From My Mouth to Monmouth… June 30, 2013

(1928)

mouthDo you know what the worst part of public speaking is?

Talking.

I don’t mean that it’s “difficult to share in front of an audience.” I just think it’s really presumptuous and sometimes arrogant to think that anybody should actually listen to me. Sometimes I get bored listening to myself.

Every once in a while I start the second verse of a song and wish it was over because I’m sure I’ve taken too much of the congregation’s time.

Some people just like to hear themselves yak. I’m not one of them.

Other folks like to pontificate for hours on a subject, to share their great wealth of knowledge. I can pretty well empty my bucket in a couple of minutes.

So as I head off to Monmouth, Illinois, tomorrow morning to be with the wonderful human beings at the First United Methodist Church, I set a standards. If I am going to open my monmouthmouth to spit out some words and ideas, I want to make sure they are:

  • accurate
  • real
  • and maybe, by some miracle, resemble the truth.

Accurate is the easy one. That just means I need to tell everyone the facts about myself without trying to pump them up with air, smoke or project them into mirrors. It’s not like anyone will be more impressed if I lie. But it is a part of our human race to want to make ourselves look better than we are. I think I owe it to those who hear me to give them something that lands in their ears that rings of honesty.

Then–being real. I like that one too. Being real is a decision to admit that you live in the present, aren’t trying to bring back the past or thrust everybody too far ahead into the future. Real is where we are right now–without apology. Real means that we’re all getting used to a bunch of stuff we never thought we would have to deal with. But now it’s here, so we’re doing our best to stay loving, while we also attempt to maintain a bit of personal conviction. It’s not easy. Some people think it’s 1950 and other folks are pretending we’re using flying cars and spending the weekend on the moon. Neither situation is true. We’re here now and we need to deal with the now because it’s our daily bread.

Then finally, there’s that thing called truth. Truth is that idea that God knows, which He only lets us discover a crumb or two at a time, lest we become so prideful with our understanding that we thump others with our beliefs.

Truth is what comes out at the end of a performance when I have been accurate and we’ve all been real. Then God in His mercy grants us a brief glimpse into His gentle heart and His wise soul. We are probably not worthy to spend too much time there, but even a short tour can be quite thrilling.

So I already apologize to the people of Monmouth for the fact that I have to open my mouth. I will be concise, joyous, entertaining and inspirational–at least as much as I know how.

I will be accurate in personal data, real to the time that God has called me to, and will humbly sit back with the rest of you, to see if some truth doesn’t spring forth.

It should be fun. That is … if I don’t get too gabby.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below for a quick daily thought from Jonathan

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

******

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

 

Hurt, Heal, Praise … June 29, 2013

(1927)

dancersThe most difficult road to take to achieve humility is the highway of humiliation. Yet for some reason, it’s the most popular.

Many years ago, I wrote a musical called Mountain. Humbly I offer to you that the composition was really quite good. I had some friends in Columbus, Ohio, who let me use their studio very reasonably and we put together the music for the production. In the process of doing so, we stirred up a lot of interest in the community. So when it was announced that a two night premiere would be held,  tickets sold quickly and we realized we were going to have a hit.

Our job? To come up with a cast who could perform the piece and portray the material adequately. We selected our individual members but failed to consider that most of the young folk we had placed in the roles had grown up believing that dancing was “of the devil,” and the rest of them were just hellish dancers.

The musical required some choreography. Even though the music itself came off very well, and the acting was sufficient, the instructors we selected to teach our entourage how to do live stage movement were far too advanced and left our fledgling foot-flyers completely confounded.

So on opening night, the portion of the show that required choreography was an absolute disaster, leading one observer to refer to it as “collisionography.”

Unfortunately, the theater was nearly packed. I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. I was young, impetuous and unfortunately, too quick to want to give up.

But from somewhere down deep in the bottom of my socks, I found the faith to get up the next morning, realize we had another premiere to do, and instead of being angry or frustrated, took the cast and worked on simplifying the dance portion of the show.

We were all hurt.

Life is not a journey of avoiding hurt, but rather, a continual odyssey to be healed.

The only way my cast was going to be healed was by believing they could actually find something to do onstage that was within their grasp, and that they could have another opportunity to prove their ability.

The second night was fantastic–night and day difference. Unfortunately, the crowd had shrunk due to the bad reports about the faltering footwork. We didn’t care. We had been hurt the night before and it was time to heal. And heal we did.

Our confidence soared and we went out on a tour to twenty-five cities, getting better and better each night–because our healing turned into praise.

