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Sitting on the Sidelines or Fighting to the End?

Take, take, take.  A common theme in an ever increasing selfish world.  When communities, churches or marriages begin to fall apart, most sit along the sideline watching the situation deteriorate.  Meanwhile, few have the strength to fight to the very end.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace, 1 Peter 4:10.

From 2010 through the present, I’ve witnessed two special relationships end.  The first was a special church family that I became entrenched in, serving as an elder for six years and teacher for another ten years at its adjacent high school.  While many abandoned Red Lion as it first started to take on water, I tried my best to do what I could.  Although, I probably should have been more outspoken initially, the odds were stacked against me.  In the end, the church closed its doors and the school was sold to another denomination, causing several colleagues, including myself to lose their job.

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many, Matthew 20:26-28.

The second divorce began as the first became final.  The baseball league that my sons played in under went a similar myriad of trials.  Trying to prevent an identical ending, I spent two years investing my time in the youth of Greater Newark.  Like a M.A.S.H. unit, the efforts I provided extended the life of the league for a couple of years.  Stepping aside to allow the next generation of parents to lead, most have passed the buck, unwilling to save this sinking organization.  While GNBL’s future is bleak, my only question is who will get off their butt, move beyond the sidelines and fight to the very end?

by Jay Mankus

Potty Mouth

If you are honest with yourself, we have all had a regretful moment in reflecting, “I can’t believe I just said that!”  At times in life, often unexpected, the strangest things come out of our mouths.  This is likely the context of Psalm 59:12, when mere words become like venom, filling ears with poison and contaminating the souls of children.

There was a time, not so long ago when communities helped police themselves.  Adult figures served as guardians, instilling character within neighborhoods.  If a child ever publicly cursed, displayed disrespect or harmed another kid, parents would immediate intervene, forcing this individual to apologize and vow never to do this act again.

Today, the fear of confrontation, law suits and a gradual decay within society has led to an epidemic of sins of the mouth.  Whether you are at your local mall, walking through a park or catching a quote family show on television, put downs, 4 letter words and F-bombs have become common place.  Garbage in, garbage out has impacted children under the age of 10, spewing out what they hear, without any regard to listening ears.

The Bible’s diagnosis of this problem places the blame on the human heart, Jeremiah 17:9.  According to Jesus, the heart serves as a storage center, absorbing up good and bad things, Luke 6:45.  Vocabulary is simply a byproduct of what your heart has accumulated.  Therefore, if you want to stop these sins before they roll off your tongue, guard your heart for it is the well spring of life, Proverbs 4:23.  Replace these sins of the mouth with the peace of Christ, Colossians 3:15-17.

by Jay Mankus

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