Blog
Posted on October 17, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
There was a Southern Preacher that once preached a message about the resurrection.  The title of the message was “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a Comin.’”  I often will quote that title around the house and adjust it to the day of the week.  It reminds me that I need to stay at it because Sunday is a comin’!  It is amazing how quickly Sunday comes around when you are a Sunday School teacher.  Preparing the lesson is a task that requires some diligent work.  Today we look at some practical questions that might help as you prepare for the lesson you will teach.
 
What does the text say?  As we study the Bible for lesson preparation, it is important to have some paper and a pencil or use a computer program that will allow us to record our thoughts.  As we teach, we want to teach out of what the Lord has taught us in our personal study.  Using a quarterly or commentary is helpful later on, but first, we want God to speak to our hearts through the text.  Many teachers find it helpful to simply read the text several times, allowing the passage to penetrate their thoughts.  You may also wish to read the text in several translations and note subtle differences that may help you understand the intention of the writer.
 
What is the background and the context of the book my passage is in?  A good study Bible can help you get a good overview of the author’s intent as he writes the book of the Bible in which your text appears.  For example, it is good to know that Timothy is serving as a pastor as Paul writes to him in the books of First and Second Timothy.  It is helpful to know that the book of First Corinthians is written to correct the improper behavior of the Christians in the church at Corinth.  It is helpful to know that Deuteronomy is made up primarily of Moses’ farewell speeches to the Hebrews. 
 
When we see a text in light of the book in which it appears, it adds light to the passage.
 
What comes before and after the text?  Just reading a chapter or two before and after the text, can help you understand what is truly being said, and help you avoid misrepresenting a text of scripture.  You will also need this information later when you introduce the lesson, so jot down what you learn.  For example, 1 Corinthians 13 is about love, but the context is a church at war with itself.  That is helpful to know, especially in the application of the passage.
Are there words and phrases that I am unsure about?  You can write down parts of the text that you don’t fully understand.  For example, if you are studying John 3 you might write down questions about the text such as, “Why does Jesus say “we” and “our” in verse 11?”  “What does it mean to be born of water and of the Spirit?”  “What’s the Old Testament passage that Jesus refers to in verse 14?”  You will likely accumulate quite a list after many readings. 
 
You may not find answers to all your questions, but this process will deepen your understanding of the text.  Later when you go to the quarterly, a commentary or a Bible dictionary, you may discover some of the answers to your questions and have many great insights to share with your class.  This will give you confidence in your teaching and prepare you for those unexpected questions in class.
 
Are there other places in the Bible that might teach some of the same ideas and truths?  Here the use of a concordance or a Bible software program can be very helpful.  You can cross-reference words and phrases and find out how they are used in other passages.  If humility is a key thought in your text, you may find many other verses to shed light on your text, deepening your understanding of the truth being taught.  The goal is to be true to the text and allow God to speak His truth through you.  May He bless you as you study and prepare to teach the Word.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon, Oh.
Posted on October 4, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
Those who run races tell us that two keys to victory are how one starts and how one finishes.  I can remember a choir director saying, “The most important parts of the choir special is how we start and how we finish.  People will remember the song most by these two things.”  Something similar can be said of the effectiveness of the Sunday School lesson.  The teacher’s introduction and conclusion require thought and prayerful preparation.  Below are some thoughts for consideration.
 
The goal of the introduction is to capture the attention and create curiosity.  Most teachers find that a striking quote or a story related to the topic of the lesson can be most helpful in catching the attention of the hearers.  Even humor will draw people in to listening to what it is you are about to teach.  Sometimes a well worded question is a great beginning.  In younger classes a game, a story or an activity related to the lesson helps to capture the interest of the child and makes him want to listen.  Before we can effectively teach, we need the attention of the people.  Providing a good introduction gets attention so you can move easily to the meat of the lesson.
 
The introduction often ties a series of lessons together.  Often one lesson builds on the previous one, so most teachers want to introduce the series or tie the lessons together to help students understand how the lessons relate to one another.  Making use of a poster or some other visual aid can be helpful as Bible learners see how today’s lesson relates to the whole unit of study.
 
