ripple effect: vacaville

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.


d138 Here I Am to Worship
September 6, 2007, 12:37 pm
Filed under: david, god, psalms

Read Psalm 145:1-21.

1. David doesn’t ever want to stop praising God. Man, there really isn’t anything better than being caught up with a bunch of other believers worshiping God. Yesteday morning, we had a worship service unlike any other that I have had at my new church. And it was awesome. Then, out of nowhere on Sunday night, a new student belted out the chorus of “Here I Am to Worship.” I love it. Worship is such a gift to us.
2. One generation shall talk about how awesome God is to another. Hey…that’s what our youth did on Youth Sunday. And that’s what CS Lewis does when I read from him. Generations ministering to other generations.
3. God shows us all mercy. Even though some people suffer in this life, isn’t it true that God always seems to leave the door open to Life?
4. We, the saints, need to step up in giving God praise. I listened to sermon from a church called Vintage21 recently, and it talked about how Christians really don’t have an option of whether or not to sing during worship. For all God has done, shouldn’t we give God everything…especially when there’s an actually “time” set apart for it?
5. I bet David was having a good time in his life when he wrote this psalm. I mean, he’s basically saying that everyone gets what they need when they need it. That’s definitely a lot harder to say when things don’t seem to be going well. What do you think?

d137 Heart Exam
September 5, 2007, 12:16 pm
Filed under: david, god, psalms

Read Psalm 139:1-24.

Sorry about being AWOL last week. I was preparing for Youth Sunday at my church, and it was A LOT of extra work. Please forgive me…

1. I’m trying to figure out if God knowing so much about us is a good thing or a scary thing. I think it’s a little of both. It’s good because it makes praying a whole lot easier. I don’t have to present God with information. He already knows what I’m thinking. But, it’s also scary because there is so much sin inside my thoughts. What do you think?
2. Verse 6 made me think of an amazing song, “So High.” The chorus says, “You are indescribable. You are beyond expression. I run out of words for You. I can’t think that high. So hear my spirit groan in me, a painful sense of urgency. To tell You that You are to me, so high.” Awesome song.
3. God with us. His Spirit with us. No matter where. No matter what. I thank God for His with-ness.
4. Verse 13 makes me think of another great song, “Be Near, Oh God.” One of the verses is “dark is light to You.” I think what David’s saying here is that even the things that scare us, the things that we can’t see through, don’t scare God because He can see clearly through them.
5. Davis says that he is formed in the womb of his mother by God. I know that this has huuuuge implications to our idea of what abortion really is. And, although I don’t judge anyone who has gone through the pain of it in the past, wouldn’t this mean that we are extinguishing God’s creation when we exercise that “choice”? Hmm. Not judging…just thinking.
6. It’s amazing to think that God knows our whole life before we live it; and strangely we still have the room to make our own decisions within that life. Man…deep.
7. The tone shifts later on in the psalm. David is obviously hurt by God’s enemies, and he asks for justice. Is it wrong for David to hate those who hate God?
8. After spouting out his anger, David gives God permission to examine his heart…is it good…is it bad…what’s up with all the thoughts he’s thinking. I don’t do that enough.

d136 All the Benefits…
September 4, 2007, 2:47 pm
Filed under: david, god, psalms

Read Psalm 103:1-22.

