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The Crossover Connection Week 11: The Christian REM

A friend from Cleveland, Ohio introduced me to Adam Again. When you listen to their most popular album, Dig, it’s clear that R.E.M. influenced their music. While the attached album doesn’t contain a song like It’s The End of the World as We Know It, Adam Again builds upon this concept in their song River on Fire. This true story about the Cuyahoga River catching on fire occurred June 22, 1969.

A stream of fire came forth from before Him; a thousand thousands ministered to Him and ten thousand times ten thousand rose up and stood before Him; the Judge was seated [the court was in session] and the books were opened. 11 I looked then because of the sound of the great words which the horn was speaking. I watched until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 And as for the rest of the beasts, their power of dominion was taken away; yet their lives were prolonged [for the duration of their lives was fixed] for a season and a time, Daniel 7:10-12.

If you appreciate the distinct and unique sound of R.E.M., you won’t be disappointed by Adam Again’ music. My favorite Adam Again song is Dig which shines insight on the origin of their name. The lyrics refer to a lazy lie just like the one the Serpent convinced Adam and Eve to believe about God holding them back in Genesis 3:4-6. Adam Again is justifying wrong actions like Adam’s excuse for not obeying God’s only rule in the Garden of Eden. I hope that you’ll grow to love Adam Again as you listen to their music this week.

by Jay Mankus


The Crossover Connection Week 10: Classic Rock of the 1980’s

Following my freshman year of college, I wasn’t satisfied with the Christian music that was playing on local Christian radio stations. The only thing I could find that was decent aired on Saturday nights from 8-11pm. When my parents moved to Ohio, I was directed to a warehouse on the east side of Cleveland. This is where I finally found what I was looking for: a Christian band with that classic sound of rock and roll.

O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! – Psalm 95:1-2

Due to the lack of money and support for Christian rock music, bands like Legend Seven never got the air time that their music deserved. Perhaps, listening to the attached full album will remind you of groups like Bon Jovi, Cinderella, and Def Leppard. Nonetheless, songs like After the Fall, Carry Me and Don’t Believe It still speak to me. May this weeks featured group speak to your heart and soul as you listen to Legend Seven’s debut album.

by Jay Mankus

The Crossover Collection Week 4: The Bryan Adams of Christian Music

Since I was born in the Summer of 1969, appreciating Bryan’s Adam’s music has been easy. When I first started attending Karaoke nights in college at Rick’s Cafe, the Summer of 69 was one of my go to songs to perform along with Can’t Fight This Feeling by Reo Speedwagon and You Might Think by the Cars. As Bryan Adams was releasing hit singles year after year, a friend from Ohio introduced me to another Canadian artist, a Christian band called the Kry.

Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and carry on our business and make money. 14 Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air], James 4:13-14.

The Kry is rock group from Quebec, Canada who have been ministering to audiences for thirty years. While not every song sounds like Bryan Adams, their ballads remind me of Everything I Do, the theme song from one of the Robinhood films. The one song from the Kry which has left a lasting impression is When You Die. One You Tube Channel uses dramatic videos to illustrate how fragile life can be on earth as this song is playing. As you take this next week to familiarize yourself with the Kry, I pray that you will be touched by the numerous songs on the attached You Tube video.

by Jay Mankus

Trust God to Figure Out the Details

Whenever God calls you to do something, following this by faith will often require details beyond your comprehension. When I was single, I didn’t have to consider how obeying God’s call was going to impact my wife. Subsequently, I lived in six states in the first six months of 1993, following God’s prompting to leave Delaware to attend a youth ministry trade school, moving back to Ohio before teaching a semester at a boarding school in West Virginia. When a position in South Dakota fell through, another door opened at a church in Columbus, Indiana to finish this spiritual journey.

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others]. And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and [a]curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves], Genesis 12:2-3.

This wasn’t the case for Abram who just moved to Haran with his wife Sarai. Just when they were about to settle down, God interrupts their plans. As I recently read the passage above, one thing must have perplexed Abram as God promised that he would become the father of a great nation. The one little detail that Moses doesn’t mention in God’s call is that Sarai is barren and has been unable to have any children. While the Bible is silent on this obvious barrier, at some point in his life, Abraham began to trust God to figure out the details.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.

King Solomon writes about a similar concept, trying to teach his children about faith. Faith is something that Abraham didn’t pick up until God tested his allegiance in Genesis 22. After decades of waiting for a son who would start the family tree of Israel, God threw Abraham a curve ball. “You want me to sacrifice the child Sarah and I have been waiting to arrive for decades?” Some scholars believe that Abraham thought that God would raise Isacc from the dead which persuaded him to finally go through with it. This ia a perfect example of how trusting God with all your heart is believing God will figure out all of the details.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 347: Friend Like That

As someone who has moved multiple times in life, true friends are hard to find. Whether it was moving from New Jersey to Delaware in Elementary School or from Delaware to Ohio in college, when you do finally relocate, you will find out who your real friends truly are. When none of them reach out to you after your departure, your friendship was more of an acquaintance than anything else. Perhaps, this is the inspiration behind Hawk Nelson’s song Friend Like That.

