“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell


Monday, July 17, 2017

360' Video of lesson 8 from The Light & Power curriculum

I have long wanted to do a video of a lesson from our Light & Power company where you could view the whole class during the lesson. In that way, you would see not just what the teacher is doing, but the class as well. With the help of my son, we recently did a 360' video of a lesson. If you are unfamiliar with 360' video, that means that on your computer, you can move the perspective that you see to view anyplace in the room. If you have the youtube app on your phone, you can move it around to see the entire room as if you were there. The quality of the video is a bit lacking as you will see, but it still gives you a feel for what our class is like.

The video is of Lesson 8 which is entitled, "Praying for other people." Here is the link should you want to check it out!

Lessons from The Light & Power Company: Lesson 8 Praying for other people

I have also added the link under "video links" at the right.

Enjoy!
Jeff

Sunday, July 09, 2017

New curriculum on the Psalms from The Light & Power Company

As many readers of this blog will know, I have taught an adult Bible class at my church on Sunday mornings for the past 27 years. This class is somewhat unique in that it includes adults with various disabilities. I have collected those lessons and at times have made some of them available on the internet. Well, finally I have compiled some of them into a curriculum which is now available for purchase. It is entitled, Lessons from the Light & Power Company: The Psalms. The curriculum includes 40 lessons drawn from the Book of Psalms. These lessons were developed, then taught, then revised, then taught again, then revised again over a period of about 10 years. I would invite you to visit the following link to purchase the book. It is also available on Amazon.


This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of curriculum books. If you have followed this blog over the years, you will know that Kathi and I have a very specific approach which is age appropriate treating adults with the respect they are entitled to. The material covered in these lessons are the same types of concepts you would teach any group of adults. 

Soon, there will also be some videos to accompany the curriculum. You will be able to see how I teach some of the lessons. 

So please take a look a the curriculum. It might be useful to you in your ministry.


Blessings,
Jeff


Monday, June 26, 2017

Loving your neighbor

"The love which Paul describes goes out to our brethren and to our fellow men. "Love suffers long." This first stroke of the brush shows that we are to be given a portrait of Christian love as it finds itself amid the sins, evils, and trials of a fallen world...
Paul does not describe love to us in the role of performing great, wonderful, and astounding deeds; he prefers to show us how the inner heart of love looks when it is placed among sinful men and weak and needy brethren. He does not picture love in ideal surroundings of friendship and affection where each individual embraces and kisses the other but in the hard surroundings of a bad world and a faulty church where distressing influences bring out the positive power and value of love."
(Lenski, R.C.H. (1961). The interpretation of I and II Corinthians. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, p. 554-555).

This commentary is in relation to 1 Corinthians 13:4. To begin by saying "love suffers long" (KJV) leads to the implications made by Lenski above. If, as he says, love were in ideal surroundings, it would not suffer. However, it does suffer because of the difficult surroundings love finds itself in. So love has to be patient, love has to resist being unkind, boastful or rude. The environment would have the tendency to push it in that direction, however, it must resist. These resistances to reaction in and to a hostile environment are the successes of love. We face these challenges to love in the "sins, evils, and trials of a fallen world" as well as a "bad world and a faulty church."

Obviously the church is not perfect and will never be until redeemed by Christ himself as his bride. But we expect more from it. Perhaps we expect faulty love, but we still expect love nonetheless. But faulty love can be improved upon if we desire to improve upon it. When aspects of our faulty love are pointed out to us, one would hope our response would be more along the lines of "Thank you and I will try to respond better" than a response of "Whatever?" Sometimes the faulty love we evidence is most clearly demonstrated in our response to devalued people who have always experienced faulty relationships, faulty caring and faulty love expressed toward them as a matter of course. It is no wonder they often will not trust us when we try to be more loving toward them.

I see the lack of love in myself toward others. Anger will sometimes trump love. Comfort will sometimes trump love. Impatience will sometimes trump love. It isn't that I have refused to do something spectacular from a love perspective. No, it is more that I have refused to love more mundanely through phone calls, spending of time, being patient. My relationships with people take place in a "bad world and a faulty church." Will I contribute to continuing the bad world? Will I be the evidence that the love of the church is faulty? It seems to start with me.

