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Sustained not Self-Sustaining (NCD Growth Forces) November 19, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Leadership Reflections, NorthStar 2.0 (Heb 1).
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“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.”

Flowers are beautiful, but that is not their most important function in God’s creation. Every flower has the capacity to sustain its species. This capacity is most visible when it is wilting and “going to seed”.

 Living organisms have the power to sustain life beyond themselves and this power lies in seeds. Seeds make the principle of sustainability a reality.

This Hebrews text gives us insight into the source of fruit and seed. We know by observing nature that life is sustained by fruit and its seed that falls to the ground to die and grow again. But what we can’t see is how the seed finds its way into the fruit or how the fruit appears. Hebrews tells us that sustainability is caused by the “powerful word” of Jesus, God’s Son. Jesus speaks “fruit” and “seed” and they appear.

Ministries that operate with this principle are immersed in this powerful word of Jesus. Persons and ministries that are in relationship with Him, who take a posture of listening to and receiving His Word, will see this sustaining fruit growing around them.

*Is there seed in the fruit our ministry is bearing?

*What are we to do with this seed to sustain the life of this ministry?

*Are we working to hard to maintain/sustain this ministry or are our activities sustaining themselves?

When we speak of “sustainability” this is not independance from God. Our ministries must stay connected to Jesus, the Vine (John 15), for sustainability to be at work. Sustainability can be interpreted wrongly as a self-serving, self-propogating, human-driven machine. This is not the natural interpretation of this growth force. In living organisms (the church being one of them) the Life of God sustains it and releases more life to work in and through it.

*How aer we maintaining our connection to the Vine, Jesus, and His Word?

*How are we humbly honoring God, giving thanks and praise to Him for the seed He has bestowed upon us?

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Jesus, Sustainer of Life – North Star 2.5 (Hebrews 1:3) November 16, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible: New Testament, Jesus Christ, NorthStar 2.0 (Heb 1).
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“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.” (Hebrews 1:3a, NLT)

The voice of God in Jesus nourishes and keeps the universe. All that is needed to survive robustly comes from the “powerful word” of Jesus. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

When I or my church or my family or my neighborhood are feeling depleted it is because the “seed” of His voice is falling on hard soil. It is not that He is not speaking. His voice goes out over the whole earth continually sustaining everything that lives – evidence of His voice. Repenting of the belief that He has stopped speaking and receiving the “powerful word” will fill those barren, dry, empty, weary places to regenerate life.

The voice of God in Jesus holds the universe together. Planets and atoms stay in perfect orbits by His “powerful word”.

When I or my church or my family of my neighborhood are feeling that things are unraveling it is because the “seed” of His voice is falling on hard soil. It is not that His voice has stopped or that He has abandoned us to silence. That planets are not colliding, that elementary particles are not imploding are evidence of His “keeping” voice. Repenting of the belief that He has gone silent and receiving His “powerful word” will restore order to chaos and mission to aimlessness and purposelessness.

Jesus does not sustain with a storehouse and a shovel. His voice is sufficient. For He has in Himself everything to sustain.

Jesus does not hold-together with duct tape and His hands. His voice is sufficient. For it is powerful enough, yet tender enough, to hold everything together.

Are you feeling a need for his Voice to hold you together today?

Leadership Reflection Questions (Hebrews 1) November 16, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Leadership Reflections, NorthStar 2.0 (Heb 1).
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“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. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.”  (Hebrews 1:1-3, NLT)

Since Jesus is Supreme over all creation, sustaining all things by His powerful word: 

From where am I drawing my strength to lead?

Where do I get my vision for leadership?

Am I in love with spiritual experiences of with Jesus?

What practices am I regularly involved in that put me in a place where I can receive God’s Word – encounter Jesus?

How do I show that I believe that Jesus is leading me?

How do I immerse the people I am leading in the nature, character, mission and heart of God?

What practices has our community chosen which to receive Jesus?

Jesus, The Son (part 2) – North Star 2.4 (Hebrews 1:3) November 14, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible: New Testament, NorthStar 2.0 (Heb 1).
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“And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God.”  (Hebrews 1:2-3, NLT)

A son carries the image of his father. So when Jesus becomes God’s Word – to show the world God’s nature and mission – He carries in Himself the essence and image of God making Him the most perfect Messenger. The living, healing message of God won’t any longer get lost in translation for those who honestly and humbly hear the message in the Son.

He is the reflection of God’s glory. His life and words display the fullness of the Creator’s majestic nature. As the Son, not only does He best know about God the Father having been with the Father, but He also has that essence in Him giving way to deeper, inherent knowing. Bearing the God image exactly makes it impossible for Him to not bring glory-charged messages. By reflecting the glory, Jesus keeps none for Himself (glory is reflected fully, not absorbed). And since the Father/Creator is the source of glory, the Son transmits the glory to all creation ensuring that God’s perfections are known, seen and heard.

Seekers (those looking for the God who made them and for what He says about you) can immerse their imaginations in Jesus – to know God, know the Son. Jesus has been sent from the Father so that the greatness of His love will be known. Seeing Jesus gives us knowledge of the nature and mission of God.

Jesus, The Son (part 1) – North Star 2.3 (Hebrews 1:2) November 12, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible: New Testament, NorthStar 2.0 (Heb 1).
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“And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. ” (Hebrews 1:2, NLT)

That God’s mode of salvation, restoration and healing is speaking with His lovely/powerfilled voice is astounding enough. That He doesn’t use mechanical tools or even good listening skills so we can talk things out, that He speaks gently, lovingly, powerfully with intention into those derelict places of our lives and souls, ought give us great hope and comfort.

But, even more, He speaks to us by a Son – His only Son. This Son is a person, so the Voice becomes personal. It takes on flesh and lives before our eyes and imaginations. Not just words on a page that embalm God’s speech, but a living, perfect being.

And as a Son, Jesus has a vested interest in the salvation of Creation. Everything is promised to Him, it will be (or is) His. Also, He created it all – the universe, and you and me. Therefore there is a deep sense of ownership and desire to treat it as precious. He won’t ‘hit the rock when He speaks’ like Moses did, or get frustrated and give up for a season like Jeremiah. He sees the end and will see the saving work through to that end.

Jesus, the Final Word – North Star 2.2 (Hebrews 1:2) November 9, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible: New Testament, NorthStar 2.0 (Heb 1).
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“And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son.” (Hebrews 1:2, NLT)

We are in the ‘last days’. Some interpret this by putting emphasis on our time on earth being short or the increase of evil in our world. But here ‘final days’. refers to a season of time in which God has chosen to speak (and be known) through Jesus. These days are the last, there will be no other days after these. Jesus is God’s final, most complete and perfect way by which to speak. We should not expect another. We have no need to pursue or seek another. The present mode of communion with God is Jesus. And this will be the way from now on.

God has used a wide variety of ways by which to speak to people. Each of them is a grace by which people could know God and His ways. And all of these ways are still at His disposal. But each of the ways that He uses point to Jesus. They always have and always will.

And in these last days Jesus is one of the ways. But He is not one way among many equals. He is the Way, the best Way, by which God speaks. Any other way that He uses to speak is a starting place; while His hope is that people would finally find their way to Jesus.

And those who seek to know God in the fullest way are to seek Him through Jesus Christ. For those who know Him, to not diligently pursue a full knowledge of Jesus is to fall short in our pursuit of God. This negligence begins with sloth and pride and ends in idolatry. But you who listen and know God through Jesus will find the voice that transforms, heals, guides and loves you into the beautiful person God longs for you to be.

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).
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“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.