Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for January 6: Transformed

December 20 2018 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Genesis 32:24-32
Do you remember the moment when God saved you? For many it is very low-key, perhaps the result of a private conversation during Vacation Bible School as a child or a chat with a counselor at summer camp as an adolescent. For others, it’s big and emotional and public, often times because of the nature of the life they have lived up to that point.
Whatever the circumstance, that moment is equally powerful and equally transformative, and God can bring it about anywhere and whenever He wants so long as the Spirit moves through the proclamation of the gospel. It is a moment you will never forget.
Now, imagine wrestling with God!
Even though God had called Jacob much earlier, the patriarch’s encounter with the living God in Genesis 32 is a decisive moment in his life. It is one that he will not soon forget either, as God endows him with a physical reminder of the event.
At Peniel, Jacob realizes that not only is God faithful in making and keeping His promises but He is gracious as well.
Jacob has prevailed not because of any inherent righteousness in himself but because God has graciously preserved him, that through him God might accomplish His sovereign purposes.
Given the context, this knowledge of God’s gracious preservation will be invaluable to Jacob as he faces Esau, the brother he cheated.
God saves and transforms each us to be used in some specific way to further His Kingdom through advancing the gospel. Whether or not that moment was explosive to you, it should be unforgettable, because God’s calling you to salvation was an act of pure grace. His transforming you into the likeness of His Son for His glory is amazing and yet undeserved.
This knowledge is invaluable to us as we face the challenges of mission in a fallen world, but “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
His gracious preservation will hold until His will in our lives is complete.

12/20/2018 3:53:32 PM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for January 6: The Wise Men’s Worship

December 20 2018 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Matthew 2:1-11
John Piper shared a powerful story from Stanford Kelly in his sermon, To Finish the Aim of Christ’s Affliction: Called to Suffer and Rejoice. The story is about a Haitian man who lived sacrificially to honor the Lord.
Piper writes, “The church was having a Thanksgiving festival and each Christian was invited to bring a love offering. One envelope from a Haitian man named Edmund held $13 cash.
“That amount was three months’ income for a working man there. Kelly was as surprised as those counting a Sunday offering in the United States might be to get a $6,000 cash gift.
“He looked around for Edmund, but couldn’t see him. Later Kelly met him in the village and questioned him. He pressed him for an explanation and found that Edmund had sold his horse in order to give the $13 gift to God for the sake of the gospel.
“But why hadn’t he come to the festival? He hesitated and didn’t want to answer. Finally Edmund said, “I had no shirt to wear.”
Edmund’s story is a great testimony to a believer’s willingness to make great sacrifices to worship and honor the Lord. In like manner, our lesson this week teaches us about the wise men who also made sacrifices to worship the King.
In Matthew 2:1-11, the wise men knew something great had happened and they prepared to make the journey to see the Christ-child.
Once they arrived they rejoiced and worshipped Jesus. Although commanded by Herod to come back and report the location of Jesus, the wise men obeyed God and did not return.
I am sure disobeying Herod came with a potential death threat, but the wise men were willing to honor God and go back home a different way.
Their willingness to live sacrificially before God underscores the value we should give to worshipping and honoring God.
Like Edmond or the wise men, we would to do well to follow their example to demonstrate Jesus is worthy of worship, regardless of the costs.

12/20/2018 3:51:59 PM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for December 30: Home!

December 20 2018 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Genesis 31:2-16
Have you ever had to make a decision? Of course you have.
We make them every day, everything from whether or not to turn on the television in the morning to what we will have for dinner each evening. Have you ever had to make a big decision though?
I must confess, there are times when I sinfully envy the person who simply balances the pros and cons and then acts, come what may.
This is because I, like many Christians, have made finding God’s will much too difficult.
I have failed to trust that where God clearly speaks in His word I am called to obey, and where He doesn’t, I am free to make wise, biblically-informed choices, come whatever His sovereign hand might bring.
In Genesis 30, God clearly speaks to Jacob and commands that he return to the land of his fathers.
The pretext for the move is the anger of Laban and his sons over the wealth that Jacob has amassed at their expense, but this was all part of God’s plan to fulfill His promises to Jacob.
The beloved patriarch, in faith, recognizes this and prepares to obey. In other words, his obedience does not procure God’s faithfulness but rather it is in response to it.
Because God has shown himself faithful, I will obey.
Life’s circumstances are often difficult, and sometimes the daily grind is too overwhelming for us to bear.
However, God has shown us that He is faithful not only through the story of Jacob but in the lives of countless others throughout scripture and history.
He has shown us His faithfulness in our own stories as well.
Therefore, let us trust Him and faithfully obey in those moments where we are faced with the clear commands of scripture.
Let us also trust Him to be sovereign and faithful in those moments when the decisions are unclear.
God is with us, and He is directing us. Of that we can be sure.

