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Words that Elevate Faith

In the early 1980’s, Bill McCartney was an ordinary college football coach at the University of Colorado.  Following a breakthrough, McCartney realized that he couldn’t treat each player the same.  To get the most out of his team, some athletes were challenged, others provided with words of encouragement and an occasion, a hug to elevate their psyche.  This communication style lifted the Buffalo’s to the 1990 National Championship.  Later on that same year, God inspired McCartney to found Promises Keepers, a ministry to strengthen the faith of married men.

“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes,” Mark 9:23.

When the disciples vowed to heal a father’s son, he hoped healing would come soon.  Unfortunately, these novice healers weren’t able to improve this boy’s situation, powerless against the strong demonic forces within this child.  As Jesus approached some Pharisees speaking with his disciples, He was likely shaking his head in disappointment.  Like a doctor examining a patient, Jesus asks the father for a brief history of his son’s condition.  Following their discussion, Jesus recognized the need for prayer mixed with words that might elevate the faith of this boy’s father.

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”- Mark 9:24

If you read in between the lines, belief or lack there of is a contributing factor to one’s faith.  Those who have never been exposed to healing, miracles or a supernatural event will likely doubt the presence of a higher, supreme being.  Yet, it only takes one encounter, experience or positive influence to ignite the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, don’t listen to the naysayers, negative voices and pessimistic chatter which abounds.  Rather, walk as Jesus did and inspire others like Coach McCartney so that the words that come out of your mouth will elevate the faith of those around you.

by Jay Mankus

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Starving for Conversation

Everyone has their own warts, imperfections that prevent people from achieving peace and prosperity.  For me, my greatest weakness is the inability to slow down to enjoy, indulge or relax by conversing with co-workers, family and neighbors.  Thus, by the end of the day or week, I often find myself starving for conversation.

While a youth pastor in Indiana, I spent 50 hours a week minimum interacting with youth, parents and church staff.  Since my job description involved investing in relationships, I spent countless hours reclining, sharing and walking with a wide range of personalities.  Whether I was tubing in a lake, attending a sporting event or sitting on a dock having an impromptu Bible Study, these were my best years, bringing out my God given talents.

Now twenty years later, its time to reinvent myself as I hunger and thirst for meaningful conversations.  Starting with the beatitudes appears to be a logical starting place, Matthew 5:3-12, encouraging individuals to be listeners first.  From here, the apostle Paul provides good advice in Colossians 4:2-5, adding flavor to the conversations you encounter.  Perhaps, by applying these biblical principles, I will be content, satisfied by future conversations.

What advice do you have for others searching for fulfilling conversations?

by Jay Mankus