Though you may substitute any SOW recommended resources to use your own favorites, we believe; the SOW Curriculum has designed an excellent comprehensive reading program, which utilizes good resources, and include step by step lessons, that easily and successfully teach all the necessary reading skills such as spelling, writing, English, phonic rules, blending, sight words, critical thinking, comprehension, recall, sequencing, oral & silent reading, etc..
The following are some unique characteristics about the SOW reading or phonics program…
A. It is a “wholelistic” approach to learning how to read. Unlike most programs in which the student’s spelling words are different from the student’s writing and reading words, the SOW uses the same family words (bat, cat, fat, rat, etc.) to learn English, spelling, writing, and reading skills.
B. Most phonic programs require the student to read library books to learn how to read. The SOW utilizes Merrill Linguistic Readers, which reinforce only the words of phonic sounds already introduced. This gives the student consistent and instant success in oral and silent reading.
C. The SOW reading program concentrates on teaching reading skills and the practice of those skills to read. We have a separate program for analyzing and learning Biblical principles. See the SOW literature program for list of books, poems, etc.. Skill texts and workbooks are used to teach and reinforce reading, spelling, and English skills such as recall and identify words, context, comprehension, sequencing, matching, inferring, critical thinking, sentence structuring, etc.. All of these reading skills are essential for successful reading.
D. In the SOW, there is a step by step oral lesson, in which the student decodes each word according to families such as in, win, fin, tin, sin, etc. It is during this session the student hears, sees, and blends the sounds to make words.
E. While the student is learning to read, the SOW encourages the student to write each word by tracing or copying the words using manuscript print, only. We believe; the student should write the words exactly how he reads the words in books. Other types of writing such as italics,
calligraphy, cursive etc. should be taught after the student learns to read well.
F. In the recommended SOW readers, there are no pictures, therefore the student is forced to read and draw conclusions from what he is reading, not from the pictures. He is required to use each word in context by drawing pictures and/or writing sentences of his own.
G. Phonic rules and phonetic spelling are taught with each sound teaching the students principles of reading that will make better readers, spellers, and writers.
H. There are four step by step phonic lessons in the SOW Curriculum:
1. Consonant sounds: The student will learn consonants by matching capital and small letters, placing them in alphabetical order, identifying each letter’s sound, writing all the letters, and recalling each letter’s name using fun resources and activities. Specific hands on resources are selected for this lesson.
2. Short vowel sounds: Short vowels are introduced one at a time orally in which the student is taught to blend sounds to make a word….such as b-a-t= bat. Specific phonics worksheets, spelling and writing activities are given to reinforce what the student is learning. The student will learn other words correlating with each sound learned such as bat, cat, fat, sat, etc.. These set of words are called family words. Using the Merrill readers & skill texts, and spelling and writing activities, the young student is able to read successfully and easily on the first day. After the student has finished his first reader and work text, he is able to be self taught because of the simple and methodical way the material is introduced. Only about 15 minutes a day of guidance and teaching is needed.
3. More vowel sounds: Long vowels and other vowel sounds are introduced and word families are learned by blending the phonic sounds to make words such as boil, coil, toil, oil, etc..
4. Advanced Phonics: This lesson is for the older or mature student, who needs drilling in the sounds for better spelling and reading.
Note: The only disadvantage to using this recommended resource, Merrill Reading Program, is the difficulty of purchasing the teacher editions. BUT, we believe; the lessons are explanatory and easy for the teacher to use without the teacher editions.
For those, who desire to purchase the Merrill teacher editions, the publishing company requires the home school family to send in verification from your verification in with your order.
Compared to some reading programs, the Merrill Linguistic Reading Program seems costly for 7 readers @ $25.00 (soft cover) – $50.00 (hard cover) each & skill texts (consumable) for about $20.00 each.
Remember…This program also includes English, spelling and writing. So there is no need to purchase each of these separate texts, making this a very affordable, if not less expensive program than most.
Hint: For those on a tight budget, like we were, we purchased only the readers and skill texts, as needed. After all of your children have learned to read, you can sell the readers.
Truthfully, I am concerned by the many homeschoolers, who are opting for less expensive and incomplete reading programs to teach their children to read. This is one area of home schooling that should not be compromised. Many of these reading programs…
-lack reinforcement in reading skills such as sequencing, comprehension,
identifying, recalling, critical thinking, etc.
-require a separate spelling, English, and writing program, frustrating the student with too much busy work and conflicting methods on how to read.
-introduce sounds too fast expecting more memorizing than needed.
