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Tag Archives: reading

You Can Only Do So Much

Ten years ago, I volunteered for a week to serve as a camp counselor at an overnight Christian Camp just south of Reading, Pennsylvania.  Due to a weeklong heat wave, a cabin without air conditioning and inner ear infection that lingered the rest of that summer, I never returned for a second year.  Instead, my two sons now serve as camp counselors at Camp Cedarbrook.  During a de-briefing session over lunch, my oldest son James shared his frustrations of boys in his cabin who never listened to him.  Despite repeated attempts, numerous reminders and intervention from veteran counselors, James was unable to change these bad habits.  Unfortunately, you can only do so much in one week of time.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6.

Unless you are a coach, counselor, parent or teacher, you may not realize that America is on the verge of a parental crisis.  After years of appeasing, bribing and spoiling children, basic character traits, courtesy and morals are missing.  Instead cell phones, electronic devices and video games are killing social skills, creating a further divide between children and parents.  Those individuals who are diligently working to stop this trend have their own obstacles to overcome.  Abandonment, death and divorce has led to single parent homes, struggling to provide and raise kids at the same time.  Giving a word of encouragement to my son, I replied “you can only do so much on your own.”

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another, Proverbs 27:17.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is a small quote from King Solomon.  This wise man compares a black smith to being the best person you can be.  When human beings enter into an accountability relationship, affirmations point out the good while flaws are pointed through honest assessments.  As long as both parties seek the best interest of the other, character is strengthened like iron sharpening iron.  For those who feel called into the ministry, you may not be able to win the hearts and souls of those who you love.  God doesn’t call everyone to be successful, but faithful.  Therefore, if you feel overwhelmed by a lack of progress in your life, remember you can only do so much.

by Jay Mankus

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Whatever?

If you live in the Northeast, then you’ve been at the mercy of God this winter.  One of these days Spring will arrive, yet for now snow, sleet or freezing rain is likely in your weekly forecast.  However, these events shouldn’t be shocking since part of God’s nature is doing whatever pleases Him.

The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. – Psalm 135:6

Whether worldviews are formed through Sunday School, reading books or how you were raised, few have a clear understanding of God’s attributes.  Instead of researching the Scriptures to make sense of the bumps and bruises individuals experience, many human beings respond to trials by accusing, blaming or cursing the Lord for their misery.  When unfortunate events continue to pile up without any end in sight, even the strong can lose hope.

“I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.  You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me.  You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm.” – Job 30:20-22

Although the majority of Christians are uninformed while living on earth, one day the life you endure on this planet will make sense.  I’m assuming some where along the way, God will unveil the jigsaw puzzle known as your life.  This may not happen until being called home to heaven, but one day the “whatever” in life will be revealed.

by Jay Mankus

 

Seven Days in Utopia

While its’ unclear actually who coined the phrase, “timing is everything,” this nugget of truth still applies today.  Whether you are engaging in a conversation, watching a movie or reading a book, if the timing isn’t right, your interest will quickly fade.  Such is the case of a film I recently enjoyed, 7 Days in Utopia.  As a channel surfer like most bored Americans, I stumbled across this film a few times in the past, catching it at the wrong moment.  However, last night, shortly after the opening scene, I was hooked til the conclusion.

Robert Duvall plays a Yoda like character, training Luke Chisholm, a talented but hot tempered young professional, played by Lucas Black.  Duvall takes a person who is a cross between Tin Cup and Happy Gilmore for 7 days to work on his beliefs, mind and perspective.  Trying to overcome the demons in life, Duvall reveals the scars from his past that cut short his own professional career.  With a different focus each day, Chisholm is caught off guard, realizing there is more to life than hitting a little white golf ball into a hole.  On Easter Sunday, this week comes to an end while another journey is about to begin.

