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… and at the Conclusion of It All

February 4, 2014

Today was a rip roarin’ day almost from the word “go.” 

Bill came trotting in.  He is witnessing to a cult member over a gaming system account and needs help in getting Bible verses that help answer some very deep questions.  We spend some time after class handling some key passages.

Grady asks questions about the judgments of God.  We discuss His attribute of justice and you can see the knowledge light click on.  It’s a great feeling.

Then Lori wants to talk about a possible ministry in future years, and also about a friend’s troubles with alcoholism.

The Matthew study focus In New Testament class is on the leper being healed.  I show pictures of people suffering advanced stages of leprosy  and the devastating effects of this horrible disease.  Limbs are missing.  Faces are disfigured.  The students are grim as they ask medical questions and then offer discussion on the impact of the leper’s healing by Christ who actually touched the leper as He healed him.  The lesson on Jesus’ compassion is not lost to the class members.

Sociology Class is humming.  We are talking about traditions – some that are downright dangerous and puzzling.  Chinese foot binding.  Japanese seppuku. Hindu sati. The discussion is lively and engaging.

1aShawn shares how he has been able to use the class teaching in Matthew about the parables of Jesus talking about the lost coin with his family members, some of whom are not Christians.

A fellow teacher needs some help in a study about the Gethsemane and we pore over some notes for a while.  This leads to a discussion on Satanology.  It’s a day of moving back and forth between rooms and hallways, meeting and discussing on the fly.

But the debates make it rowdy.  In a rare move I divide the class up in half – one side are Christians and the other side play the part of atheists.  Usually I play the part of the atheist, but I’m experimenting and seeing how the class can debate peers and handle both the Bible passages (Psalm 22 and Micah 5 prophecies, Matthew 13 teaching in parables, validity of NT manuscripts) and the art of debate.  Although it’s not anarchy in the room, it’s safe to say that Robert’s Rules of Order is not in effect at this time. Tomorrow, the roles flip; the teams switch “allegiances” and go for Round Two.

I’m clicking.  The class lessons are going well, almost as if everything is on automatic.  I’m able to move through the teaching about the methods of outreach as outlined in the book of Jude, and I’m getting overworked; the temperature control is of and the room is extremely hot.  I start pouring sweat and must take off my jacket while I try to cool down and teach a powerful passage at the same time.

I feel almost robotic, but in a good way.  The rhythm is there; I am able to move through the lessons and see good, strong results.

It’s the end of the day.  The bell rings.  I dismiss class, and sit down to look at the quiz results, moving as efficiently as possible.

That’s when Jared stands up, hauls on his backpack and turns to me, saying,

“Thanks for teaching us.”

I stop for a moment, because my mind hasn’t really registered what he has said.  “Beg pardon, sir?”

He stands and smiles at me.

“Thanks for teaching us.”

I am almost flustered.  I am not sure what to say.  I mumble out a ‘thank you,’ but long after he is gone the words hit me and cause me to think as I sit here in the classroom tonight.

This isn’t about running on auto-pilot, Brad.  This isn’t about agendas being the priority.

This is about these young souls, hearts and minds who enjoy, really enjoy learning about Jesus Christ.  They’re growing and they’re learning and … open your eyes again! … enjoying it.

I’m going to get into my car tonight and head home.  I’ll keep the radio turned off.  I want time to mull this over some more.

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