-need teacher participation and guidance at all times making the curriculum too hard for the student to independently learn and too time consuming for the teacher.
We believe; many homeschoolers burn out because of the reading curriculum choices made.
The Merrill Linguistic Reading program is worth the time and cost to have such an easy, thorough, and fool proof method of learning how to read.
*Those, who have used other programs, and switched to this program, found it easy to use and very thorough to teach ANY student (exceptions to blind, deaf, and severely mentally disabled) how to read.
*As a special education and elementary teacher, I used this program in the public school, easily and successfully.
*Personally, I found it difficult to teach my oldest son to read using other methods, but when I switched to using the Merrill Linguistic Readers and skill texts along with the Modern Curriculum Press (MCP) workbooks and activities as suggested in the SOW, he quickly learned how to read along with all my other children. Some of them moved through the program quicker than others depending on their God given abilities. They all read fluently by the 4th grade any text including the Bible. The method and resources were easy to use with multiple aged children and successful with various learning abilities and disabilities.
These are the specific readers, skill texts, and MCP workbooks with their suggested grade levels that the SOW recommends …
- K… See SOW Resource List
- Grade 1…I CAN, DIG IN, CATCH ON & MCP-A
- Grade 2…STEP UP, GET SET, LIFT OFF & MCP-B
- Grade 3… TAKE FLIGHT, & BREAK THROUGH & MCP-C
Note: The Merrill Reading Program is not found on their website and can not be ordered from their website.
Merrill Linguistic Readers & Skill texts …
Modern Curriculum Press: A-C…
Phonics Pathways: Clear Steps for Easy Reading and Perfect Spelling … (A new resource)
All three of these resources will give you (teacher/parent) the confidence needed to teach reading, writing, spelling, English, and phonics the SOW way!
Other SOW blog articles pertaining to topic… http://sowcurriculum.com/blog/?p=143
If you have more questions, please contact me…
May God Bless, Merle Reece
When I receive reports from some SOW families of how they are SOWing, I have to wonder, if they are using the same SOW Curriculum.
Why is it so difficult to follow a schedule? When is any student required to write too much? Is your day or week cluttered with too many unproductive activities? Is your family living by Biblical principles of “sowing and reaping”, “love, pray, and bless”, etc.? Are you keeping faithful to the Lord’s command to make disciples?
The vision and goal of SOW is simply to know God and make Him known. We accomplish this through discipleship…teaching and training of the Word and walking in the Spirit.
The SOW is designed to fully disciple the student by teaching them how to …PRAY, study the Bible Inductively, walk in the Spirit not the flesh, and learn a Biblical view in every subject.
The SOW is easy to use with any type of learner…
- Each student follows an individualized practical weekly schedule, which leads to a specific lesson…Praise-Repent-Ask-Yield letter to God, an inductive Bible study (read, outline, topic, character, setting, word, application), spelling, English, penmanship, writing, literature, and either history, science, or geography.
- Answering the questions in each lesson is made easy by choosing any of these various ways of communicating through k-3rd skill level worksheets (oral, drawn, simple word or sentence), 4th-8th skill level worksheets (paragraph), and 9th-12th skill level worksheets (a 3 paragraph essay).
- Though the Bible is the main and final source of learning, resources are repeatedly utilized in each subject…Bible, atlas, dictionary, concordance, English handbook, writing handbook, literature, encyclopedia, or science, history, or geography texts, etc.
Multilevel learning unifies the family, maximizes creative interaction, less expensive, time efficient, and creates teachable moments, etc.
Weekly family co-ops that include field trips, sports, music, drama, art, apprenticeship, & play activities are encouraged, therefore SOWing (discipleship) is fun, yet purposeful.
Individualized mentoring available by phone call 1-225-590-3444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
SOWing…How we celebrate Easter as a holiday (Holy Day)…
by Merle T. Reece
At our house we take this time to celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection and the hope we have as Christians…. Jesus said ” I am the Resurrection and the Life, those who believes in Me, even though they die, shall live forever.”
Our main goal is for Jesus to be the focus of this celebration.
These are some ways our family has done this…
*house decorations…Decorate the house with lambs (Jesus the Lamb of God- the sacrifice for our sins), crosses (Jesus’ death for our redemption), & eggs (new life for Jesus’ resurrection and our hope of resurrection & to teach the triniy.).
