ripple effect: vacaville

d215 Hail Mary
December 6, 2007, 11:32 am
Filed under: beelzebub, god, jesus, jonah, luke, mary, solomon

Read Luke 11:14-32.

1. Why would a demon be mute? Do you think that modern-day mute people are possessed by mute demons?
2. Uh oh…here they go again, saying that Jesus is powered by Beelzebub (or the devil). I think the repetition of this fact is important. It’s obvious that these people thought that Jesus was demon-possessed. Isn’t it interesting that such an insult is repeated over and over in the Bible?
3. I never really understood all that “strong man” talk. Is the idea here that the “strong man” is a demon who has possessed a person? Then, the “stronger” man is the Holy Spirit? I can see where that would make sense because the Holy Spirit would then take away all the “armor” that the person trusted in. But, I’m not sure. What do you think?
4. [I grew up Catholic, so I can make this joke…] Hey, that lady is the first Catholic! He he he… Praising Mary for giving birth to Jesus! Note that Jesus is more concerned with obedience than stuff like that… Why is it easier to worship people, though?

5. Jesus again talks about the “sign of Jonah.” (Gone for three days, and then back.) We already talked about this. Jesus is also using the Ninevites as an example of people who heard God’s wisdom and responded (unlike this generation). He also uses the “Queen of the South” (the Queen of Sheba) who visited Solomon as an example of someone who sought after God’s wisdom (unlike this generation).

So…we get a little repetition in this passage; but I think it’s to reiterate these eyewitness accounts.

Remember, no Christian rockstars (like Mary)…it’s more important to simply obey!


d189 Beelzebul, Has the Devil Left a Sack for Me?
November 3, 2007, 3:49 pm
Filed under: beelzebul, david, god, jesus, jonah, mary, matthew, satan, solomon

Read Matthew 12:22-50.

1. Let’s take second to talk about demon-possession. A lot of people think that this was just these people’s way of describing people with mental illness, and there is no such thing as demons. What do you think? I mean, the Bible doesn’t really mince words when it talks about demons…
2. This guy was blind and mute as well. Jesus healed him (I suppose of his demons and his illnesses). Amazing.
3. People were referring to Him as the “Son of David.” This name occurs in prophecy and refers to the future Messiah of the Jewish people that had been foretold for centuries. So…they are starting to wonder if Jesus is the real deal…
4. The Pharisees say that Jesus is driving out demons because He is the prince of the demons, who is named Beelzebul. Interesting thought process. No wonder He can control them. He commands them. They are His friends.
5. Jesus knew their thoughts. Oh, to be omniscient…
6. OK…division ruins a kingdom. Got it. This would go for Satan too. Got it. So…Jesus is basically saying that Satan’s way (division, every man for himself) won’t work. It won’t stand. So what will?
7. Jesus confuses me after this. If the Pharisees are driving out demons (and Jesus is theoretically casting out demons by the name of Beelzebul), that would mean that (um…since the Pharisees are doing the same thing?) the Pharisees are too. So…um…that would put them in the position of being judged by demons? Right? So confusing…
8. If Jesus is doing it by the power of the Holy Spirit, though, here comes the Kingdom of God!
9.When Jesus is talking about tying up the strong man, is He talking about His present and future work of tying up Satan?
10. Jesus says you have to be with Him. There is no middle ground. Whoever isn’t with Christ might have well be undoing all of His work. Scattering.
11. What is this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Why would it be worse to speak against the Holy Spirit than Jesus? And, are the Pharisees in great danger of doing that right then?
12. Is Jesus knocking the fruit of the Pharisees while saying, “Hey, look at what I’m doing with these people! Look at My fruit! Isn’t it obvious I’m good?”
13. Jesus calls the Pharisees a gang of snakes. He wonders how they can say anything good at all. He also says that there will be a time when their hot air will go away. They will have to speak from their heart. No hypocrisy. No empty words. You say what you mean. And, when you are as messed up as these guys, that will not be a good thing…