McNair

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Presence of persons with disabilities in the Christian community

"If nothing else, people with disabilities can at least have presence."
I have written quite a bit about presence in this blog. People will say this kind of thing about others that they haven't taken the time to know, to see their gifting. There is a laziness about this statement.  But there are those with very severe disabilities for whom people having the best intentions will say the above. We say these kinds of things often because we are unable to figure out a person with a very severe disability's gifting. It is as if they are reduced to presence. Now I'm not saying that all a person has is presence, but if you think about it, it alone could be a pretty incredible thing. Particularly when you consider that it is not facilitated for them. Yes as a starting point, but perhaps more broadly, the most important thing for someone with a disability, or anyone for that matter in a church community, is presence. Presence changes things. Presence reveals things (as in the Good Samaritan). What is the thing that people with disabilities need more than anything else? Presence. What does the church need from persons with disabilities more than anything else? Their presence. Presence implies being among, being seen, being a part of something. Presence can also make demands. Perhaps in part that is why the presence of persons with disabilities is often not facilitated and at times rejected. Presence can be powerful and make demands.

But what is it that is rejected when presence is denied? Arguably it is an aspect of God's own image. People rejectors are God rejectors. James 2:1 says, "My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?" (NLT). Apparently, there is a connection there. Presence of persons with disabilities is minimally a starting point because of where it leads.
It leads to excluded people having their gifts discovered and expressed.
It leads to changes in traditions which we have come to syncretise as part of faith or theology.
It leads to changes in understanding the breadth who human beings are.
In some cases, it leads to worship and other aspects of church attendance becoming more service oriented.
It leads to caring and advocacy which can be demanding.
We come to realize that not everyone has the same experiences in life that we do.

I have often said that in my life, God's in his sovereignty has allowed me to have health, a good job, and nice place to live, a beautiful family and so on and so on. I am incredibly grateful for these blessings. But when people struggling with muscular dsytrophy, or mental illness come into my world, I learn that the way God's sovereignty is expressed in the lives of others is different from my own and demands from me  a response. Their lives are they way they are for them, but they are also the way they are for me as a fellow body member. Their presence opens my eyes to human variety and what should be the logical Christian response, human interaction. I see God being real to them in their life circumstances as he is to me in mine. They also reveal aspects of the character of God that I will not see if they are not present. So presence is not a minimal thing. It is foundational to so many things related to Christian faith for all.

McNair

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

A response to suffering

Maybe part of life is joining clubs you never wished to be a part of, 
then walking others through them too.

That is a quote from someone I once knew in response to suffering they were facing. Such a response is so incredibly difficult, but also so very incredibly wise. It helps a bit when we can get the slightest glimpse of purpose in our suffering. It is only with faith in God as a backdrop to your life that you are able to say things like the above. God brings purpose to life. Without God, there is no purpose and suffering is all pain and completely meaningless. The above is the juxtaposition of tears and trust. Trust tempers the tears. It is a juxtaposition of strength and sadness. Sadness remains, perhaps forever. But strength is provided to face the sadness. I am so grateful that this friend had the Lord Jesus in their life who gave the courage to even say the above. May God also continue to give them the strength to live it, which is the more difficult part.

The above statement is a prayer. A paraphrase might be, "Lord, by faith and in obedience I join this club of suffering, but please don't let it be without meaning. Will you use the strength that you gave me to make this statement, to also live this statement."

I am reminded of the passage from 2 Corinthians 12:9 when the Lord says to Paul, " My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Weakness can lead to statements like the above. But God's grace also brings the incredible power evidenced by such statements. It is his grace promised and then provided that shows a way through the things which debilitate us. I don't know how people face suffering without the Lord. Paul then responds by saying he will boast in his weakness. This is a much further step to take. It is saying that it is God who takes me through my weakness. I did not take myself through. God gave me strength. I did not have the strength within myself.  But please do not misunderstand. This is very hard. My suffering surrounds me but as I weep, I choose trust in God. I pray that I will choose trust in God. My strength fails me, but in complete weakness I choose to trust in God. With the little strength that is my own, supported by God's spirit, I pray to trust in God. I respond to waves of sadness that threaten to drown me, with waves of trust in my Lord.

I would say to anyone who might read this and is suffering, in a courageous act of your will call on God to show you his grace. Ask him to keep to his promise to provide grace. Ask him to walk through whatever you are facing with you. Perhaps begin with the simple prayer, "Help me!"

McNair