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Written by

Phil Rigdon

Pastor Phil Rigdon and his wife, Jamelyn, live in Kendallville, Indiana, with their pet chinchilla, Sunshine. When Phil is not giving raisins to Sunshine, he serves as pastor at St. John Lutheran Church and School in Kendallville. He enjoys running, writing, and trying to impress people with his guitar playing.

Recent Posts by Phil Rigdon

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: John

This month we spend time with John, my personal favorite. On first inspection, John is the ideal apostle. Along with Peter and James, he formed Jesus’ inner circle, who were present for some of the most important events in Jesus’ ministry. He also wrote a large portion of the New Testament and served as Mary’s adoptive son per Jesus’ mandate at the cross. Nevertheless, John had his faults, including a wrathful heart and conceit.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Philip

This month, we look at one of the lesser-known apostles, Philip. I have an affinity with this apostle as we share the same name. One of my personal geeky interests is philology, the study of languages. The name Philip is derived from Greek and means “one who loves horses.” the first half of the name, Phil, is related to Philadelphia and philanthropy. The second half, ip, is related to hippopotamus, which means “river horse.” Interesting? Let’s study Philip!

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Matthew

This month, we learn a bit about Matthew, one of the Gospel writers. We begin with introductory key verses regarding his work and calling by Jesus, followed by teaching regarding the apostle, and finally, ideas for presenting Matthew in the Sunday School classroom.  

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Thomas

This month, we turn our attention to teaching about the apostle Thomas. We’ll begin with a few introductory verses followed by information from the Bible regarding this apostle, and finally, suggestions on how to present Thomas in the Sunday School setting.


Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Judas Iscariot

This month’s blog will present perhaps the most challenging apostle of the Twelve, Judas Iscariot. I will begin with introductory key verses, followed by a few notes on the life of Judas, thoughts on teaching the tough topic of suicide, and, finally, list some teaching points.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Peter

Beginning this month, I am pleased to share a few thoughts regarding our Lord’s twelve apostles and to suggest some ideas on how to present these important biblical figures to Sunday School students. Each blog will include an introduction to an apostle, as well as one or two key points and some teaching suggestions. Given that this is the first blog, I will also include here a couple of ideas on how to help students remember all twelve disciples over the course of the year.

Teaching Parables: A House Divided

Jesus frequently performed miracles in the course of His earthly ministry. Mark 3 contains a couple examples of note. Jesus was near the synagogue on the Sabbath. Our Lord’s detractors were keeping a close vigil in hopes of catching Jesus in sin. Jesus taught with authority in the synagogue, yet He was often rejected by the Jewish religious authorities. Jesus healed many, including the man with the withered hand, and when evil spirits encountered Him, they cowered in fear. The scribes claimed He was possessed by a demon. Even our Lord’s family believed He was deranged.

In this context, accused of devilry, our Savior cleverly presents the parable of the house divided.

Teaching Parables: The Faithful Servant

This parable is both Law and Gospel. It’s an admonition to be ready for Jesus’ return at the end of human history, but it is also the Gospel message that Jesus makes us ready for His triumphant return—the day He will make us whole in heaven.

Teaching Parables: The Wedding Feast and the Great Banquet

In polite society, we are raised with table manners: don’t hum or sing, keep your elbows off the table, place your napkin in your lap, don’t burp aloud (although this is allowed in some cultures as a compliment to the chef), don’t reach over another person’s plate. There are rules for seating at a dinner party as well, and Jesus makes reference to these in this month’s parables of the wedding feast and the great banquet.

Teaching Parables: The Rich Fool

There is a beguiling temptation to read Jesus’ parable of the rich man’s meditation as nothing more than an admonition against wealth: “Flee from the comforts of this life, for death is coming, and cometh soon!” Instead, the Holy Spirit leads our weary souls to a something more profound: a Gospel-oriented meaning where we find freedom from fear and the peace of Christ.

The Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:1321)

Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”