Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: God’s call

YouTubevotional: Is God Calling?

YouTubevotionals are designed to be used in personal devotion time, with small groups, youth groups, or Sunday school classes. To see other YouTubevotionals, click here

Introduction

Brother Casey is a Franciscan friar who is using the wonders of YouTube to engage thousands of viewers. From blogging about his life as a friar to producing YouTube videos to communicate the gospel, Brother Casey seems to be committed to reaching people through modern media.

In the video below, Brother Casey asks the question, “Is God calling you?”

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Book Review: Just Say Yes

“We’ve never done it that way before.” “You need to go through the proper channels for that.” “We have a process and you need to respect the process.” “That’s an interesting idea. It might not work because . . . .” 

Have you heard those phrases before at church? I know I have. I may have even said a few of them. These are just a few ways that churches say “no.” This approach of doing church – this culture of No – is stalling the church from vital growth, according to Bishop Robert Schnase.

Just Say Yes!Robert Schnase serves as Bishop of the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church. Much of his writing has focused on ordained ministry. But it was Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations that made Bishop Schanse a “church-hold” name. His newest book, Just Say Yes! Unleashing People for Ministry, continues in the spirit of Five Practices in changing the attitudes and culture of churches.

Have you heard the joke about how many Methodists does it take to change a light bulb? The answer is, “They have to form a committee first.” In some churches, committees are where creative ideas for ministry go to die. As churches move from being inner focused to being outer focused, the traditional role of committees is no longer conducive to fulfill the mission of the church. New people to church, especially young people, who come with creative ideas for new ministry initiatives tend to finally give up after the rounds of committee meetings to get one idea approved. By the time the initiative is approved, the need has already been addressed.

For those whose passion for the church has waned due to being told  “No,” more than once. Or for those leaders who recognize that “NO” is leading the church more than “YES,” Schanse’s book is for you. He points out key concepts that can change the culture of a church. And no, changing the worship service times is not one of them.

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VeggieTale’s Noah’s Ark (2015)

It’s hard to believe that VeggieTales hasn’t tackled the classic Noah’s ark story until now. They finally have in the new release Noah’s Ark, where carrots meet cubits. Pa Grape joins a long line of other actors who have portrayed the great ark builder.

© 2015 Big Idea Entertainment.

© 2015 Big Idea Entertainment.

The Veggie version of the story has Noah’s son Shem and his wife Sadie returning home after their honeymoon. Shem is voice by Wayne Brady of Let’s Make a Deal and Whose Line Is It Anyway, while Sadie is voice by Christian music artist Jaci Velasquez.

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Sermon: Go Down, Moses

 

Echoes from the Burning Bush

The Lord’s messenger appeared to him in a flame of fire in the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was in flames, but it didn’t burn up. (Exodus 3:2, Common English Bible)

Moses was out minding his own business, keeping watch over his flock. It was a pretty normal day, as normal days go. Moses was born to a Hebrew slave, raised in the Egyptian palace, fled to Midian after killing another man, and there he married the daughter of Jethro, a Midianite priest. Life was far from normal for this man.

Life had started to get okay. No more pretending. No more running. No more looking over his shoulder.

Echoes from the Burning Bush - jasoncstanley.com

In the normal and the mundane of everyday life, Moses saw something extraordinary. It was bush burning. At first, it was just part of the mundane. It was not all that uncommon for a shepherd like Moses to see such a site. But this site was different. While the bush was on fire, it was not burning up. Moses had to get a closer look, wouldn’t you?

And as he did, he heard the words, “Take off your shoes, you are standing on holy ground.”

There have been a lot paintings, movies, and sermons about this man named Moses; about his answering of God’s call and his leadership. Kathy Beach-Verhey, in the Interpretation journal, reminds us as is so often the case in the Bible, that this calling of Moses story is more about who God is and what God does.

God speaks.

God spoke to Moses in the midst of the mundane. God spoke in the midst of his work day. God spoke in the midst of looking out for his sheep.

In the midst of our everyday, mundane lives, we too can hear echoes from the burning bush. In the midst of cooking dinner, God speaks. In the midst of getting the kids to school, God speaks. In the midst of changing diapers, God speaks. In the midst of feeding the dog, God speaks. In the midst of driving to work, God speaks. In the midst of answering phones in a cubicle, God speaks.

And God speaks, because God hears.

Exodus is clear, God has heard the cries of God’s people. The people who are enslaved and oppressed in a foreign land have been crying out to their God. When God’s people cry, God cries. When God’s people suffer, God suffers. When God’s people are oppressed, God is oppressed.

When God hears, God speaks.

God speaks to us in the midst of our mundane and normal lives because their are others around who are living oppression and who are suffering. The echo from the burning bush rings in our ears and our hearts. Sometimes it is a bush on fire. Sometimes it is a whisper in the night. Sometimes it is a song we sing. Sometimes it is in the words we read.

However God speaks to us, God is calling us to set God’s people free. And like Moses, we might get a little nervous, anxious, or even may try and get out of it. What is important, however, is that no matter what the task is, no matter how high the wall of oppression is, no matter how heartbreaking the suffering, God will always be with us.

It is the promise that God has given down through the ages. “I will be you with always.” When we answer the call – whatever that call may be – we accept a huge responsibility, just as Moses did. No matter, God is with us offering compassion and guidance.

Are you listening to the echoes from the burning bush in your life?

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