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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Micah 3:9-12

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Micah 3:9-12 (New International Version, ©2011)9 Hear this, you leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of Israel,
who despise justice
and distort all that is right;
10 who build Zion with bloodshed,
and Jerusalem with wickedness.
11 Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they look for the LORD’s support and say,
"Is not the LORD among us?
No disaster will come upon us."
12 Therefore because of you,
Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.

Micah is again fore-telling of the fall of the kingdom and the destruction of the Temple. This could not have been a popular stance, no one likes to hear of destruction of their home. He blames this impending doom on one thing- the rulers. That doesn’t make it any easier to hear, or to preach.
Even today we would rather hear the feel good sermons over the hell fire. This book get’s me to thinking- is this really what we need to hear today?

1. Who is responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem?
2. What can the people do?
3. How is this message received today?

Prayer- Lord, help us to hear all you have to say to us, not just the goodie. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Micah 3:5-8

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Micah 3:5-8 (New International Version, ©2011)5 This is what the LORD says:
"As for the prophets
who lead my people astray,
they proclaim ‘peace’
if they have something to eat,
but prepare to wage war against anyone
who refuses to feed them.
6 Therefore night will come over you, without visions,
and darkness, without divination.
The sun will set for the prophets,
and the day will go dark for them.
7 The seers will be ashamed
and the diviners disgraced.
They will all cover their faces
because there is no answer from God."
8 But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the LORD,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression,
to Israel his sin.

The first part of this passage is that the false prophets are, well, going to hell. The people who take advantage of others when they are themselves full are going to eternal darkness. This could mean a life without light, a life without God. My friend and former co-teacher Lee Friesen has a story about a friend who had a near death experience. The friend did not see a light in this vision, all he saw was darkness, cold, damp, darkness. The friend did not know God, but does now.
So what do these false prophets do? I stated that they take advantage of others, but how? Re-read vs. 5. Could this mean a spiritual deception? If we are full of the Spirit and are reveling in God’s love but do not share, are we doing the same thing? Micah is not afraid. He knows he is doing the things God wants and needs. Are we?

1. What is going to happen to the false prophets?
2. Why?
3. What can we do to insure we do not follow them?

Prayer- Lord, help us share. Help us share the blessings you have given us to those who have not received the. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Micah 3:1-4

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Micah 3:1-4 (New International Version, ©2011)Micah 3
Leaders and Prophets Rebuked
1 Then I said,
"Listen, you leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of Israel.
Should you not embrace justice,
2 you who hate good and love evil;
who tear the skin from my people
and the flesh from their bones;
3 who eat my people’s flesh,
strip off their skin
and break their bones in pieces;
who chop them up like meat for the pan,
like flesh for the pot?"

4 Then they will cry out to the LORD,
but he will not answer them.
At that time he will hide his face from them
because of the evil they have done.

Micah has a bone to pick with the Hebrew rulers, and that bone is about to ripped off their backs. Here he gores as far to say that they hate good and love evil. Wow! They must really be jerks. The imagery of the butcher and the wild animal is vivid. What does this mean? Since the leaders of a people are so corrupt the people (followers) must also be impure, just because of their association. Therefore... When our leaders teach false teachings, they are dooming all of us.
This is not just a tax and spend issue here, this is an issue of faith and obedience. That is what God really wants from us.

1. What are the leaders acting like?
2. What are their actions being compared to?
3. What will the Lord do when the people cry?

Prayer- Lord, give us the wisdom and understanding to follow you. As we live our lives in this world, let us be examples of life with You. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Micah 2:12-13

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Micah 2:12-13 (New International Version, ©2011)Deliverance Promised12 "I will surely gather all of you, Jacob;
I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel.
I will bring them together like sheep in a pen,
like a flock in its pasture;
the place will throng with people.
13 The One who breaks open the way will go up before them;
they will break through the gate and go out.
Their King will pass through before them,
the LORD at their head."

It is important to remember the timing of Micah. This was written before the Hebrew nation fell and was forced into exile, and obviously, before the Messiah came. Micah foreshadows both of these events in these two verses. Re-read them and see what he says.
If the kingdom is to be restored, as in these verses, that means that it must first be destroyed. When we think of prophets this is usually the vision we have. Gloom, despair and agony on the people, that the stuff of prophecy. Micah looks past this now, and tells of salvation and restoration.

1. How will God act towards the survivors of the collapse of Israel?
2. What will happen to the flock?
3. When will the King come?

Prayer- Lord, strengthen us so that we may weather the storms of life. Help us recognize Your truth. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Micah 2:6-11

Relax, Read and Reflect
 Micah 2:6-11 (New International Version, ©2011)False Prophets6 "Do not prophesy," their prophets say.
"Do not prophesy about these things;
disgrace will not overtake us."
7 You descendants of Jacob, should it be said,
"Does the LORD become[
a] impatient?
Does he do such things?"

"Do not my words do good
to the one whose ways are upright?
8 Lately my people have risen up
like an enemy.
You strip off the rich robe
from those who pass by without a care,
like men returning from battle.
9 You drive the women of my people
from their pleasant homes.
You take away my blessing
from their children forever.
10 Get up, go away!
For this is not your resting place,
because it is defiled,
it is ruined, beyond all remedy.
11 If a liar and deceiver comes and says,
‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’
that would be just the prophet for this people!

