Paulless… February 1, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2138)

El Paso SanctuarySaint Paul United Methodist Church in El Paso, Texas. My latest tour date.

Saint Paul.

I guess it’s one of those titles they give to you after you’re dead, and they’re trying to apologize for how badly they treated you. Sometimes they even name a frigid city in Minnesota after you.

The reason I like Paul is because he understood both ends of the spectrum of human life. Well … I should say he exhibited them, whether he understood it or not.

It would be unfortunate for our modern world if Earth had ended up “Paulless.” Honestly, Peter and the other eleven disciples were quite content, after the resurrection, to sit in their rocking chairs on Solomon’s Porch outside the Temple, and recall former days when water turned to wine.

It was Paul who was curious about reaching the rest of the world and not just those who liked to have a little “shew” with their bread. Matter of fact, I can guarantee you that Christianity would never have reached the white, bratwurst-eating tribes had it not been for Paul of Tarsus.

But the best thing about him is that he demonstrates that being inspired by God involves a combination of mistakes and discoveries.

  • Because the same Paul who succeeded in getting the gospel message to the Gentiles also spent way too much time arguing with the Jews, who had no intention of changing and ended up sending him to his demise.
  • Yes, Paul, who welcomed women into the ministry as equals, got into a bad mood one day and equated the female of the species as being deceived “weaker vessels” who needed to submit.
  • He taught us about the grace of God instead of a mean, Old Testament grouch, but also over-emphasized a plan of salvation instead of explaining the lifestyle of Jesus.
  • He had the eloquent moment in the book of Philippians, where he proclaimed with great joy, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” while also being tagged with writing complaints about how he was mistreated and not allowed to be an apostle.
  • With great humility he bowed his head and received the welcoming acceptance of Barnabas when the rest of the Christians were afraid of him because of his vendetta against the faith, only to turn around when Barnabas wanted to be forgiving toward John Mark, who had grown road weary, and condemned the boy as unworthy of his calling.

It’s all in there. It is unedited. It is why I know the Good Book is divinely inspired–for a God who plans on saving the world doesn’t need to embellish the story to make everything seem fine.

If the world was Paulless–well, the world probably wouldn’t have Jesus.

It also wouldn’t have the obvious example of a man who was ordained with greatness … and bewitched by moments of insecurity.

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A Dying Breed … January 27, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2133)

cottonShe passed by me without saying a word, heading for the door.  It had all the appearance of an exit. Suddenly she paused, turned on her heel and walked slowly back toward me.

She said, “I’m a dying breed. I was raised two counties over. My mama and daddy grew cotton, so we spent all of our time in the field, crawling on the ground and picking cotton, dragging huge sacks behind us to collect the fruits of our labor. It was so hot that I had to cool my feet in the shade of the plants, and sometimes the work day was eight to ten hours. We didn’t have much, but we always seemed to have enough.”

And then she just stopped talking.

I looked deep into her eyes. It was like bathing in a well of experience. I suppose some people would consider her rural, rustic or maybe even rugged. It isn’t really so. That’s just another example of how we make quick judgments because we’re too lazy to spend time with one another. I realized she was embarrassed with her own silence and would soon slip away, so I decided to ask her a question.

“What did you learn?”

She didn’t miss a beat. “I learned to take care of myself and to not ask too much of others.”

It was one of those simple, beautiful, profound answers, laced with so much experience that additional wording would have been cumbersome.

“I just wanted you to know my story. How I’m part of a dying breed. People today don’t understand and kids would have no idea. I enjoyed your show.”

She quietly turned, walked away and disappeared out the door.

I thought about her words. The truth is, I don’t take care of myself enough. Somewhere between silliness and believing in the abiding grace of God, I float along, thinking that each day is promised to me instead of a gift. Much to learn.

And even though I try hard to be a servant instead of a burden, there are still strides to be made in that arena, too.

I sat and thought for a moment.

  • Some people read the Good Book to find their inspiration, believing it to be the sole source of life and instruction.
  • Others stubbornly wait for God to give them a burning bush to illuminate their path.
  • I suppose there are even people who are praying for an angelic visit to grant them the insight to propel their heart’s desire.

Not me.

