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Looking in the Wrong Place for Conviction

Following the unfortunate death of George Floyd, a new movement was spawned. White Millennials began to attend Black Lives Matter protests. Whether convicted from Critical Race Theory or White Privilege seminars, a large number of white women have publicly confessed their sins of racism, bowing down to the BLM Movement. This sign of allegiance has emboldened BLM leaders to publicly demand other white people to bow at their feet. Using peer pressure and force on some occasions, many are looking in the wrong place for conviction.

And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!] 16 But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us? 17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself), Romans 10:15-17.

More than 2 decades ago I attended a 2 day Promise Keepers event at Soldier Field. The opening night was amazing, headlined by a moving speech from founder Bill McCartney. McCartney inspired the 65,000 men who attended with a call to become leaders in their family and community. Day 2 was focused on unity, addressing the topic of racism in the church. Instead of focusing on an individual basis, the Key Note speaker assumed that every white man in attendance was racist. As some one who attended public schools, spending 3 years in inner city Wilmington, I was offended.

Is anyone among you sick? He should call in the church elders (the spiritual guides). And they should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Lord’s name. 15 And the prayer [that is] of faith will save him who is sick, and the Lord will restore him; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working], James 5:14-16.

God designed human beings with a conscience, serving as a regulating force to convict wayward souls. Meanwhile, the Bible is the only book in human history that has been deemed living and active, Hebrews 4:12. This code of conduct was designed to be a source of light, providing direction and guidance to our feet, Psalm 119:105. You shouldn’t have to go to church, a protest, or rally to be convicted. Rather, the apostle Paul reminded first century Christians that the more you read, study and listen to God’s Word, hearts and minds can change. Therefore, don’t allow peer pressure to alter your beliefs. Instead, meditate upon God’s Word day and night, Joshua 1:8. When you practice spiritual disciplines, conviction will come via the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

The Power of a Lie

While spending 3 years of my life in full time youth ministry, I attended several conferences, seminars and workshops. One of the most beneficial aspects of these events was learning new Ice Breakers. Although not every idea worked, I found that playing telephone once a year forced my students to become better listeners. Also known as Chinese Whispers, one teenager starts by reading a written down message or sharing a short story. This information is shared via a whisper over and over again until the last person recounts what this initial message has morphed into.

Truthful lips shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is [credited] but for a moment. 20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who devise evil, but for the counselors of peace there is joy. Proverbs 12:19-20.

The first participants of telephone were Adam and Eve. Despite knowing the only rule established by God, Genesis 2:16-17, each were intrigued by what a crafty serpent had to say. As soon as the boundary lines were set in the Garden of Eden, both knew that the Tree of Knowledge was off limits. Nonetheless, Eve began to entertain the thought planted into her mind. Instead of telling this snake to scram, Adam began to second guess God. This is the power of a lie, convincing yourself through good intentions to justify wrong actions. Since this day of deception, human beings have become more and more gullible, falling for lie after lie.

No [actual] evil, misfortune, or calamity shall come upon the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil, misfortune, and calamity. 22 Lying lips are extremely disgusting and hateful to the Lord, but they who deal faithfully are His delight, Proverbs 12:21-22.

Since the death of George Floyd, a few riots have been fueled by false reports posted on Twitter. By the time this lie was exposed, it was too late as city streets, local businesses and neighborhoods resembled a war zone. Instead of double checking sources to confirm the accuracy of a report, cable news and the print media have become sloppy, jumping the gun so to speak. While President Trump refers to these felonious accounts as “Fake News,” the Bible calls this lying. In the passage above, King Solomon doesn’t speak kindly to those who distort, exaggerate or fib a little. If a politician in cooperation with the media tells a lie over and over again, sooner or later the masses will believe this to be the truth. This is the power of a lie.

by Jay Mankus

What Happened to Being Honest?

