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Progressive or Indigestion?

The progressive movement in America was spawned after the Industrial Revolution near the end of the 19th century.  Politicians sought to level the playing field to allow the middle and lower class to compete by sharing the wealth.  Sound familiar?  Today, redistribution of wealth is punishing the richest citizens, trying to convince low information voters that the wealthiest Americans are not paying their fair share.  In reality, these hard working individuals are paying more than enough.   Demonized by the media, this lie has been bought, hook, line and sinker, causing successful businesses to think about leaving this once great country.

Meanwhile, the progressive movement has infringed upon freedom of speech.  A week ago, Tony Dungy was considered the moral authority in the National Football League, a commentator for Football Night in America on NBC.  Former Super Bowl winning coach and author of Uncommon, Dungy has been under attack the last 7 days for giving an honest opinion about Michael Sam, the 7th round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams who came out of the classic prior to the 2014 NFL Draft.  According to the liberal media, you can’t be a Bible believing Christian and objective.  If you read between the lines, the Bible is out of date and being progressive is the dawn of this New Age so if you want to keep your job, shut up.

In the 1970′s, the United States of America was known as the great melting pot, blending nationalities into one nation under God.  Unfortunately, political correctness and the progressive movement is destroying the foundation upon which this country was established.  Why can’t we debate ideas and let the people decide?  May the Holy Spirit fill Tony Dungy with the boldness of the apostles in Acts 4:29.  Pray for him and others who are fighting for the pursuit of life, liberty and the American way.  At the conclusion of this battle, either the progressives will win or indigestion will inspire a nation to rise up and vote progressives out of office.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Unfortunately,  no one knows for sure who first coined the phrase, “don’t quit your day job.”   However, we do know how to interpret this figure of speech.  If you are mediocre at best with a favorite hobby, this term is used to sarcastically warn friends or foes to stick with their current occupation.  Although, if you work nights, hobbies become your day job as individuals attempt to maintain balance in life.

When family members aren’t honest, people will either be crushed, devastated or humiliated.  If you don’t believe me, just watch American Idol, America’s Got Talent or the Voice.  Perhaps, some know they suck, but are simply trying to obtain 15 seconds of fame by making it on television or should I say shame?  Either way you put it, only the most skilled can risk quitting their day job if they truly long to follow their dreams.

As for my current situation, I have the best of both worlds, working at night and pursuing my goal of publishing a book/seeing one of my movies on the big screen.  Nonetheless, I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon since  perfecting my projects is years away.  In the meantime, I am striving to fulfill Ephesians 5:15-16, seizing the hours I have on earth to make my mark.  Therefore, don’t quit your day job until the Lord provides a door for you to walk through.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Mid-Faith Crisis

Hollywood’s depiction of a mid-life crisis doesn’t get much better than the 1991 film City Slickers.  Billy Crystal plays a man in his late 30′s who has lost his joy for life.  Depressed, disappointed and struggling to maintain hope for the future, Crystal is sent away by his wife to find himself during a week in Colorado with his buddies.  Disturbing their trail guide, a chain of events culminates in a mid-faith crisis, a watershed moment for Crystal and his 2 friends.

Beyond the big screen, dysfunctional faith forces individuals to confront life’s problems or ignore them, wishing they will disappear.  Enduring a restless night, hours of reflection revealed a troubled heart.  Some where during the last 5 years, I began to neglect most of the relationships in my life.  Subsequently, I find myself in a mid-faith crisis, not sure where to begin.  As my faith has turned lukewarm, Revelation 3:16, not pleasing to the Lord, its time to start over or like the life lesson in City Slickers, do everything better with Christ’s help.

In times of intense difficulty, its easy to throw up your hands, wave the white flag and withdraw into a shell.   Yet, each crisis provides a crossroad where you will wilt under pressure or trust God in the dark.  This critical moment will dictate your proximity to God.  As one who is approaching 30 years of walking with Jesus, I wish I could say faith gets easier the older you become.  Unfortunately, complications in life prove to serve as obstacles, mountains that prevent you from experiencing genuine faith.  Whenever you approach, face or stand in a valley of despair, remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 21:21-22 to conquer any mid-faith crisis you encounter.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Dying of Thirst

When a body does not possess as much water and fluids as it should, dehydration sets in.  Dehydration can be mild, moderate or severe, life threatening if not replenished with liquids.  According to Men’s Health, there are 6 stages of dehydration, traced by the color of one’s urine.  When exercising in the summer sun, dehydration can lead to symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  In a worst  case scenario, death can occur like the tragedy of Korey Stringer, a former Minnesota Viking who passed away on August 1st, 2001 following an NFL training camp practice.

There are others who are dying of spiritual thirst, unable to find the living water Jesus promises in John 4.  I spent the first 15 years in isolation, using my stuttering as an excuse to avoid intimate relationships.  Whenever you can’t communicate, express your feelings or make an emotional connection with someone, a part of you begins to die inside.  Spiritual dehydration commences once an individual is cut off from meaningful conversation which enriches one’s life.  If this separation continues, souls become cold and numb, on the verge of dying of thirst.

