Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BSF LESSON / ACTS / LESSON 2 / ACTS 2:1-47

(These are my own opinions, and not to be considered "correct" answers to BSF questions.) 


DAY ONE  Read all lesson notes and Scripture references
1.  a.  Answer
b.  Answer

DAY TWO Acts 2:1-13 
2.  a.  A noise like a violent rushing wind
b.  And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one.
c.  They were all speaking in different languages
d.  The Holy Spirit filled the apostles
3.  a.  In Genesis, the purpose was to confuse everyone with different languages, in Acts, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to bridge the gap between languages in order to bring understanding to all people.
b.  God wants us to act as one community
4.  To bring understanding and help further the Word of God

DAY THREE Acts 2:14-21, Joel 2:28-32
5.  a.  The apostles physically stood beside Peter as a sign of unity
b.  Answer
6.  The pouring forth of the Holy Spirit on all people.
7.  The Lord shall return and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved
8.  Everyone who calls out on the name of the Lord
9.  The second coming of Christ

DAY FOUR Acts 2:22-32 
10.  a.  Of Nazerene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst
b.  Delivered by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men, and put to death
c.  God raised Him up again putting an end to the agony of death, since Jesus could not be held in its power
11.  John 3:16-17 For God loved the world so much that he have his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
12.  a.  By the hands of godless men
b.  We have free will.  Pilate tried to be innocent, by blaming men who chose to do evil. 
 
DAY FIVE Acts 2:33-47
13.  a.  Psalm 110:1
b.  Acts 2:33 Exalted to the right hand of God
c.  I feel humbled
14.  Repent and be baptized
15.  a.  Repent / be baptized / teaching, fellowship, community, prayer / help the needy
b.  I need to spend more time in prayer and community, but I have repented and been baptized, I am teaching and am in fellowship with others, and I help the needy.

DAY SIX Acts 2 
16.  Answer

Friday, September 16, 2011

BSF LESSON / ACTS / LESSON 1 / ACTS 1:1-26

(These are my own opinions, and not to be considered "correct" answers to BSF questions.)

DAY ONE Read all lesson notes and Scripture references.
1. Every known nation during this time was reached for God.  How more important is it now in these days nearer the end of the world?  I feel convicted to get off my rear end, away from my safety net and out from underneath my covers and start learning to reach those people lost because they are living far from Christ.
2.  * There is a difference between accepting knowledge of Jesus and the acceptance of his forgiveness and consequent indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
* The key to living a powerful, fruitful Christian life is to be filled continuously with the Holy Spirit.  It’s a privilege.

DAY TWO Acts 1:1-4, Luke 24:25-27, 36-53
3.  a.  Acts 1:2 – He gave his apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit.
1:3 – He proved to them that he was alive.
1:4 – He told them not to leave Jerusalem until ready
Luke 24:26-27 – He explained all the scriptures concerning himself and regarding his foretold suffering described in Moses and the prophets.
24:36 – He appeared to them in physical form and ate with them.
24.45 – He opened their minds to understand the scriptures
24:49 – He sent the Holy Spirit to fill them and told them not to leave until they had received this gift.
24:51 – He blessed them and returned to heaven.
b.  By his living word.  If I study and reflect upon it, he will speak to me.
c.  Just this lesson has me learning more of what was unclear to me and compels me to read and learn more, seeking what God has to say to me.
4.  Luke 24 – There were many proofs, but I’m thinking this answer requires physical signs.
24:3 – Tomb was empty
24:15 Jesus appeared to two followers walking down the road from Jerusalem
24:17 – He spoke to them as they walked.
24:27 – Jesus taught them the scriptures concerning himself and his crucifixion.
24:29 – He went home with them.
24:30 – He blessed the bread and ate with them.
24:31 – He disappeared instantly as it became near to them this man was Jesus.
24:36 – Jesus appeared and spoke “Peace be with you.”
24:39 – His hands and feet were real, he was not a ghost.
24:43 – He ate fish.
24:49 – Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and game them instructions to stay in the city until the Holy Spirit would come and fill them with power from heaven.
24:51 – He ascended into heaven.
John  21:6 – He filled the disciples fishing nets with fish.
21:13 – He made breakfast with them and broke bread and ate fish.
5.  To prepare their hearts to receive the miracle that he was really alive and to be ready to receive his instructions about spreading the living word.

