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.

Friday, February 26, 2010

John 4:1-26

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman
1The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4Now he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.a]'>)

10Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

11"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"

13Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

15The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

16He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."

17"I have no husband," she replied.

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

19"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."

21Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

25The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

26Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

The pharisees, or the religious leaders, had been bitter about John. Now they turn their attention towards Jesus and his disciples. Jesus thinks it may be wise to go home for a while, but in doing so has to go through Samaria. The Jews thought poorly of the Samaritans and vice verse. Not only did Jesus go through this naughty land, but he stopped during the heat of the day, he asked a local woman for a drink.

Why was this odd? First; rabbi's or teachers did not talk to women, especially strange women. Second; since this was during the sixth hour, the heat of the day, this woman was an outcast by her own people. If she was in social graces she would go to the well during the early morning or late afternoon when it was cooler. We find out why she is visiting the well alone.

He tells her that if she gives him a drink of earthly water he will give her living water, a swap. She is intrigued about this living water- would this mean she would not have to come to well again? Jesus gives her a test, he tells her to go get her husband and return. She tells him she has no husband, which is a true statement. We find that she has had five husbands and is currently shacking up outside of marriage, shocking even for a Samaritan. She is impressed that a stranger would know this and asks if Jesus is the Messiah. "I am he," he answers.


1. Why did Jesus leave Judea?

2. Why did the Disciples leave him alone, tired and thirsty?

3. Does the Samaritan woman have more faith than a pharisee?

Prayer- Lord, give us your living water so we may no longer thirst for truth. We want to wallow in it and follow you. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

John 3:22-36

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
John the Baptist's Testimony About Jesus
22After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. 24(This was before John was put in prison.) 25An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jewi]'>[i] over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."

27To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christj]'>[j] but am sent ahead of him.' 29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30He must become greater; I must become less.

31"The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for Godk]'>[k] gives the Spirit without limit. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

John, (the baptist,) is still working the crowds and baptizing people. Jesus is in the same area, because there is plenty of water there, (we really don't see that as a factor in revival placement- but in a dry place one needs plenty of water to wash souls.) Some of John's followers became upset that folks were going over to have Jesus baptize them, and they complained to John. The complaint was technically over ceremonial washing, but it was really about control.

John was not upset, in fact he told his followers that his (John's) job was to prepare people for the Christ. John was by the earth, but Jesus was by heaven. The Son, (Jesus) controls the eternal life, and you ever believes gets this life. John adds that whoever rejects Jesus, God's wrath remains on him. It doesn't matter who the messenger is, it's the message that is important. That message is that Jesus is the Son of God, and we are saved for eternity because of Him.


1. Why would anyone be mad that Jesus was working in the same area as them?

2. Is the ceremony important?

3. Are we called to prepare people for Christ?

Prayer- Lord, Help us remember that You are the reason we worship, study, and evangelize. Give us wisdom and strength so we can do the best job for You! Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

John 3:1-21

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

3In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.a]'>[a]"

4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spiritb]'>[b] gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'Youc]'>[c] must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

9"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.

10"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.d]'>[d] 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.e]'>[e]

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,f]'>[f] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.g]'>[g] 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."h]'>[h]

This may be the most important blog entry we have ever studied. Many bible scholars think the bible, (especially the New Testament,) can be summarized in these verses. We all know 3:16, but the rest of these verses are very important as well.

Nicodemus was a pharisee, a religious ruler. Jesus' conversation with him gave his ministry legitimacy. In vs. 3 we are introduced to the concept of "born again." Vs. 5 explains that this re-birth is by the spirit, (through Christ.) In vs. 1-15 Jesus explains that physical and spiritual life is different. We are born into the world physically from our mothers, but we are born spiritually through Christ. It is our spirits that will leave this world one day and join Christ in heaven. All people will not be re-born, all spirits will not leave the earth. This is a complex thought and we will discuss it more at Transitions next Tuesday.

