Monday, December 31, 2012

Romans 15

 IT'S NEW YEARS EVE!!!!!

Romans 15 first starts out by talking about how we should not be trying to please our self's, we should try to please God. It says that even Jesus did this, he was always trying to please God he never did anything to make him look good. Then it talks about how we should accepted everyone. It says: Therefore, accept each other just as Christs has accepted you so that God will be given the glory. (Romans 15:7 NLT).  I like this verse because it is how I want to be. I want to accept everyone because God has so why shouldn't I?

My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone elts. (Romans 15:20 NLT). I really like this verse too because I really hope I could be like that, just tell everyone I could about God.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Romans 14

Romans 14 is another really great chapter that talks a lot about accepting others.

It starts out by talking about how we should accepted everyone and leave the judging to God. Then it starts talking about how we must live and die for God because that is what Jesus did for us. It says: Christ died and rose again for this very purpose- to be Lord of the living and of the dead. (Romans 14:9 NLT).

Then in Romans 14 it talks about how we should not judge other believers (or any one for that matter) because we are just as bad and maybe even worse then them. Then it says in verse 13: So let's stop condemning each other. Decide to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. (Romans 14:13 NLT). I really liked this verse because this is how we should live! We should not be judging others its not right we have no superiority over any one! Also we should be lifting each other up as Christians, not tearing others down.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Romans 13

Romans 13 talks a lot about trusting authority and how love is the answer.

Romans 13 starts by talking about how authority is something everyone need to honor. It says that people are put into authority roles because God wants them there, so we should honor them and do what they say. It says: Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in position of authority have been placed there by God. (2) So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. (Romans 13:1-2 NLT).

Next Romans 13 talked about how love is so important. When you love your neighbor as yourself you will be fulfilling what God wants you to do. It says: For the commandments say, "you must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet." These- and other such commandments- are summed up in this one commandment: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (10) Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God's law. (Romans 13:9-10 NLT). 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Romans 12

I really liked reading Romans 12. It had some really good things in it! 

The first thing Romans 12 talked about was how we should worship God. Then it says: Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NLT). This verse is talking about how when you are worshiping God it should be between you and him. You should worship to please him. Not because it is the cool thing to do. If you worship God the way that is good for you and that has an impact on you then you will please God.

Second Romans 12 talks about is how we each have different gifts. We should use these gifts to help bring glory to God. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. (Romans 12:6 NLT). What is one of your gifts?

  Third Romans 12 talks about how you should always be ready to help others and you should love others as well. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (11) Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. (Romans 12:10-11 NLT). 

The last thing Romans 12 talks about is really explaining the golden rule. It says that if someone is rude to you you should should try not to be rude back. Instead you should try to act honorable and try to help them with whatever they need. It also says that you should leave the judging to God. It says: Instead, "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads." (Romans 12:20 NLT).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Romans 11

 The first thing in Romans 11 talks about is how God did not reject his own people. It says: It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God's grace- his undeserving kindness in choosing them. (6) And since it is through God's kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God's grace would not be what it really is- free and undeserving. (Romans 11:5-6  NLT). These verses are talking about how God loves us and he will forgive us. It also talks about how we don't deserve his grace. It also talks about the people's good works are not what saves them but it is actually God's grace. Have you ever felt that you did not deserve something?
Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God's offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it. (Romans 11:12 NLT). I like this verse because it talks about how if everyone accepts God then everyone will be happy and we will all be with him in heaven we also probably get way more done. Then it starts talking about how God is both kind and severe. He is kind if you trust in him but if you stop trusting him he will be angry with you.

Then it talks about how God will save everyone as long as the Gentiles come to him. It talks about how great God is because of his mercy for us. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Romans 10

I hope everyone had a wonderful day yesterday! There is no bible study tonight. :(

The first part of Romans 10 talks about how the people did not understand God's way. They tried to reach God by following his law. Then it says: For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God. (Romans 10:4 NLT). This verse is talking about how because Jesus came and died on the cross for us we don't have to follow the law. Now we just have to accepted Jesus and we will be forgiven and we will spend forever with him in heaven.