14.Why would the teachers and Pharisees need a sign? Isn’t what Jesus is doing enough?
15. The only sign that this generation is going to get is seeing someone gone for 3 days and back. Jonah was in the belly of a whale (some people believe he had died) for 3 days. Jesus will be dead for 3 days and come back. How’s that for a sign?
16. Then Jesus flips the whole analogy by saying that, hey, the people of Ninevah repented at the words of a shmuck like Jonah– shouldn’t these people repent with the Christ standing there talking to them?!?!
17. The Queen of Sheba traveled mile upon mile to hear from the wisdom of Solomon. These guys don’t have to walk that far to hear from the source of wisdom. Geez!
18. This stuff about the evil spirit is difficult to understand…ok, so the evil spirit leaves a person (why or how?). Then the spirit looks for a place to crash and decides to just go home. When it returns, the person who had “gotten rid” of the evil hadn’t added anything GOOD in its place. So…the evil spirit calls up all its friends and has a evil spirits party in him for life. Let’s try to apply this to this generation…
19. The Pharisees say that shun what is evil. Well, they do that; but it is empty, not powered by the Holy Spirit (shoot, they even talk smack about the Holy Spirit). Then, the evil decides that it is going to fill up this person because their hearts are oh so cozy for evil. I mean, aren’t super-religious capable of some of the worst sin?

20. So…Mary and Jesus’ brothers wanted to talk to Jesus. Imagine being Jesus’ brother. Whoah.
21. Do you think what Jesus was saying about His fleshly family was hurtful to them?
22. Do you think Jesus is simply using exaggeration or shock-value to explain to them that blood-lines aren’t what matters…it’s faith in God? How would this be important for the Pharisees to hear?

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?

d141 I Will Not Forget You
September 9, 2007, 3:07 pm
Filed under: ecclesiastes, god, solomon

Read Ecclesiastes 12:1-14.

Yeah, we’re skipping a lot here. Most of the book of Ecclesiastes deals with the meaning of life and how the “teacher” has spent most of his life trying to pursue things that he thought was LIFE only to find that they did not satisfy. So, we come to the end of this book, and the “teacher” (many consider this to be Solomon) shares his thoughts.

1. Remember God in your youth. I would consider all of us who are able-bodied to still be in our youth. We can do something in this world, so we need to remember God now.
2. Even when I’m an old guy in a nursing home, I still hope that my life has a purpose. I would love to be the social old guy who’s always loving on old people. I don’t ever want to “retire” from ministry.
3. I think it’s sad that Solomon seems to have gotten to this point in his life. Do you think he spent too much of his time on romancing all them ladies? Hmm…
4. All the vibrant action and beautiful things end, so I guess Solomon is saying to embrace them and make the most of the opportunities we have while we’re still young. What do you think?
5. I think Solomon is saying that it is one thing to be “wise” and full of knowledge, but it is another thing entirely to SIMPLY follow God’s commandments in our lives. Solomon knew a lot, but did he really follow God in the simple things?
6. I want to follow God in the simple things.

d140 Don’t Eat, Look at the Menu, or Even Go Into the Restaurant
September 8, 2007, 2:43 pm
Filed under: god, proverbs, solomon

Read Proverbs 5:1-23.

1. Dad’s warning his son about adultery here. That woman’s words seem nice. Who doesn’t like honey? Who doesn’t like smooth oils (like lotions back in the day)? These things are attractice, but are smoke screens. That’s what dad’s trying to say. In the end, look at what she is: bitter and sharp. Um…not good.
2. She leads you straight to death, to Sheol (hell). And she ignores real LIFE. I can almost imagine the son saying, “Yeah, Dad; but she’s so hot!” The excitement would probably feel “hot,” but dad’s trying to warn his son about where that leads.
3. Look at what happens if you get close to adultery: losing honor to other people, wasted life, lost strength, and all your work goes to someone else. Do you believe that this is true? Do you believe that if you cheat that these things could happen to you?
4. I would hate at the end of my life to say that I never learned…I never listened. That would mean I truly was a fool.
5. Drink water from your own well. I think that this is referring to getting satisfaction from your wife (or husband) only. Not just sexually, but also emotionally. He basically gives this ridiculous picture of water being spread out all over the streets because a person can’t keep what is his to himself.
6. PG-13. Yes, these verses are about sex and love and where the ONLY source should be in your life– your spouse. For guys, this is difficult. There is so much seduction in our society to tempt us visually and sexually. For ladies, I think it is equally difficult. The emotional intimacy that you want with your man sometimes isn’t there, so you look for it in other places. Either way, this is dad saying for his son to drink all the fullness of life WITH HIS WIFE and only his wife.
7. And in case all these benefits aren’t enough, Solomon reminds us that God sees.
8. I know a lot of people who feel trapped by the poor decisions they have made. Whether it is an affair, longing for another relationship, or pornography, they feel bound by the sin in their lives. The honey and oil voice seemed great. But now it is definitely bitter and sharp. What do you think of all this?

d139 The Heart of a Father
September 7, 2007, 1:10 pm
Filed under: david, god, proverbs, solomon

Read Proverbs 4:1-27.

