ripple effect: vacaville

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…


d229 Too Little, Too Late
January 10, 2008, 3:17 pm
Filed under: abraham, god, jesus, lazarus, luke

Read Luke 16:19-31.

1. Did you know that there were two Lazarus stories? This is the “fictional” one that Jesus tells to prove a point. The other one is when Jesus raises His friend from the dead…
2. High contrast here: rich guy who’s decked out to the nines and a poor guy who gets his sores licked, hoping to go through the rich guy’s trash for some food.
3. Interesting phrasing…”Abraham’s side.” Where’s that, do you think?
4. The rich guy went to Hades (which was really just the Greek word for hell…keep in mind that the Gospels were written in Greek). Interesting that he could see Abraham and Lazarus from hell.
5. His experience in hell is described as “agony.” I don’t want to know what that feels like. Interesting that this dude still doesn’t really treat Lazarus with respect. He just wants to use him to get a taste of water.
6. I think Abraham definitely explains the finality of hell. Once you’re there, you have no opportunity (because of this “chasm”) to go to the other side.
7. Also, we see that the rich man doesn’t have the ability to speak to his loved ones who are still on earth. He wants Lazarus to do it for him. Whether he can do it for him or not, we don’t know. But we DO know that Abraham (and since Jesus is the story-teller, Jesus) thinks that it isn’t necessary to get messages from the afterlife. All that is necessary is to listen to “Moses and the Prophets,” aka God’s Word. This is what we have. If we believe, we have life.

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.

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.

d212 72 Is a Magic Number
December 3, 2007, 4:20 pm
Filed under: abraham, david, esther, god, jesus, job, luke, moses, satan

Read Luke 10:1-24.

1. Thirty-six pairs went out as workers. Do you think there was any significance in the number? I mean, 12 was always a good number. And three was too. So…twelve times three with two together. Hmm…seventy-two is a magic number.
2. Interestingly, Jesus is telling these 72 workers to pray for more “workers.” What is the “harvest”?
3. Who would send a lamb into a den of wolves? Hmm…following Christ is definitely risky.
4. Why not bring any supplies? Why not say “whassup” to people you saw on the road? Is Jesus trying to emphasize something here? Urgency? Focus?
5. So…stay where you are welcome. Don’t stay where you are not. Pretty clear. The idea, also, is that they would take whatever was provided for them. This is where that “the worker deserves his wages” comes from. What is the “work” that’s being done?
6. Why do you think it was important to stay in the same house?
7. “Eat whatever is set before you.” No problem.
8. They were to heal the sick and preach about the coming kingdom of God. What does the “kingdom of God is near you” mean?
9. Whew…wouldn’t want to be the town that wasn’t welcoming. Let’s do remember that Sodom that was destroyed, and that would be more enjoyable?
10. Uh oh…and then we get this list of places that rejected Jesus: Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. Jesus says that the pagan towns of Tyre and Sidon would have repented at the coming of Jesus, but they didn’t flinch. Uh oh…
11. It’s crazy to think that a follower of Jesus is like Jesus Himself in the regard that, if a person rejects him or her, they are also rejecting Jesus. And, if anyone rejects the actual call of Jesus directly to them…even worse, that’s like rejecting God Himself. I guess that’s why those towns had it so bad. They heard Jesus firsthand and didn’t respond.
12. I’d be stoked if I was casting out demons.
13. Jesus saw Satan falling from heaven because this new force was on earth, a force of people empowered by God to change the world. Awesome.
14. These guys were apparently impervious to poison (unless I’m being to literal here). God made it so that they could go around without fear of being “bitten.” I guess this is why there are those crazy snake-handling churches. I guess they think that they also have this same authority. That brings up an interesting question, though. Is that authority that God gave those 72 available to us today?
15. Jesus also reminds them to get over themselves. They should be thankful that they are going to be able to go to heaven. Christians do have a hard time getting over themselves sometimes (including me).
16. Jesus is full of joy because these guys are getting it done in His name. He is happy that these “little children” (maybe uneducated Jews) were changing the world.
17. It’s amazing to know that it is even a miracle to be able to recognize WHO Jesus is. And I still think that we don’t know God like Jesus does.
18. No doubt they were blessed. I feel blessed to read this. And I know people like Abraham, Moses, Job, Esther, and David would have died to see this happening!

d211 Lemme Upgrade
December 2, 2007, 3:57 pm
Filed under: abraham, god, jesus, john, satan

Read John 8:21-59.

1. Jesus really wants to communicate the fact that He’s going away. Do you think this is so that the disciples do not become attached to Him and instead focus on His teachings?
2. Some Jews thought Jesus was suicidal. Wow.
3. Wow, Jesus draws a line in the sand when He says “if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”
4. Jesus talks about being “lifted up.” What does He mean there?
5. It’s amazing to think that Jesus was so in tune with the Father that He wouldn’t do anything that His Father had not asked Him to do.
6. People were putting there faith in Him. Well, I guess that’s better than asking silly questions and saying that He was “of the devil.”

