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Rock Gets Religion

Alice Cooper wrote the forward to a new book entitled Rock Gets Religion by Mark Joseph.  Cooper who quit drinking and drugs after finding God talks about altering the content of his lyrics since his conversion.  This project examines the battle for the soul of secular music, called the Devil’s music when the church demonized pop culture in the 1950 and sixties.  When talented musicians like Keith Green were rejected by mainstream music companies, contemporary Christian music began.

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God, James 4:4.

This new industry used passages from the Bible like the verse above to justify this decision.  While this rationale makes sense, Jesus encouraged his disciples to live in the world, but not follow their standards.  Thus, this separation from society like the Amish didn’t engage the world.  Instead of shining light into the darkness of life, Christians artists were preaching to the choir, having little impact on the rest of the world for several decades.

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one, John 17:15.

After nearly 4 decades of separation, Mark Joseph writes about how the influence of American Idol is reversing this trend.  Instead of being rejected by music executives, average Americans are deciding who advances on these reality shows.  As talented Christian artists are being discovered, more and more are choosing to appeal to a secular audience.  Subsequently, groups like Reliant K, Stellar Kart and Thousand Foot Krutch are adding a spiritual flavor to rock and roll.

by Jay Mankus




A Year Without Church

Before his tragic death in a plane crash, Keith Green created the song Asleep in the Night.  Although the original context refers to someone sleeping in, missing church on Easter Sunday, this song applies to my current dilemma.  Due to my grave yard work schedule, I can’t seem to get my lazy butt out of bed on Sunday morning.  Subsequently, 2016 can be described as a year without church, the fewest weeks I’ve ever attended.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living, Luke 15:13”

I wish I had a decent excuse, but what good would that do.  Like any other sin, missing church involves a lack of discipline, choosing laziness over obedience.  Instead of receiving God’s blessings of fellowship, praise and words of inspiration, I have become like the prodigal who continues to move in the wrong decision.  Hopefully, I will come to my senses soon so that I can spent 2017 in the house of God.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you,” Luke 15:17-18.

When you miss a day praying or reading the Bible, you can’t get it back.  Sure, you might try to do twice the praying or reading the next day to make yourself feel better, but the truth is something else was more important to you on the days you tuned out God.  Part of me still sees the Lord from an Old Testament perspective, one of judgement and wrath.  Yet, the New Testament opens the door on a loving God, desperately waiting for his children to give Him the attention He is worthy of.  May you learn from the errors of my way by visiting a local church regularly and invest time at home daily with the living God of the Bible.

by Jay Mankus



Message in a Bottle

This 1979 song details a lonely castaway, searching for love, thereby sending a message in a bottle to see if anyone shares a similar sentiment.  Message in a Bottle appeared on the Police’s second album, Reggatta de Blanc and ranks as one of the top 100 greatest guitar songs of all time by Rolling Stones Magazine.  Before the advent of cell phones, the internet and computers, individuals looking for companionship wrote letters, pouring out their souls on a piece of paper.  For some unknown reason, this song popped into my head this morning and inspired this Easter Blog.

If I could write a short message in a bottle to summary what Easter Sunday means, it would begin with the lyrics to Keith Green’s song Asleep in the Night.  His words from the 1970’s are profound, as people either don’t care anymore, are too numb to feel anything or apathy has caused many to fall asleep spiritually.  Despite where you are, what you’ve done or who you’ve hurt, Easter is a the season of new beginnings, Psalm 103:11-12.  Therefore, get out of bed and make your way to the nearest house of worship.

While some may wear their Sunday best, God wants you to come as you are, Matthew 11:28-30.  Don’t deceive yourself or try to put on a show like the Pharisees of the first century.  Rather, be yourself, come to the door and open up, for Jesus is knocking, Revelation 3:20.  Faith is not about a list of do’s and don’ts.  Instead, walking with Jesus is a journey, where you yield areas of your life over to God, one at a time.  From here its not easy, yet as Steven Curtis Chapman once sang, this is the Great Adventure.

As I experience another Sunrise Service on the beach, I’m sending out an SOS, to save our souls this Easter Sunday.

What does Easter mean to you? I would love to hear your response.

by Jay Mankus


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