Alumni Bible Study

A Bible study initially set up for alumni of the Senior Sunday School Class at the First United Methodist Church of Lufkin, Texas. It is our hope and our prayer that this study touches the hearts of those who participate and helps spread the love and grace of Our Lord and God. All who want to learn more about God are welcome

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Location: lufkin, Texas, United States

I am a Christian family man, Lay Pastor and writer from Deep East Texas. I love life, and I enjoy working with young people. I have published two books; "A Small Mind Among Tall Trees" and "God If You Are Not Too Busy, Can You Give Me a Hand". If you want to obtain a copy drop me an e-mail or go to or barnesand . I have been a salesman, cowman and athlete in my past. I still have a strong sense of humor and am not afraid to use it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

1 Timothy 3:8-13

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11In the same way, their wives[
a] are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Deacon means "one who serves." These were people who were put in charge of the day to day operations of the early church. They had to feed the orphans and widows, visit the sick and imprisoned, and all the other jobs the early church. These were leaders, but not the overseers. Since these were the people that people saw day to day and the ones who touched lives, they also had to be of high moral character.
The deacons of today’s church are more like a group of trustees. They are in charge of the financial and physical campus, not as much in charge of the work of the church. Paul says they must be tested. I wonder how many of our modern deacons would pass? Probably most.
Prayer- Lord, help us remember that it is by our deeds and actions that people notice us as a church. Help us to live a life away from the church buildings that shows the world how You love all people, and how people should act. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

1 Timothy 3:1-7

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen
Overseers and Deacons

1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,[
a] he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
Paul holds the lay leaders of the church to very strict standards, that are very high. Someone who meets the qualifications listed has to have self discipline and direction. This is critical in leading the church, which is the body of Christ. Sometimes, we as church leaders get so involved with the work of the church, we neglect our families. As Paul points out in verse five, if you can’t manage your family-how can you manage God’s church, ouch!
New converts tend to have lots of fire and enthusiasm and we want to get them plugged in and working. That’s fine, they can and should be allowed to volunteer, but not lead! They need to find spiritual maturity. Children have lots of energy and enthusiasm as well, yet no one would put a child in a position of in the church. It would not be fair for the church or the child. The church can not function or survive without strong lay leadership, but these leaders need to understand-they are the church! We will all be tempted and trapped, the stronger and smarter we are, the more successful God will be.
Prayer- Use me as a leader Lord. Continue to teach me and guide me, but most of all-love me. Help me love others as well. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

1 Timothy 2:8-15

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us to learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen
8I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
9I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15But women
will be saved
through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety
Paul is still giving Timothy advise on worship. If we look at this as Paul’s advise for all churches, it seems very sexist, and to be honest-it is. We must remember this is a letter of advise from Paul, a sinner, to his young friend, another sinner. Timothy had been placed in charge of the churches in Ephesus, even though he was very young. He was having problems. One of his biggest problems came from the women of the church who had been led by false teachers, and were really causing problems by using their new freedom in Christ to actively proclaim these new teachings.
Women in the first century had very few rights, and were not allowed to study in the Jewish church. Without prior knowledge or experience we all have a difficult time discerning the truth. The women of Ephesus were caught up in the enthusiasm of this new religion and repeated the false teachings-with gusto. That is what Paul is trying to stop. Paul did not think that women could not teach. His peer was a lady named Priscilla, and she taught many of the early preachers. Paul commended Timothy’s mom and aunt, giving them the credit for teaching Timothy.
Paul did not tolerate false teaching-from men or women. He subtly chides the men of the early church for not stepping up, just as Adam did not stop Eve. They knew better, but were either scared or uncaring. Either one is not acceptable in God’s eyes.
Prayer- Lord, Give me the patience and knowledge needed to teach your truths. Give us all the wisdom to see the real truth, and to spread that. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, December 18, 2006

1 Timothy 2:1-7

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Instructions on Worship
1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. 7And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.
God is great, and knows all. So...why should we pray intercessory prayers for everyone? Doesn’t God Know who is naughty and who is nice?,(Christmas analogy.) I do not know, God’s works are a mystery to us because of our limited brain space. Still, pray for others and expect great results.
Historical sidebar; The leader of Paul’s world was the Roman Emperor Nero, who was not a friend to Christians. Remember, he persecuted them and blamed them for burning Rome, when the facts show Nero was burning the city so he could build a palace for himself. Why would Paul want us to pray for leaders? The leaders of our world have direct impacts on the lives of many. Even though we want to save all of the people in the world, we know that will not happen. Even though we understand that, we still want the world treated fairly and humanely. Pray for our leaders.
Prayer- Lord, we know that there is only one true mediator between us and you, your son Jesus. You gave him to the world for everybody, and we rejoice to pray to you through his name. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, December 15, 2006

