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Who’s Leading Who?

Over the course of a year, there tends to be a couple of messages, sermons that I can’t avoid.  As conviction lingers, the truth conveyed doesn’t go away.  While laying in bed the other night, one thought kept repeating itself, “who’s leading who?”

When you enter into a new relationship, Romans 10:9-10, priorities should change.  However, if you are use to living a certain way, its hard to adjust or alter your lifestyle.  Although some Christians may talk a good game, yielding control over to Jesus as Lord can be a constant struggle.  Subsequently, some days you do it your way and occasionally you take God’s advice.

The apostle Paul suggests the an internal battle is brewing, Galatians 5:16-18, with sinful desires trying to remain in control.  Meanwhile, these distractions attempt to block your communication with God, Galatians 5:25.  The only way to distinguish God’s still small voice is by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.  The Lord doesn’t force the issue.  Rather, the choice is yours: to live by the Spirit or indulge your fleshly desires.  Who’s leading who?  This answer will be revealed by the fruit that you bear, John 15:7-8.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Act Like You’ve Been There… Or Else

As I begin my final season of coaching baseball, I have a laundry list of items I want to communicate to players and parents.  Since youth often wear their emotions on their sleeves, this game must be separated from life and death as the ebb and flow of wins and losses can be exhausting.  Thus, one must possess the proper perspective to enjoy this moment in time: play by play, inning by inning and game by game.

According to Psalm 35:15-16, poor sports have existed for thousands of years.  David recalled the times in life when his enemies reveled in his blunders, errors and missteps.  Instead of celebrating, laughing and mocking the mistakes of others, perhaps its better to act like you’ve been there.  If you reap what you sow, Galatians 6:7-8, overlooking the failures of others, this will lead to mercy in the future when you fail.

Over time, wins and losses will fade from memories, leaving one thing behind, how did you play the game?  Did you give 100% all the time, did you take plays off or was your effort based upon your feelings?  As the sand in the hour glass slowly slips away, your legacy is in the balance.  Act like you’ve been there before or else you’ll regret the reputation you earned as a poor sport, slacker or worse.  With the slate clean today, turn over a new leaf now while the season is still young.

by Jay Mankus

Stop Pouting and Start Leading

When someone is hurt, ill or sad, its easy to become distracted, absorbed by the painful reality of life.  One of the common reactions is to pout, a visible form of depression by expressing disappointment through your body language.  This pitiful state blinds individuals from those who need you the most, often resulting in isolation and withdraw.  Once you reach this point, its hard to snap out of this mindset.

Since my tubing accident, I guess you can say I lost or wasted the entire month of February.  I feel like I have been bewitched by the sorrow of my circumstances, similar to the church of Galatia who lost sight of faith, Galatians 3:1-5.  In my mental absence, my wife has tried to hold our family together as best as she could.  However, now its time for me to stop pouting and start leading.

“Compromise is the language of the devil,” according to one of Eric Liddell’s mentors in Chariot’s of Fire.  As a parent, if you allow your children to wear you down, compromise will become a way of life.  As my eyes have awoken from my spiritual slumber, its essential for me to lead my kids toward the less traveled road, Matthew 7:13-14.  However, words are meaningless unless I display the way.  Therefore, I need to experience a Chrysalis like the butterfly, 2 Corinthians 5:17, who enters as an inch worm and exits transformed on wings like eagles, Isaiah 40:31.  If people stop pouting and start leading, this generation can be saved one life at a time.

by Jay Mankus

Cracked Mirrors

Before the popular video game, Halo was actually a Christian Metal band from Alabama, named after the acronym Heavenly Angelic Light Orchestra.  Relatively unknown for a decade touring in the south, Halo received national attention in 1991 with their song entitled My Buddy.  This songs illustrates how a son seeks to emulate their father like a mirror.

My buddy sees believing
my buddy sees before
and my buddy is a mirror
hanging on the wall
my buddy sees beside him
and my buddy hears the talk
and my buddy will see Jesus
lead me as i walk

(2nd stanza)

Unfortunately, what children often hear and see from their parents is life altering.   Abuse, abandonment, affairs and hypocrisy are just a few factors which have left cracked mirrors for children to put back together.  According to The Gospel Coalition, divorce rates among Christian families vary depending upon an individual’s dedication to God.  Among those families most devoted to Christ, divorces rates are roughly 20%.  On the other hand, those who relationships with Jesus waver, divorce rates can approach 60%.  According to a former Liberty University case study, the families that pray together stay together with 1 out every 1,024 praying couples divorcing.

Although this number is encouraging, cracked mirrors are swaying high school students to abandon their faith in college.  Several studies are revealing 60% of evangelical students put their faith on hold while attending college and nearly 50% never return to church following graduation.  When parents, myself included, send a mixed message to our children, living a fully devoted life for Jesus doesn’t appear or seem worth their time or energy.  The apostle Paul provides a solution for these shattered mirrors in 1 Corinthians 13:11-12.  Parents must begin to put aside their childish ways and begin to act like mature followers of Christ, Ephesians 5:1-2.  Jesus is the glue which can restore our cracked mirrors.

by Jay Mankus