Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for July 9: The Creator

June 27 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 95:1-11
 
Before the sun rose, I began the drive to my first computerized tomography (CT) scan to check for advancing cancer. I was going by myself because I thought I could handle it.
My husband wanted to go with me, but somehow I convinced him that we would need to use his vacation days later on that year. I didn’t realize how much fear I had wrapped up inside me.
 
I told God, “I can’t do this.” Then I looked up and saw a huge full moon. God’s Spirit said. “I AM a big God.” That is when I knew the God who created that huge moon could handle my cancer. I worshiped Him with songs and prayers of praise as I drove.
 
Psalm 95 encourages us to worship the Lord. The invitation is for all to come and celebrate the Lord with joy, thanksgiving and song.
 
I invite you to read through Psalm 95 and make a list of the different names of God. For instance, in verse one He is called “the Lord” and the “Rock of our salvation.” In verse three “the great God” and “the great King above all gods.”
 
What do the descriptive names of God make you think and feel?  Do they promote your heart to worship?
 
The posture of our worship will take on various forms. In corporate worship, we must be careful not to judge others who worship differently from ourselves. God is most concerned about the posture of your heart, not whether you kneel, raise your hands, close your eyes or stand still.
 
The humility of your heart in contrast to the majesty of God should allow you to take on a posture that is pleasing to Him. He longs for us to humble ourselves.
 
Today is the right time to begin worshiping the Lord. Psalm 95:7b-8 says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …” Worship the Lord today. Bless Him today with your worship for He is worthy.
 

6/27/2017 8:22:40 AM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for July 9: Encourage One Another

June 27 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: Acts 11:19-26
 
Group behavior is fascinating. I am always amazed when a video emerges in which acts of atrocity are committed on crowded streets. How could those who are passing by fail to act? It is evident that most of us conform to the behavior around us. Yet, when one person has the courage to step forward, others are encouraged to follow their example.
 
A similar phenomenon is described in Acts. Although Jesus commanded His disciples to be witnesses to the ends of the earth in Acts 1:8, the church only heard half of what He said and stayed around Jerusalem.
 
Just as in our own day, the early church had difficulty doing evangelism. However, God had a way of fixing the problem when He allowed persecution to come upon the believers and they were “scattered” (Acts 11:19).
 
Many of these Christians went to Antioch where they began to share Jesus. Still, they were only sharing Jesus with people who were like them. Yet, the only thing needed in Antioch was a little encouragement. When some believers from Cyprus and Cyrene arrived and started sharing Jesus (Acts 11:20), many Gentiles were saved (Acts 11:21). When we encourage lost people to follow Jesus, it encourages unbelievers and believers. Although we don’t even know the names of these believers who first started sharing Jesus with the Gentiles, their testimony encouraged believers all the way in Jerusalem (Acts 11:22).
 
The church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to go see what was happening in Antioch. The Bible says that Barnabas “… encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with a firm resolve of the heart” (Acts 11:24). For the next year, Barnabas and Paul found fulfillment in their work by serving the Lord and serving others in Antioch.
 
This account in Acts reminds us of the importance of encouraging unbelievers to follow Christ and believers to keep walking with Him.  I have been a pastor long enough to know that we find it easier to criticize than to encourage.
 
I urge you to have the courage to lift up Jesus and build up others at your church and in your daily life. It will quickly change the climate and culture in which you live, work and worship.
 

6/27/2017 8:18:43 AM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for July 2: His Presence

June 13 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 84:1-12
 
I was a good teenager, but one night I left a church youth event, and after dropping off a friend at her house, I headed back into town to hang out with friends from school. No problem, I still had two hours until curfew. 
 
Except the father of the girl I dropped off called my dad and said I was on my way home. 
Since this was before everyone had a cell phone, you can imagine my dad’s worry as he searched for me not knowing where I was. When I got home, my father was both relieved and annoyed, so much so that he didn’t speak to me until the next morning. 
 
His worry had been relieved, but he was undone. From that point forward, I called before starting to drive home. Why? Because my father, who loved me, was waiting for me.
 
