ripple effect: vacaville

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…


d241 Rolling Out the Green Carpet
January 22, 2008, 6:29 pm
Filed under: david, god, isaiah, jeremiah, jesus, matthew, zechariah

Read Matthew 21:1-17.

1. Sounds like Jesus is sending two disciples on a mission to steal some donkeys. I know that’s not what it is, but it’s kind of funny…
2. Do you think that the disciples would be nervous to go and do this strange task? Apparently, there’s someone on the other side who God is going to speak to, telling him to let these guys take the donkey and its colt.
3. That prophecy is from Zechariah. All these things were foretold…
4. Why a donkey?
5. Notice that the two disciples made their coats Jesus’ saddle. The crowd followed suit and laid their cloaks on the ground, for Jesus to trample over with a donkey. Now that’s reverence!
6. Other people made a “green carpet” for Jesus. Others yelled “Hosanna,” which is a shout of praise meaning “save.” They’ll get what they’re asking for…
7. I bet people were wondering who He was. He was entering with a rock star welcome. He was this country novelty, but He’s about to bring His show to the big time– Jerusalem.

8. Why do you think Jesus was so concerned with people buying and selling in the temple? What was the temple supposed to be for?
9. Would you consider Jesus to be “out of control” in this passage? Why or why not? Is this a license for us to go nuts on people?
10. Now He quotes Isaiah, saying that His house is supposed to be a house of prayer, not a tourist trap. I wonder what He’d think about La Basilica di San Pietro in the Vatican. The den of robbers quote comes from Jeremiah. He’s dropping a lot of old testament prophet on these guys…
11. Jesus healed the blind and the lame there. Awesome. Why do you you think the priests and the teachers of the law were so angry?
12. Jesus quotes David, by telling the religious leaders that these “children” know about worship than they do. Man, sometimes that’s the case in today’s church.

Does anything about Jesus’ behavior in this passage trouble you?

d214 All Together Now…
December 5, 2007, 5:17 pm
Filed under: david, god, jesus, luke

Read Luke 11:1-13.

1. I like the fact that one of the disciples asks Jesus how to pray because he sees Jesus doing it, and he wants to be “in on” that. That’s cool.
2. Jesus gives us “The Lord’s Prayer.” I’ve often wondered if this is a HOW to pray or a WHAT to pray. In other words, is this a guideline; or, like many denominations reflect, is this the way that you are supposed to pray out loud all the time. I’d like to look deeper into the meaning…
3. “When you pray…” Apparently, that’s not optional.
4. Notice the first word that we are to use. For all the words to describe God, we can call Him “Father.” Awesome. Not only is it a reminder of who He is to us but who we are in relation to Him.
5. Then we praise God’s name. Worship. Worship in prayer is cool.
6. Then we pray for God’s kingdom to come. (You might be wondering, “Hey, where is the ‘thy will be done’?”). My response to that would be…wouldn’t God’s will be done if His kingdom came? Isn’t God’s kingdom coming when His will is done?
7. We ask for God to provide daily. We know how those Israelites tried to “store up” on manna. That didn’t work. We need God daily. Shoot, I was just at a retreat a couple of days ago, and I’m already on fumes. We need to pursue God’s bread of life and living water daily. We were wired for that!
8. We need to be reminded that we are sinful everyday. Yeah, I know; Jesus died for all of our sins…but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t confess them to God. It helps us to keep perspective. And, it reminds us that we are always in debt to Christ for the payment of our sins.
9. And this should be the catalyst for us to forgive others. Yeah. It should.
10. Why would God lead us into temptation? I always thought it would make more sense for it to say something like David in the psalms, when he says, “Oh that my ways might be established, so that I may not sin against You.”
11. (Where’s the “for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory. Amen.” Oh well.)

12. People couldn’t really predict when they would arrive when they were traveling back in the day. So, I can understand the predicament if some guy is starving and he doesn’t have anything to eat in his house.
13. Yeah, that would be kind of cold to not get bread. What a punk. But, that wouldn’t happen because the man would appreciate the boldness of the other man in that culture [in THAT culture…don’t try this at home kids!]. This boldness should be our model.
14. Ask for what? ANYTHING?
15. Seek what? ANYTHING?
16. Knock where? ANYWHERE?

