November 2016

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 13: Unstoppable Courage

November 1 2016 by Emily Anthony, member, Imago Dei Church, Raleigh

Focal passage: Acts 4:1-3, 8-12, 19-20
God gives us courage to speak boldly for Christ.
In the 1939 classic movie “The Wizard of Oz,” the Cowardly Lion longs for courage. He sings, “If I were king of the forest … I’d command each thing, be it fish or fowl. With a woof and a woof and a royal growl.” The Lion knows he was created to reign, but he is paralyzed by fear.
The Cowardly Lion needed courage to live out his identity in the forest. Likewise, we as Christians need courage to live out our identity as Christ’s witnesses in the world. Sharing the gospel requires boldness. Peter and John demonstrated this radical boldness as “they were teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection of the dead” (Acts 4:2). The religious leaders became angry, and the two apostles were immediately put in jail. Can you imagine it? Peter and John were imprisoned for sharing the gospel!
No one in my community has ever been jailed for witnessing, but I do know people who have been ridiculed or teased. Christ’s message can seem foolish and offensive to the lost. But remember, one of the most loving things we can do is to share the hope of Christ with people who are alienated from God.
Near the end of the film, when Dorothy and her entourage finally reach Emerald City, the Cowardly Lion sheepishly asks the Wizard for courage. Instead of some magical infusion of bravery, the Wizard simply gives the Lion a medal and tells him he has possessed internal courage all along. I’m so thankful God does not treat us in this way. When we share our faith with others, God does not expect us to muster the courage within ourselves. Instead, God emboldens us.
The morning after being imprisoned, Peter spoke at his trial. He needed great courage, but it did not come from within. Instead, Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit” and began to share the gospel (Acts 4:8).
As Christ followers, we can be confident when we share about Christ, not in our own abilities, but because God will empower us to share His truth with boldness.

11/1/2016 10:55:15 AM by Emily Anthony, member, Imago Dei Church, Raleigh | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for November 13: With Trust

November 1 2016 by Randy Mann, Lead Pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson

Focal passage: 2 Peter 1:12-21
This year’s presidential election cycle has been interesting. One of the most burdensome elements has been the nature of the debates. If you have paid any attention to these, one of the terms you have heard a lot is “fact-checking.”
Fact-checking is the practice of going back over the statements made by the candidates to check the “facts.” In many cases, the so-called “facts” shared simply don’t correspond with what truly was the case. On the one hand, perhaps the discrepancy simply illustrates the ignorance or forgetfulness of the candidate who has unintentionally misspoken. On the other hand, such discrepancies may reveal a candidate’s desire to mislead the people. Whatever the reason, the sharing of these “facts” casts doubt on the trustworthiness of the candidates.
One might wonder, “Is my candidate simply uninformed about an issue?” Or, “Is this just an effort to mislead me and the rest of the public?” Whatever the intent, the potential voters are left with an eroding sense of trust.
Peter is writing to remind his readers that the written Word they have is a trustworthy Word. In fact, Peter is so confident in this Word of God that he is going to seek to keep it in front of the people as long as he has life and breath. His commitment is to remind them continuously of both the content and the veracity of God’s Word.
Part of the strength of Peter’s admonition is the fact that he could give eyewitness testimony to the life and ministry of the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ. Peter would further remind them that the written Word they had, the Old Testament, which pointed to Jesus, was reliable not simply because of the personal trustworthiness or intellectual acumen of the men who wrote, but because of the faithfulness of the Spirit of God who “bore them along” as they wrote.
God hasn’t forgotten anything. He hasn’t misspoken. He is not misleading us. The Word is God’s, and we can trust Him and His Word.

11/1/2016 10:51:57 AM by Randy Mann, Lead Pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson | with 0 comments

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