April Lessons – General Conference, Isaiah, Jeremiah

I just can’t do it all :)

This blog is proof positive of that. The house has been cleaner, I’ve been making bread and cooking more often, spent the week of spring break working on the new website and keeping up with the kids’ stuff, but something had to give. Naturally, it was the blog, I suppose.

General Conference

I did do a review for general conference again this time. I made up a General Conference Q&A sheet from the notes I took from the 4 main sessions (I didn’t attend Priesthood, and didn’t try to get anything from the stuff online because of time). I wrote up a little test and let the kids decide if they wanted to work in groups or individually. Everyone got 10 tickets for participating, but first place got 30 tickets and second got 20 tickets. My first place winner only missed one question, and two tied for second place.

Isaiah 48-49

It turned out there was no school on this day, so I didn’t prepare or teach a lesson. I don’t know how I missed this date on my planning….

Isaiah 50, 53, and 55

After the requisite Missionary Moments, Today I learned and Magic squares, I asked the kids if they had noted any difficult passages. I pointed out a few.

I showed the a movie that was about 5 minutes long. I didn’t note the name of it in my lesson notebook. :)

I played some of the music from the Messiah for the kids while they spent most of the class period writing a letter to their Bishops explaining what they learned about Isaiah.

Israel is Redeemed party 1 and 2

I was upset when this class started. Only one student remembered to bring their items for the auction. I have literally emailed parents twice recently (4x total) and reminded the kids every single day for the past 3 weeks. Including the two things I donated, we had 4 good items and 4-5 dollar store thigs auction. Gawrg. I was very, very annoyed and had no backup plan to fill the hour. In addition, I had to spend the first 10-15 minutes having several of the students rewrite their letters to the Bishops. I had two who were in appropriate (“I learned that God is ugly because he looks like Christ who is also ugly.”) one who didn’t fulfill the assignment (“Thanks for letting me come to Sister Smith’s class. She is so great!”) one who lost theirs (he homeschools, and never uses his notebook in order, oddly. Neither does his sister.) and another who felt she didn’t do a good job and avoided turning it in (so I gave her a bit of encouragement and more time to finish) and one who arrogantly stated that she learned all that Isaiah stuff in Primary and studying him had been a waste of time (turned out that’s not what she really meant to say, but reading it definitely came off bad, so I had her rephrase.). So anyway. I wasn’t thrilled.

Luckily, two students brought in several more things in late and saved the day. I had moved the date because one of our students was going to be absent on Friday, and so we voted to split the auction in two days. Everyone would participate today so that our missing student could, and the other students would bring things in the following day.

The following day we had lots of stuff to auction. We finished up class by watching a little more of Prince of Egypt.

Overall, the auction was a success. They’ll understand the program better next year and will be more motivated.

Jeremiah 1

When I read the bible lid to lid a while back, I hated Jeremiah and Lamentations the worst. By the time you get through Isaiah you’re looking for a reprieve, but nope. The vibe I got was all whining.

But reading and preparing the chapters the church picked out was great! I really liked the chapters they used and it was easy to get excited about teaching Jeremiah.

I started off Jeremiah by asking the kids to write down something that the Lord might ask them to do that would be frightening.

We shared a few. I noted that Jeremiah was afraid, too. Then I had the kids write some advice for a frightened person. What might they say?

This backfired, btw. I was expecting that the kids would write things like “no worries, you’re a good speaker” or “the language will come” or “you can do it”, so I could point out what the Lord said. The Lord didn’t say anything about Jeremiah’s talents, but told him that He would watch out for him and back him up. But these kids are too good for that. Their answers were uniformly spot on. It shortened what I thought would be a 10 minute discussion to like 3-4 minutes. Whoopsy.

I told the kids that Jeremiah was also afraid (read vv 18-19), and for good reason. I showed them the Seminary movie Eyewitness News at Six 586 BC. I know it was supposed to be used during Isaiah, but I thought it worked better here.

We talked a bit about the trials Jeremiah faced. I told the kids that the Lord will support us as we seek to do his will, irrespective of our talents or ability. We read Deuteronomy 9:4-6 for some reason, too :)

The advice the kids gave at the beginning was so good, I just had them elaborate on what they wrote (which was lame), though I had planned to have them rewrite their advice using what they had learned.

Jeremiah 7

For the opener, I asked for 5 volunteers. One volunteer stood in the center, and the other four on the outside of the group were God, Ishtar, Baal, and Tophet. We started by having the center person look at God. Then she turned. When she turned to another god, she could no longer focus on God.

The Israelites, too, turned from God to other gods. What did the Israelites do that showed how they turned from God?
vv 9-10 – adultery, murder, steal, lying, worshiping other gods
v 13 – ignored voice, didn’t answer calls
vv 23-24 – not obedient, walked after their own rules
vv 25-26 – worse than fathers, won’t listen to prophets
v 30 – cf 2 Kings 21:2-7; idols in the temple
v 31 – burning children
v 18 – teaching children to worship idols

What is the result?
v 16 – no intercession, no Savior Why?
v 27- they will not repent (Jer 4:18)

Everyone sins. The biggest problem was not sinning, but not repenting, which led to greater and greater sin without repentance. I challenged the kids to remember to repent when they pray. I know I’m very good at asking for what I want and pretty good about thanking Heavenly Father for my blessings, but I am not always good about repenting when I pray. We read Alma 34:32-25 about how important it is to repent now. This message of remembering to repent really seemed to hit home.

