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Where Healing Begins March 8, 2009

Posted by dan snyder in Bible - Meditation, Bible: New Testament, Jesus Christ.
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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?

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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?

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 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.

Just Stewards – Luke 16:1-12 (A Meditation) October 29, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Bible - Meditation, Bible: New Testament, Jesus Christ.
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I’ve been asked to be a fundraiser now for several Christian organizations. Each one has been the same story: Big ideas for all of the things that could be done in the name of God to help more people, reach more people, save more people . . . but a dwindling funding source for these dreams. I’ve heard “God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He’ll come through for our ideas.” And, “if His people would just open their wallets and give more, imagine all we could do.”

The parable of the ‘unjust steward’ and the verses that follow shed light on some problems at the heart of these dilemmas. Primarily it gets us to look at our role in the work of God before blaming Him or His people for not keeping up their end.

The story is about stewardship and determining whether or not one is a trustworthy steward. The unjust steward of the story is found to be ‘wasteful’. This is a reflection of his attitude toward his rich master. Perhaps he became wasteful of someone else’s stuff/money by thinking thoughts like, “my master is rich, there’s no end to his money, surely he won’t miss a few dollars here or there.” And he reinforces this belief each time he spends or gives wastefully.

After he is caught, he loses his job. But he acts shrewdly going around reducing everyone’s debt (again, spending his master’s money) before the debtors know he doesn’t work for the master anymore. The debtors end up liking both the master and the steward more as a result; and the steward is commended by the master and by Jesus for understanding how money can be used to influence friends and promote your boss.

Next Jesus preaches (vv. 10-15) clearly about trustworthiness with what we own as a way of developing the kind of heart that can be trusted in eternity with the Life and Riches of God. First He says – if you have been trustworthy with very little you will be trusted with much. When we compare ourselves to God and when we compare what we are entrusted with on earth to what we will inherit in heaven, every human being has “very little”. Very little is the portion we’ve been given with the hearts we have to exercise our giving and spending muscles to ready them for eternity. This means that while God may own the cattle on a thousand hills (and a few solar systems), we do not.

We have been allotted a very small amount of God’s possessions that we must steward. This will require clear, strategic and focused giving and spending patterns. We have been allocated a limited amount in proportion to our limited skills and finite hearts. We can also be sure that the resources are sufficient for the work God desires for us to do. Whenever we overspend that allotment we are acting like the unjust steward. The words Jesus uses to describe such a person are “wasteful”, “dishonest” and “untrustworthy”.

The lack of discipline in this area does nothing to prepare our hearts for our eternal work. “If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own [especially those things you will possess forever]?”