I will never forget that experience. It is a constant reminder that being hurt has absolutely zilch nobility or value unless you immediately set a process in motion to be healed. All healing is then confirmed by the presence of praise.

We have to learn this in our society:

  • Hurt people are determined to hurt. They don’t mean to–they just duplicate what’s inside themselves out to others.
  • Healed people seek healing.
  • And people of praise are always looking for reasons to praise.

So the next time you get in a  mood and think there’s nothing that’s any good anymore, take a moment and trace back in your life to find that unhealed hurt. You will be surprised at how much brighter the world looks when you have shed some light … on your own pain.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below for a quick daily thought from Jonathan

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

******

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

7

Radiate … June 28, 2013

(1927)

jon & janThe evening was nearly done.

Matter of fact, the last piece of equipment was being carefully placed in the back of my van as a gentleman walked up to my window. He was a soft-spoken individual, and related a story of having just seen a news report on ABC about a prison which had allowed its less volatile inmates to hold a “daddy and daughter dance,” so that those who were incarcerated could have a special evening with their children.

I listened to him carefully. After all, I ask people at my engagements to tune an ear my way–it only seems right to grant them the same opportunity. The story was intriguing–but what touched me were the tears that came to his eyes as he related the details of how these prisoners were moved and changed by the experience of being granted such a rare blessing of being with their daughters in what one might call a “normal” environment.

I, too, was greatly interested in the facts of the story. But what grabbed my soul was how this tale being told by the friend in front of me had so deeply touched his heart. There were tears in his eyes and his emotion radiated up to me. It was an absolutely beautiful moment.

I realized that this is something missing from our society. Too often we encase ourselves in stone to protect our entity from foreign invasion, and in doing so, we lose the power of being surrounded by the joys, sorrows, victories and defeats of others. Isolated, we are trapped in our own thoughts, and therefore, we stagnate.

Human beings were meant to radiate–one to another. We were intended to infect one another with goodness, grace, hope, love and the best parts of faith.

This gentleman and I had never been acquainted before, but after this excursion into one another’s feelings, we could probably trust each other for life.

As he walked away, I thought to myself, That’s what I want. I want to radiate. I want to allow myself to be radiated. And once the radiation has flooded my body and soul, I think I’ll be much better prepared … to handle all the fall-out.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below for a quick daily thought from Jonathan

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

******

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

7

Galvanized … June 27, 2013

(1925)

GalvaLife is not about always being right. If it were, we would be doomed to constant condemnation with ongoing reminders of our inefficiency.

Life is about getting simple.

Even though they are tempted to complicate their existence, intelligent and spiritual people always break down every piece of valuable information to its smallest part. And then …

Well, that’s the key. Once you find out the simple way to live, then the entire journey becomes about being faithful.

When I stood in front of the folks in Galva, Illinois, last night, I realized that they were encountering the same kind of confusing rhetoric in their everyday lives that I experienced myself. For instance, I am told that to be a complete, whole person I must purchase, believe, sign on the dotted line or rally behind some sort of cause which is presently in vogue. In the process of trying to chase down these dangling morsels offered to me, I lose sight of my own mission and sense of mercy.

So what is the goal in being with these gentle human beings in Galva, Illinois?

To galvanize. To literally shake up and excite one another with precious ideas that we hold dear–and to refuse to be sucked in with transient experiences which don’t offer any promise of improving human beings.

I pity those who are trying to be political in a world where politics has proven to be enigmatic, if not dangerous. I feel sorry for those who pursue religion, with all of its fussy doctrines, when spirituality is simple and has one moving part: NoOne is better than anyone else.

Galvanizing–uniting behind ideas that we know are historically human-friendly, are filled with God’s grace and are easy to remember.

Because the second part of being galvanized is to take a piece of steel and put a coating of zinc on the outside to protect it. What is our coating of zinc for our steel of faith?

I think it’s very compact and easy: I will live a life of good cheer, but I also will not be led astray by whim, fancy, fad, and intimidation.

Galvanize-to excite one another with good things and to use that sensation of goodness to protect us from the ridiculous onslaught of movements that are contrary to the advancement of mankind. I will finish up in Galva tonight. And yes, we will galvanize ourselves:

  • We will become excited about good things and use those good things as a protection against lunacy.
  • We will avoid all attempts to seek out enemies in order to prove that OUR cause is better.
  • We will rejoice in goodness instead of making fun of it because we deem it “too wholesome.”
  • We will uncomplicate our lives and be thankful that we have the ability to do so.
  • We will believe in a God of love and extract from our faith any images that deny His existence.
  • We will value fellowship over worship and tenderness above attempts to turn people into what we want them to be.

