Monthly Archives: March 2017

Street art bull headed people by artist Jaz

Hope for Knuckleheads

March 27, 2017 | Andrew Mann | Faith

You stubborn and hardheaded people. Acts 7:51, CEV

Knuckleheads—hardheaded, stubborn, limited in perspective, and unwilling to change. I often use this phrase to describe young men with whom I work. I credit them for the many white hairs that have emerged in my goatee. The truth is we’re all knuckleheads. I’m a knucklehead; I hate admitting I’m wrong!

Peter in the Bible was a knucklehead. Jesus told him, “Repent!” In others words, see yourself rightly—you don’t know everything and you need help. “Believe.” See me (Jesus) rightly—I’m like you but not like you; only I can turn your thinking upside down and your world right side up. “Obey.” Take what I teach you and apply it to your life. Faith weaves all three—repentance, belief, and obedience—together. However, it often doesn’t come all at once.

Peter realized his way wasn’t right; that’s why he started following Jesus (Mark 1:17). Later Peter came to the conclusion that Jesus was not just a teacher but something so much more (Matt. 16:16). Obedience though didn’t come until after Jesus died, was resurrected, and sent His Spirit (1 Pet. 1:14, 22). Even then Peter still had things to learn (Acts 11). When I’m frustrated at myself or with others, it’s worth remembering—faith is a process, not an address.

giant sleepers painted on roof by artists ella and pitr

No Ears

March 20, 2017 | Andrew Mann | Ministry

You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. Proverbs 3:24, NLT

One of the most miserable feelings is sleeplessness. Many years ago while receiving chemotherapy, I experienced multiple side-effects. Perhaps the most annoying were hiccups, mainly because my body spasms obstructed sleep. My inability to sleep was a side effect of a side effect, not the root problem. I know many others who experience the same problem, not always because of physical ailments but sickness nonetheless; insomnia or abnormal sleep cycles are pervasive.

In our ministry center in the Bronx, we often have kids who curl up and sleep on our black couch; sometimes they fall asleep at their table while trying to complete homework. These snoozing kids don’t complete their homework, miss spending time with friends, and aren’t able to hear the good news during Bible study. Maybe they’re missing out on important things, and we should wake them up, but I have to think the best news for them comes via the relief of slumber. A hungry child has no ears; then again, neither does a sleepy one.

Street art Dubai kids with bike tire artist Ernest Zacharevic

A Lesson from Spinning

March 12, 2017 | Andrew Mann | Church

There’s power in a group.

I enjoy cycling. Several years ago I endeavored to cycle for a month by myself. Intending to travel from Boise to Yellowstone, I only made it to Idaho Falls. Then, I yelled, “Mayday!” Fortunately a friend from Boise came to my rescue and picked me up one week into my journey.

I realized that I enjoy cycling but not cycling alone. When I was getting ready for my monthlong bike trek, I bought a trainer for my apartment. This is a device I can connect to my bike and cycle within the confines of my small living room. I tried it a few times, and now it sits in my closet. It was boring and I lacked motivation. Yet the other day, when I went to the gym, I did something similar. I got on a bike and pedaled. This time, though, was different from my apartment. I pushed myself; I enjoyed myself! What was different? I was in a spinning class with a group of others doing the same as me. I found power in that group, power to endure despite pain and resistance. This group wasn’t big, but I didn’t need it to be.