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Determined to Change the Status Quo

Status quo is a Latin phrase which refers to the existing state of affairs in regard to social or political issues. From a modern perspective, this is similar to the expression”don’t rock the boat” by maintaining the existing social structure and values. During a scene from National Treasure, Benjamin Gates’ father warns his son that unless the status quo changes, their lives will be in danger. Whenever I am pressured to conform to one ideology, mindset or worldview, my creative nature craves to go against the flow, finding a better way by thinking outside the box.

Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it, Matthew 7:13.

Jesus addresses the status quo during a first century sermon. Jesus uses the analogy of two roads: a super highway and a trail through the woods. The status quo is compared to a broad road, where the popular crowd resides followed by the masses and wanna be accepted. Meanwhile, the less attractive path is narrow, only accessible for one person at a time. Jesus details the eternal destination that awaits based upon the decisions each person makes on earth. Perhaps, Jesus is using fear instill a desire to change the status quo.

But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it, Matthew 7:14.

Thirty five years ago, I was a teenager who recently accepted Jesus to be my personal Lord and Savior. This decision didn’t sit too well with many of my non-believing friends. As I became an active member of my high school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I found comfort and support on the narrow path. Sure, being considered cool and popular by my peers would have been nice, but I was determined to change the status quo. A similar decision today could be compared with committing social suicide. Yet, in the end you have to decide who do you want to please; others or God. As for me and my house, I remain determined to change the status quo.

by Jay Mankus

To Please or Not to Please: That is the Question

As I was driving home from work the other day, one thought popped into my head, “who am I trying to please?”  My laid back nature usually leads me toward keeping the peace, not wanting to rock the boat.  However, when aspects of my faith are attacked, why do I keep quiet, holding back how I really feel?

Perhaps, my lack of an answer is a symptom of a lukewarm spirit, Revelation 3:16.  A reflection of someone who has lost their passion, taking the Bible and church for granted.  Despite my current pathetic state, I still need to respond to one of life’s question: to please or not to please?

The apostle Paul had a similar issue with Jewish Christians in Galatia.  Regardless of how hard each tried, letting go of what each was taught growing up was difficult.  Thus, Paul brought this concern up in Galatians 1:10.  While pleasing mankind is easy; who are you living for?  If Jesus is your Lord, Romans 10:9-10, why aren’t your actions reflecting this decision?

Maybe its just me, but I can’t continue to remain silent as the world around me is failing to pieces, bound for hell.  If you agree with this statement, join me in the spirit of Matthew 18:19-20.  With the power of numbers on our side, may the power of the Holy Spirit lift you and I up to please the Lord, Romans 12:1-2.

by Jay Mankus

It Started With a Girl

Movie cinemas introduce the masses to memorable scenes.  Once available to viewers On Demand, DVD or through reruns on television, classic lines become part of daily conversations.  Whether its Good Will Hunting’s “How about them apples,” Titanic’s “I’m king of the world” or Remember the Titans “If we don’t come together now as a team, we too will be destroyed,” art often imitates life.  As for me, it started with a girl.

My sophomore year of high school was a turning point for me.  Too worried about pleasing others, my offer to attend a homecoming dance with a girl on the cross country was rejected.  To make matters worse, she ended up going with one of my teammates.  The final straw and knife in the back was when I noticed each of them locking lips on the dance floor.  This week of agony led me to a severe state of depression.  Although, it started with a girl, this trial ended with a faith in Christ, Romans 10:9-10.

From my perspective, God does work in mysterious ways.  In fact, my attraction to church, also started with a girl, who became my high school sweetheart.  My parents didn’t have to force me to attend a local youth group.  Rather, as soon as several attractive girls began to go, my friends and I followed.  In life, you never know what or who the Lord will use to steer you toward His will.  Although it started with a girl for me, God will do what it takes to lead his children back to the fold, John 10:1-6.

by Jay Mankus

 

Sometimes You Gotta Do What You’ve Gotta Do

There are circumstances in life when you find yourself in a no win situation.  In other words, you’ve damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  Whether its being honest in a world lacking integrity or telling a customer the truth before they purchase an item, its impossible to please everyone.  Thus, sometimes you gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

In the film Remember the Titans, based upon the true story of desegregation within Virginia High Schools during the 1970’s, Coach Bill Yoast finds himself in one of these predicaments.  Told by 2 board members of the Virginia Football Hall of Fame, all he had to do was go along with the fix, accept losing the Regional final football game and he would earn the votes necessary to achieve this honor.  As the officials threw flag after flag to insure the Titans would not be victorious, Coach Yoast couldn’t bear to see an undefeated season go down in smoke without intervening.

As the world welcomes 2014 on Wednesday, it won’t be long til you face a similar dilemma.  When placed into a corner, what will you do?  Are you going to please others like Galatians 1:10 suggests or will you do what’s right in God’s eyes?  Whatever choice you make, may the example of Coach Yoast serve as inspiration to put a hall of fame career on hold by doing the honorable thing.

by Jay Mankus

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