ripple effect: vacaville

d224 A Different Kind of Party
December 15, 2007, 4:41 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, luke

Read Luke 14:1-14.

1. Why couldn’t people just relax and listen to Jesus as He was? Why did they have to always be watching Him, as if He was a criminal?
2. What’s dropsy? It sounds bad.
3. Jesus, put the pressure on the Pharisees. Here’s this hurt guy. Is it right to heal him (on the Sabbath) or not? They didn’t answer. I wonder why…
4. Jesus again implies that the Pharisees care more about their animals than their fellow man. I guess that’s one of the reasons that I’m skeptical about “animal rights.” A lot of times, the people who “fight” for animals are mean to people. That doesn’t make much sense, does it?
5. Then Jesus notices that everyone was fighting to get the cool chairs. Uh oh…time for another parable…
6. What if you thought that you were the man of honor, and then someone showed up who was more important? You sat down in the cool chair, thinking that you were the stuff. It would stink to have someone say, “Um, Paul, the good seat isn’t for you.” He he he… That would be embarrassing. Plus, you’d probably have to go sit on a bail of hay because all the “lesser” seats would already be taken. Oh, for shame…
7. Great strategy there– sit on the bail of hay. If you do that, people will normally honor you. I know I’ve taken this approach with sleeping situations on trips. I always offer to sleep on the floor, and usually people tell me that they would trade off. I would hate to be the guy who says, “I’ve got the guest bed,” because, whether or not I’m put in my place, it’s just wrong to assume that “youdda man.”
8. I wish high school and middle school kids could learn this too. Instead of bragging so much, just be humble. Then, if you win or are successful, people will be FOR you. Most of the time, if you brag, people instantly want to be AGAINST you.
9. Have you ever heard of a Luke 14 party? I heard of a church somewhere that threw a prom night for the mentally handicapped adults in the community. They figured that a lot of these people wouldn’t be the most loved, so they would make a night just for them. I bet that would be a blessing. Giving gifts to people who can pay you back is one thing– but giving gifts to people who can do almost nothing in return, that’s awesome!


d223 Looking for Chicks?
December 14, 2007, 4:11 pm
Filed under: abraham, god, herod, isaac, jacob, jesus, luke

Read Luke 13:22-35.

1. I can imagine how people would ask that question about only a few people being saved. I mean, you’d have to think that the religious leaders were propagating this idea that only the elite make it to heaven.
2. The “door” to heaven is narrow, though. So, it’s not easy to get through. When Jesus says that people will try to get through, I would have to think that those people are not going to authentically try to reach God…but are just trying to get God’s goodies. What do you think?
3. Sounds like people who will try to get to God at the end of their life, when they’ve wasted their time here on earth…
4. It would stink to see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob just long enough to get thrown down to hell. That will be known as “The Great ‘Woops, I Guess Jesus Was Right'”.
5. People from all over will be with God. I’m glad because I know California is a long way from Israel.
6. “Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” What do you think that means?

7. Some Pharisees were looking out for Jesus. They didn’t seem to want Herod to kill Him. Apparently, Jesus is unfazed.
8. Look at Jesus’ heart– He wants to gather His people under His wings like a mother hen. People often down bestow feminine attributes on God, but this is a very maternal feeling that Jesus is putting out here.
9. I can’t imagine how heartbroken Jesus was about the fact that His own people wouldn’t listen to Him.

d222 Def Shepard
December 13, 2007, 2:24 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, john

Read John 10:1-18.

1. OK…immerse yourself in sheep analogy world…
2. I don’t understand the whole thing about climbing the sheep pen from another angle. What people would this represent?
3. I guess we would be the sheep and Jesus would be the shepherd, right?
4. So…we listen for Him. Do we listen for Jesus’ command?
5. Jesus knows us by name. Jesus leads us by name, individually knowing each of us (our strengths, weaknesses, personality traits). That’s cool to know. Have you ever tried taking a promise of God and put your name into the commands? I think it’s an awesome exercise because it reminds of God’s intention to lead us by name.
6. Jesus goes ahead of us. He’s not asking us to go anywhere that He hasn’t gone Himself. That’s our God.
7. I wish we were sheep like that. But, I would think that we are more easily deceived. That’s one of our problems: we don’t know when to run.
8. Jesus then says that He is the gate. I think He’s reframing the analogy here. It is through Jesus that we can find life. I have always loved John 10:10. It’s one of the first verses I ever memorized, even though I only memorized the second part. It is important to note what “the thief’s” (the devil’s) intentions are: to steal, to kill, and to destroy. The evidence of that is all around. What’s being stolen? What’s been murdered? What’s being destroyed?
9. Full life. That’s what I want.
10. A good shepherd will literally lie down at the entrance of a cave to protect his sheep. If you want to get to the sheep, you’d have to go through him. That’s Jesus’ attitude towards us. In fact, He does take the beating for us; so this is more than words.
11. I don’t want to be like a hired hand, putting in my hours and going home. I want to be invested in what I’m doing because it doesn’t seem like a ministry that is led by a hired hand can be that effective.
12. Jesus talks about His heart to bring in more sheep. I want that heart too.
13. Jesus is telling them that He is going to voluntarily die. How do you think the disciples took this?
14. Jesus is also saying that He can raise Himself from the dead. How do you think the disciples took that?

d221 Amazing Because It is
December 12, 2007, 1:27 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, john, moses

Read John 9:1-41.

