Episode 88: The Importance of an Organized Bible School Program [Podcast]

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Adam and Leah are both passionate about the Bible school program of a local congregation, both for young people and adults. On this week’s program, they share some information about the importance of thinking “big picture” with the program, and some resources to help with that.

Resources

Bible Chronology Timeline [Biblehub]

The “66 Club” [Waterview church of Christ; pdf]

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My Mother Spoke at Polishing the Pulpit Last Week

Those of you who know me know that my mother passed from this life in February of 2009. It was right after an epic ice storm that left so much damage in our area. The loss of my mother, even though I knew she was going to a better place, left a huge hole in my life and in my heart.

You may be wondering about my mental state when you glance back at the title of this post. I hope you’ll bear with me as I explain. I also hope you will take the lesson and apply it to your life.

I was blessed to be asked to teach five lessons for the ladies at Polishing the Pulpit. The weeks of preparation that go into writing and studying these lessons are surely a blessing to me as I grow spiritually.  It is always my prayer that those who listen to them will also learn and grow.

While working on these lessons I began to notice a pattern in my thinking. I would often think of something my mother had taught me, or said, or done in her life.  She had so influenced me that it seemed like she was speaking through me.  I think there is a lesson for us.

What will your children or grandchildren remember from your life that will live on and be expressed to the next generation?

  • Will they remember a home that was full of love or just a place that provided a roof over your head? My home wasn’t perfect by any means, but my mother’s love made it the place I wanted to be. I knew I was loved there.
  • Will they remember kindness or harshness? I seldom heard an unkind word come out of my mother’s mouth. Her touch was gentle (unless you were being spanked!).
  • Will they remember being taught how to care for a home and those living there? You didn’t get to sleep in at our house. Since my mother had to work, we had to be up and ready for school early, and Saturday was the day we cleaned, bought groceries, and took care of the laundry. I learned at an early age how to do all of those things.
  • Will they remember serving others? My mother was the kind of woman who was sought out by those needing help. She nursed my grandmother (her mother-in-law) who lived to be 98 years old. She could care for neighbors, church members, and even pets that were hurt.
  • Will they remember you as a godly mother and grandmother? Godliness isn’t talked about much in our world, and yet, it is so needed.  I grew up living with a godly mother who fully trusted God’s word and always tried to put God first in her life.

This list could go on and on.  I don’t write these things to glorify my mother, but to use her as an example of the qualities we need to be instilling into our children and grandchildren.

When I stood up to speak, the woman who loved, nurtured, disciplined, and trained me spoke through me. She instilled faith in me that became my own. She taught me to love God over all else and to serve those with whom I come in contact.

If your child was asked to speak before others, could they speak based on what they had learned from you?

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)


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AUTHOR: Donna Faughn

Children’s Devo Idea: The Image of God

Last Sunday evening, we were blessed to have the 9th Avenue K-6 kids over to our house for a devotional. I got a couple of ideas for a devotional and took what I hope was the best of them to put together the lesson for the kids. I’d like to share it with you for a devotional idea, or something you may want to do in your family Bible time.

For this devotional, you will need:

2 mirrors (one large and one handheld)

A picture of a famous person

A sheet of thick paper

The basic idea behind this devotional is that you are trying to help the children see that they can “reflect” the image of God wherever they are. Here’s what you do:

STEP 1: Hold up a picture of a very famous person. For our devotional, I chose a picture of George Washington. Ask who the person is. You may even want to play this up a little (for example, if you pick a famous athlete, you may want to ask what the kids know about that athlete).

STEP 2: Ask this question: “Is this actually George Washington?” (or whoever the picture is of). Of course, it is not. It is just a picture of that person. Build into the children the concept that what they are seeing is not actually the person, but an image of that person.

STEP 3: Read or quote Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Talk about what it means to be created in the image of God. In our devotional, we talked about how that means we have a soul, but also how that gives us the responsibility to be as much like God as possible. We need to have the same love, kindness, and so forth as God would have, since we bear His image.

STEP 4: Have a child sit or stand facing the large mirror and put another child behind him/her facing the other way (so the kids are basically back-to-back). Talk about how the one who is not facing the large mirror cannot see the other child, just like people will not see God without our help.

