November 2018

Explore the Bible Lesson for December 16: Family?

November 30 2018 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Genesis 29:16-30
I have a dear friend named Ray who is never without a truck. In the few years that I’ve known him, I’ve seen him drive several, none of them new.
On top of that, every so often Ray has to fix one.
Only days ago, he took the motor out of his current truck, fixed it and put it back. You see, it brings Ray more joy to tinker with an old forgotten truck than it ever would to drive a brand new one. God finds joy in loving and using the forgotten and imperfect as well.
Scripture is replete with illustrations of God using sinful people to advance His kingdom purposes. The story of Jacob and Laban is a prime example. While there is much to be commended in the passage (for example, the value of hard work), there are many things there that the Bible clearly deems as sinful.
God’s Word never commends deception or polygamy.
Yet, God uses Jacob’s dysfunctional family to bring about what would become the nation of Israel and culminate in the Messiah. Given the Bible’s overall redemptive thrust, this should not surprise us.
If God were to require perfect people to do His will, no one would qualify. After all, Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous; not even one.”
Also consider that every imperfect character of scripture points to the need for one who is perfect.
That perfect figure comes in the person of Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, who “having been made perfect … became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” In Christ, God lovingly calls imperfect people into His family to save us and to sanctify us.
Take heart. You may be imperfect, but God has an eternal plan of which He wants you to be a part. Even when you fail, know that God is sovereignly working to take your sin and turn it for His glory.

11/30/2018 9:45:24 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 16: Mary’s Trust

November 30 2018 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Luke 1:26-38
Have you ever wanted to quit? Have you been in that difficult job where your boss was treating you unfairly and you were ready to walk out? It is in times like these we need courage to face the challenges of the day.
In the movie ‘Courageous’ there is a powerful scene where a man is brought into his boss’s office to be considered for a promotion. Although the man does not know it at first, the boss is going to test him to see if he will do what is right, even if it means not getting the promotion or possibly losing his job.
When the boss brings him in the office he asked if he would be willing to lie on the paperwork to show the business would profit. The man, who is a Christian, and in desperate need of the extra money, had a couple of days to consider the offer.
After much prayer, and through God’s strength, the man went into the office and told the boss he could not lie.
To his surprise, the boss explained that all the other employees who interviewed for the job were willing to lie, but he was the only one who stood for what was right.
Because of his willingness to stand for truth, God honored the man and the boss gave him the job.
Maybe your situation has been similar. In our lesson, the Bible teaches us that if God calls you to something, He will give you the courage to meet the challenges you may face.
In Luke 1:26-38, God called Mary to carry in her womb the Son of God. I could only imagine the fear she must have felt – what a tremendous responsibility. However, the angel of the Lord assured Mary that God was with her.
We should note from Mary’s life the important lesson that God does not always remove the challenges we face in life, but as we obey His calling and commands, He promises to walk with us and give us the courage we need to keep going.          

11/30/2018 9:42:16 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for December 9: Not Alone

November 27 2018 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Genesis 28:10-22
The wayward lion raced cautiously behind the monkey through the dark brambles. Beyond the threshold, the magnificent image of his father hovered in the clouds. “Simba,” the ghostly lion said, “You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the circle of life.”
In a glorious vision, portrayed in Disney’s “The Lion King,” Mufasa lovingly and graciously reminded his son of his purpose, to reign from Pride Rock as king over the Pridelands. The presence of Simba’s father would go with him. He need only heed the call and return.
In a less mystical way, a similar scene occurs in Genesis 28.
Jacob, another wayward son, was on the run, having ignited the rage of his brother Esau who was denied his rightful blessing.
However, God’s eternal purposes could not be thwarted, and Jacob had been chosen to play an integral role in God’s plan of redemption. He would become Israel, and from him would come Jesus, the Messiah, the climax of God’s purpose and presence in the world.
Jacob need only respond in faith, which he did in setting up a pillar to the Lord and offering Him a tenth of all he owned. In Christ, God offers to all his wayward sons and daughters a role to play in His Kingdom.
God reveals His purpose for us in His Word. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus instructs us to go and make disciples of all nations.
That is, we share the gospel, and as the Spirit saves, we help those who have been converted to walk in obedience to all that Jesus has commanded.
Like God to Jacob in Genesis 28, Jesus promises to always be with us, to the very end. We need only respond in faith and obedience.
As we live out this eternal purpose in a myriad of ways, we can rest assured that God is in control, and we can rejoice that He is with us to accomplish all things for His glory and our good.

