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Tag Archives: legacy

Voices from the Grave

After spending a long weekend enjoying the warmth of Florida, the remaining days of my family vacation served a different purpose.  My wife’s father bought a condo back in the 1990’s when her brother JD was pursuing a career as a professional golfer.  Following my marriage proposal to Leanne, I spent a winter living in Florida with JD to fulfill my own dream.  With the passing of Jim Wagner last fall, it was time to clean out everything that has accumulated over the past 25 years.  Before putting this property on the market, sorting through what was left behind was necessary and to my surprise like hearing voices from the grave.

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead, James 2:26.

When death separates the living from the deceased, one of the few things you have remaining are the memories of your time together on earth.  Two of my visits to Oldsmar, Florida were business trips, serving as a staff writer for Travel Golf Media.  One of the perks of this job was playing golf for free along with a photographer.  Thus, Jim and Leanne took turns helping me, saving several hundreds of dollars in greens fees in the process.  While going through a closest I found several hats, a golf shirt and score cards from these memorable rounds of golf.  Upon seeing these items, it was like hearing Jim’s voice again saying, “thanks for a great round!”

And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead,” Matthew 8:22.

The hardest part about coping with death is letting go.  Some mourning individuals create a memorial in their homes with letters, pictures or clothing worn by this loved one.  Meanwhile, deadly accidents have crosses or wreaths to remind you of the fallen.  Yet, at some point you have to move on.  During a discussion with potential candidates, Jesus urged eager disciples to let the dead bury their own dead.  Jesus isn’t trying to be cruel or harsh.  Essentially, Jesus is commanding his followers to focus on the living, those near you who need your help.  Therefore, if you want to leave your own legacy take Jesus’ advice so that your actions may serve as voices from the grave after you are gone.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Jesus’ Last Will and Testament

A will is a legal document that allows you, among other things, to designate how and to whom your property is distributed.  Prior to the formation of modern companies like Legal Zoom, the Old Testament reveals the inheritance process for Jewish families.  Jewish inheritance customs were linked to family blood lines as detailed in Numbers 27:8-11.  The parable of the Prodigal Son refers to the financial breakdown with the oldest son receiving a greater percentage of wealth.  In the case of Jesus, his clothes were decided by chance, as soldiers cast lots to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy.

So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it will be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture, “They divided My outer clothing among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” 25 So the soldiers did these things.  But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, His mother’s sister [Salome], Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, John 19:24-25.

Prior to his death on a cross, Jesus’ mother was the only family member to believe, remaining faithful to the end.  Since his father Joseph died years earlier, Mary was Jesus’ sole concern.  After members of his family referred to him as a crazy man who had lost his mind in Mark 3:21, Jesus embraced those who did the will of his heavenly father.  These are the individuals who Jesus called his family.  Yet, Jesus’ last will and testament was directed to John, handing the care of Mary over to him.  The passage below suggests that Mary moved into John’s house, staying with him until her death.

26 So Jesus, seeing His mother, and the disciple whom He loved (esteemed) standing near, said to His mother, “[Dear] woman, look, [here is] your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple (John), “Look! [here is] your mother [protect and provide for her]!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own home, John 19:26-27.

Beyond any possession that you may pass onto family, there is something more valuable.  The legacy that you leave behind will either inspire or deflate your children, family and spouse.  This mark can’t be faked as time will reveal the true nature of your character.  In a sense, Jesus’ legacy was carried on by 11 disciples and first century apostles.  Delegating, preparing and teaching these individuals has kept the good news of Jesus Christ alive today.  As you draw near the grave, may the Holy Spirit prompt you to develop a sense of urgency so that your faith will be passed on to the next generation.

by Jay Mankus

So Many Holidays…Few Transformed Hearts

When I was younger, any day out of school was worth celebrating.  The longer the break, the better the holiday placing Christmas and Thanksgiving at the top of my list.  Yet, holidays are meant for reflection, appreciating or thanking those from history who has made a lasting legacy.  If these special days pass without any remembrance, the purpose of holidays are wasted.

“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you,” Deuteronomy 5:16.

In recent times, entire months are devoted to a cause.  Whether its Black History, Breast Cancer Awareness or the next government sponsored movement, the calendar is running out of days.  Perhaps, this over saturation has calloused hearts and numbed minds.  Subsequently, America is left with so many holidays with few transformed hearts.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages,” 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

Maybe its time to downsize days off.  As a former teacher, days off are a welcomed site to most adults.  Yet, why do something just for the sake of a day off.  If children are encouraged to plant trees on earth day, why not read the Bible at Christmas.  Why stop there as action, practical application and integration changes lives.  As we approach Memorial Day, may God move you to celebrate the reason for each season.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Joe and Kay

Last weekend, I attended a benefit concert for one of my former students.  While listening to the music, speakers and video, I am touched by the legacy these two students have left behind.  Joseph Feeley was a gifted athlete, solid believer and destined to play professional baseball or become a long drive champion.  Meanwhile, Kaylyn Warren was an aspiring actress in school plays, talented singer and godly leader.  Unfortunately, each were taken away, struck down by vicious cancers.

And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary, Luke 18:3.