STEP 5: Hold up the handheld mirror for the child facing away from the large mirror (in the same way you might use two mirrors to check the back of your hair), but do so in THREE ways:

First, hold the handheld mirror backward, where there is no way they could see the other mirror. Ask, “Can you see him/her?” Of course, they can’t! Talk about how that is what it is like when we live sinful lives. People will never see God through us if we don’t hold up our mirror toward God.

Second, hold up the mirror the right way, but with a piece of paper over it. Ask again, “Can you see him/her now?” Again, of course, they can’t. We used this to talk about how we put things that are good (like sports or video games) above God, and it blocks our ability to shine for God as the major focus of our lives.

Finally, of course, hold up the mirror the right way and get the angle right where the child can see the other. Talk about how others need to see God through us.

STEP 6: Simply review the two major things you have talked about: (1) Each person is made in the image of God, and (2) we should not let anything get in the way of letting others see God through our lives.

I hope this helps you with an idea, and I hope your kids never see a mirror the same way again!


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Your Problem with Religion is Your Fault

We all have a problem with religion. It may have to do with something we believe in theory but fail to faithfully practice. It may be a lack of knowledge concerning what the Bible teaches. It may be judging against what we see others practicing. It may be that we are disenchanted with certain aspects of the church, the leadership, the preaching, or the worship. We may be discouraged when other Christians are not as seemingly dedicated as we are. Do I need to make a list here?

We have a problem with religion! Well, guess what? It’s our fault.

1. It’s our fault when we are disenchanted with worship. Is worship stale or boring? If so it’s because our faith is stale and boring. Are we angry at all the churches that have left the true pattern of New Testament worship? Perhaps we are partly to be blamed for all of those times when we made worship unappealing because our worship was not authentic, driven, passionate, and expressive.

2. It’s our fault when we are not growing. How many people have obeyed the gospel this year because of something we did to help them? The average Christian in their lifetime will hear about 8,000 sermons, sing 100,000 hymns, participate in 30,000 public prayers – and convert zero sinners. Don’t blame the preacher for not being good enough. Don’t blame the leadership for lack of vision. YOU invite a friend! YOU conduct a Bible study! YOU proclaim the gospel. YOU are the church. YOU are what is dying!

3. It’s our fault when we look at the religion of others and show disdain. It might be true that some are incorrect doctrinally. It might be true that some are not dedicated. But we are looking in the wrong place if we want to make corrections. We need to look at our own religion! How accurate are we? How convicted are we? How Christ-like are we? How gracious are we? If we are truthful we can all look at our own faith and see plenty of problems and weaknesses that need serious work. It’s a plank/speck thing. Let God be disappointed with the personal faith of others. In the meantime, let’s work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

We live in a time where so many are disenchanted with religion. It’s because this generation blames outwardly while needing to look inwardly. We need to repent and change. The problem with religion is not God. It’s not the church. It’s us!

“…that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” – 1 Peter 1:7


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AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum

Crying on the Inside

As I type these words, a new school year is beginning in our community. By the time you read these words that event may be ancient history to you, your family, and your community. 

For some families, this becomes an almost “ho hum” experience. It is just another year with more or less the same students, buildings, activities, etc. 

However, for some families, the beginning of a school year means that a child will be away from home for the first time as he or she begins the pursuit of a college degree. For others, the beginning of a school year is a time of transition from elementary school to middle school or from middle school to high school. These experiences are less “ho hum” than merely going from one grade to another. A lot of things are different. There is a certain amount of excitement and anticipation mixed with some apprehension and nervousness about the “unknown.”

For some very young boys and girls, the beginning of a school year means the very beginning of school of any kind. Up until this point in their lives, their “world” has pretty much been limited to their families and the activities in which their families have been involved. 

Hopefully, one of the things in which the family has been involved is regular participation in Bible classes and worship services. While this experience has prepared the young people for instruction by and cooperation with people other than their own family members, it really cannot prepare a young boy or girl for that day when he or she is left by a parent at a “foreign place” full of “strange people.”

One of the young mothers where we worship was telling Donna about the experience her little girl had during her first day of school. The little girl admitted to her mother that she “cried just a little.” Along with all of the other “first day of school emotions,” she said that there were a couple of other reasons for that. First, she saw one boy mistreat another. That made her sad.

Second, one of her new classmates (as she put it) threw up. Along with affecting her emotionally, it also influenced her decision-making. When her mother asked her who she sat with at lunch, her reply was, “Not him!”

What I found most interesting about all of this was the part I’ve left out of this until now. The sweet little girl told her mother that nobody had said anything to her because she had cried just a little on the inside!

