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God’s Word

Feature Friday (9/16/16)

Years ago I learned a simple method for studying the Bible. Almost immediately I began to implement this method for my own personal time in God’s Word. It would be only a short year or two after first hearing about this method, that I began to teach it to others. Five years after my initial enlightenment to this method I created my own little teaching booklet to be able to instruct others in this method. But it was not until today that I found the greatest resource in teaching this Bible study method.

With this tool, anyone can get to know the Lord Jesus by learning to study his word. OIA Bible study is a wonderful tool. And the best part about it…it’s completely free for print and distribution as well as digital download (epub and pdf). For many more resources and coaching on the OIA bible study method check out the website www.knowableword.com.

As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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Feature Friday (1/30/15)

JonahI am currently teaching a series entitled The Book. As you may guess this is a series all about God’s Word, the Bible. In the class, we are looking at what the book contains, how we got it, can we trust the book, and a few other important elements. But the study of the Bible is not unique to anything I teach in church, Sunday School, youth group, or any other opportunity I get to teach others. So I could be accused of idolizing the Bible, which is why I found this article: “Is It Possible for Christians to Idolize the Bible?”, so intriguing and yet so helpful. It gives great insight as to why the very question is an inaccurate one and raises a false dichotomy that does not and cannot exist if one truly understands what the Bible is.

Enjoy! And as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Social Media: How it Affects us (Self)

Social Media affects everything. It is everywhere in our world:

  • at home,
  • at the store,
  • at school,
  • at restaurants,
  • at work, and
  • in our pockets.

Social media is with us and around us all the time. The truth is…IT IS AFFECTING US! But how? The social media gurus want us to think that social media is strictly positive, and great for everyone and everything. They want us to think that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and texting) are all about building relationships and passing on information.

But is social media really causing us to relate more and give good information? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all say we have at least once felt, that while we are overly connected by social media, there is still an underlying feeling of being alone, depressed, and unconnected. In light of this reality, we are in the middle of a five week study here at Preacherontherun to examine  how social media affects us. We are looking at five areas in which social media affects our views: relationships, words, time, self, and truth. Today we continue with Social Media: How it affects our view of ourselves.

We all want to have lots of friends on Facebook. We want to have followers on Twitter. All of these things are not bad in and of themselves, but these desires and the social media is all built upon building our little kingdom. Our kingdom of self, being great. But Jesus had another idea of kingdom and whose we should pursue first and foremost (Matthew 23:11-12). Jesus said that the one who humbles himself, does not exalt and brag on how great he is or all she has done and is doing, is the one who will be exalted by Him. However, the one who exalts and talks of herself and brags on himself will be the one humbled. Social media is built on the idea of exalting yourself.

1738669211_1396676400Think about the posts that get the most attention on Facebook and Twitter: things about yourself, something stupid someone did, a quote about how awesome the person is, etc. There are over 300 Million search results on Google when asked about how to get attention on Twitter, Instagram, or FacebookFor instance, take the “selfie”. Defined as –  a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website, these were all the rage in 2013. So much so that Oxford dictionary made it the word of the year. The truth is the term “selfie” would be almost obsolete or at least a lot less used and utilized if social media did not endorse and encourage the idea of self and the world being about each individual who uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

What do we look for every time we post a picture, status, or video? We want likes, retweets, comments, and reposts. We want our social media to be about us. We want people to like us. We want people to follow us! But Solomon had a 140 character or less tweet of his own: “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2). God is saying through Solomon here, don’t look for your own praise. Don’t do things, say things, just to get other people to praise you or bring attention to yourself. Why? – “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). The reason God tells us not to seek our own praise is because it fuels pride. And pride only precedes a fall. Think of Adam & Eve, think of Satan, think of Tower of Babel, think of King Nebuchadnezzar and we could keep going. When man has tried to seek his own glory, repeatedly every time, God tells us it turns out for the worst.

So what should we do instead? How do we avoid the pride here? Take the wisdom and advice of Isaiah 66:2,
Jonah“But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” Humble yourself before God. Don’t make life all about you. But instead tremble, fear, and revere God’s Word! Trust Him and make much of Him not yourself. You can even use social media to make much of God and keep focused on His Word!

As I argued from the beginning, social media affects everything. And one of the major areas of our lives and thinking it affects is our view of ourselves. Social media wants us to build our kingdom, make our name know, for our glory. But God has designed us and created us to bring Him glory not ourselves (1 Corinthians 10:31). So how can you use social media to make much of God? How can you use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to glorify God rather than yourself? Stop by next week where we will discuss how Social Media affects our view on truth. In case you missed it Social Media: How it affects us (Relationships) or Social Media: How it affects us (Words)  or Social Media: How it affects us (Time) you can find them here.

