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.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Acts 4:1-22

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Acts 4:1-22 (New International Version)

Acts 4

Peter and John Before the Sanhedrin
1The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand. 5The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest's family. 7They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: "By what power or what name did you do this?"
8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11He is
" 'the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone.' 12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
13When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16"What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name."
18Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. 20For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
21After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
The apostles are causing trouble. Here is the issue: not only did they heal the lame man using the power of Jesus Christ (v.3:6) but the man followed Peter and John into church, and jumped and praised. Can you imagine that? Jumping and praising during prayer time? Obviously something had to be done. Okay, I am being a tad satirical here, but the priests and leaders of the temple had just gone through the troubles Jesus himself caused, now it looked like His followers were not being submissive.
They arrested Peter and John, (but curiously let the former lame man go,) to try and intimidate them. Instead of cowering, the apostles grew bolder. When asked by what power they healed the man Peter quoted scripture. He also tied Jesus to Abraham and Issac, giving their work validity in the eyes of the people. Peter and John were considered uneducated by the priests, (actually a better term would be "ignorant",) but they still understood prophesy and scripture. That could be a problem.
The rulers would release the two apostles, under the condition that they stopped spreading the news about Jesus. Peter and John were not interested in conditions, and basically left anyway. Bold.

1. Why were Peter and John arrested?
2. What defense did they give for the day before?
3. Did this arrest and questioning of Peter and John go the way the leaders of the temple thought it would go? Why not?

Prayer- Lord, help us be bold. Help us spread the good news of Your Son, Jesus. Give us strength and wisdom to be modern apostles. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Acts 3:1-26

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Acts 3:1-26 (New International Version)

Acts 3

Peter Heals the Crippled Beggar
 1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.  6Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Peter Speaks to the Onlookers
 11While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade. 12When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.  17"Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.'
 24"Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. 25And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.' 26When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."

After Pentecost Peter and John are going to the temple to pray. They passed a lame, (crippled,) man who spent his days begging to the people going to pray. Peter and John said they had no money to give him, but healed him- THROUGH THE POWER OF JESUS. (This is important.) The man was excited and began to hop around in joy, and this caused quite a commotion. Peter took advantage of the commotion and the crowd that gathered to continue to spread the gospel of Christ. His preaching was that of Jesus, and he referenced many prophecies during the sermon. Surely, this would not get Peter and John in trouble. Or would it? Stay tuned until tomorrow or read Acts chapter 4 on your own.

1. Why were John and Peter going to the temple?
2. What did the lame man expect from them?
3. Why did Peter say that this was "no big deal"?

Prayer- Lord, Help us be aware of those around us who need Your healing. Also, help us take full advantage of the commotions you cause.Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Acts 1-2

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Acts 1

Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven
 1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
 6So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
 7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
 9After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
 10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
 12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city. 13When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
 15In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17he was one of our number and shared in this ministry."
 18(With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
 20"For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms,
   " 'May his place be deserted;
      let there be no one to dwell in it,' and,
   " 'May another take his place of leadership.' 21Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."

 23So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." 26Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

Acts 2

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
 1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
 5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
 13Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."
Peter Addresses the Crowd
 14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! 16No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
 17" 'In the last days, God says,
      I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
   Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
      your young men will see visions,
      your old men will dream dreams.
 18Even on my servants, both men and women,
      I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
      and they will prophesy.
 19I will show wonders in the heaven above
      and signs on the earth below,
      blood and fire and billows of smoke.
 20The sun will be turned to darkness
      and the moon to blood
      before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
 21And everyone who calls
      on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

 22"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25David said about him:
   " 'I saw the Lord always before me.
      Because he is at my right hand,
      I will not be shaken.
 26Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
      my body also will live in hope,
 27because you will not abandon me to the grave,
      nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
 28You have made known to me the paths of life;
      you will fill me with joy in your presence.'

 29"Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
   " 'The Lord said to my Lord:
      "Sit at my right hand
 35until I make your enemies
      a footstool for your feet." '

 36"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
 37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
 38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call."
 40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
The Fellowship of the Believers
 42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. 

Okay, you got me! This is a very long post, long scripture over some very important stuff. Here is the truth- Transitions Bible Study started The Acts of the Apostles last week, and we did the first two chapters. Now I am playing catch up.
Why is acts so important? After all, I really think this may be THE most important book in all the bible, after the Gospels. This books tells of the early church and how the men and women who were directly affected by Jesus spread from a handful of followers into the Christian church.
Acts was written by Luke, and is an extension of his gospel. Luke was not a disciple, nor was he Jewish. We was a physician who gave up his medical practice to spread the news of Jesus. Acts can be broken into two different parts. The growth of the church in and around Jerusalem with Peter and Paul's evangelical journeys through out the Roman empire. Both are important.
Chapter one  starts with the ascension of Christ. It then goes to the gathering of the disciples and the election of one to fill Judas' spot. Little tidbit from Steve- notice they pray to God for guidance, and then cast lots. This may have left it up to chance, but there was no democratic election involved.
Chapter two involves the day of Pentecost. Jesus told his followers in the first chapter not to venture out until they were baptized by the spirit, equipped if you will. The day of Pentecost was when this happened. This was part of the Jewish calender, so it was natural for the twelve to gather. What was unnatural were the flames coming down and the people speaking in foreign tongues. I won't venture into the easy discussion- but the spirit was equipping the followers for the job. Peter gives a sermon, it was probably a very long one, and thousands came to be saved. Not a bad start.

1. What did Christ tell his disciples to do?
2. How did the late comers react to the flames of Pentecost?
3. How does this affect us today?

Prayer- Lord, strengthen us and equip us so that we may become Your apostles and do the acts You would have us do. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.