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…


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.

d160 Jesus’ Family Tree

Read Matthew 1:1-25.

Some people get turned off by reading this genealogy. I say it is due to lack of the proper background. Oh, the stories that are embedded in this genealogy…

1. Jesus is referred to as the son of David and the son of Abraham. Why David? I’m guessing because he was the iconic king. This would imply that Jesus is going to be the King. Then you’ve got Abraham. He’s the father of the faith. Jesus isn’t just going to be the continuation of that faith…He’s going to be the fulfillment of it.
2. Notice that this geneology doesn’t start with Adam. It starts when the faith starts (with Abraham). I think that’s interesting.
3. OK…so we know Abraham (far from perfect), Isaac (not really perfect), Jacob (definitely not perfect), and Judah (not perfect either). These are all direct descendents of Jesus. Their stories are wrapped up in His DNA. Cool huh?
4. Then you’ve got Perez (don’t really know), Hezron (who?), Ram (nice name), Amminadab (don’t know), Nahshon (who?), and then Salmon. Now, you might think that Salmon is just a dude with a fishy name. But, look who his wife is…Rahab! Does anyone remember who she is? She’s the prostitute from Jericho who hid the Israelite spies. Isn’t it amazing that Jesus Christ comes from a line that includes a foreign former prostitute?
5. And that’s not all. Look who Rahab’s son was: Boaz. Remember him? If you guessed the husband of Ruth you would be right. How cool is that! The story of Boaz and Ruth getting together is the story of two people coming together who will eventually be ancestors of Jesus. Oh…and Ruth was foreign too.
6. They had Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse. And Jesse was the father of David. He’s the rock star in the bunch. And it’s cool to see that David was a relative of Jesus too.
7. Interesting choice of words next: “David was the father of Solomon by THE WIFE OF URIAH.” I don’t think this is intended to belittle Bathsheba. But, it does remind us all that Solomon came from David’s sinful relationship with Bathsheba (at the expense of Uriah). Wow…it’s amazing to know that THIS is in the line of Jesus Christ as well.
8. Solomon had Rehoboam (remember the king who listened to his young friends over his older advisors and split Israel). Then King Abijah, King Asaph, King Jehoshaphat (a great king), King Joram, King Uzziah, King Jotham, King Ahaz, King Hezekiah (another good king), King Manasseh, King Amon, King Josiah (my favorite king), and King Jechoniah (the king who was taken away to Babylon). That’s a rich history, and Jesus is a direct royal heir to the kingdom of Judah.
9. Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, who was the father of Zerubbabel (who was in charge when they were allowed to come back to Jerusalem), who was the father of Abiud, the father of Eliakim, the father of Azor, the father of Zadok, the father of Achim, the father of Eliud, the father of Eleazar, the father of Matthan, the father of Jacob, the father of Joseph…this is the Joseph who is engaged to be married to Mary! Hmm…now this is the shocker…why does Matthew list the geneology of Joseph instead of Mary? I mean, technically, is Joseph REALLY Jesus’ father?
10. Nice symmetry. 14 generations from the beginning of the faith until the line of David. 14 generations of the line of David until getting exiled. 14 generations from the exile to Christ. Wow…
11. Then we get to the story of Jesus’ birth. This question can’t be asked enough: what do you think was going through Joseph’s mind when he found out that his woman was pregnant?
12. Joseph didn’t want to shame Mary, so he was going to break things off silently. Nice guy. Maybe nicer than you think. She could have been stoned for this “crime.”
13. Wow…I still would have wondered if I had eaten some weird lamb when an angel came to me in a dream. But, Joseph “gets it” to the best of his ability and mans up.
14. Can you imagine receiving that kind of message about the baby inside your fiance’s womb? (one that you didn’t make!)
15. Isaiah prophesied about this centuries earlier. Wow. Do you even think that Isaiah knew what he was predicting?
16. Immanuel…God with us. My favorite name for God.
17. Joseph is an amazing man. He really swallowed his pride for God.
18. And he also didn’t have sex with her UNTIL she gave birth to Jesus. I don’t know why that offends people to think of Mary having sex. But, after Jesus, she did (and made more babies). Anyway…Joseph was strong for not having sex. Again, maybe that had something to do with his sinful-nature seed not messing with the sinless baby forming in Mary’s womb?

