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Tag Archives: Nascar

Amplify, Clarify and Don’t Intrude

America lost one of their greatest sports broadcasters of all time last week.  Keith Jackson spent 40 years with ABC television before retiring in 2006.  The voice of Jackson allowed him to cross over into a plethora of events from the Wide World of Sports, Major League Baseball, College Football, Monday Night Football, Nascar and the Olympics.  In one of his final interviews, Jackson revealed the secret to his longevity: amplify, clarify and don’t intrude.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 1 John 5:3.

The first two words of advice go hand in hand.  Amplify refers to developing, elaborating upon and fleshing out what you are watching for the average fan.  The latter, clarify, is the act of clearing up any confusion, filtering out what’s really happening so that the televised game can be enjoyed in it’s purest form.  At the end of his career, Keith Jackson focused on college football, broadcasting PAC 10 on the west coast where he lived.  Catch phrases like Whoa Nellie will be forever tied to Keith’s voice.

And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

One of the things I notice today is that modern commentators, journalists and media pundits do the opposite of Jackson.  Instead of avoiding intrusion, ideas of fame and fortune have inspired self seeking individuals to become a part of the story rather than just report it.  These impure motives are ruining entertainment as celebrities, the elite and hosts now feel like anyone needs to hear their opinions and political beliefs.  If these trends advance, ratings will continue to plummet.  Perhaps, it’s time to listen to an expert, a legend who lived by 3 simple mottos: amplify, clarify and don’t intrude.

by Jay Mankus

 

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A Split Decision

In the context of boxing, split decisions occur when judges view a contest from opposing points of view.  Unlike unanimous decisions where there is a clear victor, contestants may sway judges by a great comeback or regaining control of a fight.  While modern technology and social media use round by round scorecards today, no one knows what the judges think until the final results are announced at the end of each bout.

 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand, Matthew 12:25.

Throughout the course of each day, arguments tend to result in split decisions depending upon your worldview.  These disagreements can create divisive debates that divide rather than unite.  After President Trump’s comments last Friday in Alabama about National Football players kneeling during the national anthem, professional athletes, owners and most of the media created a firestorm.  After these attacks went viral, citizens from the heartland, Nascar and veterans chimed in to support their president.  A week later, a split decision still exists, with convincing arguments on both sides.

 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges, Matthew 12:27.

During the first century, another controversy began to brew.  The Pharisees felt like Jesus was making a power play, introducing a new concept to Judaism.  This teaching was heresy in the eyes of religious leaders.  Jealous of Jesus’ ability to heal, a rumor spread about Jesus working behind the scenes with the Devil to fool everyone.  Using logic, Jesus began to poke holes in their theory, responding with the two passages above.  These words remind me of today’s current debate over standing or kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem.  In the end, if America doesn’t come to a point where people agree to disagree, the end will be in sight.  Therefore, the next time you attempt to play the role of judge and jury, take a step back and let God be the ultimate judge.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Race Against Time

When you hear someone mention the term race, it’s often in reference to Track & Field, Horses or Nascar.  Yet, my use is in the context of a personal battle.  Currently, I have fluid in my left eye along with a recent collapsed cell wall.  The sad thing is that this is my good eye.  Following emergency glaucoma surgery in December, a cataract has developed in my right eye to blur my vision.  Subsequently, I’m in a race against time to finish the book that I started this Spring.  Meanwhile, I still have a collection of screen plays I need to edit and an additional script in my head.  God willing I am hoping to complete these projects while I can still see.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him, 1 John 5:14-15.

Seeing and believing are two different aspects of faith.  According to the verse above, prayers should be based upon God’s will.  However, if what you are asking is foreseeable in the context of God’s will, you should be confident in having this request honored.  The only problem with my current dilemma is I’m not sure if it’s in God’s will for me to write full time.  As for now, I am trying to maximize my time away from work so that I can make the most of the gift of sight.

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith,” Matthew 21:22.

This second verse on prayer refers to overcoming mountains, persisting despite obstacles blocking your current path.  Since last winter, I wake up daily not knowing if my vision will be blurred or clear.  I have the faith for the Lord to heal and restore my sight, but a medical miracle has not arrived.  The only thing I can do is press on like the persistent widow.  This woman of faith did not stop praying until she received the outcome she desired.  Perhaps, perfect vision is illogical to hope for in prayer.  Yet, I cling to the promises in the Bible waiting for a miracle to occur in connection with God’s will.  This is my race against time.

by Jay Mankus

 

The HEART of the Matter

Recently, the media has been quick to jump to conclusions, especially when current events align with liberal talking points.  The recent feeding frenzy began following a church shooting during a Bible Study at a Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  Sadly, nine dead African Americans are being used as a political pawn to accomplish a specific agenda, ban the Confederate Flag.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of, Luke 6:45.

