(originally written in 2008)
‘Then Jesus came to them (His disciples) and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”’ from Matthew 28
As the school year begins, I cannot help but recall many of the students with whom I was blessed as a teacher. Much is written about what makes a good teacher – but I’d like to offer a few insights about what makes a really good class – a great class, in fact! More specifically, the class I am encountering now in our current Wednesday night group – the Signs of the Times Revelation Bible Study.
What an interesting gathering of God’s children we are …young single adults, older single adults, young couples, older couples, retirees and those enjoying their middle years – and all are people who love to learn!
Some bring years of experiences in learning the Word through personal study and class groups. Several of them have told me that while they have been Christians and church-goers most of their lives, they are now reading the Bible for the first time – and how they “can’t get enough of reading the Bible now!” Imagine that! They are reading their first book of the Bible – the book of Revelation – one of the most difficult books of the Bible – and they are enjoying it! How great is that!
Some of our people are from other denominations – Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic, the Church of Canada – some are seekers, some gave up on “church” earlier, others are long-time believers. One young man drives all the way from downtown Houston every Wednesday night, most come in from area suburbs and League City itself. Among us, we have a number of teachers, medical professionals, business men and women, students, artists, engineers, homemakers, world-travelers. My point is this…a good class has people whose ages and life experiences are greatly varied – and yet can meld their interests and opinions together to learn from each other and the Word.
Then, when the hour-long “teaching” per se is done, no one gets up to leave! Instead, that’s when the questions and commentary begin in earnest…tough questions, keen insights, probing commentary – stirred up by the Holy Spirit within each of them as they are encouraged to explore the Word in new and deeper ways. Encountering Jesus as the Living Water, the Bread of Life, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. They take what they are studying and hearing – not merely to add other bits and pieces of information to their collections of facts or trivia as is so common today, but to apply what they are learning to their own understanding of real-time, real-life, what-is-happening-in-their-world-today. Exploring the concerns of this life – confronting whatever lies ahead for them with the truth of the God’s Word – that’s how we learn to live as victors – not victims.
It takes knowing and living out the Word of God to live with any degree of success and confidence in this world that is as chaotic, financially unstable, ever-changing, fast paced, angry and stressed-out as our world is…and if we are truly approaching End-Times living soon as some believers and even non-believers are thinking, what we see happening today will only continue to get worse. As life gets harder, as God’s people, we need to and can become stronger…and stronger…and stronger, so that we can continue to be the Church he has called each of us to be.
The Scripture tells us as His disciples to “occupy” till He comes to receive His own. Occupy. Inhabit. Living with purpose. Making the most of every opportunity each day offers. Seizing the day. Each day. Living in intimate relationship with God, living in the world as His people, reaching out in His love to offer the only real hope and encouragement this dying world will ever know – Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior.
Encountering each other – building relationships – listening — exchanging ideas – being open to sharing our concerns, hopes and dreams – this kind of learning is an adventure…this kind of class is truly a teacher’s dream!
And just when you think class is “over”, the session concluded, the discussion over, the materials put away, the lights are out and the doors are locked – we meet at one of the area 24-hour eateries to continue our sharing (learning to live and appreciate each other more deeply as the family of God) – fellowshipping over scrambled eggs and pancakes, along with lots of laughter and even more questions and stories!
A simple way of building disciples – in and out of class. For you see, making disciples of Christ and building community is the ultimate teacher’s dream, with the Ultimate Teacher, the Holy Spirit!
From My Heart to Yours…Kay!