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Tag Archives: comfort zones

Earning Your Way on Board

Every day provides a golden opportunity to meet, interact with and make an impact on strangers.  Unfortunately, less and less people view life in this manner.  Thus, as many are simply trying to survive, most stay in their little comfort zone, coasting through life.

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked, Acts 8:30.

The apostle Philip was called to extend the gospel beyond the Jewish community, into Samaria, Judea and into the ends of the earth.  Fueled by an angelic encounter, Philip is steered toward a man from Ethiopia.  However, Philip recognized he needed to find some sort of common ground before trust could be formed.  When the opportunity arose, Philip earned his way on board.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him, Acts 8:31.

Seizing the moment, Philip fulfilled the great commission left behind by Jesus for his disciples.  According to this event, the Ethiopian Eunuch returns home as a new believer.  Although its unclear whether this man founded churches in Africa, Philip earned his way on board a chariot, planting a seed of faith which transformed this man’s life.  While this isn’t easy, God is waiting for his children to earn their way on board to revive dying souls.

by Jay Mankus

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A Not So Happy Thanksgiving

For most of my days, I’ve lived a sheltered life.  However, my first job after graduating from college brought me to inner city Wilmington, Delaware as a social worker.  My eyes were opened to the homeless, poor and unfortunate.  This experience led me to serve the needy during my first Thanksgiving in Chicago, going to a homeless shelter near Cabrini Green, one of the roughest projects in Chicago.  I didn’t see any television cameras or professional football players handing out free turkeys, what I observed was a not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Everyone should get of their comfort zones once in a while to see what its like on the other side.  I’m not talking about Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places.  Rather, I think its healthy to see how little other people have so that you may begin to appreciate all the things you have accumulated in life.  Fashion, shopping and temporary pleasures blind most individuals to what’s really important: family, faith and fellowship.  Without this type of perspective, a spoiled generation will continue to whine, “what’s in it for me,” while the less fortunate have another not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Clothes, food and a place to call home is foreign to some individuals.  Though many may receive a Turkey to cook, how long will the leftovers last?  Will some have to wait til Christmas before the next act of generosity finds these helpless souls?  Therefore, as you watch the parades, gather for a feast and watch some football for dessert, don’t limit your giving to a couple of times per year.  Rather, take a look around and see who you can help so that a not so Happy Thanksgiving can turn into a very Merry Christmas.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Be So Koi; Unleash Your Potential

Koi fish, also known as nishikigoi in Japan, are domesticated carp kept for decorative purposes, usually in water gardens.  However, koi have an unique characteristic, growing only as large as their environment allows.  Thus, if you have a small fish tank, their size will be stunted to a few inches.  When given the opportunity, koi can grow to nearly 4 feet in size, but only in the right conditions like a large pond or lake.

In life, many individuals are afraid of the unknown, the areas beyond their comfort zones.  Subsequently, most people limit their potential, scared to take a chance or risk embarrassment outside in the big sea.  Instead of blossoming, souls tend to settle for mediocre lives, secure in the safety of their normal surroundings.  Unfortunately, this is not the plan God called his disciples to follow, Mark 16:15-18.

Today, Christians leave this responsibility for pastors, preachers and teachers, excluding themselves from Jesus’ command.  Although the harvest is still ripe for the picking, Matthew 9:35-38, the sidelines are flooded, me included, with believers too self-absorbed with life to get into the game.  In view of this unsettling truth, break away from patterns of idleness.  Don’t be so koi; rather unleash your potential by fanning into flame the gifts you have t offer, Romans 12:3-8.

by Jay Mankus

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