Like the tribulations of Job, somethings will never make any sense.  Subsequently, those who endure horrific conditions are forever linked by time.  From an earthly perspective, parents, relatives and students were robbed of spending more time with their friend.  On the other hand, each were relieved of their suffering and reunited with God the Father in heaven.  Trying to comprehend the Lord’s grand design can be overwhelming.  Thus, for now, all I can grasp is that by dying, these two teenagers impacted their peers with a persistent faith.

I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? – Luke 18:8

Over time, its easy to lose touch with the people you care about.  Yet, wherever you are, its crucial to find a ministry to poor your heart and soul into on earth.  Although, it may take some time to locate one that you believe in, God has a special place for you if you are willing.  Sure, there are distractions, trying to grab your attention.  Nonetheless, if you want to make an investment for eternity, remember the example of Joe and Kay so that others will be touched by your deeds when your time on earth runs out.

by Jay Mankus

 

Building Up or Tearing Down

In the aftermath of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit down during the national anthem before last weekend’s third NFL preseason game, social media has exploded.  Between cable news, talk radio and Twitter, opinions on this protest have come fast and furious.  Despite all the arguments made on either side of Kaepernick’s stance, one valuable piece is missing.  It’s not what Colin did, refusing to stand and honor the American flag, its what he will do.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, Luke 14:28-29.”

On June 5th, 2014, Colin Kaepernick signed a 6 year 110 million dollar contract with 61 million of this amount guaranteed.  Thus, Colin has the financial resources to make a difference in any community that he chooses to help.  Using his celebrity status to prove a point only magnifies this hot button issue.  Nonetheless, words are meaningless without action.  Jesus makes a similar point in Luke 14 in the context of becoming a disciple.  Jesus warns any lukewarm candidates, “don’t start something that you can’t or won’t finish.”

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters, Matthew 12:30.”

No whatever where you live, what you do or whom you come in contact with, anyone can point out what’s wrong in this world.  Yet, just because a few police officers, public servants or other individuals act inappropriately does not mean everyone in these fields are corrupt.  Instead of adding fuel to the fire, the best course of action involves building up others.  Jesus uses an analogy about gathering and scattering.  If you’re really for change, your actions will leave a lasting legacy like Dr. Martin King Jr.  However, if you’re all talk without any substance, than you are actually tearing down that which others gave their lives to protect.

by Jay Mankus

Peter’s Shadow

Legends, myths and legendary characters will always be discussed.  Whether its Babe Ruth, Paul Bunyan or Frank Sinatra, common people can be mystified by figures who are larger than life.  Although some feats may be embellished, those who were alive at the time of their prime wouldn’t put it past them to achieve the impossible.

As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by, Acts 5:15.

However, sometimes a real life Clark Kent does the unexpected, turning into a super humanitarian.  Such is the case of Peter, a fisherman turned minister.  Fueled by the Holy Spirit, this once Jesus denier became transformed into a powerful healer.  An eyewitness of Peter’s miracles, Luke a real life doctor was astonished by Peter’s healing power, extending to his own shadow.  Drawing crowds similar to the days of Jesus, those who believed experienced restoration as soon as the shadow of Peter touched their body.

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them, Acts 19:11-12.

This phenomena continued through the apostle Paul.  Like Peter, his past was nothing to be proud of, hunting down and executing Christians.  Yet, this same Spirit, allowed Paul to turn over a new lease on life.  Possessing strong leadership skills, Paul kept Jesus’ legacy of healing alive.  While Jesus healed those who touched his cloak, those who reached out to Paul’s handkerchiefs experienced similar results.  From a human and scientific perspective, these events make no sense.  Nonetheless, when anointed by the Holy Spirit, even Peter’s shadow can and is used by bring believers into the family of God.

by Jay Mankus

 

What Have You Died For Me Lately?

If the media could only see the foolishness of their standards.  A politician may be the greatest leader in the world only to have their legacy ruined, magnified by a single poor decision broadcasted over and over again.  One professional athlete may be on the verge of being the greatest of all time until one bad performance causes supporters to boo.  Meanwhile, successful business men and women are being fired for a few careless words, sharing their world views on touchy subjects.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, Hebrews 6:3-4.

This absurd trend reminds me of what the Bible refers to as the Passion Week.  The week before Jesus’ death on a cross, the masses were.shouting out praises.  “You’re amazing, the best, greatest and wonderful!”  Seven days later, peer pressure turned these cheers into shouts of “crucify Him!”  In other words, what have you done for me lately?   If you haven’t, then you are as good as dead, part of yesterday’s news.

And who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace, Hebrews 6:5.

The author of Hebrews brings up an interesting angle to this discussion.  Essentially, there were Jewish Christians who were perverting God’s grace in the late first century.  Subsequently, Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t enough to stop their sinful ways.  Rather, grace was a convenient crutch to lean on, a Get Out of Sin free card.  Turning the tables over in regards to their earthly temple, bodies, Hebrews turns up the heat, suggesting each blatant sin is like crucifying Jesus all over again.  Therefore, it’s not what have you died for me lately; Jesus died once and for all, for all sin.  Thus, go now and leave your life of sin.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:10-11

by Jay Mankus

 

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