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Tag Archives: a personal relationship with Jesus

An Infusion of Enthusiasm

While attending a youth ministry trade school back in 1993, I received a couple of 3 ring binder notebooks.  The training material for Tentmakers Youth Ministry was close to two thousand pages on content, taking seven weeks to complete.  This intense active learning leadership course required my full attention, living out the principles I was being taught at my host family.  Nightly assignments were designed to take you out of your comfort zone, forced to interact with strangers at church, local malls and neighborhoods to finetune your conversational skills.  During this two month stretch, I was infused with enthusiasm, driven and encouraged by like minded classmates.

When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Master eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but [only] those who are sick, Matthew 9:11-12.

Today, when enthusiasm fades, joy disappears and my energy to do anything is gone, I retreat to find something meaningful in life.  Recently, I came across a quote from this class.  “The excitement of a group never exceeds that of its leader.”  What this statement suggests is that leaders must learn to be self-sufficient, able to recharge their own excitement level.  Although people within various groups may encourage and spur you on, leaders need a daily infusion of enthusiasm.  Without this spiritual discipline, finding motivation to make it through each day, even leaders will lose their vigor for life.

Go and learn what this [Scripture] means: ‘I desire compassion [for those in distress], and not [animal] sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call [to repentance] the [self-proclaimed] righteous [who see no need to change], but sinners [those who recognize their sin and actively seek forgiveness],” Matthew 9:13.

Jesus addresses this issue during a first century conversation.  Righteous zealots were concerned that Jesus and his disciples were compromising their faith by socializing with sinners.  However, Jesus uses logic to show these Pharisees the error in their thinking.  The healthy, individuals who have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus, have learned to be self-sufficient spiritually through a daily dose of prayer, reflection and worship.  The sick, people who have lost their way, need Christians to leave their comfort zones to expand the body of Christ.  Therefore, the more you experience an infusion of enthusiasm for the lost, God can use you to be a light in a dark world to turn to you for answers.  May this blog inspire you to use your daily time with God, praying and reading the Bible as an infusion of enthusiasm.

by Jay Mankus

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Obedience to God Brings Opposition

Depending upon the church you attend or attended, pastors focus on different aspects of Christianity.  Some emphasize altar calls, asking convicted hearts to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus.  Others challenge believers to live out their faith seven days a week, being a light to the world outside of church.  Unfortunately, few discuss a painful reality, obedience to God brings opposition from the world.

“If the world hates you [and it does], know that it has hated Me before it hated you,” John 15:18.

In the past two months, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been verbally crucified by the media daily.  While sexual assault accusations have received most of the headlines, you have to read between the lines understand the motivation behind these attacks.  First, Kavanaugh is a devout Catholic who isn’t afraid to express his faith.  Second, Kavanaugh will likely defend and protect pro-life cases.  Thus, an obedience to support life in the past has alarmed abortion activists to attack this man of God.

19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love [you as] its own and would treat you with affection. But you are not of the world [you no longer belong to it], but I have chosen you out of the world. And because of this the world hates you, John 15:19.

No one wants to be hated.  Human nature creates a desire within to be embraced and loved.  Yet, one day Jesus revealed a side of Christianity to his disciples that is hard to grasp.  Obedience to God brings opposition?  Really?  Well, if your life is a living example of Christ, shining light into darkness, this will expose flaws within the lives of others.  Thus, this will lead to resentment and in some cases hatred.  Therefore, if you want a complete perspective of what to expect as a Christian living in 2018, obedience to God brings opposition from the world.

by Jay Mankus

Your Next is Greater Than Your Now

Financial planners seek to guide individuals toward fulfilling their dreams in life.  Depending upon how soon families begin to set aside funds for retirement, this process requirements discipline, focus and numerous sacrifices.  Yet, all these preparations don’t ensure a happy ending.  Thus, its essential that people begin to trust God, believing that your next is greater than your now.

