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…

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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.



d172 Water Cooler Talk
October 10, 2007, 2:06 pm
Filed under: god, jacob, jesus, john

Read John 4:1-42.

1. Well, that answers my question (and Chad’s comment) from yesterday– apparently Jesus wasn’t “doing” the baptisms. It was His disciples. It makes me wonder why.
2. Jesus left because word got out that He was baptizing more people through His ministry than John the Baptist. Why would that have been a reason to leave?
3. Hmm…Jacob’s well? I don’t remember this story…would this be the well where he met Rachel?
4. Jesus is in a place that Jews wouldn’t want to be. The people of Samaria were looked down upon by the Jewish people.
5. She’s drawing water at noon. That’s not normal.
6. Jesus talks to a woman. That’s not normal either.
7. The Samaritan woman points out that it isn’t normal for a Jew to ask a Samaritan for a drink. So…there’s a lot of out of the ordinary stuff going on here.
8. Then Jesus starts talking mysteriously, saying that if she knew who He was, SHE would as HIM for a drink of “living” water.
9. She name drops Jacob, saying that he was the one who left a “life” for these people by leaving them this well. Yeah…true…but…there’s more than that…
10. And, yes, Jesus is greater than Jacob. (He won the wrestling match. He he he…)
11. Jesus uses the analogy of water to describe what He can bring to humanity– something that will satisfy our thirsts permanently.
12. Like so many other people (can you blame them), the woman takes Jesus literally, thinking that Jesus is providing some sort of “everlasting gobstopper” water. That’s not what He’s talking about, but she has enough faith to believe that Jesus could provide it.
13. Why do you think Jesus asked her to bring her husband when He knew that she didn’t have a husband?
14. Wow…six guys. This might be a clue as to why she’s getting water at noon. Avoiding the gossip…
15. Notice that, once Jesus reveals the truth to her, she tries to deflect attention from that part of her life by getting into a theological debate by talking about worship locations. He he he… I’d be lying to say that I haven’t seen that kind of behavior in churches my whole life…
16. Jesus doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to telling this woman that she worships “what [she] do[es] not know.” He says that salvation comes from the Jews. This was a special nation chosen from God. And Jesus comes from that special nation. In our modern soceity, where everyone’s beliefs are “valid,” do Jesus’ words rub you in a weird way here?
17. Jesus talks about two ways of worship: spirit and truth. What do you think the differences are? What do you think one without the other would look like?
18. The woman deduces that this is all a job for the Messiah. Jesus says, “Bingo. And I’m He.” Imagine what the woman was probably thinking at this point!
19. And then the disciples show up…God’s approach vs. man’s approach. The disciples were appalled that Jesus would talk to this woman. But, at least they didn’t “blow it” by making stupid comments.
20. “So the woman left her water jar.” Physically, maybe a forgetful act. Metaphorically, though, maybe she has a new “source” to obey her thirst?
21. Jesus’ knowledge of this woman caused her to want to share with everyone she knows. I love the fact that this woman embraces Jesus’ sober description of her situation. More than just embrace it, she shouts it out to anyone who will listen. Man, God is definitely teaching me this in my life right now.
22. So that covers drink, and then we get into food. He he he… Our thirsts are satisfied from Christ. And our hunger is satisfied by doing God’s will.
23. Knowing all that God has prepared for Him, Jesus is stoked about being able to “bring in the harvest.” Do you ever get that excited about doing God’s will?
24. Jesus talks about incentives for participating in God’s kingdom coming: wages, fruit, and partying with the Sower. What does this metaphor mean?
25. It’s true. We are not really “seed planters.” We simply reap what God has planted in people’s hearts. Hey, but we all celebrate together in heaven. I’m glad that God let us “in on” His plan for salvation of the world.
26. The Samaritans believed because the woman was vulnerable to talk about how Jesus told her all (and what) she ever did. Her enthusiasm sprang out of her thirst.
27. When Jesus stayed with them and spoke to them, it became first hand. I can see parallels to that in my life. What I’ve learned about what God has taught other people has inspired me, but what I uncover personally seems to get me even more jazzed.

Wow…that was a lot…but there is so much in there.



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?



d30 Jacob’s Blessings
May 7, 2007, 9:46 pm
Filed under: asher, benjamin, dan, gad, genesis, issachar, jacob, joseph, judah, levi, naphtali, reuben, simeon, zebulun


Read Genesis 49:1-33

[Back to skipping some stuff…

*Joseph brings his family to Egypt.

*Jacob and Joseph are reunited.

*Jacob’s family settles is Goshen.

*Joseph makes Egypt very wealthy during the famine.

*Jacob ends up giving Joseph a double-blessing by blessing each of his two songs, Ephraim and Manasseh.]