In the same way, the Heavenly Father wants us home and in His presence. Does your soul yearn for the courts of the Lord? Does your heart and flesh cry out for the living God? (Psalm 84:2) Is it your passion to worship the Lord? 
 
Verses five through seven point out that as we focus on God, even as we go through hard times, His strength will be ours. Praising God strengthens us and pleases Him.
 
The Psalmist seeks God’s favor through prayer. Prayer is powerful and effective. We should take it seriously. Just as I never took my earthly father’s words for granted after that night, we should also not take for granted that we can go before our heavenly Father’s throne at any time and for any reason (Hebrews 10:19-22).
 
Thankfully our Father in heaven is not searching frantically for us. He knows where we are, and He is waiting patiently for us to arrive home. 
 
He longs for us to be with Him. I can think of nothing better than being in His presence.
 

6/13/2017 9:24:14 AM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for July 2: Share Christ

June 13 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: John 1:35-49
 
As a child I remember my pastor, Bob Marcaurelle, always saying, “Christianity is just one generation from extinction.” He was right; we have a faith meant to be shared. 
 
We do not mind sharing good news with friends and family. We recommend restaurants, businesses, doctors and even churches if we have had a positive experience in these places or with these persons. 
 
On the other hand, many Christians say that Jesus is “the best thing that ever happened to me” but never recommend Him to a friend or family member. 
 
We must share Christ with others by telling them what He has done for us and inviting them to meet Him.
 
In just a few short verses, John the evangelist paints a picture of how we are to share Christ. 
First, John the Baptist introduces two of his disciples to Jesus (John 1:35-36). Then, one of those disciples, Andrew, introduces his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus (John 1:40-42). 
 
Likewise, another man, Phillip, met Jesus (John 1:43) – possibly because of the testimony of Andrew and Peter – and immediately he found his friend, Nathaniel, and introduced him to Jesus (John 1:43-46). 
 
It is clear that Christians must pass on their faith – your experience with Jesus cannot stop with you. 
 
Not long ago I had the honor of officiating at my own grandmother’s funeral. When I was a child, my grandmother shared Jesus with me and prayed that I would meet Jesus. Although she suffered from Alzheimer’s for the past decade, I will never forget her godly Christian witness for so many years. 
 
As I flipped through her worn and tattered Bible, I found where she had recorded her own testimony of faith that involved how she heard the gospel from others. On the next page, I saw my name – along with the names of my brother and cousins – along with the date of my salvation. 
 
My grandmother’s Bible reminded me that though nearly 20 centuries have passed since Jesus rose from the dead, the faith has been kept alive as it has been passed down from generation to generation. Pass it on by sharing Christ with others.
 

6/13/2017 9:22:34 AM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for June 25: Our Response

June 13 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 138:1-8
 
When was the last time you were overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord? At the end of May, at our final Moms in Prayer group meeting for the year, we celebrated all the answers to prayer that we had seen this year. 
 
We thanked God for safety at our schools, salvations that occurred at one of our local high schools and our children’s individual victories. 
 
All the while each mom still had her own struggle going on in her family. But, we would all admit that God encouraged our hearts through our prayers of thanksgiving.
 
Psalm 138 is the perfect example of this. In verses one through three, we read David’s words of promise to thank God and to bow down to Him. 
 
Putting yourself in proper position below the mighty God is a good thing. Realizing that every perfect gift is from Him (James 1:17), and acknowledging that fact, allows you to praise Him for His goodness. We should always thank God for answering our prayers.
 
In the next three verses, David goes on to state that all the kings will bow down. This foreshadows Philippians 2:10-11 where we are told that “every knee will bow ... and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” 
 
Some will bow out of reverence and awe and still others out of fear, but all will bow down.
 Finally, David finishes this Psalm by pointing out that even if things are going wrong in life God is present with him. God will bring His purpose in your life to fruition. 
 
I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
 
It is reassuring to know that God is not yet finished. 
 
When He is, His purpose for our lives will be accomplished.
 

6/13/2017 9:20:56 AM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 25: See Their Worth

June 13 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: 2 Samuel 11:1-9, 14-17
 
All of us have a tendency to think we are the center of the universe. 
 
The self-absorption each of us has with ourselves explains the popularity of social media. Yet, the worst self-absorption is the kind that allows a person to value their own pleasure or interest at the expense of others. In 2 Samuel 11, we find that even David, a man after God’s own heart, was guilty of such an attitude. 
 
David looked from his palace roof upon the housetops below where he saw a beautiful woman bathing (2 Samuel 11:2). 
 
First, David was not viewing Bathsheba as another person with feelings, emotions and a family but as a sexual object that he could use for his own pleasure.
 
Second, David allowed his own desires to outweigh his responsibilities to his neighbor, his God and as king. 
 
When David learned that Bathsheba was the wife of one of his trusted soldiers, this did not prevent him from bringing her to his bedroom (2 Samuel 11:3-4). 
 
In a situation that continued to spiral downhill, David acted against Uriah by taking his wife and, eventually, his life (2 Samuel 11:14-17). The story is a sad and sobering reminder that all of us, no matter how much we love Jesus, can fail to see others as God sees them.
 
On the other hand, Christ, although He is the true center of the universe, chose to act in the interest of others. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life – a ransom for many.” 
 
Rather than seeing others as objects to be used, God saw even in sinful humans valuable souls to be loved and cherished. 
 
Paul reminds us that all of us are to emulate Christ’s sacrificial act in the way we treat and view others: “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). 
 
When we see others as Christ sees them, we will chose to act in their best interest. To start, it will mean that we see others at least as valuable and human as ourselves and practice the “Golden Rule.”
 

6/13/2017 9:19:03 AM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for June 18: The Shepherd

May 31 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 23:1-6
 
For the past three years I have been battling cancer.
 
When I first began the journey I naively thought that God would heal me, and we would be done with cancer.
 
Just before my six-month follow up, the doctor noticed new spots, which led to more radiation.
 
Then a few months later more spots on the other side – more chemotherapy and another surgery.
 
Then the original trouble was back and, for almost a year now, we have been trying various medicines to halt this disease and prolong my life.
 
An even healthier diet was put in place. But God in His mercy continues to use this cancer in ways I never thought possible. I’ve learned so much about Him. It is through the hard times that I am able to see God most clearly.
 
In Psalm 23 we see some wonderful aspects of God’s character. The first three verses show us that God provides. He provides for my needs, gives me rest, gives me peace, restores my soul and shows me the way to righteousness. (Psalm 23:1-3)
 
What more could you or I need?
 
He not only provides, but He guards me. Stage four cancer may take my body one day, but it cannot take my soul. It is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).
 
Eventually everyone faces the valley of the shadow of death.
 
But do not fear. Fix your eyes on Jesus and watch the light shine brighter and the shadows
fade away.
 
Your Father will protect you and bring you comfort.
 
Finally, God hosts us. He invites us into His house forever. He prepares the table, He anoints our heads and He overflows our cups.
 
Remember from John 14:2 that Jesus goes to prepare a place for us as well.

Oh, the things that God has for us when we are together with Him!
 

5/31/2017 7:29:20 AM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 18: Respect Authority

May 31 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: 1 Samuel 24:3-12
 
We live in a society that is rapidly changing. Unfortunately, respect is a value that seems to be eroding at an ever-increasing rate.
 
As we listen to the nightly news, we see disrespect shown toward those in authority, whether they are politicians, police officers, teachers, pastors or parents.
 
Such disrespect toward authority stands in total contrast with the respect David showed to those in authority over him. In 1 Samuel 24:3-12, the Bible describes an encounter in which David had the opportunity to take the life of King Saul, a man who was actively seeking to take David’s life.
 
As David hid in the dark recesses of a cave high in the cliffs of the Judean desert, he made a decision to respect authority. David did not spare Saul’s life simply because he “chickened out” in the moment, but respect was a godly virtue by which David lived (1 Samuel 26).
 
David respected authority because he respected God and realized that God had placed certain persons in authority. Thus, he referred to the king as “the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 26:6, 9-10, 12).
 