Introductions will also involve giving the background for the passage that is being studied.  Explaining what is going on before and after the text and setting it in its proper framework in the Bible helps the pupil gain a proper understanding of the passage and protects her from taking the passage out of context.  Proper interpretation of a passage is impossible if it is not seen in relationship to where it appears in the book it is a part of and even how the book itself relates to the whole Bible.
 
The introduction also helps the learner to understand why the passage is important in relation to his life.  It answers the question, “Why is it important that I give this teacher my attention.”  It allows the pupil to see why this passage of God’s Word is important for a sixth grader or a mother of preschoolers (for example) to understand.  In other words, the introduction helps the student see her needs and circumstances in relationship to the scripture that is being studied.
The goal of the conclusion is to tie the main points together and call the listeners to take action.  A good conclusion engages the mind, the emotions and the will.  It answers the question, “What do I need to do now in light of what I have just learned.”  For children the conclusion may only involve one main idea and the teacher will drive that home to the child’s heart at the end of the lesson with a story, a song, an activity or a simple statement.  For adults and teens, the teacher may have several steps of action as the lesson is summarized and applied.  When the lesson is over, the learners should be able to clearly see the next steps needed to live this passage out.
 
The methods of the conclusion will depend upon the age of the students and the preferences of the teacher, but the function of the conclusion is still the same.  People need to leave the classroom challenged to make the appropriate changes in their lives in order to line up their lives to the truth they have heard from the Word of God.  They’ll know what to do and how to do it.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastor of FBC So. Lebanon, Ohio
Posted on September 19, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
As a teacher of the Word of God it is no doubt that you have begun to establish certain beliefs and convictions based upon the Word of God.  It is also certain that your biblical beliefs and convictions will guide you in your personal stands and decisions on political issues.  As a Sunday School teacher, it is also imperative that we create an atmosphere in the classroom in which people of all political persuasions can hear the gospel and be reached and discipled for Christ.  Finding good balance can be difficult, but absolutely necessary, especially during seasons of political emphasis.  I hope the following will help us walk this difficult tightrope.
 
First, we should distinguish between political and moral issues.  It is easy to fall into a trap these days.  The politician refuses to take a clear stand on an issue because it is considered a “personal moral issue,” while church leaders are afraid to make statements because the issue is considered “political” in nature.  Clearly there is a difference between abortion, for example, and how much is spent on public radio.  Every issue is not a deep moral issue.  Even well-respected Bible heroes had differing opinions at times and we need to allow for that in our discussions as well.
God has worked through various forms of government for millennia and He has not specified which American political party is His favorite.   The Bible is clear, however, on the value of human life, on honesty, corruption, homo-sexuality, adultery, compassion for widows, etc.  As Bible teachers, we cannot shirk our responsibility to teach what the Bible says about such things, including demonstrating proper respect for those in positions of government authority.
 
Second, as we teach on sensitive issues, it is important to do so in love and humility.  I’m not suggesting the “political correctness” of today’s media needs to be applied to the Sunday School class, but it is important to realize that someone in your class may be dealing with the pain and guilt of a past abortion.  Someone in your class may have a close relative that has chosen an immoral lifestyle.  It simply is an act of kindness to avoid slang terms that are needlessly offensive when teaching God’s truth on a potentially painful topic.
 
It is also important that our church is not seen as endorsing a certain candidate for office.  The mission of the church is to reach and disciple people for Christ, not to promote a political ideology.   We will speak truth regardless of the consequences, but it is important to know that there are laws in place that threaten our tax-exempt status if we practice political endorsements.  We can provide comparisons on the issues, but we cannot endorse the candidate.  Throughout Bible times, believers learned to deal with various forms and practices of government without compromising the message, and we need to do the same today.
 