*Passover Feast…Reading of the Passover story… Reenact Passover…hide & find yeast bread (label with different sins such as lie, steal, mock, covet, etc.); taste bitter parsley reminding of bondage of slavery (sin); eat piece of roasted lamb (Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins);
*Resurrection eggs… Read Scripture and show the item in each egg to tell the Way of the Cross. Purchase or make your own … http://wantingwhatyouhave.com/2009/03/make-your-own-resurrection-eggs.html or buy them http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Eggs-Familylife/dp/1572297220
*Lord’s Supper… Reading of Lord’s Supper.. .drink grape juice (blood of Christ needed for forgiveness of sins) and eat no yeast bread -Jesus is the bread of life (male lamb, perfect without blemish or sin that was crucified for our sins).
Washing of Feet…Reading of washing of Feet…Head of the household (He came to serve.) wash feet & pray a blessing over each.
Jelly bean trail… http://familyfun.go.com/easter/easter-games-egg-hunts/jelly-bean-trail-847693/
Egg toss… get partners, toss raw egg at various distances, last partners standing with whole egg wins.
Egg race… each person races with egg on a spoon. First to finish line wins. If you drop it start over.
Egg pocking…after egg decorating then take favorite egg and hit edge of egg onto another person’s egg… do this till 1 egg left not cracked .
Egg hunt… hide wrapped candies (for all ages) or plastic filled eggs (healthy choices…raisons, play dough, stickers, etc.) and have all ages find the candy or eggs. Optional :Give a number of eggs each can find and then they have to help others find their quota).
Crossword puzzle… http://www.dltk-bible.com/t.asp?b=m&t=http://www.dltk-bible.com/crosswords/b-crossword-withwords-easter.gif
Also playing bubbles, balloon volleyball, flying kites, & making paper airplanes
Egg decorating… http://familyfun.go.com/easter/easter-crafts/easter-egg-decorating/
bonnets (glue or staple fresh or silk flowers on straw hat or paper plate with ribbons, fasten to head with a ribbon)
Lamb …. Glue cotton balls to the lamb http://www.dltk-kids.com/t.asp?b=m&t=http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/poster/bposterlamb.gif
Cross (older kids craft)…http://www.daniellesplace.com/html/crosscrafts.html
Beaded cross necklace… http://www.christianbook.com/beaded-cross-necklace/pd/779150?event=CF
Resurrection cookies… (nuts optional) http://www.creativebiblestudy.com/resurrectioncookies.html
Breakfast- Egg wraps: cook eggs add rotel, & cheese and serve on soft tortilla (10 seconds in microwave)
-Roasted lamb with mushrooms
-Potato Salad – mashed hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise, chopped green onions, & boiled potatoes
-Angel food cake with strawberries & whip cream
-Spinach salad – cherry tomatoes, chopped walnuts, sliced thin purple onions, & sliced boiled eggs
SHARE IDEAS YOU HAVE DONE WITH YOUR FAMILY!
- Biblical vision…The goal is to know God, method is discipleship, the main text is the Bible.
- Comprehensive educational program … subjects meet national standards for K-12th subjects, utilizes accredited resources, various mediums, and hands on activities.
- Integrated subjects …a unique focus on the Bible in every subject (not history, literature, principle, doctrine based) creating a unique bond in all the subjects… spelling to history, English..
- Discipleship method… prayer, inductive Bible study skills, the Bible (Genesis to Revelations), stewardship, defending the faith, how to walk with God, evangelism, etc..
- Individual pace instruction… achieved through personalized schedule, step by step lessons, & skill level worksheets.
- Nondenominational education… use of inductive skills, critical thinking, various sources, the Bible (any version) as the main text assures a non biased education.
- Multi grade/age learning…whole concepts & various skills taught that transcends grades or ages using K-3rd, 4th-8th, & 9th-12th skill level worksheets & comprehensive yet flexible scope & sequences… 12, 6, 4, or 2.
- Whole concepts & skills mastered… For example, language arts will include; science topic thoroughly cover every subject through experiments or projects, illustrations, observations, etc.; history & geography leaned by unity studies… report, biography, map, religion, culture, resources, government, art, etc.
- All students inclusive… K-12th, special needs, and/or English second language students learn by sill * concept repetition, step by step lessons, and utilizing oral, drawing, & writing to communicate.
- Family unity …devotions, co-ops, home management. multilevel learning, etc.
- Life skill training … ministry, vocation, life, single/marriage mentoring encouraged.
- Biblical view…Wisdom achieved not just knowledge acquired because Bible is the main text & inductive skills used in every subject.
- Testing & evaluation…diagnostic/achievement test, student progress report, & subject evaluation.
- Personal & home management …Schedule, Student Progress, Spiritual/Carnal, charts to train student for excellence in all areas of Christian living.