1 Timothy 1:18-20

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

18Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 20Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

What is Paul saying here? When Timothy was ordained by Paul and other leaders, they prophesied that Timothy had great gifts and strengths. This helped to give him strength and keep him going.
Evidently, Paul had to discipline some of the Churches. These other teachers were teaching falsely and "handed over to Satan." Does this mean they were thrown out of God’s love. No, but they were not saved as long as they disobeyed and taught things other than gospel. We do not discipline much in the church today. We are afraid to look hypocritical by getting on others for un-Godly acts.
If we discipline quickly and accurately, the message we send should be that God still desires you, but changes have to be made. Maybe, we should hand people over to Satan more often?
Prayer- Lord, help keep me on the right track so that I can fight the good fight. Go- Fight-Win. Amen

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

1 Timothy 1:12-17

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen
The Lord's Grace to Paul
12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Do you ever feel like you are not worthy of God’s love? That you have done something so horrible that God will not want you? That is guilt talking, not God. Paul states that he was the worst of the worst. He really did bad things to God and the Holy Spirit, but even he was worthy of God’s love and grace.
Re-read verse 15, Christ Jesus came into this world to SAVE SINNERS! We think of Paul as this hero of faith, yet he considered himself the lowest of low. He did accept God’s love, and by God’s grace he was saved. The same grace is yours, and the same offer of God’s love. Will you accept it?
Prayer- Lord, Pour out Your love and Grace on me, a sinner, abundantly. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

1 Timothy 1:3-11

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Warning Against False Teachers of the Law
3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work—which is by faith. 5The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
8We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9We also know that law[
a] is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
What are false teachers of law? Do they still exist today? Paul infers that false teachers are people who teach for the glory they can obtain, not for the true message. They hold up the law to help them increase their power and control. Do we have them today? Absolutely! The news is full of people who have let the power of faith corrupt their judgement. They either feel that they are above regular believers and the Word can not be presented without them, or they see a financial benefit to proclaiming Gods word.
Let me stress this, all professional religious workers and teachers aren’t false teachers, few are in comparison to the numbers of the profession. So, how can we tell who is genuine. Through prayer and examination. Do not take what I write as Gospel. Think about it, if there are things they do not work for you, discuss them. True teachers are not afraid of examination of their teaching, but rather they welcome it. It is through such examination that they become stronger and more confident in the truth.
Prayer- Lord, Let the readers of these words think about what is written, and be able to apply them to their own faith. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, December 11, 2006

1 Timothy 1:1-2

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1 Timothy
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul is writing this letter to his friend and protégée Timothy. Timothy was much younger than Paul, and Paul really thought that the future of the church was in this young mans hands. Not only was Timothy Paul’s pupil, we was one of his best friends and partners. Timothy had been brought up right by his parents, had been loyal to Paul, and to his faith. Paul knew it was VERY important to teach his young friend the ropes.
We have all heard the phrase "like father -like son." This is because it is true. Yvette Alverson has this phrase on a mirror in her hall. "Mirror, mirror, on the wall-I am my mother after all." We do tend to behave and take on the traits of those learn from. That may be one of the reasons public school teachers only teach one grade. If they taught the same group all the way through their school experience, their influence would be amazing. Timothy was Paul’s son in the faith. As such it is Paul’s responsibility to mold him correctly.
SIDEBAR- Many of you who read this fit into similar positions with me as Paul had with Timothy. Although ya’ll are much younger and do not have the life experience I have, ya’ll are still some of my closest friends and favorite people. Life has a way of imitating itself. Some of these resemblances may be un-canny.
Prayer- Lord, Help us learn from Your word, and from each other. Thank you for all my friends. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Friday, December 08, 2006