Then it stars talking about how to get saved. It says: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. (Romans 10:9-10 NLT). Then it starts talking about how we must go out and spread the word about Jesus and what he did for us. Some people may not receive the message the first time, maybe not even the third or forth time. It's all right though because it says: And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying, "I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me." (Romans 10: 20 NLT). I think that this verse is talking about how when we open our self's up to God we will find that everything will work out because we will be able to trust God.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Romans 9

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I hope everyone has a great day and that we all remember what this day is truly about! Its all about Jesus and him coming for us and saving us so that we would be forgiven for our sins.

Romans 9 starts by talking about how God chose his people and what it meant to be chosen by God. Then it says: My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief (3) for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed- cut off from Christ!- if that would save them. (Romans 9:2-3 NLT). These verses talk about what someone might have to do to save someone! It also kinda talks about how we should feel when we meet someone that does not know God, we should be upset and want to do everything we can to help them find God. Then it talks about how God uses people to help him. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. (Romans 9:23 NLT).

Then in chapter 9 it talks about how the Gentiles were not following Gods standards but they were still made right with God because of their faith in God. It says: What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God's standards they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. (Romans 9:30 NLT). Has there ever been a time when your faith really helped you?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Romans 8

We are already half way done with Romans can you believe it? Thanks again to everyone who is reading and posting! Keep it up you are all doing great! :)

The first part of Romans 8 talks about how the law could not save us because of our sinful nature. So God sent his son Jesus to save us. Then it talks about how people who think of sinful things will never please God. But people who think of good things will always please God. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. (Romans 8:5 NLT). Then it says that when Jesus is with us we are forgiven, and because he is in us we belong to God. Because of this it says: And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:17 NLT).

Next it talks about how God knows about us, how he knows what we need even before we pray for it. It also talks about how God helps us in times of need. And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. (Romans 8:26 NLT). Has there ever been a time when you knew you had to trust God?

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who could ever be against us? (Romans 8:31 NLT). This verse is talking about how if God is with us then we can do anything because he will take care of us. Then in chapter 8 it starts talking about how we can never be separated from the Lord.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Romans 7

We have made it through our first week of Romans! Thank you everyone who has commented! I hope everyone is learning a lot!

The first part of Romans 7 talks about how we can only try to reach God when we are alive. We can't do anything when we are dead. That is why we must do everything we can to bring glory to his name while we are alive! Have you ever done anything for God? What did you do and how did you feel afterwords? 

Then it talks about how God's law shows us what we should and should not do. It says: Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law has not said, "You must not covet." (Romans 7: 7 NLT). Have you ever heard a law and realized that if no would of told you about the law you would of broken it?

The third part of Romans 7 talks about how we as humans are slaves to sin. We can't help it we are going to sin, there is nothing we can do about it. (18) And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right but I can't. (19) I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. (20) But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. (Romans 7:18-20 NLT). Then it talks about how there is something inside of us that makes it hard for us to do the right thing. Have you ever found it really hard to do the right thing? What made it so hard?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Romans 6

Romans 6 talks about sin.

Romans 6 starts by talking about what it means when we are baptized. Then it starts talking about how because we accepted Christ, we do everything with him. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. (Romans 6:8 NLT). Then it talks about how we should only be living for God and that sin should not be controlling our life. Then it says: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NLT). This verse is talking about how once we believe in God our sins are forgiven and we can live with God forever in heaven.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Romans 5

Romans 5 is another really good chapter!

This chapter starts by talking about how our faith in God is what really saves us. We also know that with God we know that when there is hard times we can give the problem to God and he will handle it. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. (4) and endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (5) and this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3-5 NLT). This chunk of scripture is talking about how with God we don't have to worry about our problems, because when we turn them over to God we know that he will handle them. It also talks about how much our faith will grow when we trust him. The it talks about how Jesus came and died for us, which shows how much he loves us. Has there ever been a time when it was really hard to trust God with something? Why do you think it was so hard?

