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Tag Archives: engage

Engage

As a father who recently celebrated his oldest son’s wedding, the term engage makes me think of the process a couple goes through prior to getting married.  Yet, synonyms of engage provide a much broader scope.  Absorb, captivate, engross, occupy and seize refer to an engaging encounter, the act of focusing on a specific activity or making the most of your time.  Couples who are dating that are not engaged does not mean they are disengaged.  Rather, one, or both parties are unsure that their significant other is Mr. or Mrs. Right.

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was greatly angered when he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he had discussions in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place day after day with any who happened to be there, Acts 17:16-17.

Upon his first visit to Athens, this city full of idols greatly distressed the apostle Paul.  Instead of withdrawing to a place of safety, Paul began to ask locals about the history of these idols.  Apparently, Paul had daily discussions with these Jewish believers, asking if any inspirational or positive idols existed.  By engaging God-fearing Gentiles, Paul discovered a altar dedicated to an unknown God and a poet who spoke of God’s offspring.  This search for something good inspired Paul to approach the philosophers who debated in a public square daily.

They took him and brought him to the Areopagus (Hill of Ares, the Greek god of war), saying, “May we know what this [strange] new teaching is which you are proclaiming? 20 For you are bringing some startling and strange things to our ears; so we want to know what they mean.” 21 (Now all the Athenians and the foreigners visiting there used to spend their [leisure] time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new,) Acts 17:19:21.

Unfortunately, the art of persuasion is disappearing.  Past historical events like the Scopes Money Trial led Christians like William Jennings Bryan to debate atheists in a public forum.  Instead of continuing this tradition, modern politicians use the media to attack, demonize and smear the reputation of their opponents.  Subsequently, instead of putting aside differences to embrace being Americans, belief systems are creating an expansive divide.  The end result is that adults are acting like spoiled children, disengaging from those who don’t share their worldview.  The only way to alter this trend is through prayer and fasting so that engaging the lost will bring hope to dead and dying souls.

by Jay Mankus

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Class Not Clash

Everyone reaches a point where you lose touch with an opposing point of view.  During one of my final years of teaching, let’s just say I had a class of unique 9th graders.  My regularly scheduled lesson plans weren’t working so I was forced to adapt, developing a debate style of curriculum to engage these students.  Despite a few heated moments, I was pleasantly surprised to discover I did have things in common with opposing worldviews.  This is one of the positive outcomes when you learn to debate with class, not clash.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15.

Unfortunately, there is a growing movement within higher education to replace debate with protests.  Instead of accumulating and debating the facts, students are being encouraged to rise up against injustice, offensive symbols and if necessary incite violence.  The end goal is to pressure public officials to give into their demands.  As leaders abandon principles by giving into this pressure, the more successful this approach becomes.  This is what happens when you allow clashing to reign.

Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander, 1 Peter 3:16.

So which practice is better, to debate with class or clash?  Is having a national debate with both sides present the best option?  After all the evidence is conveyed, individuals can decide which argument is more convincing.  Or should we can leave things the way it is, allowing social media to set the daily narrative.  Meanwhile, anyone who doesn’t adhere or agree with Progressive views is demonized, stigmatized or trashed.  Is the opposition afraid of debating controversial topics?  Is it that the truth will expose flawed worldviews?  Whatever the reason, I pray that Americans will return to a more civil style of debate with class.

by Jay Mankus

Missed Opportunities

There are moments in life when you are at the right time and place.  However, if you are on the verge of doing something special, obstacles such as awareness, discernment and time can be hindrances.  Depending upon the state of your emotions, you might just miss a golden opportunity to accomplish God’s will.

I can recall several encounters with people over the course of my life.  Some of these friendships never developed because I did not make a good first impression.  On other occasions I sensed the leading of the Holy Spirit, yet an individual or stranger was distracted by trials in life.  If I was more prepared or they were spiritually sober, perhaps my life would be much more engaging, full of conversational experiences.

Despite my past failures, I did make the most of one opportunity.  While attending a youth ministry conference in Chicago, I happened to meet my future wife.  The atmosphere at this facility made it conducive to slowing down to meet, interact and develop permanent meaningful lasting relationships.  Little did I know that one of the girls in my small group would become my soul mate.  Similarly, if you have failed to cease the moment like me, apply the words of Colossians 4:2-6 so that you won’t miss the opportunities that the Lord provides.

by Jay Mankus

The Mindset of a Killer

In light of yesterday’s indictment of Aaron Hernandez for a 2012 double murder in South Boston, family, friends and sports fans are left with troubling questions.  Yes, I know in America, you’re considered innocent until proven guilty, but how can a former rising star of the New England Patriots fall so far and fast?  If guilt is by association, what led Aaron to entertain such bad company?  What triggers someone to snap, inspiring the act to take another person’s life?  The answer lies in the mindset of a killer.

According to Psalm 64, there is an enemy who uses thoughts of conspiracy and evil to steer individuals off course.  The tongue serves like an invisible sword full of poison, aimed at bystanders that rub you the wrong way.  Anger, rage and hatred engage violence, tempting frustrated souls to leave prudence and temperance in their rear view mirrors.  Subsequently, a gang or mob mentality develops, persuading rushed vengeful acts.  At this point, the sinful nature grabs control of minds, Galatians 5:16-21, leading the lost down the highway to hell, Matthew 7:13-14.

In 1972, the United Negro College Fund created the slogan, “the mind is a terrible thing to waste.”  Whether you’re in high school contemplating college, a laid off employee forced to start a new career or a troubled soul bombarded by temptation, the mind plays a vital role in life’s final outcome.  If unwholesome thoughts begin to creep into your brain, take the apostle Paul’s advice in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  The sooner you take your thoughts captive, the less likely you’ll be heading toward a mindset of a killer.

by Jay Mankus

 

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