I wonder how many other little girls – and boys – cry on the inside. The reasons for those silent and invisible tears could be almost incalculable. 

What challenges me is the knowledge that the practice of “shedding” silent and invisible tears is not limited to young people. I wonder how many people with whom I come into contact each day are doing exactly what this little girl did.

I’m certain that, when I interact with neighbors, some of them may be crying just a little on the inside. How many of the people I see when I shop, go to athletic events, etc. are crying just a little on the inside?

I wonder how many people with whom I worship “put on their Sunday face” and appear to be doing just fine, but who, in reality, are crying just a little on the inside. I imagine that it may be more than many people would suppose.    

They may have any number of reasons for the practice of crying on the inside. Those who do it may not want to appear to be weak. They may not want to bother others. They may, by nature, just be private people. They may be any number of things and have any number of reasons for doing this. 

Whatever the reason is, there is one thing that all of them have in common. They are hurting! 

People who cry on the inside need the same thing that people who cry on the outside need. They need somebody to love them enough to notice. They need somebody love them enough to care. They need somebody to love them enough to help.

Will you be that person? 

Will I?


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AUTHOR: Jim Faughn

The Great Eclipse

It’s today! The Great American Solar Eclipse. I’ve been hearing about this for almost a year, seeing as I teach at a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Innovation school. We have been gearing up with professional development, activities appropriate for all ages and subjects, and online learning resources.

Depending on the source you check, you may find different information about how long we go between solar eclipses. Did you know that’s because there is a difference in an annular eclipse and a total solar eclipse? Do you know the difference in the umbra and penumbra that happen during an eclipse? Those are fun facts that you may want to research just to know how special the event this Monday really is.

One thing I have had to watch out for in teaching my students is “expert sources” who talk about the amazing coincidence that the moon is both 400 times smaller than the sun and 400 times closer making them appear about the same size. Instead of coincidence, how about the Great Designer?

The eclipse today will be amazing, but it is not the most amazing solar event to ever happen. That happened on the day that our Lord died for our sins. In Luke 23:44-45 we read, “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two” (ESV). The NKJV says that the “sun was darkened.”

This was no ordinary – even if rare – solar event of nature. Totality of the eclipse this afternoon will be no longer than around two and a half minutes, depending on where you live. For Christ’s death, the sun was darkened for three whole hours. This was further proof that Christ was Lord. One commentator I read said it was one of the ways that nature rebelled against this sinful act of man.

I urge you, as you watch this great event that comes from a divine Designer, to remember an even greater eclipse that happened over 2,000 years ago: Jesus, through His death, eclipsed your (and my) sins if only we will obey Him. Today, as you look up, remember your Creator and your Savior and all of the amazing things He has done for you.

Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”


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AUTHOR: Amber Tatum

A Legacy of Faith at Polishing the Pulpit 2017

If you are a regular reader of our site, you know that we are gearing up for Polishing the Pulpit. In fact, on the day this article is being posted, PtP 2017 starts tonight! (Can you tell we get just a smidge excited?)

We love running into people we know and spending time with folks at PtP, but we are also blessed to have some members of the Legacy of Faith family asked to speak each year.

Below are listed where we will be speaking or leading singing during the week. We’d love to see you there! [Keep in mind that all classes taught by ladies are for ladies only.]

Friday, August 18

6:00PM: Jim Faughn: “Mature Marriage Issues: Caregiving in Marriage & Preparing for Life without a Long-Time Mate” (Meeting Room A)

Saturday, August 19

9:00AM: Donna Faughn: “The Beauty of Meekness” (Ballroom B)

9:00AM: Adam Faughn: “Ten Ways Your Bible School Program Could Become the Devil’s Workshop” (Ballroom C)

Sunday, August 20

9:30AM: Donna Faughn: “The Power of a Mother’s Faith” (Ballroom B)

Monday, August 21

2:30PM: Donna Faughn: “Transitions” (Ballroom B)

2:30PM: Adam Faughn: “Young Preachers Online–Don’ts” (Hotel Cades Cove; part of “7 Minutes of Wisdom for Youth Workers”)

Tuesday, August 22

10:30AM: Donna Faughn: “The Importance of Godly Elders’ Wives” (Ballroom B)

Wednesday, August 23

8:30AM: Adam Faughn: Early Morning Worship in Song (Ballroom A)

