jump to navigation

Where Healing Begins March 8, 2009

Posted by dan snyder in Bible - Meditation, Bible: New Testament, Jesus Christ.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Some people wish they could rewind life and go back to the spot where things went wrong to fix them.

Some people think that “healing” involves returning life to the way it was. This isn’t healing, it’s nostalgia.

Some people simply substitute “holding onto the pain of the past” for living in the present.

Luke 5:17-25 (the familiar story of Jesus healing the paralytic lowered down through the roof of a house by his friends) identifies four places where healing begins. And as a memory device, let’s connect each of these places to personalities in the story.

Personality 1: The Crowd – they didn’t see the need for healing in the man or in their community.

The Miracle: Healing begins with Jesus’ vision for “normal” (wholeness) for our lives.

Repentance: Give up believing your “normal” and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what living could look like.

Personality 2: The Pharisees – were sure only God could know if someone was worthy of forgiveness.

The Miracle: Healing begins with letting go of the past to live responsibly today.

Repentance: Give up the idea that you have the right to know ‘why’/’how’ and ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust God.

Personality 3: The Paralyzed Man – came expecting one kind of healing.

The Miracle: Healing begins with nurturing an attitude of expectancy in relationship with God.

Repentance: Close the distance between you and God and (re)establish that relationship.

Personality 4: The Friends – were content getting nothing personal for their effort.

The Miracle: Healing begins with knowing that wholeness is not a personal matter.

Repentance: Stop believing that someone else’s wholeness is none of your business; and start believing that issues of healing in your life are effecting everyone at Cherry Street.

“The power of the Lord is on Jesus to heal (the sick).” (Luke 5:17)

Where does healing begin for you?

Advertisements

Saying Yes and Saying No February 25, 2009

Posted by dan snyder in art, Bible - Meditation, Bible: New Testament, Jesus Christ.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

a man must choose

he is not a spray of

flowers nor of birdsong

nor the fall of dry twigs

in a rising wind

Francis Sullivan, “Vision with Its Outcome”

Whenever we say “yes” to something or someone, we are saying “no” to something or someone else. “To say yes and no means taking on responsibilities and obligations. Saying yes and saying no are companions in the process of constituting a whole and holy life.” (M. Shawn Copeland as quoted in Practicing Our Faith ed. by Dorothy C. Bass, 1997.)

As you look at the painting below ask yourself, “to what was the person saying ‘no’ or ‘yes’?”

Credits: Tanner, Henry Ossawa The Annunciation 1898. (oil on canvas, Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Henry Ossawa Tanner "The Annunciation"

Henry Ossawa Tanner "The Annunciation"

What sort of support do you and Mary, the mother of Jesus, have to help you to say “yes” or “no”?

Prayer Poem: O Greatest King (a servant’s prayer) November 6, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in art, Bible - Meditation.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

O Greatest King, 

Receive me into the company of Your servants today
as I serve the most noble cause of Your Kingdom.

Give me
Elijah’s listening ears,
Naboth’s loyal calling,
Elisha’s vision for greater things,
Amos’ voice for the oppressed,
Hosea’s softened heart,
Jeremiah’s honest tongue in prayer,
Ezekiel’s ready feet and careful ways, and
Isaiah’s hope for each person I meet.

As I find my identity in following You and You only-
guard me from self-indulgence and self-importance;
Take away my desire to die on my own terms.
May streams of living water flow from Your Throne through my life
to bring healing, strength and nourishment
to those in my home and neighborhood;

For the sake of Your Great Name and Your Kingdom.
Amen.

-Dan Snyder, 2005

North Star 1.5 – Genesis 1:4 November 6, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible - Meditation, Bible: Old Testament, NorthStar 1.0 (Gen 1).
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Light is separated from the darkness. The darkness existed prior to light. It was over the face of the deep mingling with formlessness and void of pre-voiced creation. Darkness was a dominant pre-Creation feature. It was not bringing God pleasure. It had ‘cloaking’ qualities that would hide God’s Creation from view. It was dominant to the point that it could not be pushed back or overcome.

Only the voice of God creating a counterpart could conquer darkness. God creates light. And then separates it from darkness. He sets it apart for a God-determined purpose. And, now in its separated condition it fulfills God’s idea. Its holy function now makes a holy opportunity for darkness. By separating light from darkness, darkness can serve a purpose and be given a name – an identity.