I’m going to dig really deep into Proverbs next year; so, for now, I’m just going to talk about the passage for the day…

1. Although I never had a father-figure to give me great advice like this, I now understand the sincerity of a father wanting to teach his sons well. Honestly, Green Arrow, it reminds me of your dad and how hard he tries to teach you, Joe, and Brendan the RIGHT way. I guess if Solomon had all of that wisdom, I could see how he would want to badly to share it with his sons–to spare them from danger and mistakes. That’s what good fathers do.
2. If this is Solomon writing this, then he’s obviously talking about his dad, David, teaching him to value wisdom. Isn’t it great that David taught him to value this above all else? Think about it, when God gave Solomon a choice to have anything he wanted, he chose wisdom to rule the people well. That was David’s legacy to him.
3. Interesting that wisdom is referred to in the female sense. Keep in mind that, in another part of Proverbs, “folly” is referred to as a loud slutty girl in the streets, trying to get young guys to fall into her traps. So…maybe wisdom is feminine to go along with that thinking. Or, as some Christian-feminists (if that’s possible) think, maybe it’s something else???
4. Keep in mind that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom,” so by wisdom we are referring to God’s ways.
5. You can really hear the father-heart of Solomon as he brings these words. He wants his sons (and daughters) to have LIFE.
6. He is careful to encourage his “sons” to stay away from bad influences.
7. Verse 19 sticks out to me…I can definitely say this about many people I know: “they do not known over what they stumble.”
8. Guard your heart. What do you think that means?
9. Crooked speech and devious talk. What do you think that means?
10. In the end, he basically tells us to walk straight, not deviating off the path of righteousness.
11. For some reason, this passage makes me excited to be a dad one day– to share God’s wisdom with my sons and daughters. That would be cool.

d107 Nothing’s Fine, I’m Torn
August 6, 2007, 4:59 pm
Filed under: 1 kings, god, hadad, jeroboam, rehoboam, rezon, solomon

Read 1 Kings 12:1-24.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* We learn that Solomon was one rich dude.

* We learn that Solomon liked women…foreign women…forbidden women (try 700 wives and 300 concubines). It says that these women turned his heart away from God. Oh oh… He also built places to worship other gods…uh oh.

* Because Solomon turned away, God promised to tear the kingdom from him (but, because of David’s faith, He wouldn’t do it during his lifetime and would also let the Solomon’s son have the throne in one tribe). Bottom line. This ain’t good.

* Then it says that God raised up adversaries for Israel. One was a guy named Hadad, whose entire family was destroyed by David and Joab’s army. He fled and ended up being raised in Egypt. Now that those two were dead, Hadad was thinking it was time to come home. Rezon, the king of Damascus, also wreaked havok during Solomon’s reign.

* But the big rival of Solomon was one of his own servants, Jeroboam. The reason he was a threat was because a prophet had told him that he was going to take and rule over ten of the twelve tribes of Israel. He escaped to live in Egypt until after Solomon died. And, eventually, Solomon died; and his son, Rehoboam took over as king.]

So…things just went from awesome to really bad. Let’s not forget the cause…Solomon chose the gods of his women over the God of his father…

1. Uh oh…the body isn’t even cold yet and Jeroboam is seeking to take the kingdom from Rehoboam. Not good…
2. The people take the opportunity to complain about how hard Solomon made them work. They basically say, “Lighten the load, and we’ll serve you.” Let’s see if Rehoboam is as wise as his dad when it comes to labor disputes.
3. The old school guys told him to lighten up, because then he could win the people over. But, Rehoboam decides to ignore that advice. Instead, he decides to go with advice of his homies. Uh oh…
4. And who was the genius who came up with the statement that his pinkie finger was thicker than his daddy’s thighs? Weird.
5. So…basically, Rehoboam makes the people hate him. Then again, this is what God had pre-ordained through that prophet who talked to Jeroboam. Uh oh… Then again, God is in control…
6. So basically the people leave “the nation of Israel.” They decide that life is better on their own. When Rehoboam tries to lay the smack down by sending his leader over forced-labor, they stone him to death. So…he does what any thinking man would do…he high-tails it out of Jerusalem.
7. And just like that, the people chose Jeroboam to be king. He was basically the default choice.
8. Thankfully, instead of starting a civil war, Rehoboam listens to God and doesn’t try to “take the power back.”


What do you think of…

Solomon’s life?
Jeroboam’s rise to power?
Rehoboam’s loss of power?
God’s “behavior” during this time?