9:30AM: Adam Faughn: “Reading Lists for Teens and Children” (Hotel Deep Creek; part of a panel discussion for parents)

3:30PM: Adam Faughn: “So You Want to Have a Podcast…” (Hotel Cades Cove)

3:30PM: Donna Faughn: “Power Over Self” (Ballroom A)

3:30PM: Leah Faughn: “Cultivating a Gentle and Quiet Spirit” (Ballroom B; part of “7 Minutes of Wisdom for Women with Babies and Small Children”)

6:30PM: Adam Faughn: Congregational Singing (EH-A)

NOTE: For our regular readers, we will have a very limited number of posts during Polishing the Pulpit. We hope to post a new podcast next Friday, but we are certain we will be back to normal with articles on Monday, August 28.

PtP Brain

As you read these words (if you are reading them early on Thursday morning), Jim and I are on our way to Sevierville, Tennessee for Polishing the Pulpit. This is one of our favorite weeks of the year for many reasons.

We get to spend some time with at least one of our children and his family.  We also get to see so many people we have come to know and love over these many years in ministry.  The singing is phenomenal, and the lessons put you on a spiritual high.  There is no bad language or immodest apparel.  It’s really a little taste of heaven here on earth.

I have been in PtP mode for several months now as I prepared to speak at this event.  “PtP brain” simply refers to what has occupied a great deal of my thoughts for the last couple of months. As the time approaches, I sometimes become more distant to those around me as my thoughts begin to focus on those topics I need to cover.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing since my topics have sent me even more to God’s word to prepare what I will say. However, as I was thinking about this state that I’m in, I began to wonder how many other times in my life I have been so focused on some task set before me and yet failed to rely upon God’s word for answers.

In the early years of our marriage when I had “newlywed brain,” I don’t remember relying as much on God’s word for advice as I should have. What marriage wouldn’t be made better by reading and applying those passages found in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 which have to do with marriage?

In the early years of my teaching career when I had “new teacher brain” and was so focused on being the best teacher I could be to those high schoolers, wouldn’t I have been better served to really focus in on the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy and Titus concerning how they should interact with those around them?

When that first baby came along and I was overwhelmed with “new mother brain,” wouldn’t I have been better served to focus on what the Psalmist said in Psalm 127:3-4 concerning the blessing children are to parents?

When our life changed and I went from being a school teacher’s wife to being a preacher’s wife, my brain really had a jolt! “Preacher’s wife brain” is in a league all its own! I wasn’t trained for this role in life so I spent those first few years trying to please people. When I finally decided to just be myself and listen to Solomon’s words when he said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Prov. 3:5,6), my role as a preacher’s wife became so much easier.

I’ve had lots of other “brains” in my life when I focused too heavily on the earthly tasks set before me – mother of teens, mother of college students, mother-in-law, ladies’ day speaker, grandmother, elder’s wife, wife of a retired preacher.

I can’t even put into words how thankful I am for God’s direction in my life. The tough times have helped me to learn to rely upon Him heavily, and the easy times have helped me show more gratitude. The Apostle Paul said it best:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set you minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Col. 3:1,2)

“PtP Brain?” Not a problem!


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AUTHOR: Donna Faughn

Isaiah’s Proper Response: “Here Am I! Send Me.”

The opening verses of Isaiah 6 is a high point in Scripture. The glory of God is on full display and we are arrested by the splendor of it all.

Still, though we are enthralled by the scene, can you imagine actually being there like Isaiah was?

The astonishing nature of it all caused this great prophet to state his sinfulness, as well as that of the whole nation. Still, God showed that the sin of this man was cleansed.

It is in that moment that God asks the question, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8)

With the splendor of God all around, and with the knowledge that his sins have been atoned, the prophet stated the beautiful words, “Here am I! Send me.”

While the remainder of this brief chapter shows Isaiah that he will be going to a rebellious people and that most–if not all–will not listen and truly obey, it is still his commission to go.

But that response that Isaiah gave should have our attention. In those two very short sentences that form his response, we see at least two things that make for a faithful response to the Lord even today.

Full Sacrifice

The prophet said, “Here am I.” He did not say, “Here are my lips.” He did not say, “Lord, you have part of me.”

Instead, Isaiah said that he was there; all of him.

It brings to mind the first of the greatest commands enumerated by Jesus, doesn’t it? How many sermons have you heard that point out that little word “all” that is found four times in that command? The Lord said, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). It simply does not leave room for anything to be left out.