This is where we find a Samaritan woman, who had become a social outcast even among her own people.  After 4 broken relationships, the word on the street wasn’t kind.  Terms such as adulterer, prostitute or whore were likely whispered behind her back.  John 4:7-26 records an interesting conversation between 2 polar opposites between a prophet and someone searching for meaning in life.  Hot and thirsty, Jesus breaks the ice, then changes the topic of conversation from the weather to eternity.  Before the day was over, this lost soul is introduced to living water which quenched her thirst.  May this story quench your spiritual thirst and give you assurance for eternity.

by Jay Mankus

 

Full Disclosure

As I celebrate my 900th post, its time for full disclosure.  When I began this blog back in February of 2012, I wasn’t sure how long I would continue to write.  Previous projects like Soul Improvements, a monthly news letter geared toward ministering to youth pastors, lasted only 3 years, put on hold as I began seminary.  Depending upon how long my next movie script takes to complete, only the Lord knows how long Express Yourself 4 Him will last.  For now I am relying on the Holy Spirit to guide my steps, Galatians 5:25, as I reflect on life and how it relates to God’s Word.

From a personal point of view, I wish I had the energy and more time to interact with my readers.  Especially since I recall the days of writing close to 500 letters per year, spending a majority of my down time with pen and paper.  Although stamps disappeared quickly, social interaction was high on my priority list.  Time, mental fatigue and work has taken its toll on my body.  Perhaps if eating habits improved, my energy level would rise, yet as my wife says often, “you’re not as young as you use to be.”  I pray that as 1000 posts approach, God will revitalize my soul to touch lives with my blog.

Living for Jesus in this age has become a challenge.  Between compromise, the decay of society and sin that is now socially acceptable, right and wrong has been turned upside down.    Subsequently, speaking the truth in love is seen as being narrow minded.  If the church allows the Bible to be replaced as America’s measuring stick, I’m afraid God’s favor will also be removed.  According to Moses in Leviticus 20:22, when God’s decrees and laws are rejected, the land will vomit you out.  In view of this, pray for revival before its too late to turn back from the point of no return.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

 

A King’s Faith

While channel surfing the other night, I stumbled across an interesting movie.  Titled King’s Faith, I was expecting to see a famous king.  Instead, this film featured a high school senior trying to break free from a turbulent past.  Only a king’s faith could rescue him from a gang who didn’t want to let go.

Long before the 2013 film, history recounts king’s whose faith transformed nations.  When citizens doubted God, feared the future or questioned why the wicked prosper, godly leaders provided a source of light during dark moments in time.  Joash, Josiah and Jehoshaphat, kings of Judah, refused to allow the memory of their God to be forgotten.  Moved by the Holy Spirit, a king’s faith enabled countries like America to exist.  Yet, who will stand in the gap today, Ezekiel 22:30, so that future generations may experience the power of a living God?

To experience a king’s faith, one must examine the common attributes shared by prominent leaders.  First, all successful kings had access to discerning individuals either through a prophet or wise council.  Second, godliness is instilled by surrounding yourself in the word of God, meditating on biblical truth.  Finally, calling on the name of the Lord through prayer is an essential ingredient to passing on faith to future generations.  For now, the world is waiting for the next person to display a king’s faith.

by Jay Mankus

A Life Void of Passion

My earliest recollection of passion began in Junior High as friends debated the best music video on MTV, the greatest rock band and favorite sports teams.  In High School, I began to live by the 3 G’s: Girls, Golf and God, fluctuating in order depending upon the timing or season.  By the time college arrived, my interests shifted toward amusement parks, intramural sports and sand volleyball, with the latter dominating most of my summer nights.  When I began my career as a youth pastor, interacting with families, karaoke and water sports consumed most of my time.  As a family man, I have mellowed, spending time listening to music, working on my golf green out back and writing on a daily basis.

Passion is embodied in enthusiasm, excitement and feelings.  Although I still possess hot button issues inside my heart, most of the things I once held dear don’t illicit much of a response any more.  Sure, it would be nice for the Eagles to win a Super Bowl or witness another local team win a championship, but I refuse to place my hope in someone or something that disappoints you 99% of the time.  Likewise, I find it futile to debate music, politics and television shows.  As Solomon once said, “everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun,” Ecclesiastes 2:11, in reference to pleasures on earth.  Perhaps, this may explain why I am currently living a life void of passion.

If you have ever reached this point, emptiness tends to cause you to lose your voice, bored by most of the conversations you hear.  However, when you find a cause worth living for, passion can and will return.  In Acts 4:29, the passion of Jesus Christ prevented the disciples from being shut down.  Rather, the power of the Holy Spirit consumed their souls, not able to forget about the risen Savior who suffered, died and rose again 3 days later.  This is the passion I am missing, lost in translation between the pages of the Bible and putting faith into action.  May the fire of Christ followers burn bright in your region so that lives void of passion will be invigorated by the power of God.

by Jay Mankus

 

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