There were false prophets during Micah’s time, just as there are false prophets today. Micah lashes out at them. He says that there preaching is causing the problems of the day. I really like vs. 11. This is the "more beer" candidate. According to the prophet Micah, this is really what the people want to hear.
Have things changed that much? There is lot’s of teaching now that just say live and be happy, that is all we can do. That is what God wants, is for His people to be happy. Really? Our God, our very jealous God just wants us to carry on as long as it feels good to us? Micah says no and I agree. We are not on the earth to please ourselves, we are here to please God and our neighbors.

1. What are the false teachers teaching?
2. What is this causing within God?
3. Who is getting hurt?

Prayer- Lord, give us the power and wisdom to see through false prophets and their teaching. Help us concentrate on Your truth. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

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

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Micah 2:1-5

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Micah 2:1-5 (New International Version, ©2011)Micah 2
Human Plans and God’s Plans
1 Woe to those who plan iniquity,
to those who plot evil on their beds!
At morning’s light they carry it out
because it is in their power to do it.
2 They covet fields and seize them,
and houses, and take them.
They defraud people of their homes,
they rob them of their inheritance.

3 Therefore, the LORD says:
"I am planning disaster against this people,
from which you cannot save yourselves.
You will no longer walk proudly,
for it will be a time of calamity.
4 In that day people will ridicule you;
they will taunt you with this mournful song:
‘We are utterly ruined;
my people’s possession is divided up.
He takes it from me!
He assigns our fields to traitors.’"

5 Therefore you will have no one in the assembly of the LORD
to divide the land by lot.

Micah is utterly disgusted with the behavior of his people. Because of their "uncleanness" they are going to have problems from God. How are they unclean? Vs. 2 is specific. The political and religious leaders are literally stealing land, inheritances and anything else they want. In vs. 5 Micah points out that they will not have title for their property before God. (Gulp!)

1. How are they people being wicked?
2. What does God think about these actions?
3. What will his judgement be?

Prayer- Lord, help us examine our lives to see if we have been "Unclean." If, so, help us make things right with anyone we have wronged. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Micah 1:8-16

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Micah 1:8-16 (New International Version, ©2011)Weeping and Mourning8 Because of this I will weep and wail;
I will go about barefoot and naked.
I will howl like a jackal
and moan like an owl.
9 For Samaria’s plague is incurable;
it has spread to Judah.
It has reached the very gate of my people,
even to Jerusalem itself.
10 Tell it not in Gath[
weep not at all.
In Beth Ophrah[
roll in the dust.
11 Pass by naked and in shame,
you who live in Shaphir.[
Those who live in Zaanan[
will not come out.
Beth Ezel is in mourning;
it no longer protects you.
12 Those who live in Maroth[
e] writhe in pain,
a99 waiting for relief,
because disaster has come from the LORD,
even to the gate of Jerusalem. 13 You who live in Lachish,
harness fast horses to the chariot.
You are where the sin of Daughter Zion began,
for the transgressions of Israel were found in you.
14 Therefore you will give parting gifts
to Moresheth Gath.
The town of Akzib[
f] will prove deceptive
to the kings of Israel.
15 I will bring a conqueror against you
who live in Mareshah.[
The nobles of Israel
will flee to Adullam.
16 Shave your head in mourning
for the children in whom you delight;
make yourself as bald as the vulture,
for they will go from you into exile.

1. Why are these things happening?
2. Can the people do anything to protect themselves?
3. Will Jerusalem be spared?

Prayer- Lord, give us peace and wisdom as we work for You. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Micah is telling how God will devastate the country. One thing you have to admit, he is a hands on prophet. He goes town by town telling how the devastation will be. Micah uses some literary tools that would be a little better known to the people of the time as he goes town by town. Scholars say he uses puns on the names, however-we don’t know the names so that is lost. Bummer-no one likes a good pun more than I. The people will be conquered, lead off and then go into mourning. Happy Thoughts.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Micah 1

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Micah 1:1-7 (New International Version, ©2011)Micah 11 The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
2 Hear, you peoples, all of you,
listen, earth and all who live in it,
that the Sovereign LORD may bear witness against you,
the Lord from his holy temple.

Judgment Against Samaria and Jerusalem
3 Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place;
he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth.
4 The mountains melt beneath him
and the valleys split apart,
like wax before the fire,
like water rushing down a slope.
5 All this is because of Jacob’s transgression,
because of the sins of the people of Israel.
What is Jacob’s transgression?
Is it not Samaria?
What is Judah’s high place?
Is it not Jerusalem?

6 "Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble,
a place for planting vineyards.
I will pour her stones into the valley
and lay bare her foundations.
7 All her idols will be broken to pieces;
all her temple gifts will be burned with fire;
I will destroy all her images.
Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes,
as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used."