d21 Joseph, King of Dreams
April 28, 2007, 6:57 pm
Filed under: benjamin, bilhah, dinah, esau, genesis, god, isaac, jacob, joseph, levi, potiphar, rachel, reuben, simeon

Read Genesis 37:1-36

[Wow…we’re skipping like crazy…

*Jacob finally got settle back in Canaan (the land promised to his grandpa) in a place called Shechem.

*Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob, was raped by one of the local guys of Shechem. This guy, whose named happened to be Shechem (the prince of Shechem), told his day to arrange a marriage with Dinah for him. Jacob tried to keep this from Dinah’s brothers; but, while the king was there with Jacob, the boys came in from the fields and heard about the rape. Schechem wanted to make a deal for her to be his wife. The guys had a trick up their sleeves and told the men of Schechem that the only way they’d go through with it was if the men of Schechem were all cicumcized. They agreed; so, after they had cut their stuff, Simeon and Levi went into the city and killed all the men while they were “sore.” Jacob was mad that they took revenge like this; but, in a famous line in the Bible, they said, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”

*God spoke to Jacob directly and told him to purify himself and his family (get rid of idols, etc.). God blessed Jacob and told him that his new name would be Israel. The cool thing about this is that HE gets the blessing directly.

*Rachel died shortly thereafter, giving birth to her second son (Jacob’s 12th son), Benjamin.

*Out of nowhere, we get a litle anecdote that Rueben (the oldest son) decides to sleep with Bilhah, his father’s concubine (a couple of his brothers’ mom…weird!).

*Jacob finally visited his father again, and Isaac died soon after that.

*Esau’s family got huge, so he went off to live farther away from Jacob in Edom. Have fun reading the list of all the people in his family. I’m sure this would have meant a lot to the people at the time…it’d kinda be like, “Oh, so that’s where Louisianna came from!” But, to us, we don’t really care.]

It just so happens, that I have an expert in the Joseph story with me today as I do this…so…I will infuse my thoughts with Logan’s (since he was in “Jospeh and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”):

1. Joseph was a bit of a tattle tale.
2. Preferential treatment…Jacob loved Joseph more. I don’t know how that coat became a “technicolor” dreamcoat in the musical. My favorite version of the Bible says it was a “varicolored tunic.” Have you ever had a sibling with something cooler than what your parents gave you?
3. So, yeah, the brothers are ticked at Joseph…
4. I wonder why the brothers hated these dreams? Yeah…so…they’ll all bow down to me! What’s the problem? No problem if you’re Joseph.
5. Interesting that dad chewed him out for telling the dream, but it says that he kept it all in his mind. Hmm…I’m sure he doesn’t like the idea of bowing to his son, but at least he respects God enough to know that it could be from him (he did have a wrestling match with God…B.W.E.)
6. Joseph gets sent to check on his brothers…where? In Schechem. Where were they? In Dothan. What were they doing there?
7. Nice brothers, they want to kill him. Reuben rises up and says not to kill him (he was planning on going back to get him later). But, they mugged him and tore up his varicolored tunic and threw him into the pit. Geez. I used to get in fights with my brothers…but not this bad!
8. They sat around and had a meal while their brother was sitting in the bottom of a pit! That’s cruel!
9. Ishmaelites (yeah…the descendants of Ishmael) rolled up, and they decided to sell him to them; and Joseph was on his way to Egypt.
10. Apparently, at some point, Reuben didn’t stick around for lunch, because he went back to rescue Joseph; and he was already gone. One, he was trying to rescue him. But, two, as the oldest brother, he is responsible. So…they hatch the plan to dip his robe in blood and say that it was a wild beast that got him.
11. When they get back, it’s CSI Shechem…Jacob looks at the robe and they ask if it is “[his] son’s robe.” Not our brothers…his sons. They didn’t even acknowledge him as their brother.
12. You don’t even want to visualize what an old man in sackcloth looks like. But…it means that he was mourning for his dead son. When he says that he will go down to Sheol mourning–Sheol is like Hades or Hell…he’s basically saying that his life is over now that Joseph’s life is over.
13. To be continued…Joseph is sold to an Egyptian nobleman, Potiphar.