- Step by Step lessons …Bible, Prayer, Penmanship/Memory. Creative Writing, Literature, English, Spelling, Speech, Science, History, & Geography, Electives, etc.
- Mastery of inductive skills… analytical questions (who, what, when, where, how, why), research (finding answers using various sources), critical thinking (recall, sequencing, comprehension, etc.), communication (oral, drawing, writing), and application (observation, interpretation, application).
- Support system… easy contact with experience and degreed educator to mentor, train & teach, answer questions, give advice, etc. via blogs, email, phone consultations, workshops, etc.
***See SOW Scope & Sequence I, Subject Lesson samples, Resource List, Weekly Schedule, Skill Level worksheets, & Student Samples for more information here… www.sowcurriculum.com
Although God’s Word states that Jesus did not come to judge the world but to save it, I still grieved and wrestled over the fact that I felt judged, even as a Christian. Like Gandhi and many people I have personally known, when I look at my and other believer’s lives, I have been also tempted to say, “Christianity does not work”. Recently, I felt so overwhelmed with this issue that I launched into a thorough study of God’s Word.
At the core of my frustrations was the seemingly paradox that the Scriptures commanded Christians to “be holy” but in truth we would not gain “holiness” (perfection) till death. Have you have ever met a person who says I once was a Christian? If so, most likely this person never understood the fondational truths of the Christian faith. Though there are many Christian religions, Christianity, in truth, is not a religion; you do not become or stay a Christian by joining a church or keeping a set of rules. Instead, Christianity is an intimate relationship with the All Powerful, Living, Holy, Eternal, Father – Creator of everything. It begins with God freely offering man a relationship with Him which requires only that we believe and accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as Savior, the perfect atoning sacrifice for all sins. The moment any person “believes and receives” Jesus Christ (His good works, not ours), he becomes a Christian; these three things happen…
- 1. The sinner is justified or made right with a holy and just God and becomes a Christian (born again, regenerated, new creature) automatically receiving these Spiritual blessings through Christ…redeemed and forgiven of sins, adopted as a son or daughter, sealed with the Spirit of God, and the assured hope of eternal life with God.
- 2. The Christian is sanctified or set apart for God’s holy purposes. Sanctification, the purifying process of becoming like Christ, is a life- long journey.
- 3. The Christian is promised to be glorified or given a new sinless, painless, eternal body at the moment of the Christian’s death and resurrection.
Although justification, sanctification, and glorification are all given by God and are immediate products of faith in, for, by, and through Christ, sanctification is also an ongoing process that begins at justification and ends with glorification. Sanctifying (purifying or becoming holy) requires first and continuously God’s GRACE (God’s Riches At Christ’ Expense) and that the Christian yield or lay aside the flesh and deny self and instead walk and live in the Spirit by faith in God’s Word. But because we desire instant gratification, the slow and painful process of sanctification (becoming like Christ) is something our flesh hates, even after becoming a Christian. Accepting Jesus as Savior is the first step as a Christian, it is the continually yielding to Jesus’ Lordship that seems impossible, but we have a promise …“with God everything is possible.”
Matthew 26: 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
I Corinthians 2:14-3:3 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spirituallyappraised. 15 But he who isspiritual, appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 Forwho has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as tomen of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2 I gave youmilk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,3 for you are still fleshly. For since there isjealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walkinglike mere men?
According to Scripture, there is a Spiritual war going on in the members of our bodies between the flesh and the Spirit. The non-Christian has no choice but to be subject to the flesh but a Christian, although now set free from his former slavery to sin, is still in a battle to stay free. We are told to crucify, deny, and put to death the flesh. Christians do this by walking in the Spirit, an ongoing process in which a Christian repents of his sins committed, asks the Holy Spirit to control every area of his life, and obeys by faith the Word of God rather than choosing what his flesh desires. Our ability to discern and choose is dependent on the “renewing and transforming of our minds” to the Word of God and the yielding of our bodies to the Spirit of God. God has given us resources to fight the flesh, such as the Spirit of God, the Word of God, prayer, and other Spiritual weapons of war fare. Those who walk in the Spirit will produce the fruits of the Spirit during this life and will reap great reward in the life to come.
