Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Thoughts on Questions from Acts Ch 8 on 11/11



My Sunday school class/Life Group is studying the book of Acts. I posted these questions this Monday and encouraged you to jot your thoughts down.
It's Wednesday. This post consists of some comments from the class discussion.

If you’d like a PDF file of the questions, email me at crd.author@gmail.com
Chapter 8
Vv1-3
What does Saul begin to do? 

  • Wreak havoc. According to one footnote, "havoc referred specifically to the ravaging of a wild boar." Since boars are wild pigs, what Saul did was horrific in the sight of Jews turned Christians.
  • Ravaging
  • Great persecution

To whom does he do it?
Believers "The church" "house after house" "every house" he went "house to house"

This question came up: Why didn't the apostles leave Jerusalem?
The Sanhedrin was afraid of them because God's power was so great in them.

Vv4-8
What characterized the believers who were forced from Jerusalem?
They preached, taught, performed signs.
They'd paid close attention to the apostles.

Which part of Acts 1:8 is fulfilled here?
Samaria!
This would have been a safe place for a Christian with Jews after them.

What exactly does Philip do?
Evangelizes.
He was a server in Jerusalem and he was a preacher in Samaria.

What is significant about Philip being this involved?
He was considered Greek by those who chose the seven men to service the Greek widows.
He was accepted as a leader in Samaria. Was it easier for Samaritans to relate to a 'non-Jew'?

What are the immediate results of Philip's Samaritan ministry?
For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.  Acts 8:7-8
The key verse is 8. There was joy in the city!


 We got this far this week. 

Vv9-25
Who is this Simon?

Why did people follow Simon?

What significant event occurs in v13?

Why did Peter and John go to Samaria?

What was the immediate result of their ministry?

What is "wrong" with Simon's attitude in vv18-19? (How does he want to achieve power?)

How do you explain Peter's harsh response in vv20-23?

What is God's plan to provide power for/to believers?

What is wrong with Simon's answer in v24?


Vv26-40
This is a fairly famous passage. In brief, what happens here?

Who speaks to Philip? 

Where is he sent? 

What is his reaction?

What reaction might have been expected?

What is the Ethiopian reading?

Why would Philip ask the question he does?

Philip's answer to the Ethiopian's question includes what?

What happens to Philip after the Ethiopian is baptized?

Where does Philip end up?

How does Philip's ministry begin the spread of the Gospel to "the ends of the earth"?

Describe Philip’s evangelism.



In Jesus time, Jews were looking for a wrong type of Messiah rather than the One God provided in Jesus.
If you are interested in Messianic prophecies, my blog December 26 is a "fill in the blanks" table for 37 messianic prophecies. On December 27, the blog post provides the answers.
Feel free to spread the word about this.


Friday, This week Expressions of Faith is Why?

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback on Blogger!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Study Questions on Acts Ch 8 from 11/11



My Sunday school class/Life Group is studying the book of Acts. Every Monday, I’ll post the questions we discussed the day before. I encourage you to jot your thoughts down.

On Wednesdays, I’ll post some of the comments from the class discussion.

If you’d like a PDF file of the questions, email me at crd.author@gmail.com

Chapter 8

Vv1-3
What does Saul begin to do? To whom does he do it?


Vv4-8
What characterized the believers who were forced from Jerusalem?

Which part of Acts 1:8 is fulfilled here?

What exactly does Philip do?

What is significant about Philip being this involved?

What are the immediate results of Philip's Samaritan ministry?

 We got this far this week. 


Vv9-25
Who is this Simon?

Why did people follow Simon?

What significant event occurs in v13?

Why did Peter and John go to Samaria?

What was the immediate result of their ministry?

What is "wrong" with Simon's attitude in vv18-19? (How does he want to achieve power?)

How do you explain Peter's harsh response in vv20-23?

What is God's plan to provide power for/to believers?

What is wrong with Simon's answer in v24?


Vv26-40
This is a fairly famous passage. In brief, what happens here?

Who speaks to Philip? Where is he sent? What is his reaction?

What reaction might have been expected?

What is the Ethiopian reading?

Why would Philip ask the question he does?

Philip's answer to the Ethiopian's question includes what?

What happens to Philip after the Ethiopian is baptized?
Where does Philip end up?

How does Philip's ministry begin the spread of the Gospel to "the ends of the earth"?


Describe Philip’s evangelism.


Friday, This week Expressions of Faith is Why?

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com


I'd appreciate your feedback on Blogger!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

What America Lost when We Lost Sandlot Baseball


My Brother-in-Law, Ed Lewis wrote this on Tuesday, November 6, the evening of 2018 mid-term election. 