The problem is not that some people are better than other people and education is not a solution that will make us superior. Some folks just learn to learn the right things–and then stay strong in them.

It is the difference between addressing your problem and your problem residing at your address.

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below for a quick daily thought from Jonathan

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

******

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Messiah Comes … June 26, 2013

(1924)

I’ll bet it didn’t even cross their minds.

The average Jew walking around prior to the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth probably never considered that the Messiah they were looking for, to solve all their problems–well, that the word “Messiah” begins with m-e-s-s.

Yes. A mess.

If they had stopped for a moment to realize that God was not going to jump through religious hoops to confirm their wishes, they might have been more prepared to hear the message, consider the toleration and move forward in their enlightenment.

After all, they thought the Messiah would be born of the seed of David. That meant that Jesus needed to be the son of Joseph. As it turns out, he was the son of Mary, with a contribution from an overshadowing Holy Spirit.

They deeply contended that the Messiah would come and preach the Law of Moses and install it as the edict of the land. Instead, Jesus brought a mess. He challenged the Law of Moses, referred to it as old-fashioned, and explained that he came to fulfill the law by offering common sense applications.

Likewise, they were totally convinced of the supremacy of their Jewish race–how they were children of Abraham. Jesus certainly messed that up, by telling them God could take stones and turn them into “Abe’s children.”

  • They wanted a conqueror. He came to explain that it was the peacemakers who were blessed.
  • They wanted a fighting king like David. He flatly announced that “those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.”
  • They thought their Messiah would live on and reign forever. Instead, he died at thirty-three-and-a-half years of age, on a cross outside of Jerusalem.
  • He promised them he would come again, so they thought they could predict such a time and place. Then he robbed them of that game, by saying that his return would be in such an hour as they could not conceive.

Their Messiah was a mess to them–rather disappointing. Instead of conquering the Romans, he welcomed them into the fold of God’s pasture. Refusing to condemn the Samaritans, he held a revival with them. And rejecting the practice of cursing the sinners, prostitutes and tax-collectors, he ate and drank with them.

I am heading off tonight to Messiah Lutheran in Galva, Illinois. For the handful of folks who will gather to see this simple man that I am, let me explain one thing, and one thing only: it won’t be what you expect.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below for a quick daily thought from Jonathan

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

******

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Quatrain of Humor … June 24, 2013

(1923)

More life

Less strife

No fear

Good cheer

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below for a quick daily thought from Jonathan

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

******

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Why, then How… June 24, 2013

(1922)

why am I hereAn astute fellow he was indeed.

Last night, as he ambled up to my book table, sporting an expression mingling admiration with incredulity and curiosity, he posed his well-worded question: “How is it possible to write a daily blog and constantly come up with new ideas?”

I certainly understood his sensation–that such an endeavor seemed impossible.

You see, most of us are task oriented. When you live a life of evaluating HOW something can be accomplished, you usually reject progress in the committee meeting of your mind. “How” is the scariest question we can ask.

  • How will we have enough money?
  • How will we have enough time?
  • How will we have enough ideas?
  • How will we get assistance if it doesn’t work out?
  • How can we sustain the activity if we DO start it?

The word “how” has done more to halt human development than all the minions of hell and the forces of evil combined.

We must begin with “WHY.”

  • Why am I writing a blog?
  • Why am I sharing my thoughts?
  • Why is it valuable to do so?

“Why” is the fuel in our emotional tank. “How” is the hole leaking our energy to the ground.

God provides a “why” for me every day in my life–and never a “how.” “Why” is the wisdom He promised. “How” is the faith I must bring.

Actually, on most mornings, there are two or three different stories vying for the right to be the chosen paragraphs of the day.

Maybe it’s seeing a dead deer on the side of the road and realizing that this creature was part of creation, and related to me in some way or another.

It could be the eighty-seven-year-old woman I met last night, who was celebrating her sixty-sixth wedding anniversary, possessing more energy than the three teenagers sliding by with the sound of swishing denim.

And then again, it could be the young married man holding his baby, with tears in his eyes because the message sank deep into his soul–that truly, NoOne is better than anyone else.

Don’t forget the funny road signs I see as I travel, or memories of past journeys that produce a renewed twinkle in my eye.

If you can stop wondering how something is going to work for one minute, the why that life provides imbues you with power–to be creative and energized.

So it was a man walking up to my table last night asking a very intelligent question which gives me the impetus to share a great secret to the universe:

It is the spirit of God who places the “why” in my heart. It is the darkness of insecurity that answers with “how.”

Can we change the world? Absolutely–as long as we remember why we are doing it.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below for a quick daily thought from Jonathan

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

******

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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