Recently, some of my students asked me a question I’ve heard dozens of times since I began teaching. Perhaps it was because of the circumstances driving the question or perhaps it was because I’d already had the spark of an idea for this blog post—regardless, I answered their question differently than I have before.
Red Light, Green Light! It’s a classic children’s game right up there with Duck, Duck, Goose (or dare I say… Duck, Duck, Gray Duck?) and Red Rover, Red Rover. It’s amazing what fun can be had simply by saying the words “red light” and “green light.” The whole game is literally letting children walk on green and stop on red. There are variations of having your back turned on green and suddenly turning around on red to try and catch those that get too close, but the gist is all the same.
A year of changes brings a year of adaptations. How blessed we are to serve our God, who is unchanged in His love, care, and provision for us. He even provides ways for us to spread His love and care to others through loving our neighbors intentionally and consistently in various contexts. As Sunday School teachers, classroom teachers, youth leaders, and children’s ministry champions, we have the chance to engage cross-culturally with our students and young people, while adding richly to our own cultures, in response to the gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus in the Old Testament?
This month begins a new series of materials for teaching Sunday School. Christians often view the Old Testament as intimidating, irrelevant, evidence of God’s judgment and wrath—a long, boring history of a people long gone. Far from this, the Old Testament prepares us for the New Testament or, more precisely, Genesis through Malachi points us to Jesus Christ.
It’s Lutheran Schools Week! A teacher friend of mine describes this as a time to celebrate Lutheran schools—for each school to remember its connection to other Lutheran schools around the country and across the globe. It is a time to reflect and focus on the mission of Lutheran schools to serve people. So what does that mission mean for children with disabilities, and how might it apply? Is there room for children with developmental disabilities in a Lutheran school setting?
A pitch-black street familiar to me is illuminated by streetlights and the warm glow of headlights from early-riser commuters. I live alongside one of the major highways that serves as a corridor to three of the five boroughs of New York City. I find myself comforted on early mornings like this when I can sit, think, and listen to the lull of driving cars before the highway becomes a cacophony of honks and construction drilling. I do like the sound of cars and trucks, and as an urbanite I feel at home when I am certain there is a bustle around me.
Previously, I wrote about the veracity of Scripture being based on Jesus’ testimony that the Bible is God’s Word. Every instance in which Jesus refers to the Old Testament is marked by the presupposition that the account being referred to is both true and accurate. One example of this is Jesus’ reference to the miraculous story of Jonah being in the belly of the great fish for three days and nights as a historical reality (Matthew 12:40). Likewise, all assertions found in the New Testament are grounded in Christ’s teachings.
The wintertime gets a great deal of hate because of the cold weather, the nasty storms, the lack of sunlight, and what seems an overly long length. One thing most people do enjoy is the day of “first snow.” If you live in a place where snow is a regular occurrence or grew up in such a place, you may remember snow days! These were some of the most joyous times—that in 2020 (with the advent of remote learning) many students will not experience. Gone are the days of eating cereal while watching your favorite shows and spending the day sledding, having snowball fights, and generally vegging out—after shoveling, of course!
As January 1 is right around the corner, many people are starting to think about their New Year’s resolutions. From kids to adults, people are trying to set themselves up for success by creating resolutions they hope will help them lose weight, read more books, or spend less time working. Some of these resolutions can seem silly or impossible or not worth doing. But as we live out our identities as children of God, it can sometimes be fun to consider ways to shine with God’s love.
If your kids have expressed interested in making New Year’s resolutions, you might consider doing this activity as a family! Not only will it bring you closer together, but it will also bring you deeper into God’s Word! Making faith-based resolutions is a great way to incorporate more focus on Jesus into the everyday life of your family.
In the final blog regarding Jesus’ twelve apostles, we finish with James the son of Alphaeus. Scholars often refer to this student of Jesus as “the Lesser,” in relation to James, one of Christ’s inner circle along with Peter and John. Although James the son of Alphaeus enjoys a smaller role in the recorded ministry of Christ, we take care not to minimize his contribution. Notably, Jesus gave him power to heal diseases and cast out demons, and he was present for the feeding of the five thousand, the Great Commission, the ascension, the selection of Matthias to replace Judas, and early outreach ministry as recorded in the Book of Acts. I will present lessons in relation to James and a suggestion for teaching in the Sunday School classroom.