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Tag Archives: Red Lion

Be Careful How You Listen

Every September, from 2002 to 2012, I met the parents of my students during an open house at Red Lion.  After sharing the same spiel for several years, God gave me a vision about what it means to listen from a biblical perspective.  This idea turned into a visual presentation, pouring water from a bottle three times onto a hard table top, then adding a paper towel and finally into sponge.  After each pour I asked these adults what they witnessed and what each scenario represents.

So be careful how you listen; for whoever has [a teachable heart], to him more [understanding] will be given; and whoever does not have [a longing for truth], even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him,” Luke 8:18.

Water poured onto a table top represents a hardened heart.  When students don’t like a class, subject or teacher, their hearts become calloused.  Thus, whenever a lesson is presented, their minds and thoughts are elsewhere.  Adding a paper towel to the table is symbolic of being half-hearted.  Since a paper towel can only absorb so much water, it only does half the job.  This type of student only listens when they feel like it.  When topics are boring, confusing or over their head, they tune out.  The ideal form of listening is acting like a sponge, absorbing everything that you hear.  The Bible refers to this student as being whole hearted, all in and ready to hear.

“But be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down and depressed with the giddiness of debauchery and the nausea of self-indulgence and the worldly worries of life, and then that day [when the Messiah returns] will not come on you suddenly like a trap,” Luke 21:34.

Jesus regularly used the expression,”he who has ears, let him hear.”  Based upon the two passages above, those who possess a teachable heart want to learn, listening intently.  However, those who do not have a longing for truth will lose any desire for character, integrity and morality in the future.  Meanwhile, later on Jesus urges those willing to listen to guard their hearts.  When hearts become vulnerable to spiritual attacks, individuals can be dragged down by the heartache and pain in life.  Therefore, be careful how you listen so you will begin to apply biblical principles that result in a teachable heart.

by Jay Mankus

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I’ve Got This

Whether you recognize this or not, everyone has a favorite expression.  This may be from a movie, lyrics in a song or a catch phrase you have developed over time.  Whenever my oldest son James became focused doing something, especially in sports, he’d look over and confidently say, “I’ve got this.”  This spirit of determination led to countless awards, medals and an individual and team state championship in track his season year.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, 2 Timothy 4:7.

During my first few seasons as a high school golf coach at Red Lion, I only had 3 reliable players I could count on.  John, Chad and John were the foundation of a team that went to 2 straight state tournaments and a fourth place finish their senior years.  After just missing states as freshmen and sophomores, this core group began to believe they were good enough.  With the fate of the team on their shoulders, John, Chad and John developed a “we’ve got this coach” mentally.  Subsequently, these 3 regularly earned all 5 points in 5-4 victories.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, Romans 15:4.

When you don’t have someone to rely on in life, turning to the Bible is a great alternative source.  There are ample passages in the Bible that inspire souls to keep going.  Determination is a trait some possess naturally, but others can feed off of leaders, others or teammates to finish the job.  May those struggling to find their way be encouraged and hopeful to overcome the odds to reach any dreams or goals you haven’t yet achieved.

by Jay Mankus

 

Sitting on the Sidelines or Fighting to the End?

Take, take, take.  A common theme in an ever increasing selfish world.  When communities, churches or marriages begin to fall apart, most sit along the sideline watching the situation deteriorate.  Meanwhile, few have the strength to fight to the very end.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace, 1 Peter 4:10.

From 2010 through the present, I’ve witnessed two special relationships end.  The first was a special church family that I became entrenched in, serving as an elder for six years and teacher for another ten years at its adjacent high school.  While many abandoned Red Lion as it first started to take on water, I tried my best to do what I could.  Although, I probably should have been more outspoken initially, the odds were stacked against me.  In the end, the church closed its doors and the school was sold to another denomination, causing several colleagues, including myself to lose their job.

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many, Matthew 20:26-28.

The second divorce began as the first became final.  The baseball league that my sons played in under went a similar myriad of trials.  Trying to prevent an identical ending, I spent two years investing my time in the youth of Greater Newark.  Like a M.A.S.H. unit, the efforts I provided extended the life of the league for a couple of years.  Stepping aside to allow the next generation of parents to lead, most have passed the buck, unwilling to save this sinking organization.  While GNBL’s future is bleak, my only question is who will get off their butt, move beyond the sidelines and fight to the very end?

by Jay Mankus

Living Under A Curse?

Cursed Picture? "The Crying Boy"

Since I first began attending church as a toddler, I was led to believe that I could earn my way into heaven based upon my own works.  As I grew older, attending a different youth group in high school, I become exposed to other theological positions.  As an adult, serving as active member and participant of a church, I have searched the Bible to affirm what I ultimately believe today.  However, this morning while listening to a few sermons on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, I discovered that I might be living under a curse.

According to scripture, curses can occur through words, after experiencing emotional trauma, by making wrongs judgments or vows and acts of disobedience.  When a person one says, “you’ll never do this or you won’t succeed,” a word curse is initiated according to Ephesians 4:29-30 and James 3:9.  Meanwhile, Deuteronomy 28:20-22 suggests accidents, disease or illness can be attributed and linked to curses.  Ecclesiastes 5:6 and Deuteronomy 28:5 each claim poor decisions result in curses.  Finally, Jesus himself reveals that unless you forgive others, God will not forgive you, Matthew 6:14-15.

After contemplating pastor Ron Phillips’ message, the Holy Spirit opened my heart to the possibility my unemployment is curse related.  First, its been difficult to completely let go of all the pain I endured while living in the Red Lion soap opera.  Although, I thought I had forgiven all parties involved, God convicted me of some bitterness I am still holding onto within my heart.  Second, when failure becomes the norm in your life, its difficult to purge your mind of negativity and pessimistic thinking.  Lastly, no matter where you are in your faith journey, there is always room for improvement: areas of compromise, complacency and sinful tendencies.

Whatever your own current situation consists of, I know God wants to break any curse or pattern of failure which exists.  Thus, God longs to create a hedge of protection around you, your family, church and nation.  These hedges consists of 5 major components: prayer, leadership, unity, angels and revival.  Breaking and renouncing any curse always begins and ends with prayer, claiming God’s promises.  Prayer also energizers church leaders as well as gives people the motivation to be the head of their house.  Building upon prayer and leadership, unity is the fulfillment of both these elements.  Angelic protection increases when belief in God’s power in verbalized in prayer.  When a vision of ushering in heaven on earth is grasped by a community, revival often breaks out.  While watching the Super Bowl is nice, I long to see a spiritual super bowl, where curses are broken, saints rejoice and Christians experience victory daily!

by Jay Mankus

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