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The Compassion Test

The original sign man traveled across the country, attending several professional sporting events.  After studying the cameras at each event, he put himself in the ideal position to display John 3:16 to viewers.  This and other variables has made Jesus’ words in this passage to become one of the most famous verses in the Bible.  Yet, there is another John 3:16 which often gets overlooked, possessing another powerful message.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters, 1 John 3:16.

When it comes to love and sacrifice, I tend to miss the mark.  While I do get emotional when I see something heart breaking or touching, my actions lack true compassion.  When I served on a board of elders for six years, I witnessed first hand how messy life can get.  Love takes energy, patience and time.  Unfortunately, I often abandon ship along the way, not completing the act of love God wants me to carry out.

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? – 1 John 3:17.

The second verse in the passage above provides the frame work for a compassion test.  Like taking a spiritual gifts test, here’s a few questions to consider.  First, what are you laying your life down for?  Second, where is the bulk of your free time spent?  Third, is there anyone in your life that currently needs your help?  Finally, what will you do to reorganize your priorities to become the hands and feet of Christ on earth.  As you ponder the questions above, may the Holy Spirit guide and direct you to become a compassion soul on earth.

by Jay Mankus

An Attitudes Impact

In the ESPN 30 for 30 entitled, the Gospel According to Mac, former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCarthy recounts his quest to bring the Buffalo’s a national championship.  One of the overriding themes involves learning how to motivate each player who respond differently to criticism, failure and mistakes.  During the second hour of this 2 hour documentary, the founding of Promise Keepers is covered through a series of clips from old speeches.  One excerpt includes a quote on attitudes, claiming a person’s attitude is four times more important as their overall talent.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, Philippians 2:14.

Attitude is one of those qualities which usually remains hidden until adversity arrives.  However, in the heat of the moment, pose is tested.  Attitudes are directly proportional to feelings expressed through body language and words.  Depending upon the individual, stored up emotion can explode, unleashed in the form of complaints, gossip or pessimism.  According to the apostle Paul, this is nothing new as attitudes can impact a group, family or an entire neighborhood.  Like a vulnerable forest in seasons of extreme drought, any spark can trigger devastating fires.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:5.

To overcome this potential threat, the apostle Paul believes the cure to this condition lies in the obtaining a specific mindset.  Despite being the son of God, Jesus became humble taking the nature of a servant.  Jesus set the model for what attitude should resemble.  However, this isn’t something you can do on your own.  Rather, transformation begins with faith by grace.  When you place your trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit serves as a counselor to fashion and mold your attitude.  The end goal is to acquire a Christ like mindset.  This may take a life time to achieve, but an attitude’s impact can alter lives for eternity.

by Jay Mankus

 

When Mistakes Last a Life Time

In the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss entitled Rand University, this feature focuses on how hard it is for minorities to make it in professional sports.  Two high school teammates of Moss, Sam Singleton Jr. and Bobbie Howard refer to a generation curse, causing most talented athletes from Rand, West Virginia to end up drinking in the 7 Eleven parking lot every weekend wondering what might have been.  Whether its drugs, poverty or giving into temptation, sometimes poor choices result in mistakes that last a life time.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire, James 1:14.

While Bobbie Howard received a football scholarship to Notre Dame and later went on to play a few seasons for the Chicago Bears, Bobbie is one of the exceptions to this Rand rule.  Sam Singleton Jr. is more like the norm, unable to ditch his addiction to alcohol and pot.  After being drafted by a Major League Ball club, Sam was on his way to becoming a professional baseball player.  Unfortunately, despite showing great promise, one failed drug test sent him packing, released by an unnamed team.  At the conclusion of this film, Sam breaks down in tears, claiming his life is an example of when a mistake lasts a lifetime.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9.

What people seek and what individuals often receive are usually 2 different things.  At some point, people can become their own worst enemy.  Like a prodigal in denial, life often takes a downward spiral, reaching a new bottom floor with each passing year.  Most don’t get a second chance like a teenage I knew at my first church as a youth pastor.  The first time he ever drove drunk was his last, dying instantly after colliding with a tree.  If only souls could break out of their spiritual funk before its too late?  Perhaps, the sad story of  Sam Singleton Jr. may serve as a wake up call or reality check before one more mistake lasts a lifetime.

by Jay Mankus

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