ripple effect: vacaville

d256 Two Kinds of Betrayal
February 6, 2008, 10:38 am
Filed under: god, jesus, john, judas, peter, satan

Read John 13:21-38.

1. I know how it feels when someone has betrayed me. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to know that someone is GOING TO betray me. That would be heart-wrenching.
2. I wonder how long they stared at one another. Hmm…is it you, Thomas? Is it you, Nathanael? What about Judas? I’m wondering if it was common knowledge that there was something “off” about Judas.
3. “The disciple whom Jesus loved” is John. So…it’s interesting that Peter asked him to ask Jesus who He meant. John must have been the closest to Jesus, even though Peter seems most like the leader.
4. I wonder if Judas was hearing all of this. I wonder if he was just oblivious to the whole “tipping off” through the dipping off.
5. Satan entered Judas when he took the bread. Interesting. I wonder if Satan kept entering and leaving and re-entering Judas. I mean, we know that Satan entered him when he was cutting deals with the religious leaders too.
6. Jesus just told Judas to get it over with. Of course, nobody else knew what that had meant. They thought he might have been going to the grocery store or to a charity. How wrong they were…

7. This is all about God’s glory being made full in Jesus.
8. Jesus alludes to His going away, but I don’t think the disciples truly understood what He was talking about.
9. I don’t know if “love one another” is a NEW command. Maybe the newness of it is the fact that they now have Jesus’ example to follow. So…would the world know that you are a Christian by the way that you love people?
10. I love Peter. He pledged his undying loyalty to God. Which, if I’m honest, I do quite a bit. Unfortunately, like Peter, I am not capable to make those kinds of pledges and make good on them.
11. Jesus lays the truth on Peter. He’s not as committed as he thinks he is. He will not only not follow Jesus, he will actually deny him three times before daybreak. That’s our belief in self being contrasted with human weakness.


d255 Starting Off on the Right Foot
February 5, 2008, 3:13 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, john, judas, peter, psalms

Read John 13:1-20.

1. You know, foot-washing is considered a sacrament in some Christian churches, on the same level as communion, baptism, and marriage. I wonder why we aren’t down with the foot washing…
2. Jesus knew that His time was coming, and it appears that He will now show them the full extent of His love…
3. …but do you think that was hard for Him to do, knowing that Judas was going to betray Him?
4. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, knowing that He is all-powerful? Isn’t this something you do when you have no power?
5. Peter balked at the idea of Jesus washing his feet, but then Jesus let him know that this is how he could have a part with Him. In typical Peter fashion, he asks for a bath, then. He he he… I like Peter…
6. I bet that was hard to hear from Jesus, that someone is not clean. I wonder if this caused the other disciples to doubt themselves…
7. Jesus lays is out there. He is the undisputed Leader, and yet He washes feet. We should do likewise. So why don’t we?
8. Do we act like we are too good for Jesus? I mean, people are pretty adamant about praying “The Lord’s Prayer” because that’s what He said to do, so why don’t we have the same passion for foot-washing?

9. So…this betrayal of Jesus is to fulfill a prophecy in Psalms. Judas would have lifted his heel to Jesus because he was lying on his stomach around the table when Jesus went around behind everyone to wash their feet.

d254 The Devil Made Me Do It
February 4, 2008, 6:34 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, john, judas, luke, peter, satan

Read Luke 22:1-13.

1. Oh, man, here we go. We’re getting close to the Passion of the Christ…
2. Wow…so…we already knew that they were looking for a way to get rid of Jesus, and it appears that Satan gave them a solution. Question…do you think Judas had a choice as to whether Satan entered him, or do you think that this was the purpose of Judas’ life? Do you think that Judas’ previous behavior made him more susceptible to being “possessed”? Do you think this still can happen today?
3. Mental note: Jesus probably knows, in all the upcoming events, that Judas is possessed by Satan.
4. Judas knew that if he betrayed Jesus in a crowd that they’d probably not be successful. This was methodical. Why do you think Judas accepted money? I mean, if he was really possessed by Satan, do you think that the devil cares about money?

5. Jesus told Peter and John to get things ready for the Passover. I wonder why it isn’t common for Christians to honor the Passover. I mean, Jesus celebrated it.
6. It’s crazy to think that Jesus and His disciples were essentially homeless. Where would you make a meal if you had no home?
7. Here’s a specific time when Jesus tells them exactly where to go and what to do and what to say. Man, too bad life isn’t always that easy. We do have the compass of the Holy Spirit, though, to guide us towards where God is leading us…

d244 Genie in a Bottle?
January 25, 2008, 10:30 am
Filed under: god, jesus, john, mark, peter

Read Mark 11:20-33.

