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An Attitudes Impact

In the ESPN 30 for 30 entitled, the Gospel According to Mac, former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCarthy recounts his quest to bring the Buffalo’s a national championship.  One of the overriding themes involves learning how to motivate each player who respond differently to criticism, failure and mistakes.  During the second hour of this 2 hour documentary, the founding of Promise Keepers is covered through a series of clips from old speeches.  One excerpt includes a quote on attitudes, claiming a person’s attitude is four times more important as their overall talent.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, Philippians 2:14.

Attitude is one of those qualities which usually remains hidden until adversity arrives.  However, in the heat of the moment, pose is tested.  Attitudes are directly proportional to feelings expressed through body language and words.  Depending upon the individual, stored up emotion can explode, unleashed in the form of complaints, gossip or pessimism.  According to the apostle Paul, this is nothing new as attitudes can impact a group, family or an entire neighborhood.  Like a vulnerable forest in seasons of extreme drought, any spark can trigger devastating fires.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:5.

To overcome this potential threat, the apostle Paul believes the cure to this condition lies in the obtaining a specific mindset.  Despite being the son of God, Jesus became humble taking the nature of a servant.  Jesus set the model for what attitude should resemble.  However, this isn’t something you can do on your own.  Rather, transformation begins with faith by grace.  When you place your trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit serves as a counselor to fashion and mold your attitude.  The end goal is to acquire a Christ like mindset.  This may take a life time to achieve, but an attitude’s impact can alter lives for eternity.

by Jay Mankus

 

Does it Really Matter Who the Greatest of All Time Is?

Debates are nothing new except perhaps the venue in which they take place.  Philosophers gathered in Athens to discuss and exchange their worldviews.  Jews went to the synagogues to hear rabbis share their interpretations of the Torah.  Today, opinions are posted, tweeted and vocalized on talk radio, with sports fans often adding their own two cents on who is the greatest of all time.

But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest, Mark 9:34.

This temptation is not limited to sports as even followers of Jesus wanted to know who was the best disciple.  I can imagine Peter saying, “I walked on water” before John chimes in “well, I’m the beloved one.”  Back and forth, each of the twelve probably revelled in their moment of glory before another voice drowns out the one before.  Sensing their discussion was getting out of hand, Jesus intervenes by defining the perimeters for the greatest of all time.

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all,” Mark 9:35.

In eternal terms, the individual with the largest mansion in heaven will be the one who is the greatest servant of all.  In my mind, Mother Teresa is one of the front runners, but history provides ample choices to be number one.  Nonetheless, modern Christians must adhere to these standards or risk the chance of being rejected by Christ.  Therefore, don’t waste your breath on arguing who is the GOAT.  Rather, commit yourself to taking on the nature of a servant, Philippians 2:6-7.

by Jay Mankus

 

Developing a Faith like That

After a series of disappointments, Jesus takes an inventory of his twelve disciples, wondering if they will ever get it.  Cutting directly to the point, Jesus asks “who do you say that I am?”  Despite previous and future blunders, Simon Peter get’s it right this time, “Son of the living God.”  While the timing was right, Jesus unveils the future, what will happen and by whom He will endure suffering.  From one moment of greatness to the gutter, Peter tries to privately rebuke Jesus.  Instead the tables are turned as Peter begins to think like the devil.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns,” Mark 8:33.

In the passage which follows, Jesus lays out a three step plan for developing a genuine faith which takes into consideration the mind of God.  After nearly three full years with Jesus, the disciples struggled to break free from human concerns.

1. Deny Yourself: Take on the very nature of a servant, placing the needs of others above yourself.

2. Take Up Your Cross: Set out on ascertaining what God’s will is and make this your calling in life.

3. Follow Christ: Through prayer, study of the Bible and worship, follow in the foot steps of Jesus.

I’m not sure who first said the mind is a terrible thing to waste, yet this also applies to faith.  Christians can do the right thing, say the right thing and worship in an ideal church, but still fail miserably in their faith.  Like any competition, if you don’t play a complete game, it only takes one bad stretch to blow it.  Therefore, as you wrestle with balancing necessary human concerns, may you take Jesus’ advice in Mark 8:34 and develop into a faith like Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Overwhelmed by Priorities

Every day when I arise from sleep, my mind is overwhelmed by the choices at hand.  Do I read?  Should I write?  Perhaps I need to work out?  Maybe hitting the snooze button and rolling over is my best option.  Either way, the choices you make will dictate the path your life takes.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Luke 12:34

