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Tag Archives: fail

You’ll Never Know Unless You Try

When I was younger, I thought I was better than I actually was.  I would talk smack, emotionally annoy opponents and wouldn’t back down from a confrontation.  Over time I have mellowed, learned the importance of humility and found contentment in my retirement from sports.  Yet, I’m thankful that I wasn’t afraid to fail as a professional golfer.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come, 1 Timothy 4:8.

As I step away from competition, my son James faces a similar dilemma.  Despite being a state champion pole vaulter and 3 time all conference golfer, playing division one sports in college is a whole new ball game.  Thus, he has to decide do I risk embarrassment, humiliation or do I play it safe by avoiding disappointment?  My message to him is you’ll never know unless you try.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Philippians 3:12.

In my first golf mini-tour event, I shot 48 on the front nine, shaking so badly it was hard to swing a club.  I could have hung my head, quit or withdrawn from this competition.  Yet, I battled, birdieing the 10th, finding my rhythm on the back nine.  I never made any money nor did I reach the P.G.A. tour, but I walked away from this game knowing I did everything in my power to succeed.  Thus, whether you are my son, a friend or a stranger I meet along the road called life, you’ll never know your ultimate destiny unless you try by utilizing your God given talents.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Developing a Faith like That

After a series of disappointments, Jesus takes an inventory of his twelve disciples, wondering if they will ever get it.  Cutting directly to the point, Jesus asks “who do you say that I am?”  Despite previous and future blunders, Simon Peter get’s it right this time, “Son of the living God.”  While the timing was right, Jesus unveils the future, what will happen and by whom He will endure suffering.  From one moment of greatness to the gutter, Peter tries to privately rebuke Jesus.  Instead the tables are turned as Peter begins to think like the devil.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns,” Mark 8:33.

In the passage which follows, Jesus lays out a three step plan for developing a genuine faith which takes into consideration the mind of God.  After nearly three full years with Jesus, the disciples struggled to break free from human concerns.

1. Deny Yourself: Take on the very nature of a servant, placing the needs of others above yourself.

2. Take Up Your Cross: Set out on ascertaining what God’s will is and make this your calling in life.

3. Follow Christ: Through prayer, study of the Bible and worship, follow in the foot steps of Jesus.

I’m not sure who first said the mind is a terrible thing to waste, yet this also applies to faith.  Christians can do the right thing, say the right thing and worship in an ideal church, but still fail miserably in their faith.  Like any competition, if you don’t play a complete game, it only takes one bad stretch to blow it.  Therefore, as you wrestle with balancing necessary human concerns, may you take Jesus’ advice in Mark 8:34 and develop into a faith like Christ.

by Jay Mankus

When You Misread Signs from God

Somewhere along the way, I picked up a belief that God immediately punishes individuals for their sins.  Perhaps, I heard too many sermons on the wrath of God from the Old Testament growing up.  Subsequently, I began to read too much into daily events, as if I knew why good or bad things were happening to me.  Fortunately, I’m not the only one who struggles to understand God.

“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” – Mark 8:15

One day while traveling across the countryside, the disciples forgot to bring their usual allotment of bread for their trip.  As soon as this was brought to Jesus’ attention, He began to warn the disciples.  Thinking Jesus was mad at them for forgetting the bread, each misread what the Lord was trying to say.  Instead of seeing the big picture, the twelve disciples were blinded by a narrow view of this world.

Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? – Mark 8:18

A day earlier, Jesus had fed thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish.  Focused on whose fault it was, forgetting the bread, each disciple failed to see that Jesus was and is the Bread of Life.  The yeast of the Pharisees is cynicism from human beings who try to discredit Jesus’ miracles.  Therefore, if you begin to live by sight and not by faith, you too may soon misread signs from God.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Brain Fart Caught on Camera