Galatians 5:16-25So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit,you are not under the law.19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality,impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Understanding justification, sanctification, and glorification is crucial to living the Christian life, which no man can do except by God’s GRACE. I like the way one author sums up the Christian life …”When a person is regenerated they are separated from the penalty of sin, then as they grow in their walk with the Lord they are progressively separated from the power of sin, and finally, when they are with Christ in his presence, they will be separated from the presence of sin.” Sam A Smith
As I grow older in Christ, it becomes clearer to me that this world is not my home. At times, I naively think that the struggles I have between the flesh and the Spirit would lessen, but instead I find that they are intensifying. The closer I get to the Light, the more darkness is revealed. I have found that by comparing the traits that I am displaying quickly identifies whether I am walking in the Spirit or the flesh. Then I practice walking in the Spirit by repenting (Admit that I am wrong and God’s way is right), thanking Jesus for dying for that sin, and asking the Holy Spirit to control my life. It is true, that I am a pilgrim and I will not find complete rest until I reach the “Promised Land”, but until then, I am commanded to be holy (perfected) in these things… rejoice, love, warn, encourage, endure, persevere, repent, yield, watch, be ready, deny self, lay aside, put on, dwell, abide, live, walk, transform, etc.. These are all action verbs to a soldier in Christ at war against the enemies of God, … the world, my flesh, and Satan.
Promises to claim… “Do not be afraid, be of good courage for I have overcome the world.” Jesus “Do not be weary in doing good for in due time you shall reap what you sow.” Paul “Do not be discouraged or dismayed for I am with you wherever you go.” Jesus
Prayer… God, thank you that we have been made Your sons and daughters through “believing and receiving” Jesus Christ, our SAVIOR. We ask that You continuously help me/us deny the flesh and walk in the Spirit making Jesus Christ, our LORD over every area of my/our life. In Jesus’ name!
Statistics say that 95% of Americans are dehydrated (lack water). Even with clean water abundant, we just will choose not to drink what is good for us. Jesus in this lesson has offered “Living water” to all those who are thirsty and want a drink. Some refuse, some doubt, and some believe but still do not drink. What is keeping us from drinking when we are so thirsty?
I. Observations…What are the facts?
- When… It is the Feast of Tabernacles.
- Where…The Feast of Tabernacles takes place in Jerusalem, Judea at the Temple of David.
- Jesus’ brothers try to intimidate and manipulate Jesus into going against God’s will (timing).
- Jesus does the Father’s will and attends the feast preaching in the temple despite that the Jews want to kill Him.
- The Jewish people (pilgrims from all over the world for the Feast) whisper about Jesus to one another concerning who He is.
- Jesus’ brothers tell Him to go public to show the disciples and world signs.
- Jesus offers the people “Living Water” from God.
- The Jewish people are divided… some say Jesus is demon possessed, a prophet, or the Messiah.
- The brothers do not believe Jesus is the Messiah.
- Jesus is trying to get His people to believe that He is sent from God to give them eternal life.
- The people are fearful…some of losing their power, position, & possessions some of what man will do; and others of having to repent of their hard hearts and evil ways to a holy God.
II. Interpretation… What is the author saying?
- The Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration ordained by God to remind the Jews that though there may be hard times God always keeps His promises. Leviticus 23:33-43
- Those who do the Father’s will are Jesus’ brothers. Luke 8:21 Matt 16:21-23
- The world hates Jesus because they do not do the will of the Father and they love evil. John 15:18-25
- Not everyone will admit they are thirsty… There will be division in families, church, communities, nation, etc. because of fear. ? Matt 10:34-39
- Another authority has replaced the Word of God… Do not be hypocritical (not do what I say) or legalistic (expect others to walk with God like me) ) or religious (think that works gain me favor) II Timothy 3:16.17
- Jesus uses the Sabbath to teach truth and expose their fear & hypocrisy. Mark 2:23-27
- Jesus answers our fears, doubts, etc. by offering “Living Water” to all who are thirsty.
- Living water is the Holy Spirit… John 7:37-39, 4:1; 4:10; Acts 10:44.45; Ephesians 1:13.14 ;
III. Application… How do these truths apply to me?
- Jesus wants me/us to believe who He says He is…Word, The Bread, Son of God …He has proved who He is through signs.
- Feast of Tabernacle…God provides His people the Promised deliverer, a Savior, a Messiah
- I am to live by faith in the Word of God.
- Man is fearful but I am not to fear what man can do to me..
- Jesus speaks clearly & often the truth of who He is, so I should speak the truth clearly & often and give a defense of what I believe.
- Those who do not believe in Jesus do not want to do the Father’s will…they have chosen darkness/evil.
- Those who do not believe will criticize, shame, mock, slander, curse, hate & want to destroy/kill me physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, morally, socially, etc..
