Human Sex Trafficking and the Super Bowl

People made in God's image are being used.  My heart is broken. But did you know that the Super Bowl is one of the top sex trafficking events every year in America?

Facts and Stats - There are an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide today, enough to fill the New Orleans Superdome to capacity almost 353 times. - There are roughly 200,000 slaves in the United States today.  It is the equivalent of the full rosters of close to 3,774 football teams. - Two children are sold into slavery every minute worldwide.  508 children were sold during the 254 minutes of the 2013 Super Bowl broadcast. - The human trafficking industry brings in nearly 32 billion dollars each year.  That is 139 times more than the $230 million made by broadcast ad sales for the 2013 Super Bowl. - The average slave is sold for no more than $90.  The cheapest ticket for the Super Bowl started at $650.

In 2014, the Super Bowl will be hosted at MetLife stadium in New Jersey. I enjoy watching the Super Bowl every year, but this year, I have a new outlook on what really matters.

Sports are exciting, but I will be praying more this year for God's power to push back the darkness.

Laws or government will not ultimately fix this issue.  The church is the answer to helping people in the darkness see the light of Jesus.

I believe this is one of the issues of my generation that we need to stop turning a blind eye to.

Teaching Process that Helps Students Learn

I love teaching.  I believe communicating God's Word is central to my calling in life.  I want people to passionately love God and learn how to live out their faith, and I'm sure you do as well! How do we do this practically?

I want to unpack this statement on how to teach:

Verbal clarity + Visual aids + Interaction = Maximum learning (from Rick Blackwood's book, The Power of Multisensory Preaching and Teaching: Increase Attention, Comprehension, and Retention)

Verbal clarity - Use clear wording to help students understand what is being communicated.  Work on transition statements in between important teaching points during the message.  Use language that you clearly define to avoid "christian-ese" statements.  Think through the mind of a middle or high school student.  Will they be able to understand the way you communicate?  Am I defining the bigger words I use to help students who do not have a church/Bible background?

Visual aids - Help students see the message as they listen to it.  I like using pictures, videos, props and more to help communicate.  We live in a visual culture, so always make sure to run your message through this filter.  Will the students be able to process visually what you are saying verbally?  Visual props help land the main thought of a message.  In every message, ask the question, "How can I communicate this visually?"

Interaction - Ask questions throughout the message to help engage the audience.  Remember, we are not talking AT people but talking TO people.  Help them see that the message isn't coming from the "expert" but coming from someone that is learning it along with them instead.  I try to think through breaks in each message where I ask a question and pause.  Allow the audience to repeat it back to you.  It helps the listeners to breathe and opens them up to stay on track with the message.

Maximum learning

The goal of teaching God's Word is transformation.  It doesn't happen by accident.  It takes preparation and the power of the Holy Spirit to impact the audience.  I am continually trying to improve how I communicate God's Word.

What ways do you communicate God's Word to students that help them grow?  Share in the comments below!

Teach the Bible, Not Just Opinion

If I were to ask you what it means to teach the Bible, what would you say? I think many people have different ideas on what this means. Do we teach the Bible to people or do we teach people the Bible? Do we teach topical or exegetical? Do we have three points or just one?

All of the approaches are helpful when we take into account the power and truth of God's Word.

God's Word is alive and is powerful. If we do not believe this, we will replace the truth of the Bible with the next opinion of the day. Have we lost the expectancy of the scripture being alive and piercing to our hearts? Simply building a message on a whim or opinion loses the power of the gospel. A message from God's Word should always start and continue in God's Word. Giving God a courtesy call at the beginning and never referring to it anymore leads people to rely on the teacher's charisma and opinion more than finding the answers in the Bible. 

God's Word should be explained and expounded upon. Too much emphasis is placed upon whether a message is topical, verse-by-verse or one main thought. The Bible should be explained in a clear, passionate way. The people listening should be stirred by the background of the Bible. Who was Jesus talking to in the passage? Why is He speaking to them?

God's Word should be applied to our life. Without a clear explanation of the Bible then it cannot be applied correctly to our lives. In order to understand how to obey the Bible, we must first know the correct meaning of the context. Teaching the Bible should lead to life change. Give people clear takeaways as you land the message.

The Bible is relevant to our lives more than we give it credit. It is alive and powerful1! (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

What do you think about the need for teaching the Bible for life change? What would you add to the blog?