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Tag Archives: Country Music

S.A.N.S. Episode 326: Mary Did You Know?

On their final night before becoming parents, Joseph was scrambling to do everything in his power to ease Mary’s pain. Unfortunately, there was no internet to book rooms in advance. Price Line hadn’t been invented to compare prices so that they could get a good rate at an inn in Bethlehem. Everywhere they went the same message was shared, “sorry, no vacancy.” This trail of rejection led to a stable where God’s son would lay in a manger.

Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 To a girl never having been married and a [v]virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [[w]endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! [x]Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women! – Luke 1:26-28

Dolly Parton isn’t the person you probably thought I would choose to sing Mary Did You Know? Yet, Dolly is probably the most famous country music singer of all time. And now that I reside in the south. Dolly seemed to be a good fit on Christmas Eve. Yes, I know from the star of the Best Little Whore House in Texas to singing a Christmas classic is a stretch, but Jesus did come to seek and to save that which was lost, Luke 19:10. Therefore, all sinners are welcome at the foot of Jesus’ cross. Happy Christmas Eve!

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 274: Never Been a Moment

Today’s song contains a little bit of country with a great biblical message. Micah Tyler became an overnight sensation with his debut album The Story I Tell. While the featured song comes from a new album, Micah has a special gift of telling a story through his music. The song Never Been a Moment highlights God’s omnipresence, touching our lives through with hints of the love of Jesus.

How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed and keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to it]. 10 With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments. 11 Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You, Psalm 119:9-11.

Unfortunately, I often get distracted, especially by bad days which tend suck the joy out of my life. Instead of remembering the words of James 1:2-4 and 1 Peter 1:6-7, I let tough moments influence how I act and feel. May the lyrics of Never Been a Moment speak to your heart like it has to mine. Therefore, the next time your day spins out of control, remember Micah’s words so you embrace God’s love.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 194: One Hell of an Amen

Now that I am a full-time resident of South Carolina, I am surrounded by country music. Earlier this spring I was searching for a song that complimented one of my daily devotionals. After clicking on a few You Tubes, I stumbled upon Brantley Gilbert’s song One Hell of an Amen. The lyrics tell stories of a soldier who died for his country and another adult battling cancer.

Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses, 1 Timothy 6:12.

One Hell of an Amen alludes to the words of the apostle Paul in the passage above. Paul is urging a teenage pastor to keep fighting for Jesus by living out your faith. Meanwhile, One Hell of an Amen encourages listeners to live each day like it’s your last before the Lord calls you home to heaven. Since Amen means “so be it,” fight the good fight of faith.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 83: Thank God I’m Not Jesus

I’ve never been a big fan of country music, but from time to time I’ll come across an inspiration song. When I first bought the Beautiful Thing Album by Crossway, I didn’t know what I was getting. To my surprise there were a number of country/worship songs that appealed to me. Yet, my favorite by far is entitled Thank God I’m Not Jesus.

For if you forgive people their trespasses [their [g]reckless and willful sins, [h]leaving them, letting them go, and [i]giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their [j]reckless and willful sins, [k]leaving them, letting them go, and [l]giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses, Matthew 6:14-15.

The lyrics follow in the footsteps of Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty. Rather than create a film to illustrate what it would be like to be God, Crossway members imagine how they would react and respond if they were Jesus. To avoid any spoiler alerts, you have to listen to the entire song to truly appreciate Crossway’s message. However, as you do, the passage above reminds every one of the importance to forgive those who trespass against you. This is Jesus’ call and expectation so that you will be forgiven.

by Jay Mankus

Another Silent Night


It won’t be long until Christmas music permeates the airwaves.  Meanwhile, the annual release of new Christmas albums are on their way, as Country, R&B and Christian artists  try to give their modern interpretation of classics like Silent Night.  However, in this age, there is another meaning to silent night, one without God.

In the song Christmas at Denny’s, Randy Stonehill presents Christmas from an orphans perspective, without a family to call home or gifts to open.  In fact, most Americans experience silent nights often, alone, depressed and doubting God’s existence.  Although these people may not say it, they are thinking, “if God is real, why did He choose this path for me or God has abandoned me so I am going to go in a different direction.”  Choices like this lead to another silent night, separated from God like Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:23-24.

If God could speak directly to us like the days of old in the garden, He might ask, “have you spent any time praying today, singing songs of praise or opening up my Word to connect with me?”  Once you experience a close bond with someone, you want to build upon your relationship, nurturing it with caring, effort and time.  Unfortunately, the distractions of this world have recently kept  me from applying these same principles with God.

Thus, I am wrestling with silence, waiting impatiently for another sign from God like the faithless people in the days of Jesus.  Since what I have been doing isn’t working, I need to go back to the basics to break this silence.  Nehemiah has established a biblical formula of brokenness, fasting and prayer in chapter 1.  When you add vision to this equation, God broke the silence, providing Nehemiah with a plan.  If you are like me, sick of silent nights, clueless of the direction God wants you to move in, set time aside each day like Jesus in Mark 1:35 and God willing, you’ll be reconnected spiritually, Psalm 4:1-3.

by Jay Mankus

Hurry Up!

Somewhere between childhood and becoming a grown adult, I have become extremely impatient.  Whether I am driving a car, eating a meal or socializing, I seem to always be in a rush to get to no where.  Unfortunately, for people like me who suffer with this strong impulse, its hard to relax or enjoy the finer things in life.

When I received my first real full time job offer after graduating from college, I moved to southern Indiana to pursue a calling in youth ministry.  Although 10 years behind the East Coast culturally speaking at the time, the people I met and embraced altered my impatience to a manageable condition.  This social environment, in the heart of Country Music, broke me of my poor relational habits and taught me good ole fashion southern hospitality as I instantly connected to many families in Columbus, Indiana.

However, like a video game, accelerating in speed and difficulty with each new level, I have found myself back in the rat race.  Promoted by the pace of life on the East Coast, this mentality keeps inhabitants from reaching a Mark 1:35 intimacy with God.  Silence is replaced by honking horns, cell phone ring tones and internet alert sounds.  Don’t let a hurry up life style influence your heart any longer.  Rather, find a cave, 1 Samuel 22:1-2, retreat to the mountains, 1 Kings 19:11-13 or find a quiet room, Matthew 6:6 so you can be still before the Lord, Psalm 46:10.  Hurry up now or you’ll never break this rat race mentality!

by Jay Mankus

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