1. Who can blame the disciples for asking Jesus the question about who sinned to make that guy blind? I mean, don’t we think the same thing. Somewhere in the backs of our mind, we still have this idea that if you are good, things will work out good. And if you’re bad, things will work out bad. Who ever promised us that?
2. Amazing to think that this guy was blind for THAT MOMENT. Because, at that moment, Jesus was going to show God’s power. Wow. In a way, doesn’t that seem troubling? I mean, this guy had been blind his whole life. Do you think he would have preferred God’s power be shown through someone else, and he could have been spared the trouble?
3. When will people not be able to work for God?
4. Isn’t it crazy all the ways that Jesus healed blind people? In this one, he makes a poultice out of spit and mud. Crazy.
5. People were tripping when they saw the blind guy with vision. They were trying to rationalize that he couldn’t be, even though the guy insisted that he was! [Cool song…check out “Amazing Because It Is” by The Almost…very cool song. This story reminded me of it.]
6. This story doesn’t end here, though. Those crazy Pharisees…

7. Oh, you know that those Pharisees were going to have a hard time with the fact that Jesus healed him on the Sabbath…
8. Imagine this guy. He was just “the blind guy,” and now he’s the key “witness” in what seems like a trial against Jesus. But, to give the guy credit, he steps up and says that Jesus at least has to be a prophet (in other words, the real dead…no fraud…against the Pharisees’ thinking.)
9. Then the guy has his parents drug into it. They just CAN’T believe him, it appears.
10. Notice that the parents don’t really defend their kid. You’d think that they would be praising God, but it seems that they are more interested in their own skin that defending their son (and whatever he says to be true). They throw their son under the bus. Thanks mom. Thanks dad.
11. How on earth can the formerly blind guy praise God and say that Jesus is a sinner?
12. Again, the guy steps up for Jesus. He simply says that he can see. This should be the happiest day of this guy’s life. Instead, he continues to be cross-examined. He never even saw Jesus. He just accepted his spit in some mud and washed it out.
13. I love this guy. Do you think he was being smart with the Pharisees when he asks them if they want to be “his disciples too.” There’s an interesting word, there: “too.” It means that this guy wants to be Jesus’ disciple. All this arguing is really solidifying His faith in Jesus.
14. These guys care more about their allegiance to Moses than their allegiance to God. It’s like they forgot that Moses submitted to God.
15. More and more, this guy steps up for Jesus. I think he’s getting a little annoyed at the Pharisees’ primitive thinking.
16. What makes those guys think that they weren’t “steeped in sin at birth”?
17. Being thrown out of the Temple would have been a horrible punishment. What a downer on what should have otherwise been an awesome day.

18. Jesus finds the guy and asks him if he believes. This guy is still confused, but he knows that he wants to believe. Maybe he doesn’t recognize Jesus’ voice?
19. Upon realizing that he was talking to Jesus, this guy worshipped. I love that.
20. Blind people will see, but those who see will become blind. What do you think that means?
21. The Pharisees wanted to clarify what Jesus was saying, and it’s interesting: He says that it would be better if they were blind, because then, at least, they wouldn’t be held accountable for what they are SUPPOSED to know. As it stands, they can see and are blind.

d220 The People’s Champ
December 11, 2007, 12:59 pm
Filed under: abraham, god, jesus, luke, pontius pilate

Read Luke 13:1-21.

1. Wow, before you go thinking that Pilate was a nice guy, we first find him mixing the blood of some Galileans into his sacrifices to his pagan god. Whoah…
2. Apparently, the guys who brought this up thought that they were going to shock Jesus. Instead, He shocked them…He said it would be worse for people who did not repent! He brings up another disaster and says that those people weren’t worse off than any of them if they don’t repent. And something tells me that a spiritual death would not be cool…

3. You have to think that the fig tree parable is about God’s people not bearing any fruit, taking up space, “wasting soil.” Someone is making excuses for this unfruitful fig tree. Do we make excuses when we don’t serve God?