For me the biggest issue is evangelism.  As we teach the group God has entrusted to us, we want everyone in attendance to know that we are there to learn God’s Word and deepen our relationship with Him.  It is certain that some will want to talk politics at times, but it really isn’t that difficult to get the class back on track when the people hear a gentle reminder of what we are really there to do.  We want everyone to know our Lord Jesus Christ regardless of their political preferences and we as teachers are responsible to “keep the main thing, the main thing!”
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon, Oh. 
Posted on September 12, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
Last weekend we had the delight of hosting a Children’s Ministry Conference with author Steve Parr as our keynote speaker.  Brother Parr and Tom Crites have done extensive research on adults 26 through 39 to discover why some young adults stay connected to a church family and some do not.  His book is entitled, Why They Stay.  Dr. Parr discovered 15 key reasons that people stay connected to the church as young adults, but he shared with our conferees six takeaways from his research I thought I would share today.
 
Takeaway One: Mom and Dad demonstrate priorities by serving at church.  Our kids are over 50% more likely to stay in church as young adults if they see their parents involved in a ministry at church.  “Do as I say, not as I do,” is not a good strategy for keeping young adults involved in the church.  Notice, simply attending with parents is good, but when children see their parents serving, it makes all the difference.
 
Takeaway Two: Love for the Pastor.  This one amazed me.  The research shows that 90% of the nearly 1400 surveyed, were more likely to stay if they liked their pastor while growing up.  A pastor’s influence on a child’s life was much more of a factor than I imagined.  I suppose it also speaks to how well church members protect the pastor’s reputation in family discussions in front of their children.
 
Takeaway Three: A High View of Scripture.  If we believe the Bible is inspired of God, it makes a difference in how we live.  It also makes a difference in how the next generation will live!  A church that has a low view of the Bible will lose the next generation.  The church is not doing itself any favors by lowering biblical standards.  Clearly, a church with a low view of Scripture is setting itself up for a gradual death.
 
Takeaway Four: Attending Worship Services with Their Parents When Growing Up.  When children see their parents worshiping God, it impacts their lives.  When kids see dad listening to the sermon, they believe it must be important.  When they hear mom singing to the Lord, they also want to sing.  Here’s the kicker—20-30 years later, they are still likely to be worshiping due to the influence of their parents.
 
Takeaway Five: Spiritual Fuel During Adolescence.  Young adults are more likely to be in church if they attended a church with a vibrant student ministry.  That does not mean the church was large and had a full-time youth minister.  It does mean the church had good leaders who invested themselves into the lives of teenagers.  The teen years are years of great importance that have lasting ramifications.
 
Takeaway Six: The Six Months Following Graduation are Crucial.  The research shows that 60% of those that strayed did so between ages 18-22 and 33% were more likely to have stayed if their home church had a ministry directed toward college students.  Staying connected to our graduating high school students is critical for their future involvement in the church.  Even those who go away to college benefit greatly from cards, letters and gifts sent from their home church.
 
I’m grateful we are a church of all generations, but we have a deliberate focus on reaching and discipling the next generation.  These takeaways from Dr. Parr are crucial to our success in getting the job done.  Regardless of age, most adult Christians are burdened to see their children and grandchildren become faithful followers of Jesus.  That is why we are willing to make the investment of time, energy and resources to see them come to Christ.  If we see the need to give great effort to see that they have healthy food, proper clothing, and the best education, then surely, we can see the need to provide the best possible church experience for those that will one day be leading the church and advancing the kingdom of God.  May God bless our efforts.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon, Oh. 
Posted on September 11, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
I Love You and Other No-No's
Appropriate Behavior with Children and Teens
 
