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Tag Archives: Overcoming rejection

It’s Better to Die Trying Than Allow Complacency to Wait Until You Die

More than two decades ago I felt compelled to become a Christian writer. Not knowing where to go or what to do, I reached out to the owner of the Sonshine House, a local Christian Bookstore. After a couple of conversations, Jackie contacted a friend who was the editor for a famous Christian writer. After receiving permission to call him, I wrote down a number of questions to ask, hoping to develop some kind of game plan for the future. One of his final remarks before hanging up the phone was “unless you’re willing to write full time for a minimum of 8 years, you probably won’t get recognized.”

For a righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity, Proverbs 24:16.

I started taking writing seriously back in 2012 when a former co-worker Spencer Saints encouraged me to write a screen play. While I possessed determination, I was a mere amateur when it came to learning how to craft a professional written movie. Over the past 8 years, I attended writer’s groups and met regularly with Spencer to talk and write. Seven out of the last 8 years I have submitted scripts to the annual Nicholls Fellowship Screen Writer’s Competition. Feeling good about my latest film, I entered 3 different contests hoping for to break through in at least one. The hard part now is the waiting game.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours, 1 Corinthians 9:24.

Last night I received my first notice of rejection. My initial thought was “am I wasting my time? Am I so absorbed with new ideals running through my mind that I’ve lost sight of God’s will for my life?” Following a restless night without sleep, I awoke to a message that I needed to hear. Pastor Jentezen Franklin used an analogy of father and mother eagle attempting to raise their eaglets. Instead of remaining inside the safety of a nest, the sooner young eagles venture out, the quicker they can learn how to fly. This relates to me as I could play if safe by not taking any risks. However, if I want to fulfill my dream of retiring early by writing one movie per year, I can’t be afraid of rejection. As long as ideas continue to pour into my heart and mind, I need to be faithful to continue until these dry up.

by Jay Mankus

Bouncing Back After Rejection

“There is nothing in this life that can destroy you but yourself. Bad things happen to everyone, but when they do, you can’t just fall apart and die. You have to fight back. If you don’t, you’re the one who loses in the end. But if you do keep going and fight back, you win.” – Alexandra Monir

For a scientist, trial and error is merely a series of experiments to ascertain whether or not your theory is correct.  Thomas Edison didn’t give up after ten, one hundred or one thousand failed tests.  Rather, he pressed on, bouncing back after countless rejections to invent the light bulb.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me, Philippians 4:12-13.

In today’s climate, you have to be mentally tough to survive.  The best baseball hitters in history only succeeded thirty three percent of the time.  Perfectionists would never survive this degree of failure.  Thus, perspective is crucial to mustering up the strength to carry on.

But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded, 2 Chronicles 15:7.

Last weekend I received my third rejection letter in the past four years in my quest to become a professional screenwriter.  My first movie, Express Yourself never had a chance, not knowing the proper format to get noticed.  The second, Behind the Devil’s Door was better, yet after submitting it I realized the flaw of my conclusion.  Sometimes I wonder if I should continue with my third, Dragged Behind the Devil’s Door or invest my time in something else.  Despite thoughts of doubt, I can’t quit until I feel like I’ve done everything in my power to make this dream a reality.  Therefore, regardless of the adversity that you endure, ask God to give you the faith to bounce back following rejection.

by Jay Mankus

Sizzling Out When Adversity Comes

Whether you’re watching a race horse set a torrid pace in the Triple Crown, a rabbit fade from the front during a mile race or witness a running back get tackled from behind, energy is temporary.  When the body is pushed to its limits, burn out is inevitable.  Thus, high school and college stars often sizzle out when adversity comes.  The real question is will they get back up to tarry on another day?

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.

Nobody likes facing adversity.  Sure, it builds character, toughens up individuals and separates champions from the mediocre.  Nonetheless, failure is real, around the corner, over the next hill or awaiting you in the future.  How you handle trials will determine the path you choose in life.  Will you become the person in Bruce Springsteen’s song reminiscing about your Glory Days or can you mustard up enough courage to face the giant obstacles standing in your way?

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you, 1 Peter 5:10.