That’s a lot.

What do you think about?

Jacob’s treament of Joseph
The way Joseph handles his dreams
The way Reuben handles the “plot”
The behavior of all the other brothers

d18 And They Call It a Stairway to Heaven
April 25, 2007, 4:22 pm
Filed under: abraham, esau, genesis, god, isaac, ishmael, jacob, laban, rebekah

Read Genesis 28:10-22.

[We’re skipping…

*Esau basically says that, as soon as his dad died of old age, he’ll kill Jacob. Rebekah tips off Jacob on the plan and tells him to go stay with her brother, Laban far away in Haran. She covers up Jacob leaving to her husband by telling him that he’s going to go find himself a woman.

*Isaac tells Jacob not to marry a foreign woman and to go to Laban’s, and he blesses him again.

*Esau found out what Isaac had told Jacob, and he realized how much him marrying foreign women would aggravate Isaac…so…he married another semi-foreign girl (a descendent of Ishmael…remember, he was half-Egyptian) to spite him. What a winner. He he he…]

And here we go…

1. OK…things must have been rough back in the day because I’m not using a stone as a pillow.
2. “Stairway to Heaven”– there you go. So…um…the angels are going up and down the stairs (or ladder, depending on your version of the Bible). And then God is up at the top, promising Jacob the blessing that he gave Grandpa (Abraham) and Dad (Isaac).
3. One of my favorite verses in the Bible, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” Could it be that God is closer than you think?
4. The dream also freaks him out a little bit. Up to this point, has there been anything about Jacob that would make you think that he is a holy, righteous guy? Is this turn of events unexpected to you? Do you think it was unexpected to him?
5. Some people get married with no pre-nup, no conditions attached to it…like, “if you cheat on me, I get $100,000. Some people consider that tacky. They think that if you loved each other you wouldn’t place conditions on the marriage– you’d just do it. Look at Jacob, he places conditions on God’s blessing! “If God will be…and give…then the Lord will be my God.” What do you think about that?
6. Oh…interesting that the tithe comes up again, though. Jacob says that if God is with him, he will give him 1/10 of all that he has. How about you guys? Are you in that habit of giving 10% of what you have to God?

d17 Isaac Blesses Jacob
April 24, 2007, 6:04 pm
Filed under: abimelech, abraham, esau, genesis, god, isaac, jacob, rebekah

Read Genesis 27:1-40.


*There is a famine in the land, and God comes to Isaac and tells him that He will give Isaac everything that He promised Abraham. So, basically, He’s giving him permission to ride out the famine in Egypt–but He also personally receives God’s promise.

*I swear, I’m not kidding. Isaac goes down to Egypt and is afraid that his wife, Rebekah, is so hot that they’ll kill him for her; so he says that she is his…drum roll please…sister! Abimelech, the king (maybe the son of the other Abimelech), sees the two of them laughing with each other (flirting maybe); and he puts two and two together. So, Abimelech makes a law saying not to mess with Isaac or Rebekah. They get so prosperous that Abimelech gets envious and tells them they are too successful to stick around.

*Then Isaac goes off to a place his father used to live, and he re-digs some old wells. The locals say that the wells are theirs, so Isaac moved and made more wells somewhere else.

*In a place called Beersheba, God blessed Isaac again; and Isaac builds an altar for Him there.

*Anyway, Isaac gets so successful that Abimelech sends a servant to him to make a treaty basically because Isaac has gotten powerful. They do, and it’s all good.

*One last thing, Esau marries two foreign girls. Interesting quote, “they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.”]