OK…so here we go with the blessings of Jacob’s sons:

1. Reuben gets a weak blessing because he decided to have sex with one of his dad’s women. Big no no.
2. Simeon and Levi get a weak blessing because they retaliated against the men of Schechem when their sister was raped.
3. Judah gets the awesome blessing. The “lion” comes up here. Jesus is later referred to as “the lion of Judah.” Lion’s are king of the jungle. Um…and it also says that rulers will come out of Judah’s descendents. Yeah…later on, that’ll be David…and even later on…that’ll be Jesus. Do you think Judah “deserved” this blessing?
4. Zebulun’s people are sea-people. Cool…the pirates of Zebulun!
5. Issachar’s people will be in forced labor? Um…I don’t consider that a blessing!
6. I don’t get Dan’s blessing. He will be a viper and bite the heels of horses? Then it says that he will wait for God’s salvation? What’s up with that?
7. Gad would have liked Oakland because it seems that he will be a “raider” nation.
8. Asher’s people will have good food. Yesssss!
9. Naphatali’s descendents will apparently be good looking?
10. Joseph gets a cool blessing. It’s like he was hit at with arrows, but he always stood firm. It says that he will have blessings that surpass his father’s. I like that Joseph gets a lot of good in the end.
11. Benjamin is a wolf? Hmm…

Yeah…so…what do you think about these blessings? Rank who you think got the best/worst deals.



d27 A Change of Plans
May 4, 2007, 7:35 pm
Filed under: benjamin, genesis, jacob, joseph, judah, simeon


Read Genesis 43:1-34

More from the life of Joseph…

1. So…they run out of food, and Jacob (Israel) tells them to go and get more. Judah explains that they can’t go back without Benjamin. It’s all about the Benjamin.
2. Israel (yeah, they’re calling Jacob Israel now) then says that they basically should have lied and not said that they had brother #12. Think about it, though, what would have happened if they did that?
3. Judah steps up to the plate and pledges for Benjamin’s safety. He might have been in on the plot to get rid of Joseph, but he’s redeeming himself now.
4. Israel tells him to bring a bribe and double the money that they still had.
5. So…Joseph makes a feast for the brothers (because he sees Benjamin). I like what the brothers are scared of…he might “assault us…make us servants…and SEIZE OUR DONKEYS?!?” Random.
6. So..freaked out, they tell the truth about the money. Why is it that we sometimes wait until we are about to fall off a cliff to tell the truth?
7. The steward tells them it must have been a miracle because they got their money the first time. I guess he doesn’t know what Joseph has been up to or is he in on it?
8. So…all the boys are eating (Simeon is free), and they are preparing to butter him up with their gift. Hey, I like pistachios.
9. Bowing to the ground. Sounds familiar.
10. Joseph starts to lose it: he asks about his dad, he sees Benjamin and blesses him, and he goes off and cries. How would you feel if you saw Benjamin grown up, so many years later? Do you think they looked alike?
11. So…Joseph still plays some head games. He won’t eat with them (because Egyptians didn’t eat with Hebrews), and he served Benjamin 5 times as much as the older guys (normally, the oldest would get at least twice as much as the rest…not the youngest!)

So…what do you think about?

Israel?
Judah?
Benjamin?
Joseph?
The rest of the brothers?



d26 Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt
May 3, 2007, 3:45 pm
Filed under: benjamin, genesis, god, jacob, joseph, simeon


Read Genesis 42:1-38

So now we all of a sudden remember that life went on without Joseph back in Jacob’s house, and we see what they are up to…

1. That’s how widespread the famine is. These guys live in Canaan and they need the food from Egypt too.
2. Notice that Jacob would not send Benjamin. Why do you think he held back Benjamin specifically? (I know the Bible says that harm might happen to him…but that could have happened to any brother…so why Benjamin?)
3. Joseph’s brothers bowed themselves to Joseph. Does this remind you of anything?
4. So…Joseph chooses to be rough with his brothers. What would you have done in this situation?
5. The brothers say they are “honest men.” Again, what do you think Joseph was feeling when they said this.
6. The brothers say that brother number twelve is “no more.” Again, what do you think Joseph was thinking when they said that?
7. Interesting scene here…Joseph says that he wants to see Benjamin, to prove they are not spies. Then the brothers discuss amongst themselves, in Hebrew (thinking that Joseph only spoke Egyptian), about that this is all because of what they did to Joseph back in the day. Reuben busts out a little “I told you so.” Notice who Joseph chooses to imprison. Any guesses on why it was him?
8. Then Joseph sets them up by giving them the grain but also hiding the money in their sacks. Why do you think he did that?
9. Interesting that when these guys are panicking, they finally mention God’s involvement in their life. Things suck…oh, it must be God’s fault! Do you know people who do that…give God the glory…when something goes wrong?
10. What occurs from here out is pretty dramatic. In a cartoon, this is skipped over. Realize that, when Jacob is told of what’s going on, he acknowledges that Joseph is dead and Simeon is as good as dead. He is not wiling to send Benjamin to die too. So…he is willing to accept the fact that Simeon is gone. Whoah.
11. Also notice that Reuben offers two of his own sons to be killed if he can’t bring back Benjamin and Simeon. Wow.

OK…at this point, what do you think about:

Joseph?
Simeon?
Jacob?
Reuben?