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Tag Archives: Red Lion Christian Academy

Replacing Chaos with Structure

The first class that I taught as a Middle School Bible teacher at Red Lion was entitled Wise Up: the Book of Proverbs. While the textbook was waterer down more than I cared for, the premise of this book was spot on. God established boundaries in the Bible to protect individuals from harm while keeping evil out. Those who know, learn and practice these principles replace chaos with structure.

So the Lord God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely (unconditionally) eat [the fruit] from every tree of the garden; Genesis 2:15-16.

In the days following Creation, the Garden of Eden served as an oasis in the desert. This hidden paradise was given to Adam with two simple expectations, cultivate and maintain this tropical paradise. The Lord gave Adam and Eve free reign of this garden, able to eat fruit from every tree except for one. God’s only restriction (rule), was do not eat of the tree of knowledge. Obeying this rule kept Eden free from chaos.

But [only] from the tree of the knowledge (recognition) of good and evil you shall not eat, otherwise on the day that you eat from it, you shall most certainly [h]die [because of your disobedience],” Genesis 2:17.

Moses does not detail how long it took for Lucifer to convince Eve to taste this forbidden fruit. However, ever since this decision known as Origin Sin persuaded this couple to disobey God, chaos has reigned on earth. Once Pandora’s Box has been opened, it’s impossible to alter the past. Yet, there is a way to restore order. The most logical step is to rplace chaos is by practicing godly principles from the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

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Lies within Your Heart

As someone who grew up in the Catholic church, I was raised to believe that priests were the only individuals who were worthy enough to study the Bible and teach God’s Word. After a revival during the 1970’s, some priests began to encourage members of their congregation to start reading the Bible outside of church. Unfortunately, the church my family attended in Wilmington, Delaware was stuck in the dark ages until my dad’s relocation to Cleveland, Ohio. About this same time, I began to open my own Bible outside of church which exposed lies within my heart.

The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart, Luke 6:45.

When I started teaching high school Bible at Red Lion, a Sunday School class that I attended introduced me to a book called Restoring the Foundations. Written by Chester and Becky Kylstra, I discovered that this book inspired a healing ministry based upon addressing ungodly beliefs individuals have collected over the course of their lives. Like spiritual baggage weighing down your heart, soul and mind, this integrated approach introduced me to new terms such as soul spirit hurts. As people unpack this baggage, exposed lies can haunt you; preventing you from being healed.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is recognized and judged by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart,” Matthew 12:33-34.

During the first century, Jesus introduced a troubling new teaching. When these words were first verbalized, I’m sure conviction silenced any whispers in the crowd. The thought of lies within your heart likely deflated souls previously filled with confidence and pride. This biblical truth sent shockwaves across town as murmurs echoed of this hidden evil from within. Scholars likely declared the words of the prophet are true, Jeremiah 17:1-10. As modern believers are introduced to this truth today, lies within your heart can finally be addressed by an integrated approach to healing.

by Jay Mankus

Spiritual Drifters

A drifter is defined as a person who is continually moving from place to place.  Those who fit this description are referred to as a transient, vagabond or wanderer.  Individuals who fall into this category often do not develop permanent meaningful lasting relationships.  Without a good reason to stay, people drift into new communities hoping for a place to call home.  As America has lost its sense of community within cities, neighborhoods and towns, a growing number of nomads have a emerged, disconnected and unknown by the person next door.

Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers]. And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served], 1 Corinthians 12:4-5.

Over the last two decades, a new classification has been added to this term, spiritual drifters.  When someone enters into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, finding a church that meets your spiritual needs can be difficult.  Larger congregations can be superficial, challenging to connect with a mentor who understands who you are and what you are going through.  Smaller churches offer a more intimate setting, but if you don’t share common interests, developing a close bond rarely occurs.  Thus, countless Christians go church hopping, visiting new places each weekend, searching for a place to call home.

And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good, 1 Corinthians 12:6-7.

