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The Original Omission

Thanks to the writings of Augustine of Hippo who lived from 354–430 AD, the phrase peccatum originale was conceived. Augustine was referring to the passage below where Adam and Eve committed the original sin on earth by disobeying the boundary set by God in Genesis 2:16-17. When you place this passage side by side with James 1:13-15, Satan planted a thought inside of Eve’s mind that was eventually acted upon the more Eve stared at the fruit hanging from the Tree of Knowledge.

For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity. And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate, Genesis 3:5-6.

When Moses documents this story that was passed down through oral tradition, one key detail is often overlooked. While the version of this passage doesn’t specify Adam’s whereabouts when Eve took the first bite, other translations of the Bible claim that Adam was right there with her. Adam failed to show leadership by not interrupting the serpent or simply exclaiming “get lost.” Subsequently, as Eve was busy committing original sin, Adam demonstrated the original omission.

So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin, James 4:17.

The word omission in the context of Genesis 3 means a failure to do something, especially something that one has a moral or legal obligation to do. Since Adam was given authority over the Garden of Eden with the responsibility of being a caretaker or in golf lingo the superintendent of Eden, Adam failed to uphold the only rule given to him by God. The earthly brother of Jesus clarifies what a sin of omission is in the passage above. The moment Adam sat idly by his wife’s side without stepping in to stop this tempting urge, the original omission was conceived.

by Jay Mankus

Regaining Your Childhood Gaze

A gaze is to look steadily and intently, especially in admiration, surprise, or thought. While it’s hard to remember my own childhood, I do recall faces my own children made when they were young. Certain things caused each of them to be in awe. As an adult, you can get caught up in the rat race called life. When you don’t take the time to have balance, all work and no fun, it’s easy to lose your excitement and joy for life.

For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit, And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come, Hebrews 6:4-5.

The author of Hebrews writes about a spiritual gaze. Whenever an individual enters into a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-11, there is an enlightenment along with an internal peace within your heart. Unfortunately, just as a child can lose their gaze, any addiction, bad habit or habitual act will cheapen God’s grace. When temptation becomes too great, some Christians pray for God’s forgiveness before indulging in sin all over again. This appears to be the context of the passage above.

If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance—[it is impossible] to bring them back to repentance, for (because, while, as long as) they nail upon the cross the Son of God afresh [as far as they are concerned] and are holding [Him] up to contempt and shame and public disgrace, Hebrews 6:6.

I was introduced to Lay Witness Misson Weekends in high school. A visiting team of adults and teenagers come Friday for dinner as a meet and great and leave Sunday afternoon following church. I didn’t know what a spiritual revival was until I attended one. Under the leadership of Ken Horne, building blocks were used to point toward a climax on Saturday night. Over a decade, I was fortunate to attend several of these weekends which helped me regain my childhood gaze. It’s never too late to retreat to a place where you can reconnect with Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

My Helper and Keeper

After taking my last graduate level teaching class, I made some radical changes in my teaching style. My Classroom Management course taught me to seek out a responsible individual in each of my classes. This person served as the heartbeat and pulse of their peers. The purpose of this leadership position was to help and keep me aware of any learning difficulties within each unit. These unclear areas were then addressed prior to each unit test. While this system wasn’t perfect, it did help and keep me on track.

My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth, Psalm 121:2.

The passage above was written during a climb or walk to the summit of a mountain in Jerusalem. This Psalmist remains nameless but was inspired to sing and write during this special stroll. One of the best ways to clear my mind in high school was to take a late-night jog while listening to my Walkman cassette player. One of my favorite music mixes was the soundtrack from Rocky IV. As each song began, adrenaline would cause me to run faster and faster.

 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand [the side not carrying a shield], Psalm 121:5.