Like most years, my New Years Resolutions are being modified as desires to lose weight, eat healthy and draw closer to God have fallen short.  Sometimes I feel as if I am in a tug of war, pulled in a direction I don’t want to go, yet over time I submit, dragged to a new low.  By enduring these trials, I am beginning to comprehend the words of the apostle Paul as he explains how the sinful nature can influence one’s priorities.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. – Romans 7:15

When Jeremiah opened his mouth to Israel, negative messages usually came forth.  Thus, this servant of God was nicknamed the weeping prophet.  If you too feel depressed, frustrated or lost, there are some promises in the Bible to cling to.  Lamentations 3:20-24 suggests God’s forgiveness is new every morning.  Therefore, if you fail to keep the priorities that you hold dear, may God’s grace lift you up each time you fall.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Hireling, Servant or Friend?

The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep.  So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. – John 10:12

Depending upon your desire, energy or level of commitment, you will likely fall into one of 3 categories.  The unmotivated will fall into a hireling classification, doing things because its a job.  Those who enjoy their place of employment will likely transform into a servant, taking ownership of the business where they work.  Finally, the friend goes one step further, placing their heart and soul into what they do daily.

The greatest among you will be your servant. – Matthew 23:11

The hardest part of any career is uncertainty, when the dedication you pour forth is not rewarded, going unnoticed.  Unless you receive some sort of compliment, encouragement or raise, some may give up before experiencing the fruits of their labor.  Thus, maintaining a positive attitude can be difficult, often coming to a point where you begin to think, “what’s the point anyway?”  Even the most devoted servant needs a pat on the back to keep them going.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:15

According to Jesus, there is a difference between a servant and friend.  When someone becomes all in, surrendering a what’s in it for me mentality, they turn the corner.  This devotion sees the big picture, doing what’s best for their heavenly Father.  “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it, ” Matthew 16:25.  May the Holy Spirit lead to from a hireling, beyond the serving phase to a friend in Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Reaching Your Desired Destination

Whether you’re a child busy day dreaming or an adult trying to crunch financial numbers, everyone has a desired destination.  Some dreams may appear lofty, others middle of the road with a few unrealistic.  Nonetheless, without vision, people perish, Hosea 4:6, dying inside without anything tangible to live for.

Israel longed for a promised land, African Americans envisioned a nation free from slavery and the poor seek a life without hunger.  On the road to success, doubt, a lack of resources and time stand in the way.  Depending upon the voices you hear, the people you surround yourself with and what you choose to believe, your destination may be altered, seeing but never reaching the Land of Oz.

The apostle Paul understood this concept, writing to the church in Philippi, Philippians 3:12-14.  Pride didn’t get in the way of his goal.  Despite his past ideology, Paul set his mind on heaven.  While his life was cut short on earth, martyred for his belief in Christ, faith allowed this servant of God to reach his desired destination.  May promises like Philippians 1:6 encourage you to never waiver until you arrive where you belong.

by Jay Mankus

 

Extreme Soul Makeover

 

For the past decade, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition served as a shining light in a dark and selfish world.  As one of the few family centered programs in prime time, this ABC hit show reached a broad audience through comedy, entertainment and music.  Ty Pennington, Paul DiMeo, Michael Moloney and Tracy Hutson made Extreme Makeover a Sunday night tradition for my family.  This reality program often touched my heart, brought tears to my eyes and made me proud to be an American.

Fading into the night on January 12th, 2012, this final episode is a reminder that all good things on earth come to an end.  Like a sheep without a shepherd, a new leader, group or ministry needs to replace this new void in society left by the end of this show.  While the cast and volunteers worked non-stop for one week to provide a new residence to a needy family or school, thousands more were passed over, still waiting for a helping hand and loving support.

 

If you want to make an eternal difference in life, Jesus reveals 3 essential conditions which must be met for an extreme soul makeover, Matthew 16:24.

1. Deny yourself by becoming a selfless servant, meeting the needs of the people whom you come into contact with on a daily basis.

2. Pick up Jesus’ cross by owning your faith, dedicating your life to God.  Unless you become born again, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, John 3:3.

3. Follow Jesus by walking in his footsteps, Matthew 20:27-28.  While what would Jesus do is cliche, its a starting point that leads toward a Galatians 5:25 mentality.

If you are thinking twice about this makeover, listen to Jesus’ warning in Matthew 16:26.

“What good will it be for a man (or woman) if they gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can a (person) give in exchange for their soul?”

May the words of the Bible, instill faith from within, Romans 10:17, to undergo this life changing procedure.  Sign up today, Romans 10:9-10!

by Jay Mankus

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