Elijah’s Witness (January 4-18, 2015)

Introduction

(1)    I have posted on our website a brief video about Elijah, which provides some scenes from the stories you will cover in these three sessions. This video might make good introduction to the unit.

(2)    Maps:
a.    For an article about Elijah and maps of key locations in his story including Israel, Phoenicia, Zarephath, and Mount Carmel: Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996) pp. 115-117 in the library.
b.    When we used The Story in Sunday School and worship last year many of our teachers had the book Exploring the Story: A Reference Companion, by Adam T. Barr (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011). This reference contains a map covering the ministry of Elijah, page 82. Copies are in the library if you don’t already have one.

(3)    Fredrick Buechner writes creatively about Elijah in Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who, Frederick Buechner, (Harper and Row, 1979), pp. 28-30, available in Keith’s office.

(4)    For additional commentary try these Bible Commentaries in the church library:
a.    Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
b.    Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)

January 4 - Shared Suffering (1 Kings 17:1, 8-16)

(1)    Elijah helped a widow who was hungry. How can we minister to the hungry? Consider using the following ministries our church is involved with as examples. For more information see Keith, check with one of your class members who is involved, or visit our website: www.lexingtonavenue.org/labc-glocal-ministries/
a.    Soup’s On Us
b.    Salvation Army
c.    Refugee Ministry in Morocco
d.    Cooperative Baptist Fellowship: part of the CBF missions funding goes for hunger relief.
e.    Glocal Missions Offering: Please take some time to emphasize our Glocal Missions offering which supports all of the above ministries.

(2)    Share one or both of these CBF hunger ministry stories and visit the CBF End Hunger website: http://www.thefellowship.info/missions/ogm/

Fredericksburg, Virginia: A Holistic Christian Response
A Christian response to #EndHunger requires more than providing food. It's about
protecting the dignity of those in need and meeting physical, social, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs. For Greg and Sue Smith, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Field Personnel serving the Latino community of Fredericksburg, Va., it's meeting people wherever they are. With support from CBF's Offering for Global Missions, since 2006, the Smiths have worked in partnership with the Fellowship, the Virginia Baptist Mission Board and Fredericksburg Baptist Church to meet the challenges of immigrants. The Smiths founded LUCHA ministries, which in English means"struggle." To combat hunger, LUCHA ministries maintains a food pantry and partners with the local food bank, churches and individuals to provide culturally appropriate food to the Latino community.

Lebanon: Spreading the Peace of Christ
Since civil war broke out in Syria three years ago, more than 2.5 million refugees have fled the country. More than a million of those have settled in Lebanon, creating a burden on the nation’s public services and doubling unemployment among Lebanese citizens. Hunger is widespread, and there are no official refugee camps. Families are struggling to resettle in a foreign land. Chaouki and Maha Buolos, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Field Personnel serving in Lebanon since 2002, are working to #EndHunger for Syrian refugees through food distribution to more than 300 participants of a women’s Bible study, more than 350 students ages 4 to 13 years old at a school in the Bekaa Valley and to internally displaced Syrians in Damascus.

(3)    Nonperishable Food Items for Salvation Army: On Sunday, January 11, we will receive the Christmas Gift for Christ. We are asking members to bring food items for the Salvation Army food bank. Children will bring them in during worship. Please remind your class.

January 11 – Intercessory Prayer (1 Kings 17:17-24)


(1)    This is an excellent lesson for emphasizing themes that likely recur in some, if not all, of your members’ lives. Think about your class and what they might be going through. See Keith or Tommy for additional resources on any of these that might be of special interest to you:
a.    Dealing with anger
b.    Blaming God for suffering and crisis
c.    Honest Prayer
d.    The problem of suffering and evil
e.    Grief
f.    Doubt
g.    Listening to and caring for those who suffer

(2)    This story takes place in Phonecia. Phonecians worshiped Baal not the God of Israel. How can we witnesses to unbelievers in our community? How can we bring the gospel to the world? How can we be the presence of Christ in Danville? The Deacons and Ministry Leadership Team have identified outreach as one of our priorities for 2015. We would like to hear your ideas. Please record any ideas your class shares on the attached sheet and return it to the church office.

(3)    For the fun of it and in keeping with the theme of strong emotions found in this passage, show the movie trailer for the Disney movie, Inside Out. It’s cute, brings out a variety of emotions found in this and other Disney films.

(4)    Prayer at LABC: Consider the times and places we pray as a congregation: In worship (Invocation, Prayers of the People, Lord’s Prayer, Offertory Prayer, Benediction), Wednesday night Prayer Board, Sunday School. How might our prayer life be improved? Consider closing a time of prayer with the phrase from the lesson (1 Kings 17:22) “The Lord Listened” or repeat the phrase after each prayer request is shared.
 
January 18 – Candid Criticism (1 Kings 18:17-24, 38-40)


(1)    I have posted on the website a video of “the story of Elijah’s confrontation on Mount Carmel through powerful spoken word and choreography.” You might find it interesting.

(2)    Pictures of Mount Carmel and descriptions:
a.    A Visual Guide to Gospel Events (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2010) pp. 110-111.
b.    Aerial Atlas of the Holy Land, John Bowker, Photography by Sonia Halliday and Bryan Knox, Buffalo (New York: Firefly Books, 2008), pp. 238-243.

(3)    How can we offer constructive criticism and confront others when we feel it is necessary? Like Elijah all of us will face times when confrontation and constructive criticism is needed. Maybe Elijah’s approach is not the best for us today. So how do we confront others in a healthy way? The Oregon State University Speech and Communication Department offers some suggestions. See attached, or at the Oregon State University website (http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/comm440-540/confront.htm).

Teaching in General

Multiple Intelligences

Are you making best use of the brains in your Sunday School class?

Multiple Intelligence Theory, developed by Howard Gardner, deals with the way people gather information, learn, create, and solve problems (Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons, New York: Basic Books, 2006). Gardner uses a variety of criteria and scientific methods of study, such as examining learning in different cultures, brain injury study, and developmental psychology, to name a few. He proposes that there are eight intelligences or abilities found in individuals in varying degrees. So, in other words, each of us has certain intelligences and abilities that are our strengths and upon which we rely most often. They are: (1) Musical-Rhythmic, (2) Visual-Spatial, (3) Verbal-Linguistic, (4) Logical-Mathematical, (5) Bodily-Kinesthetic, (6) Interpersonal, (7) Intrapersonal, and (8) Naturalistic. Gardner suggests, and I agree, that while we all have difference intelligences, education tends to be geared primarily to those whose strength is Verbal-Linguistic and Logical-Mathematical intelligences, which means that those whose primary ability is any of the other six, is at a disadvantage. If we only use verbal methods to convey logical concepts, we may not be connecting well with all of our class members, and others may choose not to be a part of our Sunday School class because of that perception, true or not. Imagine how frustrating it might be for a visual learner to only hear verbal lectures, or for the verbal learner to only experience hands-on activities, and thus for them the biblical story never comes to life.

The complete Theory of Multiple Intelligences is too complex for my brain and for this short article, but the basic ideas can be helpful. People learn in different ways and using a variety of teaching methods can facilitate learning. Use music (listen to a song), visuals (show a picture or video), and activities that involve the whole body (like drama or holding a mustard seed). Engage class members in interpersonal conversations and allow time for quiet reflection. Experience God’s creation. Use a variety of teaching methods in addition to our more typical methods of lecture, question and answer, and logical discussions. The Formations Teaching Guide offers some suggestions. Try some of those activities that may take you and your class out of your comfort zones for the sake of some who might benefit most from them. You have many brains in your class. Use all them.