ripple effect: vacaville

d250 More from the End
January 31, 2008, 12:52 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, luke

Read Luke 21:1-24.

1. It’s inspirational to think that a woman without much gives more because she gives out of her poverty. I think we measure what we are doing with out offerings to God too much in man’s eyes. That’s why I think that the tithe is brilliant in some ways but deceptive in others. Yeah, for someone without much, 10% might be a huge commitment; but it’s not to someone like Johan Santana (the Mets new pitcher) who’s going to be making 23 million dollars a year. I think as we grow in wealth, we need to consider upping how much we give to God. I mean, isn’t there a place where we have “enough”? Or, as crazy Americans, is there always going to be something else that we “need”?

2. I bet the temple was pretty. But Jesus tells the disciples that it’s not built to last. They wonder when the temple’s going down…
3. Jesus tells them that this end is coming right away. I wonder why so many thought that it was going to happen soon, though. It seems like every generation thinks that their time is the “end of times.” Why is that?
4. You could say that we have nations fighting each other, earthquakes, famines, and whatnot. I don’t know. I don’t pretend to know. How would you live differently if you know that we were, in fact, living in the end times?
5. Also, it appears that their will be an assault on those who follow Christ. See, I don’t think it’s happened to the degree that Jesus is talking about here. Maybe I’m just looking at it from an American perspective. I know people are being persecuted in other parts of the world.
6. Do you think that Jesus is talking about the future, or do you think that, now, He’s talking about the lifetimes of the disciples? Because, I mean, almost all of those guys were sold out and killed…
7. Jerusalem is not really surrounded by armies right now. Has anyone read the “Left Behind” books? When they surround Jerusalem, it’s like a worldwide military assault.
8. I can’t imagine what it will be like to live in those times…
9. Wow…yeah, how would it be to have a baby in your womb or on your hip in a time when it is a free-for-all against Christ-followers? Not good.


d249 Crazy Chicks
January 30, 2008, 12:19 pm
Filed under: abel, god, jesus, matthew, moses, zechariah

Read Matthew 23:1-39.

1. It’s interesting that Jesus is clearly saying that He believes that the religious leaders are hypocrites but that they still must obey them. Wow. He says it is because they are in Moses’ seat, placed their by God. Would you want to follow a hypocrite?
2. The religious leaders make the common person jump through all kinds of hoops to earn salvation, but it seems like they consider it to be automatic for them.
3. They are focused on the outward: wide phylacteries (pieces of scripture woven into their hair), long tassels (I don’t know what the significance of that is), sitting in the big boy chairs, being greeted and recognized, and having people call them by their title and not their name. Note to self…don’t become Rev. Mannino. Stay Paul.
4. This shoots a hole in calling priests, “Father,” doesn’t it. We don’t toss “Rabbi” around, but other people do. We’re not to call another person Master.
5. Why is it so hard for average people to think that they are on the same level as priests, rabbis, and preachers?
6. I wonder if Jesus intended for us to not even call our own dads “Father.” It says that He is our Father. Hmm…
7. Again, wouldn’t we get into a lot of trouble if we didn’t call our teachers “teacher” and our professors “professor.” Is there something deeper that Jesus is talking about here?
8. Incidentally, “minister” means servant. It’s funny how that term is used to elevate people to a “higher” position.
9. And now…the woes. [#1] How do you think they “shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces”? It’s like they are bouncers who won’t let the people experience God.
10. [#2] Wow…so…they are all about “converting” people; but, once they are converted, they become more lost than ever. Hmm…I wouldn’t want to be called a “son of hell.”
11. [#3] He he he…a blind guide would be funny. Think about taking a tour on a bus with a blind guide. He he he… Not funny to Jesus though. For some reason they made up stupid rules about what kind of swear (like a pinky swear) is more important. They’re missing the point.
12. [#4] They are so careful to tithe their spices, but they ignore all the important stuff like LOVING PEOPLE. Now, I know some churches like that…
13. [#5] Again, cleaning the outside but not the inside is a sign of too much concern for outward appearances.
14. [#6] Outside = righeteous, inside = wicked. Not good.
15. [#7] They thought too highly of themselves. They think that they wouldn’t have been jerks to all God’s prophets in the past. Um…based on the way they are treating John the Baptist and Jesus, I’m having a hard time believing that.
16. Snakes! Wow…the whole idea of Jesus petting sheep isn’t really in this verse. He’s bringing it! Jesus tells them that they are so thickheaded that He is sending people to change their minds. Too bad they kill people who think differently than they do. And, when they do that, they are only making things worse. They are already accountable for the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah. The religious leaders have killed God’s people for thousands of years. It’s kind of their trademark.
17. Look at Jesus’ love for His people, though. He wants to tuck them all in “under [His] wings.” These chicks are crazy, though. Are we crazy too?

d248 And1
January 29, 2008, 11:37 am
Filed under: david, deuteronomy, god, jesus, mark

Read Mark 12:28-37.

