MAY 7: LIFE AT HOME

By Mark D. Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Ephesians 5:22-28; 6:1-3

My house has a design flaw. When a visitor is in the living room, he or she can see right into the master bedroom if the door is open (we can cover how I learned this in another article). A poorly designed home affects the behavior of the residents. In our passage, Paul writes to the Ephesian church with specifications for a home designed by God. And that design produces the behaviors that glorify God and His church. [Read more…]

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DEC. 27: STRENGTHENED BY GOD’S POWER

By Michael Crandall
Senior Pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Dyersburg

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Ephesians 3:14-21

What is strength? How can we measure strength? What does strength look like? These are all questions that a person could ask. And on the surface these are questions that have simple answers. From a purely secular point of view, strength could be defined as the state of being strong. And if we look at it from that point then we measure strength by how much a person can lift or by how far they run without stopping. Is strength that person we meet in the gym that looks like they should be on the cover of a health and fitness magazine?
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Oct. 12: Connected Through Prayer

By Van Richmond
Pastor, New Life Church, Nashville

Focal Passage: Ephesians 6:18-22

E.T., the abandoned alien in the 1982 movie, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” learned enough English to express his deepest desire: “Phone home.” Today E.T. would probably say something like, “Skype Saturn.” Incredible technological advances allow us to use high-definition sight and sound to easily connect with someone in Memphis, Madagascar, or on the moon.

Thankfully Christians have prayer as our instant link to the most important person in our lives — and prayer never needs recharging, software updates, or tech support! [Read more…]

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Oct. 5: Connected in Service

By Van Richmond
Pastor, New Life Church, Nashville

Focal Passage: Ephesians 5:15-21

Most people probably would not own a computer today if it was a stand-alone device. Whether used for e-mail, shopping for virtually anything imaginable, or keeping track of family and friends through Facebook or Instagram, the computer’s value to users is exponentially multiplied because of one thing: servers. An earth-spanning network of data-processing gee whiz boxes called servers makes it possible to earn a college degree from home, work from home, and even buy or sell a home.

Modeling Christian faith works best when we have a network of servers — not the digital doodads, but people who love God and love serving others. In this passage, Paul uses the words “unwise” and “wise” to refer to unbelievers and believers as he instructs followers of God in how they should operate (walk) within an obedient network. Tennessee Southern Baptists very frequently make the most of the time, just as the apostle directed. Giving through the Cooperative Program, traveling across the state and the nation to serve as part of a disaster relief team, conducting ESL classes, volunteering at a Crisis Pregnancy Center — these are just a few of the many ways we serve through a network of dedicated believers. [Read more…]

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Sept. 28: Connected Through Words

By Van Richmond
Pastor, New Life Church, Nashville

Focal Passage: Ephesians 4:25-32

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan spoke in front of the Brandenburg Gate beside the Berlin Wall, the heavily-guarded symbol of the Iron Curtain. West Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt called this divider of freedom and people the “Wall of Shame.” Reagan’s speech, which Time ranked as number 10 among the world’s all-time greatest speeches, is remembered for four words: “Tear down this wall!” The seed planted by the President’s words took root and produced fruit just 29 months later when East Germany opened the Berlin Wall.

The East Germans were not the only ones involved in erecting barriers that kept families apart. History demonstrates Christians have built many of the walls that keep people from developing a relationship with their heavenly Father. Even the esteemed theologian John Wesley declared that the world would be Christian were it not for the Christians! What words, then, would be required to tear down those walls, to free those who face an eternity of imprisonment? [Read more…]

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Sept. 21: Connected in Growth

Van Richmond
Pastor, New Life Church, Nashville

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Ephesians 4:11-16

Some people fondly recall the days of their childhood, reminiscing with great appreciation the slower pace of that bygone time. A glance in your rearview mirror would reveal different recollections than anyone else’s, but you would discover one link that connected all children. Whether urban or country, rich or poor, easy life or one filled with struggle, all kids shared a common goal: we wanted to grow up.

Age and height put kids at a severe disadvantage, but growing up would remove the barriers to an entire world that was off limits to children — the more thrilling rides at the carnival, going to school, staying up later, getting a driver’s license, dating, college, a job with lots of money, etc. All of these things, and more, would be magically within our reach. We just had to grow. [Read more…]

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Sept. 14: Connected in Unity

By Van Richmond
Pastor, New Life Church, Nashville

Focal Passage: Ephesians 4:1-6

In a world filled with disagreement and divergent opinions, how does one go about achieving unity? Kristi’s T-shirt boldly and humorously answered that question: “Agree With Me Now. It Will Save Sooooo Much Time.”

If you asked a coach, university president, or corporate CEO to list essentials for success, “unity” would be mentioned quickly, with their responses likely being expressed as harmony, cohesiveness, or having everyone on the same page. Oh, if only unity and harmony could be achieved so easily! As difficult as it might be to imagine in today’s pay-with-plastic world, the owner of a donut shop has been dubbed the “Donut Nazi” because of his furious refusal when a customer wants to pay with a credit or debit card, often telling the shocked buyer to get out of his store. This shopkeeper’s livid tirades fly in the face of American writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard’s advice, “Minimize friction and create harmony. You can get friction for nothing, but harmony costs courage and self-control.” [Read more…]

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Sept. 7: Connected in Christ

By Van Richmond
Pastor, New Life Church, Nashville

Focal Passage: Ephesians 2:17-22

Nobel Peace Prize winner and theologian Albert Schweitzer once astutely noted, “We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.” While it seems difficult to imagine anyone could possibly feel isolated on a planet inhabited by over seven billion people, the reality is the esteemed Schweitzer’s observation is as accurate today as during his lifetime. What could be missing that would be so important?

Deep, meaningful connections. In Genesis 2:18, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” The need for relationships left the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve and endures yet today. People embark upon multiple journeys in the never-ending effort to connect. They might seek others with similar hobbies, goals, or careers. Others might join a church or perform volunteer duties. Individuals even join dating websites in hopes of discovering the love of their life. “We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.” [Read more…]

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