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

My Photo
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.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Romans 5:6-11

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
A few key points to talk about here. Verse 6 states, "at just the right time", which reminds us that we are on God’s time. We may ask ourselves, ask our friends or even God itself why God is not taking care of a situation. God knows when the time is right, and, unfortunately, we don’t.
The second point is from vs. 8, "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." How powerful is that statement! We did nothing to deserve God’s love, and yet he sent his Son to die for all our sins. (Notice the word "all.")
We are all God’s children and we all sin. We have done nothing to deserve God’s love and grace, yet it is freely given. And, we can all rejoice through Jesus the Christ, who died for all of us. Amen.
Prayer- Lord, Thank you. Help us to remember that You do things in Your time. Give us strength and patience to overcome all obstacles we may face. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Romans 5:1-5

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we

have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we
rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we
also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us
This brings us to a very difficult part of Paul’s letter to the Church at Rome. Through faith we become Christians and children of God. That is a pretty high standing, children of the King of Kings. As Christians we are instructed to be servants to one another, even to those who hate us. This makes us slaves to mankind. Are we royalty or slaves? Yes.
The Christians of the first century that Paul is writing to understood suffering, and would continue to understand this for centuries to come. Putting this in prospective- say that if the Europeans coming to America to settle this continent were vigorously persecuted, even to the point of death, and we were still persecuted in the same way or worse to this day, would the church in America be as strong? The Roman government treated the Christians really treated the Christians bad for hundreds of years, ( remember being thrown to the lions?) Yet the Church grew and became strong.
Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance-character, and character-hope. In verses 2-4, substitute "let us" for "we" and re-read these verses. Remember- being a Christian should not always make life easy, just rewarding.
Prayer- Lord, help us remember that it is through suffering that we gain hope. Help us persevere through the challenges we may face. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Romans 4:16-25

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
16Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations."[

] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
18Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."[
b] 19Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead. 20Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." 23The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, 24but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Paul is still using the example of Abraham as an example of faith. Abraham had faith in God way before the rituals of the Jewish Faith started. After all, Abraham was the father of that faith. He made a deal(covenant) with God and God rewarded Abrahams faith by making him the father of a great nation. To sweeten the pot, Christ himself came from that nation, that made Abraham Christ’s forefather.
God rewards faith. He did and will. When we have faith we choose to believe. When we believe an exchange takes place. We turn our sins over to Christ and he forgives us. We then accept this righteousness. We can only obtain this righteousness through Christ and our faith, that part of the deal. We don’t earn it, it is given freely.
Prayer- Lord, thank you for sending us Your Son to make right our sins. Help us to always keep the faith. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Romans 4:9-15

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
9Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
Are we saved by ritual? No! We are saved by faith. Paul is still using the example of Father Abraham to illustrate this point. Yes, Abraham and his sons were circumcised to set them apart, but that is not what made him special. It was his faith that he had shown before the ritual took place.
What does this mean to us, today? Going to church, working on mission trips, even writing study blogs do not save us. Only our faith can do that. When we exercise our faith however, we need to go to church, work on mission trips, and even write study blogs.
Prayer- Lord. Help us grow our faith. Help us exercise the faith muscle so it will grow even stronger and larger. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Romans 4:1-8

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."
4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."[
What does Abraham have to do with Christian faith? Many of the powerful Christians in Rome were Jews. Like Paul, they had been taught that God started to create a favorite people with Abraham, so using Abraham as an example of faith was one they understood. Abraham was not held in such high regard because of his works, Paul teaches, we was the foundation of the Jewish people because of his faith in God.
Paul then uses David, another big Jewish character. The quote Paul uses in verses 7-8 are from Psalms 32:1-2. Even though David had problems, (lying, adultery, murder, etc.) he knew faith, and had faith that God would forgive him.
Re-read verse 4-5. When we do works, we are paid wages. These are things we earn. Faith is not paid by wages, it is credited as righteousness. We can nor earn God grace, it only comes with faith.
Prayer- Lord, help us keep our faith, and share it with our friends, family and classmates. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Monday, April 16, 2007

