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Tag Archives: Worship

S.A.N.S. Episode 102: Almost Home

MercyMe is an American contemporary Christian group founded in Edmond, Oklahoma. MercyMe consists of lead vocalist Bart Millard, percussionist Robby Shaffer, bassist Nathan Cochran and guitarists Michael Scheuchzer and Barry Graul. MercyMe is best known for their modern spin on worship songs which began in 1994 and has resulted in 7 number one hits and 8 Dove Awards.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away, Revelation 21:4.

For a Christian, Almost Home refers to the promise of eternal life, 1 John 5:13. Heaven is the reward at the end of a rainbow, a place where there will be no more tears. Yet, for now, living on earth, it’s time to figure out where you belong, Romans 12:1-2. Once you have a good idea of God’s will for your life, this is your calling until God calls you home to heaven. Enjoy this spiritual ride while it lasts.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 99: We Won’t Shaken

Today’s song comes from one of my former bosses favorite groups. When I lost my teaching job back in 2012, the Bestes hired me part time for eight months to help maintain their Animal Hospital. When a tornado ripped through a portion of their horse farm, the normal groundskeeper was busy removing trees. Subsequently, I was able to survive until I reinvented myself a year later at Amazon.

 But about midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the [other] prisoners were listening to them, 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s shackles were unfastened. 27 When the jailer, startled out of his sleep, saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was on the point of killing himself, because he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, Do not harm yourself, for we are all here! – Acts 16:25-28

Building 429 was one of the groups that I listened to while I was cutting grass. I purchased a couples of their albums while I worked at the Animal Hospital. On my last day, I bought the Bestes the newest Building 429 album at the time along with a thank you card. We Won’t Be Shaken reminds me of a true story from the first century. Following an earthquake in the middle of a worship service, those in attendance were not shaken.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 85: God of this City

You won’t find many Christian songs written in a local brothel. However, during a mission trip to Thailand, the words to God of this City flowed out of this sinful place. This practice fits into the mission statement of featured song from: “Bluetree believes we are to live integrated, whole lives – where worship invades all we are and do – so we can begin to experience the wholeness of life God intends for us.”

 Keep awake then and watch at all times [be discreet, attentive, and ready], praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things [taken together] that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man, Luke 21:36.

This Praise and worship band that originated in Belfast’s Christian Fellowship Church adds an electronic element to their songs. This is clearly present in Life’s Noise also on the God of this City album. Following the release of God of this City, many inner-city churches were inspired to reach their own urban communities. Wherever you live, remember that God is in control and can become the God of your city.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 81: Welcome to the Jesus Movement

It’s not very often that Junior High School aspirations become a reality. Yet, for the Christian blues-rock group Three Crosses, this is exactly what happened. Lifelong friends from New Jersey, Steve Pasch and Ralphie Barrientos formed Three Crosses in 1995. When my wife Leanne was a youth director in Chicago, we took the youth group to see Three Crosses during one of their tours.

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth, Acts 1:8.

Three Crosses is best known for their moving worship songs. Yet, Welcome to the Jesus Movement is one of those tunes that provides a great song with solid lyrics. When you add songs like The Stone Was Rolled Away, Christians can prepare their minds to celebrate a resurrected Lord. If you ever want to uplift your soul, play the first two Three Crosses albums and the Holy Spirit will stir and touch your heart.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 69: No One Like You

I was fortunate to see the David Crowder Band in concert twice before taking time off to lead worship at his home church. While David decided to change his band to simply Crowder, this group has a special gift for drawing audiences closer to the Lord. While teaching at Red Lion, I served on part of the security team for both of Crowder’s concerts in Delaware.

Do not let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me. In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places (homes). If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you, John 14:1-2.

When I first started teaching high school Bible, No One Like You was part of the regular rotation during our school chapel services. While Red Lion’s worship team did a good job, there is nothing like hearing Crowder play No One Like You live. David’s energy, joy, and passion lifted up the concert audience up, giving those in attendance a glimpse of heaven. May you enjoy this classic song.

by Jay Mankus

The Kind of Person You Ought to Be

Six months after graduating college, I attended a Youth Ministry Trade School in Minnesota. These 7 weeks completely changed my life; encouraging me to stretch and expand my comfort zone. One of the techniques that I learned was setting goals from a Could Be/Should Be perspective. From a spiritual standpoint, I learned to take an inventory of where I am currently and where I need to be. While writing a first century letter, Peter challenges his listeners to consider the person that you ought to be in Christ.