For I want you to know, believers, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel [it is not a human invention, patterned after any human concept]. 12 For indeed I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a [direct] revelation of Jesus Christ.  You have heard of my career and former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to hunt down and persecute the church of God extensively and [with fanatical zeal] tried [my best] to destroy it, Galatians 1:11-13.

During a letter to the church in Galatia, the apostle Paul gives a brief summary of his past, present and desire to follow God’s will in the future.  Paul doesn’t shy away from his ignorant past, blinded by a religious zeal for Judaism.  This obsession led Paul to conspire against the founding of the first century church.  Perhaps, the words of Stephen prior to his persecution and death broke through Saul’s calloused heart.

But when God, who had chosen me and set me apart before I was born, and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles [as the good news—the way of salvation], I did not immediately consult with anyone [for guidance regarding God’s call and His revelation to me]. 17 Nor did I [even] go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia and stayed awhile, and afterward returned once more to Damascus, Galatians 1:15-17.

After being blinded on the road to Damascus, this set forward a chain of events resulting in Paul’s salvation.  The first thing Paul did following his conversion was going home to tell family and friends what God had done for him.  The Bible is silent on how Paul’s Jewish parents responded to and received this news.  Nonetheless, Paul quickly came to the conclusion that your next is greater than your now with Jesus.  Although, this doesn’t ensure a story book ending on earth, but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ does secure an eternal reservation in heaven, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have

The term authority refers to a variety of things depending upon the context.  Authority can mean jurisdiction, permission to act or delegated responsibility.  In biblical terms, authority defines leadership, enabling an individual or group to have the power to make vital decisions.  However, with obtaining this status, you can’t give what you don’t have.

In which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient, Ephesians 2:2.

Following Creation, God gave Adam authority over the Garden of Eden and the animals within.  After Eve convinced Adam to sin by disobeying God’s lone rule, the Lord kicked them out, losing the authority they once possessed.  This loss was Satan’s gain, obtaining rule over the air.  While the names have changed, the Devil continues to encourage the disenchanted to give into temptation, walking in disobedience.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” Matthew 28:18.

According to the gospel, Jesus came to earth to seek and save that which was lost.  Thus, authority can be regained through Jesus.  However, unless you have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus, biblical authority is useless.  On the other hand, when the words of the Bible become your guide to life, authority can be unleashed through prayer.  Therefore, before you take God for granted, make sure you understand what you’re asking for.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Day We Broke God’s Heart

Like a proud parent watching their son and daughter play in a local little league, God felt helpless as Eve dropped the ball and Adam picked dandelions as the devil traded an apple for sole authority over the earth in Genesis 3.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the first naturally born child allowed jealousy to convince him to murder his younger brother in chapter 4.  The last straw occurs in Genesis 6:5 as mankind’s heart and mind turned toward every possible evil inclination.  This was the day we broke God’s heart, Genesis 6:6.

The reason I use we instead of they is based upon Romans 3:9-12.  While our stories are not recorded in the Bible, history is being repeated as most of God’s created beings are following in the footsteps of sinners.  Every morning, God is waiting for his people to acknowledge Him, Psalm 150:6.  However, busy schedules, entertainment and work causes most of us to let days slip by without saying hello in prayer or crack open the Bible to listen to God.  Instead, most human beings are led astray by humanism, naturalism and selfish desires.  Thus, by these careless actions, we are breaking God’s heart all over again!

Maybe this is why God allows individuals to endure humility, trials and defeats.  Sometimes, we need to have our own hearts broken, which makes it painfully obvious to us that we can not make it through life on our own.  In fact, this also explains why Jesus states that in order to find life you must be willing to lose it, Matthew 16:25-26.  The choices you and I make will shape our eternal futures, either toward heaven or closer to hell, Matthew 7:13-14.  Moses was right when he said choices have consequences in Deuteronomy 30:15.  May this blog challenge you to renew and or begin a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

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