4. Jesus only needed to see this crippled woman before He decided to heal her. He didn’t seem to care where or what He was doing. I love the fact that we serve a God who has tunnel-vision when it comes to compassion. He healed her, and she praised God. Awesome.
5. And the synagogue ruler has to ruin the good times. He told her that she should have come back on a day besides the Sabbath. Geez. What, was he going to heal her?
6. Jesus says that those guys care more about the needs of their livestock than their fellow human beings. Before we point fingers, do we take action to alleviate the suffering of our fellow human beings or are we more like the hypocrites?
7. I bet the opponents were humiliated. What could they say? This woman was a “daughter of Abraham.” But Jesus is becoming the “People’s Champ” more and more.

8. I think it’s important to understand that if only look at the “kingdom of God” as heaven, we’re missing the BIG PICTURE. The kingdom of God is God’s will being done all over. So…it’s like a tiny little seed that grows and grows. God’s work is sneaky like that. But it can be overwhelming after time in a person’s life. I mean, here I am choosing to spend time in the Word on a Saturday afternoon when my Xbox is crying out after me. I would like to think that these small acts, if I take them seriously can grow into huge movements of God in and through my life. And, you…choosing to read God’s Word and responding to it, I pray that your mustard tree grows and grows.
9. Yeast in dough works the same way. Little thing has a big effect. Kind of like a ripple effect.

d219 This’ll Make All the Hippies Mad…
December 10, 2007, 12:30 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, luke

Read Luke 12:49-59.

1. I’m looking at how short this passage and thinking, “Oh this’ll be easy.” Then I read the passage. Hmm…
2. The fire has to be a fire to obey God’s will, right? I mean, that’s what Jesus is bringing. And, I’m sure He wished that the people were farther along when He got there. But, they weren’t.
3. Do think the “baptism” that Jesus is referring is to His “going under” (death on the cross) and “coming back up for air” (resurrection)?
4. Jesus alludes to how distressed He is, knowing that this is the course of events that is still to take place. He was born to die. I couldn’t imagine knowing that.
5. OK…so does anyone else think that, “Peace on earth…Good will towards men” is shot to pieces here? What division is Jesus talking about? I think Jesus is definitely talking about putting a line in the sand. This is so interesting to me. So, whereas, in our culture, we have been duped into believing that “peace” is the ultimate end, Jesus is saying TRUTH is the ultimate end. And the Truth will rip people apart from each other because some people WANT to believe in lies. There’s no escaping that. Either you water down to Truth to make it taste better to your audience or you accept that fact that there will be rejection. Who is afraid of that?

6. People could tell what weather was coming, but they couldn’t tell (by the way people were acting) that the cultural climate was overcast with a change of thunderstorms.
7. Why does Jesus bring up this whole thing about lawsuits? It appears that Jesus doesn’t want people to sue each other. He would prefer for people to reach agreements without going to court. But, why?

d218 Don’t Worry About a Thing (Well, Sort of…)
December 9, 2007, 12:15 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, luke, peter

Read Luke 12:22-48.

1. Jesus obviously doesn’t want us to worry about our lives, but it feels so difficult to do so. I know that my wife and I have been in many situations over the past year when it felt so impossible to get to the “next step.” Then again, it always happened. But, man, did I take time to worry. What a waste of time!
2. I have a God who saved me from sin; and, yet, I worry about how I’m going to have enough money to buy a house one day and if I have enough money to start having children! He saved me from sin! God is bigger than my worries.

3. What does the “readiness” for Christ look like in your life? How would you say that you are “unprepared”?
4. Isn’t it cool that God promises more than a pat on the back for His faithful servants; He promises them a place at His table, where He will serve them… Wow, that’s almost unthinkable.
5. What do you think it means when Jesus talks about Him returning? Why do you think we should be “ready” for that? I mean, it’s been 2000 years; and He hasn’t come back yet…
6. I love Peter’s question about the parable because it makes me wonder a lot about Jesus’ teachings. Which teachings of the Bible were for the specific audience, and which were for all of us? It’s definitely a valid question. (Jesus doesn’t really answer it.)
7. What about this other parable. Perhaps it’s more extreme. The guy in charge abuses the power that God has given Him. Whoah, I wouldn’t want to be “cut to pieces.” It’s obviously not death because the guy would then be put in a place for unbelievers. What has God entrusted to us? Are we making good use of it?
8. Notice that everyone who does wrong will get “beaten with blows,” not just people who are “Christians.” Jesus raises the bar for those who should know better, though. I guess that’s important to know. Only you can decide what to do with these Bible passages. I think of you guys who are reading because I realize that you are now going to be held accountable for what you read. You know better. It’s a great privilege to know the will of God, but it definitely comes with fear and trembling. Don’t take it lightly, grasshopper…