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Tag Archives: football

Marching Band on the Run?

There aren’t that many positive news stories that come out of high schools today.  Encouraging news is suppressed, replaced by the outlandish to grab the attention of busy people going through life.  While young sports enthusiast often travel weekends to compete in athletic competitions, music lovers do the same if they are part of a marching band.  The leader of each band is known as a drum major, usually held by a senior.  These events are held on Friday and Saturday nights and occasionally on Saturday afternoon after football season.  Judging has evolved over time as music and presentation is now open to a creative frenzy with props, running and unusual formations.  This lowering the bar from merely sound quality has caused some choreographers to go off the deep end.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things, Philippians 4:8.

According to several news reports, a Mississippi High School Band Director took his band’s halftime show to a new low.  Last Saturday in Forest Hill, Mississippi high school band members were given several props.  These plastic rifles were used to promote social justice with students holding four boys dressed up as police officers hostage at gun point.  This might have been funny if part of some sort of Saturday Night Live skit, but after two Mississippi police officers were recently shot and killed, this display was unacceptable.  Forest Hill was playing Brookhaven, the hometown of these dead officers.  Immediately following this halftime show, social media was set ablaze, reacting to this insensitive dramatization.  As of earlier today, the band director was suspended without pay until the school investigates this matter leaving band members in limbo.

A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left, Ecclesiastes 10:2.

Does anyone think this punishment fits the crime?  Were school officials too harsh or not strict enough?  If you remember a couple months ago, a high school football coach was fired after kneeling and praying with his team after a game.  This act was deemed unforgivable, something that required an immediate dismissal.  Perhaps, if this man just waited until the National Anthem and then kneeled, that would have been okay, right?  However, the moment you add prayer to kneeling, that’s it.  According to public officials, this is the line that you can’t cross.  The double standards and hypocrisy that exists today in public education is undeniable.  If you take the right stance, liberal or progressive, you might have to go away for a while, but you can keep your job.  Anyone who supports the Bible, prayer or Trump, you will be shamed like a band on the run.  What do you think about this most recent event?

by Jay Mankus

 

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Taking as Many People with You as Possible

During a visit to the city of Corinth, the apostle Paul discovered a passionate group of sports fans.  Instead of modern sports like basketball or football, Corinthians embraced Track and Field as host of a Summer Olympics type of annual event.  Thus, Paul felt compelled to use words in one of his letters that appealed to this culture.  Within 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul compares evangelism with a race, hoping to win as many people as possible to Jesus Christ.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell, Matthew 10:28.

Years earlier, Jesus reveals an interesting concept to his disciples in the passage above.  While speaking about persecution, Jesus provides a heavenly perspective to a common event followers of Christ will encounter.  Human nature tends to make individuals fearful of what other people think of you.  However, Jesus warns the disciples about worrying about the wrong thing.  Rather, be on guard against the Devil, the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, who uses temptation to ensnare souls toward a life in hell, eternally separated from God.

Who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time, 1 Timothy 2:6.

The Bible is filled with promises about life and the future.  John 3:16-17 reveals why God the Father sent his son Jesus to earth.  Upon completing God’s will for his life on earth, Jesus gave himself up as a ransom, paying the price for the sins of mankind.  This selfless act made it possible for fallen creatures to have a place in heaven, John 14:1-4.  Thus, anyone who makes their eternal reservation, 1 John 5:13, should want to take as many people with you as possible.  May the hope of a new year inspire souls to fulfill the great commission, Mark 16:15-16 so that the afterlife will serve as a great big family reunion in the sky.

by Jay Mankus

Forgetting to Thank the One Providing the Blessings

The expression “you don’t know what you had until its gone” often hits home over the holidays.  Each year death takes away someone or something special from our lives.  Unfortunately, when life is going well, people forget to be grateful.  Take for example the Israelites, freed from 400 years of oppression and slavery.  Yet, this wasn’t enough as hungry stomachs led to complaining and grumbling.  When God answered their prayers in the form of manna, bread from heaven, the magic of this miracle soon wore off, craving more.  As quail arrived, sent by the Lord, the Israelites forgot to thank the One providing the blessings.

The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD‘s hand in Egypt!  There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death,” Exodus 16:3.

Doctors tend to notice certain details that most individuals miss.  In the case of Luke, a first century physician, his version of the Healing of 10 Lepers mentions an unique observation.  Leprosy attacks the vocal cords, limiting one’s ability to project their voices.  One of the ten healed by Jesus was overcome by emotion, crying out at the top of his lungs for the first time in years.  While Jesus is disappointed that only one person came back to thank him, Luke highlights the immediate healing experienced by this man.  The other nine took their speech for granted, yet one man did not miss the opportunity to thank the One who performed this blessing.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.  Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?  Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” – Luke 17:15-18

On Thanksgiving Day, hearts and minds tend to be fixed on cooking, football or shopping.  Instead of slowing down to enjoy life, the pursuit of happiness causes souls to search for self-gratification.  This exercise usually leads to disappointment or emptiness.  Therefore, this year on this sacred day, make sure you take the time to thank the good Lord above for all the blessings in this life.  If you don’t, you will miss a golden opportunity to prepare your heart to catch the spirit of Christmas, with good tidings and great joy to all!

by Jay Mankus

My Dad

Since 1964, there have been several memorable songs in America and throughout the world.  One of the most popular, My Girl, was the first Temptation single to feature David Ruffin, the voice which transformed this group’s popularity.  However, on Father’s Day, I wonder why there hasn’t there been a similar song to honor dads, something like “My Dad.”  Although I will leave this up to professional song writers, I do think its vital to remember my own dad on this day.