The next thing Romans 5 talks about is the sin that Adam brought into the world. While Adam brought sin into the world Jesus brought forgiveness into the world. Adams sin led to condemnation but Jesus' gift led to us being with God. (v 16). then it says: Yes, Adam's one sin brings condemnation fro everyone, but Christs one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. (Romans 5:18).   

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Romans 4

This chapter talks all about Abraham.

The chapter opens up by talking about how Abraham was really the founder of the Jewish religion. Then it says that he was counted as righteous because of his faith in God, not because he was circumcised. It also said that this is how we are counted, by our faith in God. Then the chapter talks about the great relationship Abraham had with God. Because of his obedience to God, God promised him that he would be "the father of many nations." Verse 16 says: So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham's. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.  (Romans 4:16 NLT). This verse is talking about how everyone gets the chance to be with God, they just have to choose him and trust him. Then it talks about how much Abraham's faith grew and how much our faith will grow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Romans 3

Romans 3 was really good too! It talked about some really important things! Also don't forget that we have bible study tonight at 6:30 and we will be covering Acts 25- Romans 3!

The first part of the chapter talks about when people are lying to you, you can always trust and count on God because he will always tell you the truth. Then the people said that their sinfulness was okay because it shows how not to act and it shows how righteous God is. (Verse 5 says this). Has there ever been a time when you gave in to peer pressure? If so how did you feel afterwords?

The second part talks about how everyone sins!
"No one is righteous- not even one. (11) No one is truly wise, no one is seeking God. (12) All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.  (13) Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongs are filled with lies. Snake venom drips from their lips, (14) Their mouth are full of cursing and bitterness. (15) They rush to commit murder. (16) Destruction and misery always follow them. (17) They don't know where to find peace. (18) They have no fear of God at all." (Romans 3:10-18 NLT). This big chunk of scripture is talking about the types of bad things we as people do. It is also talking about what will happen if we continue to do these bad things.

The last part of the chapter talked about how we can be forgiven. To be forgiven we must believe in what Jesus did for us. If it was not for Jesus we would still be getting punished because of our sins. Because of what Jesus did for us we can be with God forever after we accepted him. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ, and this is true for everyone who believes no matter who we are. (Romans 3:22 NLT). What was it like for you the first time you completely trusted God with something? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Romans 2

 Romans 2 has a lot of good things in it!

Paul starts this chapter by talking about how people can't judge other people because it is bad! Only God can and will judge people! Everyone was doing some really bad things so it was wrong for them to act like they were so good and there was nothing wrong with them. Paul then talks about how forgiving God is. Paul was trying to warn these people about the day when God would judge them for their actions. Paul talked about how angry God will get at these people: But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. (Romans 2:8 NLT).

 Next Paul talked about how these people believed that they were okay and they could teach people about God. They thought that the sins they were committing were not bad enough so they could teach others about what not to do. Paul then starts asking them questions about if what they follow what they are teaching others. Paul then tells them that they are not true Jews because their hearts are not in the right place. Verse 29: No a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circiumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God's sprit. And a person with a change heart seeks praise from God not from people. (NLT). Has there ever been a time when you were trying to please someone that was not God?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Romans 1

All right time to start reading through the book of Romans! :)

Okay so Romans is written by Paul, who was chosen by God to tell the story of Jesus. God gave Paul the authority to talk to the Gentiles about what Jesus had done for them.

The next thing is that Paul writes a letter that talks about how he wants to see the Gentiles to talk to them about Jesus. He has not been able to go until know. In verse 11 it says: For I long to visit you so I can bring some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the lord. (NLT) What is one of your gifts? Have you ever thought about using it for God? Have you used it for God?

Next in Romans 1 it starts talking about how sinful the world had gotten. The people started acting as if they did not care for God at all. They never did anything for God or even worship him! Instead of worshiping him normally they started worshiping idols and doing things that were very wrong. God abandoned these people because of what they were doing. The people realized  what  they were doing was not pleasing to God but they kept doing it anyway and they encouraged others to continue to do the bad things. Has there ever been a time in your life when you were doing something wrong and you realized it but you did not stop doing the bad thing?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Acts 28 - LAST CHAPTER

Hey guys! We are on the last chapter of Acts and we will be starting Romans tomorrow. Jackie will be leading us so be supportive of her.