DAY THREE Acts 1:4-8
6.  To receive the power of the Holy Spirit upon them so they could be witnesses.
7.  a.  Jesus was with them before, but now the Holy Spirit lived in them.
b.  Yes, because God is with everyone, even those who are non-believers.  Just because someone doesn’t acknowledge the presence of God, doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.
c.  I am trying to be “in you” but lately it seems I am “with you”.  I am a believer, but circumstances keep me (no excuse) from fully devoting myself to God.

DAY FOUR Acts 1:4-11
8.  Yes, Acts 1:5 states “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 
Romans 8:9-10 - states that the Holy Spirit controls us by virtue of living in us.
8:14-16 – God’s spirit joins our spirit when we are adopted into his family.
1 Corinthians 12:13 – Jesus and his church “us” are one body, one spirit when we are baptized in the spirit, by accepting Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit.  Every human is capable of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.  It is available to all, Jews, Gentiles, free men and slaves.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – God has placed the Holy Spirit in every human heart; that is how he identifies us.  Animals don’t have this gift.  We are guaranteed the ability to call upon the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 4:6-7 – By virtue of making us his children, God has placed the spirit in our hearts ready to be called upon when we call out to God, our Abba Father.  This is our inheritance.
9.  I believe the spirit is housed in us, from our birth.  When we call upon Jesus, and accept him as our Savior, we are “filled” with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit comes out to play, to be a part of our everyday lives.  We are essentially “baptized” when we are asked to have our sins forgiven and our souls cleansed.  One cannot happen without the other.
10.  a.  The disciples would be witness to the Holy Spirit coming upon them in order to help spread the word about Jesus, as our Savior, throughout the world.  When they received the Holy Spirit, they would receive the power to evangelize.
b.  I am called to help spread the word of Jesus and help others become followers of Christ.  I can lead by example and compassion, if not able to travel the world, or even my own city, in His name.
11.  a.  I can’t imagine what they were thinking.  I would be shocked, amazed and left speechless.  I would have been thrilled to see the prophecies spoken about in the Word of God were coming true and it would give me strength to move on to the command left by Jesus, to spread the Word. 
b.  Seeing the two white-robed men would have just added to the shock value of the ascension of God, but it would have been comforting to see that Jesus had really returned to Heaven and there was a promise he would return.

DAY FIVE Acts 1:12-26
12.  a.  Acts 1:13-14 – Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the Zealot), and Judas (son of James).  Eleven in all.
b.  I think they were praying for strength to accomplish the command Jesus set forth for the, that of spreading the gospel.  They probably prayed for guidance, protection and wisdom for their journey.
13.  a.  I believe in a voting system, not casting lots.  Acts 2:23 states that God’s prearranged plan (Jesus being betrayed) was carried out.  I truly believe that God decides who our leaders will be, according to his prearranged plan.  That doesn’t mean he doesn’t need us to vote or pray for guidance.  We are disciples in his plan being carried out.
b.  – No, because we cannot truly fulfill God’s plan of spreading the gospel if we don’t actually believe it and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in doing so.  Jesus chose the disciples from the beginning, after they accepted him as their Savior.  But further instruction states that they were to not leave on their missions until the gift of the Holy Spirit came upon them.  I do not think a non-believer can truly “work” for God.  They can help the church in a variety of ways, and they are still part of God’s plan, but if they are truly going to do the work of the Lord, they need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and constantly be seeking spiritual guidance along their journey. Non-believers do not see this as a way of life.  As an example, a non-believer accountant can certainly balance the church’s checkbook, but can they truly foresee the budget needs of a church without first seeking the God to guide his wisdom to work for the fulfillment of God’s plan?  I don’t think so. 

DAY SIX Acts 1
14.  Application:  I was called back into youth ministry this school year, though I thought that phase in my life had passed.  I will continue to seek guidance and ask for wisdom as I lead my group of 6th grade girls through their middle school years along with my two co-leaders.  I need to replenish my soul at the well, on a daily basis, if I am to accomplish what God has planned for my group.  I cannot be successful in this if I am not walking with God.