Paul would teach that all Christians are to be “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2). That implies giving all to the Lord.

It could have been easy for Isaiah to promise a certain amount of time or just a percentage of his effort. The prophet realized, though, that all of him needed to be in the service.

Readiness

“Send me.” There was no timetable on that part of Isaiah’s response. Whatever this assignment would turn out to be, Isaiah was ready to respond and go. And he was ready to do so right then, on the Lord’s command.

We see commands in the Bible that we can do, but we also see others that may not fit what we think we want our life to be right now, so we put off full compliance with the commands of God.

But Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). That “looking back” implies that this person wants to follow God, but at his own pace and in his own way.

That’s not obedience!

Instead, when we read a command in Scripture, our response needs to be “send me.” There should be a readiness to follow each and every command, no matter how difficult, right in the moment and season of life in which we find ourselves.

Conclusion

While we never need to lose sight of the glory of God, of which we get an amazing glimpse in Isaiah 6, the response of the prophet is there, in part, to help us see what our response should be to God, as well.

We see His glory through Scripture, as well as in nature and creation. We are reminded that we are sinful, but that our sins are atoned for and God remembers them no more.

Knowing that, when we see a command of God, may our response be like that of Isaiah: “Here am I! Send me.”


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

The Two Main Reasons David was Forgiven

In 2 Samuel we read of the grievous sin of King David. He sees Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, bathing. In his lust he sends for her, she comes to him, they lie together, and she conceives (2 Sam. 11:1-5). David is now in a real predicament. What is David going to do to cover up his sin?

After numerous attempts fail to have Uriah, an officer in his army, come home to be with Bathsheba, David notifies his half-nephew and commander of his army, Joab, to participate in a scheme that would lead to Uriah’s death in battle. The battle ensues, Uriah is abandoned and killed, and the cover up seems complete. But the prophet Nathan comes to David on behalf of God and exposes King David’s adultery, lying, and murder.

When one reads the developments in 2 Samuel 11 and 12, it is hard to see how such a high handed, calculated sin by David could be forgiven. But we need to remember God’s forgiving nature, especially when our response to personal sin is what God requires. Beyond God’s abundant and matchless grace, it seems that there were two main reasons that David’s terrible deeds were completely forgiven.

1.  David fully repented. In response to Nathan’s parable and accusation of David’s guilt, David simply said, “I have sinned against Jehovah” (2 Sam. 12:13). There were no excuses. Furthermore, there was recognition that the sin was not just against humanity – it was an act that was directly in opposition to God’s divine instruction. Every sin we ever commit is a sin against God. When we realize the gravity of sin and we fully admit our own personal defiance to God’s law, with a desire for change, God will forgive.

2. David accepted God’s punishment in faith. The King did not walk away unscathed. Sin has consequences. The child that was conceived and subsequently born died, despite all of David’s fervent prayers. David was also informed by God that his family would suffer division and public turmoil and deception and even the same immorality David had engaged in because of David’s choices.

Truly the King cried many tears over the years because of the fruit borne by his sinful activity. But in response to God’s discipline, David washed himself, changed his clothes, ate his bread, and worshiped the Lord (2 Sam. 12:20).

David could have reacted in a lot of ways. When his error was exposed he could have blamed his human nature, as many often do. He could have become angry with Nathan for calling him out, perhaps deflecting his sin by explaining some of the prophet’s shortcomings. He could have noted all of his days of faithfulness to God and the great courageous warrior he had been for the Lord in times past. He could have blamed Bathsheba for exposing herself on the rooftop. He could have done and said a lot of things that would have kept him from being forgiven.

We can actually learn something from King David that I believe is crucial to our hope. We are all going to sin. It doesn’t matter if you are a king, elder, judge, president, preacher, CEO, policeman, grandparent, or whatever title you have been given or whatever maturity you might have obtained. It is important to own up to your sin when it is brought to your attention. It is imperative for you to fully repent and show a desire for change in your heart and mind and life. And it is important, that you not lose your faith in God when you are punished for unrighteousness. There will always be temporal consequences to sin. But they don’t have last for an eternity.

We CAN change and we CAN be forgiven of any sin, no matter how grievous. But in order for that to happen, our hearts must be soft. We need to have the heart of David, who had a heart like God’s (Acts 13:22).

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” – Psalm 51:10


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AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum

Photo background credit: Ross Griff on Creative Commons