The crew lands shore on the island of Malta. The islanders welcome them and make a meal for them. Paul suddenly gets bitten by a snake. The islanders think this is a sign of a bad man, but Paul shakes it off into the fire and suffers no ill effects. The islanders then think Paul is a god. Paul visits the chief official of the island and heals his father and many other sick people on the island. Finally after three months, they head back to Rome. How has God used a disaster in your life for ministry? What have you learned from this?

Paul arrives in Rome and notices there is nobody accusing him. He takes this opportunity to preach to the Jewish leaders and quotes Isaiah 6-9-10. Paul stays in Rome for two years and "preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." Probably within a few years, Paul was killed by the emperor Nero. How would verse 31 serve as a fitting epitaph on Paul's grave?

What do you need to build into your life now, so that your faith in Christ will be what people remember about you at death?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Acts 27

Wow did I sleep in! We are on the second to last chapter in Acts! Good job everyone let's finish strong!

If you remember, Paul appealed to Caesar so now they must sail to Italy. Paul warns everyone on the boat saying, "Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also." (v. 10) His warning, however, is ignore. Big mistake as we will find out later. If you were the ship's owner or pilot, how would you react to Paul's warning about the 50-mile trip they wanted to make?

A storm blows in and a first doesn't seem like a big deal and then before you know it, the crew is throwing off the cargo and hanging on for their lives. Paul stands up and tells them everyone will survive because he had a vision from an angel. (v. 24) Paul encourages the men to not give up hope and them must aground some island. In a crisis, Paul reacted with urgent forewarning  maintaining hope, counseling, common sense, giving thanks, remaining calm, persevering to the end. In comparison, how do you react to crisis?

Paul begins to take charge. He tells everyone to eat because they have gone 14 days without food. They cut off the life boats and throw off the wheat to make the boat lighter. Those who could swim went overboard to get to shore first and others grabbed onto broken pieces of wood. Then finally BOOM the ship crashes! Everyone makes it to shore safely as Paul said. What is the greatest pressure situation you're facing now? How can Paul's example and the principles you've learned from his experience help you? What is your part and what is God's part in the resolution of your storm?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Acts 26

Good morning everyone! Acts 26 is really awesome because it is about Paul giving his defense to king Agrippa and you will see that Agrippa even says that he is almost convinced to become a Christian.

Paul is given a chance to give his defense to king Agrippa. Notice that Paul breaks his testimony into three parts:
  - Who he was (v. 11)
  - What happened to change him (v. 13)
  - Who he is NOW (v. 20)
Paul in the middle of his testimony is interrupted by Festus who says, "You are out of your mind, Paul!" (v. 24) Paul replies by addressing the kng. Agrippa even says he is almost convinced to be a Christian! At the end of the defense, the king says to Festus, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar." Paul's obedience to Jesus resulted in a trial very similar to Jesus' trail. How has your obedience to Jesus resulted in similarities to Jesus' experience? How has Christ brought light into your life? How can you pass on that light to someone else this week?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Acts 25

Thank you everyone who came last night. Nathan did a great job leading us. After we finish Acts we are going to start the book of Romans! (Which if I did the math right, we should start on Monday) You guys are doing amazing with these devotionals so keep it up.

Acts 25!

So Paul is going to trail with Festus, not Felix, he was succeeded by Festus. The Jews wanted Paul to go to Jerusalem to be tried. Their actual plan was to ambush Paul along to way to kill him. Paul however, says he has not been accurately charged so no one has the right to lay a hand on him. He appeals to Caesar! What laws conflict with your efforts to emulate Jesus Christ? If someone wanted to prove you were a Christian, what evidence from the past week could they use?

Paul's appeal is granted and Festus meets with Kind Agrippa a few days later. Kind Agrippa wants to see Paul not because he has any authority over the situation, but out of mere curiosity. Agrippa has been ruling over Jerusalem beforehand so he knows a lot about these kind of issues... well I'm not sure if he has come across a Jesus freak like Paul. Anyways, Agrippa is seated and Paul is told to make his defense. When you have questions about your faith, to whom do you turn? How else do you seek input?

