RSS Feed

Tag Archives: emulate

Walk by this Rule

“Walk This Way” was written by Aerosmith’s lead singer Steven Tyler and lead guitar Joe Perry. Perry came up with this tune while “fooling around” on his guitar back in 1974. Tyler points out that the lyrics are sexually charged, based upon an experienced girl who is in control of a relationship. From a spiritual point of view, taking a walk on the wild side is not setting a good example; nor is this a rule to follow.

For neither is circumcision [now] of any importance, nor uncircumcision, but [only] a new creation [the result of a new birth and a new nature in Christ Jesus, the Messiah], Galatians 6:15.

At the conclusion of a first century letter, the apostle Paul urges Galatians to walk by a specific rule. A rule is a set of explicit, understood regulations and or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere. Paul is referring to the passage above. Instead of following a set of rigid Jewish customs, Paul’s rule to emulate is becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus. Paul’s call is to walk by this spiritual way.

Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule [who discipline themselves and regulate their lives by this principle], even upon the [true] Israel of God! – Galatians 6:16

However, abiding by this rule requires two keys elements: discipline and self-regulation. The context of discipline points back to Galatians 5:16-25, pushing back against earthly desires by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. The regulate aspect refers to controlling and maintaining a Christ like mindset. Similar to Paul words in Colossians 3:1-9, to become spiritually alive you have to put to death your old self. Walk by this rule.

by Jay Mankus

Previews of Coming Attractions

If you get the chance to go to the movies, you will see a series of previews of coming attractions that will appear in theaters sometime in the near future.  This is an easy way to promote a return visit by wetting your appetite.  Following these trailers, visual images of food and drinks may entice you to break for the snack bar before the featured film begins.  However, as cable options continue to improve in the form of movies On Demand, families are waiting to watch films in the comfort of their own homes.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me, Galatians 2:20.

While listening to a sermon last weekend, the pastor compared becoming a Christian to previews of coming attractions.  The point he was trying to make was that those who decide to follow Jesus are suppose to become more like Christ day by day.  The preview illustration refers to actions, behavior and words that should emulate the love of Jesus.  This transformation should result in noticeable differences.  Thus, the next time you encounter someone who has recently accepted Christ into their hearts as Lord and Savior, expect a kinder, gentler soul.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” John 15:5.

To keep this new life going, Jesus introduces an analogy to encourage individuals to continue growing spiritually.  The source for life is compared to a living vine.  Spiritual progress is made by remaining connected to this source.  However, anyone who get’s disconnected, unplugged or removed stops growing.  Anyone who decides to find life in anything else becomes idle and will eventually lose all momentum like a withering branch.  If you claim to be a Christian, what are you previewing?  Are you a hypocrite like me at times, displaying a watered down faith or are you bearing spiritual fruit daily?  May this sermon speak to you, serving as inspiration to get reconnected to the living vine, Jesus Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Killing Conflict

Motivational speakers can make some outlandish claims.  Behind the enthusiasm lies a formula, method or outline which leads to success.  Books, seminars and self help videos has vaulted some to financial prosperity.  Yet, there is only one who can successfully kill conflict.

Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded, James 4:8.

Seminaries introduce students to terms like contrition, forgiveness and grace.  Beyond these theological words is one simple act, to take personal responsibility for your actions.  In this day and age, “I’m sorry, its my fault or please forgive me,” are disappearing.  Yet, if you take the blame, this disarms the raw emotions within conflict.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up, James 4:10.

Unfortunately, human nature does just the opposite, following in the footsteps of Adam and Eve, searching for a scapegoat.  This response usually ignites conflict rather than extinguish it.  If only individuals would begin to emulate the teaching of James, humility could kill conflict.  Yet, for now the world is forced to dodge a minefield of pride which will require countless hours of prayer to diffuse.

by Jay Mankus

 

Taking A Back Seat To Your Children

In my younger days, naive and immature, I cared more about my men’s softball team than my oldest son’s T-Ball game.  Thus, as other men were coaching and influencing my son James, I got lost in trying to relive and hold on to my youth.  Learning the hard way, I realized Father Time couldn’t be beaten before I took a back seat where my children could be in the forefront.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3.

Unfortunately, too many young men never see the light, blinded by selfish ambition.  Fueled by pride, egos cause adults to remain the center of attention, long after their own high school graduation.  While hanging out in bars reminiscing about the Glory Days, far too many children are growing up without a role model to emulate.  Subsequently, teenagers often look toward pop culture to find meaning in life, only to be disappointed in the long run.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, John 10:10.

After hearing the phrase “its better to give than receive” countless times throughout life, I finally tasted a piece of this fruit over the weekend.  As a proud parent on Sunday, watching my children all place in the top 3 of their age group, with James earning first, 11th overall, in the 2015 Blue Hen 5K, I realized all those times I went jogging with my kids finally paid off.  Although I was the only one in the family who didn’t medal, it didn’t matter.  I found joy in taking a back seat to my children, observing each one begin to find their niche, place and calling in life.  If you haven’t taken your seat, find one soon.

by Jay Mankus

 

Self-Respect or Victimology

While working out last week at a local fitness center, I couldn’t help but over hear a serious conversation.  Discussing the recent Grand Jury verdict of Darren Wilson, each had a different perspective.  The woman spoke about the importance of having self-respect.  Meanwhile, the man played the victim, blaming the police and slavery for his woes.

Although I don’t have the clout of a minority, my father is an immigrant to this country.  Starting from scratch in upstate New York, excuses weren’t in his vocabulary.  Pushed by his mother, my dad earned his way into an Ivy League College and the Warner School of Business.  My father is living proof that if you develop discipline, self-respect and work hard, anything is possible.