The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, Proverbs 18:24.

King Solomon wrote about what a true friend meant to him in the passage above. Through the years, Christian artists have reflected upon this topic with songs by Geoff Moore, Michael W. Smith, and Steven Curtis Chapman. When a friend does stick closer than a brother, this kind of relationship becomes a spiritual treasure. As a new year begins, may the Holy Spirit inspire you to find a friend like that in 2023.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 346: Nothing Left to Lose

My last year that I was a single man, I lived with an attitude I have nothing else to lose. In 1993, I spent the first six months of this year living in six different states. I began the New Year in Delaware before spending 7 weeks at a Youth Ministry Trade School in Minnesota. While waiting for an interview in South Dakota, I spent some time in Ohio working odd jobs. After my job offer in Rapid City fell through, I worked a semester at a boarding school in West Virginia before being offered a full-time youth ministry position in Columbus, Indiana. This is the closest I’ve ever come to living the abundant life, John 10:10.

Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. 13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward, Philippians 3:12-14.

Perhaps Mat Kearney had a similar experience in his own life to inspire the lyrics to Nothing Left to Lose. Mat’s song reminds me of the words of the apostle Paul in the passage above. Paul didn’t want to be an idle or stale Christian. Therefore, his mindset on earth turned toward heaven, making sure his own motives aligned with God’s will for his life. As you listen to Nothing Left to Lose, may you become embolden to live 2023 with your eyes fixed upon Jesus, Hebrews 12:2.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 322: Walking in a Winter Wonderland

My parents moved to Cleveland, Ohio during my sophomore year of college. When I returned to my folk’s new home in December of 1989, I was shocked by the weather. I spent a little under 4 weeks in Cleveland and it snowed 21 of the 24 days that I was there. Living in the snow belt, southeast of Lake Erie, every Christmas there was like Walking in a Winter Wonderland. Before getting to the renown singers, I felt a tradition hymn would be a nice change

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes! Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do right! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, and correct the oppressor. Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool, Isaiah 1:16-18.

The passage above is one of my favorite verses on the topic of snow. The prophet Isaiah compares the covering of snow on the earth’s surface to being cleansed and made whole again. Every winter dirt, salt, leaves and debris are tracked into houses across the country. While I probably won’t have any white Christmases now that I live in South Carolina. I’m thankful that I can walk in freedom. This is all thanks to a forgiving God who washes the dirt of sin and purifies us with a fresh blanket of snow.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 307: O Holy Night

Rush Limbaugh introduced me to Mannheim Steamroller as it was one of his favorite groups to play on his radio show every Christmas season. O Holy Night was one of the Carols my parents church in Ohio would sing annually as part of their midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The service began at 10:30 p.m. with singing the first half hour. Following this time of worship, a tradition Catholic Mass lasted an hour as the final hymn ended right around midnight every year.

Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 To a girl never having been married and a [v]virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [[w]endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! [x]Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women! – Luke 1:26-28.

Before moving to Cleveland, I focused on the commercialism and gifts that I received Christmas morning. Yet, this 90-minute service every Christmas Eve helped turn my attention away from what was waiting for me under a tree at home and toward that holy night more than 2000 years ago. As you listen to today’s feature song O Holy Night, may the lyrics help prepare your heart to make room for Jesus this season and throughout 2023.

by Jay Mankus

The Greater Your Love…The Bigger Your Sacrifice

Jesus makes two transformational comments about love which one disciple couldn’t get off of his mind. The first is made to a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Based upon John 7:50-52 and John 19:38-42, the passage below changed Nick’s life. Meanwhile, the second passage was spoken to all 12 disciples during Passion Week. Unfortunately, none of the disciples were mentally prepared for Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([d]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him, John 3:16-17.

Between my best two friends in high school, Carl and Paul, I was voted most likely to get married first. While I spent college trying to figure out which qualities I wanted in a future wife, I was an all or nothing kind of guy so I stayed single as my two friends got married. During a pre-marriage conference in Cleveland, Ohio, I learned that I needed to have a will to love before I could truly love Leanne.

This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends, John 15:12-13.

As a former middle and high school coach, it’s easy to distinguish the committed from the uncommitted. Attitudes and actions revealed who would become great and who might improve but would likely remain average at best. Jesus didn’t just talk about God in parables. Rather, Jesus was a man of action, living out and fulfilling that which He promised. The greater your love, the bigger your sacrifice as a parent or spouse.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 177: Dance

Today’s song reminds me of the classic film Footloose. Yet, Hoi Polloi’s music is alternative and more modern than the1980’s soundtrack Hoi Polloi was formed in New Zealand by vocalist Jenny Gullen and her husband. Jenny’s voice provides the feel of the Indigo Girls, but with creative lyrics and style that gives Hoi Polloi their distinct sound.

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, Ecclesiastes 3:4.

Dancing was one of my favorite pastimes in high school and college. While I started out like Kenneth Wormald’s character in Footloose, I ended up developing into a smooth dancer. Songs like Dance remind me of my college days where I went clubbing with friends every summer in Cleveland, Ohio. When you play today’s you tube, I hope you’re inspired to put on your dancing shoes.

by Jay Mankus

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