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Tag Archives: talk

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

Lifting Up Friends

starbucks coffee photo: starbucks-coffee starbucks-coffee.jpg

On Friday, I met a good friend for coffee for nearly 2 hours.  Though I tend not to be a big talker, God compelled me to respond to his questions.  While I may not have eased his concerns, deep within my soul came an urge to lift up this friend up in prayer.  Therefore, I took a few moments before I began working, asking the Lord to bring a glimmer of hope to the uncertainty within his mind.  A few hours later, I received a text which  revealed an open door, a potential full time position and free college tuition for his 2 children.

Listening to Casting Crowns after an 11 hour shift brought this idea to light, lifting up friends in prayer,  The lyrics of their song, Prayer for a Friend is a simple remember of what asking God for something in Jesus’ name can do, John 14:13-14.  The skeptic will say, “its just a coincidence, mere chance that your friend received good news.”  Yet, this is the second time in a month that God moved in a matter of hours after meeting together.  Any way you attempt to explain this, lifting up friends in prayer is one of the few remaining solutions to turn your life or a friend’s around.

The last 2 years has been a struggle for me and my family on numerous levels.  When you and your spouse lose your dream jobs, most of your friends through a church split and are left with an ever increasing financial crunch, doubt, helplessness and frustration blew in like a spring storm.  After the bitterness, complaining and whining cease, lifting up my wife and kids in prayer is my only option.  Thus, while pain and regret still exist, its time to fall down on my knees, look up to heaven and cry out to God, lifting up to my best friend to the One who can alter our future.  In Christ alone, help is on the way, Philippians 4:13.  Call on Him today!

by Jay Mankus

It Doesn’t Mean A Thing!

This generation of Americans like to talk, boasting about their own greatness, often stretching the truth beyond reality.  Athletes tend to trash talk.  Students seek to publicly display their knowledge.  Socialites enjoy shooting the breeze.  Yet, words don’t mean a thing, unless others see you serving Christ the King!

Meanwhile, modern churches are gravitating toward theology.  In an honest attempt to maintain biblical accuracy, some are falling prey to paralysis by over-analysis.  Flaunting their intelligence, church leaders are missing the mark set by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40 and the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:6.  Likewise, theology doesn’t mean a thing unless the love of Jesus is in the tune you sing.

The apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 is a message many church goers are overlooking.  Sure, you should understand the context of the Bible.  Yes, theology is important to preserve the correct interpretation of God’s Word.  However, the world continues to be turned off by Christians who misrepresent followers of God.  Thus, love doesn’t mean a thing, unless action is seen, not spoken.  Shine the light of the king today, Matthew 5:13!

by Jay Mankus

God’s Open Door Policy

The term “Open Door Policy” was adopted in 1899 by the United States in circular notes dispatched by the Secretary State John Hay.  These letters were sent to Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia addressing the need for the protection of equal privileges among countries trading with China.  Today, open door policy’s refer to management who is willing to discuss, listen and talk with employees about their concerns, frustrations and problems.

While stereotypes about God include fire, brimstone and striking people down for sinning, Psalm 24 reveals a far different picture.  Psalm 24:7 suggests that people, not God are closing their doors.  If Israel would just open their gates to Jerusalem and keep their doors ajar, the King of Glory wishes to enter.  Two verses later, David repeats himself with the identical words, “Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in,” Psalm 24:9.

Jesus recounts a similar open door policy in Revelation 3:20.  According to John, who quotes Jesus, a door is separating people from seeing Jesus face to face.  Unlike a typical door, this door contains only one handle which is on our side.  Jesus is on the other side, patiently knocking, waiting for you and me to let Him in.  However, Jesus don’t does not force himself until our lives.  Freewill is the difference between an open or shut door.  Therefore, if you want to experience God’s open door policy today, Jesus is waiting for you to let him in so that your relationship may begin, Romans 10:9-10.

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