3 Things… November 30th, 2017


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That Will Make Your Life Easier

1. Have one place you keep your keys when you’re not using them.

2. Learn to leave early so you arrive early.

3. Stop insisting you’re “not a morning person.”

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … November 29th, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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F, me

femur

flesh

follicle

face

frame

feet

follow

faith

fear

failure

fruitful

fresh

feelings

findings

friends

fellowship

fertility

family

feasting

fasting

forgiving

forgetting

fibbing

forthcoming

fragile

faltering

fatal

funeral

forever

 

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Cracked 5 … November 28th, 2017



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Reasons that Leftover Turkey Often Tastes Better

A. Stewing in its own juices, it found some answers.

 

B. Not needing to compete against the arrogant Honey Baked Ham.

 

C. Spent some time in the “cooler”–got born again.

 

D. People are hungry again by Saturday.

 

E. Rejected at the original feast, it gained character.

 

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Good News and Better News… November 27th, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Upon arriving at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Palm City, Florida, we were greeted by Pastor Roy and John, who graciously agreed to carry in our equipment and assist us in any way possible. It is magnificent to run across human souls who welcome strangers–no matter how strange they may appear to be.

Pastor Roy is a congenial fellow who, like Matthew of old, was called from his trade to come and share the Gospel. Courteous, gentle, kind, inventive and helpful. During the time of our set-up, and also our whole visitation, this dear brother became and remained, our right arm.

I am humbled by such an active service.

I had one mission in Palm City–an attempt to escort beautiful children of God’s kingdom from fear to good cheer.

Fear grips us.

Good cheer greets us: Greets us with the awareness that all is well, God is with us and we have resource.

Being good Lutherans, they were naturally afraid of any show of spontaneous emotion. After all, we’re not positive that God isn’t a solemn and austere figure. (Of course, if He is, we’re in a world of trouble.)

Good cheer is what Jesus suggests we use to survive while he overcomes the world, which is full of tribulation.

I explained to these dear brothers and sisters that there’s a difference between clapping your hands and applause. Applause is often deemed an expression of appreciation or even praise for an artist. Clapping your hands is the most authentic evidence of the presence of joy.

So when we come into God’s house and we sit tight in our seats, afraid to move, waiting for the Eucharist, we miss the point of our gathering.

We should be there for three reasons: to strengthen one another, to care for one another and to confirm that the Gospel continues to be “good news.” All of our other traditions are delightful, but have little to do with what actually constitutes praise and worship.

So I told my new friends that I personally need no applause–but that God loves to hear them clap their hands.

So if you hear something good, see something good, feel tingly and warm in the Spirit or are overcome with joy: “Clap your hands, all ye people. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph.”

The good news is that when these Lutherans did so, the building reverberated with the power of love.

The better news is, if they will continue to release that Spirit through clapping their hands, many prayers for miracles will come their way.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 24) For So They … November 26th, 2017


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Many frat pranks and moon-doggies ago, Michael Hinston carried a double major in college. History and political science.

Michael’s reasoning was that the history would tell him the mistakes to avoid, and the political science would open doors to teach him to become the kind of civic leader to change the world.

Now, as a congressman, he spent most of his time raising money. Because he had to be elected every two years, at least one of those years was a perpetual fund-raising bash. The rest of his time was divvied among family, uncomfortable parties and meetings with people who were desperately trying to get his vote.

Lobbyists.

It might be fine if they would actually work in the lobby–but they invaded the hearth, home and even mind of every congressman. Michael had once pledged to himself that he would never be involved in scandal. He hated the word. It sounded rotten and smelly. But he found, as a congressman, that he was already at the mercy of organizations, corporations and causes which seemed to be inexplicably linked together into one gigantic chain around his neck.

The latest was a visit from the Christian Liberty Operation (C LO). They met with him to discuss the Jubal Carlos situation in Las Vegas, and shortly after the meeting, Mr. Carlos was arrested, which set in motion a whole series of events which were very displeasing to the C LO

They made it clear. They were upset.

Even though Michael was not in charge of arranging Jubal Carlos’ arrest, he was blamed for the mischief that had been perpetrated because of the flawed plan. The CLO wanted this “popular Jesus idea” thwarted, and now it was gaining national attention.

It was especially disconcerting to Michael when Jo-Jay showed up at his door, a bit surprised herself. For she had been given a tip about where the original order had come from–to hassle Jubal Carlos. The tip she received led to an address, which placed her on the front doorstep of Michael’s home.

So it was an extraordinarily fretful exchange between the two old university friends. Michael did his best to convince Jo-Jay that her contact was completely mistaken–that he knew nothing about any Jubal Carlos or organizations trying to bring him down.

Jo-Jay was nice–but Michael knew, deep in his heart, that she did not believe him. Jo-Jay was a bullshit sniffer. For years he had admired her ability to detect lies and deception, but now he just wished she would keep her nose to herself.

Jo-Jay apologized for the inconvenience, made a lame attempt to suggest they “connect later,” and headed down the sidewalk, seemingly out of his life.

But something was wrong. She was onto him. She knew that he knew more than he claimed.

Michael didn’t know what to do. The honest truth was, he was scared to death of the people he was working with and the lobbyists who were tramping into his life. They were much too energetic, much too determined and much too violent in their mannerisms.

Yet he knew if he failed to report the visit from Jo-Jay, there would be punishments. He didn’t even know what that meant, but was positive he didn’t want to find out. So he called the Christian Liberty Operation and updated them on the visit.

Less than half an hour later, there was another knock on his door. He opened up, and standing before him was a tall, broad-shouldered man, about six-foot-four, with black eyes.

Michael was startled.

The gentleman at the door asked if he could come in. He introduced himself simply as “Joshua,” and for the next ten minutes he questioned Michael about Jo-Jay.