Seven Days in Utopia is based upon David Lamar Cook’s novel Golf’s Sacred Journey, Seven Days at the Links of Utopia.  Although, the movie portrays Utopia as a place, its actually a state of mind.  As citizens of earth prepare for an eternal resting place, the power of the Holy Spirit can transform neighborhoods into pieces of heaven on earth.  Whether you play golf or not, I recommend this film to all who seek a higher calling, looking for more than just living 9-5.  May God lead you to a spiritual utopia.

by Jay Mankus

Keep on Reading…Until You Receive Inspiration

Although apathy permeates throughout several segments of society, there are beacons of hope that exist.  If you are a historian, books contain powerful messages of leaders who transformed their nations.  Meanwhile, starving souls searching for the meaning of life, keep on reading, flipping through pages until inspiration is found.

As for me, the Bible has become a well spring, the driving force behind this blog.  After reaching 10,000 hits today, I can’t take credit for the articles, titles or words.  Rather, I felt compelled to rely on meditating on the Bible, sermons and words that would connect with common struggles people undergo.

Whether you’re talking to someone every day at work for 3 years or writing 1000 different blogs, the longer you go, the harder it becomes to come up with new material.  While you might have some good days, conversation and pieces can become stale.  Therefore, in my quest to keep a dream alive, I will keep on reading until I receive inspiration.

by Jay Mankus

Never Satisfied

Back in January, days before my sledding accident, I had planned on giving up watching television during Lent. I was going through one of those phases in life where I sought to make history, not watch it happen. Thus, I pressed on to complete the writing on my second movie script, Behind the Devil’s Door.  Everything was moving forward as schedule until that one fateful day, January 29th.

My initial rib injury prevented me from sleeping more than an hour or so at a time, leaving me exhausted, unable to receive the rest I needed.  Ten days later, the force of a sneeze at work altered the blood flow of my internal bleeding, unknown to me, leading to several weeks of bed rest after a 4 day visit to the hospital.  Distraught, I took the advice of a relative who suggested to relax and enjoy the 2014 Winter Olympics which had just begun.  Beside listening to music, reading and writing, I didn’t have many options stuck in my downstairs recliner to avoid steps.

I don’t care if you have 1000 channels to observe daily, sooner or later you’ll be bored out of your mind, never fully satisfied by the entertainment on the big screen.  As a relatively active person, staying idle at home left me craving something more meaningful in life.  After watching the entire first season of Joan of Arcadia, I became restless longing for traces of God in Hollywood, but I was left disappointed.  To fill this void, I won’t be satisfied until the vision God has given me for my second script is complete, Philippians 1:6.

What vision or dream has God given you? Please leave a comment.

by Jay Mankus
        

Being Well Rounded or Focusing on One Thing?

As I was beginning to concentrate on specific talents that I possessed, most of the advice I received as a teenager was to become well rounded, taking a break from seasonal activities when the season concluded.  While I was experiencing a multitude of hobbies, I noticed that those individuals who focused on one sport began to surpass my own skill level.  Subsequently, I tended to excel at every sport I played except basketball, yet I never reached a great level, just very good.  Modern travel ball clubs and teams are trying to make the cream of the crop into the very best.

Today, nations across the globe are developing gifted professional athletes through a series of cutting edge schools dedicated to one specific concentration.  Although countries like China have taken this to extremes highlighted by the 2012 Summer Olympics coverage, limiting parental visitation to their sports academies, America appears to have fallen way behind the rest of the world.  Instead of indoctrinating students with a well rounded view of political correctness, education should focus on the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic.  Time will tell who is correct.

As I get down off my soap box, my role has changed from the student to the guardian.  It’s my turn to pass the torch to the next generation.  Do I allow my 3 kids to encounter various activities or do I push them toward choosing one thing to invest their time and energy?  Part of me is torn, wanting my children to be exposed to opportunities I never had the chance to participate in.  On  the other hand, you can’t teach passion, so in the end, young people will determine their future based upon the choices each makes.  The last thought I has is this: Do you want to be good at many things or do you want to be the best at one specific thing?  God’s blessings to all in 2014 as you ponder if you want to be well rounded or dedicate your time to one thing.

by Jay Mankus

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