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Tag Archives: sharing

Behind Closed Doors

With the advent of twitter, overreaction has a voice, tweeting out emotions, opinions and rage.  Subsequently, there is a growing fear among citizens of telling others how you really feel.  To guard against the next media frenzy, the truth is often found off the record, behind closed doors.

Growing up in the 1980’s, I was taught not to be afraid of letting others know who you are.  Nonetheless, deep inside there were whispers, “what if people don’t like me?”  Fueled by peer pressure, I blended into my environment, letting my guard down only when the timing felt right.  Except for a few friends, my faith was hidden behind closed doors.

One of the most difficult passages of the Bible to comprehend is Matthew 10:32-39.  Jesus is about to send his disciples out into the world for the first time.  As the Lord goes over a list of expectations, the words of this passage sends a wave of conviction, crashing over my soul.  Essentially, if anyone is ashamed of their faith, they will be left behind closed doors.  In view of this fact, open the door to your heart by sharing your faith today.

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

What’s In Your Lunch Box?

Before the invention of insulated lunch bags, kids brought decorative lunch boxes to school with their favorite cartoon characters or television show on the outside and thermos. Meanwhile, adults brought coolers or metal containers which resembled a toolbox to their workplace. Although teasing did occur on some levels within society, what’s was in your lunch box is what got people’s attention.

In the days of Jesus, one of his disciples claimed he performed so many miracles on a daily basis that if each one was written down, there would not be enough library books in the world to cover them, John 21:25.  Of the miracles of Jesus recorded in the Bible, only one appears in all 4 gospels, the feeding of the 5000.  Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:32-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-13 detail this supernatural experience.  While there are many theories why God chose this particular event to be covered by all 4 authors, the answer lies in the lunch box of a poor young boy.

Luke, a physician who accompanied the apostle Paul on some of his mission trips, explains the dire situation leading up to Jesus’ miracle, over 5000 people are in a remote place without any access to food, Luke 9:12-13.  Meanwhile, only one disciple records the source of their food, a young boy who offered his small lunch: 5 wafers and 2 sardines, John 6:9.  In view of this information, most of the disciples likely shared Philip’s sentiments in John 6:7, “no way Jesus, we don’t have the time or money to help these starving people!”  Andrew, the brother of Peter, made a suggestion, yet even he had his doubts, John 6:9.

Today, millions of people worldwide are in desperate need of a miracle, either in the form of clothing, food or shelter.  Others are still searching for a full time job to provide for their family, humbling themselves to do whatever it takes to survive.  In the end, all Jesus is looking for in people is faith like a mustard seed, Mark 4:30-32.  May you step out in faith, like this little poor boy, sharing his lunch with thousands, setting the scene for a memorable miracle from God.

Feel free to comment below, sharing what miracle you are hoping, longing and praying for.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Place That Will Change Your Life Forever

On earth, travel agencies will try to convince clients of a sweet deal, hidden gem or destination that will change your life.  As spring approaches, television commercials will display eye popping images as states hope your summer plans include a family vacation to one their resorts.  While memories can be forever etched into your mind, the thought of work quickly snaps individuals back to reality, ending any memorable getaway.

From a spiritual perspective, people may recall the place they got baptized, the church they were married in or a retreat center where they met God for the first time.  Inside a sanctuary, family’s tend to gravitate toward their favorite pew, stare at magnificent stain glass windows or recall taking their first communion.  According to Exodus 29:37, the altar made for the Tent of Meeting possessed supernatural powers, making those priests who touched it holy.  While not the Tent of Meeting, the altar at a church in Friendship, Maryland changed my life forever.

During my senior year of college, I was asked to serve on a Lay Witness Mission team for a church seeking to revive its congregation.  My role was to be a small group leader for the youth group and its college students, sharing how God had made a difference in my life.  Usually, one of the leaders was asked to share part of their faith journey, a snapshot of their life.  On Saturday night, our leader Ken told me that I would be speaking to the entire congregation Sunday morning.  Caught off guard, my initial instinct was fear, pondering, “how can someone who stutters speak for 15 minutes?”

Subsequently, I was led to pray, asking the Holy Spirit and my roommate to clue me in on what God wanted me to say to several hundred strangers.  Tossing and turning, I was reminded of a song that I brought, called The Altar.  Studying the lyrics in my mind, a vision for my first sermon was conceived, drifting me off into a peaceful sleep.  As I made my closing remarks, I gave an altar call, inviting anyone who was touched by the Holy Spirit to come to the altar while I played Ray Boltz’s song.

To my amazement, one college student literally ran to the altar as soon as the song began.  Others quickly, followed, filling up the semi-circle shaped altar in front of the pulpit.  When the music ended, people were standing in line, waiting to kneel at the altar.  Elders and leaders of the church began to lay hands on those crying, quietly whispering words up to heaven on their behalf.  As I joined the congregation following my message, the senior pastor shared a few words, summarizing these amazing events of this 3 day event, encouraging people to continue lay their burdens up to Jesus at the altar, Matthew 11:28.  On earth, there are countless wonders of the world, but for me, I will never forget this day when lives were changed forever at the altar.

by Jay Mankus