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Tag Archives: missionary trips

S.A.N.S. Episode 301: What a Beautiful Name/Agnus Dei

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone in 2022, it’s officially time for Christmas music. While stores in Aiken have been playing Christmas music since the days following Halloween, Christmas season is now here. As you listen to the Cottrell’s version of What a Beautiful Name / Agnus Dei worship montage, may the words help you overcome the commercialism of Christmas. The lyrics should help you make Jesus the reason for this special season.

And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth, John 1:14.

A first century physician serves as a church historian. Luke is the author of Acts who writes about several of the apostle Paul’s missionary trips in accordance with the Great Commission left behind by Jesus, Acts 1:8. At some point during this spiritual journey, even this doctor was moved by what he saw and witnessed. Luke came to the conclusion that there is no other name on earth that compares with Jesus, Acts 4:12. May today’s song bring you closer to the One who saves.

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

A Noble Society

Impressionism coalesced in the 1860s when a group of artists that included Monet, Sisley and Pierre-Auguste Renoir pursued plein air painting. Meanwhile, first impressions involve ideas, feelings, or opinions about something or someone. This type of impression is formed without conscious thought, often on the basis of little evidence to go on. During a first century visit to a nearby town, a doctor makes an observation, identifying in his mind a more noble society.

Now these [Jews] were better disposed and more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they were entirely ready and accepted and welcomed the message [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] with inclination of mind and eagerness, searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so, Acts 17:11.

Perhaps, the formation of this belief was formed by living among and with less noble individuals. While serving as a historian to the apostle Paul’s missionary trips, citizens of Thessalonica formed a mob that surrounded the house of Jason. This motley crew was gathered by unbelieving Jews aroused by jealousy. As Luke witnessed this anger, rage and violence, meeting a group of Bereans was like a breath of fresh air. Putting these two experiences together illuminated noble qualities found in Berea.

For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice, That each one of you should know how to possess (control, manage) his own body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor, Not [to be used] in the passion of lust like the heathen, who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5.

Months following his visit, the apostle Paul writes his first of two letters to the newly formed church at Thessalonica. Concerned by the unseemly behavior he encountered, Paul urges members to begin to address self control. This advice is based upon the need for Christians to be set apart, living according to the will of God going forward. If anyone seeks to reach noble heights as a citizen, sinful desires must be addressed. When you add Paul’s teaching to the practices of the Bereans, a noble society is possible when God becomes your inspiration for living.

by Jay Mankus

What’s in a Thought?

According to a 2011 article by Elizabeth Dougherty, the human brain is composed of nearly 100 billion nerve cells. These neurons are interconnected by trillions of synapses. Each connection transmits about one signal per second with specialized connections sending up to 1,000 signals per second. Based upon the research done by Charles Jennings, the director of neurotechnology at the MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research, these signals produce thoughts.

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, 2 Corinthians 10:4.

In a letter written to the church of Corinth, the apostle Paul takes a spiritual approach to thoughts. Beside receiving insight on this topic from the Holy Spirit, Paul became close friends with a first century doctor. According to the book of Acts, a well known physician named Luke traveled with Paul on a number of his missionary journeys. While Luke served mainly as a historian, the passage below suggests discussions with his friend on how thoughts can control and influence human behavior.

[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Based upon the research uncovered by MIT, taking your thoughts captive is a lot more complicated than I previously understood. If a thought are signals in your mind and thinking is a way to obtain knowledge, divine intervention is essential to prevent evil from corrupting your mind. The mistake Adam and Eve made in the Garden of Eden was taking a second glance at the forbidden fruit hanging from the Tree of Knowledge. Since wandering minds are easily distracted, unless you set your mind on things above, Colossians 3:1-4, it won’t be long before lust overwhelms your soul.

by Jay Mankus

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