17. Oh, the old fish for a snake joke. My favorite.
18. How’s about an easter egg? Bite. Oh snap! That was no easter egg! It was a scorpion.
19. Again, we are evil and still we [assume] give nice gifts to kids. God will out-parent us any day of the week. He’s the ultimate loving Father. No eggs or fish for us– we get the Holy Spirit. That’s a gift that goes beyond anything we can imagine. Are you thankful for the Holy Spirit? Or do you, like me, sometimes ignore Him?

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!

d209 Saint Nic
November 30, 2007, 2:52 pm
Filed under: david, god, jesse, jesus, john, nicodemus, saul

Read John 7:32-53.

1. Jesus was often in danger of being arrested. Kind of different than the picture you have of a serene dude in a white robe sauntering about the Israel countryside.
2. Jesus talks about His departure earth and reconnection with God up in Heaven, but the Jews didn’t get it. They thought that it meant that Jesus might go to Greece. Hmm…some people say Greece looks like heaven.
3. Jesus restates the idea that all who are thirsty can come to Him. And, John explains that this means that they will be given the Holy Spirit– the Holy Spirit can satisfy.
4. Who do you think you would have thought Jesus was back then?
5. “Christ” means anointed. I missed that one on a quiz. Why couldn’t the anointed come from Galilee? Did they forget that Saul came from a small tribe? Did they forget that David was the runt of Jesse’s litter?
6. If only people knew that Jesus was born on a “night in Bethlehem”…
7. Why do you think the people were afraid to “lay hands” on Jesus?

8. The guards seemed scared to take Jesus in. He he he…
9. Typical “people in power” philosophy: the Pharisees know what’s really going on– how could a “mob” know anything?
10. Hey, it’s Nicodemus again. He wants everyone to hear Jesus out. (It worked for him.)
11. What’s the difference between Nicodemus and the rest of the Pharisees? What can we learn from him?

d189 Beelzebul, Has the Devil Left a Sack for Me?
November 3, 2007, 3:49 pm
Filed under: beelzebul, david, god, jesus, jonah, mary, matthew, satan, solomon

Read Matthew 12:22-50.

1. Let’s take second to talk about demon-possession. A lot of people think that this was just these people’s way of describing people with mental illness, and there is no such thing as demons. What do you think? I mean, the Bible doesn’t really mince words when it talks about demons…
2. This guy was blind and mute as well. Jesus healed him (I suppose of his demons and his illnesses). Amazing.
3. People were referring to Him as the “Son of David.” This name occurs in prophecy and refers to the future Messiah of the Jewish people that had been foretold for centuries. So…they are starting to wonder if Jesus is the real deal…
4. The Pharisees say that Jesus is driving out demons because He is the prince of the demons, who is named Beelzebul. Interesting thought process. No wonder He can control them. He commands them. They are His friends.
5. Jesus knew their thoughts. Oh, to be omniscient…
6. OK…division ruins a kingdom. Got it. This would go for Satan too. Got it. So…Jesus is basically saying that Satan’s way (division, every man for himself) won’t work. It won’t stand. So what will?
7. Jesus confuses me after this. If the Pharisees are driving out demons (and Jesus is theoretically casting out demons by the name of Beelzebul), that would mean that (um…since the Pharisees are doing the same thing?) the Pharisees are too. So…um…that would put them in the position of being judged by demons? Right? So confusing…
8. If Jesus is doing it by the power of the Holy Spirit, though, here comes the Kingdom of God!
9.When Jesus is talking about tying up the strong man, is He talking about His present and future work of tying up Satan?
10. Jesus says you have to be with Him. There is no middle ground. Whoever isn’t with Christ might have well be undoing all of His work. Scattering.
11. What is this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Why would it be worse to speak against the Holy Spirit than Jesus? And, are the Pharisees in great danger of doing that right then?
12. Is Jesus knocking the fruit of the Pharisees while saying, “Hey, look at what I’m doing with these people! Look at My fruit! Isn’t it obvious I’m good?”
13. Jesus calls the Pharisees a gang of snakes. He wonders how they can say anything good at all. He also says that there will be a time when their hot air will go away. They will have to speak from their heart. No hypocrisy. No empty words. You say what you mean. And, when you are as messed up as these guys, that will not be a good thing…

