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Tag Archives: New Year’s Eve

S.A.N.S. Episode 313: A Christmas Campfire Medley

One of my favorite Christmas memories of Delaware was at the height of Red Lion Christian Academy. At this time there were 975 students K-12 and I served as a High School Bible teacher and elder of Red Lion Evangelical Free Church. We had snow before Christmas that year, but I was anticipating a large gathering of friends for New Year’s Eve. I shoveled a path to my firepit and covered the wood for an amazing campfire on a cold winter night.

 But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. 16 [And see to it that] your conscience is entirely clear ([e]unimpaired), so that, when you are falsely accused as evildoers, those who threaten you abusively and revile your right behavior in Christ may come to be ashamed [of slandering your good lives], 1 Peter 3:15-16.

While families across that United States stress out about buying Christmas presents and decking out their house for all the neighbors to see, family is what makes Christmas special. Watching the joy on the faces of my children as they open their stockings and presents. Although it’s impossible to please everyone in your family, may the sound of Saddleback’s Worship Teams Christmas Campfire Medley get you in the mood to celebrate Christ this Christmas.

by Jay Mankus


Coming Back Stronger in 2021

As the National Football League ends their 2020 regular season this weekend, 18 teams will miss the playoffs. After having high hopes at the start of 2020, these coaches and players have failed to win the necessary amount of games to earn a postseason birth. While 14 teams will advance with their eyes on a Super Bowl Championship, the remaining teams will turn their attention to the off-season. As fan bases start to play the “what if” game in their minds, owners and general managers will begin to sit down to ascertain what went wrong and why?.

For it is easier for a camel to enter through a needle’s eye than [for] a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. 26 And those who heard it said, Then who can be saved? 27 But He said, What is impossible with men is possible with God, Luke 18:25-27.

You don’t have to be part of a professional organization to have aspirations to come back stronger in 2021. Depending upon your age, career and occupation, you either spent a lot of time at work or most of your time stuck on home. Perhaps, some of you began a new hobby in 2020, revealing a hidden gift or talent. Meanwhile, others may feel like you wasted too much time in front of a television, eager to break this habit in 2021. Thus, as a New Year approaches, make sure whatever resolution(s) you do make for 2021 are centered around coming back better and stronger this year.

And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:19.

The only resolution that I kept in 2020 was making Jesus more of a priority. Using Mark 1:35 as a model, the first thing that I did when I came home from work in the morning was read the Bible and pray using a journal. I was diligent for most of the year, keeping this vow nearly every week. Instead of rushing through my quiet time to get it done, I had several spiritual breakthroughs. This led to some of the most profitable days I have had writing. While I don’t know what 2021 has in store for me, I do know that the Lord will provide everything I need for life, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

by Jay Mankus

A Fellow Without a Ship

While driving to this year’s New Year’s Eve party alone after work, my mind searched for an ideal atmosphere in 2014.  Ultimately, I am longing for a healthy balance between family and fellowship with friends.  Unfortunately, previous good intentions and new year resolution’s quickly faded early on, resulting in loneliness like a fellow without a ship.

Although I love spending time with others, my occupation, a spirit of perfectionism and a lack of energy has sucked a special ingredient from my soul.  Subsequently, I have drifted farther away from the people I need to make me whole again on the inside.  Like the Titanic, sinking into the sea, many of my close acquaintances have gone in multiple directions following the demise of Red Lion Christian Academy and Evangelical Free Church.  Fighting for spiritual life boats, in need of their own aid and healing, currents of blame, misunderstandings and theology have led me to run aground, stranded without a ship to call home.

In view of this state, I am praying for real change in 2014, not just words but the discipline to make this a reality, 2 Timothy 1:7.  As a result, my priorities must be reshuffled, adjusted to meet this goal.  Like anything that is good, this won’t happen overnight, requiring patience and perseverance.  However, by grace through faith, Ephesians 2:8, may God turn this fellow without a ship into a creature of habit starving for fellowship.

by Jay Mankus

A Midnight Stroll

One of my most memorable New Year’s Eve celebrations occurred in 1992.  In the middle of a mild Winter, temperatures in Delaware soared above 70 by midday.  Instead of your typical indoor festivities, I spent most of the day and evening outside.  Spending my last New Year’s in Newark before moving to the mid-west with friends from Chrysalis and college, I had ample time to say goodbye.  After watching the ball drop, commencing 1993, a half dozen people or so took a midnight stroll.

The temperature was 62 degrees at 12:15 am, perfect to walk, star gaze and reminisce about the special times I encountered while growing up in Delaware.  I don’t recall how many miles this stroll involved, but nearly 3 hours later the temperature dropped to 26 degrees as an arctic cold front blew through, causing the pace to pick up during the last mile just to stay warm.  This was one of those nights where time seemed to stand still allowing me to soak in the memories.  Despite the sadness, I knew God was leading me to a better place, preparing me through a trade school in Minnesota to become a polished leader.

Looking back, its hard to believe 21 years have passed.  Now as a parent, strolls become like wind sprints, stopping and starting, trying to keep up with busy schedules of 3 children.  Midnight strolls would be nice if I didn’t go to sleep shortly after eating dinner on some work days.  Thus, I do my best to be balanced, while trying to survive the difficulties of life.  On this special night, may God help you to slow down enough to practice Psalm 46:10.  The more you practice this biblical principle, the Holy Spirit can provide joy and peace for you in 2014.  Have a memorable, but safe New Year’s Eve!

by Jay Mankus

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