Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: Virginia Conference

YouTubevotional: Disciples are Lifelong Learners

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

Bishop Sharma Lewis casts a vision for the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in June. The vision states, “A disciple of Jesus Christ is a lifelong learner who influences others to serve.” In this 3-minute Stir video, Bishop Lewis talks about what it means to be a lifelong learner.

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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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Praying in the Woods

I left the house, most likely barefoot, and started walking through the woods. There was a path that had been worn in the dirt from all the other times I had walked this path. It is what I did when I needed to clear my head, ponder something, or escape from the stressors of teenage life. I would later have the epiphany that what was really happening was prayer. I was communing with the Creator.

There was an old stump by the creek where I would go and sit and think . . . . .I mean, pray.

Source: http://www.wildfrogphotography.com

Source: http://www.wildfrogphotography.com

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Day of Prayer Confession

In the Virginia Conference, today (Pentecost Sunday) is a Day of Prayer. Bishop Cho has asked the churches to be in prayer for renewal and revival for the church.  I tailored the prayer of confession in today’s traditional services for the occasion:

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Merciful God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart. We have failed to be an obedient church. We have not done your will, we have done harm when we should have done good. We have not stayed in love with you. We have not loved our neighbors, and we have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive us. Renew us. Free us to be the church you have called us to be. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, transform us and shape us so that we may make disciples for the transformation of the world.

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Deacon’s Call: Barbara Ward

I’ve been collecting call stories from my friends who are serving in diaconal ministries – ministries of service – expressed in the United Methodist Church through the provisional and ordained deacon, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and home missioners.  In this post you will hear from Barbara Ward who is an ordained deacon, retired, in the Virginia Annual Conference.  Here are Barbara’s words: 

Standing before the Bishop to be ordained as one of the first Virginia Conference Deacons in Full Connection was, for me, the answer to an impossible dream.

I was just sixteen years old when I received a calling to ministry. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I sat alone in the choir loft of my church, waiting for others to arrive for the Youth Choir Rehearsal. I was gazing idly at the empty church balcony when I was drawn to what looked vaguely like a blue cloud.

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