ripple effect: vacaville

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?


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…

d235 For the Childrens…
January 16, 2008, 3:42 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, mark, moses

Read Mark 10:1-16.

1. Jesus was teaching, and the Pharisees put Jesus to the test. Doesn’t it stink that they can’t just listen to Him?
2. Maybe divorce was a hot-button issue back in the day too because the Pharisees ask Him if it is “lawful” for a man to divorce his wife. Uh oh…
3. If you want to ask a law question, Jesus says to consult the law-giver. The “maker” of the law, back in the day, was Moses. So, Jesus asks what he said…
4. …he said that a man could write a certificate of divorce and kick his wife to the curb.
5. Jesus agrees that that is what the law says, but He explains that that law was written because of the hardness of Israel’s hearts. So Jesus is saying that God was accommodating for Israel’s sin. His standards weren’t different. It’s just that God knew what His people could handle.
6. God gets to the original, pre-Moses, law. That law said that God joins two people together in marriage; and “what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Seems pretty clear to me. This is when we throw out all the “but what about” situations. And, I think that’s what Jesus is talking about when He says that our hearts are hard. This is the way it should be. But, look at the mess we make of marriage.
7. Again, Jesus seems to be pretty clear about divorce. To me, any “new law” that Moses makes or a church makes (like Presbyterian USA) is only made because we have failed to have the heart that God has called us to have. And that’s nothing to be proud of.

8. Jesus was like Santa Claus. Parents wanted their kids to touch Jesus. Aww…
9. The disciples thought that was too “low” for someone of Jesus’ stature. But, Jesus flipped out on them. Jesus tells his disciples that their priorities are out of whack if they think that children aren’t important to Him. Children demonstrate faith and trust that us adults could learn a whole lot from.
10. What do you think childlike faith looks like?

d221 Amazing Because It is
December 12, 2007, 1:27 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, john, moses

Read John 9:1-41.

1. Who can blame the disciples for asking Jesus the question about who sinned to make that guy blind? I mean, don’t we think the same thing. Somewhere in the backs of our mind, we still have this idea that if you are good, things will work out good. And if you’re bad, things will work out bad. Who ever promised us that?
2. Amazing to think that this guy was blind for THAT MOMENT. Because, at that moment, Jesus was going to show God’s power. Wow. In a way, doesn’t that seem troubling? I mean, this guy had been blind his whole life. Do you think he would have preferred God’s power be shown through someone else, and he could have been spared the trouble?
3. When will people not be able to work for God?
4. Isn’t it crazy all the ways that Jesus healed blind people? In this one, he makes a poultice out of spit and mud. Crazy.
5. People were tripping when they saw the blind guy with vision. They were trying to rationalize that he couldn’t be, even though the guy insisted that he was! [Cool song…check out “Amazing Because It Is” by The Almost…very cool song. This story reminded me of it.]
6. This story doesn’t end here, though. Those crazy Pharisees…

7. Oh, you know that those Pharisees were going to have a hard time with the fact that Jesus healed him on the Sabbath…
8. Imagine this guy. He was just “the blind guy,” and now he’s the key “witness” in what seems like a trial against Jesus. But, to give the guy credit, he steps up and says that Jesus at least has to be a prophet (in other words, the real dead…no fraud…against the Pharisees’ thinking.)
9. Then the guy has his parents drug into it. They just CAN’T believe him, it appears.
10. Notice that the parents don’t really defend their kid. You’d think that they would be praising God, but it seems that they are more interested in their own skin that defending their son (and whatever he says to be true). They throw their son under the bus. Thanks mom. Thanks dad.
11. How on earth can the formerly blind guy praise God and say that Jesus is a sinner?
12. Again, the guy steps up for Jesus. He simply says that he can see. This should be the happiest day of this guy’s life. Instead, he continues to be cross-examined. He never even saw Jesus. He just accepted his spit in some mud and washed it out.
13. I love this guy. Do you think he was being smart with the Pharisees when he asks them if they want to be “his disciples too.” There’s an interesting word, there: “too.” It means that this guy wants to be Jesus’ disciple. All this arguing is really solidifying His faith in Jesus.
14. These guys care more about their allegiance to Moses than their allegiance to God. It’s like they forgot that Moses submitted to God.
15. More and more, this guy steps up for Jesus. I think he’s getting a little annoyed at the Pharisees’ primitive thinking.
16. What makes those guys think that they weren’t “steeped in sin at birth”?
17. Being thrown out of the Temple would have been a horrible punishment. What a downer on what should have otherwise been an awesome day.

18. Jesus finds the guy and asks him if he believes. This guy is still confused, but he knows that he wants to believe. Maybe he doesn’t recognize Jesus’ voice?
19. Upon realizing that he was talking to Jesus, this guy worshipped. I love that.
20. Blind people will see, but those who see will become blind. What do you think that means?
21. The Pharisees wanted to clarify what Jesus was saying, and it’s interesting: He says that it would be better if they were blind, because then, at least, they wouldn’t be held accountable for what they are SUPPOSED to know. As it stands, they can see and are blind.

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!

d210 Caught in the Act
December 1, 2007, 3:05 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, john, joseph, leviticus, moses

Read John 8:1-20.

1. I bet the very fact that Jesus was teaching people was making the other teachers pretty mad (jealous?).
2. How do you catch a woman in the act of adultery without catching the man too? Do you think this was a set-up?
3. OK, so the stoning of an adulterer (man and woman) is found in Leviticus 20:10. So…how is this situation different from the Law that God laid down to Moses back in the day? A skeptic would say that Jesus has “changed God’s mind” on the subject. Or…is there something that we are missing here?
4. (Maybe the thing that we’re missing is that the whole thing is a set-up.)
5. Just for argument’s sake, how would the world be different if we actually did stone adulterers?
6. What do you think Jesus was writing in the ground?
7. Who would claim to be free from sin? If this is the case, should people never kill anyone for any reason because we are all inherently sinful?
8. Notice that the old people knew how sinful they were before the younger, proud guys.
9. How would you feel if all your accusers had left, and it was just you and Jesus? Would you be relieved or more scared?
10. Jesus seems to be less concerned with her “punishment” and more concerned with her experiencing real life– life without sin. Do you think that this is always the case when it comes to Christ? Could this be taken advantage of?

11. Jesus is Light. Without light it’s hard to see in darkness. Got it. Jesus is our guide.
12. Apparently, Jesus was committing a cultural faux pas by not having a witness to testify to His validity. Hmm… Who really could besides God Himself?
13. Jesus says that He doesn’t pass judgment on anyone (from what I can gather, that will be the Father’s right at the end of our lives). He kind of just proved that with the woman caught in the act.
14. Jesus says that His judgments are right because His father is His witness. Yeah, I’d say He’s credible.
15. Of course, they are asking about Jesus’ earthly father. Do you think that Joseph ever caught flak for Jesus always referring to His “Father”?

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?