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S.A.N.S. Episode 189: Lead Me

During a five-year stretch, I served on a security team for Christian concerts at Red Lion. The David Crowder Band and the News Boys were the headliners that our church hosted. However, one of the lesser-known bands at who opened for the News Boys was Sanctus Real. While I was busy at my security check point, a friend told me about their testimony shared on stage about battling with stuttering.

 Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity, 1 Timothy 4:12.

Sanctus Real’s song Lead Me reminds me of a message passed on to a first century preacher. Age shouldn’t be used as an excuse to not lead others. Rather, leadership involves emulating the life, speech and faith of Jesus Christ. The lyrics of Lead Me talk about reflecting upon what’s going on inside of you. Things may look okay externally, but leading starts by being transformed from within.

by Jay Mankus

From the Passion of the Christ to Apologists for Criminals

In the years following the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, a large portion of the United States turned to God for answers. Church attendance hit records highs the Sunday after 9/11 and films like the Passion of the Christ sparked a mini revival in 2004. A generation of Christians were motivated to emulate the faith and life of Jesus. Unfortunately, sometime in the past 20 years our culture has turned away from truth and justice to cuddle and embrace repeat criminals.

Mary took a pound of ointment of pure liquid nard [a rare perfume] that was very expensive, and she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, the one of His disciples who was about to betray Him, said, Why was this perfume not sold for 300 denarii [a year’s wages for an ordinary workman] and that [money] given to the poor (the destitute)? – John 12:3-5

Billionaire George Soros recently vowed to continue to financially support district attorneys who are soft on crime. Despite recent spikes in crimes and murders national wide, Soros said,“I have no intention of stopping my support for them” according to an article in the New York Post. While Soros has good intentions of not wanting to imprison African Americans, his passion as an apologist for criminals has made Soros near sighted of all the innocent victims of repeat offenders.

Now he did not say this because he cared for the poor but because he was a thief; and having the bag (the money box, the purse of the Twelve), he took for himself what was put into it [pilfering the collections]. But Jesus said, Let her alone. It was [intended] that she should keep it for the time of My preparation for burial. [She has kept it that she might have it for the time of My [a]embalming, ] John 12:6-7.

One of the first stories John recounts during Passion Week, Jesus’ last week on earth, is a conflict between Judas Iscariot and a prostitute trying to anoint Jesus. This side of Judas reveals his motive for selling out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. While prostitution is still a crime, Judas’ attitude and behavior is what Jesus focuses on. May the Passion of the Christ wear off on DA’s so that justice and order is restored.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 188: Do I Stand Alone?

Mike Stand is one of the original members of the Punk rock group the Altar Boys. Mike served as the lead singer of this iconic Christian band. Back in the late 1980’s, Mike left the Altar Boys to pursue a solo career releasing a few albums on his own. While there are a number of songs I could have featured today, Do I Stand Alone applies well to current events.

And I sought a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none, Ezekiel 22:30.

History is full of cycles, times where people were obedient to God and periods of compromise that led cultures to do what’s right in their own eyes. The book of Judges illustrates this point as good leadership results in blessings while poor leaders brought curses upon Israel, Judges 21:25. The prophet lived in a day when Israelites were afraid to take a stand for God. Like Mike sings, are you willing to stand today?

by Jay Mankus

Abaddon

The origin of Abaddon is found in Judaism. According to the Brown Driver Briggs lexicon, the Hebrew word אבדוןa, avadon, is an intensive form of the Semitic root and verb stem abad. The Greek word for adaddon is Apollyon which means destroyer when translated into English. The context of Abaddon is part of John’s vision who is the angel of Hell also known as the Abyss.

Over them as king they have the angel of the Abyss (of the bottomless pit). In Hebrew his name is Abaddon [destruction], but in Greek he is called Apollyon [destroyer], Revelation 9:11.

Growing up in a Roman Catholic Church, I was taught about the wrath of God in the Old Testament. This biblical emphasis caused me to view God as a disciplinarian. Similar to the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 28:1-2, I believed that obedience to God was the key to having a successful life. Subsequently, I perceived the good and bad things that happened to me as blessings and curses.

The first woe (calamity) has passed; behold, two others are yet to follow, Revelation 9:12.

As I matured in my faith, this mindset was unhealthy and self-destructive. While attending a Sunday School class at Red Lion, a couple introduced me to Restoring the Foundations. This book and ministry helped me fill in the gaps of my flawed theology. If you find yourself in a destructive situation or in the process of being destroyed spiritually, I highly recommend RTF by Chester and Betsy Kylstra.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 187: Wonderful Thing

Bret and Diana Pemelton formed Dream of Eden in Nashville, Tennessee. To a certain extent, Dream of Eden followed the mold set by Out of the Grey. While the Pemelton’s hasn’t had the national success of Out of the Grey, they have still produced albums that have touched my heart. Today’s featured song Wonderful Thing is also the first song on their album with the same name.

But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us, Romans 5:8.

The lyrics of Wonderful Thing are inspired by the love of Jesus. Knowing that Jesus was willing to lay down his life for sinners is a wonderful thing. While John 3:16-17 gets more recognition, Paul’s words in the passage above display God’s grace and mercy. While Dream of Eden’s pop and soft rock isn’t for everyone, I hope you enjoy Wonderful Thing.

by Jay Mankus

A Power Outage in the Sky

The humidity and heat of summertime tends to push power grids to the limit. Some states use PSA’s (public safety announcements) to warn residents of potential rolling blackouts. As air conditioners are blasted to keep homes cool, states without nuclear power plants have a history of power outages like California and Texas. Yet, the Bible speaks of a power outage in the sky.