It may surprise many people to know that lawyers have conferences that they attend regularly to help them with various legal issues and processes.  One topic in such a conference amazed me.  The conference was entitled, “How to Sue the Church Successfully.”  What may also be surprising is that no one seems to want to define what behavior is appropriate and inappropriate.  The following is an attempt at putting some of this in perspective and providing church policies for us to follow.
•             When you hug another person, use the “A Frame” approach.  It may sound silly, but that is a hug that basically touches near the shoulders, but avoids contact with the rest of the body.  A side to side hug works pretty well too.  It conveys love without appearing inappropriate.
•             While we are on the topic of hugging, never require someone to hug you.  It sounds innocent to say, “None of you preschoolers get out of this door without a hug.”  But such a statement can be misunderstood by a preschooler and anyone else for that matter.  Your motive can be pure enough, but the appearance can be evil to many people.  Of course, if the preschooler initiates the hug, that is fine and in that case be an “equal opportunity hugger.”
•             Avoid saying, “I love you” in any way that could be misinterpreted as romantic in nature.  One good way to say it is, “We love you, Ben,” or “I love all of you fifth-graders,” or “Terri and I love you.” (That last one only works if your wife’s name is Terri, by the way.)  The same kind of message should be conveyed through letters, emails and text messages.
•             Never allow yourself to be alone with a member of the opposite gender behind a closed door that doesn’t have a window in it—and even with a window, you need to have a very good reason to be alone in the room.  Keep a desk or other piece of furniture between you and the other person, as well.  Don’t let even the suspicion of evil ruin your reputation and destroy your potential in ministry.
•             Don’t play “tickle games” with children.  This is actually a tactic that child molesters use to cover up a child’s objections or to lead to other inappropriate touching.  If you are a parent or sibling it is one thing to tickle a child, but if you are a nursery worker or a children’s teacher at church, it is not appropriate.
•             Don’t take children to the restroom alone.  Simply ask another adult to go in with you, or, if you can do so while protecting the child’s modesty, leave the door ajar.
•             Avoid driving someone home without your spouse or another person in the car.  You might be surprised at how difficult this might be to explain others.  If you are stuck in such a situation, call someone on the phone while you are driving so you can have them “in the car with you” at least electronically.
•             Do not usurp the authority of a child’s parents.  If you go behind a parent’s back and give a gift to a minor, it can easily be taken as inappropriate.  Swearing a minor to keep a secret from his parents is never a good idea.  If you cannot say it to the parents, don’t say it to the child.  If you do ever see a parent neglect or abuse a child, you are legally obligated to report it to the appropriate authorities.     
Because crimes against minors are so publicized in our society, even the appearance of evil must be avoided in the church.  1 Thessalonians 5:22 states, “Abstain from every appearance of evil.”  That is why it is so important for us to have some common-sense policies in place when working with children (and even adults) while at church.  Just the accusation can cause great damage to our work for Christ, whether it is true or not.  Just to clarify, these are not just suggestions!  These are policies of our church and each of us are legally and morally responsible to follow them.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Diciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC South Lebanon, Ohio
Posted on August 29, 2017 8:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
I once had the experience of ministering to a couple.  The husband had a serious illness.  The wife asked me not to share the information with the church family.  Reluctantly, I agreed to tell our people they would be back in church soon, but they were taking a little break.  The couple attended fairly frequently, but they never came to Sunday School.  Several months later, the husband died.  Because the couple was not plugged into a small group in our church, I was the only one to visit in the hospital and only a handful of church members came to the funeral.  The lady was hurt that the church had not taken more interest in her plight and she quickly became an inactive Christian.  It was sad.
 
Over my years in ministry I have learned what research clarifies.  When a person attends worship services only, it is easy for them to get lost in the crowd and miss out on the important ministry of a small group.  They easily feel disconnected and soon fade away from the church.
 
Small group ministry is clearly a biblical ministry concept.  We see in Acts that the small groups of the New Testament church were held in houses before the church had the benefit of the nice buildings we enjoy today.  In the Bible, small groups were important in meeting the practical needs of the congregation.  Jethro helped Moses see value in breaking up his ministry into small groups.  Nehemiah understood that the construction of the protective wall around Jerusalem needed to be organized into small groups.  When Jesus feed the 5,000, he broke the people up into smaller groups to expedite the ministry (Luke 9).  When a church organizes itself in small groups, like Sunday School classes, it is following a biblical pattern of ministry.
 