According to the Psalmist, God gives you something greater than adrenaline. While specific details are left up to your own interpretation, the Psalmist credits God for helping each day and keeping him near. Moses speaks about this in Deuteronomy 28:1-3. Moses believes God’s presence as a helper and keeper is a form of blessings for being obedient to the Lord. Meanwhile, the Psalmist compares God to a spiritual warrior who shields the unarmed from danger. May you begin to see God as a helper and keeper.

by Jay Mankus

A Rock That Can’t Be Shaken

If you ask a random crowd of American citizens a question about rock in the form of a man on the street interviews often used by late night comedians, someone will answer Dwayne Douglas. This professional wrestler has become simply identified as “the Rock.” Anyone who has witnessed the Rock’s chiseled body in a movie or in person may come to the conclusion that Dwayne Douglas can’t be shaken.

He reached from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. 17 He delivered me from my strong enemy and from those who hated and abhorred me, for they were too strong for me. 18 They confronted and came upon me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay and support, Psalm 18:16-18.

Yet, the Bible speaks of a supernatural rock. Before he was a king, David was a lowly shepherd boy. While moving his herd along hilly terrain, David would occasionally slip, fall or twist his ankle. David writes about a heavenly shepherd in Psalm 23. When you’re living out in the country as a nomad, you have plenty of time to reflect and think about life. This led David to stumble upon a rock that can’t be shaken.

And I tell you, you are [e]Peter [Greek, Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a [f]huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the [g]infernal region) shall [h]not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it], Matthew 16:18.

Following his correct answer to Jesus’ question to his disciples, Peter receives a compliment in the passage above. Jesus compares Peter to petros, a physical featured designed to point to his leadership in the first century church. As you walk through life, dodging falling rocks that come in the form of shifting circumstances and trials, may you come to know the Rock of the Bible that can’t be shaken, Ephesians 2:20.

by Jay Mankus

Getting on the Same Page of Unity

The origin of being on the same page is not fully clear. However, it is believed that this expression developed at some point during business meetings with executives. Rather than try to undermine one another, companies function best when leadership teams are on the same page. Churches often develop mission statements so that when questions arise, pastors and elders can get back on the same page as well.

Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper], Colossians 3:12.

Unfortunately, there has only been one reported church that has sustained unity, Acts 2:42-47. While great awakenings of the18th and 19th centuries breathed new life into churches, unity did not last. According to Luke who served as a first century historian, traveling with Paul on several missionary trips, the early church-maintained unity by eliminating poverty. Rather than take up a weekly offering during a worship service, wealthy Christians sold their own possessions to provide funds for every emergency.

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony], Colossians 3:13-14.

The apostle Paul is blunt about what is necessary before unity can be achieved. This requires grace, love, patience, and selflessness. Apparently, early Christians practiced the words of Philippians 2:1-5 by taking on the attitude of Jesus. When church leaders emulate unity, members of a congregation start to follow. However, when unity is merely a spoken word without any action, getting on the same page of unity remains an unfulfilled goal.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 189: Lead Me

During a five-year stretch, I served on a security team for Christian concerts at Red Lion. The David Crowder Band and the News Boys were the headliners that our church hosted. However, one of the lesser-known bands at who opened for the News Boys was Sanctus Real. While I was busy at my security check point, a friend told me about their testimony shared on stage about battling with stuttering.

 Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity, 1 Timothy 4:12.

Sanctus Real’s song Lead Me reminds me of a message passed on to a first century preacher. Age shouldn’t be used as an excuse to not lead others. Rather, leadership involves emulating the life, speech and faith of Jesus Christ. The lyrics of Lead Me talk about reflecting upon what’s going on inside of you. Things may look okay externally, but leading starts by being transformed from within.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 188: Do I Stand Alone?

Mike Stand is one of the original members of the Punk rock group the Altar Boys. Mike served as the lead singer of this iconic Christian band. Back in the late 1980’s, Mike left the Altar Boys to pursue a solo career releasing a few albums on his own. While there are a number of songs I could have featured today, Do I Stand Alone applies well to current events.

And I sought a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none, Ezekiel 22:30.

