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Engaging insights and educational musings to guide and inspire you on your journey from the scholars and thinkers at the JourneyWise network.

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Our Comfort in Mourning
Dr. Shane Stanford

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Advent

Christmas

Lent

Easter

Health & Wellness

Bible Reading

Faith

Joy

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Advent

Advent: The Gift of the Unexpected

Advent: The Gift of the Unexpected

I love Christmas because it is about surprises! We sneak around and buy gifts, then we wrap them and place them under our Christmas trees. There is still a little kid in most of us. Have you ever gotten one of those gifts that totally caught you off guard? Have you ever given a gift that you could hardly keep secret because you knew the person opening it would be so surprised? There is so much joy in watching someone receive a gift they never expected.

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Christmas

Epiphany of Epiphany

Epiphany of Epiphany

I was asked to write this article on Epiphany by Chip, and in all honestly my first question was, “Chip… what is Epiphany?” You see, most of the great folks I work with have a Methodist or Anglican background. I, on the other hand, have a Baptist background, and we Baptists don’t celebrate Epiphany. When I asked Nicolet, “What is Epiphany?” she laughed and said, “Chip probably doesn’t remember you’re a Baptist.”

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Unpacking The Nativity for Every Day

Unpacking The Nativity for Every Day

     Charles Dickens was on to something when, in his novel A Christmas Carol, he described humanity’s journey through the lenses of past, present, and future. The hero (begun as the villain) of the story was Ebenezer Scrooge — a prominent, self-centered, greedy old man. Scrooge despised good cheer and celebrations like Christmas because he had long forgotten the winding roads of his own journey. In doing so, he left behind the avenues of fond memories, lost loves, and compassion for his fellow human beings. You know how the story goes, as Scrooge’s descent into a broken life engaged the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come. Through some not-so-pleasant windows into Scrooge’s life, the spirits convinced him that he needed to change, and motivated his transformation.

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Twelve Days

Twelve Days

I was having a conversation with a young(ish) pastor about a book the other day, and he mentioned that he and his family were “wrapping up the twelve days of Christmas.” I just looked at him. “Um… how can you be wrapping up the twelve days of Christmas, when they haven’t started yet?” He told me he thought it started on December 13, and wrapped up on the 25th, and didn’t really believe me when I told him the season starts on Christmas morning, and ends on Twelfthnight (January 6). It’s what is called “Christmastide,” and is a celebration that begins with the birth of Jesus and end on Epiphany, the day we celebrate the three kings arriving to meet the baby Jesus. My background is in medieval church history, and I think there are rich Christian traditions surrounding the holiday season that are often overlooked or forgotten. So, just in case you weren’t clear on your church history, I thought it would be good to talk about Christmastide.

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Lent

Our Comfort in Mourning

Our Comfort in Mourning

As Advent is a season to prepare for the coming of Jesus, Lent is a time to face the reality of death in the world as we look forward to the resurrection power brought to us on Easter. As we sit with the brokenness, death, and suffering we see around us, we can learn from Jesus who took our mourning seriously.

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Easter

Our Comfort in Mourning

Our Comfort in Mourning

As Advent is a season to prepare for the coming of Jesus, Lent is a time to face the reality of death in the world as we look forward to the resurrection power brought to us on Easter. As we sit with the brokenness, death, and suffering we see around us, we can learn from Jesus who took our mourning seriously.

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Health and Wellness

Practice Makes Progress, Jesus Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Progress, Jesus Makes Perfect

So here it is again, a new year-January, 2023. And with the new year all of us are faced with that daunting task of trying to make this a better year than the previous one both for ourselves and for those around us. That usually entails something like New Year’s resolutions. We know they are needed, we know we probably won’t keep them and yet we keep making them. So what is the problem? Is it that we make poor resolutions or that we are just pitiful people and cannot do the right thing no matter how hard we try?

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Bible Reading

Cultural Differentiation

Cultural Differentiation

In Daniel 3, every but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego bow down and worship the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. These three men refused to bow down, even though it came on penalty of death (though we know that the Lord delivered them from Nebuchadnezzar’s hand).