Since all these things are thus [b]in the process of being dissolved, what kind of person ought [each of] you to be [in the meanwhile] in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities, 12 While you wait and earnestly long for (expect and hasten) the coming of the day of God by reason of which the flaming heavens will be dissolved, and the [[c]material] elements [of the universe] will flare and melt with fire? – 2 Peter 3:11-12

The origin of the term Christian dates back to sometime between 30 and 40 A.D. Citizens in the city of Antioch were impressed by members of their local church. Something was different about these people, a specific quality that set them apart from everyone else in town. As these followers of Jesus began to share their faith with the locals, one person put two and two together. “These people must be Christians, followers of Christ Jesus.

Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a [a]slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance, Ephesians 5:1-2.

As this expression spread, the apostle Paul provided other churches with a simple spiritual goal to shoot for daily. As people of faith become imitators of Jesus, the fruits of the Spirit take precedence over the acts of your flesh, Galatians 5:1625. As hearts and minds become renewed by the Bible, Romans 12:1-2, the Holy Spirit steers you toward the person you ought to be in Christ. Prayer, reflection, and worship provide spiritual disciplines to keep your mind on becoming Jesus to your local community.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 60: Carmen

Today’s featured song combines a biblical story with music. After getting married in Chicago, my wife Leanne got a position as a youth director in Bolingbrook, Illinois. For nearly two years, we served as partners in youth ministry. One of the first events I attended with this youth group was a Carmen concert at the Rosemont Horizon. Between the dancers, props and overall production of this show, I was blown away.

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him through Jesus those who have fallen asleep [[h]in death], 1 Thessalonians 4:14.

While my high school mentor and swim coach introduced me to Carmen, seeing these stories of the Bible live come to life in a song was amazing. Following this concert, I purchased nearly all of Carmen’s albums. While Carmen has dozens of famous songs, the athlete in men has made the Champion my favorite. This song is like a scene from one of the Rocky movies that turns into a worship service. I hope you enjoy the Champion.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 14: Creed

Today’s artist is the Buddy Holly of Christian music. Rather than die in a plane crash like Holly, Rich Mullins was killed following a car accident at the peak of his popularity. If you were ever fortunately to see Rich Mullins live, he’s one of the greatest worship leaders ever. While some Christian artists are more talented musicians, Rich had a special way of worshipping the Lord.

The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing, Zephaniah 3:17.

Several of Rich Mullins songs incorporate the hammered dulcimer. This distinct song serves as an introduction for today’s song Creed. While the lyrics are something out of a traditional Catholic service, the hammered dulcimer brings energy to this song as you wait for the singing to begin. Like a congregation repeating the Apostles Creed together, hearing Creed reminds Christians of what they believe.

by Jay Mankus

Centered and Resting in God

The term centered refers to an individual who is well balanced, confident, and serene. Meanwhile, resting is the act of ceasing work in order to relax, refresh oneself, and recover. In the book of Genesis, God laid out a plan for Israelites to rest once a week. Rather than lay in bed all day, the Sabbath is a day of worship where believers are centered on and place their trust in the Lord that God is in control.

Through Him you believe in (adhere to, rely on) God, Who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him honor and glory, so that your faith and hope are [centered and rest] in God, 1 Peter 1:21.

One of my resolutions each year is to spend more time with God. While reading the Bible and prayer doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have a great day, it will improve your chances. I find that if I start my day by opening up the Bible first thing in the morning before I do anything else, my perspective is centered on God. Perhaps, this is what Jesus experienced in Mark 1:35-38, inspired to follow the Spirit’s calling.

For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors [f]peculiarly His own. 11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell], Hebrews 4:10-11.

As someone who weekly struggles with getting a full night of sleep, resting plays an integral role in my productivity. Anytime I wake up following a great night of sleep, I’m more energized and ready to go. Yet, if I stay up too late and barely get any sleep, I don’t get much done; if anything at all. This is why it’s important not only to be centered on God, but to rest in his strength as well, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

by Jay Mankus

Silently Setting the Scene for Christmas

Franz Xaver Gruber composed Silent Night in 1818 using Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria as a back drop. When combined with Joseph Mohr’s lyrics, Silent Night was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011. In the past 200 years, this Christmas classic song has silently set the scene, preparing hearts and minds to worship Jesus, the Savior of the World.

In the beginning [before all time] was the Word ([a]Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [b]Himself. He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being John 1:1-3.

Yet, in the first century one of Jesus’ disciples introduces the concept of a Trinity. One God with three distinct personalities. If you use the Bible as a source for history, these qualities are displayed throughout 3 different eras. God the Father is the mastermind who laid out a back up plan in Genesis 3:15. Meanwhile, God the Son came to earth and seek and to save that which was lost, Luke 19:10.

In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it], John 1:4-5.

Following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into heaven, we now live in the age of the Holy Spirit. This invisible ghost serves as a counselor and guide throughout the days of our lives. According to one of the members of Jesus’ inner circle, God’s Spirit gives us everything we need for life, 2 Peter 1:3-4. Therefore, as another Christmas Day approaches, silently set your heart, soul and mind to be ready to worship Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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