Jeremiah 16

This lesson was a bit up in the air until about midnight the night before. I had invited two people, a newly called missionary friend and a long-since returned missionary from our ward, to visit class as guest speakers. The returned missionary had a job appointment, and had to leave at 6:30, so I rearranged my lesson so that he could go first, when I had planned for him to go first. I conducted class so that I could control the amount of time opening exercises took. After our prayer, I introduced our topic of Jeremiah 16:15-16. I then had us all sing “Ye Elders of Israel”, which has great lyrics for this topic. I then said I had invited someone who had hunted people out of the rocks to bring them to the gospel and gave our speaker the next several minutes. He ended up staying until almost 6:45 talking about his mission to California and New York City (ASL/deaf). After he left, I decided to drop my lesson and let the other guest take up the rest of the time. He had just gotten his call about 10 days ago, and most of the kids know him from our old ward or at least know his family members. He brought his mission call and Preach my Gospel and talked a few minutes on how excited he was to get to serve. I asked a couple of questions to keep him talking, and it was great. The kids just ate it up. All I was hoping to do was to get the kids excited about serving a mission — to consider the reality of a mission. This future missionary was great. One of the kids even asked him about splits and how that helps.He told the kids to be sure to clean up and stay clean so they could leave on their missions without having to wait because it was “annoying.” :) It was seriously awesome.

My favorite part was watching another student. He is good friends with the new missionary (they, btw, are the ones that got “invited” to our Seminary class last year due to problems with another teacher), and gave him a ride to our class. I could tell he was loving it. He had been there when his buddy opened his call at midnight after his flight home from college.

Anyway, during today’s class, he said something I’ve listened for and never heard: “When I go on my mission…” It was not anything I did, but it was seeing his friend so excited that helped him catch the spirit of missionary service. The righteous examples of our young men are so powerful.

Jeremiah 23

We read over the following scriptures:
v 1 – the pastors are leading the people astray. What is the role of a pastor?
vv 2, 14, 16, 21, 27 – What are they doing?
vv 9-12, 30 – How does the Lord feel about it?
vv 39-40 – What happens as a result?
v 22 – What could have happened?
vv 5-6 – There’s hope, if they will repent (but the Lord has already told Jeremiah they will not).

Then I had two boys come up to the front. Before class I had let them choose a prophet from the two sets of scriptures below. One got to wear a yoke I made out of styrofoam, and the other got to break it.

I didn’t tell the class which was the true prophet, but let them try to determine the answer using the scriptures and their knowledge.

Prophet 1

The Lord told me to make a yoke and place it on my neck. He also told me to send a yoke to local kings and leaders with this message:

[place the yoke on your neck]

“Thus saith the Lord: … I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant.

“And all nations shall serve him …

“And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar … that nation will I punish, saith the Lord …

“Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, … which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon:

“For they prophesy a lie unto you, …

“But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the Lord; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.”

Prophet 2
“Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.

“Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon:

“And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the Lord: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.

[take the yoke off Prophet 1’s neck and break it]

“Thus saith the Lord; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years .”

We took a vote, and only two chose the true prophet. Later, after discussion, one other student changed his vote. I’m still a little disturbed that I haven’t taught them well enough that they could recognize the true words of Jeremiah. Of course, it’s good that they realized they have to be careful or they can be deceived. 70% of the class were led astray to their surprise and consternation. I think it was a good exercise. The stories of Jeremiah and Hananiah are found in Jeremiah 27:1-11 and 28:1-4, 10-.

I taught the kids that we will face false prophets in our day, too. We read 2 Peter 2: 1-2. And I read the quote from Joseph Smith on page 181 in the manual.

Jeremiah 30-31

Today I used the analogy from the manual about a sports game. After a 5 minute or so discussion about fantastic games we’ve watched ans been a part of, I talked to the kids about how your perspective affects your view of the game. When you’re on the winning team, you think of the game as great, whereas you might not think it was so great if your team lost. Jeremiah told us how to get on the winning team in these chapters:

WINNING TEAM:
Jer 30
v 3 – gathered
v 8 – That Day
v 9 – serves God and Jesus Christ
vv 10-11- No worries
vv 12, 17 – saved from sin, restored to lands
v 21 – Jews govern themselves
v 22 – He will be their God

Jer 31
vv 3-4 – will love thee, build thee, give thee good things, peace
v 6 – watchmen/prophets/warnings given
v 8 – gathered
vv 18-19 – repented
vv 11-12 – redeemed, no sorrow
vv 31-33 – new covenant
v 34 – all know God

LOSING TEAM
30:23 – whirlwind
31:40 – death, ashes

I left off the new covenant and that we will all know God because of the way my notes were written. I was also going to use the 3 quotes from the manual, but failed again.

I am CONSTANTLY leaving out the manual quotes I intend to use. I have good intentions but I get carried away with the discussion and forget to look at my notes, especially the farther along class gets. I’ve got to figure out a way to correct that. I have one student in particular that I think would like some additional quotes to go along with the scriptural text, but I’m failing to engage her…..