June 2013

Explore the Bible Lesson for July 7: Am I on the Right Path?

June 20 2013 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church

Focal Passages: Job 33:13-22; 36:8-12
 
Chuck Colson was desperate. In an attempt to make sense out of his life he visited a friend, Tom Phillips, who at that time was chairman and CEO of Raytheon, a major player in missile defense systems.
 
Colson would become embroiled in the Watergate scandal fallout in a few months, but now he wanted some peace of mind and spirit, qualities he saw in his friend. Phillips explained that until the last few years his life was also getting out of control.
 
At the age of 40 he had become the head of a major U.S. company, and by all appearances was successful.
 
He had a wonderful family, plenty of money, but the non-stop work was getting to him. He would often pace the floor of his study all night long because he could not sleep.
 
Then while in New York City, Phillips noticed that Billy Graham was preaching in Madison Square Garden. He went, and exited a changed man. He accepted Christ in his life, and he encouraged Colson to do likewise.
 
Later that night, alone in his car, Colson committed his life to God as best as he knew how. Today we know of Chuck Colson as one of the most significant Christian leaders of the past three decades. He found the right path for his life, and until his death last year, was uncompromising in his faith.
 
At this point in Job’s life, his three friends had given their best efforts to convince Job of his guilt. They had failed. Now a younger observer, Elihu, confronts Job with a passionate and angry response. Here is a summary of Elihu’s argument: God speaks and sometimes we don’t notice. He warns us to turn away from evil actions and pride.
 
When there is repentance, God spares one’s soul from the pit, from crossing the “river of death.”
 
The implication is that Job is on the wrong path, that he has somehow missed God’s rebuke. Happiness and prosperity come to those who are right with God (36:11).
6/20/2013 2:25:07 PM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for July 7: God Establishes a Kingdom for His People

June 20 2013 by Troy Rust, senior pastor, Somerset Baptist Church, Roxboro

Focal Passages: 2 Samuel 7:8-17, 22-24
 
Several years ago I began to research my family’s genealogy. In addition to learning the names and places of my ancestors, I have thought about how little they knew about the coming generations. Many of them could not imagine a new country, a new language or a new culture. David certainly could not have imagined how God ultimately would make his descendants a blessing to all nations. Only the Son of David would eternally occupy the throne, give His people an eternally great name, and give them eternal rest from all their enemies (even death). 
 
Have you ever desired to do something great for God? What if God plans to make you a link in the chain to doing something great through someone else? If God’s glory remains your greatest desire, you’ll be OK just knowing you’ve been used by God. If your glory becomes the goal you’ll be nothing less than the hook of the chain, the front man for God’s work. David wanted to build a temple, but God chose Solomon. While David was by no means obscure, his life was a memory when Solomon’s temple was built. The front man is transient; God’s glory remains unchanged in every generation.
 
My 2-year-old son has become a professional pouter. He knows how to lower his head, fold his arms, and roll out his bottom lip when he doesn’t get his way. This response is cute for now but will become increasingly irritating with time. Certainly no one enjoys a grown-up pouter.
 
Imagine how David could have responded to being passed over for building the temple. Instead he chose to worship God, declaring His greatness, and asked, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18). May we be like Dave Roever, the injured Vietnam veteran who prayed concerning his physical scars, “Lord, You’re the Potter, I’m the clay. Whatever You make of me will be just fine, as long as it’s You who does the making.”
6/20/2013 2:23:06 PM by Troy Rust, senior pastor, Somerset Baptist Church, Roxboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for June 30: What Do I Do Now?

June 18 2013 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church

Focal Passages: Job 31:5-6, 9-10, 13-17, 24-30, 33-34
 
Captain Scott Smiley has climbed Mt. Ranier, completed a triathlon, and earned an MBA, all after losing his eyesight in Iraq. What happened? Receiving news that potential suicide bombers might be in the area, he ordered a suspicious driver to get out of his vehicle; instead, the terrorist blew up his car leaving dead and injured American soldiers in the wake. Scott Smiley lost both his eyes. He would be transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for rehabilitation and to receive his prosthetic eyes. Life for him was very Job-like.
 
He attributes his recovery to his Christian faith and his wife and loved ones: “It was my wife, Tiffany, my family and friends who were in my hospital room singing songs and reading the Bible that gave me the strength during my recovery. … It was all of this which allowed me to put one foot in front of the other and has allowed me to accomplish everything that I have done to get to where I am today.” Discouragement did not derail Scotty Smiley’s life. In 2009 he started teaching leadership courses at his alma mater, West Point, and in 2010 accepted command of their U.S. Army Warrior transition unit. He is also the first blind active-duty officer in the U.S. Army and the author of Hope Unseen
 
As Job looked upon his life, he was convinced that when God weighed out his life, he would be found to be a man of integrity.
 
