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Tag Archives: Steve Martin

Explaining the Absence of the Holy Spirit

In a letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul reveals how God dishes out a variety of spiritual gifts.  These special abilities are given out by the grace of God.  Some of these are ordinary such as giving, serving or teaching.  Other talents are extraordinary, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, spiritual gifts like healing, prophecy and speaking in tongues often elicit jealousy in those that don’t possess a supernatural gift.

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]. 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 12:4-7.

To address issues like envy, the apostle Paul writes a similar letter to the church at Rome.  In the passage below, Paul compares spiritual gifts to a church body with many parts.  Apart or own their own, a spiritual gift glorifies individuals, not God.  However, when individuals submit to God by joining a local congregation, your gift makes a difference by filling a spiritual hole.  The purpose of any spiritual gift is to serve God by offering your body as a living sacrifice.  While certain gifts will always overshadow your gift, hearts and minds need to stay focused on the common good.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully, Romans 12:4-8.

Jesus and first century church leaders warned about counterfeit, fake and imposters who come in the name of Jesus.  These individuals still exist today, often perpetrating frauds on those who watch on television or attend a rally.  When truth exposes these people like Steve Martin in a Leap of Faith, modern churches are harmed by these spiritual stains.  Whenever spiritual gifts are used to glorify self, the Holy Spirit will move to another area, region or country.  While most people wish they had another spiritual gift, for now God seeks humble servants willing to be the hands and feet of Christ today.  The dedicated, faithful and obedient persevere during spiritual droughts, hopeful that the presence of the Holy Spirit will return when God’s timing is right.

by Jay Mankus

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Forgo the Show

If you take a walk through classrooms, wander through a public park or visit a nearby downtown, you will probably hear or see someone seeking attention.  This attempt to draw the interest of others reveals some sort of insecurity.  Unfortunately, a growing numbers of individuals have carried this immature behavior over into adulthood.  Facebook Live, Instagram Posts and You Tube Channels only encourage show boaters to continue in these childish ways.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full,” Matthew 6:2.

During the first century, religious leaders tried to put on a similar persona.  Whether it was publicizing gifts donated to the needy or long drawn out prayers at the Wailing Wall, religion was on full display.  During his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called out these impure motives.  Instead, Jesus urged his listeners to demonstrate a quiet faith by giving and praying in secret.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full,” Matthew 6:5.

Modern times have brought faith healers, television evangelists and summer tent revivals.  Frauds, phonies and self seeking leaders have been mocked by Hollywood.  This hypocrisy was illustrated by Steve Martin in the 1992 film Leap of Faith.  Three years earlier, Chevy Chase plays an impersonator in the comedy Fletch Lives.  If Jesus delivered a message to religious leaders today, he would likely stress forgo the show by letting your faith glow.

by Jay Mankus

 

Temporary Healing

If you channel surf enough, sooner or later you will come across an evangelist who claims to possess the gift of healing.  Hollywood responded to these individuals in 1992 with the film Leap of Faith starring Steve Martin.  Over the years, responsible Christians have investigated each healing to insure believers aren’t being deceived or misled.  Unfortunately, researchers have found many of the participants on these programs, shows and revivals to experience only temporary healing.

He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around, Mark 8:24.

Perhaps, this is what a blind man from Bethsaida went through during his encounter with Jesus.  The first attempt to restore this person’s sight resulted in blurred vision.  Thus, even Jesus had to perform a second healing, placing holy spit, saliva into his eyes.  Modern leaders who possess the gift of healing usually don’t get another chance to lay hands on someone.  Subsequently, disappointed souls spend the rest of their lives wondering why their healing wasn’t permanent.

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly, Mark 8:25.

You don’t have to be sick to experience temporary healing.  Individuals can also have prayers that are answered initially only to have the conclusion that you seek fall apart over time.  Agony, doubt and frustration are common emotions people endure throughout their lives.  In reality, all things on earth are temporary according to the apostle Paul.  Therefore, whether your body is acting up, healed or just hanging, permanent healing won’t arrive until you reach heaven’s doors.

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable, 1 Corinthians 15:42.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Whateverism

 

Over the last 30 years, the term whatever has become synonymous with sarcasm, a common phrase used by valley girls, a brief fad during the 1980’s.  From an English teacher’s perspective, whatever can be used as a pronoun, adjective or informal interjection, designating a thing, number or slang comment.  On the other hand, whateverism refers to an unyielding attempt by a forceful mind to convert simple moral truth into limitless shades of grey according to the Urban Dictionary.

Whateverism is the polar opposite of fundamentalism which is founded upon absolute truth, where right and wrong is clearly defined with moral constructs.  In a culture of increased sensitivity, whateverism is most commonly used when an individual politely agrees to disagree with a person from another faith, saying something like, “that’s nice for you, but I’m content with where I am.”  Since the Bible and prayer has been banned from public education in America in the 1960’s, Hollywood has interjected examples of whateverism within classic movies like City Slickers and Grand Canyon.

In City Slickers, Billy Crystal is undergoing a mid-life crisis, convinced by his wife to spend a few weeks with the guys to go find himself.  During his vacation as a cattle wrangler, he meets Curly, a cowboy who teaches Crystal about the meaning of life using whateverism.  Meanwhile, Kevin Kline, Danny Glover and Steve Martin paths cross unexpectedly in the film Grand Canyon.  As each cast member struggles with various trials, the answer to life can be found by experiencing the Grand Canyon.  Although each of these answers to life’s problems sound somewhat appealing, I’d rather be 100 % confident in Acts 4:12 than find out afterwards I was wrong.  May the promise of Isaiah 55:6 come true for you!.

by Jay Mankus

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