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Tag Archives: Philadelphia Eagles

High to Low

If you enjoy watching sporting events, it doesn’t take much for emotions to fluctuate between highs and lows.  Certain games are considered instant classics, known as back and forth affairs with momentum constantly changing.  Last Sunday’s National Football League playoff game between the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles is a perfect example, leaving most fans on the edge of their seats until the final play.  In the final minute, both teams seemed destined to advance to the next round.  A 43 yard field goal was the difference, at least until a late whistle nullified the game winning kick.  Minutes later the kick that counted was partially blocked, hit the left upright, then the cross bar before bouncing backward in the field of play.  In one of the strangest finishes ever, this game was the epitome of high to low.

Then it happened when Saul turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came to the hill [Gibeah], behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came on him mightily, and he prophesied [under divine guidance] among them, 1 Samuel 10:9-10.

Prior to the creation of the earth, an archangel known as Lucifer was one of the highest ranking spiritual entities in heaven.  An Old Testament prophet highlights the beauty of this angel of song in Ezekiel 28.  The best way to encapsulate Lucifer’s appearance is imagine the most magnificent pipe organ in the world, able to hit any note with perfection.  Combine this talent with the most gorgeous gems in the universe, majestic wings and beauty beyond belief.  These qualities formed this amazing angelic being.  Yet, as God the Father revealed his plan for creation, mankind would be elevated to a higher status than angels.  This didn’t sit too well with Lucifer, mulling the details over with other angels.  The seeds of rebellion were sown during these discussions.  Thus, when the Lord asked for Lucifer’s support, Satan refused, kicked out of heaven in an instant, sent from the high as an archangel to a lowly demon on earth.

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble,” James 4:6.

As a parent, the birth of our three children were some of the greatest days of my life.  In the days that followed, there were many firsts: crawling, talking and walking.  While raising children can be exhausting, the rewards and satisfaction was worth all the hard work, sweat and tears.  Yet, as children grow up, life can become a long emotional roller coaster going from high to low, low to high and back down again.  If you live for the moment, these waves of emotion will wear you out.  Perhaps, this may explain why Jesus wants his followers to live by faith, not by sight.  Sure, even strong believers wrestle with doubt, especially when the lows outnumber the highs.  Nonetheless, failures bring individuals closer to God via humility.  Meanwhile, the cocky are brought down to earth as God opposes the proud.  Thus, as you wait for the next ride, lean on God’s grace when you fall so you can appreciate the journey back up.

by Jay Mankus

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The Greatest Ability is Availability

As the defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, Buddy Ryan became the mastermind of the 46 defense.  This scheme stymied opposing NFL offenses, leading to one of the greatest defenses of all time.  Behind the leadership of Jim McMahon at quarterback, Walter Payton at running back and a dominant defense, Chicago easily won Superbowl XX 46-10 over the New England Patriots.  This success catapulted Ryan to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.  This experience led Buddy Ryan to once say during a press conference, “the greatest ability is availability”.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home,” Luke 9:57-61.

The context of Ryan’s words refers to players who were not available to play due to injury.  Another common saying is “you can’t make the club when you’re in the tub,” getting treatment for injuries.  Some athletes tend to get hurt due to bizarre or freak accidents.  If you’re not a quick healer, players end up sitting on the bench instead of being an active participant.  Jesus eludes to a similar concept in the passage above.  If you truly want to be a disciple of Jesus, you must be available, ready at a moments notice to serve God.  However, anyone who has a habit of making excuses for why they can’t do this or that is not fit to be a true servant of God.

Whoever does not carry his own cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow after Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] cannot be My disciple, Luke 14:27.