Re-Read vs. 16-21. We all know 16, but the verses following explain that verse and it's importance. Jesus was not sent here to condemn, but to save. The light is here, and the Spirit is the light. The problem is that it is more difficult to hide things in the light, and that is why we are afraid of it. Here is good news- We don't need to hide our lives because God knows all! Jesus came to give us the light so that we can find our way from sin and evil, the Light is not for God to see us more clearly.


1. What does Jesus mean by "born again."

2.What does Jesus mean by going to heaven through Him?

3.Why would we chose the darkness of evil over the light of Christ?

Prayer- Lord, Thank you for giving us your Son to show us the way to you. May we use that light to see our paths, both here on earth and in Heaven. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

John 2:13-25

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
13When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

17His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."a]'>

18Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"

19Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

20The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

23Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.b]'> 24But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.

The story of cleansing the temple is told in all four gospels, (compare to Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-48,) and that is unusual. Most put this story at the end of Jesus' ministry, but John has it very early.

Sometimes we look at the story of the temple cleansing as one where Jesus looses his temper. It is easy to do this in the other gospels because of the strain of Holy Week, we can see where Jesus knowing that he will suffer may make him tense. John puts the story early, so why be tense? Jesus did not get mad and throw a fit, but as my cheat notes say "he showed the energy of righteousness against religious leaders to whom religion had become a business." This actually makes good logic to me. Jesus was the Son of God; the Temple was the House of God; it is now a market. Jesus understood he needed to clean it up.

We also need to look at verse 19. "Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days." What is being foreshadowed here? I believe he is talking about himself and his resurrection.

After passover he still can not trust the people. They see the signs and miracles, but their faith is in the signs and miracles, not the person. Two lessons are booming here. I will put them both in the questions.


1. Have we, the church, made God into a business?

2. Is Christ our temple?

3. Do we place our faith in the signs and miracles? Or do we place our faith in the risen Lord?

Prayer- Dear Lord, help us keep your house holy. Help us remember that it is all about your love and grace, not the color of the carpet or how cheap we can get the yard signs for. Give us the strength to place our whole faith in You! Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, February 22, 2010

John 2:1-12

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Jesus Changes Water to Wine
1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
4"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."
5His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.a]'>
7Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.
8Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."
They did so, 9and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."
11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
Jesus Clears the Temple
12After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

This is one of the more mis-understood miracles of Jesus' ministry, it is also his first. First of all- JESUS IS NOT CONDONING THE USE OF ALCOHOL!!! How many times have we heard, "Jesus turned water into wine- not wine into water." The turning into wine is not the miracle here, or should I say that was not the important part.
Jesus was at this wedding, and the reception was about to go bad. The families were about to be shamed because they were running out of rerefreshments. It is unclear what the relationship was between the wedding party and Mary, mother of Jesus, but she asked Jesus to do something.
Mary knew Jesus was special, she had faith that He could save the day. Jesus had not been doing miracles and told his mother such. When Jesus says "Dear Woman" in verse four, (some translations just say "Woman",) he is not rebuking his mother. Actually, this was a form of respect. I do admit I like this translation with the dear in front better.
So why did Jesus do the miracle? Good question. This was a way to get the people's attention without alienating them. It shows that God does care about us, and wants to help. It also shows that we are with God always, not just in the temple or church.
Another significant point of this miracle is that when God works in our lives, he does it in wonderful ways. Not only is the water changed into wine, it is changed into VERY GOOD wine. Anything God does is done right. Therefore, if we do God's work, should we do it the best way we can?

1. Should we look for opportunities to do God's work everywhere? Why?
2. Why would Mary believe that there was anything Jesus could do to help?
3. How did the servants show their faith when they took the jars to Jesus?

Prayer- God, Help us be aware that you do great things everywhere. Help us stay aware of the needs and give us the faith and courage to act on them. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Friday, February 19, 2010

John 1:35-51

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen
Jesus' First Disciples
35The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"

37When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?"
They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

39"Come," he replied, "and you will see."
So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.

40Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Petera]'>).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me."

44Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

46"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.
"Come and see," said Philip.

47When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."

48"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you."

49Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."

50Jesus said, "You believeb]'> because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." 51He then added, "I tell youc]'> the truth, youd]'> shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

Jesus starts to gather his disciples, and the first ones have been following John. Andrew introduces Jesus to Simon- Peter, and Christ then decides to call him Cephas, which means rock. (Is Jesus starting to call his disciples by pet names?)

I think it is interesting that Andrew asks where Jesus is staying, but the text does not say where that is, it just says that the first Disciples go there. The next day they pick up Phillip and he tells Nathanael (Bartholomew) that the Messiah is this Jesus from Nazareth. I love Bart's response, "can anything good come from Nazareth?" When Jesus tells him of a meeting under a fig tree where Jesus was evidently not present, Bart believes. Jesus tells them basically that "they ain't seen nothing yet!"


1. Do you think John, (the Baptist,) was angry when Jesus took his disciples?

2.How hard must it have been to just start following Jesus? When he walked by Phillip he went with them. He did not go home, he did not pack, he just went.

3. Where do you think Jesus was staying? Where does He stay now?

Prayer- Lord, give us the strength to follow you when you call. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

John 1:19-34

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

John 1:19-34 (New International Version)

John the Baptist Denies Being the Christ
19Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ.a]'>"

21They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?"
He said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
He answered, "No."

22Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"

23John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.' "b]'>

24Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

26"I baptize withc]'> water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. 27He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."

28This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Jesus the Lamb of God
29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' 31I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."

32Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' 34I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."

So John, (the Baptist,) is down at the river prophesying and baptising. The Jewish leaders came down and flat out asked "are you the Messiah?" This was a loaded question, if he had answered "yes" he would have been quizzed, ridiculed and probably stoned. He told the truth, he was not the Messiah. They then asked if he was Elijah. This is important, because in Jewish teachings Elijah will come back and pave the way for the Messiah. However, John was not Elijah. He did quote the prophet later though.

The leaders then asked how he could be baptizing folks if he had no authority. Does this seem a little close to home. How many times do we think that simple laity can't do God things. I am not going to get in a discussion about clergy involvement in rituals of the church. Remember, the clergy have responsibilities in the "church" and the denomination. Believers have responsibility in the Faith.

Good thing the religious leaders picked another day to come quiz John, because Christ did come later to be baptized by John. It may have been a little awkward if John had responded to the "are you the Messiah?" question with "No, but He is."

The Spirit comes down from heaven and ordains Jesus to begin his ministry.


1. Why did the leaders won't to know if John was the Messiah?

2. Even if we are not the Messiah or prophets, by what authority do we do God's business here on earth?

Prayer- Lord, Thank you for sending us the truth. May we use these days of preparation before Easter as a way to study and grasp Your truth in our lives. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

John 1:1-18

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

John 1

The Word Became Flesh
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understooda]'>[a] it.

6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.b]'>[b]

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent,c]'>[c] nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,d]'>[d] who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' " 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only,e]'>[e]f]'>[f]who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

We are kicking off on the Gospel of John. John does not start with the traditional Christmas story, rather John deals with the ministry of Christ. This Gospel begins with "The Word" which is God, "made flesh". This means that Jesus is God made flesh on the earth. God is everything, and so Jesus is everything. He is the light bringing truth to the world.

First, the Word has to be proclaimed, to be foretold. That is John the Baptists job. John was sent here to prepare for Jesus, and today's reading show how he was preparing.


1. Why does John, (the author) need to prepare the reader about Christ?

2. How does John, (the Baptist,) prepare our world for Christs coming?

Prayer- Lord, as we prepare for Christ during this Lenten season, help us concentrate on "The Word." Go-Fight-Win. Amen