Uh-Oh, Micah say’s that God is mad, and he is coming down to make things right. It doesn’t take the author long to get into the meat of his message. He starts with Samaria. Remember, even in the old testament days Samaria was the backwoods to Judea, so that must be where evil starts? Micah seems to believe that the government and religious leaders are corrupt. That is where the prostitute wages come from.

1. Where is God coming from?
2. Where is He going?
3. What is He doing?

Prayer- Lord, we remember that You are always with us, You know us and what we do or where we go. Help us make good decisions. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Micah Preview

Relax, read and Reflect

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

Micah Overview
  Next on the list of prophets studied will be Micah. Micah is a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah, which means he lived during the kingdom of Israel after Solomon, during the period of decline. Most historians put him in the rule of Jeroboam II and before the fall of Jerusalem to the Assyrians.
  The people of the northern kingdom of Israel were living in the last of the prosperity of the great Jewish kings. In Micah's eyes were the corruption of the capital, and he did not like it. He was a fierce champion of social justice and pure worship of the Lord, as were Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah. He prophecies both judgement of God and forgiveness and hope to the future. This is something we all need to hear.

1. Where did Micah live?
2. Was Micah a guy or girl?
3. Who were his contemporaries?

Prayer- Lord, as we study the words of Your prophet Micah, help us understand them in our contemporary age. Strengthen us and help us apply these to our Christian lives. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Friday, March 11, 2011

Haggai Wrap-Up

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Haggai Wrap-Up
 What can we learn from this book? Obviously- the main theme in Haggai is rebuild the Temple. Haggai was not alone in this advice, but he was focused. Not only should the Jewish people rebuild God's house, but they should make it bigger and better and do so ritualistically cleansed.
  Great, so what does that mean for us today? Haggai thought that the people priorities were off it they built nice homes for themselves before they took care of God. I think it is important that when we do things for God now, this is more than just bigger and nicer worship centers. After all, really who are these for? Is this for God? Does he live in the worship areas we build? No. These are built for us, to impress ourselves and others-not to impress God.
  It is important to put God first. Haggai was on to something. When our focus is on worldly things rather than heavenly things, when bad things happen they are magnified. As long as God is our main focus, the bad things still happen but just aren't as devastating.
  The Last thing took look at is the last part of Chapter Two. Haggai is convinced that if the just get the Temple started God will send the Messiah and he will kick butt, and all will be good again. Haggai lived around 450 BC, and we all know that means Before Christ. That was quite a wait, even then the Messiah that came-Jesus, was not exactly what the prophet had in mind. Christ will come again, We just don't know when or who. If anyone tries to tell you exactly when or who-run! They are probably lying to you about other things as well.

Prayer- Lord, thank you for the promise you made to come again. Help us remember to put you first in our lives and to live for you. We know that challenges will come, but you are greater than any challenge. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Haggai 2

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Haggai 2

The Promised Glory of the New HouseIn the second year of King Darius,
1 on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 2 "Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak,[c] the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, 3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’
6 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty."
Blessings for a Defiled People
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If someone carries consecrated meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’"
The priests answered, "No."
13 Then Haggai said, "If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?"
"Yes," the priests replied, "it becomes defiled."
14 Then Haggai said, "‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.
15 "‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on[d]—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.
"‘From this day on I will bless you.’"
Zerubbabel the LORD’s Signet Ring
20 The word of the LORD came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21 "Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.
23 "‘On that day,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the LORD Almighty."

Haggai continues to give instruction on rebuilding the temple. 2:10-14 deals with the cleansing of the offering to God, and to the construction. 2:15-19 Haggai stresses that once the foundation is laid, God will again bless His people. 20-23 is a little stressful. Once the temple is complete, Zerubbabel, the governor of Judea, would then be able to restore the kingdom.

1. Why must the offerings be clean?
2. What would happen once the work is started?
3. Is Zerubbabel the messiah?

Prayer- Lord, as we do your work here on the earth, help us keep our bodies clean and our intentions pure. Strengthen us, lead us, and always love us. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Haggai 1

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Haggai 11 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua[a] son of Jozadak,[b] the high priest: A Call to Build the House of the LORD
2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’s house.’"
3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"
5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."
7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD. 9 "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands."
12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the LORD their God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD.
13 Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, gave this message of the LORD to the people: "I am with you," declares the LORD. 14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month.

This story takes place after the exile of the Jews during the Babylonian conquest, (Daniel and the boys.) The Persians defeated the Babylonians and allowed the Jews to go back home. Darius was the Persian King. Haggai is a prophet of Israel who has come home to Jerusalem.
Haggai has one major goal- rebuilding the temple! His major premiss is that the people neglected the temple, and God has punished them. Why?, he asks, would you worry about little things like your own homes until the House of God is rebuilt? This may sound silly, but the reasoning is sound:
The People neglected the temple and therefore neglected God.
This caused God to punish the people.
If the people expect to flourish-they need to rebuild there respect in God.
Therefore...Rebuild the Temple.
Not only does Haggai want the temple rebuilt, it needs to be bigger and better.

1. Why is rebuilding the temple important?
2. What is our temple?
3. How should we rebuild that?

Prayer- Lord, let us find our own temple to rebuild. As we enter this time of lent, help us keep you first in our lives. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.