Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a deacon dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Category: Devotions (page 1 of 31)

YouTubevotinal: Bed Sheets

Simon Tofield Simon's Cat for Magazine interview. 24 October 2009

Simon Tofield Simon’s Cat for Magazine interview. 24 October 2009

Introduction

Changing the bed sheets is one of those necessary chores. You watch the sheets, take the old sheets off the bed, and then put the warm, clean sheets on the bed. Putting clean sheets on the bed just right can be a change all its own. Add a curious cat, and it becomes even more challenging.

Simon’s Cat has a collection of short films on YouTube. The most recent film is called Bed Sheets.

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YouTubevotional: No Toys?

Introduction

It is that time of year. We have given thanks for the blessings of life, gathered around a table full of food, family, and friends. Now, we are putting up Christmas trees, lights, and stockings . . .with care. We have made lists (and checked them twice) of the things we want for Christmas. In this classic clip from The Brady Bunch, Cindy waits to tell Santa what we wants for Christmas.

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YouTubevotional: Thanksgiving Dinner

turkey_5333cnIntroduction

In a few short days, families will be gathered around tables full of food for Thanksgiving. Some, like Rev. Tom Berlin, have wondered what this year’s Thanksgiving would hold after a stressful and contentious election. You can read Tom’s thoughts here. 

Last year, during the primary season, it felt just as contentious. Saturday Night Live‘s sketch “A Thanksgiving Miracle” explored this same wondering. What could unite a divided family? What could stop the arguments across the table? SNL‘s miracle worker was the popular singer Adele, whose latest album was released at the same time.

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Noah Galloway, Persistence, and Grace

Admit it, you have them.

You have those days where no matter how hard you try, nothing seems to work. Relationships aren’t on par. Work stress is so overwhelming it is blinding. The overall anxiety of society is enough to make you sick. Oh, yeah, and you have a toddler.

These days carry with them a vast amount of emotions from moment to moment. We experience anger, grief, sorrow all within five minutes. The chains of anxiety result in suffering. The shackles of stress issue depression.

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YouTubevotional: Homeless Vets

homeless_7298cIntroduction

In high school I remember learning that a high percentage of the homeless in the United States were Gulf War veterans. This shocked, and caused my deacon’s heart to ache. Similarly, my heart would ache win I would hear stories about veterans not getting the best of treatment from the Veterans Affairs. There are so many things that are often overlooked when it comes to our veterans. When we consider the time, the sacrifices, the injuries seen and unseen, they deserve better.

The television show, Beverly Hills, 90210 covered this topic in 1993. One of the characters, Brandon, meets a homeless vet on the beach one summer. The homeless man, Jack, served in the first Gulf War. When he returned home, he found himself homeless. Later in the season, Brandon meets Jack again in the midst of a massive rain storm. Brandon takes the man to a homeless shelter, but Jack is unable to assimilate. In response, Brandon takes Jack to his home to meet his family.

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YouTubevotional: Election Day

ballot-box-bunny-bigger-stickThis is the first of what I hope will be a weekly occurrence. YouTubevotionals are for personal devotional time, or for use in a small group, youth group, or a Sunday school class. -JCS

Introduction

It has been a long – long –  election season. It will soon be over, as citizens head to the polls on Tuesday to cast their votes. The 1951 Looney Tunes cartoon Ballot Box Bunny is eerily similar to this election season. The cartoon may help us explore the impact of the election season and think about leadership.

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Prayer: Foggy Days

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love him – these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV)

Lord, today is a foggy day.  We aren’t fans of foggy days. We have places to go, and the fog only slows us down.

Lord, you know that foggy days are a lot of things.

Depression and anxiety.  Continue reading

The Ten: Be Truthful

“Do not testify falsely against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16, Common English Bible)

tablets_9750cIn an episode titled “Greater Good,” from the first season of the drama-comedy Boston Legal, Alan Shore (James Spader) and Denny Crane (William Shatner) represent a large, drug company in a civil suit. The two lawyers disagree on a key ethical issue surrounding the lies about a clinical trial for a new drug.

The doctor who participated in the clinical trial is conflicted. Shore wants her to be truthful about the potential harm the new drug may have caused its patients. Crane, on the other hand, wants her to be quiet about it. Shore reminds the doctor that when she testifies in court, she will be under oath. Mr. Shore’s intention, of course, is to persuade the doctor to speak truth.

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Mold Me, Use Me

Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.
United Methodist Hymnal, #393

Mold Me, Use MeHave you ever watched a child play with play-dough? It is a pretty new phenomenon at our house. Baby J hasn’t figured out that she can create things with the play-dough, but she sure loves breaking it a part (an elder in training?). As her little hands grip the play-dough, and squeeze it between her fingers, she pulls the dough a part creating a new piece.

Here is the thing: the play-dough doesn’t put up a fight.

It was made to be pulled apart and molded into new things. The original container-rounded shape of the play-dough is not its intended shape. It was created to be formed into something new. And if, during the creation process, it doesn’t quite turn out the way you wanted it, you start over. You roll that play-dough back into a big ball of dough and you start molding and forming all over again.

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Guest Post: Newborn’s Healing Cry

by Rev. Andrew Taylor-Troutman, author of “Parables of Parenthood”

Good Friday darkened March 25 this year, a date that marks the Feast of the Annunciation when the archangel Gabriel, also known as the voice of God, announced to a young peasant girl that she was highly favored among mortals. Conception and crucifixion. Joy and grief. Feast and fast, together on a single day.

My second son was born at 10:28 AM. He did not make a sound. The cord was wrapped once, twice around his neck. Even before I had a chance to be fully alarmed, nurses flew into action, their six hands a whirlwind over his body. And the oxygen mask to my son’s face. Once, twice. And Asa, whose name means healer, let out a short, staccato burst of a cry, as sure an amen as I have ever heard.

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