 

Christian Education: Various Philosophies

Node-Christian-Education1-large1Education: there are so many forms of it today–public, home school, Christian, private, adult, special, informal, primary, secondary, higher learning, and the list goes on. With so many choices, how do you know the best option for yourself, your children, and your family? I am not one that thinks there is a one-size-fits-all mold for education. However, I do believe as a follower of Jesus Christ, that any education we undergo ourselves or in which we place our children should be Christian. I am not arguing that every set of believing parents must put their children in a Christian school or they are sinning. No! What I want to continue sharing today in a series of posts concerning Christian education. This series is not about why you should send your children to a Christian school. Far from it! Instead I hope to help you frame your thinking about what “Christian education” really is and is not. Last week we discussed the methods of Christian education. This week,  I want to discuss the various philosophies of Christian education.

Various Philosophies and Christian Education

                Various philosophies exist on education and how it should be performed. From the Realist to the Idealist, philosophies on education are not hard to find; however, Christian educators must be discerning as to which philosophies to utilize in their own teaching. There are good, truthful things to be learned from philosophers, but there are also dangers to avoid when seeking to adopt new methods, content, or ways of thought to a truly Christian education. There are at least five philosophies that present positive insight into the educational process—Idealism, Realism, Educational Humanism, Essentialism, and Behaviorism.

These five philosophies do not originate from Christian backgrounds, but do present important insight into education. For instance, Idealism states that truth is perfect and eternal, which is consistent with the Christian belief that God is perfect and the eternal truth. (Jn. 14:6; Deut. 32:4; Titus 1:2; Heb. 1:3) [1]  Realism purports that the inductive method of study should be stressed which God’s Word testifies to as well (Rom. 1:18-20; Ps. 19:1)[2]. Educational Humanism maintains that education is built on trust and security. This corresponds to God’s design for education to occur primarily in the home (Deut. 6:5-9; Ps. 78; Prov. 3:5-6).[3] Essentialism also adds to education the idea that hard work is necessary to learning, discipline is needed and beneficial, and authorities must be respected.[4] Finally, Behaviorism states that the laws of nature should be studied.[5] Several good principles can be drawn from these five secular philosophies.

The positive principles pulled from the secular philosophies not only line up with Scripture, but are derived from Scripture. The authors and developers of each philosophy have only discovered what God has intended and planned before time began. He is the author of the universe and of all things (Col. 1:16; Gen. 1); therefore, anything that man may discover is ultimately an insight from the Lord. Each of the philosophies need to be seen and evaluated in light of the Scriptures. When evaluating, a Christian educator must always keep in mind the goal and purpose of Christian education. The educator could easily become pragmatic in perspective and begin to utilize a behaviorism philosophy of trying to change people’s actions instead of their hearts and lives. Therefore, prayer and constant reflection on God’s Word is foundational and crucial when considering how to integrate other philosophies into Christian education.

Christian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. Understanding what the content of Christian education is vital to having an education that is truly Christian. In case you missed part 1 of the series: Christian Education: Definition and Goals, or part 2: Christian Education: the Teacher, or part 3: Christian Education: the Student, or part 4: Christian Education: the Content, or part 5: Christian Education: the Methods, check them out here. Stop by next week where the topic will be Christian Education: Evaluation.

[1] George R. Knight, Philosophy & Education: an Introduction in Christian Perspective, 4th Edition. (Barren Springs: Andrews University Press, 2006), 44-48

[2] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003), 939, 456

[3] Ibid., 151, 488, 528,

[4] George R. Knight, Philosophy & Education: an Introduction in Christian Perspective, 4th Edition. (Barren Springs: Andrews University Press, 2006), 121-124

[5] Ibid., 133-134

Christian Education: the Content

Node-Christian-Education1-large1Education: there are so many forms of it today–public, home school, Christian, private, adult, special, informal, primary, secondary, higher learning, and the list goes on. With so many choices, how do you know the best option for yourself, your children, and your family? I am not one that thinks there is a one-size-fits-all mold for education. However, I do believe as a follower of Jesus Christ, that any education we undergo ourselves or in which we place our children should be Christian. I am not arguing that every set of believing parents must put their children in a Christian school or they are sinning. No! What I want to continue sharing today in a series of posts concerning Christian education. This series is not about why you should send your children to a Christian school. Far from it! Instead I hope to help you frame your thinking about what “Christian education” really is and is not. Last week we discussed the role of the student in Christian education. This week,  I want to discuss the content of Christian education.

The Content of Christian Education

                When speaking of content in the context of Christian education there is one foundational source – theology or the study of God, which is based on God’s Word. The Bible must be the beginning and ending point in Christian education. Without it, Christian education would merely be another philosophy and practice among the many others in the educational world today. With it, Christian education stands above the rest because of its solid grasp on truth, reality, and logic along with its methods for leading people into a life changing experience and understanding of the Creator, Savior, and Sustainer.[1] To fully understand the God of the universe one must understand the book in which He has specifically revealed Himself.  Theology, which flows out of Bibliology, deeply influences Christian education.

