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Tag Archives: talent

The Heartbeat of Joy

Joy can result from one of many sources.  Whether its your first date, graduating, marriage or the birth of a child, each elicit an expression of joy.  However, the heartbeat of joy comes from hearing individuals speak that which is right.

My inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right, Proverbs 23:16.

When Billy Joel completed his piano ballad Honesty in 1978, his lyrics reference the lack of shame people display after failing to tell the truth.  While the words are vague about who or what event Joel is referring to, Billy acknowledges that honesty is such a lonely word.  The longer truth is hidden, the slower the heartbeat of joy becomes, sucking the life out of many.

Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him, John 18:38.

Truth is similar to talent.  You may not be able to fully explain what it is, but when you see it, you will recognize it.  The more people experience truth, the better you will feel, rejuvenated by that which is right.  May the beginning of a new year, 2017, motivate you to seek what is right so that your heart will rejoice.

by Jay Mankus

 

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The Path to Excellence

As I examine successful athletes, authors and entrepreneurs, I find a common characteristic which exists.  Beyond a drive, focus and passion, those who rise above their competitors seize the moment daily.  Vision serves as a blue print to carry out and fulfill goals set by each individual.  Although delays and timing may be off, staying the course results in a path toward excellence.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize, 1 Corinthians 9:24.

When my two boys were much younger, each qualified for the Yes Athletics National Cross Country Championships for 3 consecutive years.  As an 8 year old, Daniel was the East Regional Champion.  However, when you compete against the best in the country, breaking the top 100 is an accomplishment.  After talking to other coaches, parents and runners, I realized my kids hadn’t put in the miles or training to have a chance to contend.

No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize, 1 Corinthians 9:27.

If you want to be considered elite, dedication, sacrifice and an unswerving concentration is a must.  Despite whatever talent you possess, the hungrier will creep up on anyone who isn’t willing to put in the time to improve.  Everyone will reach their limit at some point, but God will honor those who grind it out daily no matter how they are feeling.  I’m not sure what the future holds for my own aspirations, but I must fight with everything I have to keep my dreams alive by walking on the path to excellence.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Hidden Blessing of Losing

Over the last few decades, there has been a movement to shield young people from losing.  Whether its schools moving toward pass fail grading, youth sports attempting to not keep score or the idea that everyone should get a participation award, this notion is actually hurting children in the long run.  Whatever the reason for this trend, teenagers need to experience the hidden blessing of losing.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, James 1:2.

Losing often serves as a barometer, highlighting deficiencies that you possess.  Perhaps, you are not good enough.  Maybe, others wanted it more, worked harder than you or are simply more talented.  Either way, any type of loses provide life lessons to strengthen your character.  Some where between your last defeat and the next competition, time has a way of revealing what led to a loss and what you could do in the future to insure victory.

Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, James 1:3.

One year ago, my son James was heart broken after finishing 4th in the state in the pole vault.  Six months later, that pain reappeared, missing the medal stand once again by one place at the winter track state meet.  However, these loses fueled a desire to not let this happen again.  Thus, one week ago James not only reached the summit, winning the state pole vault title, he also led his track team to a state championship.  In the disappointment of defeat, individuals will find the hidden blessings of losing.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Why Does This Surprise You?

In this age of pessimism, few believe until they experience, see or taste success.  Sure, there will always be individuals with egos, pride or talk a good game, but backing up words is a different story.  Confidence is like night and dark, drastically altering the outcome of a day, performance and productivity.  Therefore, when a new star is born, why does this surprise so many people?

While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade, Acts 3:11.

High profile and professional coaches tend to be annoyed during press conferences after media members are astonished by one of their players accomplishments.  Not privy to all the workouts behind the scenes, athletes in the right system can excel over time.  Thus, whenever an average or middle of the road talent comes out of no where, skeptics automatically think, they must be cheating or taking performance enhancing drugs.  Though this may true for some, aren’t miracles still possible?

