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Tag Archives: Cinderella

A Win for the Ages

When fairy tale stories come true, sometimes Hollywood is criticized for an unbelievable ending.  Yet, what Nate Lashley accomplished last weekend can only be described as a win for the ages.  Lashley’s wire to wire victory at the Rocket Mortgage PGA Tour event in Detroit, Michigan seemed surreal.  Entering the final round with a six shot lead, commentators suggested that a collapse might come, causing Nate to fold under the pressure.  Instead, a Tiger Woods esc domination ensued as Lashley finished 25 under par, breezing to win this PGA event.  The context of what happened leading up to this victory makes Lashley’s accomplishment a real life Cinderella story and likely Disney movie in the making.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

Fifteen years ago, Nate Lashley was a rising college star playing for the Arizona Wildcats.  While competing in an NCAA qualifying tournament, his parents and girl-friend flew out to watch Nate play in the west regionals.  On the return flight, the plane piloted by Nate’s father crashed during a storm killing all three aboard.  This tragedy eventually caused Nate to leave golf, making a career as a real estate agent.  When Nate’s love for golf returned, nagging injuries prevented Lashley for reaching his full potential.  Playing on what is called a major medical exemption, Nate was running out of time to make enough money to keep his PGA tour card.  Thus, Nate attempted to Monday qualify for 4 spots in the Rocket Mortgage Tournament.  Lashley finished two shots out of a playoff, but a last second withdraw opened the door for Nate to become the last player in the field.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, James 1:2-4.

As a viewer of this amazing feat, Lashley’s rise to the top is a story of courage, faith and perseverance.  In the back of any mind, doubts whisper “you’ll never amount to anything; you’re not good enough or you don’t have what it takes.”  These inner demons prevent most people from fulfilling their dreams and purpose in life.  Yet, Nate Lashley’s win for the ages inspires me to not give up hope on accomplishing my own dreams in life.  Just as Jesus’ earthly brother writes about how trials strengthen faith, may God fill you will perseverance to fear any face and climb any mountain, no matter how high, in the future.

by Jay Mankus

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Maximizing the Moment

Time can be a friend or a foe.  Timing can be on your side or about to run out on the next Cinderella.  As a new year approaches, I have been pondering the best strategy to maximize each moment.  The apostle Paul provides advice to take advantage of the days you are given on this earth.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

If you want to practice Carpe Diem, “seize the day,” a careful examination is necessary.  Reflecting each night before you go to sleep can help individuals determine how well or poorly your time was spent.  Paul uses the word walk, referring to how you invested your time.  What did you do, say or which opportunities did you let slip away?  This daily self evaluation serves as a method to improve your use of time in the future.

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is, Ephesians 5:17.

The second aspect you must consider is God’s will for your life.  Are you doing what God created you to do or have you been wandering in the wilderness, not sure what to do or where to go next?  Ascertaining God’s will brings purpose and meaning to life, enabling you to begin to maximize each moment.  Sure, there will be detours, dead ends and rock blocks that you will face, but those who discover God’s will often press on to the end.  May 2018 be the year God’s Holy Spirit opens your eyes, Galatians 5:25, to find your place in this world so that maximizing the moment becomes reality.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Faith in Rough Times

In sports, it doesn’t take much to decipher contenders from pretenders.  As a season lingers on, the cream usually rises to the top.  Sure, there will always be cinderellas or underdogs, but momentum only takes you so far.  Thus, when push comes to shove, the heat of competition distinguishes champions from losers.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ, Romans 10:17.

Faith is not as easy to measure.  Some denominations encourage a quiet faith, allowing your actions to speak for themselves.  Meanwhile, other churches are vocal, focusing on evangelism, preaching and salvation.  The methods used by these ministries can be offensive, rubbing outsiders the wrong way.  This is when God places people in rough times so that real faith can blossom.

Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep, Acts 7:60.

One of the apostles named Stephen found himself in a life and death situation.  Based upon the events of Acts 7, keeping his faith private would have saved Stephen’s life.  Yet, something inside of him felt keeping quiet would be a form of compromise.  Therefore, between a rock and a hard place, Stephen became one of the first Christian martyrs, stoned to death for his faith.  His response to this persecution demonstrated real faith in a rough time.

by Jay Mankus

 

He Ain’t All That

In every success story, there are two primary factors which often impact the final chapter to each Cinderella story.  The first involves an individual with talent, dedicated to mastering his or her trade.  Discipline, hard work and sacrifices can lead to fame and fortune.  While on the rise, friends, family and relatives begin to develop a sense of entitlement, expecting some sort of payment for their involvement in the process.  When this obligation is not met, things can get ugly as those on the outside looking in respond with, “he ain’t all that!”

Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. – Mark 6:3

This tragedy of society is nothing new.  Jesus dealt with a similar situation as he went back to his hometown to teach at the synagogue.  Whether it is envy or jealousy, people can be cruel, taking occasional jabs to lessen your accomplishments.  In the case of Jesus, the negativity of the crowds grew, causing his ability to heal to decline.  As the murmurs of “he ain’t all that” intensified, this lack of faith restricted the power of God from being displayed.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” – Mark 6:4

With the invention of social media, ordinary people get their kicks out of trashing celebrities, professional athletes and those in the media.  Perhaps by tearing others down, insecure souls feel a little better about themselves.  Although misery loves company, lives will not change for the better until an environment for healing is formed.  Therefore, the next time you get the urge to say, “he ain’t all that,” follow the principles of James 5:16 so that the resurrection power of Christ can be unleashed.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Be Late to the Party

Cinderella was held up, late to the ball due to jealous step sisters.  David wasn’t even invited, until a prophet passed on his brothers, getting a late invitation, 1 Samuel 16:10.   Today, many try to play it cool, arriving casually late to make a grand entrance.

In life, there is one party you don’t want to be late to or forget about.  The prodigal son became engrossed in his own sinful desires, seeking to indulge in the pleasures of this world, Luke 15:13.  This invisible force is one of the greatest distractions, 1 John 2:15-17, causing half of the 10 virgins to miss the party entirely, Matthew 25:10-13.

At a funeral, heaven is often assumed, whether you made your reservations or not, 1 John 5:13.  Some may get a second chance, surviving a near death experience.  Regardless of the cards you are dealt, the road you choose lies in the choices you make, Deuteronomy 30:15.  Don’t be late to the final party in life or else you’ll have eternity to regret it.

by Jay Mankus

Let the Madness Begin

As the final 2 play in games conclude late Wednesday, Thursday marks the first full day of of the 2014 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.  Known as March Madness, over the next 3 weeks a Cinderella will arise from 64 teams, a David will likely slay Goliath and brackets will be destroyed.  Unfortunately, office pools tend to spoil this month long event for many, worried about how much money they lost instead of enjoying the moment.

I’ve been one of the victims of this trend, deciding to forego filling out a bracket the last few years.  Sure, its just a contest, but I found myself frustrated by every wrong choice, bad call by an official and near miss which would have resulted in a perfect bracket.  Perhaps the thought of winning a billion dollars brought me back one more time or the challenge of seeing how well your picks stand up against college experts led me to participate?  In the end, I returned because I love competition, sports and the unknown of watching NCAA basketball.

Three weeks from now, I’m either going to be crowned champion, chump or fool.  Whatever the outcome, I will try to savor this experience win or loss.  The Bible’s advice for those indulging in this event is clear, “in your anger, do not sin,” Ephesians 4:26.  Although these words may be hard to apply, reflect on this teaching when you’re tempted to curse, punch a wall or throw the remote.  Sit back, relax and let the madness begin.

by Jay Mankus

Please let me know by commenting who you have in your Final 4.  I have Florida, Virginia, Arizona and Louisville.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Faith Like the Jeffersons

In their theme song, Movin’ On Up, 2 African Americans elude to their struggles to achieve the American Dream.  As the lyrics below indicate, George and Louise Jefferson worked their way up from poverty to the upper middle class.  This 70’s sitcom served as a spin off of All in the Family, lasting 11 seasons with an impressive total of 253 episodes.

Movin’ On Up

Well we’re movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Fish don’t fry in the kitchen;
Beans don’t burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin’,
Just to get up that hill.
Now we’re up in the big leagues,
Gettin’ our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it’s you and me baby,
There ain’t nothin wrong with that.

Well we’re movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

For the average middle class family in America, times have gotten tough and if the recent down turn in the economy is any indication, its only going to get worse.  Like the Jefferson’s, I have big dreams for a deluxe apartment in the sky, yet I currently find myself as a lowly peon.  When you start over or begin a new job, you’re at the bottom, looking up at everyone else.  To accomplish your goals, you have to stand out, Philippians 2:14-15, going above and beyond the basic expectations of your employer.

Although you might feel like Cinderella at times, lost and forgotten, you must possess faith like the Jeffersons, Matthew 21:21-22.  Their vision for a better life didn’t happen over night, they had to work for it.  Thus, the next time you feel like you’re not where you want to be, bear down by trusting in the Lord, Proverbs 3:5-6.  Aim yourself with the attitude of Christ, 1 Peter 4:1-2 and the desires of your heart will be within reach, Jeremiah 29:11.  Keep the faith!

by Jay Mankus

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