On May 25th, George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota when white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes. This one act of hatred has ignited a series of protests and riots over the past 2 weeks. As Americans still stuck under state induced quarantines watched helplessly from home, anger was unleashed upon buildings, businesses and vacant malls across the country. As citizens began to express their concerns and opinions on social media, the Cancel Culture movement has risen up to condemn, punish and silence those who deviate from mainstream progressive ideology.

But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully, 1 Timothy 3:15.

As each day passes, the backlash against honest tweets continues. The first victim of this backlash was Sacramento Kings Play by Play announcer Grant Napear. Napear was fired by his radio station and forced to resign from his 22 year position with the Kings all because he replied to a tweet “All Lives Matter.” The next was New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees who made a statement about honoring the flag in an interview during Memorial Day Weekend. While Brees wasn’t cut by the Saints, he was shamed into apologizing for expressing his heart felt beliefs about patriotism. James Bennet of the New York Times was forced to resign after agreeing to print an Opinion Editorial written by conservative Senator Tom Cotton.

[And see to it that] your conscience is entirely clear (unimpaired), so that, when you are falsely accused as evildoers, those who threaten you abusively and revile your right behavior in Christ may come to be ashamed [of slandering your good lives]. 17 For [it is] better to suffer [unjustly] for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than to suffer [justly] for doing wrong, 1 Peter 3:16-17.

One of Jesus’ disciples made an interesting observation in the first century. After publicly denying knowing Jesus, Peter is restored in John 21:15-19. This conversation seems to have empowered Peter to become a spiritual rock, eager to share his faith after Jesus rose from the dead. However, Peter adds a disclaimer, when you do share your faith, you may suffer. Although Peter doesn’t specify what kind of suffering, it appears to be socially. In other words, you won’t be the most popular person, but when you’re criticized for doing the right thing, it’s worth the backlash. I don’t know how long this trend will continue, but when you do express your beliefs, do so with a gentle, courteous and respectful spirit.

by Jay Mankus

What the World Needs

One of the favorite weeks of the year as a teacher was attending the annual youth leadership conference. As a member of the Spiritual Life Committee, serving as chaperone for this event gave me the opportunity to recognize and encourage student leaders to follow God’s calling. These events introduced me to cutting edge curriculum designed by Summit Ministries. During one decade, I was blessed to participate in work shops led by Dr. Jeff Meyers and John Stonestreet. During my final year of attending, I was challenged to stop judging the world by engaging our culture with the living Word of God.

Now while Paul was awaiting them at Athens, his spirit was grieved and roused to anger as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned and argued in the synagogue with the Jews and those who worshiped there, and in the marketplace [where assemblies are held] day after day with any who chanced to be there, Acts 17:16-17.

Stonestreet’s best lesson focused on the apostle’s initial visit to Athens. Despite being discouraged and grieved by a city full of idols, Paul tried to find something positive. Based upon the passage below, Paul identified a point of reference, an altar dedicated to an unknown god. Following a similar method of apologetics used by C.S. Lewis in the second portion of Mere Christianity, Paul establishes a common ground. Instead of preaching a message of condemnation, Paul compliments the citizens of Athens, referring to them as religious. Paul also quotes a poet who refers to being an offspring of God. This is what the world needs to hear.

So Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus [Mars Hill meeting place], said: Men of Athens, I perceive in every way [on every hand and with every turn I make] that you are most religious or very reverent to demons. 23 For as I passed along and carefully observed your objects of worship, I came also upon an altar with this inscription, To the unknown god. Now what you are already worshiping as unknown, this I set forth to you, Acts 17:22-23.

In the aftermath of the George Floyd’s unnecessary death at the hands of a white police officer, buildings, local businesses and vehicles have been set ablaze in Minnesota. As riots continue to spread to other major metropolitan cities, anger over Floyd’s death has fueled this outage. As African Americans, minorities and protesters seek justice for this hate crime, time will tell what the future holds. As for now, cooler heads must prevail. If this country wants to continue it’s reputation as the great American melting pot, we must come together to discover what we have in common. When common beliefs and ideals are embraced, Americans can unite over the freedoms laid out in the Bill of Rights.

by Jay Mankus

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