Need Suggestions For A Good Study Of The Book Of Revelation

I am looking for suggestions for a good study of the Book of Revelation for my adult Sunday School class.   Any format (book, audio, or video) will be considered.  Please leave the name of anything you might recommend in a comment.  A brief explanation as to why you like it would also be helpful.

Thanks for your help

Advertisements

Is Sunday School Still Important?

No matter what you call it or when they actually meet, do you think Sunday School is worth the time and effort?  This article seems to indicate that it is.  As someone who teaches Sunday School, I can attest that it does..especially if make the effort to have a relationship with the members of your class outside the class settings.

The statistics in the article speak for themselves.  Small group interaction is vital to a person feeling connected to the church.  Once a person is part of a small group they are much less likely to drop out of church.

Do you attend Sunday School?  If not, why not?  If you don’t, you are depriving yourself and others of the benefits of the group.

Does Jesus Want “To Be My Friend Forever”?

My RSS reader (Google Reader) has given me links to at least two blogs (Founders Ministries and Tim Ellsworth) that have referenced the same story. Since two different people had thought it was important enough to write about I decided to read it and see what was going on. Here is the money quote:

We’re using these formative preschool years to build a foundation for that eventual decision by focusing on God’s love and telling preschoolers that “Jesus wants to be my friend forever.”

To give my answer to the question in the title: NO, Jesus wants to be our Lord. He died to pay the penalty for our sins. His blood was shed in our place and for that we owe Him everything. It is true that the Bible says we will be joint heirs with Jesus, and indeed we will, but He will always hold the preeminent position.

Apparently First Look (a company that develops children’s Sunday School material) has decided to omit the crucifixion from their Easter lesson. They have sent out a letter (click here to read it) attempting to explain their decision. In the letter they state that “because of the graphic nature of the Easter story and the crucifixion specifically” they have “chosen not to include the Easter story in our curriculum.” They go on to explain that “the crucifixion is simply too violent for preschoolers.” So, you might ask, what will the lesson on Easter be about? They are going to focus “on the Last Supper, when Jesus shared a meal and spent time with the people He loved.”

I am not saying that this is not a good lesson. It might be a very good lesson. The point is that they should not be afraid to tell the complete Easter story. I have 3 children (ages 11, 7, and 10 months) of my own and I have had discussions with them when they were very young about what Jesus did for us. I know that they did not grasp it all and I certainly did not go into graphic detail about the crucifixion. In fact, I waited some time before letting them see the movie The Passion of The Christ. The Easter story can be told very effectively to children without being graphic.

I am left to wonder a few things. Is this the first year that First Look has chosen not to tell the Easter story or have they done this before? What factors or other options did they consider in making this decision? What other parts of the Bible are they purposefully going to (or have been) be keeping from the children?

Does your church use First Look? Do you support their decision to not include the Easter story? Do you leave the crucifixion out when talking to your kids about what Jesus did for us? I am just curious how what you all think about this.

Atheist Sunday School?

Found this article written by R. Albert Mohler Jr. in the Baptist Press. It is a story about how some atheists have organized a “Sunday School” for their children.

It seems that many atheist parents are concerned that their children should learn at an early age how to deal with the challenge of living among Christian believers. Furthermore, these parents want to ensure that their children and teenagers learn their own secular values.

Actually I find it commendable that parents are concerned with teaching their values to their children and are willing to be proactive in the effort. Having said that, I also believe their values are misguided. I find it interesting that they are choosing to use Sunday School as the model for the things they are trying to do.

“But some nonbelievers are beginning to think they might need something for their children. ‘When you have kids,’ says Julie Willey, a design engineer, ‘you start to notice that your co-workers or friends have church groups to help teach their kids values and to be able to lean on.’

Dr Mohler sums it up very nicely. He says

In a strange way, the rise of atheist Sunday Schools illustrates the central dilemma of atheism itself. Try as they may, atheists cannot avoid talking about God — even if only to insist that they do not believe in Him. Now, atheist parents are organizing Sunday Schools as a parallel to the Christian practice. In effect, atheists are organizing themselves in a way similar to a local church. At least some of them must sense the awkward irony in that.

This is a very interesting observation. The dilemma faced by atheists is quite telling. It seems to me that if there really was no God that they would not have this problem. The old saying says that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. So what can we learn from this?

First, Sunday School is a very effective way to teach our children (our adults too). Unfortunately, many people choose not to go or take their children because they do not see the value in it. That is a huge mistake and they are hurting themselves and the church in the process.

Second, churches should re-double their efforts to teach their members the importance of the small group atmosphere in discipleship. In my own Sunday School class we seek to create a sense of family. One way we attempt to do this is by having monthly fellowship events and members homes. We don’t do anything church related, we just eat (we are Southern Baptists after all) and fellowship. By spending time with each other outside of church we are investing in each others lives. This allows us to honestly teach and discuss the principles and text of the Bible.

Third, discipleship is a team effort. We can effectively teach our children ourselves but those lessons will be best learned and remembered by our kids if they are reinforced by other adults in positions of authority in the lives of our children. Sunday School leaders can and do fill those positions by people who share the values of the parents.

If you are not involved in a Sunday School class then I want to urge you to join one. Take your time and find the one that best fits you in your church. You will be doing yourself a favor and be a blessing to the members of your class. You will also receive many blessings from your class so set your clock an hour earlier on Sunday morning from now on.

EXPLORE THE BIBLE

My Sunday School class uses the Explore the Bible curriculum from Lifeway.  This curriculum goes through all 66 books of the Bible in one cycle.  The current cycle ends this quarter (at the end of August) and it has taken 11 years to complete.  In September a new cycle will begin and is scheduled to take 8 years to complete.  It will not be a true verse by verse study through the entire Bible but with a little reading and study on your own it could easily be turned into it. 

My class is only a year old…we formed in May of 2006 and we have used this curriculum for 3 or 4 quarters now.  It has been very positive.  Getting a feel for the whole book really makes a difference in comprehension and retention of the material.  What material does your class use?  Do you like it?  If not, don’t be afraid to suggest a change.  There is lots of good stuff out there so you should be able to find something that will work for your class.