Friday, January 11, 2008

Bible Class Thoughts

If you didn't already know, this is my first year of homeschooling. Before we began, I remember reading all the homeschool advice and tips over at Tiany's place. Everyone said they are still figuring it out. No one was really willing to call themselves "veterans" because they felt there were always other people who had been doing it much longer than they had. I suppose we will always be figuring things out because just when you get good--the kids are older. And smarter. Well, that's the intention anyway.

BUT FOR NOW....I have stumbled across something that works!!! I have been a little unhappy with what Little Bit is getting in Bible class (not on Sunday mornings--sakes alive her teacher is great on Sunday mornings!). I just think she is ready for more than the expectations in our children's program allow for. So, I felt the need to make sure that whatever Bible lesson we did at home was appropriate for her level as well as for my 8 year old. And I have found that to be hard.

I snooped around in our resource room at church the other night (after I peeked in Little Bit's class and saw they were watching VeggieTales again. Sigh.) and found this great little book of preschool lessons. There isn't anything special about them at all but they are working for us. There is a story on the back about some children who did something that personifies the verse of that lesson. So, we get out the dollhouse family and the girls act out the story while I read it. Then they color the picture and glue on whatever item they are supposed to in order to complete the picture. Sweetheart colors for a long time because art is her first love. While she is coloring, Little Bit reenacts the story and plays with the dollhouse family. Then, Sweetheart looks up the Bible verse and reads it so we can talk about it. Little Bit answers the questions from the story (listening comprehension). I can do other stuff with Sweetheart during the morning, but this is a great way to involve both of them and get a Bible lesson in for Little Bit.

Speaking of Bible lessons--you really have to watch out for what your children are learning! Sweetheart is in the 3rd-5th grade class on Sunday mornings because she was already in the 1st and 2nd grade classes (chronological study of Old and New Testaments) and we didn't see any need for her to repeat Bible class just because she repeated first grade. ANYWAY, she came home with a lesson sheet from a big, reputable publisher of Bible class curriculum and this is what the sheet said:

Your teacher may fill out a progress report or report card on how well you are doing in school. Now you get to fill out a report card on yourself!
How do you rate yourself when it comes to serving God--A? B? C? Lower? Use this report card to help remind you of your job to serve others for God.

I have helped people in my family without being paid.
I have helped people at my church without being paid.
I have helped people I don't know personally.
I have worked outside to help people.
I have invited someone to church.

The kids put a checkmark under the categories NEVER, ONCE, THREE OR FOUR TIMES, or WEEKLY.

Here was Sweetheart's handwritten comment at the bottom of the sheet.

I think my service grade should be B- because I don't do everything right.

We were heartbroken! First of all, she is a child. Her main thing right now centers around Ephesians chapter 6 verses 1-3. S talked to her about this after class. We are her spiritual guides and she will serve alongside us in whatever our family is doing. I do not expect my 8 year old to go seeking opportunities to help those she doesn't know personally! I did remind her that we helped a lady in the Kroger parking lot a few weeks ago who was having trouble getting her groceries out of her cart. (She was diabetic and her blood sugar had dropped.) Sweetheart said, "But you did that, not me."

What is this grading ourselves on our service to the Lord? S has heard this several times in our adult class at church lately. They opened one week with the question, "What decisions did you make for the Kingdom of God this week and what decisions did you make that were not for the Kingdom of God?" My first thought was, "I made one decision several years ago for the Kingdom of God and that's really the only one that matters!"

What do you think about that? About asking children, and Christian did you do serving the Lord this week? I have some thoughts about it, but I wanted to know what you all thought.


  1. So are you going to tell us what preschool book you are using for the girls?
    I will leave the theological questions to the rest of you!

  2. Yeah, I was going to, but it's out of print I think. It's called "Fun-to-Do Book" and was published by Gospel Light. It's a reproducible so there is no telling how old it is. It says it was for use with God Loves Me Churchtime for Young Children Course. Not that all this will help if it's out of print. Do you want me to mail you copies? :)

  3. These two verses come to mind:

    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph. 2:8-9

    What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." Romans 9:30-32

    Now, I don't quote these to say that we are exempt as Christians of doing good works. Contrary, we will do good works because of our salvation in Jesus Christ. HOWEVER, our salvation does not hang in the balance regarding the good works and bad works we do or don't do (or, as you said, decisions for and not for the Kingdom of God.) The questions asked of Sweetheart and in your adult class would cause me to guess that a child or an adult unsure of their salvation, or someone coming from a salvation by works way of thinking may come away feeling like they can never measure up.

  4. While I am no theological savant, I believe that we are to focus our eyes on the cross of Christ and the grace extended to us by God through His sacrifice. It's not that I don't think that occasional moments of self-examination aren't warranted (2 Corinthians 13:5), but we are to spend our energy being God focused, which will autoamtically translate into good works. I have found personally that the more I look at me, the less use I am to God because I will always feel unworthy. This alarms me because I was exposed to a faith as a child that was focused more on how bad we are than how good God is. I can tell you, it has taken years for me to see God as loving Father who has my best interest at heart rather than a far off being waiting to zap me everytime I screw up. Thankfully your daughter has parents who will take the time to instill a more accurate view of God's love toward us. And of course, Little Bit's Sunday Bible cless teacher is superb! :-)

  5. I went to a church like that once. It was a lonely and frustrating 5 years. They preached grace, but didn't practice it.

  6. I just get the feeling that some folks believe they take one step forward, two steps back to heaven or not to heaven depending on how they are doing that week.
    I have heard people say, "well, I didn't have a good week b/c I didn't read my Bible like I should have." There is no doubt we need to read and study God's word, and serving him, obeying, etc....but those things don't make me dance over some magical line---closer to the Kingdom....uh oh, farther away from the Kingdom. It's just a dangerous way of thinking in my opinion. It takes away from God's grace and puts the focus on me. As usual--it's all about me. Have ou noticed that theme even in churches today?
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. Performance driven, approval addicted, which only leads to comparing each other to one another -that is the "world" we live in and it's ideas are now in the church. I have heard it said we are human "be"ings not human "do"ings. Sometimes it is hard on people to just BE a child of God, but I think it's a place of freedom.

    I think the spirit of those 3 judges from every reality tv show out there should stay in Hollywood and not in our bible classrooms.

  8. I think that it is not such a bad thing to reflect on our service to God. Our works should be coming from our faith and if there are no works, then we need to be on our knees to God about it! ;-)

    Something my husband and I try very hard to teach the kids is that the skills they have are not to be primarily used for their own advancement in life, but as a way to serve others. It's easy to get cozy at home and forget others. Especially children. They don't always know what's out there, or how to reach out to others so I think it's important that as parents we seek opportunities for our kids to serve.

    With all that said, it's a fine line that our churches have to walk. I'll bet a dollar your church is trying to be encouraging rather than damning. Your girls are going to pick up on their view of things from you and your husband first, so if you and your husband feel stressed out in the "works dept." at your church, then I would say it's time to move on.

    Just my 2 cents! ;-)

  9. Thanks for your comment... yes, the healing is wonderful! :)

    I love your blog - your profile is so "same page" as me!! I will be reading... God bless you!

  10. You said..."I made one decision for the Lord a few years ago, and that is the only one that matters." Amen!

    That is all I probably should say about that.

    Love your posts- they always make me think:-)


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)