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Tag Archives: Skip Wilkins

When the Truth Remains Inside of You

Star Wars uses the force as a means to find the truth. Using imagery similar to that found in the Bible, light and darkness determine the side that you will choose. The apostle Paul illustrates this internal tug of war in Galatians 5:16-23. From a Christian perspective, truth is signified by acts of God’s Spirit. Any act of disobedience is considered a form of rebellion like Star Wars expression of giving into the dark side.

Because of the Truth which lives and stays on in our hearts and will be with us forever: 2 John 1:2.

Before I decided to become a Christian, I started to hang around people in high school who always seemed to be happy. These individuals attended a monthly Fellowship of Christian Athletes Bible Study. Although I didn’t attend until the midway point of high school, there was something hidden inside of them. After attending an off-campus event as a sophomore, Skip Wilkins introduced me to this Truth.

Because of the Truth which lives and stays on in our hearts and will be with us forever: 3 John 1:4.

Every human being has their own story of success and failures in life. For me, learning was never easy. As a student, I had to fight for B’s and C’s. As a new Christian, I got involved in as many church related activities that I could fit into my sports schedule. While Accountability Groups, Bible Studies, Service Projects and Retreats were great, it was the Bible that transformed me from the inside out. If you meditate on God’s Word like Joshua 1:8, the truth will remain inside of you through the living years.

by Jay Mankus

When Death Lost It’s Grip on Me

If you have ever walked through a Haunted House or Forest, one of the methods used to inflict fear is by being grabbed by an unseen hand. Part of this role play often involves taking and keeping a firm hold of your arm or leg without warning. Despite how scared you may be during this experience, it is only temporary. In the passage below, the apostle Paul explains why and when fear of death lost it’s grip on human beings.

For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us, this nature that is capable of dying] must put on immortality (freedom from death). 54 And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished [h]forever) in and unto victory, 1 Corinthians 15:53-54.

My junior high years were the lowest in my life. Despite attending church every Sunday, I struggled with depression daily. In my darkest days, I was suicidal, thinking of ways to end my life. Little did I know that God began to send loving Christians and mentors into my life to keep me alive. These individuals encouraged me to seek God not in a religious manner, but pursue a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Now sin is the sting of death, and sin exercises its power [i][upon the soul] through [j][the abuse of] the Law. 57 But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose], 1 Corinthians 15:56-58.

I resisted these offers until a nervous breakdown during a cross country practice. When a girl that I liked messed with my mind, this was the last straw before I lost complete control. Shortly after this experience, I was invited to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event. Following an inspirational speech my Skip Wilkins on December 4th, 1984, I gave my life to Jesus, Romans 10:9-10. The moment I made this decision, death lost it’s grip on me, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

Jesus, Joy, and Generosity

Before I became a Christian, there were several individuals that I met which stood out to me. I couldn’t figure out what it was about these people, but each of them possessed an inner peace. One winter night during my sophomore year of high school, a man in a wheel chair gave the keynote address to an audience full of athletes. By the time Skip Wilkins reached the conclusion of his testimony, I wanted what he had inside of his heart, Jesus.

I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture. 10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [b]overflows), John 10:9-10.

Joy isn’t a feeling that comes and goes. Rather, joy is a state of mind that is fueled by the hope of eternal life, 1 John 5:13. Yet, joy isn’t a recognizable attribute in every Christian. Your degree of commitment to the Lord will affect what spiritual fruit if any that is naturally displayed every day. Yet, free will causes many college students to partake in their own prodigal like experiences. Subsequently, until human beings hit rock bottom or when common sense returns, joy will be absent.

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. 14 Personally I am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are rich in goodness, amply filled with all [spiritual] knowledge and competent to admonish and counsel and instruct one another also, Romans 15:13-14.

The goal of any Christian is to put everything together so that a personal relationship with Jesus yields joy and generosity. The apostle Paul refers to this in the passage above. When anyone reaches this state, an assurance in God spreads hope to your heart. For those that continue their journey with God, joy and peace comes from a spiritual understanding of God’s promises, Philippians 4:6-7. As you draw near to God, may the love of Jesus result in joy and generosity.

by Jay Mankus

Relocating to a Permanent Address

Billy Graham viewed his life on earth as someone merely passing through, making the most of his ninety nine years.  I was in my car when I received the news of his death, listening to talk radio.  Upon hearing this update, Rush Limbaugh spent a few minutes of his next monologue reflecting upon Graham’s life and legacy.  Rush relayed the context of one of Billy’s famous quotes.  “When you hear reports about my death, don’t believe it.  I am not dead.  Rather, I have changed my address, relocating to a permanent destination.”

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life, 1 John 5:13.

In a spiritual sense, I am related to Reverend Graham.  You see, my mentor in high school, Ken Horne, dedicated his life to God at a Billy Graham Rally as a teenager.  This propelled Ken to become a high school teacher, coach and Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s director at Concord High.  I was too cool for God as a nineth grader, rejecting several offers to attend this small group Bible Study.  After a nervous breakdown in tenth grade, I accepted an invitation to an event on December 4th, 1984.  Ken paid for my ticket to a Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s Speakout featuring members of Philadelphia’s four professional sports teams.  Yet, it was a man in a wheel chair, Skip Wilkins who God used to lead me to surrender my life to Jesus Christ.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved, Romans 10:9-10.

