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S.A.N.S. Episode 62: Above and Beyond

Today’s featured song comes from an American CCM singer and multi Grammy and Dove Award winning recording artist. As someone who has dabbled in creative writing since high school, the lyrics of nearly every Bruce Carroll song moves me. While Above and Beyond appears on more than one album, Bruce’s biblically based lyrics inspired me to craft my own album entitled A Simple Confession.

Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life, John 8:12.

The words Above and Beyond contain multiple visual images. Most of my life I’ve allowed circumstances to dictate what I pursue. If I just trusted in the power of the Holy Spirit, my achievements in life would be above and beyond my expectations. As you listen to the lyrics of Above and Beyond, may you be inspired to develop a faith that will elevate you to new heights.

by Jay Mankus

Feeling Invisible to the Outside World

Ten years ago, I was forced to reinvent myself after losing my teaching position at Red Lion Christian Academy in the middle of the school year. After a couple of stints on unemployment, I landed back on my feet at Amazon. This June will mark the beginning of my 10th year at this company. Yet, my only option for a promotion was switching to the graveyard shift. While the benefits and pay have been a blessing to my family, it has come at a cost. Working nights for the past 8 years has made me invisible to the outside world.

Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, [i]with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). 13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while [j]effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and [k]delight, Philippians 2:12-13.

There are many things in life that don’t show or reveal dividends right away. While I have always dabbled in creative writing, writing screen plays has coincided with the last decade. Despite countless hours crafting, planning and typing, all I have is 3 completed manuscripts. There is no book deal, notoriety or agents knocking down my door to produce one of my films. My efforts are invisible to Hollywood. Sure, I have ideas for a 10-episode sit-com and a drama based upon a grown-up Joan of Arcadia, but for now I feel invisible to the outside world.

Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [[l]against God] and [m]questioning and doubting [among yourselves], 15 That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world, 16 Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life, so that in the day of Christ I may have something of which exultantly to rejoice and glory in that I did not run my race in vain or spend my labor to no purpose, Philippians 2:14-16.

The passage above provides advice for anyone who feels invisible. Whenever you set out to cultivate and fulfill a goal, this process can be exhausting. As I listen to weekly screenwriting podcasts to keep my dream alive, the Bible contains instructions for the here and now. Complaining and grumbling about a lack of success doesn’t solve any problems. Instead, the apostle Paul urges believers to rise above your circumstances in life. Hold out hope by presenting yourself like a bright star piercing the darkness of the unknown. Fan into the flame the gifts and talents that God has given you to see what happens. Do your best and let God do the rest until your hard work is rewarded.

by Jay Mankus

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