1. Could you imagine what it would be like to bless God with your entire being? Hmm…it makes you wonder about Sunday mornings when we aren’t even engaged enough to sing, doesn’t it…
2. “What’s in it for me?” Normally, a question that is equated with selfishness, but check out how David says that we shouldn’t forget all the things that we get for following God.
3. Benefit 1: Forgiveness. Um…yeah…I’m in that category. To be forgiven by a perfect God. Priceless.
4. Benefit 2: Healing. Yeah…I know, just coming out of Job that this is a sharp contrast. What if God doesn’t heal all of our diseases? Is David saying that it is a benefit when He chooses to?
5. Benefit 3: Being redeemed from the pit. Being taken from the depths of sin…from a “bottom” and being bought back. Yeah, I can understand this one. And, no matter how many times I want to toss myself down into a pit, accidentally fall into a pit, or just feel “in the pits,” God can restore me.
6. Benefit 4: Being crowned with love and mercy. These are two things that I think we’re all in need of. I need that love from God because, quite frankly, it’s impossible for me to expect to get it from anyone else. And mercy…oh, well, I’ve already said that I’m sinful.
7. Benefit 5: Satisfaction. I guess that would add years to your life. Maybe the backside implication of this statement is that worrying makes you old?
8. How is an eagle’s youth restored?
9. Righteousness an justice for the oppressed. That’s what God does. And if we’re supposed to be like Christ…
10. Hands up for who’s happy that God is slow to anger and abounding in love…
11. It does say that God won’t just let things go. Again, I’m glad that our God is not a pushover.
12. Imagine if God did deal with us according to our sins. How many blind teenage males would there be?
13. God’s love is huge.
14. God’s forgiveness is huge.
15. There’s that father image of God. A father who shows compassion to his children. Even though I never really had that myself, I think I’m going to enjoy understanding what that means with my own kids.
16. He knows what we are dust. So…what does that mean? I guess it goes on to explain that we don’t live like this forever…but God makes it so we can live a different way. A better way.
17. God blesses generation to generation IF we obey His commands. We often neglect to see that part.
18. David tells everything to worship God: angels, hosts, creation, and HIM. Cool.

d135 Broken
September 3, 2007, 3:10 pm
Filed under: bathsheba, david, god, nathan, psalms, samuel, uriah

Read Psalm 51:1-19.

This is one of my favorites. You know, I always wondered why God gives David the distinction of being a “man after His own heart.” I mean, the guy sinned…big time. Maybe this prayer is a clue. Keep in mind that this was written after Nathan the prophet confronted David about his affair with Bathsheba…

1. David doesn’t come with excuses. He first comes asking for mercy. He knows he doesn’t deserve and kind of gift from God.
2. David does appeal to God’s track-record of showing mercy, though. He asks that God would take away all the sins of what he has done. Think about what David has done. Do you feel like David doesn’t deserve this?
3. David says that he has only sinned against God (…not Bathsheba…not Uriah…not the people of Israel…not Samuel for anointing him…not Nathan, even though he is his prophet). Do you think that this is true? What do you think he means by this?
4. He says that this is so that God would be justified in His words and blameless in His judgment. Does this mean that he thinks that God is being glorified, even in his sin, because it is proving that man’s way just doesn’t work?
5. He’s saying that he was born sinful. That’s true.
6. But it also says that God loves to reveal His truths to David’s heart. Yet again, strange since we are sinful that God delights in doing that with us. What do you think?
7. I know sometimes when I have sinned, to pray while taking a shower really does help. I can see why David uses these images. Wash the filth away.
8. The broken bones thing is interesting. I wonder if this is an extention of the shepherd analogy. Shepherds would break the legs of sheep who wandered too much. So…by sending Nathan to David to confront him with the truth, maybe it’s like that. God doesn’t want David to stray away?
9. “Create in me a clean heart, O God. And renew a right spirit within me.” Great song. Started here with David. And if anyone can do it, it’s God.
10. David knows that God could technically eliminate him from His presence. But David asks to be able to still be hear Him, to still hear His Spirit.
11. I love that David shifts his attention in verse 13 and talks about how he could use this as an opportunity to teach others to follow God. His wish came true. It has helped me. Do you believe that your failures can be used for good?
12. He who has been forgiven much has all the more to sing about.
13. God doesn’t delight in the mere doing of “worship acts.” God is more interested in a broken heart. A heart that is ready to move on from sin. Yeah, I need to hear that.
14. Finally, David intercedes on behalf of his people, the people of Jerusalem (or Zion). He wants them to experience all the grace and mercy that God has given him. Leaders pray for their people.

