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


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Free Bible lessons download on Philippians for adults with disabilities

 Jeff and Kathi McNair have been facilitating an adult ministry that particularly includes adults with intellectual disabilities. They have published 3 curricula for this ministry on Psalms, Romans and Hebrews. With each of these curricula, Jeff wrote the lessons, taught them, and then revised them such they are in the final form you see. 

They have just released a new curriculum on Philippians as a FREE download. The download is available here.

Lessons from the Light & Power Company: Philippians

We hope you will enjoy trying out this curriculum!

McNair

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Be aware of manipulation

It has been interesting over the years of ministry with adults with intellectual disabilities, that there have been several occasions, only a few, where those with higher functioning disabilities have manipulated those with a bit less intellectual abilities.

One happened about 10 years back when two women got into a sequence of altercations. The higher functioning woman seemed to instigate the confrontations. Because she had a better command of language, she would typically frustrate the other. This happened repeatedly until ultimately the woman with less command of language in frustration pushed her such that she fell down. The result was the the first woman called the police, filed an assault charge and basically scared the other half to death. I would reassure her that nothing would happen as a result and nothing did, but it forever scarred the less capable woman and she never returned to our ministry the other for a while would show up with her Cheshire cat grin.

Most recently, a similar situation occurred between two women and a man in our group. The women being the higher functioning and the man less so. We ultimately came to understand how the two had been manipulating the man. I spoke to him on several occasions trying to explain to him what was happening to him and also spoke to one of the women telling her to stop the behaviors she was engaging in. But she continued and her manipulation was too powerful for him. Ultimately it set him off to where he became mildly physically aggressive but it might have been much worse. As it stands, all three of the group are not involved in our ministry. The man through input from his family has separated himself from our ministry, probably a wise move on his part, and the women were asked to leave for a period of time. I plan to continue to facilitate friendship with the man. Hopefully they will follow our request to refrain from the social media interactions and posts that led to the altercation.

The take home lesson is that people are people and will often do the kinds of things people will do. Particularly if the see that they have some power over others. If you are aware, try to protect those in your group who might seem more competent than they are and can be bullied by others. I was grateful that the altercation didn't escalate more than it did.

McNair

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The plan of salvation

 

Years ago, I believe I shared this pictorial presentation of the gospel message. I have used it literally for decades to teach about the plan of salvation to persons with intellectual and other disabilities. I draw the picture on the whiteboard and then go through it with our group. 


 

-First picture of sad face shows that we are all sinners, we all do bad things. We are NOT right with God.

Romans 3:10-12 As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous – not even one. No one is truly

wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does

good, not a single one.”

 

-Picture of cross – but Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

Romans 3:22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.

 

-Smiling face and gift – If we place our faith in Jesus we are forgiven. Our forgiveness is a free

gift.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through

Christ Jesus our Lord.

I will sometimes say at this point, “You know, if we work real hard and try to do what is right, then God will give us a pay check of forgiveness and life with Him in heaven, right?” They have come the expect this joke and will respond, “No Jeff, it is not a paycheck it is a free gift.” Which I will affirm. “Yes! It is a free gift we get if we believe in Jesus.”

 

-Picture of the dove – God then gives us his Holy Spirit to guide us. The dove is based upon Jesus' baptism where the spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. Because of my picture, I also always get the comment that we receive the "holy chicken" which is always good for a laugh!

Romans 5:5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves

us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 8:26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.

 

-Picture of the house – Someday we will be with the Lord in Heaven because of our faith.

John 14:1-3 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is

more than enough room in my father’s home. If there were not so, would I have told you that I

am going to prepare a place for you.

2 Corinthians 5:8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly

bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.

I always ask our group, “What will you say when you go to the place that Jesus has prepared for

you?” They respond, “I am home!”

You might ask if people in your group believe this. If it is for the first time, you can pray with

them. We have actually used this picture as a way that people can explain their faith such that

they can be baptized and join the church.

Hope this helps!

