Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Category: Jesus Said (page 1 of 2)

Jesus Said: Be Shalom


Happy are people who make peace because they will be called God’s children. (Matthew 5:9, Common English Bible)

There have been a lot of troubling images out of the city of Baltimore.

These images of violence fill our TV and computer screens. And let’s be honest, they are a bit more than we can handle. The tension in our society over justice for all people seems to have collided in the streets.

Questions are being raised by many, especially those in the church, as to how we should respond. What does justice look like? What role does the church play in such discussions? Where is God calling us to be a part of this?

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Jesus Said: Follow Me

“Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people'” (Matthew 4:19).

Remember playing the game “Follow the Leader” when you were a kid? I used to work in an after-school children’s ministry setting. At the end of the day, before the parents had arrived and when there just was not enough time to do another activity, we would play Follow the Leader.

I would be the leader to start, and we would go up and down halls; circle tables and chairs; tumble over couches. It was fun! And it usually always lasted the right amount of time.  Continue reading

Jesus Said: More Jesus, Less You

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and his rule.” (Matthew 5:3, The Message)

The bus’ tires left the smooth pavement and hit dirt and rocks. As the bus jolted down the road, the road got narrower and narrower. After turning tight corners and dodging huge rocks, we arrived at our destination. The small, leaning building was a church in the midst of a shantytown in Costa Rica.

As we drove past the homes that were constructed with random pieces of lumber and corrugated tin, I realized that I was not in Kansas (or Virginia) anymore. As the children ran barefoot along the bus to welcome us and out of curiosity, I knew that whatever my first world problems were, they didn’t compare to the lives of these in this shantytown.

I imagined the words of Mother Teresa as she escorted visitors down her streets of Calcutta:

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Jesus Said: To Die For

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. “Not only that – count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. (Matthew 5:10-11, The Message)

Martin Luther King, Jr., in a speech in 1965, said, “If you haven’t discovered something that is worth dying for, you haven’t found anything worth living for.”  As 21st century Americans, we live for our careers, we live for our educations, we live for our families, we live for our nation, but do we live for our God?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3) willingly went into the fiery furnace, not with a certainty that God would save them, but because of their zeal to live their lives for their God.  They refused to bow to the idol made of gold, and they were persecuted for it.  They were tied up and thrown into the fiery furnace. We are taught—maybe even expected—to bow at the altar of the media, the altar of the shopping mall, the altar of the self.

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Jesus Said: Open Your Eyes

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. (Matthew 5:8, The Message)

In the film, The Ron Clark Story (2006), Matthew Perry plays native North Carolinian teacher Ron Clark who moves to New York City to teach elementary school.  Clark learns quickly that the inner city school system is very different from that in small-town North Carolina.  But Clark also learns that the inner city kids need the same love that the small town kids do.

United Methodist minister James Howell reminds us that “many great teachers and heroes, from Gregory of Nyssa in the fourth century to Mother Teresa in the twentieth have taught us that we ‘see God’ in what is not at all invisible: in our neighbor.”

When we truly see our neighbor for who they are, we see God.

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