On the other side of the spectrum, are those who play the victim card.  Adam and Eve emulated this endless circle after getting caught red handed with a half-eaten apple.  According to Moses, Adam blamed Eve, indirectly throwing God under the bus, “the woman you put me here with,” Genesis 3:12.  Not willing to take the fall, Eve redirected sole responsibility to the serpent, “he deceived me,” Genesis 3:13.  Subsequently, a generation of victims has been born.

Today, socioeconomics often play a vital role in the worldview you hold.  However, that doesn’t mean individuals can’t have a dream of a better life.  Although many fail, self-respect is a foundation for keeping hope alive.  Self-pity doesn’t solve any problems, its only an excuse to be held down by negativity.  Therefore, if you want to experience a slice of heaven on earth, turn in your victim card for faith in the Lord, Psalm 115:11.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Sermons of John Wise

John Wise is one of those individuals who has been forgotten by history.  A reverend at the Congregational Church in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Wise blazed a trial which the founding fathers of America emulated.  Until yesterday, I never realized that the Declaration of Independence was based upon by a sermon series John Wise preached in 1687.  These messages were inspired by a tax levied by royal Governor Andros without the representation of a legislative body.  Wise was one of the first civil rights leader, going to jail for his opposition, a pioneer who used his pulpit to preach liberty and justice for all.

John Wise devoted his entire life to the ministry, serving from the time of his ordination to his death in 1725.  Prior to his passing, Wise completed his most famous work,   A Vindication of the Government of New England Churches in 1717.  This compilation became a blue print that was adopted in 1776 during the Continental Congress, known as the Declaration of Independence.  When reverend Wise spoke to his community, he didn’t see black, red or white skin.  Rather, Wise developed an expression saying, “there are only 2 kinds of races, those who believe in God and those who don’t!”  This is just a glimpse of the sermons of John Wise.  These inspired words are simply Supernatural as DC Talk once sang.

There is much to learn from this second generation Pilgrim leader.  First, a preacher should not be muzzled by the government.  Church should be a place of refuge where worshipers can experience heaven on earth before going back into the world like disciples for the next 6 days.  Second, the Bible is a blue print for life, liberty and the American way.   Allowing atheists to silence the spiritual foundation of this country is like spitting the reverend Wise in the face.  Finally, history is like a true National Treasure, full of mentors, stars and visionaries who have made America a great nation.  Go to a local library today to examine diamonds in the rough, lost over the course of time, by a media ashamed of God.  If you want to know more about John Wise, David Barton has written books about his impact on American History.

by Jay Mankus

 

Spirit Led; Not Technology Driven

If any of you are a parent or grand parent, perhaps you shake your head as I do watching teens stare at their game systems and cell phones instead of engage in an actual conversation.  Beside sending your kids outside to play, I’m afraid this generation is being led by the spirit of technology.  Sure, the technology misfits like me need their oldest to get most gadgets around the house to work, but isn’t there something parents can do to develop healthy communication skills?

Before ascending to heaven, Acts 1:9-11, Jesus promised to send a counselor to guide people through life.  While Pentecostals often make the mistake of limiting the Spirit of God to spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, the apostles provide clues to become driven by the Holy Spirit.  Philip kept his head up after hearing the Holy Spirit’s still small voice in Acts 8:29, eventually leading an Egyptian to faith in Christ.  Meanwhile, Paul sensed in his heart to avoid visiting Asia on a missionary journey as God’s Spirit kept him from entering their cities, Acts 16:7.

One of the greatest clues left behind is found in Galatians 5.  Inside each human being, there is a war between good and evil as the acts of the sinful nature, Galatians 5:19-21 battle fruits of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23.  As modern technology drives souls to feed their fleshly desires, an invisible forces seeks to intervene, urging individuals to stay on the course of faith.  The key to overcoming today’s technology driven culture is found in Galatians 5:25.  By tuning into God, with eyes and ears alert and open, the apostle Paul suggests you can keep in step with the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, if you emulate this spiritual practice, you will provide a blue print for loved ones to become Spirit led, not technology driven.

by Jay Mankus

Soul Surfing

On a long car ride, families scan AM, FM and satellite radio to find the perfect station to meet their listening needs.  During the day, individuals search the world wide web to check up on emails, Facebook messages and find important information for their jobs.  Meanwhile, after a hard day’s work, most people feel entitled to channel surf until they find something that will help them relax and unwind.  As this surfing commences, have you ever considered what exactly is your soul searching for?

King David talks about purity within Psalm 24.  According to verse 4, a pure heart does not lift up their soul to an idol.  To lift means to elevate or raise something up.  An idol refers to any deity, god or icon.  Unfortunately, most soul surfers don’t consciously worship music, the internet or television.  However, soul surfing is subtle, gradually taking hold of you while you are in a bored, idle or vulnerable state of mind.  Thus, before you expect it, a wave of temptations come crashing down on top of you, flipping your world upside down, often knocking you spiritually unconscious.

Jesus refers to soul surfing in Mark 8:34-38.  Spiritual soul surfing requires 3 essentials: a servant’s heart, an unswerving commitment to faith and emulating Jesus.  Like a beginner trying to learn something completely new, spiritual soul surfers must forget their past by focusing on their new life in Christ, Galatians 2:20.  All the money in the world is not worth the price of forfeiting the human soul, Mark 8:36-37.  Therefore, the next time you turn on some music, click on the computer or turn on a television, make sure your soul is surfing on things above, Colossians 3:1-4.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: