Bet Cortes • July 30, 2021
Have you ever grown accustomed to something you disliked or which caused you discomfort? Perhaps like me you have been waiting for the opportunity to patch the walls in your home and the sight of them still causes you to cringe but every time they seem to bother me a little less. If it’s not holes for you, what is it?
Is there something that has remained in your life because like me you have been busy with other urgent matters? Maybe you have been waiting to work on your vehicle or rearrange plants in your flower beds? Perhaps it is a situation God has been calling you to change or address. Although it happens easily, there are somethings we should not get accustomed to.
Last week I managed to sprain my ankle and hurt my neck within one day of each other. Had you been over to visit at our home, you could have watched me limp around while turning my whole body in order to look at anything. It was probably a bit comical to look at yet with the pain I felt, I did not have a desire to laugh. I began praying for healing and doing just about anything that would help! Laying down, icing, massages, stretching, magnesium... you name it! I felt trapped and desperate. I couldn’t sweep, cook, or do much of anything else for more than a few minutes. As you can imagine, I was praying! Asking God for help was first on my mind.
Have you ever been there where I was - completely aware of your need for God to move? In Matthew 7:7 He says: Ask and you will receive. In the NLT, He says:
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. [If] You parents … know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. (Matthew 7:7-9, NLT).
I have had problems with my foot many times and over many years now. Why have I not asked for healing before? I have limped through the pain but learned to "accept" it as a life long injury. Could you believe that it has never occurred to me that the God of the universe could heal my foot so that it wouldn’t sprain so easily? I am fairly certain that spraining my ankle that day was what hurt my neck.
In this past week, I have been challenged to ask God for healing not just of my neck but of my foot. Is there an area in your life that you grown accustomed to pain or dysfunction? God wants to bring wholeness to your life and mine.
Is there an area of your life that God wants to change? Perhaps like me, you have already given up hope or grown accustomed to it? Our heavenly Father is a good Father who desires to give good gifts to those who ask Him.
I pray that we would know the hope and power of God:
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:18-20, NLT).
I pray that your hearts would be flooded with the confident Hope and the knowledge of the mighty power of God. If God is for you, then who can be against you?
Keep on asking.
Sam Snyder • July 21, 2021
5 years ago I came back from a Sabbatical Summer having had the opportunity to think deeply about things that God had been teaching me over the previous 15+ years of ministry leadership and 30 years of following Jesus. I came away convicted by the realization that the area that God had consistently been dealing with me on since I first began following Jesus was actually about having a real relationship with Him. I know that we talk a lot about having a "relationship with God" in Christian settings, but the revolutionary significance of that and how we tend to want to bottle that up into forms that are more manageable really hit me. I realized that over the years God had been speaking to me through His word about areas in my life where I was religious and looked more like a Pharisee than I looked like Jesus. It was a powerful time that summer and it led to distilling those distinctions between a religious mindset and a relationship with God down to seven key differences. I have continued developing those thoughts while also taking the time to teach them in various contexts. Each time I go through this I grow more aware of how truly revolutionary an actual relationship with God through Jesus Christ is compared to our man-made substitutes.
Over the last year, I have written these thoughts down into a BOOK that I want to share with you for FREE as an e-book before it goes to print. We will be sending out the Introduction and Chapter 1 this week and the following chapters each week after that (there are 10 chapters total).
I welcome your input and comments, but more than anything I pray that you will be encouraged and challenged to grow closer in your relationship with God and to break free from the false dichotomies of License and Legalism as you pursue a living relationship with God.
Please click the link below if you would like to signup to receive the e-book:
Here's the Table of Contents:
Introduction: My Adventures in Missing the Point
1. Religion or Revolution?
3. A New Thing
4. A New Law
5. Inside Out
6. Get It? Got It? Good!
7. Eye Can See Clearly Now
8. Wearing Uniformity
9. Where Are You Headed?
10. Liberating Life
Sam Snyder • July 09, 2021
Recently we started a project that we've been waiting for over 9 years to do on the outside of our house. For years we have "gotten by" with chairs sinking into the dirt when meeting outside or warning people to watch their step over the crack in the concrete or that raised edge. Things had gotten to this place from the wear and tear of time but also because of some trees that accelerated the destruction. Over the years we had to remove a tree that was breaking the driveway and then recently another tree that was beginning to rot down the middle because it hadn't been pruned correctly when it was young (I'm sure there is a good post that could be written with THAT as an illustration). Altogether it had left things a bit broken and empty (even with our pretty little flower bed).
Sarah and I had looked forward to a day where all of the old broken pieces would be removed and something new would take its place. When we were conceiving the different solutions we considered patching the broken things (my preferred option) or simply replacing what was there (the next easiest thing), but we knew that this was an opportunity for a fresh start. An opportunity to reimagine the driveway and outdoor space as it could be...building off of what had been and even taking some of the broken areas and using those to make something new that could better fit the house, but more importantly, better be used for loving our neighbors, not just by having a more pleasant and spacious area to share meals and evenings together but by making sure that they don't fall on their way up the driveway or when they're sitting outside at the table because they sank too deep into the ground!
This whole thing was both an event and a process. It took us a long time to get to the place where we could do this and there was a lot of activity on the day that the work began to rip things out, and the project even ran into some roadblocks that slowed it down, but it has continued moving forward and it is a new creation and, as grass and plants grow and as we finish other little projects on it, it will continue becoming the new creation it was designed to be:
YOU'LL HAVE TO COME VISIT TO EXPERIENCE THE NEW CREATION 😉
This Summer we will be talking about a "Fresh Start" as we study Genesis 1-12 and look at how God started fresh and how He kept giving opportunities for Fresh Starts as people messed up His good creation. I want to encourage you to join us on Sundays and come ready to share something with others and hear what others have to say too. It's never too late to start fresh! We may be tempted to try to patch things together, but that isn't what God wants for us. We may even believe that God just wants a slightly improved version of what we already are, but the truth is that God is AMAZING and that His desires are to do things that are exceedingly, abundantly, MORE than anything we ask or imagine! We are each invited to experience this new life that Paul refers to as being a "new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17) and we are invited into being this new community as God's people (1 Peter 2:9-10). This ability to live in an authentic relationship with God and with other people is not possible in our old lives and ways, but IN CHRIST, we are a new creation and we can live as a new community.
This Summer is an opportunity to start fresh. There may be some things in your life that need to get demolished so that new things can be built and so that new life can spring forth. Are you willing to surrender those things to the architect who has good designs for your life? To a good Father who desires to give His child what is best? I encourage you to press into the new things that God has for you, and us together, as we keep listening to His word and applying it to our lives!