1. Why would it be important to know which rule is most important?
2. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy. In other words, He’s not inventing a new rule. He’s perfecting an ancient one…
3. I just realized that the whole part of God being “One” is critical to this. This “oneness” of God is central to why we should be “one” with Him and “one” with each other. We reflect something about God’s glory when we have that kind of “oneness.”
4. What’s the difference between your heart and your soul?
5. Isn’t it cool that we are to love God with our minds! I think it’s crazy when people think that they have to leave their minds at the door of the church and put it back in once the ceremonial brainwashing is over. No! God calls us to love God with our minds! Very awesome.
6. My biggest struggle is with my strength. Do my actions reflect the love that I have for God? I don’t think this has much to do with how much I can bench press. This goes much deeper…
7. Is anyone else thinking that Jesus can’t count here. Um…Jesus, you can only give one answer to the MOST important commandment. But, Jesus is being Miss Teen South Carolina here. These statement and two “rules” are inseparable. GOD IS ONE. WE ARE TO BE ONE WITH HIM BECAUSE HE IS ONE. AND WE WILL SEEK TO BE ONE WITH OUR NEIGHBORS BECAUSE THAT IS A REFLECTION OF ONENESS WITH GOD. It’s all together. Inseparable. ONE, if you will. Kind of like the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
8. Like Jesus needed this man to tell Him that He was right…
9. Why are these things more important than burnt offerings and sacrifices?
10. Imagine Jesus saying, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” to you. Wow. What was it about what this man said that was so dead on?

11. It is kind of weird that people say the Christ (the redeemer of Israel) as the “son of David,” only focusing on His humanity, especially since David talked about Him as if He was devine. David refers to the Christ as his Lord. That has to mean that He’s going to be more than just a descendent of David. David’s “lord” because he’s king; the Messiah is LORD for other reasons beyond being an earthly king…

d247 I Spy Something that Isn’t Going to Work
January 28, 2008, 1:40 pm
Filed under: abraham, caesar, god, isaac, jacob, jesus, luke, moses

Read Luke 20:20-40.

1. Does anyone really think that you could use spies on Jesus? He’s God. Um…you’re not going to fool Him.
2. They didn’t know how to deal with Jesus, so they decided to try to trap Him into saying something that would get Him arrested for political (not religious) reasons. You have to admire their perseverance…
3. Why are they even wasting time trying to butter Jesus up?
4. I guess they assumed that, since Jesus was the Christ (the One who would free the Jews from oppression), He would say, “Viva la revolucion! To heck with paying taxes to Caesar.” They were wrong…
5. Jesus’ answer is awesome. Follow your obligations to give money to Caesar (his image IS on the danarius coin). But since the image of God is on you, you need to give your life to God. Awesome!
6. He stupefied them.

7. OK, so the Sadducees didn’t believe in life after death. How sad, you see. He he he…that sounds like Sadducee. He he he…
8. More of the law of Moses. This almost sounds like a riddle. But, indeed, this is a law in the Old Testament. If a guy dies, the next oldest brother marries the widow and preserves the line by having a kid for the older brother. It sounds weird. But that’s what they used to do.
9. I’d be wondering if that woman was poisonous or something.
10. It is a good question, though, who will she be married to at the resurrection because all seven brothers were her husband.
11. Does it bother any of you to see that Jesus doesn’t seem to say that marriage really exists in heaven?
12. My wife, Mary Kate, would be more like my sister in heaven. You know, I think that might even be better in a lot of ways. We will be children of God.
13. Wow, and Jesus says that even Moses believed that people weren’t dead after their lives on earth. He calls God “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Jesus says that this was understood that none of those guys were “no longer” even though they were dead.
14. I picture some British teachers saying, “Tally ho! Good show! Touche’!” He he he…
15. Any more questions? No. Ok. He he he…

d246 The Wedding Crashers
January 27, 2008, 11:42 am
Filed under: god, jesus, matthew

Read Matthew 22:1-14.

1. Again, our excuse-making culture would think that this is totally acceptable. But, I mean, the guy is THE KING. What excuse could you have to not come to the prince’s wedding banquet?
2. It almost seems like the king is lowering himself to even have to beg people to come to this banquet. He shouldn’t have to be telling them what the menu was. They should just come because he is the king.
3. They seem preoccupied with their work or evil. Busyness and wickedness. Yeah, those will keep you from experience the parties of life.
4. Wow…he killed the killers.
5. I love the fact that the king invites anyone his servants can find, good and bad. Amazing. If the king is God and we’re the servants, does this mean that God will accept into heaven “anyone [we] can find”?
6. Why would it have been important to be wearing wedding clothes? Did it mean that this random guy wasn’t showing the king or the prince respect? Was he simply a wedding crasher?
7. The king deals with wedding crashers harshly.
8. So…if this is all an analogy about how God treats us, I would look at it that the religious leaders are the people who rejected the invitation, and the servants are God’s servants (prophets and evangelists or even us). There is no discrimination towards the people who are invited, but there seems to be a requirement for these people…that they at least show some respect for the occasion. What do you think this means about the way that God looks at people and salvation?

d245 The Capstone
January 26, 2008, 10:58 am
Filed under: god, jesus, john, matthew

Read Matthew 21:28-46.