As a church grows larger, it must also grow smaller.  LifeWay’s recent research showed that four out of five new members will be inactive in five years if they do not join a small group.  People make friends, or they “make tracks!”  The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association says that generally, new converts who do not make seven to twelve new friends in the church within six months of their conversion, will not continue to attend.  It is difficult to make that many new friends in the worship service, alone. 
 
Small Group/Sunday School ministry is designed to meet the practical needs of the people.  The “one another’s” (see John 13:34, Rom. 15:4, 1 Cor. 12:25, Eph. 4:32, etc.) of the New Testament are best carried out in the context of small groups.  In Acts 12, Peter miraculously escaped from prison.  When he was freed, he went to John Mark’s home to find that a small group was praying for his release.  That’s what small groups do!  Ephesians 4:11-12 remind us that pastors equip the church members, so we all can do the ministry together.  Small groups organize the church to carry out that biblical plan of ministry.
 
Small groups help protect us from backsliding (Jer. 3:14).  In the book, Transformational Small Groups by Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger, they site research from nearly 3,000 Christians that show that people in Sunday School or small groups are significantly more likely to read their Bibles, pray for others, attend worship, tithe their income and minister to other people.  Christians involved in small groups are more apt to demonstrate those actions of a true disciple of Jesus.  Friends, I have seen too many families endure much heartache from alcoholism, drug overdose and divorce.  I realize that going to Sunday School does not guarantee that these things will never strike a Christian’s home, but it certainly does give them a better shot at being successful.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon, Oh. 
Posted on August 25, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
Mother Teresa was a nun, famous for her work with the impoverished people of Calcutta, India.  An American tourist in India stood by in awe one day as he watched Mother Teresa lovingly clean the infected wounds of a horribly disfigured leper.  He commented, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars!” Her response, “Neither would I, brother. Neither would I.”  Mother Teresa was motivated by love, not money.  Her desire was to serve God by serving people in need.
 
I realize that leading a Sunday School class is much different than caring for orphans or providing for a dying person, but each can be motivated by love.  I believe love is the reason we have such a wonderful Sunday School faculty of teachers and workers, and I want to thank each of you for serving and working so faithfully in the 2016-17 Sunday School year. 
 
 
We realize that the numbers do not tell the complete story.  There are those intangibles that are difficult to measure, but we can “feel” them.  For example, there is a wonderful positive spirit in many of our classes that seems to fuel the growth.  Even as we had to deal with using our rooms for a few special events and many purposes other than Sunday School, our people stayed positive.  Such a spirit pleases the Lord and it aids our mission to touch our world for Jesus.
 
When we do the work of the Lord, we know it means we are also engaged in a spiritual battle.  As our teachers and workers have stayed faithful in prayer it has brought positive results.  I know many have been in some spiritual conflicts this year.  Some have had to deal with some difficult family crises while others have had physical infirmities.  Satan has certainly not made it easy for any of us.  Yet again, you all have stayed committed to do the work.  God has blessed that kind of dedication.
 
As we look back, I cannot help but to look forward to the new year with great anticipation.  As we continue our efforts, I believe by this time next year we can see our people growing stronger in their love for the Lord and their love for one another.  As more people are under the influence of good Bible teaching, families become stronger, the church becomes stronger and people are saved.  May God bless you for your willingness to serve.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon
Posted on August 24, 2017 3:00 PM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
It seems we cannot get away from the subject of “racism” today.  I put the term in quotations because the concept of race being determined by the pigmentation of one’s skin is foreign to the Bible.  Some translations use the term “race,” but it is to describe the people of a certain nation or people group—the emphasis is not on skin tone.  Racism is an evil sin in our world.  The Bible clearly condemns such an attitude toward people of another skin tone. 
 
Here’s three reasons.
 
1. All humans are made in the image of God.  Every human life is valuable and precious for this reason.  It doesn’t matter the age, nationality, gend
er, mental capacity, etc. of the person.  He or she is made in the image of God with consciousness and the spiritual potential to know and love God and experience the miracle of a saving relationship through faith in Christ.  Each person is a living soul, making him or her a unique and special creation of God.
 