Jesus calls us out to be holy – to serve a clear, unique, God-determined purpose. When we do this purpose we make opportunity for others to serve their unique purpose. All Creation is awaiting, even depending upon, our being set-apart for holy service. Jesus separates us – calls us out.

[see entry – Prayer Poem: O Greatest King (a servant’s prayer) category:art]

Jesus is the speech of Now! – North Star 2.1 (Hebrews 1:1) November 6, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible - Meditation, Bible: New Testament, Jesus Christ, NorthStar 2.0 (Heb 1).
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son.”

You and I are at the end of a long line of “hearers”.  Hearing is an ancient practice that began the moment God first spoke. [Actually listening is probably the more likely practice of the truly ancient-holy, but that will be a journal entry for another time.] “God spoke”. O, what grace! Transformation from darkness to light, from distortion to wholeness begins (and is sustained) with the voice and speech of God.

His voice has come ‘at many times and in many ways’. His message has come through the prophets in modes that are multi-sensory, personal and active. Thanks be to God that certain key messages have been written down and preserved for us to hear again today. Not read. Heard. A simple, cursory read of the Old Testament Prophets indicates a low priority on the written word as God’s plan for transformational speech (at least the written word to be read alone in silence).

But the ‘many ways and many times’ (i.e. – situations) for the prophets were not sufficient. These, collectively, were not comprehensive enough, full and pregnant enough, to compare with God’s Supreme Revelation, His Final Word, His new, living, perfect, lasting, mode – His Son, Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t replace the “long ago speech of God.” Jesus fulfills and completes what was constricted and limited without His Revelation. That old prophet-speech was ‘long ago’, ‘in ancient times’. But you and I are part of NOW – these days. And, like the wine in Cana (John 2), He has saved the best for now.

North Star 1.6 – Genesis 1:5 November 2, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible - Meditation, Bible: Old Testament, Jesus Christ, NorthStar 1.0 (Gen 1).
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

God names the light and the darkness. Naming conveys honor and instills value. Day and Night now have a place of honor in the story – God’s meta-narrative. They are declared “intended”. Without names they may go unnoticed. Or, at least, we would wonder if God knows, sees, and intends what is now known and seen by all of us (light and dark are hard to miss). but when god names them He gives them their place in the story.

Naming also establishes God’s place. He is the generative character behind all that He names. He is keeper of what He names. He is above all that He names. He is the idea, the dreamer, behind names.

Most of us were not named by God at birth. Attached to my name is a story (and perhaps the stories of those who share my name). But God will change my name – give me a new name (Rev. 2:17), a name that conveys a new relationship, a new intention, a new place in the story.

Notice the priority in verses 3-5: God creates, God delights, God sets apart, God names. In Jesus each of these actions can be real to us each day. But only naming is expected to be permanent and stable. God will find new voids in which to create, new things to declare his delight over, new tasks to which we will be set apart.

But we are named once. May we listen and live into this name.

North Star 1.4 – Genesis 1:4 November 1, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible - Meditation, Bible: Old Testament, NorthStar 1.0 (Gen 1).
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

God declares His Creation “good”. He makes this declaration after “seeing” it. But this “seeing” of good is far more than inspection. This is not simply quality control inspection that results in a pass/fail approval rating. Certainly He does see the quality of His creation; but He looks deep into what He creates and sees its purpose and its future. He sees His Creation being and, therefore, doing what He intends. He sees this in its fullness.

When God says that His Creation is “good” it does indeed imply quality, but even more it implies satisfaction. God delights and is satisfied by and in what He sees. He is pleased with Creation – it gives Him pleasure in this holy, righteous state of fullness and potential.

Jesus delights in His Creation. Declaring and delighting is His priority after the act of creating. He gives created light His focused attention and announces His pleasure and delight. Likewise He gives all of His Creation His focused attention – He “sees” its fullness. And this fullness is pleasing, satisfying and delightful to God/Jesus. May we have ears to hear – “this is good, you are good, I am well pleased.”

North Star 1.3 – Genesis 1:3-5 October 30, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible - Meditation, Bible: Old Testament, NorthStar 1.0 (Gen 1).
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

For most of our projects light is generally assumed. When we assemble the materials we will need to create or renovate, rarely do we think of the necessity of light. At the very least it is not one of the materials on our list.

But light is God’s step one. He creates it rather than simply turning on what is already there. The idea of illumination originates with Him. He wants Creation to be on visible display to all. Nothing hidden. Everything out in full view to be seen, observed and reveled in.

The pre-eminence of light shows God’s priority on openness. He wants all to be unveiled and revealed between us. He does not create and then turn on the light to show off a final product leaving us to guess at process. We are shown everything and thus invited into discovery and participation.

The light is outside of us and inside of us. Thus we are illuminated, energized, on display to God from the inside out. This light shines on the beauty of His Creation. But it also invites participation in His renovation of the world around us and the world within us.

Jesus is the Light of the World. Relationship with Him, receiving this Gift of Light – the Light of Life, opens us to a promise of true revelation, and true, honest, authentic living. Only in Jesus are we fully known and can we know fully.

Stewarding Very Little: Luke 16:10-12 (A Strategy) October 29, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible - Meditation, Bible: New Testament.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

USAmericans can easily be made to feel guilty for having so much; and then be manipulated into giving to any and all causes that come along. Trustworthy Stewards (Luke 16:10) recognize that they have been entrusted with ‘very little’ of God’s possessions and seek a clear and focused strategy for giving and spending. 

A clear strategy for giving and spending the very little which God has entrusted me can be developed through considering FOUR QUESTIONS:

1. What has Scripture revealed about God’s work for me? (Is the work I am doing or giving to in ‘synch’ with what has been revealed to me in the Bible?)

2. How are God’s organic life principles at work in this ministry? Some of these principles are as follows:

INTERDEPENDENCE – what influence does this ministry have on other things I am passionate about? [I can leverage my giving by looking for the broader impact a ministry can have. I can choose to give to a few ministries on which I focus and impact other ministries that have associations with my ministries.]

MULTIPLICATION – what is this ministry doing to replicate it’s influence elsewhere?

SYMBIOSIS – is this ministry working in cooperation with other ministry works? [In a day of constricted resources, working together is a sign of great humility and stewardship.]

FRUITFULNESS – is this ministry producing “fruit” after its own kind? [Jesus expects fruit-bearing in his Kingdom.]

ENERGY TRANSFORMATION – how is this ministry using either positive or negative energy to propel its work?

SUSTAINABILITY – what systems is this ministry putting in place by which to sustain itself to its given end?

3. How has God used me in the past? What are my unique gifts and skills? I am not called to be all things to all people or meet every need I see. I am called to be set apart for a unique (and very small) purpose in God’s grand plan. My stewardship of resources will always be an extension of who I am.

4. What does the broader community of Christ say about my giving and spending plan? Are these others in this with me or am I in this alone? There are no “only Christians”. God has given me others; and I must learn to invite conversation regarding stewardship, trusting the Holy Spirit in others to guide me. Have I allowed other Kingdom people to review my work and ministry; to speak honestly about my present reality?

Just Stewards Part 2 – (An Invitation) October 29, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible - Meditation, Bible: New Testament.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

So let us invite Luke 16:10-15 to search us by asking these questions:

1. How have my spending and giving habits reflected my heart’s attitude toward God and what belongs to Him. Do I view Him as a “rich uncle” who ought to endow my plans? If so, I have the heart of the unjust steward that Jesus calls ‘wasteful’, and I must begin to look more closely to see the reality of what I have been given to steward.

2. Do I have a clear strategy for the use of the “very little” with which I have been entrusted? If my answer is “no”, I am being dishonest and unstrustworthy (not to mention what I do to discredit God’s good, provisional nature when I speak and act like He doesn’t ‘come through’).

Once I have tested my stewardship and am confident that I have done my part in being trustworthy, then it is appropriate to appeal God and His people for ‘underfunding’ the assignments I have received from God. And if I am confident that I am, in fact, doing the work to which I am called (and only that work), and funds are diminishing, I have every right to call God’s goodness into question. God’s work gone God’s way will never lack God’s provision.

But if I have come up short when reflecting upon these issues along with the Holy Spirit, I must make adjustments to my stewardship behavior patterns. When I do, God’s nature is to entrust me with greater funds for greater works because His hope is to grow my heart’s capacity to manage greater things for eternity.