1. The first son kind of sounds like me. My initial response is usually a dumb one. It takes me a little time (and prayer) to come to my senses. The first con does go to work in the vineyard. Kudos to him…
2. I would hate to be like that second son, but I know I have been. There a lot things that I have SAID I will do in this life that I haven’t. That’s definitely not a good thing…
3. A no-brainer story. And then Jesus turns it on their heads. Tax collectors and prostitutes have said “no” to God, but now they are saying “yes.” Religious leaders say, “Yeah, sure, I’ll work for You, God,” and then don’t. Not cool. Not cool. I bet this ticked them off, but it was true!
4. John the Baptist brought the truth and the “bad” people responded. The “good” people sat on their butts. Hmm…

5. Another parable…ok…guy builds wine-making operation, rents it out, goes away, and has some servants to come by to collect the fruit during harvest time. Easy…
6. Apparently, these renters forgot whose land it was because they beat, killed, and stoned the servants! Dang! Twice. Dang!
7. The man thought they’d at least respect his son (I mean, the son is an owner too!). They didn’t. They killed him. They wanted what was his. Greedy.
8. You’d have to think that the owner is now going to bring the heat with him.
9. No brainer story. Right…wrong…
10. Jesus then quotes a Psalm, saying that there is a “stone” that the “builders” have rejected. But now it will be the “capstone,” the stone that holds everything together. In an archway, you build with stones, up from each side. Finally, you place the middle stone (the capstone). This stone is central and bears the most weight, making it the most important. Amateur architecture. Yeah…
11. So…who were the “servants” from the story?
12. The “son” and the “stone” that was rejected are the same. Who is that?
13. How will the “stone” that was rejected become the “capstone”?
14. The religious leaders seem to be the renters of the vineyard because Jesus talks about taking the kingdom of God away from them and giving it to people who will produce fruit (tax collectors? prostitutes?).
15. You know that you feel guilty when you want to shoot the messenger. They wanted to arrest Jesus. Man… I guess it was a good thing that they were so worried about the crowd.

d244 Genie in a Bottle?
January 25, 2008, 10:30 am
Filed under: god, jesus, john, mark, peter

Read Mark 11:20-33.

1.Wow…I don’t remember reading about Jesus cursing the fig tree in this Bible reading plan. Uh oh… OK…so, in review, Jesus curses a fig tree because it is blooming, as if it is ready to yield fruit; but it isn’t. It’s like a person who looks like they are following God on the outside but is bearing no fruit. Got it? Jesus doesn’t like that…

2. All the stuff Jesus has done, and Peter can’t believe that Jesus could make a fig tree wither? Sheesh…
3. Jesus says that, with faith, we can do all things. I don’t think it makes sense to just go on throwing mountains into oceans, so I’m going to assume that Jesus is using figurative language here to explain the power of faith.
4. I believe that this “what [we] ask for in prayer” has to be in line with God’s will. None of this God is a genie in a bottle.
5. The idea here, though, is that we should have faith that what we ask for in prayer will happen. Why would that be important for us to do? Do you have any objections to that kind of thinking?
6. Yeah, you can’t go to God when you have feuds with other people. Jesus is implying here that our biggest project is to have good human relationships, that is how we can honor God. What would be the point of going to God in prayer, asking Him how we can honor Him, when we know good and well that we need to repair a broken relationship?
7. There’s also a tie between us forgiving others and God forgiving our sins. Maybe God isn’t down with hypocrisy.

8. All the religious leaders are looking for some kind of human authority that has endorsed Jesus. This thinking goes on today. If you’re not “ordained” by some organized religious establishment, some people think that you can’t be worth much to the Church.
9. Jesus comes back with a trick question about John the Baptist’s ministry: “was it from heaven or from men”?
10. I would have to think that Jesus asked this question to reveal the fact that, no matter what these religious leaders think, they base all their thinking on how people will perceive them. So, even though no man endorsed Jesus’ ministry. God did. And Jesus is basing what He does off of God’s approval. The truth is that the religious leaders could have easily, because they believed it, said that John’s baptism was from men…but they were afraid of the people. Jesus basically called them out. They care too much about what people think and not enough about what God thinks.