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Let’s Plow the Road

In the final fight scene within Independence Day over the skies of a California desert, Bill Pullman plays president Thomas Whitmore.  America’s last hope, this former fighter pilot leads a cast of misfits to plow the road for the last jet with a missile hoping to bring down an alien ship about to destroy their underground hide out.  Without this cover, defeat was inevitable.  Who will risk their life today to plow the road for future generations?

Looking to politicians won’t find you much inspiration.  Nor do most professional athletics provide the type of consistent leadership the youth of this country need.  Unfortunately, the frozen chosen, church going believers often behave more like Pharisees than the body of Christ.  As a result, people of faith are putting up road blocks to God instead of demonstrating the love of Jesus.

In Luke 9:57-63, Jesus is trying to separate the lukewarm from truly devoted followers.  Setting the bar high, one by one, the wishy washy walk away, unable to met the standards set by God, disqualifying themselves.  Not much has changed today as individuals still struggle to live in the world without losing faith, Matthew 19:16-24.  Instead of plowing the road, storms have blocked the path Jesus blazed. 1 John 2:6.  Despite this reality, its never too late to change.  Therefore, one light at a time, Matthew 5:13-16, let’s plow the road for others to follow.

by Jay Mankus


Good Grief Charlie Brown

Beginning in the early1950’s, the Peanuts Comic Strip became a main stay in American newspapers.  As the popularity of Charles Schultz’s creation grew, television brought this animation to life in the 1960’s, known as the golden era of Peanuts.  By the 1980’s, holidays and Charlie Brown specials became an annual tradition  for families.  This is where children first saw Lucy pull back a football that Charlie Brown was about to kick, causing him to fall to the ground in anguish.  Thus, the expression, “Good grief Charlie Brown” was born.

Today, there is a different kind of pain parent’s experience.  Unrelated to sports, this infliction is derived when their own children begin to date individuals who have a questionable reputation.  Despite their initial warning, teenagers have a mind of their own, often neglecting the advice of mom or dad.  Blinded by love, lust or self-fulfillment, most proceed into a relationship, doing whatever it takes to love or be loved.  In many cases, a person blends into this new environment, compromising who they are and want to be.  As a result, I can hear adults mutter, “Good grief, Charlie Brown!”

According to Genesis 26:34-35, Esau’s choice in a wife, Judith the Hittite caused Isaac and Rebekah great distress.  Instead of seeking someone with a similar beliefs, standards,  and values, Esau goes outside of God’s family.  Although her physical appearance is not mentioned, its likely that Esau choose external features over character.  Like distant relatives, Esau’s decision to marry a Hittite leads him away from God’s favor, corrupted by a nation full of idols.  Once stuck in this relationship, the only barometer left was his conscience, “good grief Esau!”  Unfortunately, its too late for those who are gone, dead and buried.  Yet, for those of you still clinging to life, break free of sin’s chains so that you will bring peace and not grief to your family.

by Jay Mankus

Living Like A Dog

King Solomon was one of the first people to compare human beings with dogs.  In Proverbs 26:11, he uses a vivid image to prove his point; “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats their folly.”  A fool is one who is bamboozled, duped and hoodwinked over and over, not learning from previous mistakes.  Like the Israelites mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, their failures are documented as a reminder not to live like a dog.

Like a dog who is never fully potty trained, the author of Hebrews suggest some Christians don’t mature as they should in Hebrews 5:11-6:3.  Depending upon your upbringing, some people are born into un-churched homes, growing up without ever going or entering church on Christmas Day and or Easter Sunday.  Others attend a church who either does not know how to disciple others or glances over essential details young Christians do not know how to apply.  Thus, new believers often become like my 11 year old Beagle named Autumn, still dumpster diving into trash cans, regularly going to the bathroom in the house and not sure how to act and play like a normal trained dog.

When the apostle Paul first visited the Island of Crete, he was astonished by their lack of manners, people skills and social interaction with others.  Cut off to the civilized world, most of the citizens of Crete were barbaric.  Thus, Paul had to address the most basic skill in his letter, teaching their church to do what is right, Titus 3:1-11.  Paul also lays out the expectations and standards that leaders should uphold, Titus 1:6-9.  Essentially, everyone from time to time, needs to go back to obedience school, touching up on the basics of Christianity written in the Bible.  If you practice what Jesus taught in  the 4 gospels, you will put the dog days of summer behind you!

by Jay Mankus

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