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Tag Archives: Christian bookstores

S.A.N.S. Episode 61: Different Kind of Free

Today’s featured group is an American Christian teen pop rock band that formed in 1999. When I first learned that my favorite Christian Bookstore was going out of business at the end of the month, I spent as much free time as possible searching for the best music available. During one of my last visits, I found a collection from Zoe Girl. This two CD Set contain several fabulous songs that I had never heard before.

In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off], Galatians 5:1.

My favorite song turned out to be a Different Kind of Free. I’m not sure if this is the original or a remix, but today’s version of a Different Kind of Free combines Pop with Hip Hop. The final stanza contains a hint of rap that urges girls to experience the freedom which comes from entering a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-11. As you listen, may you be moved to draw closer to the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 38: Go and Sin No More

Back in the 1980’s, the Christian bookstores that I shopped at had a series of items positioned on the counter. The impulse buyer in me was a sucker for music samplers, individual songs from new albums that were set to be released sometime in the year. As I went through my closest this winter to prepare to move this summer, I was astonished by all the sampler CD’s that I have accumulated. Yet, if it wasn’t for these CD’s, I might not have heard of the group Liaison.

When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? 11 She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more, John 8:10-11.

Go and Sin No More was one of the featured songs that introduced me to Liaison. While in college, a special radio program on Saturday night highlighted new and unknown Christian rock bands. As for today’s featured song, it comes right out of the Bible as Jesus addresses a woman who was spared from being stoned to death. Instead of falling into bad habits of your past life, Jesus leaves this woman with a simple message: go and sin no more. I hope you enjoy this classic ballad.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 27: Pull

Before all of my local Christian bookstores closed down, I spent numerous evenings sorting through the bargain bins of CD’s. If there weren’t any samples that I could listen to, I would study the album cover to see how much money was spent on the graphics. While this strategy wasn’t always successful, I discovered a few hidden gems over the years. One of these artists is a group called Curious Fools.

Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God, for He is gracious and lovely; praise is becoming and appropriate, Psalm 147:1.

Today’s song reminds me of Led Zeppelin’s classic tune Stairway to Heaven. While Curious Fools possesses its own classic rock feel, this group actually began as a songwriting team from Nashville, Tennessee in 1991. Drama teams have used the lyrics of Pull to perform moving presentations to illustrate how daily temptations seek to pull Christians away from God and toward sin. Enjoy Pull!

by Jay Mankus

A Place Where the Sun No Longer Shines

Up until a few years ago, my Christmas shopping destinations included a couple of local Christian Bookstores. Whether I was looking a Bible, the newest Christmas CD or an inspirational gift, I went to explore to see what I could find. Whether I left empty handed or not, the people I encountered made every trip worthwhile. I could write an entire chapter in a book about my previous conversations at Christian bookstores throughout the country.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it, John 1:5.

The one store which has made the most impact on my life was called the Sonshine House. During my first year of teaching Bible at Red Lion Christian Academy, I discovered that one of my students’ mom was the owner. This was sort of a reunion as Jackie, the former owner, helped me build my Christian music collection while in college. This woman of God was always encouraging, like a ray of sunshine in a dark world.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” John 8:12.

Due to the popularity of companies like Amazon, Apple Music and other online competitors, most local Christian Bookstores have vanished. While there may be a few local establishments like Blockbuster, abandoned store fronts are a sign of the times. Instead of promoting malls, retail shops and town centers, a growing number of people would rather shop online. Although this may be more convenient, the social aspect of life is being ignored. May this blog inspire you to become a light for Christ in places where the sun doesn’t shine spiritually.

by Jay Mankus

Dreams Unlike Any Other

One of the least studied areas of the human mind is the power of dreaming.  Sometimes dreams are influenced by something you experienced, heard or saw earlier in the day.  This is the case of Julia Ward who passed by Union soldier’s singing a song about John Brown’s body on her way to the Willard Hotel.  The next night Julia Ward had a dream where the words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic came to here.  This was truly a dream like any other.

For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear, Ecclesiastes 5:7.

When I was in college, I attended a local accountable group in Newark, Delaware.  While this group rotated homes on and off, we began meeting at my friend Eric’s house.  There were occasional nights where individuals drifted off on tangents, but most evenings I tried to stay on task, holding people to the promises and vows made the prior week.  On one particular evening, I couldn’t resist adding my own two cents, “why do you keep giving the same lame excuse time after time.”  That night I had a dream that I was in a bookstore.  When I turned the corner, I saw a book with a title exactly what Eric needed to help improve his quiet times with God.  Later that week, I went to look for some new music at a nearby Christian bookstore when I actually lived my dream.  Except, in this case as I turned the corner I bought this book, sharing my supernatural experience the following week.

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;” Acts 2:17.

According to a first century doctor, the Holy Spirit will usher in a future time where people of all ages will experience dreams and visions.  Although no exact time is mentioned, an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit will be the sign from heaven.  I won’t speculate whether this time has passed or is yet to come, but I will not limit what God can do.  Whether it’s the inspiration for a famous song or a call to action to help a friend,  I can’t wait to pass on the next amazing testimony about dreams unlike any other.

by Jay Mankus

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