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, February 29, 2012

Esther 2:5-9

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Esther 2:5-9

New International Version (NIV)
 5 Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, 6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin[a] king of Judah. 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
 8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. 9 She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.

  We finally get to the main characters. Mordecai, (Esther's uncle,) was (probably)  a decendent of  the jews that were carried into excile to Babalyon. Then when the Persians sacked that city, he was brought to Susa. He was taking care of Esther as his own child, because her parents had passed.
  Esther was hot! She was selected to be one of the canidates for Miss Persia. Hegai, ( anotherof the kings eunuchs) was in charge, and he took a shine to Esther giving her special treatments, (not that kind of shine, afterall- he was a eunuch.)  He gave her maids and moved her into a special place in the palace.

1. Why was Mordecai in Susa?
2. Why was Esther given special food?
3. How is God working?

Prayer- Lord, Thank you for watching over us always. Give us the wisdom to remember and the strength to share that truth. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Esther 2:1-4

Relax, read and Reflect

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

 1 Later when King Xerxes’ fury had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. 2 Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. 3 Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. 4 Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it.

  The "Miss Virgin Persia" contest is on, now that is one way to pick a new queen.  It is interesting that once Xerxes settles down, he realizes that it is nice to have a queen.
  The king ordered beautiful virgins be rounded up and put in a hareem basicaly. While there they would be given beauty treatments and also schooled on how to act. They were under the care of the head eunuch, (I think we all remeber what a eunuch is.)
  I know some of you are saying, " this is week two of the study and there has been no mention of Esther, or even God." Esther will make an appearance soon. God is never mentioned by name, but God's handwork is obvious throught the story. Sometimes that is theway life is.

1. Why did Xexses send for new blood?
2. What were these girls to do?
3. Where is God?

Prayer- Thank you Lord for always being there. Even when we do not cry our for You and Your help, You are still with us- where ever we are and what ever we do. Go-Fight-Win. Amen. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Esther 1:21-22

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

21 The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memukan proposed. 22 He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household, using his native tongue.

  Remember from last lesson that the Queen had disobeyed her king. The king and nobles were afraid the women of the lands would rise up against their husbands so Memukan proposed Queen Vashti be deposed.
  In order to keep caos from sweeping the land, Husbands were ordered to be ruler over his house, and the queen be sent away.
  Maybe this sounded good at the time, but really who is in control of a household? If it is a mortal man- we are in trouble.

1. Couldn't Xerxes control his own household? he controlled most of the world.
2. What did this really mean in family life?
3. Was that a change?

Prayer- Lord, Help us remember that you are in control. We surrender power and authority. Help us guide and establish the best home we can. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Friday, February 24, 2012

Esther 1:9-20

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

9 Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.
 10 On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— 11 to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. 12 But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.
 13 Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times 14 and were closest to the king—Karshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memukan, the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom.
 15 “According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?” he asked. “She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.”
 16 Then Memukan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, “Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17 For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’ 18 This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.
 19 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. 20 Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.”

  This may be a very early form of Women's Lib. The king is throwing this massive party, and after seven days of boozing it up, he sends for his queen. He wants to show her off. He tells her to wear her royal crown, most scholars think that was all she was to wear.
  When we look at this, we realize that the king was not showing her off because he loved her. He was showing his friends what he owned- what was his.
  Problem- the queen was having her own party during the festivities with her girlfriends. When the king sent his eunuchs, (castrated men,) to fetch her, she refused. (Good for her.)
  This did not set well with the king. So in accordance with tradition, he consulted the "wise men" of the court. They had probably been partying for a week as well. They were not stupid. They knew the king could do whatever he wanted, but was looking for his "boys" to have his back.
  They're judgement was that what the queen had done was not only wrong- but dangerous. What if all wives pulled this stunt, where would their respect be. So they suggested she be banished.
  The lesson here is that Xerxes had complete control, he ruled with absolute authority. Was Queen Vashti in the wrong? Yes-and no. Yes, her husband could order her to come and she was obligated to go. She did have respect, she respected herself. For some bizarre reason she did not want to go pole dance for her husbands buddies.

1. What should Xerxes have done?
2. Why did the wise men do what they did?
3. Does courage and respect have anything to do with God?

Prayer- Lord, Give us the courage to respect ourselves. Help us remember that You have the control and all authority is yours. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Esther 1:1-8

Relax, Read and Reflect

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

Esther 1

Queen Vashti Deposed
 1 This is what happened during the time of Xerxes,[a] the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush[b]: 2 At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, 3 and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.
 4 For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. 5 When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa. 6 The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones. 7 Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king’s liberality. 8 By the king’s command each guest was allowed to drink with no restrictions, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.

  Xerxes was king of Persia, and had conquered Babylon, (remember the handwriting on the wall?) as well as other nations. In fact, his kingdom went from Africa, around modern Ethiopia, all the way to India. To celebrate these victories he had a parade, and it lasted 180 days. ( Can you imagine having to clean up after the horses on that parade?)
  After the parade, he threw a party, and it lasted seven days. It had an open buffet and open bar. I have to admit- that's a major player party.
  Why is this important? Xerxes was powerful, he was rich, and he wanted the world the understand that. With all he controlled, he still was small before the eyes of God. Can you imagine the party God could throw?
  Here is the good news- he does. The party God throws is eternal life. Not 180 day parade or 7 day ball- eternity!

Prayer- Dear Lord, Thank you for giving us the opportunity to party with you forever. Give us the strength to aim for that prize and to share this with EVERYBODY!
Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Relax, Read and Reflect

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

  We will start our Lenten devotions with The book of Esther as out text. What do we know about this book in the Old Testament? The thing that really stands out is that is is named for a......Woman! There are only two of those in the entire Bible.
  It is also in the Old Testament, so it pre-dates Jesus. It is a story of faith in God's sovereignty. It also deals with racial hatred and captivity.
  Esther is the story of a Jewish girl whose family is in exile in Persia, (now Iran.) The major players are Esther, her uncle Mordecai, King Xerxes 1, and Mordecai's arch enemy- Haman.
  Before we start the readings, reflect on what God has done for YOU this past year. What are you doing to prepare for Jesus's resurrection on Easter Morning? What are you hoping to learn during these next seven weeks?

Prayer- Lord, As we study your word and apply it to our lives, help us truly see the greatness that is you. Give us the strength and determination to follow you. Thank you for all Your love and grace. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Test the new tablet