Romans 3:27-31

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
What saves us? Are we saved by our good deeds? Our we brought to God’s "good side" by keeping the church laws? NO, we are saved by faith. This makes Christianity different from other religions. We believe that we are saved not by anything we do, it’s all God!
Where is the pride in that? How can we boast to our friends and neighbors about the good things we do if they aren’t going to get us into heaven? If God does not care about the way we keep religious law, are we going to strap explosives on our bodies and blow people up in his-and our-honor? Hopefully not.
Our God is the real God, and is the God for all mankind. We are saved by this faith, and this faith alone. We use this faith to keep our laws, and to do good deeds. Not because they get us into heaven, but because we know God wants us to do them.
Prayer- Lord, keep our faith strong. Give us a job that we can do for your glory, not for your favor. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Romans 3:21-26

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Righteousness Through Faith
21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,[
a] through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:25 Or as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away sin
Paul has been giving out the hard facts about sin. Now he turns to the good news; by faith in Jesus Christ we are saved from our sins. Not Faith in the church, not faith in the Law,(both God’s and Human.) Our righteousness comes from our faith in Christ and in Christ alone.
Re-read verse 23, it is a familiar one. "For we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God." We all sin, we all make mistakes, we are all human, but we are all saved by Gods grace-if we accept it. So how do we accept this gift? Through faith, and faith alone.
Prayer- Lord, Thank you! Thank you for Your grace and thank you for the gift of Your son and our Savior- Jesus Christ. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Romans 3:9-20

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
No One is Righteous
9What shall we conclude then? Are we any better[
a]? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."[b] 13"Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."[c] "The poison of vipers is on their lips."[d] 14"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."[e] 15"Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16ruin and misery mark their ways, 17and the way of peace they do not know."[f] 18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."[g]
19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Romans 3:9 Or worse
Romans 3:12 Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccles. 7:20
Romans 3:13 Psalm 5:9
Romans 3:13 Psalm 140:3
Romans 3:14 Psalm 10:7
Romans 3:17 Isaiah 59:7,8
Romans 3:18 Psalm 36:1
I am including the footnotes on these verses to help us see what scripture Paul is quoting. It helps a lot , especially if you look at the scriptures referenced.
No one is righteous, no one is better than the rest of the world. On the flip side, none of us are worse. Re-read the scripture quoted; does any of these apply to you? These are pretty extreme, but have you ever hurt someone with just you tone of voice? Are you easy to anger,(ouch) and slow to forgive? If so, you are not evil-just human. There is good news! Even though we all act in ways that hurt others and hurt God, God still loves us and will always forgive us. All we need to do is ask.
Prayer- Lord, forgive us our sins-and help us forgive others. Go- Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Romans 3:1-8

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.
3What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? 4Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: "So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge."[
5But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7Someone might argue, "If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?" 8Why not say—as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say—"Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved.
We will all stand in judgement before God. This is a true statement. We are all sinners, and we have all sinned against God, in some form or fashion. We can be a sinner and still be a faithful Christian, (good news,) but we are still sinners.
What excuses will you make on that day of judgement? "My sins were not that bad", or "Isn’t Gods job to forgive- therefore I’m just helping him do His job?" We all take God’s grace for granted, because it is freely given. But with God’s grace comes judgement. What will you say to God?
Prayer- Dear Lord, help me to live a life that pleases you and will give me satisfaction when I go through the life review. Prepare for me my place in Heaven that Your grace has given me. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Romans 2:25-29

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go- Fight-Win. Amen.
25Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26If those who are not circumcised keep the law's requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the[