IV. Conclusion… I must admit I am “thirsty” (needy, sinful) in need of a Savior. I must believe & receive Jesus and ask Him to abide in Me. He promises to give me His Spirit (The Holy Spirit). Jesus was confident in who He was, where He was going, and what He was doing. I should do the same by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit by continuously making Jesus Lord of my life. The Holy Spirit will teach and guide me in all truth, convict me of sin, and empower me to live the Christian life… imitator of Christ, ambassador for the Kingdom of Heaven, witness of the Truth, servant of God, minister of the gospel, etc. John 16:13. John 18:8 Acts 1:8 I must choose to walk in the Spirit not the flesh. Gal 5:16
V. Prayer… Lord, Thank you for the”Living Water” that lives inside of me because I believe and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord…convict me of sin, teach me your truth, and empower me to do Your will. In Jesus’ name
Are you a good or bad steward?
My husband who contracted jobs to paint apartments, homes, industrial businesses, etc. tells this true story of a young man who desperately needed a job. My husband treated him as a son, gave him a good wage, and trained him how to paint thoroughly with accuracy and expertise. It came a day when my husband needed to oversee another job, so left the young man with instructions to paint an apartment. At the end of the day, the job wa barely done. The young man when asked why it was not finished replied that there was not enough time. My husband chose to let the young man do another apartment just like the first one but would time him how fast he did each room. The young man did it in half a day’s time. My husband asked him why he thought he finished this apartment in half the time but not the other, though they were the same. He answered, “I do not know.” My husband said he knew why, “It was because I was timing you.” The young man learned his lesson on being a good steward that day…to do your task to the best of your ability as though the master/owner was watching and would ask for an account of how well you have done.
- Before leaving on a journey, a man entrusted his wealth to 3 servants according to each of their abilities…5, 2, & 1 bag of gold.
- Steward w/ 5 bags… invested & gained wealth
- Steward w/ 2 bags…invested & gained wealth
- Steward w/ 1 bag… buried & hid the wealth
- Master came home to settle accounts…
- The 2 good stewards joyfully explained how they doubled their master’s wealth. The master rewards the stewards who invested & gained more wealth… “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.(F)Come and share your master’s happiness!”
- The 3rd Steward explains what he did with the master’s wealth… “You are a hard/harsh master harvesting & gathering where you have not sewn. I was afraid! So here is what belongs to you.”The master rebukes the 3rd steward… “You lazy, wicked, worthless servant, if you knew how I made my wealth, you should have invested it in the bank so that I would receive interest. What you had will be taken from you and given to those who have and cast out for distruction.”
- What is a steward – someone who manages property or affairs for someone else.
- Who is the master/owner?
Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” It is important that we acknowledge God as the master and owner of everything.
Mathew 6:24 You can only have one master.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” .
- Who is the steward/manager?
Genesis 1:27, 28 2:15… God created everything in order to provide for man’s needs. God commanded him man to be fruitful and multiply and to have dominion of His creation, to care for it. God is the owner and man is the manager.
- What is a good steward -someone who will be found faithful to use their gifts, talents and resources within the amount of time allotted to benefit or for the good of the owner/master.
Examples of good stewards…Joseph Genesis 41:39-41
Note: Steward…Brothers (pit), Potiphar (slave), prison (prisoner), Pharoah (2nd in command. Daughter, Goshen, family restored, saves Israelites)…
- Willing…Romans 12:1
- thankful … I Thess 5:18
- content… Hebrews 13:5
- responsible … Num. 18: 1
- compassionate… Matt. 9:36focused/purposeful…I Cor 10:31
- prepared… II Timothy 4:2
- faithful… Luke 12:43-46
- diligent… I Timothy 4:15
- good…Galatians 6:10
- skillful… Exodus 35:35
- disciplined… Titus 1:7-8
- generous …I Timothy 6:18-19
- wise… Ephesians 5:15-17
- watchful…Matthew 7:15
- Spirit/Christ controlled/filled… Phil 4:19
- Rewarded… James 1:12
- Think bad of the owner/master.
- Not do good for the owner/master.
- Be afraid of the owner/master, life, etc.
- Doubt his self, abilities, etc.
- Be self interested… pleasures, time.
- Self & Satan controlled
- Be punished
- What are we stewards /managers of?