OUR MOOD DICTATES OUR ACTIONS

Mood dictates our actions.  We agree to go with a friend to a movie on the weekend, but by the time it’s Saturday, we really don’t want to go because we’ve had a bad week and just want to stay home and be miserable.  Or we make a “to do” list for the next day and wake up tired and lazy.  We fail to do what we had intended to do in a more enthusiastic moment.  Our emotions mislead us.  One morning we awake with promise and as we start our day we fall into the despair we’re plagued with and want to crawl back under the covers.  It’s like an emotional rollercoaster with all it’s up and downs.  It affects the things we do and the words we speak and the attitudes that define us.  The bible is very clear with instructions to live by faith, not by feelings.  Faith assures us that God will be by our side each moment of our lives, even in our darkest moments.  God will be there even when we fail to pray, our smiles fade and our moods surrender. 
Hebrews 10:38 states Those who are right with me will live by faith.  But if they turn back with fear, I will not be pleased with them."
God is on our side, ALWAYS.  Even when we make mistakes and fail miserably, he stands beside us and wants our days to be filled with beauty, love, and power through the Holy Spirit.  He does not want us to be in despair over our own failings, but to live faithfully each day with the knowledge that through God’s magnificent love we can accomplish anything we set our minds on.  He knows the plans he has for us, so we must forge ahead into the darkness continually seeking his purpose for our lives.  We must not turn our backs in fear of God.  Even if we do, he is not absent. 
Having a bad day?  Okay, spend a few extra minutes relaxing in bed or being a couch potato.  But remember to get back up and ask God to guide you through your days and nights and to pave the path ahead of you with golden stones that you might easily find to follow.  No gold stones show up?  Keep walking anyway.  Just one small action in the name of God will empower you to make a second action and a third and so on. 
The past 10 days have been difficult, to say the least.  My daughters, and a friend, were rear ended and one daughter is having significant, negative physical results from the accident.  I was also injured at the accident scene, thought I was not in the car.  Our days have been filled with pain, frustration and anger.  However, each day I devour the word of God and pray for the healing of my daughters and their friend.  I try to stay positive and help my daughter in any way I can, though it is difficult to walk at the moment.  We have spent our days resting and visiting doctors.  My daughter’s spiritual life is strong and I am glad to see her relying on her faith to get her through this time.  We have our bad days, but we don’t have a bad life.  We are faithful to our God, even in the midst of a car accident, that He will show us the way out from this ordeal.  Our God is with us ALWAYS!
Take the time to reflect on God before each action, just for a day.  Thank him for the food he has provided every time you open the refrigerator.  Thank Him for indoor plumbing, the invention of the automobile, electricity, government and democracy.  Thank him for the use of you limbs, sight and free will.  Are you sitting on your couch?  Thank him for providing the home you live in and the means to purchase a couch.  Thank him for the weather and the logical sequence of our calendar. 
Then take the time to thank him for your gifts.  My strongest gift happens to be hospitality.  I open the doors to my home constantly, for anyone who needs it.  I thank God for providing a home big enough to house my family and guests and for allowing my husband to earn the means to entertain all our guests.  I thank him for the love I am shown from people who are grateful I feed them.  I thank him for these same friends who have shown their concern for us over the past 10 days.  I thank him for the knowledge that I can call a friend to come help me and they will come.
Spend your day allowing your mood to dictate your actions.  Make your bed in the morning believing you are making the bed Jesus slept in.  Get dressed and ready to make your appearance before God.  Cook a meal that would please the disciples.  Clean your house as if God himself were going to visit.  Wash clothes as you would wash Jesus’ clothes, with care and compassion.  Open your house to those in need, as you would welcome Mary and Joseph, on their travels.  The more you do this, the more your positive mood will dictate your positive actions.
Heavenly Father, I desire for my faith, not my emotions to dictate my life.  I pray for balance in my “hide under the covers” days, so that I might surrender to you in everything.  I pray for all of humanity to feel your guiding presence in each moment of their days and nights.  I ask, Lord, that you light a spark in the hearts of those in deep despair and help guide them out from under their covers into your light full of love and forgiveness.  I ask this in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen

Saturday, September 10, 2011

HEAVEN by Randy Alcorn

My small group bible study will be working through this book starting on Sept. 29th.  I've wanted to study this book for a few years now, so I'm very excited to finally get started on it. 

http://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Randy-Alcorn/dp/0842379428/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315671124&sr=8-1

I'll be posting my readings, thoughts and notes here to share with you.  I can't post the actual questions, because they are copywrited, but I will post my answers to each question in the study guide.  I hope some of you will choose to follow us along on this journey.