Paul's obedience to Jesus resulted in a trial very similar to Jesus' trial. How has your obedience to Jesus resulted in similarities to Jesus' experience?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Acts 24

Tonight there is the Impact Students small group at the Hinkle house. Nathan will be covering Acts chapters 18-24 so if you have not read some parts of those chapters, I encourage you to at least look over them. If you have not read any of these chapters please come anyway because you can still participate.

Paul is brought to Felix where he gives his account to. Tertullus brought charges against Paul. Verse 5-6, "We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him." These chargers are outrageous but Paul keeps his cool and addresses Felix. His reply, however, falls short and Paul is put into prison. Felix gives Paul many freedoms while in "prison". This surprisingly turns into a great opportunity to preach. Paul had few restrictions and was able to preach to whoever came in contact with him while under Roman guard. What could be better? Has God every taken something bad in your life and turned it into something good? What happened? When we pray, we need to be sure we are praying for God's way and not our way. Why is it better to pray for God's way and not our way?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Acts 23

I accidently slept in this morning so I don't have time to write anything. You can still comment below what you found interesting or what stuck out to you in this chapter.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Acts 22

Acts 22.

Paul speaks to them in Aramaic (or possible Hebrew) which makes them listen. Paul takes the opportunity to give his testimony of salvation. If you notice at the end of 22:9 it says "but they heard not the voice" but in 9:7 it says "hearing indeed the voice". This difference in wording is because the men with Saul did hear the voice but did not understand it. Everyone has their our story about how they received Christ. If you were too young to remember, you still have a story about when you first took your walk with Christ on your own and not because your parents said so. Have you ever given your testimony to someone?

The crowd has had enough and Paul is sent to be flogged. Before the flogging Paul asks if it is legal to flog a Roman citizen who is not found guilty. The commander realizes Paul is a citizen and withdrew immediately and unbinds Paul. Paul is about to make another speech! This time to the Sanhedrin! Paul's citizenship became an assent in his efforts to share the Gospel with Gentiles. What traits skills or experiences do you have which can help you share the Gospel with others?

How has your faith in Jesus redirected your life in a surprising way? How do you struggle with that redirection?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Acts 21

Happy Sunday everyone!

Paul on his way to Jerusalem stops at the city of Tyre. There many other believers tell Paul to not go to Jerusalem "through the Spirit". So if Paul was told by the Spirit to go, but not to by other's told by the Spirit, who should he listen to? This shows that we should be listening to God with our own ears rather than what others say. Paul continues his journey and stops in Ptolemais and is confronted by a prophet, Agabus, who binds Paul's arms and feet and tells Paul this will happen if he goes to Jerusalem. Paul goes anyway. Have you ever had to make a decision that was unpopular? Was it the right decision?

Paul goes into Jerusalem and perform the Nazarite vow so when he appears in Jerusalem, the Jews think he is keeping the law. Verse 20, "And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law." In order to give the Gospel to someone, did you have to take a different approach? Can you present the Gospel the same way to everyone?

Paul's plan doesn't work and he is recognized and dragged out of the temple. They try to put him to death. Paul says....(we will hear about this next chapter!) Do we need to still hold the old traditions today? Why or why not?

Have you ever needed to make a hard decision?

How can you ask for God's help to make the right one?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Acts 20

Good morning everyone! Sorry for the late post! I slept into 9 today. Let's get started with chapter 20.

Paul once again receives a tip that the Jews were plotting to kill him. He makes a smart move and travels around the threat and back through Macedonia. Notice how Luke uses the pronoun "we" meaning Luke was also traveling with them. The even up in Troas were Paul preaches and everyone breaks bread together. During the long sermon, a man falls asleep and fall down three stories! Everyone takes him to be dead, but Paul looks at him and see life in him. The man returns home alive and everyone is comforted. This stories really makes me feel better when I'm tired in church. If someone fell asleep in Paul's sermon, then I won't feel as bad when I feel a bit drowsy. Do sermons put you to sleep? Or are you wide awake spiritually  How can you keep from falling flat?

