This book was good… and necessary

Hebrew Tabernacle

The exhibitor’s hall at the children’s education conference was quiet as the attendees were at their sessions. Carl,* a sixty-year-old security guard, was making his round of the booths. One particular exhibit caught his eye and he went for a closer look. He realized it was a model of the Hebrew Tabernacle. Daniel,* the GoodSeed staff manning the booth, greeted Carl and asked, “Are you familiar with the Tabernacle?”

Carl nodded hesitantly and replied, “I do have some idea.” Daniel picked up a copy of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus and opened it to Chapter 9 to show Carl where the Tabernacle was explained in the book. Daniel took a few minutes to explain the significance of the Tabernacle—it was a visual aid that illustrated the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

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Tabernacle Furniture Sets back in stock

Tabernacle Furniture Sets
We want to say thanks to all the people who have waited patiently for us to get a new shipment of Tabernacle furniture sets in. This furniture set is part of the Advanced ToolBox of Worldview Rethink and believers have been using them to help teach the gospel clearly.

The process of producing a new batch isn’t easy. We had designed and produced the molds some years ago but each time the manufacturer produces a new batch, there’s lot of checking to do to ensure each piece turns out perfect.

We’re happy to announce that our US, Canada and Australia offices are now stocked and sets are on their way to the UK office.

Theology, Mystery and an Old Riddle

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puzzle and book

Theology—the way it could have been

If I am honest, I sometimes wish that the Bible had been written more like a textbook of systematic theology. I wish that the Apostle John would have included an inspired chart along with his letter to the seven churches. It would have been helpful if Ezekiel had spelled out exactly what he meant by his visions. And, like the disciples, I would have preferred if Jesus had not spoken in so many parables.

It’s a mystery and that’s okay

But God, in his great wisdom chose not to. Maybe if all we had was a theology textbook then we would all be very pious people … dead in our orthodoxy. Those things in the Bible that are not clearly laid out for us cause us to seek Him, and in doing so, to grow in His grace.

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How do I use visual aids to teach the Tabernacle to children?

Tabernacle Sunday school class

The tabernacle of Moses can be a difficult subject to teach, especially to children. How do you explain the meaning of this seemingly obsolete structure, its strange furnishings, and all the complicated priestly rituals related to it?

Pam*, a children’s ministry director at a California church, found that with the help of the free Sunday school lessons and painting guide downloaded from GoodSeed, her first-to-fifth-grade Midweek Group was soon absorbed in the great visual aid God gave the Israelites that points to Christ.

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You guys sure have a lot of God stuff!

Ark of the covenant

One day, my wife and I were caring for a six-year-old boy in our home as a way of helping out the boy’s dad, a single parent. The boy emerged wide-eyed from our storage room where we kept our visual aids for teaching and in an excited, matter-of-fact voice declared, “You guys sure have a lot of God stuff!”

I admit, we do have quite a collection of “God stuff.” And we use our “God stuff” whenever we can to help teach the Bible’s message to friends.

I’ve become a firm believer in the teaching power of visual aids. They not only help our students grasp biblical concepts, the visual aids also help in recall as well.

Continue reading “You guys sure have a lot of God stuff!”

How do I teach about the importance of understanding Scripture using puzzles?

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dinosaur

I had been looking forward to having a Bible study with this couple, yet was a bit apprehensive. Would they understand the importance of taking twelve hours to go through the 1,100 verses found in The Stranger? I knew the husband had a staunch religious background. Would we get off track on controversial issues? Then, at the Mississippi TERM* seminar, one of the GoodSeed staff introduced the wood dinosaur puzzles! What a set of tools these have been! Let me tell you how they help.

When I began our study, I held up one piece of the dinosaur puzzle and asked my students what it was. They could not tell. After a few guesses, I showed them the rest of the puzzle. I explained that just like we could not tell what one piece of the puzzle represented until we could see the rest of the puzzle, in the same way we could not understand the Bible unless we took a good look at the book as whole from beginning to end. For us to study the main theme of the Bible would require a commitment of twelve hours!

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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?

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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