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S.A.N.S. Episode 71: Pray for Rain

Today’s group began in Minneapolis, Minnesota, disbanded in 1997 and reunited in Nashville, Tennessee three years later. To avoid a lawsuit, Prayer for Rain shortened their name to PFR upon their return to the concert circuit. “Pray for Rain” is a line from a poem that touched band member Patrick Andrew who convinced the group to adopt this name in 1992.

Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand), Jeremiah 33:3.

From a genre perspective, PFR is the closest sound the Christian music industry has to a modern-day Beatles. When you listen to Pray For Run, you’ll sense and recognize how the Beatles influenced PFR’s distinct sound. The lyrics of Pray For Run speak to individuals who become comfortably numb, praying for rain to snap them out of their spiritual slumber. I hope you enjoy one of PFR’s first hit songs.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 27: Pull

Before all of my local Christian bookstores closed down, I spent numerous evenings sorting through the bargain bins of CD’s. If there weren’t any samples that I could listen to, I would study the album cover to see how much money was spent on the graphics. While this strategy wasn’t always successful, I discovered a few hidden gems over the years. One of these artists is a group called Curious Fools.

Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God, for He is gracious and lovely; praise is becoming and appropriate, Psalm 147:1.

Today’s song reminds me of Led Zeppelin’s classic tune Stairway to Heaven. While Curious Fools possesses its own classic rock feel, this group actually began as a songwriting team from Nashville, Tennessee in 1991. Drama teams have used the lyrics of Pull to perform moving presentations to illustrate how daily temptations seek to pull Christians away from God and toward sin. Enjoy Pull!

by Jay Mankus

Force or Faith?

My son Daniel and I spent the last 4 days visiting a couple of Christian colleges before his cross country season begins. The goal of this trip was to ascertain what atmosphere, climate and setting Daniel would feel most comfortable attending. To avoid embarrassing any of these schools, one institution is in South Carolina and the other in Tennessee. After taking the official tour, meeting with advisors and visiting with coaches, it was easy to compare and contrast the pros and cons.

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding, Proverbs 3:5.

When you spend over 1,800 miles in a car together, there is plenty of time to evaluate what you like and dislike. One university was more restrictive, forcing students to follow a rigid set of rules. The other school of higher education encourages students toward taking the narrow road, Matthew 7:13-14. Instead of being forced to do this or that, free will in cooperation with discernment is applied to guide individuals to follow God’s will.

In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way], Proverbs 3:6.

While each school has some attractive assets and benefits, most people prefer being given a chance to be trusted. Although this philosophy of education opens the door for embarrassment, failure and potential expulsion, forcing teenagers to do something tends to result in rebellion. Since young people are unique, certain schools aren’t for everyone. Thus, as teenagers become adults, you have to decide do I need to be forced to obey or find an environment where faith is a personal choice?

by Jay Mankus

Heroes in the Line of Fire

After a long week of work, I had sometime to catch up on current events.  As the investigation into the motive of the Las Vegas shooter continues, stories of heroic acts are beginning to be uncovered by the media.  While innocent victims were dropping from gunshots from above, good Samaritans stood up entering the line of fire.  Although some of these heroes lost their lives, their selfless acts prevented many more concert goers from dying.

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him, Luke 10:33.

One week earlier, another tragedy went relatively unnoticed as a gunman shot 7 people at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee.  One woman was killed in the parking lot before the shooter entered the church.  More lives may have been lost if not for a 22 year old usher who stepped into action.  Robert Engle quickly confronted, then wrestled the intruder to the ground, holding him down until the police arrived.  This is another example of a hero in the line of fire.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him, Luke 10:34.

The average citizen will most likely not be thrust into an arena where life and death depends on how swiftly you act.  Yet, every day, normal human beginnings come into contact with someone in need.  This could be a co-worker, family member, friend or neighbor.  Some conditions are obvious with others more subtle.  Nonetheless, God calls believers to be the hands and feet of Christ.  If no one demonstrates the love of God, hearts will grow cold.  Despite how inconvenient helping others may be, true heroes enter the line of fire by faith.  May the acts of these modern day good Samaritans inspire you to live a life fueled by faith in action.

by Jay Mankus

The Devil’s Triangle

Across the surface of the earth, there are small sections which produce anomalies.  For one reason or another, abnormal, odd or strange events seem to happen within defined areas.  One of the most famous occurs over water, others take place in the mountains and some form a triangle between three specific geographical points.  Whether you are referring to the Devil’s Triangle at sea or a 44 mile highway loop in Oliver Springs, Tennessee, some places appear to be cursed, filled with a history of accidents, disaster or tragedy.

And that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will, 2 Timothy 2:26.

Although I don’t want to jump to conclusions, these places produce acts and occurrences that defy science.  While several of these unusual accounts can be explained due to rare barometric conditions, others seem to be linked to the supernatural.  According to the apostle Paul, people will experience traps set by the devil, demonic influences or powers of darkness.  Thus, when you find yourself within the snares of the Devil’s Triangle, you need to know what you’re up against.

In which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient, Ephesians 2:2.

As a fallen angel, Satan controls the airspace, sending minions to create havoc throughout the face of the earth.  These invisible attacks plants seeds of doubt, urges hearts to indulge in worldly pleasures and promotes a New Age mindset.  Sometimes this involves sending people into our lives that lead to subtle changes in the form of compromise.  While people may visit places on earth known as the Devil’s Triangle, you don’t have to leave your home to experience a spiritual war upon your soul.  Prepare yourself with prayer!

by Jay Mankus

The Legacy of Harrison Mayes

As a teenager, Harrison Mayes was a coal digger at Fork Ridge, Tennessee.  During a mining accident in the hills of Middlesboro, Mayes cried out to the Lord, “if you save me, I’ll dedicate the rest of my life to you.”  Staying true to this vow, Harrison became an evangelist at age 20.  The path that he took forever altered highways in the south.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up, Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

Apparently, some of Moses’ words in the Old Testament gave Harrison an idea for an unique ministry.  Trying to create a way for his generation to be reminded of what Jesus did for them, Mayes become known as the highway cross evangelist.  These wooden crosses were initially placed along roadsides in Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia.  Before the end of his life, crosses were placed in all 48 continental states.

Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates, Deuteronomy 6:8-9.

If we can learn one thing from the legacy of Harrison Mayes, you don’t have to be an eloquent speaker to touch countless individuals.  Rather, if you use a little bit of creativity along with your God given talent, you too can leave behind subtle signs of God’s love.  Therefore, don’t delay in fanning into flame your spiritual gift.  When you do, you will begin to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for being born.

by Jay Mankus

 

I Thought They Had It All Together

Whether its in church, your own community or traveling on vacation, you’re bound to come into contact with an exceptional individual.  On the surface, this person possesses character, personality and wisdom.  Adorned by everyone, they seem too good to be true.

While on a week long mission trip in Jackson, Tennessee, I was introduced to one of the largest youth groups in the country.  Based out of Rochester, Michigan, this church took several buses across the country each summer to serve needy communities.  The president of this youth group appeared like he had it all together.  As I began to develop friendships in the area, only one person saw through his phony witness.  One year after losing touch, I  heard through the grapevine that this saint fell from grace, arrested for running an under age gambling ring.

Call it jaded or desensitized, but I am usually not surprised by people who live double lives.  Whenever you put others up on a pedestal, disappointment is a likely outcome.  Therefore, if you think someone has it all together,don’t worship one of God’s creations.  Rather, say a prayer for these individuals, hope for the best and trust in the Lord for a bright future.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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