In an address to Church Educational System teachers, Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve said:
“There is great value in presenting a brief but very carefully organized overview of the entire course at the very beginning. …
“Those few beginning periods, so brief an investment of time by comparison, make it possible for the students to locate themselves anywhere along the way. They have something of a feeling. They retain much more when they know how all of the pieces fit together, and the light of learning shines more brightly. The preview forms a framework and is more than worth the time and work invested in it” (The Great Plan of Happiness [address to religious educators at a symposium on the Doctrine and Covenants/Church history, Brigham Young University, 10 Aug. 1993], 2; or Charge to Religious Educators, 3rd ed. , 113).
Above you see a vision board…At least that is what I call it. It is a way to see the “vision” of the New Testament all at once. This is something that I designed and made to help my students be able to see an “overview of the entire course.” It helps you catch the vision of the New Testament.
Find your favorite hymn or church song about the Savior and listen to it while you look at this vision board.
• What do you see? What do you notice?
• Which picture is your favorite?
• What is the message of the vision board?
• What do you learn about the Savior?
THE SAVIOR’S MISSION ON EARTH
In Luke 3:4-9 (Joseph Smith Translation), John the Baptist describes the Savior’s Mission.
What are some of the things the Savior was supposed to accomplish?
How do you see those things depicted in the vision board?
Look up John 20:31 – Why are all stories about the Savior written down? (there are two reasons in verse 31)
We must believe on Jesus Christ so that we can have eternal life.
LIGHT OF CHRIST
As you read through those verses, what do you learn about Light and Christ?
vs 5 – How has the the world “perceiveth not” the Savior?
vs 12- As we receive the light (or the Savior), what is the result?
We become the sons (and daughters) of God as we follow the Savior and keep the covenants that we have made with Him.
In the Bible Dictionary, it defines the Light of Christ as enlightenment, knowledge , and an uplifting, ennobling, persevering influence that come upon mankind because of Jesus Christ
increase of light = increase of Christ
As we add more light to our life, we are really adding Christ more in our lives.
How would your life be different if you had an increase of LIGHT or CHRIST?
The purpose of Sunday School this year is to increase your light and the influence of the Savior in your life.
WHY WOULD THEY WANT ME?
Getting hired to teach seminary was an interesting process for me. In the “wanna be a seminary teacher” class, there was 19 men and me, the only girl. There were many times along the way that I questioned myself and wondered what I was doing with all these capable, much smarter, more spiritual people.
I remember a couple of months before the decision was going to be made about who was going to get hired that year. I met with my two pre-service trainers. These were men I totally respected and loved. We sat down and they walked me through what would happen in the next few months prior to the hiring decision being made.
Once they were done, they asked me if I had any questions. I did. “Why would they want me?” I asked. In my mind, I hadn’t served a mission, been through the temple, and wasn’t married. On paper, I was probably the most unqualified person on the list.
Their response is something that I will forever remember. They said, “THAT is EXACTLY why they WOULD want you. You have learned for yourself that the church is true. You have studied the scriptures, gained a testimony and built a relationship with the Savior exactly the way we expect the students to. You are a great example and can be an inspiration to those impressionable students.”
I was shocked, but it made sense. They were right. This is who I have always been – someone who is constantly seeking light. I love the light of the gospel and literally can’t get enough of it. Although a mission wasn’t in the cards for me and being married hasn’t yet been a part of my world, it didn’t mean that I couldn’t have a testimony. We shouldn’t wait for those experiences to arrive and then start working on gaining a testimony. We should start now.
It didn’t become a seminary teacher and then magically gain a testimony. I worked on gaining a testimony throughout my life and then was giving the opportunity to share it with others through the seminary program.
Some people think that they can’t be as spiritual as “so and so” or they will never have a testimony like him or her. I disagree. You control the depth of your own testimony. It can be as big or small as you want it to be.
Elder Craig C. Christensen shared some inspiring thoughts on gaining a testimony:
“Learning for ourselves that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is true can be one of the greatest and most joyful experiences in life. . .
Some of the tallest trees on earth are found in Redwood National Park in the western United States. When you stand at the base of these massive trees, it is amazing to think that each one grew from a tiny seed. So it is with our testimonies. Although they may begin with a single spiritual experience, they grow and develop over time through constant nourishment and frequent spiritual encounters. . .“Some people speak of a testimony as if it were a light switch—it’s either on or off; you either have a testimony, or you do not. In reality, a testimony is more like a tree that passes through various stages of growth and development.
This is often how a testimony begins: with sacred, enlightening, assuring feelings that demonstrate to us that the word of God is true. However, as wonderful as these feelings are, they are only the beginning. Your work to grow your testimony is not done—any more than the work of growing a redwood tree is done when the first tiny sprout pokes out of the ground. If we ignore or neglect these early spiritual promptings, if we do not nurture them by continuing to study the scriptures and pray and by seeking more experiences with the Spirit, our feelings will fade and our testimonies will diminish.” (I Know These Things of Myself, October 2014 General Conference)
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF LIGHT
The United Nations has dubbed 2015 as “International Year of Light (2015)”. They are raising awareness of the achievements of light science. Can you make this year your YEAR OF LIGHT? What can you do to raise more awareness of the Savior and His light in your life? Can you make him an even more constant influence in your daily actions?
“In a very real sense, all can walk where Jesus walked, when, with His words on our lips, his spirit in our hearts, and his teachings in our lives, we journey through mortality.”
President Thomas S. Monson, Conference Report, April 1974)