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him, Psalm 103:13.

My father was six feet tall as a twelve year old, a size that probably saved his life as the Russians began to invade his native Lithuania.  Fleeing his homeland and hiding in the Black Forest for weeks, my dad came to America with the clothes on his back.  Nothing was given to him as he earned a second language English, devoted himself to education and fell in love with the game of football, playing for the University of Pennsylvania before moving on to the Wharton School of Business.  From here, my dad went on to live the American dream, working his way up the corporate ladder before retiring after thirty years of service with the same company.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation, Psalm 68:5.

Today, I wish I had the same financial resources which my father provided, yet a different calling took me in another direction.  Though I dabbled with a career in golf as an architect and P.G.A. professional, the Holy Spirit nudged me toward youth ministry.  Weaving in coaching, teaching and writing, I’m not sure what the ending of my story on earth will look like.  Nonetheless, I am grateful for a wonderful father, encouraging family and a faith that steers me near the narrow road.  From here, all I can do is honor my father and mother, provide for my wife and children and only hope that I can have as much as an impact as my own father had on me.  Happy Father’s Day to all of you dad’s!

by Jay Mankus

The Grand Illusion

As the 2015 NFL Draft approaches, Sports Networks are creating programming to feed the anticipation of football fans.  While channel surfing the other night, I stumbled across an interesting conversation on ESPN.  A pastor from California was talking to Jameis Winston, the projected first pick in the draft about temptation  Tainted by two seasons of off the field troubles, quarterback Jameis Winston has been a victim of the grand illusion, falling prey to the deception of temptation.

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. – Proverbs 10:9

Known as the great deceiver, Satan has a way of making things look better than they really are.  Thus, the curious, unprepared and weak have a tendency to become repeat customers of the grand illusion.  Although the media will tend to label, make fun of and trash an individual for making poor decisions, there is a spiritual element that the addicted can’t cure on their own.  Similar to wearing beer goggles, sinful minds have a habit of justifying wrong actions, causing common sense to fade.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.- James 1:22

On the outside looking in, its hard to comprehend why some struggle to get control of their lives.  Bad influences, stubborn hearts and wandering souls can spend numerous years under the grasp of the grand illusion.  Those held captive often cry out to the heavens, searching for improvement from their condition.  Depending upon the severity of one’s situation, regaining control may take a while.  However, if you lean on the Lord’s power, Philippians 4:13, freedom is possible with Jesus’ help.  May this blog motivate you to remain patience until healing is achieved.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Do You Have Faith for 2015?

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but its important to look ahead as Christmas Day draws near.  For example, if you pray without faith, will God honor your requests?  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, James 1″6-7.  In the same way, if you don’t believe in the Holy Spirit’s power to transform your situation, don’t expect great things in 2015.

One of my favorite scenes from a movie occurs in Facing the Giants.  As a football coach questions his reason for remaining at Shiloh High, he encounters a man sent from God.  Speaking in a parable like Jesus, this wise elder sheds light on the secret to success in life.  Whenever a farmer prepares his field annually for the next crop, each expects the Lord to provide rain.  However, if you wait too long before you sow seeds in faith, you can miss the harvest.

Therefore, looking ahead, developing a vision is vital for 2015.  Although no one but God knows what the future holds, what are you passionate about?  What motivates you to get up before the sun rises?  If you’re drawing a blank, don’t worry because you have another 2 weeks to reflect these questions.  As you reach out in prayer to discover an answer, may the Lord fill you with faith for 2015 and beyond.

by Jay Mankus

 

It’s Not Beginning to Look A lot like Christmas

Perhaps Christmas has become passe?  Or maybe commercialism has contributed individuals from losing sight of its meaning.  Either way, holiday music has been unsuccessful in preparing hearts to find the Christmas spirit.

You don’t have to go any further than Black Friday’s encroachment upon Thanksgiving to see and feel these effects.  Thanking God for the day has been interrupted by football, movies and shopping.  Add in mobs of citizens making a mad dash to get the last item left in the store; then you’ll realize its not beginning to look like Christmas.

As long as hearts continue to dwell on selfish desires, Romans 3:9-12, individuals will be unable to experience the true meaning of Christmas.  Possessing the spirit of Christmas isn’t something you can turn on and off.  Rather, you need a heart transplant, Romans 10:9-10.  Only then, you will the grinch inside of you vanish, opening the door for good tidings and joy to shine through.

by Jay Mankus

 

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