As the 2018 Winter Olympics come to a close this weekend, the 2020 Summer Olympics are just around the corner.  As Billy Graham officially retired Wednesday, its never too early to begin training, finding someone to pass the baton to in the name of Christ.  Reverend Graham wasn’t perfect, but as elders like Leonard Ravenhill began to offer constructive criticism to make sure new converts were being properly discipled following their conversions, Billy Graham’s ministry became a well oiled machine, producing permanent disciples.  May the legacy that Billy Graham Sr. has left behind inspire you to get moving, ready to fulfill the great commission so that those who do pass away are able to relocate to a permanent address in heaven.

by Jay Mankus

One Year Later

A few days before Thanksgiving, an annual eye check up revealed a serious condition.  Unsettled by these dangerous symptoms, I was sent to an eye specialist the following week.  During this visit, the pressure in my right eye skyrocketed to eighty, fifteen is considered to be normal.  Afraid glaucoma might cause me to lose vision in my eye, this doctor called his friend, the top surgeon at Wills Eye Center in Philadelphia to schedule an emergency surgery.  This is a glimpse of the emotions that I endured just one year ago today.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9.

Following a successful surgery, I looked like someone from a senior center, forced to wear those big wrap around sun glasses with dark lenses to protect my right eye.  To make a full recovery, I made routine trips back and forth from Philadelphia.  Initially, I took four different kinds of eye drops until I was slowly whittled off all of them.  Since I was taking one of these drops for nearly twenty years to battle iritis of the eye, my eye sight suffered, gradually becoming worse.  When I went to renew my driver’s license over the summer, I failed the eye test, unable to drive lawfully until this condition was resolved.  This stressful situation brought me back to the start, forced to rely solely on God for healing.

But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious, 1 Peter 3:4.

To the average person, December 4th is just another day on the calendar unless it’s your anniversary or birthday.  However, for me two life changing events transpired.  After hearing Skip Wilkins share his testimony at a Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s Speakout in high school, I dedicated my life to God in 1984 during an altar call.  I refer to December 4th as my spiritual birthday.  Thirty two years later, I trusted the Lord that my doctor would use his God given gifts to bring restoration to my worn out eyes.  Sure, it would be great to possess the 20/10 vision of my youth, but these life altering moments have drawn me closer to God.  One year later, I am thankful to be alive, to drive, see and write one blog a day until the Lord takes me home.

by Jay Mankus

The Paralysis of Sin

Terms like debilitating, immobility and incapacity describe symptoms of paralysis.  Those individuals whose lives are turned upside down by accidents, disease or extreme events are forced to go with life with several new obstacles to overcome.  Unfortunately, paralysis can attack souls through the presence and spread of sin.

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate, Romans 7:15.

The apostle Paul highlights how sin impacts individual actions.  Similar to an addiction, bad habit or compulsive behavior, the ability to maintain self-control is lost.  This phenomena is not exempt for Christians as anyone who plays with fire in the form of temptation will eventually get burned.  Thus, even a missionary like Paul was paralyzed by sin.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin, James 4:17.

One of the people who has made the greatest impact on my life is Skip Wilkins.  After becoming a high school All-American in 4 sports, Skip was paralyzed while water skiing before his senior year.  When colleges heard of his accident, all 2000 plus full scholarships were rescinded.  Skip’s faith helped him overcome this setback and eventually became a motivational speaker.  If it wasn’t for Skip Wilkins testimony, I still might be paralyzed by sin.  Yet, because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, you too can be set free from sin as there are no wheel chairs in heaven.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Captivated or Captured?

Growing up in the 1980’s, arcades, malls and skating rinks were places teenagers congregated for social interaction.  Subsequently, I developed a soft spot in my heart for video games, longing to master the pattern for Pac-Man, flip Space Invaders from 999,999 back to zero on my Atari and complete every stage of Dragon’s Lair, one of the first games in 3D.  Looking back, I wonder if I was merely captivated by this new form of entertainment or was I captured by the devil, 2 Corinthians 4:4?

Compromise doesn’t happen over night.  Rather, the father of lies places subtle thoughts into your mind, hoping you will bite, James 1:13-15.  For the first 14 years of my life, I was hooked, spending countless hours on my Atari seeking to enter the hall of fame for each game I owned, taking a picture with a polaroid camera of my score or time.  However, with each accomplishment, excitement soon passed, creating a void in my heart that video games did not fulfill.  Breaking this habit was difficult, needing assistance from a higher power.

By the middle of my sophomore year of high school, I was ready, captivated by a man in wheelchair, claiming to be a famous athlete.  After receiving over 1,000 full scholarships in 4 different sports, a water skiing accident left Skip Wilkins paralyzed from the waist down.  Despite his humbling disposition, there was something different about him.  Whatever Skip had inside of him, I wanted.  Thus, when an altar call was offered, I was one of the first to come down, captivated by a godly witness and now captured by a forgiving Savior, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

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