Paul is getting ready to set sail for Jerusalem. I love verse 24, "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying the gospel of God's grace." This verse reminded me of one of my favorite verses 1 Corinthians 9:24. "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." How do you say goodbye to people you love? What do you suppose the Ephesians will miss about Paul?

In the race of doing God's will, are you in the front of the pack, one of the stragglers, or an onlooker?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Acts 19

Acts 19.

Paul stumbles across some people who haven't been updated for a long time. Paul asks them "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" (v. 2) They reply telling Paul that John the baptist baptized them and they did not even hear of the Holy Spirit before. Paul explains to them what the Holy Spirit is and baptizes them in the Holy Spirit.  Have you ever come across a person who says they are a Christian, but their ideas about it are skewed? How do you show someone the right way?

In verses 11-20 the sons of Sceva try to cast out an evil spirit in a demon-possessed man. One problem, these men had not developed a personal relationship with Jesus, so when they tried, the demon replied, "Jesus I know , and I know about Paul, but who are you?" (v. 15) The man jumped on them and beat them leaving them naked and wounded. Why didn't the demon leave the man when he heard Jesus's name called? How do people try to use Jesus for their own purposes today? What is the difference between that and real faith in Christ?

Paul travels to Ephesus and preaches there. The silversmiths become angry because they are losing their idol worshipers and blame Paul for messing with the economy. A riot is started and the crowd shouts, "great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" Finally, Alexander is able to calm the crowd and Paul thinks that its is a good time to leave and does. Success, money and independence are some cultural idols. What others come to mind? How has you faith affected your relationship to idols?

What is in your life today that most prevents you from God?

What can you do to remove those distractions?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Acts 18

Thank you everyone who could make it last night! We had a great time. Keep up the good work.

First in this chapter Paul speaks to the Jews in Corinth. After they reject the message he says, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility." (v. 6) He moves on to teaching the word of God to Gentiles. Paul then receives a vision from God telling him to stay in Corinth and to not be silent. Paul stay for a year and a half preaching. Have you ever felt God told you to do something? What happened?

Paul sets sail for Syria. Right before he said he cut off all his hair. This was part of the Nazarite vow which is in Numbers 6:1-21. This willingness to still do unnecessary Jewish traditions shows how Paul wanted to reach out to the Jewish community. He is doing it to create opportunities to present the Gospel. Apollos is a will learned man who knew how to debate and prove the Scriptures. He goes to Achaia and refuted the Jews in public debate. How you ever had to defend your faith? When is it appropriate to engage in a debate or to present the Gospel?

We all have different gifts given from God. What do you sense God has equipped you with to serve?

Are you willing to use that gift?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Acts 17

Good morning! Quick reminder: Bible study and Acts chapters 11-17. 6:30-7:30 tonight at the Hinkle house.

Now lets get started.

Paul and Silas went to Thessalonica where Paul reasoned and proved in the synagogue that Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. After he finished ministering, many of the Jews and Greeks were converted. Some of the Jews were jealous of Paul so they rounded up a mop and went to Jason's house (where they believed Paul was staying). When they could not find Paul, they took Jason and a few other believes to the crowd and they accused them of "defying Caesar's decrees". After the chaos became too much, they let them go. Have you ever been in a situation where you were in conflict with authorities because of your faith? What happened?

Paul moves on to the city of Berea. The Bereans received the message more easily than the Thessalonians, but when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching, they sent crowds to stir them up. Paul leaves fro Athens and tells Silas and Timothy to stay but to join him as soon as possible. Compared to the Thessalonians, how do the Bereans receive the Gospel?

Paul goes to the city of Athens. The people there are very open minded. Verse 21, "(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)" The philosophers took Paul and questioned him about what he was teaching. Paul tell them that their idols are wrong and there is only one God. He gives the message and most of the people wanted to hear more. Whom do you know who has very little, or no background, in the Gospel? Could you share the Gospel with someone without quoting Bible verses? Why or why not?