With millions of America engrossed in the finish of Super Bowl XLIX, one of the most incredible catches of all time will be forever vacated by a brain fart caught on camera.  With the New England Patriots clinging to a 28-24, Seahawk receiver Jermaine Kearse went up for a 45 yard pass on 3rd and 10 which was deflected and bounced off his knee before reeling in Russell Wilson’s pass while on his back.  After Marshawn Lynch advanced the football to the 1 yard line, Seattle was less than 3 feet from repeating as NFL champions.  As television commentators were considering whether or not New England should allow Seattle to score, Seattle’s play caller had a brain fart, failing to give the ball to their best option.  Instead a 2nd down pass was intercepted, leaving most football fans in shock, with Patriots fans thanking God for this bizarre ending.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Beyond the field of competition, brain farts are a daily reality, especially for those who must make tough decisions.  When faced with pressure or under duress, the human mind may not function properly.  Stress tends to alter one’s ability to make quick judgments.  Perhaps an overwhelming disappointment early on in life may cause some to avoid seeking positions of leadership, afraid to fail.  Known as gun shy, this may explain what happened in the final minute of this year’s Super  Bowl.  Somewhere during the 40 seconds between plays, doubt, hesitation or uncertainty cost a franchise a title.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus – Philippians 4:7.

Unfortunately, the media will likely ridicule this decision for years to come.  Some may even call it the worst decisions in Super Bowl history.  However, in the grand scheme of life, this is just a game that men get paid to play.  Thus, the costliest brain farts occur in the real world, where one bad choice has consequences.  Once the emotion of victories and losses fade, make sure that you don’t fall into a pattern of neglect.  Just ask Aaron Hernandez, a former New England Patriot, who is now on trial for double murder.  Regardless of your current mood, may the Lord give you a peace that surpasses all understanding to press on after any brain fart moment that you have to endure.

by Jay Mankus

 

Overwhelmed by Priorities

Every day when I arise from sleep, my mind is overwhelmed by the choices at hand.  Do I read?  Should I write?  Perhaps I need to work out?  Maybe hitting the snooze button and rolling over is my best option.  Either way, the choices you make will dictate the path your life takes.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Luke 12:34

Like most years, my New Years Resolutions are being modified as desires to lose weight, eat healthy and draw closer to God have fallen short.  Sometimes I feel as if I am in a tug of war, pulled in a direction I don’t want to go, yet over time I submit, dragged to a new low.  By enduring these trials, I am beginning to comprehend the words of the apostle Paul as he explains how the sinful nature can influence one’s priorities.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. – Romans 7:15

When Jeremiah opened his mouth to Israel, negative messages usually came forth.  Thus, this servant of God was nicknamed the weeping prophet.  If you too feel depressed, frustrated or lost, there are some promises in the Bible to cling to.  Lamentations 3:20-24 suggests God’s forgiveness is new every morning.  Therefore, if you fail to keep the priorities that you hold dear, may God’s grace lift you up each time you fall.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Blinded by Loyalty

Superman had kryptonite, Samson Delilah and for many coaches, loyalty blinds them from helping their team reach their full potential.  From the sidelines, I’ve seen professionals fail to win a title by filling in their rosters with their guys, not the most talented ones.  Meanwhile, travel ball squads often finalize the team with coaches kids, forgoing success to make everyone’s parents feel better.

Like a student experiencing their first bout of puppy dog love, you can’t get through to these individuals until its too late.  Developing an affection, attachment or devotion is natural, yet seeing the big picture isn’t always possible.  The blinding forces of love make it hard to think straight, especially when an outsider points out certain flaws.  Out of loyalty, feelings prevent most from making the best decisions for the greater good of a team.

In life, sometimes you have to take chances even if it means ruffling feathers.  While you may not change the minds of those in charge, if you remain silent you are committing a sin of omission.  If things go bad, you might even lose friendships.  Nonetheless, if you want those you care about to reach their full potential, don’t be afraid to expose anyone blinded by loyalty.

by Jay Mankus

 

Words of Healing

When someone is down in the dumps, its hard to break through the shell holding in their misery.  Good intentions, kind words and loving attempts don’t always work to uplift downcast spirits.  Nonetheless, when all else fails, there is one source that provides words of healing, Psalm 107:20.

Growing up, I often experienced a wide range of emotions.  On the good days, I could lift others up, elevating their moods to my level.  Meanwhile, if depressed, I made sure no one had a smile on their face, bringing whoever I could down into my pit of despair.  Only a couple friends developed a few tricks to snap me out of these gloomy states.

Today, I have learned to become more self-reliant.  Not in my own abilities.  Rather, I trust in the power of God’s Word to infuse my soul with the strength to carry on, Isaiah 40:31.   Therefore, if you’re having a bad day, feeling hopeless or stuck in a rut, open up the Bible today to find words of healing, Matthew 11:28-30.

by Jay Mankus