Who was she?

What were her political leanings?

Was she a religious woman?

What was her relationship with Jubal Carlos?

Was she part of the scheme to popularize Jesus?

Where did she hang out?

But what chilled Michael’s soul was when Joshua asked one final question. Do you know anything about her allergies?

Michael didn’t. Michael was suspicious. Michael should have asked this “building of a man” why Jo-Jay’s allergies were of any interest to him. He stayed silent.

Michael was afraid for his old friend.

But Michael did what he had learned to do over his months of living in Washington. He answered the questions, nodded his head and offered no objection.

The next day, a letter arrived on stationery from the CLO. The stationery read, “Christian Liberty Operation,” and the by-line was, “For so they persecuted the prophets before you.”

It was unlike any professional letterhead Michael had ever seen. It seemed sinister. Even though the words “Christian” and “Liberty” were displayed in the title, there was something about the operation that chilled him to the bone.

Who was Joshua, and why did he want to know so much about Jo-Jay?

More importantly, who was Michael Hinston, and was he going to warn his old friend?

 

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Jesonian … November 25th, 2017


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Aggressive apathy.

Seems like a contradiction–maybe even what they refer to as an oxymoron. How can apathy be aggressive, when by definition it avoids commitment, conflict or even connection?

But when apathy becomes the path to avoid deeper commitment, it will need to be defended whenever circumstances warrant greater involvement.

Jesus fell victim to aggressive apathy on two nasty occasions–when people chose to disregard and disavow the power of his calling.

Please keep in mind that miracles were a part of Jesus’ ministry. It wasn’t all Biblical text and parables. Yet even though there were certainly signs and wonders that followed him, apathy was still in the works.

The first instance was in Nazareth, when he had the audacity to announce the extent of his calling, the purpose of his message and the power of what was about to ensue to his hometown folks.

What did aggressive apathy do? Personal attacks.

  • “Who does he think he is?”
  • “He’s just the Carpenter’s son.”
  • “He doesn’t even have education.
  • “Why should we listen to him?”

When apathy becomes a communal mindset, it will feel the need to defend itself–sometimes violently. For if you remember the rest of the story, they push Jesus to the edge of a cliff, ready to throw him off and kill him–simply because he suggested that present circumstances were going to be changed.

In a second incident at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus asked a crippled man if he wanted to be healed. The fellow launched into a litany of excuses and complaints about why it was just not plausible. Jesus heals him anyway–and the man ends up turning on Jesus, and rats him out to the Pharisees, who were angry about a healing on the Sabbath.

In both cases, Jesus found himself in danger.

Once apathy has become the charter of a community or a segment of people, they will aggressively use whatever is necessary to maintain their autonomy of blandness.

Jesus said we should learn from his life–and that also includes his mistakes.

As Christians, believers and even artists, we need to understand that once we offer our gifts and our message, if they are met with lukewarm response, to further labor in the malaise of nothingness is to risk triggering aggressive apathy, leaving us ridiculed, if not wounded.

Later on in Jesus’ ministry, he learns from these mistakes.

When the Samaritan village doesn’t want to let him in to minister, he just goes to another town. And when the five thousand depart because he offered a perspective they found distasteful, he doesn’t do anything to chase them down.

Apathy by its nature is not violent. But it is alive–and any living thing will fight back if you try to kill it.

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G-Poppers … November 24th, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog

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The world is not going to get better. It just isn’t.

This is not a negative statement–it’s not walking around in sackcloth and ashes, proclaiming doomsday. The world has, is and will continue to be filled with tribulation–wars, rumors of wars, nation rising against nation and so forth and so on.

There are only two futilities in life:

1. Waiting on the world to change.

2. Giving up on the idea of change.

Even though the world is not going to change, you are. If you don’t, you’ll fall into the same patterns as your parents, except with higher taxes, fewer advantages and more expensive prices on turkey and dressing.

You are supposed to get better. The question immediately comes to mind–how does one do that?

First by realizing that “better” is not an abstract concept. It is not a case of waking up in the morning and trying to improve all of your actions in order to please Mother Nature or Father God. Rather, it is one simple statement:

I am going to become a better bettor.

I am going to learn what to bet on, what to believe in, what to pursue, what is valuable, what is precious, what is current, what is in need of being handled immediately and what can be put off for later.

I am going to instruct myself on how to wager my time and energy. Otherwise I will be tempted to follow the gray cloud of the news cycle from one storm to another. I will discover the most miserable member of my family and think they demand the most attention. I will become a horrible bettor instead of a better bettor.

Valuable point: knowing what to bet on gives you the chance to discover opportunity to change something.

Nothing you change in your life will be more than two feet from your fingertips. Get used to it. Just think what would happen if we got one billion people to understand this.

So what is worthy of a risk? Where can I invest my precious time?

Find things that are true.

This means at least the folks involved are trying not to lie.

This lends itself to backing projects that are honest.

And what does honest entail? Occasionally admitting that you screwed up.

How about some justice?

In other words, if you are allowed to have freedom of speech, so do the many other tongues flapping around you.

Could it be possible to find something pure?

Pure does not mean that it’s free of dirt–it connotes that the people involved are trying to clean it up.

Get ready to bet on things that are lovely and of good report.

Stop being titillated by vile descriptions and sexual masochism.

Do we still believe in virtue?

What is that anyway? It’s realizing there are things that are universal, and that when they’re enacted, miracles happen.

And doggone it, go out and find things that are praise-worthy.

Our entire society is set for subjects that are bitch-worthy. Find something that demands that you stop, shake your head in amazement and speak out, “Isn’t God good?”

You will not change the world. G-Pop wants you to know that it is your duty to become a better bettor.

 

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