] written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.
Jews were set apart from gentiles by a physical mark. Paul is saying that the physical mark is not what makes a Jew, it is observing God’s law. If they have the outward appearance of a Jew but do not observe the law, they are not one of God’s people.
The same for being a Christian, a follower of Christ. If we have the outward appearance but not the inward, we are not a Christian, we are a poser. It is not the baptism that makes us am part of the church, it is the love and acceptance of God. It is not the jewelry or bumper stickers that show God we love him, it is our actions. Being a Christian is not an external sign, it is an internal belief.
Prayer- Lord, help us all look inward at our lives. Help us remember that we show the world Your love not by the symbols we wear, but by the things we do. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Romans 2:17-24

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-fight-Win. Amen.
17Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; 18if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."[

Paul is still trying to teach on the stubbornness of man, and their sinful nature.
Paul now turns towards the Christian Jews. Paul himself was a Jew, and not just an ordinary Jew. He was a Jews Jew. He knew the Jewish law inside out, and others in Rome knew the laws.
Paul reasons that it is not how much of the law you know that pleases God, it is how you LIVE the laws. In fact, even though you know all the laws but still do not use them, this really upsets God. When you try to teach the laws to others but disregard them in your own life you distort them, and your teachings are also diluted.
Prayer- Lord, give us the wisdom to recognize Your laws, and the strength to live them. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Romans 2:12-16

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
It’s not what you don’t know that gets you in trouble, it’s what you do know! We know God’s laws and rules and will be judged by them. It’s not how much of Gods laws you have studied that impresses God, It is how you apply these laws to your life.
Interesting fact. Societies all over the world follow God’s basic laws, (murder, stealing, etc.) But in all societies, (ours included,) people break those laws. People, as a breed, are very stubborn. Sometimes we must admit to God, and ourselves, that without his help we can only live up to human standards, and those are low. It is only through God that we can live the life that will be rewarded by eternal life with God.
Prayer- Lord, help me live life to Your standards, not just the standards of this world. Go- Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Romans 2:1-11

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God "will give to each person according to what he has done."[
a] 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.
You know better- now act like it! This is Paul’s massage to the church of Rome. We all know the truth, and we all know that we will be judged by the same rule we judge others,(Matthew 7) but most important is God knows we know. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but when we know the law and still break them- that is disrespect of the law. In this case, it is also disrespect for God.
This is not a total threat to the Romans. God also knows when we live a righteous life, and will reward such! There is a promise here, we will all be judged. Remember, God sees all, and will not show favoritism.
Prayer- Lord, Help us live a life that will be favorable to You, and a life that will be an example to others. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Romans 1:24-32

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Pagan rituals were widespread in the Roman Empire. These rituals paid homage to earthly gods, and very often involved sexual orgies. These orgies had become homosexual in nature. Gods wrath was to be poured out on the people who heard about the truth, but worshiped a lie.
Homosexuality is a sin, and we should avoid sin. Homosexuals are people, and we should love all people. Paul stresses the wrath on homosexuality here, but also throws in the rest of our sins; murderers, gossips, even people who disobey their parents are subject to God’s wrath. Sometimes it feels "fun" to go against God’s law, to do a little "sinning." We know better, we know the truth. When we casually sin we are still sinning, and that causes God’s wrath against us.
Prayer- Lord, Help me remember Your love always so that I will always want to show You love in return. Help us love all Your children, and remember the truth. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Romans 1:18-23

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord- Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
God's Wrath Against Mankind
18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Why is God mad at us? The main reason, as Paul sees it, is hard-headed ignorance. We know God, we see His creation, we witness His miracles- but still we substitute the truth with our imagination. When we do so we sin, and we keep others from the truth, therefore causing God’s wrath.
We have a habit of trying to explain things, not just scientifically, even spiritually, in ways that will make others respect and admire us. Yes, even I have fallen into this trap. The reason we are here, and life exists, is God. Period- no other explanation.
Does this mean we need to bury our heads now we know the truth? No, God gives us the ability to think and investigate, use them. As we find out more about the physical parts of our world, the more awesome we know God is.
Prayer- Thank you Lord. Thank you for our world. Thank you for the ability to think. Give us the ability to be wise and understand Your glory. Thank you for your son. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.