12/20/2018 3:50:06 PM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 30: Simeon’s Proclamation

December 20 2018 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Luke 2:25-35
I love celebrating Christmas and New Years! To say they are my favorite times of year, is an understatement. When I think about the magnitude of the birth of Christ and what it means to me as a believer, coupled with the excitement of starting a new year brings great joy and hope into my life.
Honestly, just getting up every morning brings me hope and joy, but during Christmas time I feel like Simeon in our lesson. In Luke 2:25-35, Simeon was promised he would not see death until he saw the Christ child (v. 26). The Bible tells us that when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to Simeon he took Him in his arms and blessed God!
Of course, I have never seen Jesus physically, but like Simeon, I praise God that I have encountered the living Christ by faith and have received Him into my life as Savior and Lord.   
For many people hope and joy are not a consistent part of their lives. Even as a young Christian, I struggled thinking hope and joy was based on how well I performed for Jesus. If I was doing all the Christian things such as witnessing, having a quiet time and going to church, I thought God loved me more. But, when I failed to do those things I thought God didn’t love me as much, and my joy and hope would dissipate.
Over the years, I have learned that God’s love for me is not based on how good I am, but on the finished work of His Son, Jesus. He still wants me to do those things, but His love for me is an act of grace and not of my works. So now, when I set my New Year’s resolutions and do not complete them, I just laugh and laugh and laugh.
Don’t get me wrong, I still want to grow as a Christian, but I have tried living the Christian life in my own strength and trust me, I like Jesus’ way a whole lot better.

12/20/2018 3:47:45 PM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 23: The Angels’ Announcement

December 13 2018 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Luke 2:1-14
I recently read an article titled, “Dabo Sweeny to Clemson fans: ‘12-0 ain’t good enough? Then it’s time for me to seek other places.’” Sweeny is the head football coach at Clemson University, and over the years, under his leadership, Clemson has become one of the best teams in college football.
In fact, this season, they beat their state revival, The University of South Carolina for the fifth year in a row. What makes the article so interesting is that after the South Carolina game, evidently, word got back to Sweeney that some Clemson fans were upset because Clemson didn’t beat them more badly.
Although Clemson did not play their best football that game, they still won and are undefeated.
The problem is that some of the Clemson fans have become too familiar with always winning, and they failed to recognize the magnitude of what Sweeney and Clemson football organization have accomplished. Thus, the frustration Sweeney had toward those who were taking him and the coaching staff for granted. 
Sweeney’s experience reminds me of the danger that could happen to any believer during Christmas time.
Every year we have the privilege of celebrating the birth of Christ. Many of us will decorate the Christmas tree, plan for family visits, attend church services, open gifts, and hopefully, read the Christmas story. The danger occurs when we become so familiar with the routine of Christmas we lose sight of what God accomplished in the birth of Christ and the reason Jesus came to be with us.
To use a football analogy, Luke 2:1-14 is like winning the College National Championships – except there is really no comparison. In other words, nothing can compare to what God did for us in sending Jesus to earth that we could be forgiven of our sin and have eternal life. Unfortunately, there will be some Christians this season that will treat God like a few of the disgruntled fans at Clemson. They will complain that the greatest events in human history – namely, the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ – is not enough to make them happy. How about you?
12/13/2018 1:12:08 PM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for December 23: Promise Kept

December 13 2018 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Luke 1:26-38
When a couple gets married, they leave the altar with many tokens of the vows just exchanged. Together, each has the other person as well as a host of family and friends to bear witness to the promises made. Separately, each has a wedding ring to spur the memory of their lifelong commitment. Such reminders are necessary, because fallen creatures often break their promises.
God does not.
God’s promise of redemption begins in Genesis 3:15 following the Fall, when God assures the serpent that a descendant of the woman would come to crush his head. The biblical storyline follows this prophecy through the line of Abraham and the nation of Israel, taking on very specific predictions about who this descendant would be and what he would accomplish. When we read the gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus, there can be no doubt that He is the one for whom the Old Testament saints were waiting, even though His own did not recognize Him.
In Luke 1, the author wastes no time in pointing to the coming of Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy regarding the Messiah.
In verses 26-38 there are three specific indicators that this is so: (1) Jesus would hail from Galilee which fulfills Isaiah 9:1-7. (2) Jesus would be virgin-born, a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. (3) Finally, Jesus would be of the tribe of Judah, specifically a son of David, which fulfills the prediction made to David in 2 Samuel 7:8-17.
Even still, this knowledge is too wonderful for us.
We are often fearful and confused with regard to the commands of scripture, but we, like Mary, can trust in the character and providence of God to keep His promises.
Mary did not find favor with God because she was special, she was special because she found favor with God. His grace called her and calls us too, to humbly obey and watch as He fulfills His plan in us and through us.

12/13/2018 1:09:56 PM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments

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

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