Later on in his gospel, a doctor takes this concept one step further.  Luke brings up willingness as if to question the desire of some disciples.  Words are meaningless unless followed by action or as Def Leppard once sang, “Action Not Words.”  Whether you are an athlete or an eager believer seeking to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, endurance and perseverance are essential qualities to possess.  Greatness doesn’t happen overnight.  Rather, diligence, focus and self-discipline pays off in the long run.  Therefore, if you want to become the apple of God’s eye, the greatest ability is availability.

by Jay Mankus

For Who; For What?

During a 1995 NFL game, former running back Ricky Watters purposively dropped a pass thrown to him.  Playing for the Philadelphia Eagles at the time, Watters was a safety valve on this play.  If his quarterback felt pressure from the defense, the play design led Watters to the middle of the field, beyond the pass rush.  However, as the play was enfolding, Watters saw that a defensive player primed to hit him hard.  To avoid this massive collusion, Watters simply dropped the ball.  Following the game, reporters gathered around Watters locker, wanting the know the reason for this incomplete pass.  Frustrated by this unwanted attention, Ricky Watters responded, “For who; for what?”

One of the lawyers [an expert in the Mosaic Law] answered Him, “Teacher, by saying this, You insult us too!” 46 But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well, because you weigh men down with burdens [man-made rules, unreasonable requirements] which are hard to bear, and you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers [to lighten the load], Luke 11:45-46.

Looking back on this event from 20 years ago, at least Ricky was honest.  If Watters caught this pass, the play would have gained minimal yardage.  Thus, Watters felt like it was unnecessary to sell himself out on this play.  Getting injured on a play that didn’t amount to much didn’t make sense to a professional athlete trying to protect his body and his career.  While “for who; for what” is a selfish statement, do you blame him for confessing what was truly on his heart?  This comment is no different from first century Pharisees, self-righteous religious leaders who served as the media of their day, regularly pointing out the mistakes of others.  To make matters worse, these Jewish leaders added man made rules to God’s laws.  Corrupted by power given to them by their followers, Pharisees were like modern day politicians who set laws for their country, yet were exempt from that which they expect others to obey.

Woe to you lawyers, because you have taken away the key to knowledge (scriptural truth). You yourselves did not enter, and you held back those who were entering [by your flawed interpretation of God’s word and your man-made tradition],” Luke 11:52.

As people read the Bible for the first time, they might not say “for who; for what?”  Yet, people will silently think, “what’s the point?”  Others will ponder, “why should I believe in something written almost two thousand years ago?”  This skepticism is natural in a world always challenging and questioning authority.  Immediately following Peter’s public confession that Jesus is the promised Messiah, Jesus reveals an oxymoron about life.  “If you want to save your life, you will lose it.  However, if you are willing to give up your life, you will save it.”  This head scratching statement from Mark 8:35-37 unveils the purpose for life on earth.  The who is the creator of the heavens and the earth.  The what is dedicating your life by making an eternal difference with the life that God has given you.  When you surrender your aspirations by committing to serving Jesus Christ as Lord, the Holy Spirit enables you to see the big picture, eternity in heaven.  This choice is not forced, but my prayer is that souls are rejuvenated by the message of this blog.

by Jay Mankus

When True Love Waits…

While Tim Tebow was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles during training camp this past summer, members of the media took their usually jabs at Tim’s flawed throwing motion.  Local talk radio went a little further, making fun at Tebow’s decision to hold off having sex until he’s married.  Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has faced similar criticism after publicly vowing to let true love wait until his honeymoon.

We love because Jesus first loved us, 1 John 4:19.

When true love doesn’t wait words aren’t spoken out loud, yet mummers and whispers can be heard around most street corners.  Affairs, one night stands and single moms are left to think of what could have been, often stuck raising a child or several kids on their own.  A moment of lust, prolonged flirting or a late night rendezvous can leave of legacy of regret.  If only temptation could have been brushed aside by allowing true love to wait.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love, 1 Corinthians 13:13.

