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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

S.A.N.S. Episode 164: Heart of the Journey

Today’s song is from an artist who is a hidden gem. Michele Wagner grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and received her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Ohio State University in 1983. When I first heard Heart of the Journey on a local Christian radio station in college, I was moved by the lyrics. According to Michele, trusting in God’s plan for her life is the heart of the journey.

 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome, Jeremiah 29:11.

The author of Hebrews 12:1 compares life to running a marathon. Rather than ending after 26.2 miles, a spiritual journey does not conclude until you have breathed your last breath. As you live each new day like it’s your last, turn to Jesus daily. When your journey takes a slight detour, keep in step with the Holt Spirit, Galatians 5:25, so you don’t get lost along the way.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 122: How Could I Ask for More?

When I was working full time in youth ministry, Cindy Morgan was one of my favorite female Christian artists. While working in Columbus, Indiana at a Methodist Church, Cindy was one of the featured artists at an outdoor concert at Mill Race Park. The album that touched my heart the most was Real Life. At this time, there wasn’t many artists who addressed real life issues like How Could I Ask for More?

For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved ([c]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself,] Ephesians 2:8-9.

As a child, the alure with being rich and famous is common. Yet, when my parents moved to a wealthy area of Ohio and my girlfriend Leanne lived in an affluent suburb in Chicago, the emptiness of wealth was revealed to me. I didn’t see what I expected except for a desire to keep up with the Joneses. Looking back, the lyrics of How Could I Ask For Me reminds me that happiness comes the love of Jesus. So as my future job in South Carolina is still unknown, all I can do is thank God for the little things as I wait.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 95: Rescue Me

Today’s artist screams 1980’s. While I went out to Karaoke every Wednesday night at Rick’s Cafe in Chagrin Falls, Ohio over the summer, I had several college friends who were more musically talented. A couple of them joined bands who possessed a similar feel and sound to the Alarm. My best comparison of the Alarm is more upbeat than John Cougar Mellencamp but softer than Cheap Trick.

Do justice to the weak (poor) and fatherless; maintain the rights of the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; rescue them out of the hand of the wicked, Psalm 82:3-4.

When you’re young, old or somewhere in between, you will find yourself in situations that require some sort of rescue. Other people are often their own worst enemy, needing to be rescued from themselves. Whatever the case, remember the words of Jesus in Luke 19:10. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. Romans 10:11 serves as a confirmation to those who call on the name of the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 78: Devastation and Reform

Today’s features song is from a group that formed in Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I first discovered Reliant K back in 2011, shortly before I became unemployed. Several of Reliant K’s songs spoke to during this difficult time in my life. Yet, Devastation and Reform comes from the Five Score and Seven Years Ago album.

Trust not in the lying words [of the false prophets who maintain that God will protect Jerusalem because His temple is there], saying, This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord. For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly and truly execute justice between every man and his neighbor, Jeremiah 7:4-5.

I could have chosen one of a dozen different songs from Reliant K. However, the beat and lyrics of Devastation and Reform combine a classic sound with a moving message. Since no one is immune from devastation, everyone has the opportunity to bounce back from disappointment. The next time you find yourself on the verge of self-destructing, play Devastation and Reform so that you will be inspired to overcome trials and tribulations that life throws at you.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 52: Keep My Mind

When I lived in Columbus, Indiana a friend invited me to a Margaret Becker concert in Cincinnati, Ohio. Following the concert, I volunteered to help break down the stage and pack Margaret’s bus for her next concert. The interactions that I had with Margaret and her team that night made me a fan for life. In an age filled with compromise, Margaret has remained true to her faith and music ministry.

If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God, Colossians 3:1-3.

The lyrics of today’s song Keep My Mind reminds me of one of the apostle Paul’s epistles. Depending upon the mindset that you hold will dictate the attitude and behavior that you display in life. When my heart and mind is set on Jesus, I feel my better about the present and my future. Yet, when I tend to be more selfish, I feel empty inside. As you listen to Keep My Mind, follows Paul’s advice listed above.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 13: Leaving Jesus

Sometimes artists use a play on words to communicate a completely different message from what a title suggests. Such is the case of today’s song by Send the Beggar, an alternative rock group from Columbus, Ohio. While living in Cleveland I came across this band which is one of my favorites despite their limited number of albums, just two. Send the Beggar’s sound and lyrics struck a cord with my soul while in college.

Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice, be in high spirits and glory with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem [in that day], Zephaniah 3:14.

Leaving Jesus refers to making a spiritual impact on your community. Rather than abandon Jesus while out in public, Send the Beggar wants their listeners to leave behind a legacy of faith. Apparently, parts of Columbus were run down and dangerous. As a former social worker for the Methodist Action Plan in inner city, Wilmington, cleaning up run down areas gives people hope of a brighter future by leaving Jesus everywhere you go in life.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Volume 4: All the Darkness

Today’s song dates back to my wedding in 1995. I was put in charge of two specific details: the disc jockey at the reception and the music played at our wedding. The week of our wedding, I got a call from my friend who had his van stolen with all of his music inside. Fortunately, our DJ was able to borrow enough music so that the reception was saved. Yet, this doesn’t excuse All the Darkness that occurs throughout the world on a daily basis.

Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts, Colossians 3:16.

As for the wedding music, I asked my best friend from Ohio to sing Steve Wiggins’ song All the Darkness. Phil was a youth pastor in Springfield while I was at a church in Columbus, Indiana. Every Monday we met at a mall in Cincinnati for lunch. Phil taught me how to have fun while serving the Lord with competitive games of Laser Tag and mini-golf. Phil nailed the song as Leanne’s and my mother lite the unity candle. May the lyrics of All the Darkness stir and touch your soul as it did for me more than 25 years ago.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Volume 2: You Need to Know

Every song has a story of when you first heard it, what you were doing at the time and how this song impacted your life. The second new song I want to introduce you to is one I discovered in Cleveland, Ohio. When my father was transferred during my sophomore year of college, I needed to find a new place that sold Christian music. A friend from church gave me directions and when I arrived, it was the largest Christian Bookstore that I have ever encountered.

The Lord is my strength and my [impenetrable] shield; My heart trusts [with unwavering confidence] in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I shall thank Him and praise Him, Psalm 28:7.

The selection of music took up an entire section of a large warehouse as I entered Christian Music Heaven. You were able to select from a section of sample cassettes before purchasing a brand new one. I spent countless hours listening to music with headphones on. This is where my vast collection of genres began. Visiting this store gave me the idea of creating a cross over list of Christian artists who are similar to secular music stars. Today’s song is by Bob Hanson: a Bob Dylan sound mixed with a feel of the Doors. You Need to Know serves as a remainder to tell others what their relationship means to you.

by Jay Mankus

No Signs of Life

Today’s title is found in the lyrics of a band based in Columbus, Ohio. Send the Beggar’s second album Closer to Complete features a song entitled The Knot. The message is based upon a Christian who blends into their surroundings, afraid to make a public confession of a faith in Jesus. The lyrics include an autopsy performed by an angel, carefully examining this person’s heart. Inside the name Jesus Christ is pulled out, causing confusion which prompts a question: “why was this never shown?”

Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions, Romans 6:11-12.

One of the things I struggled with as a new Christian was mixing feelings with faith. My life was like an emotional roller coaster lifting everyone up around me while on my highs. This was quickly replaced by depression as I sucked the joy out of every room that I entered. To be honest, there have been periods where I exhibited no signs of life as a Christian. Like James 1:13-15, my faith was dead inside.

Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and [a]faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and [b]faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy], Romans 6:13-14.

Apparently, first century Christians in Rome also experienced spiritual dry spells. Depending upon how you lived in the past, breaking any addiction or bad habit can take years. Similar to an internal tug of war, Galatians 5:16-18, ridding your life of sinful desires isn’t easy. King David describes this conviction and pain in Psalm 55:1-4. Whenever you find yourself spiritually dead or dying, on the verge of walking away from your faith, pour out your heart to God in prayer. May confession bring you back to life spiritually in 2022.

by Jay Mankus

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