Content or delivery?

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leah reading

Western Society demands that communication be entertaining. Style and delivery has eclipsed the importance of message content.

Even in the Christian community, it has become expected that if one is to communicate a message from the Word of God, the way in which that message be delivered must be polished, entertaining, and professional. One must undergo years of training and practice in order to learn how to deliver truth in the acceptable manner. It must be smooth, it must be captivating, and above all, it must entertain the audience.

What is so tragic about this is that the average Christian is more concerned about how a message is given, than how accurate the message itself is.

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How do I teach about atonement using colored cards?

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heart and red card

Probably the most common visual aid we see in the Bible has to do with the atonement. Although this word is connected with one of the most profound doctrines the Bible teaches, many biblically knowledgable folk have a hard time explaining it.

The word atonement actually embraces a fairly wide spectrum of truth, but when one is teaching, you need not exhaust the subject. If you get the major point of the word across, the finer nuances of meaning will come with time. This is especially true for those who have never studied the Bible.

Here we take a look at a method for teaching one aspect of the word “atonement.” You will be amazed at how well people understand it after you use this one simple visual aid.

When one considers how much God used visual aids, it might be worthwhile for us to pause and consider how often we use them when we teach the Bible.

The following visual aids can be found in the Worldview Rethink Basic ToolBox. But here are the steps you can follow to create your own.

Step 1: Obtain the supplies needed.

  • Bristle board (or card stock) bright red on one or both sides (for blood)
  • Bristle board (or card stock) white on one side, black on the other side (heart) – NOTE: If in your area of the country a “black heart” would imply racism, use a white heart both sides—and smudge the one side with charcoal. Referring to it as a “heart dirty with sin” should remove the problem.
  • Scrap paper to make a template

Step 2: Prepare the tool.

Take a scrap piece of paper the appropriate size; fold it and cut out the shape of half a heart. Unfold it to have a complete heart-shaped template, evenly shaped on both sides.

Cutting the heart patternUnfolded heart

Using this template, trace out a heart on the black side of your bristle board. Cut it out with sharp scissors. You will end up with a heart that is black on one side and white on the other.

Trace a heart

Cut a piece of red bristle board large enough to comfortably cover the heart in its entirety.

red over black heart

Step 3: Teaching with the visual aid

When teaching The Stranger — use these tools, on these pages, at these points:

[Page 78:]

“The Scripture says. . .

…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22b

God was saying that man’s sin-debt could only be paid—or forgiven—if there was death. Normally man would die for his own sin, but now, based on certain future events, God was saying that he would accept an animal’s death in man’s place—as a substitute. So an animal was to be killed and its blood shed. But there was more.

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Leviticus 17:11

[Page 78]

God’s instructions in this verse are very important for two reasons.

  • First: The death of the animal graphically illustrated what God’s law demanded. Sin demands death. The sacrifice pictures the law of sin and death being obeyed and justice being fulfilled.
  • Second: God said that the shed blood would make atonement for sin. The word atonement means covering. The shed blood would (1) cover man’s sin, therefore, when God looked at man, he would no longer see the sin. Man would be viewed as right with God and God in his holiness could then accept man. The relationship would be restored.

Red dotted heart

Through faith in God, as demonstrated by the death and the atoning blood on the altar, man would find forgiveness for sin and a new relationship with God.”

ATONEMENT—A COVERING FOR SIN

Sacrificing an animal on an altar did not take away the sin. Man was still sinful. The sacrificed animal only provided a covering (1) for sin, and pictured what was necessary for sin to be forgiven —death and the shedding of blood. In the same way that God had covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness with acceptable clothing made of skins, now man’s sins would be (1) covered by the blood of animals that had died in his place. Sacrificing the animal on the altar was an outward demonstration of an inner reality—the inward fact that man was trusting God. It was because man was trusting God, that God provided a way of escape from judgment and man could be restored to a right relationship with Him. Man would still die physically as a result of sin, but the eternal consequences—separation from God and punishment in the Lake of Fire—would no longer apply.

[Page 247:]

Red dotted heart Red over White

The animal sacrifices provided a yearly atonement-covering for sin. God accepted the animals because he was looking forward in history to the time when Jesus would come and die as the final sacrifice. When Jesus died, he did more than (1) cover sin for a year. He blotted it out (2) from God’s sight forever. On the cross He cried, “It is finished”— signifying “the final Lamb is found.”

How do I teach about death using a branch?

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branch
Photo credit: Matvey Andreyev on flickr

Like every other country in the world, Togo, West Africa, desperately needs to hear a clear Gospel. 70% are animist, 10% Muslim, and 20% “Christian”. Confusion abounds even among many who call themselves Christians. Many have given their businesses names like “Jesus Loves You Pizzeria,” “Thanks to God Bar,” “Jesus Saves Grocery,” yet relatively few have a clear understanding of the Gospel.

