Ponderings

the blog of Jason C. Stanley

Tag: Jesus (page 1 of 16)

Book Review: Sandcastle Kings

sandcastle kings coverI was never great at building sandcastles. It seemed that I could never get the right amount of sand and water mixed together to create the castle of my dreams. The sand buckets we used were always the basic round buckets, leaving little opportunities for anything other than round towers. And then there was the tide. It would always come in. It was never a question of “if,” but rather, “when.” When the tide came, the sandcastle never stayed.

Rich Wilkerson, Jr., in his book Sandcastle Kings, pulls on those memory strings as he discusses the spiritually bankrupt world that we are living in and the need/desire to meet Jesus. Using four stories from Luke 7 – the centurion’s faith, the resurrection of the widow’s son, Jesus’ message about John the Baptist, and the anointing by the woman with the alabaster jar – guides the reader into taking a closer look at the many ways we build sandcastles that will one day be wiped away by the storms that will come.

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Sermon: Dangerous Hope

This is the sermon I preached at Peakland United Methodist on the first Sunday of Advent. The text was Luke 21:25-28. You can listen on the Podcast app by subscribing here.

Interview: Rich Wilkerson, Jr.

PastorRichJr_Headshot2Rich Wilkerson, Jr. is known for a lot of things. He is a fourth generation Pentecostal pastor. He took a young adult Bible study into being nine weeks into a new church plant. He is the pastor who officiated the wedding of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. He and his wife, DawnCheré, star in the a new reality show, Rich in Faith, on the Oxygen channel. And this week, he adds author to that list.

Wilkerson’s book, Sandcastle Kings, uses four powerful stories from Luke 7 to explain why spiritual fulfillment cannot be found in ourselves, in other people, in material things, or even in organized religion. By examining the stories of the centurion’s faith, the resurrection of the widow’s son, Jesus’ message about John the Baptist, and the anointing by the woman with the alabaster jar, Wilkerson helps the reader take a closer look at all the ways in which we build sand castles that will one day be wiped away by the storm.

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Book Review: I Want to Be Just Like Jesus Storybook

51tPMz-lzlL._SX388_BO1,204,203,200_Just Like Jesus Storybook, Stephen Elkins, Wonder Kids, 2015. 

This is a neat little storybook perfect for toddlers. It has a lightly padded cover, with bright colors on thick, slick pages. It is a book with a very clear purpose: build good character, as shown by Jesus. Never mind Aseop and his fables, we have Jesus to show us what perfect character looks like.

Each section of the book begins with a theme and a related Bible verse. Then, it guides children to consider different aspects of Jesus’ character with the intention of considering how we might be like Jesus. Some of the ways we can be just like Jesus is to be thankful, responsible, kind, and caring.

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Keep Me Near the Cross

I had moved some of my cross necklaces that were hanging on the hook where I hang my alb. They were getting tangled up and just becoming a mess. So I took them down to set them aside until I could come up with a better solution.

The day proceeded on. I left work, went home for lunch, got a haircut. All pretty normal things. I had a meeting with a couple getting married this coming summer and needed to take Baby J with me. We loaded up and got to the office about forty-five minutes before the meeting was scheduled.

In a good mood, Baby J explored my office. Playing with the toys that were there only occasionally. At some point, she discovered the crosses I had earlier that day set aside. One cross, a wooden cross I brought back from Costa Rica one year, became her favorite.

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Sermon: I Have Decided

A sermon I preached on Sunday, September 13, 2015 at Peakland United Methodist. The texts were Proverbs 1:20-22 and Mark 8:27-38.

 

Giveaway: The Biggest Story book

The Biggest StoryThe Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung and with illustrations by Don Clark, has to be one of the coolest things I have seen in some time. The book leads kids and parents on a journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heaven and the new earth.

The story is written with a lightness and causal tone, that makes it perfect not only for children, but adults, as well! (I love a good children’s book as the next kid.) I could see this a great resource for middle school youth ministry, but also a great addition to any adult Bible study.

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Comic Review: Wonder Woman Vol. 7 – War Torn

WWVol7Wonder Woman Vol. 7 collects issues #36-40 and Annual #1 written by Meredith Finch.

The Story (aka from the Publisher)

Please welcome the new superstar creative team of writer Meredith Finch and artist David Finch! As this new epic begins, the fate of the Amazons is about to be revealed, major new characters will be introduced and a new villain will arrive with enough power to defeat the combined might of Wonder Woman and her Justice League teammates! Don’t miss the start of this story that guest stars Swamp Thing! It will define what it takes for Diana to fulfill her destiny as Wonder Woman!

First Thoughts

In this volume, Wonder Woman is torn by an internal war. She is the Queen of her people, she is a founding member of the Justice League, and now she is the God of War. These three identities seem to be pulling her in different directions.

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Sermon: Christian Education Sunday

Below is my sermon from yesterday, on Christian Education Sunday. It is a sermon in rhyme. As requested, the text is provided as well (though I probably have a few commas in the wrong places). If you use the Podcast app, you can listen by subscribing here. 

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Face Planting

Baby J has hit a milestone. She now sits up with very little help, or without her arms extended out for balance. And she is quite proud of herself.

Baby J sit up

Every once and awhile though, she’ll get super excited about this newfound ability and falls face first.

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