1.Wow…I don’t remember reading about Jesus cursing the fig tree in this Bible reading plan. Uh oh… OK…so, in review, Jesus curses a fig tree because it is blooming, as if it is ready to yield fruit; but it isn’t. It’s like a person who looks like they are following God on the outside but is bearing no fruit. Got it? Jesus doesn’t like that…

2. All the stuff Jesus has done, and Peter can’t believe that Jesus could make a fig tree wither? Sheesh…
3. Jesus says that, with faith, we can do all things. I don’t think it makes sense to just go on throwing mountains into oceans, so I’m going to assume that Jesus is using figurative language here to explain the power of faith.
4. I believe that this “what [we] ask for in prayer” has to be in line with God’s will. None of this God is a genie in a bottle.
5. The idea here, though, is that we should have faith that what we ask for in prayer will happen. Why would that be important for us to do? Do you have any objections to that kind of thinking?
6. Yeah, you can’t go to God when you have feuds with other people. Jesus is implying here that our biggest project is to have good human relationships, that is how we can honor God. What would be the point of going to God in prayer, asking Him how we can honor Him, when we know good and well that we need to repair a broken relationship?
7. There’s also a tie between us forgiving others and God forgiving our sins. Maybe God isn’t down with hypocrisy.

8. All the religious leaders are looking for some kind of human authority that has endorsed Jesus. This thinking goes on today. If you’re not “ordained” by some organized religious establishment, some people think that you can’t be worth much to the Church.
9. Jesus comes back with a trick question about John the Baptist’s ministry: “was it from heaven or from men”?
10. I would have to think that Jesus asked this question to reveal the fact that, no matter what these religious leaders think, they base all their thinking on how people will perceive them. So, even though no man endorsed Jesus’ ministry. God did. And Jesus is basing what He does off of God’s approval. The truth is that the religious leaders could have easily, because they believed it, said that John’s baptism was from men…but they were afraid of the people. Jesus basically called them out. They care too much about what people think and not enough about what God thinks.

d236 You’re in Good Hands
January 17, 2008, 4:08 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, mark, peter

Read Mark 10:17-31.

1. OK…so this young man falls on his knees before Jesus. At first glance, this guy seems to be a humble guy.
2. Why do you think Jesus says what He says about being called a “good teacher”? Do you think it’s because he wants the young man to say that Jesus is more than a teacher, or do you think it’s because He thinks the man doesn’t realize who he is talking to?
3. The guy wants eternal life. Who doesn’t?
4. Notice Jesus’ initial response. He goes over a lot of the commandments. He skips all the ones that are God-focused and instead talks about the ones that are about how to treat other people. Why do you think He does that?
5. Do you think this guy actually has never done these things? I mean, Jesus is rewriting what murder and adultery mean. Do you think this guy has never hated, lusted, stolen, lied, or been disrespectful to his mom and dad?
6. Jesus loves this guy. Do you think that He chuckles when this guy makes this ridiculous claim about himself?
7. Jesus knows how to hit him where it hurts– his security. He tells him to sell everything and give the proceeds to the poor. That would be good. Hey, quick question…is this the way all of us reach eternal life, or is this just Jesus’ “remedy” for this particular guy?
8. That guy wasn’t so excited when he found out he couldn’t be loaded anymore. We don’t really know what he did after that because he left. What do you think he did?
9. Why would it be hard for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom? Isn’t about where you place your trust? It makes me think of Allstate. Their motto is “You’re in good hands.” Don’t you think that’s somewhat sacrilegious for an insurance company to take the idea of us being in “God’s hands” and saying that, because you have your finances in order with us, you are in good hands? Doesn’t that fly in the face of what Jesus is teaching here?
10. That would have to be one skinny camel.
11. I would think that we are all in trouble when it comes to this idea of wealth because I think we all have more than we could possibly need. I don’t know how many starving people have time to get on my Bible blog.
12. So…God makes it possible for us, for rich people, to have eternal life. How?
13. Peter pipes in that they have done what the young guy wouldn’t do– they gave up their lives to follow Jesus. But…would that really be enough, in and of itself?
14. Jesus says that they will be repaid for that they are doing, but did you notice that one of the promises that comes with this sacrifice is “persecutions”? That doesn’t sound like a reward. Then again, there is that eternal life at the end. What is eternal life? Why is it so precious?

d218 Don’t Worry About a Thing (Well, Sort of…)
December 9, 2007, 12:15 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, luke, peter

Read Luke 12:22-48.

