Monday, August 24, 2009

Pray for your "Ninevah"

Our study last week was from the book of Jonah, and one thing we learned is that God does not want us to withhold his word or blessing from other people, regardless of how we personally view them.

We have decided to each choose a country to pray for and that they would turn to God just as Ninevah did in Jonah. Each country has specific prayer needs. For those of you who got a printout in class, please post:
1. The country you have and
2. One specific prayer need for that country

There are many sites online that are oriented toward this. See the following two websites:

For those who have not chosen a country to pray for, please go to one of these sites (or any site) and choose one and post it here. There is lots of info on each country on these websites.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"They're full of new wine!" - Acts 2:12-16

In Acts 2:13, the crowd accused the disciples of being "full of new wine" on Pentecost when they were filled with the holy spirit and spoke in tongues. Some questions were raised on Sunday about:

1. Was this really fermented (intoxicating) wine (new wine?) that they were being accused of indulging in?
2. Why, as was pointed out, was this particular Greek word for wine used only in this verse and no where else in the new testament?

In summary, this use of "wine" is to be understood as intoxicating (perhaps very), and therefore they were, in fact, being accused of being drunk. As for question 2, this word could indicate that the wine could be quite intoxicating and/or from the juice that falls before pressing begins (which was sometimes saved separately) This is based on the following:

1. In context, it is clear that they were being accused of being drunk, since it wouldn't make sense to accuse them of being drunk from grape juice alone. [1]

2. There are 4 Greek words that translated into "wine" in the new testament. Oinos is the most common, being 32 of the 37 references to it. However, the word in our verse is pronounced glyoo-kos (Strong's #1098) and is only used in this one verse. It means "sweet wine" and "used of the more saccharine (and therefore highly inebriating) fermented wine." This may also indicate it is from the sweet juice that fell from the grapes before they were pressed. [2][3]

3. Although glyoo-kos could also mean "fresh juice", it is unlikely to be so at Pentecost because wine was usually pressed in September, and by this time (Pentecost), about 8 months would have elapsed. [3]

(Abbreviated refs)
[1] W.E. Vine, Vines Concise Dictionary of the Bible, (gleukos on p. 414), 2005 Thomas Nelson.
[2] James Strong, The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, P. 18 of Greek dictionary , 1996 Thomas Nelson.
[3]William Smith, "Wine" in Smith's Bible Dictionary, Thomas Nelson, 1997

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In our final lesson from Nehemiah, we see the desperate tactic of distraction used against God's work. Read carefully Nehemiah 6:10-14. The prophet Shemaiah informed Nehemiah that the enemies were plotting to kill him and that he should seek refuge in the temple. Nehemiah realized that "God had not sent him". How did Nehemiah realize this?

When someone gives us "advice", how do we discern if it is from God or if it is just something to distract us from our mission?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


When God has given us a goal, it is not always easy sailing. What stands in our way? Opposition. It can be internal (doubt, it is too difficult, etc) or external (such as riducle, threads, or physical violence).

In Nehemiah 2-4, the Jews faced opposition from Sanballat and other enemies by both ridicule and then physical threats. Nehemiah responds with prayer and action.

Has God called you to do something? What stands in your way? How does Nehemiah's response change yours?

In each of the three passages this week, notice there is:
1. An influence from the enemy
2. A response by Nehemiah or the Jews

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Praying and Preparing

Last week, in Nehemiah 1, we discovered that he mourned, wept, and prayed after learning of the state of Jerusalem. He continued praying to God for about four months, where Nehemiah 2 begins.

Nehemiah not only prayed, but prepared for God's call. This is shown by his requests to the king in Nehemiah 2:5-8. He made requests, knowing ahead of time what kind of authorization and supplies he would need.

Was planning a necessary step for Nehemiah or us today? What about just praying and "see what happens?"

We say quick prayers, as Nehemiah did when the king asked why he was sad. What is the basis for God honoring that quick prayer?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The World

Continuing in the unit of prayer... we are studying from John 17:9-19 this week. In these verses, Jesus prayed for the disciples (and in later verses for future believers as well)

Notice in the verses for this week, the word "world" appears 12 times (13 in the King James version).

Is Jesus praying for the world? What did he pray for the disciples concerning the world?

What is the application of this?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Power in Prayer

This week we are continuing in our unit of prayer. This week we are digging into the topic of power in prayer. I will try on a weekly basis to post some thought provoking questions, when possible.

Read the passages from our lesson:
John 14:12-14
John 15:14-16
John 16:23-26

Now look at these particular phrases:
14:13 "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."

15:16"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."

16:23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you."

I added emphasis on parts for the question to follow.

Sometime we may wonder why prayer is unanswered....

Q: Do these verses imply that we can ask for ANYTHING of God and expect to get them? Why or why not? What in these passages lead you to that?