  • It is well thought out. 
  • It presents as much information as rhetoric.
  • He's nailed a major problem with American politics and America in general in this era.
  • I have his permission to make minor edits to his original post. 
  • He read and approved this version.

Enjoy the read.

Question: What is wrong with America? 
Answer: No Sandlot Baseball anymore

But first, let’s get up to speed . . .

Back in the early ‘70’s, my father gave me a cassette tape of a speech by a man named Ken McFarland. Dr. McFarland was an educator from Caney, Kansas. He started as a teacher in Coffeyville, then principal, and then Superintendent of the School District. He started a technical trade school and then became an employee of General Motors, a public speaker and a radio commentator.

The tape was titled “Ropes of Gold," and had a subtitle, “The Eagle Has Landed." It talked about the “good” things of America. I listened to the tape many times over and it had three points that have never left me.

First was a poem entitled “The Ropes of Gold." It's printed at the end of this post.

The second thing I remember is that he stated that we lived in the “Age of Information”. He felt we had so much information so readily available that we could gather enough information to “prove” pretty much any point we wanted. 


We could even use the same information to prove opposing points depending on how we presented the information and how much of the known information we presented. Even if you only present half of the truth, it’s still the truth, right?

Imagine how Dr. McFarland would feel today with Google, Bing, and Siri to help him!

The third point that stuck with me was a description of what he felt made America “different” from the rest of the free world.


Dr. McFarland stated that he felt the thing that made America great was that we purposely divided ourselves every four years over the issues of the day and argued our points. We would present, argue and defend our stands on the issues of the day. We would do our best to discuss and prod others to feel the same as we did. Then we would vote, elect and sometimes we won, and sometimes we lost.

Then we would get up the next day and go to work. And the winners didn’t goad the losers, and the ones whose candidate wasn’t elected didn’t whine and complain and shout of injustices until friendships were lost.

Recently, I re-watched a video of Richard Dreyfuss talking about subjects no longer taught in school, and he talked about the need to restore the teaching of Civics in High School. A course that taught us how countries (civilizations) survived; how they got along with each other. These courses taught us how important it is to remain civil when things became chaotic.

We think we are so much “smarter” than our ancestors of both recent and ancient times. In reality, we react to situations the same as they did. With the understanding of the day in which we live. When we try to judge people, cultures and actions from 50, or 100, or 200 years ago with today’s knowledge and understanding, we are usually wrong. You see, we are not a “jury of their peers”. We didn’t live then, nor experience what they experienced.

Removing stories from school education systems, removing statues from parks and removing the Ten Commandments from City buildings puts us right up there with the Germans burning books and the Russians removing information that showed the Russians were ever in second place in anything when compared to any other country. If you think I’m making up the Russian statement, find a Russian Jew who left under duress. Have a conversation with that person. You’ll receive a great education.

For some reason, in this country, we tend to think of athletes along with tv and movie stars as some kind of heroes, and very knowledgeable of World Affairs. They are entertainers. Some are good and some are bad entertainers. And most are probably not as smart as some third graders.

So, my feelings on this Election Day, 2018 are

  1. I hope you educated yourself 
  2. I hope you voted
  3. Now get on with your life!

If your candidate did not get elected. Work harder so things you want to happen in two years will happen. And don’t whine and complain.

Here is where my wife rolls her eyes and says to herself, “Oh no, what is he going to say?”

Two years ago, I stopped posting quotes and humorous sayings on Facebook, because some “Friends” seemed to be so angry about their political choice not being elected that it was embarrassing at times to be associated with some of the people and their comments.

The reality is, that the Left and the Right, the Clintons and the Trumps, the athletes and the entertainers that support both the Left and the Right, are so far out to the extremes that they do not live in any way where the majority of we, the common folk live day to day. 

We live our lives, every day in the middle ground, along with the majority of the world. Most of us don’t live with the ability to rid ourselves of our problems by throwing large amounts of money at them.

In 2016, I voted for Trump, and I have had people call me an idiot, and ass, and worse (at least they made statements to make the point that anyone who voted for him were those things). Prior to the election, I had a good friend ask me how I could call myself a Christian and vote for Trump? Though my response was solid and full of truth, and he knew my feelings about Clinton, our friendship changed. Differences in opinions that become personal issues rarely end well.

As Ben Franklin said, 
“A man convinced against his will, is of his own opinion still”.

In closing – 

I hope you voted.
More importantly, I hope you take a deep breath and measure what is really important in life.

