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Tag Archives: Tentmakers

When Confidence Fades Away

There was a time in my life when I believed that I could do anything.  A few months after graduating from the University of Delaware, I felt like I was missing something.  This emptiness led me to pursue a leadership trade school in Minnesota called Tentmakers.  Following my completion of this youth ministry training in March of 1993, I was equipped with the tools I was previously missing.  This training propelled me to new levels of confidence.  Unfortunately, beginning in 1994 this confidence faded away, never to fully recapture again.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

During my fifteen years of coaching, I’ve seen similar situations occur on the athletic field.  Golf is probably the one sport where confidence is essential.  One day golfers may flirt with shooting par and the next can’t break 50 for 9 holes.  Meanwhile, I’ve seen dominant pitchers be unhittable one day and the next can’t find the strike zone.  Confidence is like fuel that drives individuals.  When it runs out its easy for people to become lost, a shell of who they once were.

For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught, Proverbs 3:26.

There is a term which refers to someone floundering, flopping back and forth without any sense of direction.  This state is often a by product of confidence that fades away.  If you have ever reached this point in life like me, Solomon encourages people to lean on God.  While you may not regain the heights you once obtained, the Lord promises to restore hope to those who have endured the pain of lost confidence.

by Jay Mankus

Friends of Laughter

Unfortunately, I tend to speed through life, rarely taking the time for fun or laughter.  However, every so often the Lord sends someone to give me a different perspective on life.  During a youth ministry trade school called Tentmakers’ in honor of the apostle Paul, I met Otis Phillips, a fun loving individual who faithfully served the Lord.  The energy Otis poured out daily was amazing, yet his greatest asset was causing those around him to laugh.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens, Ecclesiastes 3:1.

One year later, I became close friends with a youth pastor from Ohio.  A kid at heart, Phil taught me to live life to the fullest.  Thus, every Monday afternoon we had lunch in Cincinnati.  Whether it was playing mini-golf, laser tag or video games, Phil helped me forget about life for a couple hours each Monday.  Subsequently, I learned to laugh at my myself, others and began to grasp a peace that surpasses understanding.

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, Ecclesiastes 3:4.

Finally, in the past decade, God brought me Spencer, possessing qualities similar to Otis and Phil.  On earth, life isn’t easy, filled with unexpected twists and turns.  Sometimes the bad sticks around much longer than glimpses of hope that I see momentarily.  However, in the end, its important to find friends of laughter to get you through trials and tribulations in this life.  As 2016 is about to begin, I pray that I can bring joy to others like these 3 friends have brought to me.  Like the classic camp song proclaims, Pass It On!

by Jay Mankus