The idea that one person is superior to another because of skin color or nationality, is something that was promoted by Darwin and propagated by early evolutionists.  An African man was literally a part of a zoo exhibit at the Bronx zoo in the early 1900’s alongside an orangutan.  The evolutionists believed it somehow proved their theory.  In that day, many believed that Australian Aborigines tribes were lesser humans and a missing link between apes and humans.  The thought is ridiculous in our century, but the damage was done back then, and it supported the idea of slavery.  The Bible tells quite a different story of human origins and helps us see ourselves as all being from one Creator.
 
2. Skin tone is a genetic trait like hair color or eye color.  In Genesis 3:20, we clearly see that Eve, Adam’s wife, was the mother of all living.  That means that every person on earth, regardless of skin tone, is ultimately from Adam and Eve’s genepool.  In addition, we can conclude that the various shades of color that humans possess today, were all present in Adam and Eve’s genetic makeup—just like other physical features that make us all unique.  I once heard someone say that Cain’s mark (Genesis 4:15) was dark skin.  The idea is preposterous.  If I mark an animal by painting a red “X” on his fur, his children are not born with red marks.  Likewise, Cain’s mark, whatever it was, was on him alone because he killed a man and the Bible does not say it was passed on to his children.
 
During the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), people did divide into language groups, and likely, nationalities at that time.  It makes sense that as the people were scattered, groups of darker and lighter skinned people may have been attracted to climate conditions that were favorable to the pigmentation of their skin.  Fair-skinned people don’t like to feel the pain of a sunburn, so they headed north to avoid longer, hotter summers.  There was nothing superior about one skin tone over the other. 
 
3. The gospel of Jesus Christ makes all people one in Him regardless of skin tone, eye color, gender, nationality, etc.  First Corinthians 12:12-13 and many other passages, indicate that in Christ we are all part of one body.  There is no spiritual distinction between people of different skin colors in Christ.  In fact, I believe that the gospel of Jesus is what our society really needs to see the foolishness of modern racism.  In Christ, our access to God is the same.  In Christ, our gender or nationality is insignificant.  Jesus is truly the answer to the hate and foolish rhetoric of our day.  There should never be a race problem for those who are in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon.
Posted on August 23, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
It seems we cannot get away from the subject of “racism” today.  I put the term in quotations because the concept of race being determined by the pigmentation of one’s skin is foreign to the Bible.  Some translations use the term “race,” but it is to describe the people of a certain nation or people group—the emphasis is not on skin tone.  Racism is an evil sin in our world.  The Bible clearly condemns such an attitude toward people of another skin tone. 
 
Here’s three reasons.
 
1. All humans are made in the image of God.  Every human life is valuable and precious for this reason.  It doesn’t matter the age, nationality, gender, mental capacity, etc. of the person.  He or she is made in the image of God with consciousness and the spiritual potential to know and love God and experience the miracle of a saving relationship through faith in Christ.  Each person is a living soul, making him or her a unique and special creation of God.
 