So, how is the answer to America’s problems found in Sandlot Baseball? 


In sandlot baseball or street football, you rarely had two full teams. That meant players also had to be the umpires and the referees. If you were the umpire and called a ball a strike, there would be an argument, but the reality was that you now had to live with the fact that in an inning very soon you’d be at bat and there would be a payback. So, you learned that honesty was the best policy.

Were alliances ever formed? You bet they were. And for a period of time, things were unfair. But eventually, the payback would come. We always went back to being fair and honest in our actions. When we were wrong, we learned to apologize and make amends. 

I learned to say no, to negotiate and even to manipulate situations to my advantage. But most of all, I learned there was a consequence for every choice, good and bad.

Sometimes we won, and sometimes we lost. But the next day, we always started over.

I owe a lot to the kids I grew up with.

One additional point; we never complained to our parents. 

Mine were great educators. I learned very quickly that if I complained about one of my friends cheating, my mom or my dad would agree with me quickly then say something like, 

“You are right! Those kids don’t deserve to be your friend. I’ll give you some chores so if they ask you to play you can say you can’t because your parents have you working.” 

They were so concerned about my well being!

A favorite quote of mine is from Franklin D. Roosevelt. 
“The overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities; a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.”


Let’s get our sense of proportion back!

Ropes of Gold
OUR LIVES MUST BE ANCHORED WITH GOLDEN ROPES
THAT GIVE US PURPOSE, MEANING, HOPES.
KNOW THE ROPES. KNOW THE ROPES AND YOU'LL BE FREE.
TO KNOW THEM NOT MEANS SLAVERY.
WHAT ARE THOSE PRECIOUS GOLDEN STRANDS
HOLDING FREEDOM UNKNOWN IN OTHER LANDS?


THESE, FRIENDS, ARE THE ROPES OF GOLD,

THAT ALL OUR PRECIOUS FREEDOMS HOLD.
TO LOOK AROUND AT A DISTANT STAR,
TO LOOK AHEAD AT HORIZONS FAR.
TO LOOK UPWARD THROUGH THE DAWN
TO TRUST IN GOD AND CARRY ON.

Comments are welcome on Blogger or on my Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/chuck.downing.56

I'm working on my own post on the mid-term election. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What America Lost When We Lost Sandlot Baseball


My Brother-in-Law, Ed Lewis wrote this on Tuesday, November 6, the evening of 2018 mid-term election. 

  • It is well thought out. 
  • It presents at least as much information as rhetoric.
  • I think he's nailed a major problem with American politics and America in general in this era.
  • I have his permission to make minor edits to his original post. 
  • He read and approved this version.

Enjoy the read.

Question: What is wrong with America? 
Answer: No Sandlot Baseball anymore

But first, let’s get up to speed . . .

Back in the early ‘70’s, my father gave me a cassette tape of a speech by a man named Ken McFarland. Dr. McFarland was an educator from Caney, Kansas. He started as a teacher in Coffeyville, then principal, and then Superintendent of the School District. He started a technical trade school and then became an employee of General Motors, a public speaker and a radio commentator.

The tape was titled “Ropes of Gold," and had a subtitle, “The Eagle Has Landed." It talked about the “good” things of America. I listened to the tape many times over and it had three points that have never left me.

First was a poem entitled “The Ropes of Gold." It's printed at the end of this post.

The second thing I remember is that he stated that we lived in the “Age of Information”. He felt we had so much information so readily available that we could gather enough information to “prove” pretty much any point we wanted. 


We could even use the same information to prove opposing points depending on how we presented the information and how much of the known information we presented. Even if you only present half of the truth, it’s still the truth, right?

Imagine how Dr. McFarland would feel today with Google, Bing, and Siri to help him!

The third point that stuck with me was a description of what he felt made America “different” from the rest of the free world.


Dr. McFarland stated that he felt the thing that made America great was that we purposely divided ourselves every four years over the issues of the day and argued our points. We would present, argue and defend our stands on the issues of the day. We would do our best to discuss and prod others to feel the same as we did. Then we would vote, elect and sometimes we won, and sometimes we lost.

Then we would get up the next day and go to work. And the winners didn’t goad the losers, and the ones whose candidate wasn’t elected didn’t whine and complain and shout of injustices until friendships were lost.

Recently, I re-watched a video of Richard Dreyfuss talking about subjects no longer taught in school, and he talked about the need to restore the teaching of Civics in High School. A course that taught us how countries (civilizations) survived; how they got along with each other. These courses taught us how important it is to remain civil when things became chaotic.