Jonah 4:10-11

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

10 But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"
We can get to where we think we know how God should judge people. We feel He should judge them as we judge them, and that is wrong. God has lot’s of mercy, and has much compassion. God loves EVERYBODY! God can see through the outside of man and see our hearts. When the sailors prayed fro mercy, God granted it. When the Ninevites prayer for mercy, it was granted. When Jonah prayed his prayer fro forgiveness, it was granted. Why should we be worried about petty things, and then get mad at God when he doesn’t?
Last comment on the text of Jonah. Check out the way it ends. These are the last two verses of the book. Read the last chapter again. It kind of leaves the reader dangling. As an author, I could never get away with leaving so many questions unanswered. What did Jonah do from here? Did he and God make up? And what about the sailors? If you want answers to these and other questions, you will have to use your imagination. The Book of Jonah ends abruptly, almost as if the author just got tired and quit, (perhaps he was dictating.)
Prayer- Lord, thank you for being God. Thanks for all Your mercy and compassion. Help me show mercy and compassion to the rest of Your children. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Jonah 4: 5-8

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live."
Poor Jonah. He doesn’t really get this mercy stuff. He goes to a hill outside of town to watch what will happen. He still hopes that God will change his mind and destroy Nineveh, and he wants to have a front row seat. God provides a vine (quickly) to give him shade from the sun, but then a worm comes and eats the vine. Jonah gets really mad. He is so pissed at God he tells him "it would be better for me to die than live." (I told you Jonah was a drama queen.) Jonah has seen a miracle in the belly of a fish, gone to a pagan foreign land, preached and converted thousands, an now thought he was insignificant. Maybe, he thought he was too significant, and since God did not do what Jonah wanted, he didn’t want to play anymore.
Jonah was so human. We all do the exact same things as Jonah, just not as flamboyantly. We can read and make fun of him, and wonder how he grew so far away from God, but if we can not recognize the same qualities in us, this story fails.
Prayer- Lord, I know that I am not perfect. Even when I mess up and try to rationalize my behavior, I still want your compassion, and your mercy. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jonah 4:1-5

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Jonah's Anger at the Lord 's Compassion
1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live."
4 But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?"
5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.
Jonah is a drama queen! He thought that Nineveh should be destroyed, and when God showed compassion, Jonah showed anger. Notice how quick he was to rationalize. He tells God that this is why he fled to begin with, because he knew what would happen. What an ego! He is so wrapped up in his own prejudices that he would rather die than have the Ninevites live.
When we do God’s work, do we get mad if things don’t turn out like WE want? Sometimes God’s plan differs from our agenda, and when things don’t turn out the way we think they should, we lash out at God. Instead of admitting that things are better God’s way, we withdraw and sulk, we rationalize. We become a problem rather than a solution.
Prayer- Lord, let me always be a solution. Remind me that I am Your child, and work for You. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Jonah 3:6-10

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our mind and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish."
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

Jonah spoke God’s words, and then people of Nineveh repented. The mourned and prayed for forgiveness, just as the sailors had done earlier. God heard their prayer and granted mercy, because God has compassion. The ironic part of this story is that the Israelites were hearing prophets warn them about their wicked ways, and they turned away from God. God’s people turn away, but evil pagans listen and ask for forgiveness.
God may seem a little fickle here. First he is going to wipe out Nineveh for being wicked, they ask for mercy and God changes His mind. Read Jeremiah 18:7-8. God will save any condemned nation if they repent. God passed judgement on Nineveh, Jonah preached, the Ninevities repented and God saved them. That must have been some preaching Jonah gave. Remember this; God does not care about the message we hear, he cares about the action we give to the message. We can hear great preaching every day, but if we do not give action to these words- they are empty.
Prayer- Lord, let me act as You guide me through prayer, study and worship. Thank you for being a God of compassion and mercy, because I need lots of each. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jonah 3:1-5

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you."
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. 4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned." 5 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

Jonah gets a second chance. He preaches only what God tells him- that Nineveh is doomed. Funny thing happens, as Jonah starts to preach in the suburbs word travels through out the city. And, just as Jonah feared, the Ninevites repented. They put on their mourning (not morning) clothes and believed God.
This was the most powerful city in the world, and they were on top of their game., When they heard Jonah, they believed. These were pagans, but they accepted God’s word easier than the Jews (God’s People.) This was very frustrating to Jonah.
We consider ourselves to be the great Christian country. Would we believe what Jonah was preaching? Do we listen to God? Or is it easier for God to speak to a Godless country who is our enemy? Jonah was a prophet, but does he believe in what he says?
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts so that we can feel you. Open our ears so we can hear you and guide us to do your work. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.