Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a deacon dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: christianity (page 1 of 39)

Book Review: Jesus and the Beanstalk

jesus-and-the-beanstalkJesus and the Beanstalk: Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life, Lori Stanley Roeleveld, Abingdon Press, 2016.

When I started reading Lori Stanley Roeleveld’s newest book, Jesus and the Beanstalk, I connected with it. It was as if Roeleveld had peeked inside my brain and caught a glimpse of the questions I had recently been pondering.

This, I learned, is the nature of her blog and her book. Her writing has an approachable style to it, as if she were sitting at a kitchen table and talking with you directly over a cup of coffee.

It does not take much for us to realize that we live in unsettling, challenging times. There are giant problems everywhere we look and these giants produce obstacles, barriers, and strongholds.

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Giveaway: VeggieTales Every Day with God Devotional

VT Devo_girlsEvery day with God is a 365-day devotional from VeggieTales.  The updated content and art offer the perfect opportunity for parent and child to share time together each day. Each entry includes a Bible verse, short devotion, Thought of the Day, and prayer.

As the message to parents at the beginning notes, “As parents, you know the importance of teaching your children the big ideas that are found in God’s Holy Word.”

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Book Review: Flash the Donkey Makes New Friends

flash-the-donkey-makes-new-friendsFlash the Donkey Makes New Friends, Rachel Anne Ridge, Tyndale Momentum, 2016.

Flash is a donkey on his own. He and his blue wagon make the rounds around town as he collects discarded items that he sees value in. Then, as he and his loaded wagon make it up a hill, Donkey and the wagon crash into a tree.

Three Good Samaritans stop when they see Donkey with a bump on his head. They discuss the best options, including taking Donkey back to his home. When they find out that Donkey has no home, it is decided that he will go home with them.

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Book Review: Open

Open bookOpen: Get Ready for an Adventure of a Lifetime, David Gregory, Tyndale, 2016.

David Gregory is the New York Times Bestseller author of Dinner with a Perfect Stranger. In that book, the main character receives an unusual invitation. It is unsigned and the inviter has invited himself to the character’s home for dinner.

The character prepares his home for a visit for an unknown stranger, wondering what person of great importance has chosen his home to visit.

The perfect stranger is revealed to be Jesus.

In Gregory’s new book, Open, a young woman named Emma receives a similar, unsigned invitation. Her invitation is not to dinner. The invitation reads, “For a real adventure with Jesus, go through the nearest open door.” Emma’s curiosity recalls for the reader young Lucy’s innocence in walking through the wardrobe into Narnia. Emma, a bit more broken than Lucy, is transported through time to Jesus’ day.

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Sermon: Complaint or Concern?

This was a sermon I preached at St. Mark’s United Methodist in Richmond. I preached on Exodus 17:1-7 as part of their Complaining is Draining sermon series. This audio is from the 11:00am service. You can also listen on the Podcast app by subscribing here.

Book Review: Dear Pope Francis

Dear Pope Francis Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World, Pope Francis, Loyola Press, 2016.

I’m a Pope Franics fan. No doubt about it.

There has always been something different about this Pope. In a time when our culture is hyper self-focused, it is refreshing to have a religious leader who not only advocates, but lives, an other-centered life.

Dear Pope Francis is a children’s book that shows just how far the Pope’s influence reaches. The Pope answers received letters from children all around the world. This is the simple basis for the book. The letters are kept in their original condition, complete with art work. A typed translation is provided. On the next page is Pope Francis’ response to the question.  Continue reading

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

Book Review: Every Season Prayers

_225_350_Book_1662_coverEvery Season Prayers: Gospel-Centered Prayers for the Whole of Life, Scotty Smith, Baker Books, 2016.

When it comes to prayer, one of the comments I hear often from people of faith often is, “Sometimes I just don’t have the words.” You know what that’s like. You sit down to pray and you are so overwhelmed by life that you just cannot find the words. There are feelings that our words are not elegant enough. Even though we know that God knows what is on our hearts, we are overwhelmed with wanting to give God the best.

In those times we search for a guide to prayer.

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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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Pete’s Dragon: Discussion Questions

Petes-Dragon-Movie-PosterPete’s Dragon is the newest family film from Disney. It is a brilliant film filled with adventure, laughs, and plenty of tear-jerkers. It is a great film to take a youth group, or other group, to. You can read my ponderings on the film here.

Below are some discussion questions you can use with your group. I’m sharing them here for those who are looking for such a resource. As a Christian educator, I should tell you, if you use these questions, don’t feel like you have to use them all. If anything, let the questions be a guide to having a conversation around the themes presented in the film.

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