In the summers of 2003 and 2004, some of us were privileged to hold several TERM seminars for Christians in Togo. We taught through the French version of All that the Prophets have Spoken. The seminars included teaching the believers how to use simple, indigenous visual aids—which serve to grab and hold people’s attention, as well as strengthen their understanding and retention of God’s story and message.

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What do you do when a Christian doesn’t act like one?

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Peter and Seyin

When, on one hand, people claim to believe in Christ, while on the other hand, they don’t act like it, is there anything that can be done? What is clear in scripture is that God doesn’t want us as believers to simply stand on the sidelines and look on.

Recently, GoodSeed celebrated the launch of our newest book, In-ká-hai: How Sweet It Is! with a small gathering. During this time, author Chantal Chen shared highlights from the book, explaining how the missionaries tackled the above scenario among the Manjúi people, giving us biblical insight on what we can do in similar situations. The missionaries tackled the root problem: understanding. There is so much to learn from what the missionaries did to ensure that the Manjúi had a clear understanding of the gospel and these insights have been distilled into the six study sessions included in the book.

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What does it mean to be a Christian?

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Photo credit: Angel James de Ocampo on flickr

(Editor’s note: In a world of ever-increasing biblical illiteracy, people presume they know what the Bible is all about just because they attend church regularly or they do “Christian” things. As Brandon’s story illustrates, a person can live his life acting like a Christian without actually being one. But it isn’t hard to get a good foundation of the Bible if one reads a book that explains its message clearly.)

We received a long, hand-written letter from Brandon.* In over four pages of beautiful penmanship, he described his mistaken ideas about what he thought it meant to be a Christian. He writes:

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Is brief best?

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Make it clearQuestion: In sharing the Gospel with someone, I like the general idea found in your book By This Name. But what if the book is too long? Can I follow the main ideas but tell the Gospel in as short a time as possible?

Answer: We have found that most Christians want to share the Gospel in a nutshell, using five-minute presentations or gospel tracts. This is not wrong, but our material takes a different approach. Because our resources are written for those who have little or no understanding of the Bible, we must take the time to lay foundations first.

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When family rejects the gospel

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When Family Rejects the Gospel If only every family were like the Richards’* family.

“It was in 1965 that my sister and I first trusted in Jesus at Sunday School. Then my mother came to church and she believed. It took a while, but finally my father came with us… he heard the message, and also trusted in Christ. God brought our entire family to salvation and now, three generations later, dozens more have been added.”

When someone understands and believes the good news, their relatives, quite naturally, are affected. When the Philippian jailer believed in Jesus for his salvation, that very night his household also heard the Gospel, were identified as believers, and were baptized (Acts 16:31-34). Testimonies like those of the Philippian jailer and the Richards’ family still happen today. Unfortunately, though, it’s not always the case. Countless believers live each day with the heartbreak of knowing their own loved ones have, for one reason or another, not accepted the Bible’s message. Family relationships are complicated, and sharing the Gospel with family can be risky and discouraging.

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I don’t know what to say!

You spotted an opportunity to share the gospel. You have a book to give and you’re ready. But what do you say? How do you broach the topic? Learn what you can say in these situations.

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I don't know what to say!

Paul said to Jill, the waitress for his table, “Thank you so much for taking care of me today. I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you and I’d like to thank you by giving you a book. It’s about the Bible and it explains it from A to Z in an objective, non-arm-twisting manner. It really helped me understand what the Bible is all about and I’d like you to have this copy.”

Jill took the book and broke into a wide smile, “Oh, what a surprise. Thank you! I’ll read this book!”

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Introducing the GoodSeed Tool Selector

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GoodSeed Tool Selector (Feb 2013)

At GoodSeed, we have a number of tools specially designed for giving away to people. When you are faced with an opportunity to give a tool, some questions to consider are:

  • What language does your friend speak?
  • How old is she?
  • What is his worldview?
  • What is her preferred learning style?

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Consider this your personal ministry

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bible puzzle

“I am an ambassador-homemaker. I have young children. I cook, clean, help with homework and bring the kids to school. Wherever I go, I am on the lookout for how I can share the gospel with others. I plan for my day as a homemaker by setting aside time and budget to manage my household well. I plan for my day as an ambassador by setting aside time and budget to make sure I am ready at all times to share the gospel whether by giving away a gospel resource or sitting down and guiding someone through the Bible.”

You may be a homemaker, young mum, executive in a large firm, mechanic or a student. But you are also an Ambassador for Christ. It’s one thing to just acknowledge we have this job. It’s quite another to be deliberately and intentionally getting ready to do this job well. But how do we become good ambassadors? Here are five steps.

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