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He Meets Us Where We Are

He Meets Us Where We Are

When we receive something from someone without seeing our need for it, we tend to be less grateful toward them. We don’t take the gift seriously, and it doesn’t affect our lives as much. A similar result can happen in our relationship with Jesus. He meets us where we are, but if we aren’t in a place where we recognize our need for Him, we can easily brush Him off.

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Are You Ready for Real Methodism?

Are You Ready for Real Methodism?

Have you ever wondered what it means to be a Methodist, really? Or, maybe you’ve wondered if there is really a core of essential content to Methodism? Maybe it is just the church you go to if you get married and he’s Baptist and she’s Roman Catholic. You know, the compromise church. Or maybe some of you know recent Methodism too well and you see it not as the compromise church but as the compromised church.

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Faith

Cultural Differentiation

Cultural Differentiation

In Daniel 3, every but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego bow down and worship the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. These three men refused to bow down, even though it came on penalty of death (though we know that the Lord delivered them from Nebuchadnezzar’s hand).

read more
Are You Ready for Real Methodism?

Are You Ready for Real Methodism?

Have you ever wondered what it means to be a Methodist, really? Or, maybe you’ve wondered if there is really a core of essential content to Methodism? Maybe it is just the church you go to if you get married and he’s Baptist and she’s Roman Catholic. You know, the compromise church. Or maybe some of you know recent Methodism too well and you see it not as the compromise church but as the compromised church.

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Joy

Have a Cup of Cheer

Have a Cup of Cheer

“WOOOOWWWW!” I hear for the 100th time followed by pitter-patter feet as my little girl races towards the Christmas tree. She never gets tired of it. Time after time, we come down the stairs, we round the corner, and her reaction is the same:

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Love Jesus

He Meets Us Where We Are

He Meets Us Where We Are

When we receive something from someone without seeing our need for it, we tend to be less grateful toward them. We don’t take the gift seriously, and it doesn’t affect our lives as much. A similar result can happen in our relationship with Jesus. He meets us where we are, but if we aren’t in a place where we recognize our need for Him, we can easily brush Him off.

read more
Are You Ready for Real Methodism?

Are You Ready for Real Methodism?

Have you ever wondered what it means to be a Methodist, really? Or, maybe you’ve wondered if there is really a core of essential content to Methodism? Maybe it is just the church you go to if you get married and he’s Baptist and she’s Roman Catholic. You know, the compromise church. Or maybe some of you know recent Methodism too well and you see it not as the compromise church but as the compromised church.

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What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

His arrival astonished our human expectations. Matthew describes it in this way: “‘They will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:23). God came to earth in Jesus Christ to be with us. We have the privilege of traveling through life with the greatest Teacher, Friend, and Savior we could ever know.

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Grief

Our Comfort in Mourning

Our Comfort in Mourning

As Advent is a season to prepare for the coming of Jesus, Lent is a time to face the reality of death in the world as we look forward to the resurrection power brought to us on Easter. As we sit with the brokenness, death, and suffering we see around us, we can learn from Jesus who took our mourning seriously.

read more

Press Releases

He Meets Us Where We Are

He Meets Us Where We Are

When we receive something from someone without seeing our need for it, we tend to be less grateful toward them. We don’t take the gift seriously, and it doesn’t affect our lives as much. A similar result can happen in our relationship with Jesus. He meets us where we are, but if we aren’t in a place where we recognize our need for Him, we can easily brush Him off.

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How to Pray for Healing

How to Pray for Healing

How should we engage healing prayer? Approaching any type of prayer involves recognizing the comforting reality that Jesus is already interceding on our behalf. This revelation alleviates the pressure of our prayers, our role is similar to a child assisting parents with household chores. What’s truly remarkable is that our imperfect prayers are joined with Jesus’s flawless ones. This connection is rooted in the joy of the gospel, where we exist in Him, and He resides in us, eliminating the need to impress or convince God. Rather than proving ourselves, we align our minds, hearts, and wills with Jesus, who is actively interceding with the Father. It’s a reminder that the Spirit of Christ dwells within us, supporting us as we embark on the journey of prayer.

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