Then the fourth angel blew [his] trumpet, and a third of the sun was smitten, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that [the light of] a third of them was darkened, and a third of the daylight [itself] was withdrawn, and likewise a third [of the light] of the night was kept from shining, Revelation 8:12.

One of John’s visions refers to a power outage in the sky. On this bizarre day like a scene from a modern Science Fiction film, 1/3 of the light generated from the moon and stars was darkened. This power outage in the sky altered the normal 24-hour light cycle on earth. This reminds me of what happened following Jesus’ death on a cross as historians wrote about a cosmic global power outage in the sky.

And there shall be no more night; they have no need for lamplight or sunlight, for the Lord God will illuminate them and be their light, and they shall reign [as kings] forever and ever (through the eternities of the eternities), Revelation 22:5.

Rather than focus on the worldwide hysteria of John’s vision, this one event will set the stage for life after death in heaven. One of Jesus’ former disciples speaks on the contrast between heaven and hell, 2 Peter 2:4. Those individuals who never entered into a personal relationship with Jesus will be plunged into eternal darkness. Meanwhile, heaven eliminates darkness with 24 hours of light every single day.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 186: Better than Life

I have fond memories of today’s song. My college roommate introduced me to the group Acapella. After spending my first semester of college exploring the party scene, I turned my life back to God. When I moved off campus, Mike and I would spend weekend nights sitting in lawn chairs on our front yard listening to Christian music. One of those songs was Better Than Life.

I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture. 10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [b]overflows), John 10:9-10.

While there are several Acapella groups that go on tour every summer, the lyrics of Better Than Life struck a cord with my soul. Based upon words from a Psalmist and John 10:10, the Bible is crucial to discovering the abundant life that Jesus promised. While Acapella isn’t a flashy group like most modern Christian artists, the words of Better Than Life provide spiritual food for your soul.

by Jay Mankus

The Ground to Play

If it wasn’t for recess, I wouldn’t have survived my twelve years in public education. The playground was a place of refuge for me. This was the only place in school where talking wasn’t necessary. Despite being short for my age until high school, my passion for sports quickly shined through. I may not have been strong, but I was fast and obsessed with winning. Meanwhile, this ground to play hid my severe stuttering from my peers. The more I competed at recess opened my eyes to the kind of athlete I could become.

Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower: 19 [h]While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside. 20 As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy; 21 Yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, [i]lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and [j]begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away, Matthew 13:18-21.

At a recent LIV Golf clinic for kids in New Jersey, Commissioner Greg Norman shared a power message about competing in sports. Norman encouraged these youngsters to play as more sports as possible as these avenues provide a ground to play. Sports helps you see your strengths while revealing weaknesses as well. Meanwhile, if you want to get better, sports teach the competitive discipline to reach your full potential in life. Yet, for now sports provide the ground to compete and play for kids.

As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it; he indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundred times as much as was sown, in another sixty times as much, and in another thirty, Matthew 13:22-23.

Jesus shared a first century parable based upon the different environment’s children are born into and are forced to confront in life. After speaking to a crowd, the disciples wanted to know further details about Jesus’ parable. Uses farming an analogy, there are 4 different types of soils farmers face. The first three all have limitations that stunts growth. The ultimate goal is to manage farms so that after years of discipline and hard work, fertile soil yields a great harvest. In the meantime, find ground to play with.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 185: Battle for the Minds

Today’s song screams 1980’s. Crosssection released the album Before the Dawn in 1989. The lyrics of Battle for the Minds is a daily prayer Christians have been offering up to the Lord for the past 30 years. Unfortunately, if you ever watch cable news, it doesn’t take long to realize that the liberals and progressives have won this battle by controlling public education and most colleges.

See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah), Colossians 2:8.

The apostle Paul wrote about the Battle for human minds to members of the Church at Colosse. Paul suggests that intellectualism and philosophy interfere with God’s ability to shape your mind as a spiritual potter. Colossians 2:6-7 encourages Christians to daily study the Bible so that spiritual roots are developed. While the Battle for the Minds hasn’t aged well, the message still rings true today.

by Jay Mankus

A Nagging Sting that Doesn’t Go Away

My first bee sting came as a child in a blue berry patch. Fortunately, my mom was an EMT at the time. As a teenager, I ran over a hornet’s nest while cutting grass resulting in multiple stings. Despite being young, the pain from these stingers lingered for a month. In the last days on earth, a creature will arise that will be leave stung victims with a nagging pain for five months.

The locusts resembled horses equipped for battle. On their heads was something like golden crowns. Their faces resembled the faces of people. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. Their breastplates (scales) resembled breastplates made of iron, and the [whirring] noise made by their wings was like the roar of a vast number of horse-drawn chariots going at full speed into battle, Revelation 9:7-9.

You don’t have to have an encounter with a bee to get stung in life. Maybe you lost an important friendship, endured a heart-breaking divorce or were betrayed by someone you trusted. Whenever a relationship ends badly or has been permanently damaged, this can be like a nagging sting that doesn’t go away. With just the sight of this individual, phone call or text, this pain you tried to hide remerges.

They have tails like scorpions, and they have stings, and in their tails lies their ability to hurt men for [the] five months, Revelation 9:10.

The disciple whom Jesus loved has a vision of what life will be like in the last days on earth. Following a series of tribulations, locusts with a stinger most powerful than a scorpion will inflict devastation over the earth for five months. While no one will be killed by these locusts, the pain will be too much to bear. As you endure present trials on earth, remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 so that you will find rest for troubled and weary souls.

by Jay Mankus

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