14.Why would the teachers and Pharisees need a sign? Isn’t what Jesus is doing enough?
15. The only sign that this generation is going to get is seeing someone gone for 3 days and back. Jonah was in the belly of a whale (some people believe he had died) for 3 days. Jesus will be dead for 3 days and come back. How’s that for a sign?
16. Then Jesus flips the whole analogy by saying that, hey, the people of Ninevah repented at the words of a shmuck like Jonah– shouldn’t these people repent with the Christ standing there talking to them?!?!
17. The Queen of Sheba traveled mile upon mile to hear from the wisdom of Solomon. These guys don’t have to walk that far to hear from the source of wisdom. Geez!
18. This stuff about the evil spirit is difficult to understand…ok, so the evil spirit leaves a person (why or how?). Then the spirit looks for a place to crash and decides to just go home. When it returns, the person who had “gotten rid” of the evil hadn’t added anything GOOD in its place. So…the evil spirit calls up all its friends and has a evil spirits party in him for life. Let’s try to apply this to this generation…
19. The Pharisees say that shun what is evil. Well, they do that; but it is empty, not powered by the Holy Spirit (shoot, they even talk smack about the Holy Spirit). Then, the evil decides that it is going to fill up this person because their hearts are oh so cozy for evil. I mean, aren’t super-religious capable of some of the worst sin?

20. So…Mary and Jesus’ brothers wanted to talk to Jesus. Imagine being Jesus’ brother. Whoah.
21. Do you think what Jesus was saying about His fleshly family was hurtful to them?
22. Do you think Jesus is simply using exaggeration or shock-value to explain to them that blood-lines aren’t what matters…it’s faith in God? How would this be important for the Pharisees to hear?

d178 The AD 27 Amateur Draft
October 23, 2007, 3:31 pm
Filed under: abiathar, andrew, bartholomew, david, god, james, jesus, john, judas, mark, matthew, peter, philip, saul, simon, thaddaeus, thomas

Read Mark 2:23 – 3:19.

1. Wow…the Pharisees seem to be awfully picky at the disciples’ picking. Do they consider this to be “work”?
2. Hey…I remember that story now. David was on the run from Saul, and he needed food. And, indeed, he did eat the “consecrated” bread from Abiathar the priest. He basically ate a chunk of communion bread. Why? Um…because he needed it… So, maybe Jesus is saying that Sabbath is a day in which we shouldn’t be apologetic about getting what we truly need?

3. Boy…those guys were just focusing on the wrong thing. The guy was in need of healing, but I guess being “religious” was more important than being compassionate.
4. I love that Jesus doesn’t think like those guys.
5. I love the fact that Jesus was about meeting needs.

6. Imagine being Jesus. I remember watching stuff about ‘N Sync back in the day, where girls would swarm them wherever they went; but could you imagine how people swarmed Jesus, knowing that He could heal and drive out demons?

7. Jesus has a draft. He picks twelve guys for His team. I wonder if there were guys who were left out that wanted to be in. I’m sure that there were guys who were in that couldn’t believe that Jesus wanted him.
8. Purpose of Jesus’ disciples: be with Christ, go out to preach, and drive out demons.
9. A couple of guys we know, and a couple of new ones: Peter, James (son of Zebedee), John (I love that he and his brother got a cool nickname like “the sons of thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Batholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot (a revolutionary), and Judas Iscariot.
10. Mark tells us the end before we get there: Judas will betray Jesus. Maybe he put that here because he knew that Jesus must have known that this was going to happen?

Anyway, we’ve got the complete set now! Woo hoo…

(p.s. The picture of the mustachioed lad is up there in honor of the Relevant Gentleman’s Society, a group preserving the integrity of the mustache.)