McNair

Monday, May 17, 2021

Sow what? A different perspective on the parable of the sower

 

Galatians 6:7 -  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

A farmer was having trouble with a crop that he was attempting to grow. In desperation, he called the county agricultural office who promptly sent an expert to help him solve his problem.
     “Thank you so much for coming!”
     “We are here to help. What seems to be the problem?”
     “Well, it’s like my field isn’t producing the right crop. I plant the seeds, but never get exactly what I have planted.” The farmer rubbed his chin. “I don’t’ know what is wrong.”
     The expert began to walk through the field as the spoke.
     The farmer continued. “I know the story about the seed falling on rocky ground but as you can see, no rocky ground here. And also about the birds eating the seeds or the weeds choking them out. The birds are always a challenge, but they wouldn’t cause the kind of problem we are having. As you can see, the crop itself looks pretty pure. Not a lot of weeds growing up.”
     “What exactly are you planting?” asked the expert.
     “Oh, just wheat.”
     The expert knelt down to the plants. He brushed his hand across the top of the stubby, short growing, green blades. He picked a few of and studied them.
     Watching the expert, the farmer continued, “The only thing I can figure is that there must be something wrong with the soil. Why wouldn’t it grow, why wouldn’t it produce the right thing, the thing I am planting?”
     The expert took off his hat and scratched his head. “You say you are trying to grow wheat?”
     “Yep. Have been trying to grow it for years. Always get the same result. Most of the farms around here have the same problem. At Friday morning coffee we get together and can’t understand what is up. I mean we all get our seed from the same place. They have a self-service kind of an operation, so we pick out our own seed that we plant.”
     The expert reached down and pulled up a small plant from the field. “Look at this plant” he said as he held it out to the farmer. "Forget about what you are trying to grow and tell me what this plant looks like.”
     “Well, yeah. It looks like grass to me. But all the other farmers are producing the same kind of plants.”
      The farmer stood silently.
     “Let me see you seeds.”
     The farmer reached into a bag, pulled out a handful, and held out his palm covered with the seed.
     The expert shook his head and scoffed. “This is grass seed! It looks a little like wheat, but you aren’t getting wheat because you aren’t planting wheat.”
     “What?!”
     “C’mon, you are a farmer. At least I thought you were a farmer. You want wheat to grow, you need to plant wheat seeds. You can’t plant grass seed and expect wheat to grow.”
     The farmer just stared surprised at the expert with open mouth.
     “I would bet that the farmers that taught you how to farm didn’t know the difference between wheat seed and grass seed either…”

In my experience, all around the world, churches are places where people with disabilities are too often not sought out, not invited in, not included and loved like anyone else. How could we literally have generations of Christian communities where this is the accepted practice? Perhaps for generations, the farmers, the leadership of the Christian community, have been planting the wrong seed. The soil, in other words the congregation, is not necessarily the problem. It is the seed that is being planted by the farmer, what is taught and expected from the leadership, that is the problem.

McNair

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Suffering and prayer

 I was watching a TV show last night. In it, a couple was separated. As children, there was a scene where they were hiding from school authorities by lying on their backs in a field. At a poignant moment, the boy reaches over and holds the girl's hand. Later, they are best friends. When they are separated from each other, each lays in bed thinking of that event of holding the other's hand. Each  reaches out their hand to a space next to them and thinks of the other but no one is there. They are each completely helpless.

As I watched that, I felt sad. There was nothing they could do but sadly think about their missing friend and whether they would see them again. They could do nothing to help the other and perhaps alleviate whatever they might be facing.

I have been in that place where I knew of the suffering of friends and others that I love. But there was something that I could do. I could pray. Prayer is always a good practice. But particularly when you are in a place where there is nothing else that you can do, God provides something extremely powerful that you can do. You can pray. That is a big comfort! You have the ability to boldly approach God and ask him to intervene in a situation (Hebrews 4:16). You ask him for his will to be done (Mark 14:36). You ask him to comfort and give grace to those who are going through a difficult time (2 Corinthians 12:9). You ask him to help you and those for whom you are praying to not worry (Philippians 4:6).

People will also sometimes say, there was nothing I could do but pray. Can you see that prayer is the first and the best thing you could do? Of course when there are other ways to assist, we should try to do those things. However, prayer should not be minimized.

A hard right turn...

I worry about the direction our country is going in. We are moving away from foundational principles like freedom of speech. I talk about this in my university classes, but otherwise I am not sure what to do. But the Bible tells us what we can do. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 the Lord said the following to Solomon.

...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Notice it says "if MY people, who are called by MY name, will humble themselves and pray..." We have power to change our direction. The answer is not whining and condemnation of others. A major part of the answer is people's prayer.

McNair