Unfortunately, this generation appears to be soft, throwing in the towel after the first couple of punches life hits you with.  Others take years to get over missed opportunities, rejections and personal tragedy.  Perhaps, this is why the author of Hebrews refers to life as a marathon.  You must be careful to pace yourself, realizing you have a long way to go despite whatever set backs you may encounter.  Therefore, don’t sizzle out when adversity comes.  Rather, keep in step with the Holy Spirit, relying on Christ’s strength to get you through the pain you are enduring, Philippians 4:13.

by Jay Mankus


You’re Not Welcome Here Anymore

Strong personalities can be polarizing, often ruffling the feathers of the elite.  The controlling, power hungry and religious leaders of the first century tried to destroy anyone who was a threat.  Subsequently,  as Jesus arrived onto the scene, his logic, miracles and teaching rubbed the Pharisees the wrong way.  As Jesus’ fame grew, envy, fear and jealousy inspired unwholesome thoughts.

Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus, Mark 3:6.

Jesus went from a wedding day hero in John 2:1-11 to a marked man a few healings later.  Sensing something wasn’t right, Jesus tried to keep a low profile by withdrawing to a remote location with his disciples.  Nonetheless, his fans couldn’t get enough, walking mile after mile to have their own personal encounter with Jesus.  Unfortunately, public events were no longer an option, not welcomed anymore by the Jews.

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” – John 19:6a

Today, politics continue to shape worldviews, drastically altering the perception of churches.  Although once the center of communities on the East Coast, Christian worship centers are now under attack.  Offended by biblical teaching, liberals have turned to the Supreme Court to legalize homosexuality and gay marriage.  If successful, the very future of Bible based churches may be in danger.  Like the days of Jesus, an increasing number of opposing voices are proclaiming, “you’re not welcome here anymore!”

by Jay Mankus


Grinding It Out

At 2:59 AM Eastern Standard Time, seconds before midnight on the west coast, the May 1st deadline to submit a screenplay for 2015’s Academy Nicholl Fellowships Contest ends.  Any procrastinating writers who have fallen behind schedule, scramble to the finish line, hoping to make it across before its too late.  Giving up mentality weeks ago, God’s strength lifted me up to grind it out.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.

Following two unsuccessful entries in consecutive years, I took 2014 off, doubting that I would ever have the right stuff to be a professional screen writer.  The jury is still out as I have to wait until summer to find out for sure.  Either way, after two grueling years, my first edit of Behind the Devil’s Door is complete.  You can’t win if you don’t enter so at least I have that going for me.

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small, Proverbs 24:10.

Whether you’re an athletic, student or worker, certain things come much natural to gifted individuals.  Although it might seem unfair, the disadvantaged are forced to become tougher through failure.  Like the line by Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, “If it was easy, everyone would do it; hard is what makes it great” in reference to baseball.  As for me, I may not have the experience, talent or skill, yet I will continue to grind it out, yearning to fulfill God’s will for my life.

by Jay Mankus

When You’re Rejected by God

Rejections come in various forms like having a credit card declined, being dismissed by an employer or being turned down for a date.  However, whenever prayers go unanswered, problems continue to mount or nothing ever seems to go right, individuals feel rejected by God.  Confused by God’s lack of action and silence, wounded souls struggle to make sense of their current dilemma.

Following their banishment from the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:23, the first family resembled a soap opera more than God’s well pleased creation.  To make matters worse, a sibling rivalry commenced in Genesis 4:3-5.  When big bigger, Cain, had his offering rejected by God, resentment and jealousy flowed toward his younger brother Abel.  As disappointment gave birth to depression, a wicked scheme tempted the mind of Cain.  It’s one thing to be honest with God, yet revenge led Cain to overreact, ending the life of his little brother.

Although the Lord does predestine certain leaders to fulfill the great commission, there are clear indications why God rejected Cain and accepted Abel’s offering.

1) God honors those who give their best, Matthew 5:48.  Genesis 4:3 suggests there was no sense of urgency within Cain to give the Lord his first fruits.  Cain waited until his belly was full and his family had enough food to eat before he got around to it.  Foregoing Matthew 6:33, Cain appeared to trust in his own ability and not God.  Meanwhile, Abel gave to the Lord his first and most precious sheep, believing God would replace these in the near future, Genesis 4:4.

2) Offer your body as a living sacrifice, Romans 12:1.  If everything that is good comes from above, James 1:16-17, when people honor God with their bodies, you get the Lord’s attention like Abel.  On the other hand, its easy to become lukewarm about things in life, picking and choosing when its convenient to serve God.  I guess you can say, Cain’s heart wasn’t into his offering.  Therefore, when you fall into this habit or pattern, its essential that you receive a spiritual heart transplant, Ezekiel 36:26.