1. Jesus obviously doesn’t want us to worry about our lives, but it feels so difficult to do so. I know that my wife and I have been in many situations over the past year when it felt so impossible to get to the “next step.” Then again, it always happened. But, man, did I take time to worry. What a waste of time!
2. I have a God who saved me from sin; and, yet, I worry about how I’m going to have enough money to buy a house one day and if I have enough money to start having children! He saved me from sin! God is bigger than my worries.

3. What does the “readiness” for Christ look like in your life? How would you say that you are “unprepared”?
4. Isn’t it cool that God promises more than a pat on the back for His faithful servants; He promises them a place at His table, where He will serve them… Wow, that’s almost unthinkable.
5. What do you think it means when Jesus talks about Him returning? Why do you think we should be “ready” for that? I mean, it’s been 2000 years; and He hasn’t come back yet…
6. I love Peter’s question about the parable because it makes me wonder a lot about Jesus’ teachings. Which teachings of the Bible were for the specific audience, and which were for all of us? It’s definitely a valid question. (Jesus doesn’t really answer it.)
7. What about this other parable. Perhaps it’s more extreme. The guy in charge abuses the power that God has given Him. Whoah, I wouldn’t want to be “cut to pieces.” It’s obviously not death because the guy would then be put in a place for unbelievers. What has God entrusted to us? Are we making good use of it?
8. Notice that everyone who does wrong will get “beaten with blows,” not just people who are “Christians.” Jesus raises the bar for those who should know better, though. I guess that’s important to know. Only you can decide what to do with these Bible passages. I think of you guys who are reading because I realize that you are now going to be held accountable for what you read. You know better. It’s a great privilege to know the will of God, but it definitely comes with fear and trembling. Don’t take it lightly, grasshopper…

d207 How to “Deal With” Sin
November 28, 2007, 12:08 pm
Filed under: god, jesus, matthew, peter

Read Matthew 18:10-22.

1. The implication behind Jesus’ statement here is that “little ones” (or kids) have angels in heaven who can always see God. Guardian angels! Cool.
2. In the parable of the lost sheep, we see God’s heart towards the lost. If, by “little ones,” Jesus is talking about children (or maybe all people), we can see that God has the utmost concern for the most lost. And, man, when they are found, God rejoices. That’s cool. I want to have a heart like God’s heart. I know that I need to help all the “church kids” grow in their walks with God, but I also know that God’s heart is to reach those lost kids. So, where should my priorities lie? Where should I be?

3. Here’s an awesome model, a direct instruction, on what to do if someone wrongs you. Jesus doesn’t give us specifics a lot of the time; so, when He does it here, I think our ears should all perk up.
4. How many people actually go to the person who sins against them? That is so un-American. We love to gossip to our friends, avoid people, and allow that severed relationship to get worse and worse. Jesus says go to the person. If the person listens, awesome. I guarantee that a stronger relationship will come out of that. But…what if the person doesn’t listen? OK…first of all, we use that as an excuse to not follow Jesus’ command to go to the person. We can’t assume that they won’t. You know what you’re supposed to do first.
5. If the person doesn’t listen, bring witnesses. This is obviously not to escalate the matter and make it “the news of the day.” This is more for those people to be witnesses. Who knows…maybe they will recognize where you are at fault. And, if you’re truly trying to live for God, wouldn’t you want to know when you are not doing the right thing? Or, is being right more important to you than being righteous?
6. If that person still refuses to listen (with the witnesses), you are supposed to “tell it to the church.” This is an interesting statement. Does this mean that sinners should be pointed out between worship and announcements on Sunday morning? Or, could this mean something else? (Do you think that it might have something to do with the church leadership?)
7. Wow…and, after all that, if the person is still hell-bent on sin, you are supposed to treat the person as if they were a pagan or a tax collector. Hmm…ok. I know how I would treat those people. We’re supposed to think that they’re bad, right? But, isn’t this interesting that it’s recorded in the book of Matthew. Any guesses on what he was before he was a follower of Jesus? If you said “pagan” “tax collector” you are right. So…how did Jesus treat pagans and tax collectors? Is this about Jesus saying, “You’re too holy for that punk”; or is there something here about having compassion and changing your approach?
8. What’s up with the binding and the loosening? Is that kind of like a “what you reap is what you sow” comment?
9. Isn’t it interesting that this statement about two or three people asking for something is right after Jesus talks about how we should assemble two or three people together to keep someone from sinning?

10. Kind of makes you wonder who Peter was having to forgive. Also, yet again, isn’t it interesting that this story about forgiveness is placed right after Jesus’ instructions on how to deal with a sinner.
11. So…there you have it. Not seven times. But seventy-seven times. Hmm…so, if you have forgiven your dog for pooping on the carpet seventy-seven times, and it’s now time seventy-eight– you can kill you dog. Or…am I missing something here? Did Jesus mean something different?