And here we go…

1. Isaac wants to bless Esau. As the first-born, this is actually his “birthright.” Nothing strange here. Then again, do you think daddy knows that Esau sold off his birthright? Also…not to be too confusing here, but what would have happened if Jacob had the birthright but Esau got the blessing? Would that even be possible? Did things have to shake down the way that they are about to? Hmm…
2. Rebekah is a little sneaky here…mommy dearest tells Jacob everything to do. What do you think about that?
3. Jacob knows that this is like mission impossible, but Mom’s got it all figured out. And she comes to bat and says that if something happens, it’s on her. Hmm… (reminds me of the first season of “24”).
4. She goes through Esau’s drawers and steals his clothes for Jacob to wear, gets the goat skins for his arms and necks (that guy must have grown up to look like a red Chewbacca!), and she makes a meal.
5. This next part reminds me of little Red Riding Hood…

“Oh, what a quick meal you made!” “God (ooh…using God in a lie!) helped me.”
“Oh, what a squeaky voice you have!” “Rub my hairy arms.”
“Oh, how suspicious you seem!” “Smell me, I smell like body odor and grass.”

6. What a blessing…a) blessings in farming, b) ruling over people, c) ruling over brothers (ahem…Esau!), d) curses and blessings for the bad guys and good guys.
7. Imagine Esau rolling up in there with his deer parmesean, and Dad days “Who are you?” Uh oh…
8. Have you ever seen an old person get tricked. It’s sad. And it does show physically sometimes. What emotions do you think Isaac was experiencing at that moment in time?
9. Esau let out a loud, bitter cry. First use of profanity?
10. This blessing stuff is no joke. It can’t be undone. So…he gets a crazy “not cool” blessing: a) you’ll work hard, b) you’ll have to fight for survival, c) your brother will rule over you, d) eventually, you’ll get fed up and quit. A real dandy.

Wow…quick questions…what do you think about the following people right now?


d16 The Birth of Esau and Jacob
April 23, 2007, 4:50 pm
Filed under: abraham, esau, genesis, isaac, ishmael, jacob, midian, rebekah

Read Genesis 25:19-34.

[Skipping over…

*A little known fact is that Abraham actually got another wife in his old age, and she gave him six kids! Whoah. The interesting name in that set is Midian (the Midianites are the people who Moses stays with way later on in the Bible).

*Abraham dies. And it kind of tells you where Ishmael and all his descendents ended up settling.]

1. I like that Isaac was praying for Rebekah. Good husband. Do you ever pray about your future spouse? If so, about what?
2. Rebekah had twins fighting in her womb.
3, I bet Esau looked like an Ewok from Star Wars. Imagine someone going up to her in church…”Oh, what a cute? baby!”
4. Jacob was “on the heels” of Esau. The idea was that he was born in a symbolic way…out to pass his brother.
5. Esau…manly man. Jacob…metro. Daddy loved the stud. Mom loved the sensitive guy. Is it ever a good idea for parents to pick favorites?
6. Jacob was cooking up lentil stew…LENTIL STEW? I’ve had decent lentil stew in my life, but it’s not something to write home about.
7. (Esau will forever be known as BIG RED because he made a stupid choice over red stew.)
8. What’s up with Jacob asking Esau to sell his birthright? Is that a decent thing to ask? (a birthright is basically the double inheritance, and the right to be the successor of whatever dad accomplished…this is no small thing when you consider what is at stake…God’s blessing to Abraham passed to Isaac…whoever has the birthright gets all that God promised the “descendants of Abraham”).
9. Esau says he’s about to die. Do you think he really was, or do you think he, like us sometimes, says “I”m starving to death” for dramatic effect?
10. I’d hate my birthright too if I gave it away. It’d be like giving away some old comic book or baseball card and then finding out that it was priceless. I’d feel like an idiot, and I’d hate Spider-Man or Mickey Mantle.

So…this story has a lot to do with being impulses. As much as it would be easy to do, why do we need to resist our impulses sometimes? Is it always smart to go with how you feel at the moment?