11/27/2018 10:26:29 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 9: Joseph’s Obedience

November 27 2018 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passages: Matthew 1:18-25
Have you ever thought you had everything planned out and at the last minute everything changed? When I was young, I loved cars and through a mutual friend was able to attend a NASCAR race at Bristol. The plan was for me to talk with Robert Yates, the owner of the Davey Allison car #28 after the race about working for the team.
After the race, Robert and I were eating, and right before we were to discuss my employment, one of his crew members turned the tool box over trying to exit the race track. To make things worse, as he tried to move forward, numerous tires began to fall out of the back of the truck.
I remember that event so clearly because in one moment all my plans completely changed. We picked up tools and tires, but never got the opportunity to talk about the job.
I can remember being so disappointed. Little did I know God had something better in store for me.
Has something similar to that ever happen to you? You are going in one direction, but God has other plans. We see in our lesson that Joseph had plans. He and Mary were soon to be married, but when he found out that she was pregnant he was going to break off the marriage.
However, God intervened and told him that Mary had been faithful and the child within her was from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-25).
When Joseph woke up, he obeyed God, and when the baby was born they named him Jesus. Could you imagine if Joseph refused to obey God? What if he was determined to follow his own plans?
Thankfully, he did not and through his obedience we all benefit from God’s plan. Joseph’s life is a great reminder that if we are not careful, we can miss out on God’s best. As I look back on my life, I am so grateful God changed my plans that day at the race track.
I still like cars, but nothing is greater than preaching the gospel!  

11/27/2018 10:26:22 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for December 2: The Deceiver

November 16 2018 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Genesis 27:18-29
My wife and I allot a certain amount of time each day for our children to watch TV. We also try to bless each child with the privilege of choosing which program to watch. My son, however, is the master manipulator over his sister. He has figured out which of his programs she finds tolerable, so even when it is her turn to choose he will trick her into watching what he wants.
We have promised him a blessing, but instead of waiting for that blessing he steals it. Sound familiar?
In Genesis 25, God prophesizes a blessing for Jacob, the younger of twin brothers. Little do we know at this point how that blessing will come about. First, Jacob tricks Esau out of his birthright. Then, Rebekah and Isaac connive to steal the blessing. And if you think Isaac and Esau are innocent, think again. Isaac is well-prepared to bless the wrong son even though he knows God has promised to bless Jacob. Esau despises his birthright for a bowl of stew. Yet all the while, God’s sovereign hand is in control in spite of the sinful actions of His creatures.
Romans 9:8-13 teaches us God had chosen Jacob prior to his birth and without regard to either brother’s sin or righteousness. As you can see in the passage, no one deserves the blessing. But God is gracious. His sovereign plan of redemption through Abraham’s seed pressed on.
There is a right way to enjoy God’s blessings, and it isn’t through deception or personal favoritism. We honor God by walking in love and integrity no matter the consequences. As we walk, we trust in the sovereignty of God to accomplish His good purposes in us and through us.
Romans 8:28 says God is working all things for His glory and our good. And when we fail, we can rest in the promise of I John 1:9. He is faithful and just to forgive.

11/16/2018 11:04:01 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 2: Isaiah’s Prophecy