In these times, there are too many avenues which promote sex.  Advertisements, commercials and adult content once kept for after dark is now out in the open, just a click away from children’s eyes and ears.  As the traditional family fades, only a few brave souls remain outspoken, not ashamed of their religious stance.  With Tim and Russell setting good examples for young men to follow, perhaps a whole new generation will begin the quest to allow true love to wait.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Tebow Time

One of the wisest kings to walk the face of the earth once said, “there is a time for everything.”  Sometime in the past month, the mind of Chip Kelly, head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, decided his roster needed one more player prior to the start of this season’s first mini-camp.  Finalized last weekend, its officially Tim Tebow time in the city of brotherly love.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens, Ecclesiastes 3:1

Whenever you have a polarizing figure, the world of Twitter explodes with opinions on either side of the fence.  Since the Tebow signing, NFL experts have given their typical criticism, expecting Tim to fail before he evens starts this new journey.  While these commentators may be correct, time will be the ultimate judge.

God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end, Ecclesiastes 3:11.

If individuals believed everything their peers told them, dreams would not exist.  Against all odds, the human will can elevate the unlikeliest characters to become the next Rudy Ruettiger, Vince Papale and Kurt Warner.  In my own pursuit of happiness, I’ve learned to reach for the stars and if you fail perhaps you might inspire someone else to do the same.  As for Tim Tebow, only the Lord knows what the future holds, but for now let Tim enjoy the next challenge in his life.

by Jay Mankus

More Than Just A Curse Word

As a resident of the greater Philadelphia area, I understand the passion of Philly fans.  Although the main stream media continues to accuse them of throwing snow balls at Santa Claus, most season ticket holders wear their emotions on their sleeves.  If you add alcohol to a bad call or break, thoughts become verbalized.  Thus, if you attend an Eagles game on a Sunday, God’s name may be used in a slightly different context than church.  Phrases such as “Jesus Christ, God dam it and Holy bleep” are reactions to a sporting event beyond their control.

Outside of the realm of sports, there is another topic of conversation.  If someone begins to experience a string of bad luck, loses in life or turmoil, God is usually the first to be blamed.  The Old Testament nature of God leads individuals to believe God is punishing them for something done in their past.  Yet, when the tide turns toward blessings, praise and rewards for hard work, there is a tendency for adults to take the credit.  Either forgetting or overshadowing God’s role, glory is often stolen by selfish souls.

Regardless of where you find yourself on this spectrum, the majority will agree that today’s language is merely a byproduct of a fallen generation.  Society has accepted the idea that words need to be spoken, even if people are hurt.  Twitter feeds this notion, giving disgruntled followers a platform to voice their opinion.  Nonetheless, God is more than a curse word or punch line for a comedian.  Rather, Hebrews 4:12-13 reveals that everything will be uncovered, brought to the light, as everyone will have to give an account of what they’ve done and the words they have spoken.

by Jay Mankus

It’s Not Okay Anymore

On December 29th, 2010, Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell criticized the NFL and Philadelphia Eagles for cancelling a prime time Sunday Night due to a snow storm.  Rendell’s referred to this decision as another sign of the wussification of America.  Although these comments created a backlash against the city’s former Mayor, its about time someone stood up and proclaimed, “It’s not okay anymore!”

When you set the bar low or don’t clearly communicate your expectations of others, results usually suffer.  While the pacifist wil say, “that’s okay.”  Visionary leaders strongly disagree, refusing to accept failure as an optional.  Deep inside the human heart, a tug of war is raging back and forth.  Minds caught in the middle struggle to see a glass half full. Blurred by disappointment, teary eyes try to focus, gazing in on the emptiness if life.

One of the last weapons to change a world losing hope is accountability.  Whether its positive peer pressure steering individuals toward healthy disciplines or tough love to confront a wayward child, each act is screaming out, “its not okay anymore!”  Regardless of where you are in life, may the Matthew 18:15-18 principle motivate you to train others in the way that they should go, Proverbs 22:6.  Make a stand today by shouting, “It’s not okay anymore!”

by Jay Mankus

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