Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: Jesus Christ (page 1 of 7)

Remembering NaNa

As I was traveling to St. Louis in February for the United Methodist Church’s called General Conference, I received word that my grandmother, NaNa, had passed away. From my hotel room, I talked with my family and began planning the service that would celebrate her life. I wrote the homily I preached in the same hotel, during the General Conference, and on the way back to Virginia. NaNa’s celebration of life was held at Enon United Methodist Church, her church for all of her 90+ years.  I chose Luke 18:1-8 as my preaching text. 

I can remember as a child during the stillness of a summer evening hearing the gentle humming or singing from across the creek. In the moments that I would stop to listen, I realized that it was coming from NaNa and PaPa’s back porch. Most often NaNa was sitting on the porch snapping beans and singing a familiar hymn.  Now, whatever I was doing, usually didn’t last very long. Inevitably, she would see me outside and holler my name, which was the invitation to join her in snapping beans. And if I didn’t respond the first time, the call would continue until I responded.

Moments like this capture some of the core values of what made NaNa, NaNa. Music was an important part of her life, but not more important than family. Moments like this on the porch were not as much about the beans (or other summer veggies) as they were about spending time with family. There was always a joy when the family gathered at the house. And I imagine as the family grew to include husbands and wives and great-grandchildren, it might have stressed her out a bit to have so many people in the house.

But she still loved it.

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YouTubevotional: Lend a Paw

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

Lend a Paw is a Mickey Mouse short from 1941. It is the only Mickey Mouse short to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Short. Since Steamboat Willie in 1928, Mickey’s popularity skyrocketed! Mickey’s personality was so good-natured that, as journalist Irving Wallace wrote in 1949, “No expletives, violence, practical jokes, double dealings, cruelty, nor arrogance may be found in his present-day make-up.”

Mickey represented the best of humanity. So other characters, like Donald Duck, began to embody other human characteristics. In Lend a Paw, that duty fell to Mickey’s pal Pluto. Like Donald Duck, Pluto has a little devil and a little angel chattering in his ear.

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YouTubevotional: Sharing Our Faith

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

Evangelism has become a dirty word. So dirty that some Christians dare not speak of the “e-word.”

Too often when we think of evangelism, we concur up images of standing on the street corner handing out tracts, street preaching, yelling at passer-bys, or aggressively converting people to our way of being Christian. Personal space and experiences are not typically respected. Unfortunately, these kinds of things do not always represent the saving love of Jesus Christ.

Yet, at the same time, mainline churches have been in a state of decline. We look out at the empty pews and wonder, “How will we fill these pews?” We know we should invite people to church. We know we should be engaging our community. We know we should be doing more. But what? How?

The following video presents a few ways not to.

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Guest Post: Two Tables

by Rev. Beth Givens

This week I celebrated the sacrament of Holy Communion twice in 24 hours. That’s not normal on a non-Sunday, and for a good United Methodist like me, I’m up to celebrating 4 times this week.

Seems we are needing a lot of Jesus.

Tuesday night, when I celebrated, it was a part of Election Day Communion.  Election Day Communion is a movement among churches of different denominations to draw people together amidst the divisiveness of an election season here in the United States. We offered Election Day Communion in our congregation.

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Book Review: The Salvation of Dr. Who

Dr. Who CoverThe Salvation of Dr. Who: A Small Group Study Connecting Christ and Culture, Matt Rawle, Abingdon Press, 2015.

“Seen through eyes of faith,” author and pastor Matt Rawle writes, “Doctor Who can be lens through which we understand who we are and our connection with God’s saving grace.” Rawle uses his small book to examine spiritual truths from the BBC television series that has run for more than fifty years.

The book is short and assessable to read. It is a small group study, but one could do the study on their own. Each chapter is divided into five sections, which makes it great for daily devotions and reflections with the questions provided at the end of each section. Much like The Faith of a Mockingbird, this book is a tool of discipleship for a small group or an individual. You can also find the leader’s guide and DVD for the complete small group experience.

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