Anything I’m missing here?

d134 The Good Shepherd
September 2, 2007, 12:31 pm
Filed under: david, god, psalms

Read Psalm 23:1-6.

There’s really no other way to consider this text except classic.

1. I love that David knows first hand what it means to be a shepherd. So…when he’s talking about God being a shepherd, he knows what the shepherd thinks about his flock. He he he…he also knows how dumb sheep can be.
2. It’s amazing to think of what a life would be like knowing that you don’t have to worry about anything. It would be like when you go on a vacation with your parents, and they pay for everything. I never had to worry, when I was a kid: “But, mom, how are we going to pay for this pizza?” It was all just taken care of. I don’t know. To me, that’s the picture I get from this “I shall not want.”
3. If I’m a sheep, and you’re “making” me lie down at a buffet of green pastures and water…um…you can do that all you want.
4. Interpret what you will about what the “valley of the shadow of death” is, but I think that this is the hard times. And, hey, knowing that God is WITH us is always a good thing.
5. Rods were used to beat back any animals who were trying to get at the sheep. Staffs were used to guide the sheep on the path. A good shepherd knows how (and when) to use both.
6. Then the psalm breaks out of the sheep image. It says that God makes it so that David can eat in the presence of his enemies. Interesting. Is he talking about Saul here? Also, his head is anoineted with oil. He is chosen. Does this apply to us too?
7. It’s all good.

I don’t know. What does this psalm make you think about?

133 A Personal God?
September 1, 2007, 11:59 am
Filed under: david, god, psalms, satan

Read Psalm 8:1-9.

OK…like I said, I’m not going to talk about the Psalms in between…so here we go.

1. Just looked up “majestic” in a dictionary. Two things stuck out: a) it means that it is above mundane, ordinary things b) it just meens worthy of praise and honor because of nobility. I think God’s name makes every other name appear mundane. Kind of makes you wonder about the whole “Jesus is my homeboy” movement.
2. God’s glory is above the heavens. Well, I’ll put it this way. I think that the expanse of the cosmos is pretty glorious, pretty impressive…if God’s glory is greater than that, my head my blow up trying to think about it.
3. Hmm…strength out of the mouths of babes and infants? Are we the babes an infants? I guess David might be comparing himself to God, and that makes him on baby-level? And…we get strength against our enemies even though we are this small. Wow. We can still “the enemy” and “the avenger.” Hmm…enemies of God? Satan?
4. Yeah…I know my wife’s taking astronomy right now, and space is huuuge. So…wow…we are pretty small to be cared about as much as we are. (Side note, I bet David had a lot of time during his shepherding days to look up at the sky at night and think about this.)
5. We have been made a “little lower than God” or “heavenly beings.” Either way, it doesn’t seem possible, does it? The Trinity of God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) have perfect intimacy with each other; and, yet, They invite us into that! Whoah.
6. What did we do to get this glory and honor?
7. We have dominion over all the animals. We rule. Interesting question then, in light of the whole Michael Vick situation…where does that dominion become un”ethic”al. I have noticed in my life that a lot of animal “rights” activists aren’t very “ethic”al in their day-to-day lives, but they sure do like to take care of those animals. I mean, I have a suspicion it’s wrong to kill dogs for money…but, then again, where does the line begin and end…hunting? Rodeo? Bull-fighting? Horse-racing? Having pets? Zoos? Circuses? Traveling on horse-back? Eating meat? It’s a huge source of debate within my household, and I’m interested to see what people have to say about this whole “dominion” over animals thing. And, secondly, isn’t David using this fact as a way to say that God is awesome? Is PETA basically saying that God made a mistake by letting us rule over the animals? Hmm… Super tangent.
8. Anyway, God is majestic. David gives some reasons: His care for us, the greatness of his creation, and the fact that we are allowed to be “in on” all of it.