History is full of cycles, times where people were obedient to God and periods of compromise that led cultures to do what’s right in their own eyes. The book of Judges illustrates this point as good leadership results in blessings while poor leaders brought curses upon Israel, Judges 21:25. The prophet lived in a day when Israelites were afraid to take a stand for God. Like Mike sings, are you willing to stand today?

by Jay Mankus

The First Small Group Leader

Mark 1:35-39 describes one of the first nights Jesus spent with the new leadership team that He handpicked. These twelve men went on to become known as the 12 disciples of the Bible. The secret to Jesus’ success as a small group leader was an early morning prayer and walk in the wilderness. According to John Mark, this hour of power revealed to Jesus where to go and what to do. Jesus invested three years of his life pouring his heart and soul into these men to prepare them for his departure; setting an example to follow.

Another also said, I will follow You, Lord, and become Your disciple and side with Your party; but let me first say good-bye to those at my home. 62 Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things behind] is fit for the kingdom of God, Luke 9:61-62.

The next step for any small group leader is to identify future leaders in your group. At some point, Jesus recognized James, John, and Peter as his inner circle, Luke 9:28-36. Jesus brings these three men along with him on special occasions, leaving the other nine disciples behind. This includes Jesus’ transfiguration in the mountains, resurrecting a little girl from the dead, and the healing of others close to death. Beside teaching each of these men about God’s spiritual powers, Jesus likely wanted to see how each of them responded to dire situations.

Now after this the Lord chose and appointed seventy others and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come (visit). And He said to them, The harvest indeed is abundant [[a]there is much ripe grain], but the farmhands are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out like lambs into the midst of wolves, Luke 10:1-3.

Jesus wasn’t content with one ministry team. Rather, Jesus selected an additional 72 disciples to serve the Lord. According to Luke, Jesus chose and appointed these people based upon their commitment and willingness to surrender their lives as a servant of God. To avoid being overwhelmed, Jesus sends out 36 teams of two with specific instructions to follow in Luke 10. Like a swimming instructor, Jesus wanted to see who would sink and who would swim. As modern churches continue to encourage members to join a small group, don’t forget the Bible’s first small group leader and His advice left behind in the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 64: Man Up Anthem

Following a conversation with one of my former Red Lion students, I discovered The 116, formerly 116 Clique. This American Southern Christian hip hop group originally from Dallas, Texas met the criteria that I was looking for in new Christian music. Between the lyrics and the beat, I felt an instant connection with this sound. The song Envy became an immediate favorite of my son Daniel and daughter Lydia.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside, 1 Corinthians 13:11.

In this age of wokeness, the Man Up Anthem does not apologize for taking a spiritual stand in life. One of the current problems in society is a lack of leadership. When you’re not held accountable by a church or group, most people end up doing what’s right in their own eyes. The 116 seeks to change this by encouraging boys to leave their childish ways by becoming a man of God. It’s time to Man Up.

by Jay Mankus

Use Guidance… Not Coercion

As a former teacher, I understand why some people may opt for coercion over guidance. Whenever an adult loses control of a classroom, the practice of persuading children to do something by force or threats is used as an act of desperation. After taking a Classroom Management graduate level course, I learned that students need structure. When you clarify your expectations and demonstrate a gentle but firm spirit, coercion is not necessary.

Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully; 1 Peter 5:2.

When I read and study the Bible, I see a big contrast between Jesus and the religious leaders of the first century. Jesus lived his life like a shepherd tending a large flock of sheep. Rather than oversee his disciples like a control freak, Jesus demonstrated how he wanted his followers to live their lives. Meanwhile, the Pharisees used God’s commandments, decrees and principles to coerce sinners into following religious practices.

Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the flock (the congregation), 1 Peter 5:3.

Despite being a vocal leader, Peter understood the importance of emulating the life and patterns of Jesus. When a leader is domineering or overbearing, fear and peer pressure is used to manipulate other people. This is all exercised and laid out to achieve a desired outcome. Yet, rarely do these leaders consider if this is what Lord wants. While the addressing the Church at Galatia, the apostle Paul compares this style of leadership with witchcraft, Galatians 3:1-2. In view of this, may the Holy Spirit convince you to focus on guidance and not coercion.

by Jay Mankus

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