumed that he was like the preacher in the movie, and me like the daughter. Thankfully, my parents could see the damage that could be done to young Christians by buying into the messages taught in this movie. As an adult, and mother I definitely get it. I get that this movie portrays lewd behavior and lasciviousness in a glamorous way. They make drugs and alcohol, wild behavior and such seem like normal teenage behavior. To quote the director, there is a unique time to be young and wouldn’t it be better to leave that unique time pure? Paul encouraged Timothy in I Timothy 4:12 “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” You see, I don’t want my teenage children, or the teenage Christians I know to fall into this Hollywood trap. I want them to grow in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) versus the works of the flesh that lead to death (Galatians 5:19-21).

My plea to you is to not go and see this movie. Encourage others to abstain as well. Exhort others to keep their minds and thoughts pure (Philippians 4:8).

By Deirdra Miller
Deirdra and her husband of 22 years, Timothy, worship with the church of Christ in Purcellville, VA. They have 3 children. Jocelyn is a freshman at Freed Hardeman, and Matthew & Cameron are at home still. She loves teaching Bible classes to the youngsters, teens and ladies, and is currently teaching a teen girls’ class on worship. She has written many articles for West Virginia Christian newspaper, and spoken for several ladies’ days. She loves to read, and be with family – both physical and spiritual.

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Thoughts for Bible Class Teachers

I believe being a Bible school teacher is one of the most important and rewarding works we can sign up for. I started helping my mother teach a third grade class when I was in high school. That was my first experience in teaching a Bible class. I helped a little bit here and there in other classes, but didn’t really start teaching until I was married and had children of my own. I started with the two- and three-year-old class. Once I got comfortable with that group, I decided to bump it up and start teaching a little bit older class. Teaching the older classes meant more studying, but it also meant more learning. I would get more confidence the more I taught. However, there were a few setbacks. I remember one Sunday morning while teaching a lesson from the Bible, one little girl was paying special attention. She was smiling and looking at me and really listening; I just knew she loved the Bible story I was teaching. I was so excited and felt like I was doing such a great job and after a little while she looked at me with her big sweet brown eyes and said, “I love your earrings” my mind went blank for a few seconds as I sat and smiled at her while trying to compose myself and get back to the lesson I was teaching. I’ve always enjoyed teaching young children and I love to watch their Bible knowledge grow. I’ve been teaching for many years now and I’ve taught just about every grade and I feel I’ve had a lot of experience in teaching so I wanted to share a few suggestions gained over the years.

In my years of experience I’ve used many books and teaching materials, but in my opinion, I find that the very best stories are told from the Bible itself. I can’t think of a better way to teach children the accounts of the Bible than to have the children follow along as you read.

I am not a very good artist but I love to make my own flip charts. They are not beautiful–in fact some are quite silly–but the children get the idea of the story. Just draw stick figures and a lot of facial expressions. I love Biblegateway.com or e-Sword because you can print off the Bible passages you’re teaching and tape it right on the back of the picture you’ve drawn. Just use your imagination and draw a picture to this portion of this account:

Acts 20:9 And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.

Or, one that little boys really love…

Act 12:23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.

They can sure learn to give glory to God after that lesson!

The idea is to make the Bible come alive for the children. Are we putting as much into our Bible classes as we possibly can? I pray we as teachers take the opportunity of having children in front of us to give them the armor they’re going to need as they leave our classrooms.

If I could teach one thing to new Bible class teachers I’d try to teach them to look at those children coming into your classes. Those children are your responsibility for that hour. They can leave your class knowing as much as they knew when they walked in, or, they can leave your class excited about coming back.

As I sat in my 5th and 6th grade class last Sunday morning before the bell rang for class to begin, I looked up and saw one of my past students go down the hallway and into the high school class. I thought about how fast time flies. She had been in my 2nd grade class years past and I wondered to myself, “Did I teach her everything I needed to teach her? Did I put forth as much effort in my teaching as I should have? Will she one day want to be a Bible class teacher?” I pray I did my part while she was on my watch.

By Karen Bookout
Karen and her husband Steve live in Sherman TX, and are working with the Howe Church of Christ where Steve serves as an elder. Karen enjoys teaching, writing and speaking for ladies days. For the last 10 years she has worked for American Bank of Texas. They have three wonderful sons, three fantastic daughter in laws, four amazing grandchildren and another one on the way.

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