- Soul…Mark 8:36,37
- Mind…Phil 4:8
- Body…I Cor 6:20
- other …James 1:17 (Abilities…run, jump, sight, etc.; Possessions… car, home, finances, etc.; jobs; Gifts…education, marriage, children, church, relationships; Time
- Priorities… Matt 22:37
- God. Self. Others…Marriage, Family, Church, Needy…poor, elderly
- III. Application… To be a good steward, we have to know our master that He is good and will do good towards us. God has created everything and said it was good… He is good, it is good, and it is for our good. God is the master/owner of everything. He entrusts his property or resources to us and will eventually ask for an accounting; and we are the stewards who are entrusted with the master/owner’s property or resources and must eventually answer for how they were invested.God is the master/owner; he distributes gifts at his discretion and on Judgment Day, we all will be asked to give an account of our stewardship. We are commanded to care for our souls, bodies, minds, possessions, etc. and for others too! I have a promise from God that I will be rewarded and that He will give me the power to be a good steward.
Prayer… Lord, You have given me everything. I need your wisdom and power to be a good steward of all that you given me… soul, mind, body, possessions, etc. of not only mine but for others also. In Jesus’ name!
2012 was a difficult year… health issues that landed me in the hospital with large hospital & doctor debts, loss of some of my sight, bed bound; broken & estranged relationships; failure to eat right & lose weight; lack of income to live; fellowship, ministry, friendship limited to facebook; that lead to bouts of despair, doubt, bitterness, fear, confusion, anger, etc. It was during one of my desperate times that I cried out to God that He asked me, “Am I sufficient to meet all your needs? Am I your “Bread of Life”?
Key Scripture: John 6 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Observation: What are the facts/events…
• Jesus feeds the 5000
o He gave thanks for the bread & fish that they had.
o They ate till filled.
o There were left overs.
• Jesus walks on water
o Disciples are afraid.
o Others follow Jesus because of the signs.
• Jesus declared that He is the “Bread of Life”.
o He came from the Father who knows what they need.
o He came to those in the world.
o He came to give those who will believe in Him eternal life.
o They saw the signs but they would not believe.
o Disciples grumbled, were offended, and left Him.
o Jesus asked the 12 if they would leave too and Simon Peter answered “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Interpretation: What have I learned …
• God sent Jesus His Son to the world to give us eternal life and meet all our needs.
• Jesus proved that He can and will fulfill all our needs to abundance when He fed the 5000 and walked on water.
• We must believe Jesus is the “Bread of life”.
• If any believe, they will have eternal life and all their needs will be met in Christ Jesus.
Application: How does this apply to me… I do not have to be afraid; God knows and will provide all my needs.including eternal life. God has shown me through His creation, His Word, other’s testimony, and my own walk with God that He is capable and His sufficient to meet all my needs including eternal life. I must believe and have faith even during my most difficult times. Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for meeting all my needs…give me faith to believe!
Praise…How God has provided abundantly… The hospital released my debt of $10, 000; relationships restored; still have eye sight despite bleeding & swelling in eyes; loss of 50 lbs in a few months (total in 8 years 90 lbs); wisdom & power to maintain good nutrition plan; income for daily needs met; healthy numbers in Blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol despite bad report in May; women who come to my home for prayer, Bible study, & fellowship; forgiveness & shame & guilt removed … Praising God for all He has done and going to do!
Do you want to be healed?
What a strange question for Jesus to ask someone? I thought… who doesn’t want to be healed?
Last Thursday in our study of John 5… there was a man, who sick for 38 years, laid beside a special “healing” pool in the temple every day with a multitude of other sick people. Jesus passing by saw the man and asked him “Do you want to be healed?”. Instead of answering the
question, he blamed his condition on those around him saying I have no one to help me. Jesus healed him but told the man to stop sinning or worse would happen to him. Sometimes our sickness (depression, bondage, guilt, disease, etc.) is because we are too comfortable in or love our sins. Are we willing to face the consequences of our sins; the responsibilities of being a whole & healed person in our homes, community, etc.; the diligent & persistent work it requires to stay healed; and a continuous life that is obedient to the Father, our Creator through His Son, Jesus Christ.Praying that we all will desire and have the courage to let Jesus heal us!
The word holiday originally means Holy Day! According to the Bible every day is a “Holy Day” meaning a day consecrated (set apart) to be used for, by, and in Christ.
Our purpose is not to honor Satan, demons, vampires, zombies, etc. but to give glory to God through Jesus Christ. Christians should produce and practice at all times… love, joy, goodness, life, hope, etc. not violence, evil, death, hopelessness, or fear.
This is the one time of year that whole families will ring your door bell, let us use this opportune time to bless not curse others.
Come up with a plan to teach others about the goodness and love of Christ during this season!
How our family observed this time and day as a “Holy Day”…
- Decorate the house with everything during this fall harvest season God had made and said was good…pumpkins, corn, hay, sugar cane stalks, leaves, pine cones, etc.