Since we’re all part of a breed that’s dying, the smartest thing we can do is listen, observe and believe in other members of the herd that come our way, and accept the beauty: that it’s a gift from God.

 

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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Money Brick Part II … January 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2124)

hand money

I have had folks pat me on the back. Very nice.

Brothers and sisters have lifted me up in prayer. Divinely encouraging.

I have received a letter of exhortation from a stranger. Brought tears to my eyes.

I’ve gotten awards. Very rewarding.

I’ve had a hug and a kiss. No complaints.

I’ve received many standing ovations from audiences all across this country. Exhilarating.

But I can tell you that nothing is a greater pat on the back, prayer, letter, award, hug, kiss and applause than when somebody simply slips some money in my hand.

I don’t mean to sound materialistic. It’s just knowing that people are separating themselves from their own sustenance to give to me, with no strings attached, honoring me to do something beautiful with it.

I don’t know–maybe I’m just a little giddy over the first fruits of a new idea. For as I took my money brick this week, small as it is, and began to distribute off little morsels to the birds God sent my way, I felt empowered with a joy unspeakable and full of glory.

I didn’t give money to homeless folk. I have nothing against those without an address. But this week I sought out individuals who are keeping the faith, trying to maintain a great attitude, but finding themselves a dollar short of a smile.

  • A lady I met who’s trying to survive on her social security, which seems to be shrinking even as she holds it in her hands.
  • A young man who pursues what some people would consider a demeaning job, but rather than seeking other ways to procure his grits and gravy, he chooses to take on the task.
  • A young mother who is struggling with her three pre-school children, maintaining the sweetest attitude this side of heaven, who just needed a reason to stop and pick up something for herself.

Time and time again folks were brought in front of me who just needed encouragement.

I don’t know about you–sometimes I get tired of talking about the problems in the world, or honestly, just insisting that I’m going to share my thoughts and prayers. I am a firm believer in prayer, but I don’t think it’s any substitute for taking what’s in our hands and releasing it to others.

I encourage you to get your own money brick. At first you might feel a bit of embarrassment over how tiny it is, but five dollars divided into quarters is really quite impressive.

Somehow or another we have to express to one another the depth of our commitment, the desire to be connected and the willingness to endure.

Often a pat on the back is not enough.

But a dollar, given at just the right moment, is a statement that not only “in God we trust,” but that we also trust … one another.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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Money is Deaf… January 15, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2121)

  • Money talks–if we give it voice.dollars
  • Money answers–if we infuse it with intelligence.
  • But money is deaf to the cries of those who often need it the most. It is oblivious to the pleas of the disenchanted, disheartened and disenfranchised.

Many selfish people use this obvious disability of money as a pretense for their greed. After all, what good does it do us to have finance if we’re surrounded by those who feel compelled to beg and steal to procure their solvency?

The world is not safe with those who cling to finance, ignoring the capability of money to talk and money to answer.

So what we have is a ritual of guilt, where religious people and charitable organizations will, from time to time, hold campaigns or telethons to intimidate the public into giving from their income to help the needs of others. Often, in doing so, we have to degrade those without and portray absolute destitution, deprivation and near destruction.

It is a nasty process.

I would like to present an alternative. I only offer it as a solution to the “deaf and dumb” condition of the coins that rattle around in our purse, unwilling to leave our possession to aid the world around us. It’s a two-step process:

1. As pertaining to money talking, I suggest we learn to “give small.”

I don’t like to give away hundreds of dollars. It makes me feel intimidated, angry, begrudging and put upon, so that I swear I will not give again for a good long time. Yet anything under ten dollars can leave my possession with me remaining cheery.

So rather than waiting to be accosted by “the least in the kingdom,” I look for them. Yes, I probe for a way for my money to gain voice while it is still my choice, and kept small.

If you want your money to “talk” and you don’t mind hearing it speak, you might want to think about “giving small.”

Don’t wait until some organization or individual needs thousands of dollars. Catch people when they are just beginning to struggle.

A couple of days ago I saw a young lady bagging groceries at an HEB grocery store. She was very good. But I could tell by her body language that she was fatigued and growing weary in her task. When she finished packaging my material (in a very proficient way, I might add) I handed her three one dollar bills. It was nothing to me, but in that moment, it was gold to her.

I whispered, “You’re doing great.”