3)Be your brother’s keeper by holding others accountable, James 5:19-20.  Cain tried to avoid any responsibility for his brother’s death.  Whether you’re the oldest or the youngest, each believer should set the example for others to follow, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.  Whenever someone does stray off course, its vital to steer wandering souls back toward the narrow path, Matthew 7:13-14.  Thus, the next time you feel rejected by God, reflect upon these 3 indicators so that you won’t regret or overreact to the hand you have been dealt like Cain.

by Jay Mankus


Deep Wounds

As a child, you tend to place your favorite people up on a pedal stool, doing no wrong in your eyes.  However, when reality sets in as these people shatter your perfect image of them, heart break often follows.  Subsequently, deep wounds open, inflicting your soul with anguish unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

During the days of Israel’s exile, the prophet Jeremiah pours out his heart in a letter entitled Lamentations.  Weeping through his writing, Jeremiah refers to wounds as deep as the sea floor, Lamentations 2:13.  Perhaps Jeremiah is struggling with his expectations of God’s promises compared to the reality of his current condition.  Like being rejected by the man or woman of your dreams, deep wounds form which some never recover from or take years to heal.

If you stop for a moment to look around, you are probably surrounded by individuals hiding their pain.  Whether it’s the reckless driver on your way to work, the disgruntled employee or quiet neighbor, each is trying to cope with their pain.  Depending upon your response to their needs, you will either sooth or worsen their wounds.  Let your light shine today, Matthew 5:13, to help others begin to heal from the deep wounds of life.

Please comment on how you have been healed or helped someone else start this process.

by Jay Mankus

U-Centered Writing: How to Capture the Attention of your Audience

Whether you are teaching a class of students or preaching to a congregation of 1,000 members, there are 5 common thoughts flowing through the minds of your audience.

1) Are you going to say something interesting today?

2) What facts, information or story will hold my attention for your entire talk?

3) So what, how does what you are saying apply to me and my situation?

4) You’re out of your mind, show me something tangible that I can grasp or see.

5) How can I be assured that if I do what you say will I will succeed?

These mental obstacles will continue to distract listeners and readers until you develop a strategy for conquering these communication barriers.  Spirits of rejection, indifference, skepticism, procrastination and fear lurk in the shadows, attempting the block your message.  However, there is hope for the battle against minds tuning you out.

According to 2 Timothy 3:16, all scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  The author of Hebrews concurs, claiming the Bible is unlike any other book as these words are living, able to penetrate deep into an individual’s spirit and soul, Hebrews 4:12.  The apostle Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica provides evidence of this supernatural power, a blue print for educators, pastors and writers to follow.

Immediately following his Dear church comments in verse 1, Paul overcomes the spirit of rejection by thanking God publicly for the church of Thessalonica in verse 2.  If anyone was asleep or not paying attention, Paul adds another U-centered comment by expressing his continual prayers for the church and its members.  The key to being successful day in and day out is by making sure you are genuine, not fake or phoney in your compliments.

Paul quickly tackles indifference within verse 3 by praising their work done in faith, as a labor of love and the endurance displayed through their personal relationship with Jesus.  From his initial experience in Acts 17:1-9, he recognizes how difficult it is to stay committed to Christ while living in Thessalonica.  From a modern sense, Paul’s compliment is another way of saying, “that a boy or way to go!”  You must put yourself in the shoes of your audience to connect with and strike a cord with each individual.

Beginning in verse 5, Paul addresses skepticism with a painful truth, “you can’t do it alone!”  Paul wants to make sure he isn’t seen as some kind of super Christian.  Rather, Paul informs Thessalonica that the gospel came to him through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Remember, whether you or speaking, teaching or writing, they are only so many words you can say or write.  Therefore, rely on the power of the Bible to make your point, Romans 10:17, to convict the hearts of your audience and drive home your message.

The best way to conquer procrastination is to cast vision as demonstrated by Paul in verse 7.  Paul reminds each believer of the ideal situation, where your faith becomes a model for others to emulate.  If you don’t practice what you preach, your respect will plummet like the stock market on Black Friday, commencing the Great Depression.  However, when you become a living example for your flock, the masses will eventually be drawn to you thinking, “I want what this person has!”

Finally, Paul eliminates any fear through his words in verses 8-10.  Positive reinforcement is used to illuminate progress Christians have already made within Thessalonica.  Paul highlights their spiritual fruit which is slowly transforming the culture of their city.  Essentially, Paul is suggesting, “look how far you have come, why would you want to return to your formal spiritual condition.”  While this may be the most powerful obstacle to overcome, with God all things are possible, Luke 1:37.  May the power of the Holy Spirit talk your preaching, teaching and writing to new heights!

by Jay Mankus

Follower of Jesus for 29 years

Writer for the past 19

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