Just as David respected those in authority over him, believers today are called to respect individuals in authority (Romans 13:1-7). We are not only to respect the respectable, but even those who we do not deem worthy of respect.
 
Surely David had little personal respect for a man like Saul who sought to kill him and who perpetually lied to him. Nevertheless, David respected Saul’s office.
 
Because David could live under authority, God eventually gave him authority and made David king over all of Israel. God has called all Christians to respect His authority and the authority of parents, teachers, pastors, bosses and government leaders.
 
God will not bless us and put us in authority over others until we have submitted to the authority under which He has placed us (Matthew 25:23).
 

5/31/2017 7:29:06 AM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for June 11: The Past

May 31 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal passage: Psalm 78:5-8, 32-39
 
My Uncle Jack is researching our family’s ancestry. So far, he’s discovered that our family came from England, settled in South Carolina and fought in the Revolutionary War. It is fascinating, but it is not the best part of my ancestry.
 
The best part is that my great grandfather, William Wallace, helped build a church and taught his children, including my grandmother to believe in Jesus. She in turn taught her children, and they taught theirs.
 
I am so thankful that my grandmother taught us to teach for the future.
 
In Psalm 78:5 we are told of God that “He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel,” in order that His people might teach it to their grandchildren “so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep His commands” (Psalm 78:7).
 
Asaph reminds the Israelites of all God had done throughout their history under Moses’ leadership in Psalm 78. He wants them to remember the past. “In spite of all this, they kept on sinning …” (Psalm 78:32). We keep sinning too.
 
I once heard a speaker say that every time she began to complain about someone else’s sin she would add “just like me” to her sentence. For instance, if I am complaining about someone’s gossip then I would add “just like me” to my objection. This not only reminds me of my sin, but it causes me to seek God’s forgiveness and reminds me almost immediately to pray for myself and the one whom I have grumbled about.
 
After all, we are all sinners saved by God’s grace. Praise the Lord, “Yet He was compassionate; He atoned for their guilt and did not destroy them. He often turned His anger aside and did not unleash all His wrath” (Psalm 78:38).

God has offered us compassion for the present that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
 

5/31/2017 7:24:55 AM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 11: Forge True Friendship

May 31 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: 1 Samuel 18:1-4; 19:4-7; 20:10-13
 
Some of my closest friends are people that I met in college and lived with in the university dormitories. As I look back, these friendships were formed almost instantaneously and deepened with time. Deep friendships are often forged in such ways.
 
First Samuel 18:1 tells us, “When David had finished speaking with Saul, Jonathan committed himself to David, and loved him as much as he loved himself” (HCSB).
 
There is really no introduction to Jonathan or explanation for David’s friendship with him. All we are told is that after David killed Goliath, Saul brought David into the royal household (1 Samuel 18:2) and David and Jonathan quickly became friends.
 
But what was it that caused David and Jonathan to remain lifelong friends? Their friendship, like all true friendships, was based on commitment. After all, David and Jonathan’s commitment is seen in the covenant that they made with one another (1 Samuel 18:3).

Commitment is not just a word; it is an action.
 
For David and Jonathan, their friendship commitment was expressed through concern and care for one another. For example, Jonathan was concerned for David’s welfare in several ways.
 
He gave David special armor to protect him on the battlefield (1 Samuel 18:4), and he defended David verbally (1 Samuel 19:4-7) as well as physically (1 Samuel 20:10-13).

David and Jonathan had a shared commitment to their friendship and that resulted in Jonathan and David always acting in the other’s best interest.
 
Does that describe your relationships with others? Are you committed to others and similar causes? Are you a friend that others can depend on?
 
If you bash your friends behind their backs, berate them or fail to help them in their time of need, you are not a true friend. God desires that we should act as friends to others because He has demonstrated the ultimate act of friendship toward us in dying for our sins (John 15:13).
 
All of us know that it is sometimes hard to find true friends in life, but the best place to start is to heed the advice of Proverbs 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly” (KJV).
 

5/31/2017 7:18:14 AM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



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