November 16 2018 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passages: Isaiah 7:10-14; 9:6-7; 11:1-5
As a parent of three children, planning for Christmas can be quite the job. It begins with my wife and me talking with the kids in early October about what they want for Christmas. Then, throughout November and December we begin making arrangements through various channels (grandparents, aunts and uncles, shopping etc.) to secure those items.
However, the real planning begins the night before Christmas morning. Our children never know what we go through to make Christmas morning such a special time.
Sometimes it requires an all-night construction party or a midnight run to the store because we forgot batteries. Interestingly, when the kids wake up the next morning they have no clue what had taken place prior to that special morning. Could you imagine how you would feel if your child came into the room on that Christmas morning and immediately ignored all that was prepared and did not demonstrate any gratitude for all that had been given? I am sure, in a similar way, our heavenly Father feels the same way when we take for granted all that He has done in sending to us the greatest Gift – His Son, Jesus.
As our lesson teaches us, the incarnation of Christ was no mere circumstance, but was planned by God. Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied of His arrival (Isaiah 7:10-14). Talk about planning for Christmas!
Of course, we can go back further than Isaiah to Genesis and see the first prophetic words about the coming Messiah (Genesis 3:15). I am simply stating that in God’s goodness, He planned in advance a way for us to experience the greatest blessing in all of life, namely a relationship with Him through His Son.
When Christmas comes this year, let’s not be like that child who ignores all the sacrificial work that has been put in before time. Instead, we should spend time thanking God for every little detail that was given for us that we could experience life to the fullest in Jesus Christ.            

11/16/2018 11:02:36 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for November 25: With Anticipation

November 13 2018 by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal Passage: James 5:7-9, 13-20
Everyone’s waiting for something, whether it’s a new job, a spouse or the weekend. Waiting is a part of living, it seems. But as Christians, we are ultimately waiting for one thing. Concluding his letter, James reminds his readers that what we are waiting for is the return of our King. He also reminds us how we should wait.
We know God did not promise us a life free from trials. In this time between Christ’s first and second coming, we have and will experience hardship. Praise God that we have an eternal hope in Jesus! Though we struggle, we know that at just the right time, our Savior King will return and put an end to pain forever! In our sickness and suffering, then, James reminds us of the importance of turning to God in prayer. Because of the righteousness we have in Christ, our prayers are powerful and effective. Just as Elijah’s prayer moved God to stop the rain (and start it back again!), so our prayers move God to help us in our sin and sorrow.
Sometimes, life’s difficulties cause believers to falter in their faith. Scripture tells us to seek out those who have strayed. We are to show grace to those who have fallen into sin and seek to restore them. In verse 20, James teaches that this seeking and reclaiming can save a person even from physical death. In this way, we help others wait well.
When Jesus returns, every evil thing will be upended, and we will live forever with the One who died for us. We wait in hope, knowing that our God is faithful and will return as He promised.
We wait in prayer, knowing that He is the only one who can sustain us through our every circumstance. We wait in faithfulness, encouraging others to be faithful too. With anticipation we wait. For we know that our minds cannot even conceive the half of what God has prepared for those who love Him!

11/13/2018 12:45:48 PM by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 25: A Prayer of Thanksgiving

November 13 2018 by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden

Focal passage: Psalm 138:1-8
In these sessions, we’ve sought to follow the lifestyle of Jesus by studying His prayer life.

Like the disciples, we still today ask Jesus to “teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
Clearly from the gospel accounts, Jesus’ patterns of prayer were simply part of the warp and woof of His life. The example of the “model” prayer can be an encouragement as we seek communion with our heavenly Father who loves us.
One result of this intimate communion with God is praise and thanksgiving. As we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we cannot help but become a thankful person. An excellent example of thankfulness in God is found in Psalm 138.
The psalmist starts by praising God for His covenant loyalty and faithfulness (vv. 1-2). The psalmist’s response is to give praise and thanks for who God is and what He has done. A thankful heart looks at the works of God in his or her life and turns that thankfulness into praise.
Next, the psalmist praises God for His provision. God meets with the lowly and with kings alike (vv. 3-6) and our response must be humility and thankful praise.
Lastly, God protects His people (vv. 7-8). In these verses, God is the one acting on behalf of His people – we get the help and God gets the glory and praise. That’s a pretty good deal!
One can easily see how these requests, petitions and praises are echoed in our Lord’s model prayer.
The Christian life is marked by thanksgiving. In the hard knocks of life, we learn from our Teacher the way of humility and thanksgiving.
Even the model prayer was a petition for God’s will, Kingdom and provision to work on behalf of His people.
This joyful thanksgiving is the fruit of vibrancy in our prayer lives – something that God wants for us all!

11/13/2018 12:42:01 PM by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden | with 0 comments