We think we are so much “smarter” than our ancestors of both recent and ancient times. In reality, we react to situations the same as they did. With the understanding of the day in which we live. When we try to judge people, cultures and actions from 50, or 100, or 200 years ago with today’s knowledge and understanding, we are usually wrong. You see, we are not a “jury of their peers”. We didn’t live then, nor experience what they experienced.

Removing stories from school education systems, removing statues from parks and removing the Ten Commandments from City buildings puts us right up there with the Germans burning books and the Russians removing information that showed the Russians were ever in second place in anything when compared to any other country. If you think I’m making up the Russian statement, find a Russian Jew who left under duress. Have a conversation with that person. You’ll receive a great education.

For some reason, in this country, we tend to think of athletes along with tv and movie stars as some kind of heroes, and very knowledgeable of World Affairs. They are entertainers. Some are good and some are bad entertainers. And most are probably not as smart as some third graders.

So, my feeling on this Election Day, 2018; 

  1. I hope you educated yourself and 
  2. I hope you voted


Now get on with your life!

If your candidate did not get elected. Work harder so things you want to happen in two years will happen. And don’t whine and complain.

Here is where my wife rolls her eyes and says to herself, “Oh no, what is he going to say?”

Two years ago, I stopped posting quotes and humorous sayings on Facebook, because some “Friends” seemed to be so angry about their political choice not being elected that it was embarrassing at times to be associated with some of the people and their comments.

The reality is, that the Left and the Right, the Clintons and the Trumps, the athletes and the entertainers that support both the Left and the Right, are so far out to the extremes that they do not live in any way where the majority of we, the common folk live day to day. We all live our lives, every day in the middle ground, along with the majority of the world. Most of us don’t live with the ability to rid ourselves of our problems by throwing large amounts of money at them.

In 2016, I voted for Trump, and I have had people call me an idiot, and ass, and worse ( at least they made statements to make the point that anyone who voted for him were those things ). Prior to the election, I had a good friend ask me how I could call myself a Christian and vote for Trump? Though my response was solid and full of truth, and he knew my feelings about Clinton, our friendship changed. Differences in opinions that become personal issues rarely end well.

As Ben Franklin said, “A man convinced against his will, is of his own opinion still”.

In closing – 

I hope you voted.

More importantly, I hope you take a deep breath and measure what is really important in life.



So now, how is the answer to America’s Problems found in Sandlot Baseball? 

In sandlot baseball or street football, you rarely had two full teams. That meant players also had to be the umpires and the referees. If you were the umpire and called a ball a strike, there would be an argument, but the reality was that you now had to live with the fact that in an inning very soon you’d be at bat and there would be a payback. So, you learned that honesty was the best policy.

Were alliances ever formed? You bet they were. And for a period of time, things were unfair. But eventually, the payback would come. We always went back to being fair and honest in our actions. When we were wrong, we learned to apologize and make amends. 

I learned to say no, to negotiate and even to manipulate situations to my advantage. But most of all, I learned there was a consequence for every choice, good and bad.

Sometimes we won, and sometimes we lost. But the next day, we always started over.

I owe a lot to the kids I grew up with.

One additional point; we never complained to our parents. 

Mine were great educators. I learned very quickly that if I complained about one of my friends cheating, my mom or my dad would agree with me quickly then say something like, 

“You are right! Those kids don’t deserve to be your friend. I’ll give you some chores so if they ask you to play you can say you can’t because your parents have you working.” 

They were so concerned about my well being!

A favorite quote of mine is from Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

“The overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities; a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.”

Let’s get our sense of proportion back!

Ropes of Gold
OUR LIVES MUST BE ANCHORED WITH GOLDEN ROPES
THAT GIVE US PURPOSE, MEANING, HOPES.
KNOW THE ROPES. KNOW THE ROPES AND YOU'LL BE FREE.
TO KNOW THEM NOT MEANS SLAVERY.
WHAT ARE THOSE PRECIOUS GOLDEN STRANDS
HOLDING FREEDOM UNKNOWN IN OTHER LANDS?

THESE, FRIENDS, ARE THE ROPES OF GOLD,
THAT ALL OUR PRECIOUS FREEDOMS HOLD.
TO LOOK AROUND AT A DISTANT STAR,
TO LOOK AHEAD AT HORIZONS FAR.
TO LOOK UPWARD THROUGH THE DAWN
TO TRUST IN GOD AND CARRY ON.

Comments are welcome.
On Blogger or on my Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/chuck.downing.56

I'm working on my own post on the mid-term election. Stay tuned.

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