As a former elder in a church for seven years, I’m the last person you would expect who would become a spiritual drifter.  Yet, for the past seven years, my family and I are still in limbo.  Initially, we spent a few years attending a small church that served as a time of healing after Red Lion was sold and disbanded.  My two youngest children found a great youth group for two years until that church suffered the same fate, closing it’s doors to sell their property.  While each family member has a favorite, none of us have been blown away or sensed the Holy Spirit say this is home.  Thus, for now I continue as a spiritual drifter, hoping that one day soon I can stop watching, connect and become an active member of a church again.

by Jay Mankus

A Class to Remember

Over the weekend I made my first venture down to Lynchburg, Virginia to see my niece graduate from Liberty University.   As I listened to Jeb Bush, the keynote speaker address the commencement crowd, I pondered about the hundreds of students I taught in high school over a decade.  After a couple of minutes I was drawn to a class to remember.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”- Acts 17:5

Every so often a teacher encounters a classroom full of angels.  While each may be rough around the edges, inside hearts of gold set the tone for a special connection.  Back in 2005-2006, I had the pleasure to create my first Bible elective: Biblical Leadership.  Little did I know back then that those 13 individuals would make such an impact for God’s kingdom.

No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. – Romans 4:20-21

One of these students, Joseph Feeley went home to be with the Lord after a courageous battle with cancer.  Prior to this diagnosis, I was introduced to this warrior for Christ.  Joseph inspired his classmates to transform the spiritual climate at Red Lion Christian Academy.  Daily discussions turned into slices of heaven on earth as each student spurred one another on to leave a legacy of faith.  Although only 12 remain living today, I will always treasure the year I spent with this class to remember.

by Jay Mankus

 

Searching for a Reason to Live

Living pay check to check is exhausting, especially when your money disappears before your expenses are fully covered.  Like a high school student bored beyond measure, living for the weekend isn’t any better.  There must be something greater, with meaning and purpose out there.  Thus, my journey has begun to find a reason to live.

Over the weekend I attended a benefit concert for Kay’s Kamp and Ashley’s Orphans.  Kay was one of my former students who died of a rare form of cancer shortly after graduating from Red Lion Christian Academy.  Meanwhile, Ashley’s life was cut short prematurely in a boating accident while she attend the Elementary at Red Lion.  Despite their deaths, their legacies live on by the faith each displayed in their living years.

Lost in my attempt to provide for my family is a higher calling, a vision to make an impact for eternity.  When the Raymond Lee Band donated all of their proceeds from Saturday’s concert to these 2 organizations, my heart was convicted by my selfishness.  Perhaps, we can all learn from this example, sacrificing temporary wants for those around you who are more needy.  May the Holy Spirit, guide each of us to find a higher reason to live, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

A Fellow Without a Ship

While driving to this year’s New Year’s Eve party alone after work, my mind searched for an ideal atmosphere in 2014.  Ultimately, I am longing for a healthy balance between family and fellowship with friends.  Unfortunately, previous good intentions and new year resolution’s quickly faded early on, resulting in loneliness like a fellow without a ship.

Although I love spending time with others, my occupation, a spirit of perfectionism and a lack of energy has sucked a special ingredient from my soul.  Subsequently, I have drifted farther away from the people I need to make me whole again on the inside.  Like the Titanic, sinking into the sea, many of my close acquaintances have gone in multiple directions following the demise of Red Lion Christian Academy and Evangelical Free Church.  Fighting for spiritual life boats, in need of their own aid and healing, currents of blame, misunderstandings and theology have led me to run aground, stranded without a ship to call home.

In view of this state, I am praying for real change in 2014, not just words but the discipline to make this a reality, 2 Timothy 1:7.  As a result, my priorities must be reshuffled, adjusted to meet this goal.  Like anything that is good, this won’t happen overnight, requiring patience and perseverance.  However, by grace through faith, Ephesians 2:8, may God turn this fellow without a ship into a creature of habit starving for fellowship.

by Jay Mankus

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