The idea that one person is superior to another because of skin color or nationality, is something that was promoted by Darwin and propagated by early evolutionists.  An African man was literally a part of a zoo exhibit at the Bronx zoo in the early 1900’s alongside an orangutan.  The evolutionists believed it somehow proved their theory.  In that day, many believed that Australian Aborigines tribes were lesser humans and a missing link between apes and humans.  The thought is ridiculous in our century, but the damage was done and back then, and it supported the idea of slavery.  The Bible tells quite a different story of human origins and helps us see ourselves as all being from one Creator.
2. Skin tone is a genetic trait like hair color or eye color.  In Genesis 3:20, we clearly see that Eve, Adam’s wife, was the mother of all living.  That means that every person on earth, regardless of skin tone, is ultimately from Adam and Eve’s genepool.  In addition, we can conclude that the various shades of color that humans possess today, were all present in Adam and Eve’s genetic makeup—just like other physical features that make us all unique.  I once heard someone say that Cain’s mark (Genesis 4:15) was dark skin.  The idea is preposterous.  If I mark an animal by painting a red “X” on his fur, his children are not born with red marks.  Likewise, Cain’s mark, whatever it was, was on him alone because he killed a man and the Bible does not say it was passed on to his children.
During the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), people did divide into language groups, and likely, nationalities at that time.  It makes sense that as the people were scattered, groups of darker and lighter skinned people may have been attracted to climate conditions that were favorable to the pigmentation of their skin.  Fair-skinned people don’t like to feel the pain of a sunburn, so they headed north to avoid longer, hotter summers.  There was nothing superior about one skin tone over the other. 
3. The gospel of Jesus Christ makes all people one in Him regardless of skin tone, eye color, gender, nationality, etc.  First Corinthians 12:12-13 and many other passages, indicate that in Christ we are all part of one body.  There is no spiritual distinction between people of different skin colors in Christ.  In fact, I believe that the gospel of Jesus is what our society really needs to see the foolishness of modern racism.  In Christ, our access to God is the same.  In Christ, our gender or nationality is insignificant.  Jesus is truly the answer to the hate and foolish rhetoric of our day.  There should never be a race problem for those who are in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Posted on August 8, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
Charles Spurgeon was a famous preacher in England many years ago.  He had a wonderful eloquence with the English language.  He once described prayer as “the slender nerve that moves the muscle of omnipotence.”  What a thought!  Imagine the almighty muscle of our great God, being put into action by the slender nerve of a common prayer from people like us. 
 
We all desire that God would work through and bless the Bible Study lessons we prepare and present to our class each week.  God’s blessing on our presentation is not by accident.  He will always bless His Word as it is taught since He does not allow His Word to return to Him void and empty.  But another determining factor to the effectiveness of our teaching has got to be prayer.
 
Prayer is obviously part of the entire preparation process.  As you study and look for good illustrations and read commentaries, it is important to be praying.  Ask the Lord to show you what will meet the needs and capture the attention of your class the best.  It is always an amazing thing when you feel God leading you to make a certain point in a lesson and later have a person come to you, sharing a specific way God used that point to speak to her life.  Let’s give praise and glory to His name, as He responds to the simple prayers of His teachers.
 
Prayer is vital for the teacher’s personal life.  Establishing a daily quiet time with the Lord is the most important thing any teacher can do to be an effective teacher of the Word.  A quiet time has at least two parts to it—time in the Bible, allowing God to speak to you, and time in prayer, allowing you to speak to God.  It is the most important discipline to establish in the life of a growing disciple. 
 
There was a time when I felt it was self-centered to pray for myself, but I have grown to realize that other people depend on my walk with God.  The people we minister to anticipate that we have gotten something in our study that they need to hear.  If we are not praying for insight and guidance from God, we are really letting our people down!  I guess we could say that praying for one’s self is quite unselfish in the bigger picture of things.
 
Prayer also has the ability to connect your heart to the hearts of your pupils.  Effective teachers have learned the great value in praying for the people they teach.  A great tool is to make up a prayer list that includes the names of each of your students and the prospects for your class.  The list can become quite lengthy; so, many teachers divide the names by five and pray for a part of the list each day, Monday through Friday.  Some teachers even put a photo next to the person’s name with room to write out prayer concerns.
 
Prayer is also needed for the lessen presentation.  During your Sunday morning quiet time, be sure to pray for God’s blessing and presence upon the lesson as well as other teachers and ministers in your church.  Prayerfully review your lesson, being open to any last-minute changes the Lord may want to give you.  Pray before you begin to teach and pray afterwards that God would apply these truths to everyone’s heart.

As you teach the Bible, you are involved in a very spiritual process.  You are literally handling the things of God.  You are shaping lives for God’s glory and honor.  Such an awesome task must be bathed in prayer to achieve the spiritual results we desire.
 
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors First Baptist South Lebanon, Oh. .