He was not guilty of any sexual impropriety. Futhermore, he had treated slaves, widows, the poor and orphans with compassion and generosity. He hadn’t cursed or harmed his enemies, nor had he put his confidence in gold or other riches. Unlike the Chaldeans, he had refrained from worshipping the sun, moon, or other objects. Job was convinced that he was totally honest with himself and with God. The question “What do I do now?” begins with an honest appraisal of the present. Like Scott Smiley, Job’s future was also “hope unseen.”
6/18/2013 3:57:30 PM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 30: God Dwells Among His People

June 18 2013 by Troy Rust, senior pastor, Somerset Baptist Church, Roxboro

Focal Passages: Exodus 26:30-33; 29:43-46; 40:34-38
 
You’ve heard it said, “The devil is in the details.” If you’re a guy you’ve probably tried to assemble a toy or piece of furniture by skipping those wordy directions and simply going by the picture. Unfortunately, the picture is one-dimensional. When you begin to read through the Bible, you may be tempted to skip all that detailed stuff that begins in the latter chapters of Exodus. Although we find there a lot of unfamiliar details, we must remember that God is in the details. God was not only giving Moses details for the tabernacle based on the heavenly reality (Hebrews 8:5); He was also pointing toward greater things to come.
 
In addition to providing the details for the construction of the tabernacle, God also promised that He would meet with His people there and set apart as holy the tabernacle, its altar and its priests. As a result the people of Israel would know He was the God who delivered them from Egypt. God provided this place of divine revelation so His people would focus on His glory. Ultimately, God would reveal His glory through His Son: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt (literally, “tabernacled”) among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Through the finished work of Jesus we have become temples of the Holy Spirit, experiencing His constant presence with us. Consequently, we are called to glorify God in our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).
 
I’ve known two types of hunters: those who see the target and then shoot, and those who fire away hoping to hit a desirable target. The children of Israel were given clear manifestations of God’s presence with a cloud by day and fire by night. They knew better than to try and manufacture God’s work, yet they fell into idolatry. Do you hold your position until the Spirit of God leads you, or are you asking Him to follow your lead?
6/18/2013 3:55:14 PM by Troy Rust, senior pastor, Somerset Baptist Church, Roxboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for June 23: Whom Can I Trust?

June 6 2013 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church

Focal Passages: Job 28:1-4, 12-13, 15-16, 20-23, 26-28
           
A popular children’s game is “Gossip.” The children sit in a circle and the first person tells a line, such as “The purple dragon eats buttercups and honey.” By the time it has passed through about a dozen ears, the final product may sound something like this, “Purple is my favorite color, and I like to eat honey.”  Unfortunately, this children’s game portends real life. Who can you trust with your inner questions, your deepest secrets, your doubts and fears? Further, this quandary is escalated in the present because of social media. To give an example, I recently visited a church member in the hospital. By the time I reached her, word of her admittance was already on Facebook. Later I heard that it was reported that she was in the hospital in Greenville (which she wasn’t) and that she had food poisoning (which she didn’t).
 
Job had little reason to trust the advice, opinions or diagnoses of his friends. To summarize their third series of speeches to Job: “You’re delusional. No human being is sinless. Not only are you guilty, you are abundantly wicked, you are trying to hide endless iniquities.” Job’s counter was defiant: “I will never affirm that you are right; I will maintain my integrity until I die (27:5).” Job’s dilemma, however, extended far beyond the “sage-like” attempts of Eliphaz and Bildad to give a rational reason for their friend’s misery. Job’s greater problem was making sense of God. He admitted that God was elusive to him, that his search for God was not going well. Further, he was terrified in God’s presence (23:15). 
 
To give Job credit, in chapter 28 he begins to identify a key component to his inner healing: God’s wisdom. He contrasts it with commodities we find precious, such as silver or gold. Yes, we can mine them from the deepest recesses of the earth and buy and sell them, but we can’t exchange them for wisdom. Wisdom comes from God, and we are wise when we fear Him.
6/6/2013 1:34:19 PM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 23: God Instructs His People

June 6 2013 by Troy Rust, senior pastor, Somerset Baptist Church, Roxboro

Focal Passages: Exodus 20:1-4, 7-8, 12-17; 24:4-8
 
When my father confronted my childhood disobedience I would often say, “I forgot.” Unfortunately, he was always willing to refresh my memory as discipline was delivered. In the Old Testament Israel often struggled with forgetting. As God handed down the Ten Commandments He began by reminding the children of Israel of His work in delivering them. People who have been delivered by God’s power must strive to maintain lives of singular devotion to Him.
 
