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Oh What a Feeling

Beginning in Junior High, music became an integral part of my life. I was there when MTV debuted in August of 1981, going over a friends house every day after school to watch Behind the Music. This was well before Reality Television caused music to become an afterthought on MTV. One of the songs ingrained in my mind is What a Feeling by Irene Cara. Cara’s song went on to become the theme song for the film Flashdance in 1983. When high school began for me, music filled me with an adrenaline rush each time I pressed the play button on my Walkman.

He then goes on to say, And their sins and their lawbreaking I will remember no more. 18 Now where there is absolute remission (forgiveness and cancellation of the penalty) of these [sins and lawbreaking], there is no longer any offering made to atone for sin, Hebrews 10:17-18.

The Bible talks about a different kind of feeling. This particular one is based upon the overwhelming sense of being forgiven. The author of Hebrews provides a reason to celebrate. Jesus was the missing link, the perfect lamb of God who serves as an eternal Great High Priest. While guilt and shame will still continue to haunt souls, there is absolute remission of past and present sins. Yet, Hebrews 10:26-27 does offer a cause for concern. Apparently, some first century Christians were taking God’s grace and mercy for granted. So don’t let the exhilarating feeling of forgiveness spoil your faith with an on again, off again mentality.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us, Psalm 103:11-12.

The Old Testament provides an analogy that reminds me of Irene Cara’s song. When the degree of God’s forgiveness is compared to infinity, this news makes me want to leap into the air and proclaim, “oh what a feeling!” From a human perspective, this concept is hard to comprehend. Yet, if God forgives and forgets our sins as far as the east is from the west, this fact should result in a greater appreciation. Whatever genre of music that you prefer, the next time that you feel overwhelmed by addiction or bad habits, turn up the volume so that you can celebrate God’s grace and mercy.

by Jay Mankus

Allowing Relationships to go Their Own Separate Ways

Separate Ways debuted in 1983, two years after Music Television was launched on August 1st, 1981.  This Journey song was recorded on the Frontier’s album, peaking at #8 on the Billboard’s Top 100 chart.  While Separate Ways did reach #1 for four weeks on the Top Tracks Chart, there is more to this song Behind the Music.  The lyrics of Separate Ways was inspired by the painful break ups and divorces Journey band members experienced.

After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers and sisters (believers) in every city where we preached the message of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take [his cousin] John, who was called Mark, along with them, Acts 15:36-37.

I experienced divorce for the first time when my neighbor’s mom got divorced twice in a three year period.  Spending every other week or once a month with your father must be confusing and difficult for any teenager.  Meanwhile, when the stability of a family collapses, fear of broken and severed relationships leave soul spirit hurts behind.  When I researched Separate Ways, Worlds Apart is italicized like a sub-title that becomes a reality when relationships go their own separate ways.

But Paul kept insisting that they should not take along with them the one who had quit and deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. 39 And it became such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took [John] Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, Acts 15:38-39.

The Bible refers to a different type of separate ways in the passage above.  Luke highlights a disagreement between Barnabas and Paul over missionary partners.  Barnabas allowed family ties to blind him from his cousin’s desertion during their first missionary journey.  While Paul does forgive John Mark in future epistles, he was unwilling to take the risk of relying on someone who recently abandoned the mission field.  Subsequently, Paul and Barnabas go their own separate ways, serving the Lord in their own unique manner.  While I am sure there were hurt feelings by both parties, sometimes it’s better to go your own separate ways.

by Jay Mankus

Music and Lyrics

As a former song writer of A Simple Confession, I enjoy watching documentaries on musicians.  When Music Television first launched in 1983, one of my favorite programs was Behind the Music.  This show interviewed lead singers and song writers, revealing the inspiration behind the lyrics of their songs.  When I watched the 2007 film Music and Lyrics, I was inspired to begin working on a new song or album.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God, Colossians 3:16.

Hugh Grant plays a washed up singer living on the coattails of his past, playing wherever fans crave music from the 1980’s.  When his agent receives a call from a famous pop star, Grant is given a couple days to compose a chart-topping hit for this teen sensation.  Drew Barrymore serves as a replacement plant sitter, interrupting Grant’s session with his lyricist.  When Barrymore begins to put these lyrics into a catchy melody, she is hired to complete this song.

Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, Ephesians 5:19.

The Bible mentions the power of music and lyrics.  When David played his harp for King Saul, the sound uplifted his soul.  The prophet Samuel claims that music soothes the soul.  While Huey Lewis sang about the Power of Love in 1996, the Bible is filled with examples of how music encourages, inspires and uplifts hearts.  As individuals meditate on the word of God, hymns, melodies and spiritual songs, the Lord will put a new song upon or within your heart and mind to share with others.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Life Void of Passion

My earliest recollection of passion began in Junior High as friends debated the best music video on MTV, the greatest rock band and favorite sports teams.  In High School, I began to live by the 3 G’s: Girls, Golf and God, fluctuating in order depending upon the timing or season.  By the time college arrived, my interests shifted toward amusement parks, intramural sports and sand volleyball, with the latter dominating most of my summer nights.  When I began my career as a youth pastor, interacting with families, karaoke and water sports consumed most of my time.  As a family man, I have mellowed, spending time listening to music, working on my golf green out back and writing on a daily basis.

Passion is embodied in enthusiasm, excitement and feelings.  Although I still possess hot button issues inside my heart, most of the things I once held dear don’t illicit much of a response any more.  Sure, it would be nice for the Eagles to win a Super Bowl or witness another local team win a championship, but I refuse to place my hope in someone or something that disappoints you 99% of the time.  Likewise, I find it futile to debate music, politics and television shows.  As Solomon once said, “everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun,” Ecclesiastes 2:11, in reference to pleasures on earth.  Perhaps, this may explain why I am currently living a life void of passion.

If you have ever reached this point, emptiness tends to cause you to lose your voice, bored by most of the conversations you hear.  However, when you find a cause worth living for, passion can and will return.  In Acts 4:29, the passion of Jesus Christ prevented the disciples from being shut down.  Rather, the power of the Holy Spirit consumed their souls, not able to forget about the risen Savior who suffered, died and rose again 3 days later.  This is the passion I am missing, lost in translation between the pages of the Bible and putting faith into action.  May the fire of Christ followers burn bright in your region so that lives void of passion will be invigorated by the power of God.

by Jay Mankus

 

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