- Prayer… walk around your neighborhood and pray for each household before the event starts.
- Simple plan…Decorate entrance with lighted pumpkins (marker, carved, stickers, etc.) with signs/banners of verses saying “Give thanks”. Greet your neighbors at the door with a smile and hand out candy with a gospel tract.
- Multi- family plan @ home or other …
- Ask family and friends to help by bringing a bag of wrapped candy and children’s tracts to give away and to supervise a game or activity.
- Decorate yard or carport with hay bales & pumpkins for taking family pictures. Get emails to send free or get instant Polaroid camera.
- Fun activities or games… pin the tail on the donkey, face painting, turkey shoot with bow & arrow rubber tip, miniature hotwheel car race, ring or bean bag toss, make balloon animals, blind fold potato& spoon race around a maze, musical chairs, dress up relay race, etc.
- Costumes… Costume contest for original, funniest, Biblical and/or modern hero/heroine of the faith.
- Foods… hot dogs, chili, chips, veges & dip, caramel apples, nuts & candy corns, pumpkin cupcakes, etc.
- Gospel presentation…
- A. Time tunnel or Circus theme… Announce a showtime every 10 minutes in which persons or families dress & share testimony, skit, or song about a hero/heroine of the faith like Esther, Daniel, David, Jonah, Corrie Ten Boone, or other and Jesus.
- B. Mission Possible … (need several families and a few days to prepare & large space) Preparation includes making of gospel beads & learning how to share them & a day before Halloween to set up 7 small rooms using tents & black visquene & white lights. Each room would share a specific message of the gospel.
- Entrance of tunnel would play the “Mission Impossible” music & 2 greeters (people dressed in black w/sunglasses) would welcome families & groups of 4-6 & then send into the 1st room, when clear.
- The Mission room… Mission impossible video of person in black giving mission instructions to visitors. 2 men/women in black hand out gospel/ mission beads (prepared before) to visitors. . Greeter briefly explains Mission (Biblical truth) and then directs visitors to next room, when clear. *Biblical truth … To seek and find the Kingdom of God.
- The Heaven room… Heaven scene (painted on sheet) in background with a few dressed angels. A huge line is drawn on floor a few feet from heaven. Visitors are asked to try to reach heaven by jumping. Greeter briefly explains Biblical truth and directs visitors to next room, when clear. *Biblical truth… “No one can get to Heaven, a Holy God, on their own.”
- The Sinner room…2 people fighting over an object, 2 students cheating, child saying no to his parent (breaking any of the 10 commandments). Greeter briefly explains Biblical truth and directs visitors to next room, when clear. *Biblical truth… “all sin (not holy or perfect)”
- The Judge room… 1 judge with gavel, 2 roman guards bring a person & Jesus in chains. Judge pronounces person guilty of steeling and Jesus declaring He is the Son of God , the Messiah. Greeter briefly explains Biblical truth and directs visitors to next room, when clear. *Biblical truth… ” Because we all sin, the penalty is death (separation from God) by a Holy just judge. Person and Jesus condemned to death.
- The Cross room… Jesus is hanging on the cross with crown, pierced hands and feet, and women, men, children crying at the foot of the cross. (Strobe light used here.) Greeter explains Biblical truth and directs visitors to next room, when clear. *Biblical truth… “Jesus died for our sins. Repentance (sorrow) of our sins is needed.”
- The Bridge room… a narrow room (dry ice for this room) with a lighted cross bridge facing heaven (glitter paint scene of heaven) with angels (asking them to come across). Red streamers (the blood of Christ) are hanging at the entrance to the bridge…each person must Choose to go through the blood and the cross of Christ to get to heaven (God). Greeter briefly explains Biblical truth and directs visitors to next room, when clear. *Biblical truth… Each person must choose God’s way to Him (Heaven), that is the cross and blood of Christ.”I am the way, the truth, and the life” Jesus
- Heaven with throne room… Jesus on the throne and heaven scene in background with rejoicing angels. Greeter briefly explains Biblical truth and directs visitors to exit. *Biblical truth… “Heaven is possible for everyone who believes and receives the gift of God…a relationship with God through Christ.”
- Exit… Greeters (men, women, teens, children dressed in black & trained beforehand to share the gospel beads) are each given a visitor to share the gospel bead, a bag of candy, and a age appropriate gospel tract with.
NOTE: Everyone participating would play a part the first hour and next hour would be able to go through the tunnel and be a Greeter at the end sharing. After it is over, they would share in a meal & candies, then share their experience, what they learned & reactions of others. End with prayer and worship. Clean up before leaving.