As I left the store, I noticed she was sharing with her friends. Give small.

2. If you want your money to answer the real problems in your life, invest big.

Not in lame-brain schemes, but in areas which need obvious improvement. Otherwise you spend your time repairing instead of expanding. Repairs are never noticed, but investments show that you’re growing.

Perhaps some people think it’s better to “give big” and “invest small,” so as to salve their conscience. I find this unrealistic.

I have enough spirituality within me to give small, and I can learn to be smart enough to invest big. Therefore, my investments will allow me to have more “small money” to give.

Money is deaf. It just refuses to listen to need.

So help it talk by “giving small.”

And encourage it to answer by “investing big.”

 

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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Quatrain of Texas… January 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2120)

All my exes

Lone Star

Tex Mex

Second biggest

Alaska sucks

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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Resource and Remedy … January 13, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2119)

argue new testamentEach of us considers “normal” to be whatever we view as acceptable behavior, and has become our fallback position. So if you grew up around worriers, it seems natural to worry. If you were surrounded by gruff, unemotional human beings, you will think it is bizarre to be gregarious. If your background is in Judeo-Christian values, then you will be caught in the paradox between “do I love my neighbor as myself?” or is it “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?”

Even though we all believe we’re on a quest to find a remedy for our everyday problems and even our nagging addictions, we might want to stop and realize that the resources we tap will certainly determine the quality of the treatment.

Yesterday as I met the delightful and hungry souls at Cypress Trails United Methodist Church, I realized that each of them was  joining into a body of believers while secretly pursuing a private belief system of their own, which had been infused into them from the time they were tiny children, and is now “normal,” even if unfulfilling.

For we are much more likely to accept an unfulfilling life than we are to question our “normal.”

To challenge our upbringing means we put ourselves on the outside, looking in–and that sense of abandonment can be terrifying.

But every remedy I have found in my life has demanded that I question my resources, values and even faith to set in motion a new miracle for myself.

After all, in my case, it is difficult to get over obesity because I was taught that food is love. It’s like trying to remove affection from existence. It seems unnatural. It seems ungodly.

Take a moment every day and ask a simple question: am I doing this because I have chosen to do so and it has proven to make me a better human being, or am I repeating behavior that I learned, which has trapped me in the person I am instead of the person I desire to become?

In the realm of spirituality, ten commandments that we dangle over the collective head of humanity does not always jive with “judge not, lest ye be judged.”

You have to make a choice.

And when you’re choosing, just make sure that what you follow breeds life … instead of stifling it.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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A Spring in My Step … January 12, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2118)

Cypress Trails

Two words. Just a pair of words, which if applied well, makes life so much easier, happier and smoother.

Don’t complain.

“Easier said than done!” squalls the cynic from the back of the room.

Actually when it comes to complaining, the solution for this malady is easier done than said. For no single action has created more sour pusses, disgruntled souls and unwilling participants than complaining. It deteriorates every situation down to a sad conclusion, where you not only are failing to do what you want, but you’re miserable stuck doing what you’re doing. doctor tongue depressor

I would suggest we all become a doctor–an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist:

Eye: stop rolling your eyes and squinting every time something comes along that looks like it’s a little different from your normal purview, and instead, be flattered that you get to try something in a fresh way and maybe for a noble reason.

Ear: stop listening to negative sayers, who have lost all hope in anything excellent being achieved and settled in to pursue the mediocre, strongly suggesting that you join them.

Nose: get your nose out of the air and stop following the ridiculous notion that you are better than anybody else or that your pedigree gives you a pass on the kitchen duty often required in the household of humanity.

Throat: if out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, you might want to build a toll booth in your throat to approve all words passing northward which have an attitude to drag down everybody in the room, southward.

And by the way, you could work on the abundance in your heart. If you change it to good cheer and hope, your words will follow.

Complaining is the exhausting, unnecessary trip around the block, only to end up back where you started, more frustrated.

As I spend the day in Spring, Texas, at Cypress Trails United Methodist Church, I will suggest that they gain the ability to be doctors of the eye, ear, nose and throat.

It will give you a clean bill of health, free of complaining. And once you cease to have anything to fuss about, your load will be lightened and your steps will be more joyful … in Spring, Texas.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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