We all know that talk is cheap and people can claim to be anything they think someone else will believe. I once knew a man who tried to convince everyone he had been a Navy Seal, an ATF agent and a special informant for the local police department. While one claim might have been believable, the continued stacking of outlandish tales with a life that contradicted them proved the man to be the president of the local liar’s club. Is your testimony believable? Are you talking the talk AND walking the walk?
 
When the children of Israel had received the Law they offered sacrifices to God and beheld the consuming fire of His glory (Exodus 24). Sadly their mountaintop experience soon faded. In his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney tells the story of a childhood birthday party that was highlighted by him buying each partygoer a ticket to the local high school basketball game. His dream of having fun watching the game with his friends collapsed as they all ran off, each in his own direction. They forgot who bought their tickets and who they were supposed to be celebrating. Selfish is the enemy of worship. Do we celebrate Jesus in corporate worship and private devotion, or seek to indulge ourselves? When the Israelites should have been demonstrating lives of worship to the God who redeemed them, they turned aside to do as their flesh desired. How often do we fail to show consistent obedience to God and opt for “me time?” 
6/6/2013 1:30:47 PM by Troy Rust, senior pastor, Somerset Baptist Church, Roxboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for June 16: Who Said Life Would Be Fair?

June 4 2013 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church

Focal Passages: Job 15:5-6, 9-10, 20; 16:19-21; 19:5-6, 25-27; 21:7-9
           
Early in May my wife and I visited our son who lives in Baltimore. He is the program director for the Downtown Sailing Center, a non-profit organization that runs a special sailing program for children and adults with disabilities. On Saturday morning we observed about 25 participants and an almost equal number of volunteers sailing the Inner Harbor.
 
We spoke briefly with a young woman who appeared to be about the age of our son. She shared that she had brought her mother, who was a paraplegic. She did not share what caused her mom’s condition, nor did we ask. What was obvious was she loved her mom, and was doing what she could to help make life better for her. Another sailor was a man named Bob. Apparently Bob was a regular, because even though he had no capacity to get in the boat unaided, and minimal verbal communication ability, he was able to sail solo, and do it quite well. 
 
The question “Who Said Life Would Be Fair?” is a most difficult question to ask and answer. A few years ago my dad had a leg amputated. Since then he’s dealt with other health-declining issues. To his credit, he’s been a trooper. He doesn’t invite or want pity. As best as he can, he strives to live. 
 
Today’s text includes conversations from the second series of speeches between Job and his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. As someone once said to me, “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”  Collectively, they possessed little tolerance for Job’s assertion that he was blameless. Eliphaz called Job “a sinner using crafty language;” Job’s own words condemned him. Bildad and Zophar concurred that Job must be “guilty as sin.”
 
Job’s counter to these hurting assertions was his continued belief in God: “His heavenly witness is his advocate (16:19) and he knows that his Redeemer lives (19:25).” That being said, Job still could not understand why the wicked and their families were prospering while he was living in torment.
6/4/2013 2:02:37 PM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 16: God Delivers His People

June 4 2013 by Troy Rust, senior pastor, Somerset Baptist Church, Roxboro

Focal Passages: Exodus 3:7-10; 12:12-13, 29-31; 14:5-6, 13-14, 21, 26
 
As a young man I first heard the hymn that asks, “Does Jesus Care?” The chorus responds, “Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief.” What a comfort to know that God not only knows our situations, but He also showers us with lovingkindness. However, God has not comforted us to be mere spectators; He will use us in this midst of trials to bring glory to Himself. Imagine Moses’ surprise at the burning bush when God declared, “I will send you to Pharaoh.” Are you ready to be used as part of God’s comfort to His people?
 
Passover sacrifices were an act of faith foreshadowing God’s sacrifice of Jesus for the salvation of His people, by grace through faith.
 
As Jesus prepared to die on the cross, He taught His disciples that the Passover meant much more than ancient deliverance from Egyptian slavery. He would be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). God’s holiness and justice demand judgment on sin. His grace placed that judgment on His Son: “He himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Have you celebrated God’s grace in your life lately?
 
Some charismatic groups claim to have cornered the market on “deliverance ministry.” Such ministries typically focus on deliverance from a variety of immediate threats, such as drugs, alcohol or pornography.
 
While everyone should desire freedom from individual sins, we must focus on God’s overarching deliverance from sin and death. This deliverance frees us from the clutches of all the lesser traps of life. God delivered the children of Israel from slavery and unto the Promised Land. As Christians we have been delivered from sin and unto righteousness.

Only disobedience can cause us to die in the wilderness outside the center of God’s will. Where are you?    
6/4/2013 1:59:59 PM by Troy Rust, senior pastor, Somerset Baptist Church, Roxboro | with 0 comments