When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? – Acts 3:12

As an apprentice of Jesus for three years, Peter witnessed miracles every day.  Like an ad campaign, the masses flocked to this man wondering, “what will Jesus do next?”  Perhaps this might explain Peter’s reaction to his first public miracle following the Day of Pentecost.  Miffed, Peter turns to the crowd gathering at the Colonnade, “why does this surprise you?”  Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter tried to remind those in attendance that with God all things are possible.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you, John 15:7.

Reflecting back to his training as a disciple, Jesus urged his followers to stay connected with God.  Like a power supply, remaining plugged in enables believers to reach new heights.  Therefore, when God answers a prayer, supernaturally provides or does a miracle in your life, don’t be surprised.  Ultimately, greater is He who is in you and than the One who is in the world.  May this blog strengthen your faith and inspire you to trust in the power of the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

He Ain’t All That

In every success story, there are two primary factors which often impact the final chapter to each Cinderella story.  The first involves an individual with talent, dedicated to mastering his or her trade.  Discipline, hard work and sacrifices can lead to fame and fortune.  While on the rise, friends, family and relatives begin to develop a sense of entitlement, expecting some sort of payment for their involvement in the process.  When this obligation is not met, things can get ugly as those on the outside looking in respond with, “he ain’t all that!”

Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. – Mark 6:3

This tragedy of society is nothing new.  Jesus dealt with a similar situation as he went back to his hometown to teach at the synagogue.  Whether it is envy or jealousy, people can be cruel, taking occasional jabs to lessen your accomplishments.  In the case of Jesus, the negativity of the crowds grew, causing his ability to heal to decline.  As the murmurs of “he ain’t all that” intensified, this lack of faith restricted the power of God from being displayed.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” – Mark 6:4

With the invention of social media, ordinary people get their kicks out of trashing celebrities, professional athletes and those in the media.  Perhaps by tearing others down, insecure souls feel a little better about themselves.  Although misery loves company, lives will not change for the better until an environment for healing is formed.  Therefore, the next time you get the urge to say, “he ain’t all that,” follow the principles of James 5:16 so that the resurrection power of Christ can be unleashed.

by Jay Mankus

Grinding It Out

At 2:59 AM Eastern Standard Time, seconds before midnight on the west coast, the May 1st deadline to submit a screenplay for 2015’s Academy Nicholl Fellowships Contest ends.  Any procrastinating writers who have fallen behind schedule, scramble to the finish line, hoping to make it across before its too late.  Giving up mentality weeks ago, God’s strength lifted me up to grind it out.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.

Following two unsuccessful entries in consecutive years, I took 2014 off, doubting that I would ever have the right stuff to be a professional screen writer.  The jury is still out as I have to wait until summer to find out for sure.  Either way, after two grueling years, my first edit of Behind the Devil’s Door is complete.  You can’t win if you don’t enter so at least I have that going for me.

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small, Proverbs 24:10.

Whether you’re an athletic, student or worker, certain things come much natural to gifted individuals.  Although it might seem unfair, the disadvantaged are forced to become tougher through failure.  Like the line by Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, “If it was easy, everyone would do it; hard is what makes it great” in reference to baseball.  As for me, I may not have the experience, talent or skill, yet I will continue to grind it out, yearning to fulfill God’s will for my life.

by Jay Mankus

Blinded by Loyalty

Superman had kryptonite, Samson Delilah and for many coaches, loyalty blinds them from helping their team reach their full potential.  From the sidelines, I’ve seen professionals fail to win a title by filling in their rosters with their guys, not the most talented ones.  Meanwhile, travel ball squads often finalize the team with coaches kids, forgoing success to make everyone’s parents feel better.

Like a student experiencing their first bout of puppy dog love, you can’t get through to these individuals until its too late.  Developing an affection, attachment or devotion is natural, yet seeing the big picture isn’t always possible.  The blinding forces of love make it hard to think straight, especially when an outsider points out certain flaws.  Out of loyalty, feelings prevent most from making the best decisions for the greater good of a team.

In life, sometimes you have to take chances even if it means ruffling feathers.  While you may not change the minds of those in charge, if you remain silent you are committing a sin of omission.  If things go bad, you might even lose friendships.  Nonetheless, if you want those you care about to reach their full potential, don’t be afraid to expose anyone blinded by loyalty.

by Jay Mankus

 

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