Since God’s Word is inspired, or breathed out by God, as 2 Tim. 3:16[2] asserts, the Bible should be the foundation and guidebook for every educational practice. The Bible is vital to Christian education because it ultimately reveals who God is, what He is like, and what His actions are to the world. However, Christian education cannot be so naïve as to believe that the Bible is to be the only “textbook”. Other books, resources, and materials should be used; however, all curriculum considered for a Christian educational program must focus on Scripture, flow from Scripture, further the study of Scripture, allow for the Holy Spirit, and be future oriented.[3] If the content of Christian education does not meet one or more of these criteria it should not be considered as part of the curriculum for Christian education.

Along with meeting certain criteria, the content of Christian education should utilize both the Old and New Testament. Both Testaments together make up God’s Word and therefore make up the entire revealed Word of God. With this in mind, Christian educators must make every effort to incorporate both Testaments in order to help students grow into a deeper understanding of God’s design to form them into the image of Christ. This means that the teacher must not only teach “Bible stories” in Sunday school or in younger grade levels, but must draw out the principles to be practiced in life and help the students apply them to their lives. The New Testament must also be utilized not only as history and a prescription for how to live, but as the process and procedure for how to grow to become more like Christ daily. The content of Christian education must include the whole counsel of God.

Christian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. Understanding what the content of Christian education is vital to having an education that is truly Christian. In case you missed part 1 of the series: Christian Education: Definition and Goals, or part 2: Christian Education: the Teacher, or part 3: Christian Education: the Student, check them out here. Stop by next week where the topic will be Christian Education: the Methods.


[1] George R. Knight. Philosophy & Education: an Introduction in Christian Perspective, 4th Edition. (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2006), 221-226

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, (Wheaton: Good News Publishers, 2003), 996.

[3] James R. Estep Jr. A Theology for Christian Education. (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 280-283

Christian Education: the Student

Node-Christian-Education1-large1Education: there are so many forms of it today–public, home school, Christian, private, adult, special, informal, primary, secondary, higher learning, and the list goes on. With so many choices, how do you know the best option for yourself, your children, and your family? I am not one that thinks there is a one-size-fits-all mold for education. However, I do believe as a follower of Jesus Christ, that any education we undergo ourselves or in which we place our children should be Christian. I am not arguing that every set of believing parents must put their children in a Christian school or they are sinning. No! What I want to continue sharing today in a series of posts concerning Christian education. This series is not about why you should send your children to a Christian school. Far from it! Instead I hope to help you frame your thinking about what “Christian education” really is and is not. Last week we discussed the role of the teacher in Christian education. This week,  I want to discuss the role of the student in Christian education.

Christian Education and the Student

Though the Christian educator must model and mentor, they cannot take full responsibility for the process of maturing a believer; some responsibility must rest on the learner. The ultimate truth that must be understood about students of Christian education is that they are image bearers of God (Gen. 1:26-27).[1] This understanding will make a significant difference in the student and also in the student/teacher interaction. The idea that the student is an image bearer of God should increase the teachers’ awareness with regard to how they interact with the student. With this in mind, the Christian education student must bear the responsibility and be seen both as a learner and as a future leader.

The student is a learner of who God is, how they are to respond to God, and how they can become more like God. This learning should take place in all realms of life as the student interacts with different teachers and influences because God uses multiple forms of education to impact people (Gen. 6-8, 37-50 Ex. 3; Deut. 6:4-9; the disciples, etc).[2]  The student must be one who, as 2 Timothy 2:15 states, “presents themselves to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth”. The Christian education student is also a future leader since the goal of Christian education implies that as students mature, they will become teachers as well. Ultimately, the student should be growing in their knowledge, love, and service of the Lord.

Student should one day be teaching other generations and those who come behind them (Eph. 4:13-14)[3]. Part of this process includes the students recognizing their gifts and beginning to utilize and develop those gifts (Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, 1 Pet. 4).[4] The student must learn to serve God by serving others through the use of their God-given gifts and abilities. They should desire to be like their Savior who, as Matthew 20:28 declares, “Came not to be served but to serve”[5]. Students must be seeking ways to utilize, grow in, and mature in the gifts and abilities they have been given. They should look for these opportunities in varying settings including youth group, school, community, home, and extra-curricular programs. Students must seize the opportunity to fulfill their responsibility to grow and pursue Christ likeness.

Christian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. Understanding what the role of the student is in Christian education is vital to having an education that is truly Christian. In case you missed part 1 of the series: Christian Education: Definition and Goals, or part 2: Christian Education: the Teacher, check them out here. Stop by next week where the topic will be Christian Education: the Content.


[1] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003), 1

[2] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003)

[3] Ibid., 978

[4] Ibid., 978, 948, 959, 1016

[5] Ibid., 825

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