FEB. 14: AN OPEN INVITATION

By Ray Luck
Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Athens

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Matthew 11:20-30, NKJV

During the course of our lives we will receive several invitations to do a variety of things. Sometimes the invitation is very specific, other times it is open ended. When an invitation is given the one issuing the invitation usually, if not every time, will expect a response as to whether the invitee will or will not accept (RSVP).

During Jesus’ earthly walk He issued several invitations such as, “Come to Me” or “Abide with Me” or “Follow Me.” Many, over the years have responded positively to His invitations resulting in a changed life, a growing faith walk, and the promised eternal life with Him. However, there are many who refuse what Jesus offers as did those in John 6:66 — “From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked with Him no more.” [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

FEB. 14: DISTINCT IN MY RELATIONSHIPS

By Michael Crandall
Senior Pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Dyersburg

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Matthew 5:27-32

What does being distinct in our relationships look like? We are now living in a world where the relationships of believers have very little differences from the relationships of non-believers. There was once a time when our churches and our families taught us that we have a biblical mandate to live a different life from that of non-believers. We have let the world creep into all walks of our lives and now you have to look really hard to find the differences between each other. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

FEB. 7: IN HIS SERVICE

By Ray Luck
Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Athens

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Matthew 9:35-38; 10:1-8 (NKJV)

I think all of us at some point in time have a desire to be like someone else. If you are a Peanuts cartoon junky like I am you no doubt have noticed how many characters Snoopy thinks he is — a famous fighter pilot in World War I, or a famous attorney, or an ice skating coach, etc. The one thing he rarely wants to be is himself. As we think of this in the spiritual realm it should ever be our desire to “Be Like Jesus” in service. In order to be like Jesus we must study His life and incorporate into our life those things worthy of emulation. R. G. Lee, the late great pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis said, “What Southern Baptists need more than anything is to be like Jesus.” That statement still rings true today, but the issue we all face is how we use the time we have to make that a reality. The passage in Matthew teaches us four things about Jesus that if appropriated into our life would help us to draw closer to Jesus and thus become more like Him in service. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

FEB. 7: DISTINCT IN MY APPROACH TO CONFLICT

By Michael Crandall
Senior Pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Dyersburg

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Matthew 5:21-26

Conflict is a word that most of us do not like hearing, but for some they enjoy being in the middle of it. Conflict is something that keeps me up at night. I do not like having it anywhere around me! As a believer in Christ there are people all around us watching to see how we deal with conflict. There are times when we can avoid it at all cost, but there are also times where we must face it head on and see what we can do to help fix the issues. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

JAN. 31: FAITH DEMONSTRATED

By Ray Luck
Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Athens

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Matthew 8:5-13, NKJV

One of my all time favorite cartoon strips is “Peanuts” by the late Charles Schulz. The other day I ran across one that I felt fit this lesson. Linus had built a small army of snowmen and he walked in front of them and said, “I am your leader, if you will follow me, you will be invincible! There is nothing that can stop us! Nothing!” In the last frame, the sun melts his army. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

JAN. 31: DISTINCT IN MY INFLUENCE

By Michael Crandall
Senior Pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Dyersburg

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Matthew 5:13-20

Influence, we all have it, but some of us need to use it in a better more godly way! As humans we are easily influenced. Why do you think that companies will spend millions of dollars next week on commercials during the Super Bowl? We want to look and act like others! We have to have the same clothes, cars, eat the same food, and it continues on for everything in life. But the question is, are we influencing the world for Christ? [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

JAN. 24: DISTINCT IN MY CHARACTER

By Michael Crandall
Senior Pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Dyersburg

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Matthew 5:1-12

When someone looks at you, what do they see. Do they see a person who has walked through life leaning on and trusting in God? Or do they see a person that has tried to walk through life all alone? A person looking at us should see God in us, and that is hard for some believers.

What do you think of when you think of character? Character is a trait that is taught to us and we either have a good character or a bad character. The believer should always possess a godly character. In Matthew 5, God shares with us what we should look like as a believer. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

JAN. 24: TWO PATHS, ONE CHOICE

By Ray Luck
Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Athens

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Matthew 7:13-21, 24-27

Robert Frost wrote a poem about two roads converging in the woods. One had been much traveled and the other not so much. He chose the one less traveled and was a better man for it. Several years ago as I was beginning my full-time ministry in another state I was befriended by a group of pastors. As I attended their meetings all seemed well until I realized that what they believed was contrary to the truth conveyed in the Bible. About 40 years ago our family was able to purchase our first house. We were so excited about being homeowners. There was one thing that was needed at our new home and that was a shed for my lawn mower and other things. I purchased a metal shed and began to erect it according to the plans. However, in spite of all my good work there was one thing I failed to do and that was level the foundation. I use these three illustrations to introduce our lesson focus for this week. Jesus reminds us that living the Christian life involves making decisions. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

JAN. 17: CARRYING HIS VALUES

By Ray Luck
Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Athens

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Matthew 5:17-22, 43-45

We live in a society based on laws. Some laws are very good and protect us. Some laws are silly based on the times in which they were written. Some laws are bad because they focus on a certain segment of the population and are not for the good of the whole (such as the legalization of abortion). A few years back I received my first two speeding tickets ever, a miracle for sure. The first was for doing 50 miles per hour in a 30-mile-per-hour zone and the second for doing 70 miles per hour in a 60-mile-per-hour zone. Both times I could have given a circumstantial excuse, but the bottom line was I was guilty, got caught, and had to pay the penalty for my crime of speeding. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

JAN. 10: APPROACHING THE KING

By Ray Luck
Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Athens

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Matthew 6:5-18

If we are ever going to know God then we must pray. It is through prayer that we are able to hear His heart speaking to our heart. In Matthew 6 Jesus challenged the people and religious leaders in regard to the following; their giving and fasting practices and why they fasted, where their treasure is, their lifestyle, and what was first place in their life. In the middle of this discourse He places before us a real challenge in regard to our prayer life. He pointed out that the length of our prayers is not what is important to God, but the quality and humility of the prayer. In Psalm 51:15-17 David talks about the kind of sacrifice God accepts, a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. This refers to a spirit that is broken down with sorrow over sin, is humbly, sincerely, and thoroughly repentant before God. As we look at this passage we see that Jesus is admonishing us about how not to pray and then tells us how to pray. In verses 5-8 Jesus follows up verses 1-4 which talks about our attitude in giving with words on how not to pray. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail