Sunday, October 7, 2012

When a surveyor teaches Bible survey

Anna, Melissa, Megan, Del, Me
After listening to Dell Tackett (from the Truth Project) speak here at Ministry Family Retreat last week, I was inspired on multiple levels. Dell spoke of how the Christian life and hope itself aught not to be defined by our story and what we might gain at the end, but by the Larger Story written in perfection by God himself. The extent that we have real hope is the extent that we consider ourselves a part of His story rather than our own. When I realized what he was saying, I immediately knew I had to communicate this idea to my students so they also could find true hope.

 The second challenge that Dell issued was concerning the glorious yet treacherous task of teaching. He suggested that the teacher’s highest calling is not merely to help information enter the minds of students, but to find some way to work with the Holy Spirit in helping the truth penetrate to the inner recesses of the mind known as the heart in which beliefs are held and therefore actions are born. It was then that I realized I had to find a way to communicate this idea of our story vs. God’s story to the heart. 

I needed something really big to compare to something really small. Well, it just so happens that I live next to a 3000 ft runway. So after hatching a plan, I took the students out there for our “intro to Bible” day. We walked up the runway a ways and I had them stand side by side in a line facing the far end. I told them that where they stand now represents the present, behind them is the past and in front is the future. Then using 1 inch = 1 year. We marked out on the ground their estimated lifespan, none of which exceeded 9 feet. Then I had them mark out the beginning of time, assuming it was approximately 6,000 years ago, by walking 178 paces (~500’) back toward the beginning of the runway. Then I had them guess at how long the world might last before Christ comes back and several guessed that it would be before their life was over while the longest was a mere 25’ in the future. Then we stepped back to consider which story they really wanted to be a part of, the little one that represented their lives, or the gigantic one we could barely see the marker for the beginning of and the end of which was alarmingly close. We then talked about how those aren’t really the beginning and the end, but God knew us before the foundation of the world (which in this case was somewhere out in the middle of the lake) and his story continued with us as a part of it far beyond the far end of the runway into eternity. From there it was an easy jump to show how the Word of God is his invitation to not only learn his story, but to join Him in it. 

 So next time you’re out on a walk and hit a straight stretch of road, count off a 178 paces, then look back and consider how your life is less than 9 feet of that. Whose story do you want to be a part of?


  1. "his story continued, with us as a part of it, far beyond the far end of the runway into eternity..." I love this. I can just imagine walking off the runway, continuing in eternity with Him. This is a great, tangible example of God's timelessness, and the reality of a bigger picture, a greater story.
    Thanks. I needed to hear this today.

  2. GREAT lesson! Can I steal it? Jesus taught using the familiar, everyday things and situations around his audience. I'm sure your students will never forget this object lesson that gave them a whole new perspective on the big picture!

  3. If you'd just keep this blog up, your family would love it!