Are there people in your life who need to hear the Gospel?

What can you do to tell them about it?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Acts 16

Hey guys! I really enjoyed reading Acts 16. Its all about Paul and Silas being put in prison and God breaking them out again. This time in the process they are even able to save the jailer! So let's get started.

Paul find Timothy in Lystra who wants to follow them. And then this is were it gets a bit awkward because there is only one problem. Timothy is not circumcised and the Jews who lived in that area still believed circumcision was mandated. You have to remember that Paul didn't circumcise Timothy because they had to, he did it for the sake of ministry What does Timothy's willingness to be circumcised show about his dedication?

Paul and Silas are in Phillipi preaching the gospel when a demon possessed girl who could tell fortunes follows them saying, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation." The girl continues to do this for a few days then finally Paul is fed up and commons the demon to leave her. The masters' of the girl were furious. They beat them and put them in prison. How do you think a girl shouting at the apostles affected their mood? The girl's owners rejected the Gospel because it cost them financially. What financial concerns keep some people from faith today?

While in jail, there's a huge earthquake. The earthquake is so powerful in fact that the jail doors swing open and the chains fall of the prisoners. The jailer becomes suicidal but Paul and Silas are able to tell him the good news/ "They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household.""(v. 31) What does Paul and Silas' response show about them? If asked, "What must I do to be saved" how would you answer?

Paul and Silas go all out when preaching the good news. This even gets them beaten and put in jail. What is something that can hold you back from ministering?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Acts 15

Good morning! Here we go with Acts 15!

This chapter is all about a disagreement in the church about the Mosaic Law. In verse 5 the Pharisees said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses." The problem was that a lot of the new church was composed of former Jews and to them these rules were important. They thought of Christianity as an extension of Judaism. Why do you think theses rule were important to the former Jews?

To compromise, they wrote a letter to Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. In their letter they told them the only requirements for them was to "abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood  from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality." (v. 29) From the letter and the way it was delivered, what do you learn about the way to solve disagreements among Christians?

Lastly in the chapter, Paul and Barnabas split up. Paul did not want to take John (or Mark) on their journey but Barnabas wanted to. So because of this dispute they went their separate ways. Have you ever lost a friendship because of a religious dispute?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Acts 14

Paul and Barnabas spoke in Iconium at the synagogue. This time, a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed but the ones who didn't stirred up the Gentiles and planned to stone them. Paul and Barnabas stayed a bit longer and then fled to Lystra and Derbe. How does Paul and Barnabas' experience in Iconium differ from their experience in Antioch?

Paul heals a crippled man in Lystra. The city's reaction is the complete opposite of Iconium. They declare Paul and Barnabas Greek gods. The city begins to sacrifice things to them. Paul and Barnabas try to clear the misunderstanding but it only turns the crowd, and Paul is stoned and left for dead outside. Miraculously, the next day Paul got back up and went back into the city.  Paul and Barnabas went back through Lystra, Iconium and Antioch and continued to strengthen disciples and appointed elders for churches. What was one of the biggest misunderstandings about Christianity you had to overcome before you could believe?

Seeing all the opposition Paul and Barnabas faced on their first mission trip, what do you think caused them to consider it a success? When ministering to others, is it easy to focus on the opposition rather than what God is doing through you?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Acts 13

Paul now becomes a main character of the Church and you will see him speaking out against someone who is against Christ. Let me know what you think of what happens to Barjesus.

Then Paul goes to Anitioch and speaks to a synagogue to both Jews and Gentiles who are worshiping God from verse 13-41. See if you can summarize in one sentence Paul's main point of his message, it must have been well received because the asked him to stay a while to talk again during the next Sabbath.

In verse 45 you see the reaction of the unsaved Jews to Paul's popularity. How does Paul respond to their jealousy in verse 46-47? How do the Gentiles respond to what Paul says?

Do you think Paul expected he would be run out of town by the unconverted Jews for saying what he said?

Are you brave enough to speak the Truth when you know it is unpopular at school?