7. A couple of key things: we demonstrate our being disciples of God by holding to Jesus’ teachings; and, when we do that, we will know the truth. This truth will set us free. Holy living is a reward in and of itself. We will be set free when we follow Jesus’ commands.
8. Always missing the point, the Jews say that they are not physical slaves to anyone. Of course, Jesus is talking about being a slave to sin. Or, maybe like Morpheus tells Neo in the Matrix, we are slaves in our minds.
9. Somewhere in here is the idea that we will go from being a slave to sin to a son of God. That’s (in the words of that stupid Beyonce song) an upgrade.
10. Somewhere along the line, the descendents of Abraham missed the point that Abraham learned directly from God. They think that if it doesn’t come from Abraham, it’s no good. Jesus is saying that His Father is bigger than their father.
11. When Jesus calls them on their failure to be like Abraham, they say that they aren’t “illegitimate children.” Hmm…could have fooled Jesus…

12. Jesus says that they would definitely recognize Jesus if they were their Father’s sons (and daughters). He implies that, perhaps, they have a different “father.” How about the “father of lies”?
13. We learn a little about Satan. Apparently, he was always a murderer, always a liar.
14. I bet it appalled Jesus on so many levels that these people wouldn’t listen to the truth. It’s like the Dr. Phil guest that just doesn’t get it. Only, we’re that Dr. Phil guest.
15. If we “belonged” to God, we would hear what He says. What do you think about that?

16. Wow, so they throw out racial slurs and accusations of being demon-possessed. Those Jews sure knew how to make Jesus feel welcome…
17. Yet again, Jesus reiterated that He is not even doing this for Himself–it’s all for the Father’s glory. Where’s the demon-possession in that?
18. Jesus promises eternal life to those who keep His word. Awesome.
19. This eternal life idea causes the Jews to go off. They can’t imagine being any more righteous than Abraham, and HE died. “Who do You think You are?” I can answer that one. Jesus.
20. Jesus again says that this idea of Him living forever isn’t something He made up to make Himself look good. This was God’s choice. This is God’s doing. And, even though Abraham did die physically, HE longed to see the day when Jesus (THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF GOD!) would come!
21. The Jews response: “You’re not old enough to have known Abraham.” He he he…yeah, well, that’s up for debate.
22. Talk about a conversation ender…Jesus says that before Abraham was born, He existed. His words, “I AM,” were clearly the name that God had given Moses in the burning bush! Jesus is saying that He is THAT GOD, the “I AM” GOD. No wonder they picked up stones. What would you have done?

d208 Drawing a Crowd
November 29, 2007, 2:40 pm
Filed under: abraham, god, jesus, john, moses

Read John 7:1-31.

1. Already, the Jews are trying to kill Jesus. Wow.
2. It doesn’t seem as if Jesus really wants to be a “public figure” yet. Why do you think that is?
3. Isn’t it crazy that even His own brothers didn’t believe in Him?
4. Hmm…Jesus is obviously waiting on God’s timing. So, He avoids going to Judea during this Feast of the Tabernacles, a time when He could have a HUGE audience. He’s intentionally not making a big show.
5. But, Jesus sneaks over there anyway in secret; so He can hear the chatter about Him: anticipation, praise, and criticism. Why do you think Jesus “eavesdrops” on the Jewish people?
6. Can you imagine being such a polarizing figure that the very mention of your name could get people in trouble?

7. Apparently, halfway through the Feast was God’s timing. And He preached outside the temple courts. I bet that was packed. Yeah, I’d be a little confused at how a carpenter could have so much knowledge about God.
8. Jesus says nobody taught Him. His knowledge comes straight from God. Wow, if that were the same for all “preachers” we’d be a whole lot better off…
9. Then Jesus throws in the fact that none of them are even keeping up with the Law of Moses, so why are they all agitated about Jesus giving them something straight from God again.
10. You can always count on stupid answers from a crowd: “You are demon-possessed” and “Who is trying to kill you?”
11. Hmm…that’s interesting logic: the custom to cicumcise you child on the eighth day of their life comes from the time of Abraham. And, if the eighth day happens to fall on a Sunday, so be it. So…why are they getting mad that Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath? It’s as if Jesus is saying that, in order to obey God, He HAD to heal this man.

12. Then they ask if this is the Guy everyone’s trying to kill. OK…so which is it? Are they not trying to kill Him or they ARE trying to kill Him?
13. They say that Jesus can’t be the Christ because they know where He is “from.” Yeah, but they don’t know the full story…
14. Then Jesus says that they don’t know God because, if they did, they would know that God sent Him. Uh oh…
15. How did He get away?
16. Some people were won over because of the signs that Jesus did. I guess that’s ok, but wouldn’t you think that His words are what did it?