Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: Light (page 1 of 2)

YouTubevotional: We Three Kings

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

Do you remember the Claymation Christmas special? It was aired in 1987 and won an Emmy. In celebration of Epiphany, this YouTubevotional includes their version of the hymn “We Three Kings.”

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Giveaway: Jeremy Camp CD

Jeremy Camp, the Indiana-born Christian artist, has released a new album, The AnswerThe album as a whole seems to be ordained for such a time as this. With the brokenness and darkness, we see in the world on a daily basis, a message of hope and light is needed.

And a reminder that Jesus is the answer.

In the title track, ‘The Answer,” Camp speaks to the questions, hurt and pain that is in our own lives and in the world today. If you watch the official video you will meet individuals who have gone through darkness and pain in their lives and have found light and joy, including Camp himself. The message of the song is clear, Jesus is the answer to the questions of life.

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YouTubevotional: Justice

scale_3960cYouTubevotionals 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

The word “justice” is being used a lot lately. We use the phrase “justice for all,” but what does that mean? For some, justice is building a wall. For others, justice is tearing down walls. The way we understand justice too often finds itself in alignment with our politics and not our faith. “What does the Lord require?” the prophet Micah asked.

The answer? “To do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”

aJustATL is a non-profit, multi-platform social media campaign to connect Atlantans with various non-projects in the city. On their YouTube channel, they ask Atlantans, “What does justice mean to you?”

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Light

the light pours into the dark room.

it illuminates only a small space.

but it is enough to cast away the darkness.

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Guest Post: Hope in the Darkness

by Lauren Wright

washing_3262c-2Read Psalm 31:9-16.

When I was in 4th grade, I desperately wanted a guinea pig for Christmas. Being the clever child that I was, I decided that I would name my guinea pig “Hope,” because it was what I “hoped” I got for Christmas. Clearly I didn’t think this through, because I ended up with a male guinea pig named Hope…! At the time, I thought that hope meant wanting something badly. I thought that hope was about wishing and dreaming.

This passage really speaks to the true meanings of hope and trust. The psalmist illustrates the dichotomy of trust and hope with rejection and despair. This passage begins with descriptions of the pain and suffering that the psalmist is facing. Phrases like ‘I am the scorn of my adversaries, the horror of all my neighbors’ speak to this rejection from all in the community, and the isolation and loneliness that follows.

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The Grey-Sloan Memorial Chapel

I, like many other clergy, did a semester of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). It is a requirement for ordination. A few summers ago I completed mine at the University of Virginia. There, like in many hospitals, is a small chapel. I spent a lot of time in that chapel. Praying for certain patients that I had met; sitting in the silence if only for a few seconds; praying with loved ones who were struggling with what was happening.

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Sermon: Children of the Light

The sermon I preached at Peakland United Methodist on Sunday, January 4, 2015.

Quote: Advent Reminder

Advent Quote

All Hope is Gone

the Light that had been sent to the earth was growing dim
love had been replaced with hate
peace replaced with war
the Light had been arrested and dragged away into the night
betrayed by a kiss
but the Light would not go out
the chains rattled as the Light was pushed and kicked
the Light was declared guilty
the people who were loved by the Light cried for the Light to be extinguished
those who loved and followed the Light denied ever knowing the Light
their hearts were filled with the darkness of fear
but the Light would not go out
insults and salvia were hurled at the Light
the Light was flogged and beaten
forced to hike the hill called calvary
mocked and stripped, the Light was left with very little
expect love for those who hated
but the Light would not go out
the Light is finally nailed in place, keeping it from spreading
the banging of the hammer causes the Light to flicker
pierced in the side, the Light continues to dim
until finally, the Light does out
and there is only darkness
and all hope is gone

Guest Post: The Revealing Light

by J. Alan Sharrer

Read Ephesians 5:6-14.

Key Verse: “You used to be like people living in the dark, now you are people of the light because you belong to the Lord. So act like people of the light and make your light shine.” (Ephesians 5:8-9a)

Lent Ponderings - jasoncstanley.comOne feature of the smartphone that has come in handy more times than I can count (besides actually using it to, you know, call someone) has been the flashlight function. It seems pretty basic, but when a situation has arisen where I’ve needed a a boost of light, the app has never failed to disappoint me. Sometimes I’ve needed to make sure the path our family is walking on is clear of any upcoming obstructions. Sometimes I’ve had to retrieve a lost pacifier in a pitch black room without waking up sleeping children. Sometimes I’ve successfully navigated through the house at 3 AM without stubbing my toe on a building block or door jamb only because I picked up my phone and turned on the flashlight app.

Light is a powerful thing–so powerful, in fact, that it can sweep away darkness and direct people in the way they need to go (think of a lighthouse). Jesus told a large gathering, to this effect, “You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

It’s very easy to look around us as we shine the light of Jesus and notice the never-ending parade of lewdness, depravity, and sin that threatens to consume everything it gets near.

But we need to stop and consider something else with our flashlight first.

Ourselves.

In today’s reading, Paul shares a sobering reminder that we all were once in the darkness, kept away from God due to our sin. But Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection changed all that. As a result, our faith in him transformed us into “people of the light” (v. 8). In order to shine, however, we’re encouraged to be five things in the passage–good, honest, truthful, non-partakers of evil deeds, and exposers of the darkness (vs. 9-11). To do these, we need to consider our own hearts. We might be honest in the big things of life, but what about the small things, like being undercharged at a restaurant? When a friend asks us how we’re doing and we respond with “Good,” are we telling the honest truth? Are we one way in public life yet harbor a secret life that, if found out, would surprise, shock, and shame those close to us?

Take some time today to consider these questions and ask God to take his flashlight and shine it on you.  By confessing and asking forgiveness, those areas of darkness can be eliminated so you can be better used for his glory.

When the flashlight shines on us, may we be found full of Jesus’ light and love, ready to reflect it for the world to see.

J. Alan Sharrer is a Senior Writer at HollywoodJesus.com.

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