Since June 17, the night of these murders, anyone who displays, owns or doesn’t condemn this flag has been labeled an accessory to this hate crime.  Afraid of negative press, P.G.A. star Bubba Watson decided to paint over the flag on his General Lee, Nascar offered fans attending the July 4th weekend race at Daytona American flags in exchange for Confederate ones and several in the south have removed this symbol from state buildings and court houses.  While this act of terror on Christians is an awful tragedy, the human heart is the main culprit not a flag.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9

During debates with religious leaders and discussions with his own twelve disciples, Jesus proclaimed that what comes out of a man or woman makes them unclean.  Hearts set on evil are like ticking time bombs ready to explode.  Whether killers display a Confederate flag or swastika, acts are conceived by angry hearts according to Jesus, Matthew 5:21-22.  There will always be opinions which have some valid points.  However, owning the Confederate flag doesn’t make you anti-Christian or anti-black.  Rather, those who are raised and taught to embrace bigotry are planting seeds of evil for future actions.  May those filled with hatred receive a spiritual heart transplant to insure future attacks will cease.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Living in First Class for a Day

As a son of an immigrant to this country, I understand the concept of hard work.  Although I never saw my dad much as a kid, I knew he was trying to provide a better life for our family.  Subsequently, I didn’t become obsessed with fashion or style in my teenage years.  Rather, I learned to appreciate what I had despite being jealous at times by peers who flashed their wealth.

However, I haven’t been excluded from certain luxuries in life.  Every so often, I have been privileged to be a guest of first class.  When the opportunity presents itself, I’ve been blessed by attending the Stanley Cups Finals, Monday Night Football games and double header of a Cleveland Indians in a Luxury Suite.  While each experience has special memories, nothing compares to this past weekend’s NASCAR Race at the Monster Mile.

My wife’s company was given Infield Passes for Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover Downs.  These tickets included a Meet and Greet with Ryan Newman, tour of the garage area and access to the Quick and Loans Hospitality RV all day long.  With my kids tagging alone, my family was spoiled, living in first class for a day.  This event gives me a new appreciation for NASCAR as well as everything that goes on behind the scenes at a race.  Whenever you have a special invite in the future, seize the moment and thank God for the special chances you get to live in first class for a day.

by Jay Mankus

Coping With the Silence of Death

Three weeks ago, Nascar driver Tony Stewart was living his dream, driving and racing on whatever surface he could find.   While competing on a dirt track race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Stewart spun out Kevin Ward going into a corner.  One lap later, Kevin got out of his vehicle, stepped toward on coming traffic and was struck by Tony’s back tire.  Flying several feet in the air backwards, Kevin laid motionless as a hushed crowd waited, not sure if what they saw was real.  This is the silence of death.

One of the biggest mistakes individuals make at a funeral is to try to relate with someone who has just lost a loved one.  Although your words may be eloquent and motivated by compassion, the silence of death is different for each person.  Some never recover, like a widow who dies shortly after their spouse passes away.  Others go through months or years of depression before the sun shines upon their bruised and broken soul.  Regardless of where you fit into this spectrum, the silence of death takes its course, using time, reflection and seeking God to ease the pain.

An unnamed author provides insight to the process of healing.  According to Psalm 93:16-17, divine intervention is sent from heaven to those struggling to carry on with life.  Whether through angels, friends or the power of the Holy Spirit, God reaches down to give footing for those slipping away, Psalm 94:18.  Though anger is a natural emotion connection with death, consolation comes once you let go of “what if, why me and how could you?”  As the silence of death lingers for those still not able to cope with this harsh reality, may joy rain from heaven to touch and encourage your soul, Psalm 94:19.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Shopping Test: Who is Naughty and Nice ?

If you go to the grocery store or shopping mall, you will likely be tested to see just how patient you are.  Finding a parking spot can be an adventure as oblivious individuals will walk in front of you car, others rush to get the last close spot and the lazy leave shopping carts in parking spaces to make your blood boil.  When you finally locate a cart, trash is often left in the bottom, filled with expired coupons.

As you make your way into the entrance, speeds vary, like a Nascar race going 4 wide into a corner.  However, the fast lane isn’t always the left, requiring zig zag maneuvers to navigate your way to finish your check list.  Non planners talk on the phone the whole time, stopping right in front of you without warning.  Meanwhile, the carefree window shoppers, seem to block your intended route every other aisle.  Courtesy separates the naughty from the nice, in a hurry to get to no where, as the self absorbed carry on, going as fast as possible.

Today, I failed the shopping test, bickering, complaining and talking to myself the whole time.  My idea of shopping is like a quick splash and go on pit lane, trying to stay out in front of the crowds.  Instead of enjoying the journey, impatience has made by grumpy, frustrated by a lack of urgency demonstrate by my fellow shoppers.  On my way out to the car, the Holy Spirit convicted me of Philippians 2:14-15.  Although I didn’t directly voice my beefs, I was naughty, not shinning the light of Christ as God calls, Matthew 5:13-16.  See where your patience falls on the Shopping Test Scale.

Level                                                                                     Attributes                                                                                      Meter

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1                                                                                              Calm & Relaxed                                                                           Pleasant

2                                                                                              Sarcastic & Slightly Irritated                                                 Okay

3                                                                                              Rolling your Eyes / Frustrated                                             Selfish

4                                                                                              Gossiping / Grumbling                                                             Angry

5                                                                                              Ignorant / Rude                                                                          Naughty

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Where do you fall on the scale? Any thoughts on how to become more patient?

 

by Jay Mankus

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