Jesonian: The Haves for the Have Nots… August 17, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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bottleI have come to give you abundant life.

I have come so your joy can be full.

I have come to fulfill, not destroy.

I have come to give you rest.

I have come to serve, not to be served.

I have come to give you the power to become the sons and daughters of God.

I have come to bring a sword of dissension, which leads to true discovery.

I have prepared a place for you.

I have come to lay down my life.

I have come to be the light of the world.

I have come as the way, the truth and the life.

I have come to show you the Father.

I have come to proudly be the son of man.

I have come with a child-like heart.

I have come to separate the wheat from the chaff.

I have come to be the first fruits of many creatures.

I have come to preach the gospel to the poor.

I have been tempted in every way.

And most importantly, I have come to save … not condemn.

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

G-20: Life or Knowledge … April 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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tree of lifeRight there in the middle.

It’s hard to miss. It’s not hiding from us.

It’s called life.

And life is where ability, faith and our daily bread of situations merge together.

  • It’s meant to be abundant.
  • It is intended to be fascinating.
  • It is not free of hassle, yet within the struggle is a great learning gift which further enriches our experience.

Anything that deters us from eating of the Tree of Life and gaining strength, wisdom and energy is counter-productive to our humanity and destructive to our character.

So as the story goes, God placed this gift of life right in the middle of all the activity. It wasn’t hidden at all. Like every other possibility in the Garden of Eden, it was “good for food and pleasant to the eyes.”

Yet is was absent of distraction. That particular misleading element was found in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And this tree was useless to our human escapade because knowing what’s evil does not give us the function of improving our situation. After all, since we are not gods and do not control our Olympus, we end up being at the mercy of despair.

God offers one piece of advice to his free-will creatures: having the knowledge of good and evil, which appears to offer elements of being wise, only introduces futility, which makes us exhausted to partake of life in the middle of our existence.

Adam and Even didn’t get it.

They listened to the voices screaming for self-improvement and pursued a knowledge which made them feel they were naked and vacant of the capacity to change their situation for the better.

Though many of my friends and even family members argue with me continually about television shows, movies, books and even blue-tinted comedy routines which offer a view on the bleak side of life, insisting that this is an element of maturity lending itself to greater understanding, I have to shake my head and say that the knowledge of evil does not make me a god.

It makes me a victim.

Jesus told us we should “be as little children.” So anything that comes before my eyes and into my heart which is not suitable for a child of eight years only ends up pointing out to me the deficit in my society, the weakness of my character and the vacancy in my soul.

Just like Eve, we are pressured into believing that we are deprived of experience by a God who refuses to allow us to explore our sensibilities.

But all that Adam and Eve achieved was a weirded-out feeling–that the things they had been participating in and enjoying were now somewhat dirty, nasty and needed to be hidden.

“Why do you think you’re naked?” says God to a frightened Adam.

Who told you and me that it’s “adult” to watch men beating up women? Or solid citizens losing their minds and becoming criminals? Or sexuality being reduced to the mere visualization of humping?

Yet this is what is chosen.

So on that day, whether completely truthful or partially a metaphor, when man and woman chose knowledge over life, two things became evident: (1) we, as a species, have to learn to escape evil to find the good and munch on life; and (2) a plan of salvation to light up the road to that discovery would be necessary.

Yes, Good Friday was a bad thing that happened because human beings thought it was possible to become gods through knowledge.

It is life that makes us powerful.

It is life that welcomes intelligence.

And life is always right there … in the middle of what we’re doing. 

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

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

New Life… January 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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New Life

I picked up my calendar and noticed that tonight I’m going to be sharing at New Life Lutheran Church in Pearland, Texas. I couldn’t help but notice the two words: New Life.

I like that idea. I think everybody wants a new life to some degree, even if they’re enjoying the essence of their present journey. “New” is fun and fresh, and “life” is beautiful, if for no other reason than it’s the absence of death.

But I have never been a soul satisfied with the offerings of organized religion. I want new life, but Heaven and the promise of eternal existence is not enough to get me through Earth.

I need some heaven done here.

This is what Jesus promised in the Good Book–that it was possible for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I’ve always wondered why we thought Heaven was going to be so special if we weren’t impressed with the adventure God offers us on Earth. It’s like owning a Toyota Camry and being dissatisfied, and having the company offer you a Tercel. Still made by Toyota. No reason to believe the different name will make things better.

So I go to Jesus to find out what he thinks life is. Two things jump out immediately. He contended that life should be “abundant” and life should be “joyful.” Actually–full joy.

So what is abundance? I suppose it could be interpreted as “wealth” or accumulation. But I think in this case it means variety.

Yes, I will know that I have new life when I’m not afraid of what’s coming. If God was with me yesterday, why would I believe that overnight He’s abandoned me simply because today offers a different dilemma?

Yet, it is what plagues us. We really gain new life when we’re not afraid of what’s coming and we welcome the abundance because we know it grants us the wisdom to use our talents to gain our security.

And I need joy. Joy is the decision to be happy while you’re pursuing contentment.

If you do it the other way around, you’ll end up quite disappointed, trying to find contentment as a means of determining your happiness. This means that every disruption of your experience, actually bringing abundance, will distress you instead of bless you.

Yes, “new life” is the ingenious blending of abundance and joy.

So as I talk to these folks tonight I will share with them that Jesus did not come to try to make things comfortable. Instead, he came to comfort us as we grow able to handle our circumstance while maintaining our good cheer, eager for a chance to prove that what is in us … is up to the challenge.. 

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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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

A Life-Driven Purpose… May 25, 2013

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It’s really simple and not complicated at all.  If you’re waking up this morning in Moore, Oklahoma, your life has become free of entanglements–defined.

If the tornado missed your house, then there is a deep responsibility in your soul to go outside and do something for your neighbors, who were not quite so fortunate.

If the tornado blew your house away, yet you are still alive, you feel a deep sense of gratitude–and don’t have to be concerned about remodeling anymore, but can have full confidence that you are in the middle of a building project. Be prepared to receive help from those neighbors whose houses did remain firmly on their foundations.

If you were injured, you should sit back, relax, and let the beautiful healing process take shape before you concern yourself with anything else–in order to give your very best efforts to the next endeavor.

If you lost your life, you are presently in a heavenly home with no memories whatsoever of the struggle below.

If a loved one has died, your life, for this season, will be refined by allowing grief to bring out the good memories so that when you do finally press on, joy can come in your morning.

Yes, the people of Oklahoma have experienced a tragedy. But there isn’t one person in that town who would tell you they wish they were dead. That kind of nasty attitude only comes from people who have taken their lives for granted. No one in Moore, Oklahoma, is taking his or her life for granted.

In an odd sense, it is a gift when our journeys become defined by our need. Our purpose becomes obvious: Live on–because life is precious.

I have no argument with my conservative friends until they start saying life on earth does not matter. It does.

I have no fuss with my liberal friends, as long as they don’t try to convince me that one form of life is more precious than another. It isn’t.

Jesus came to give us life. Jesus came to give us abundant life. We were never supposed to live as underdogs–biting at the ankles of the rich and prosperous, but rather, discovering the very best pattern for doing things and then creatively finding a way to enact a glorious plan.

If church isn’t about life, then it starts to be about death. If all we have to offer is heaven, then we’re asking people to endure an awful lot of earth, which usually diminishes the enthusiasm for eternity.

Tomorrow morning I will be in Mabank, Texas. We’ll talk about life. That is one of the best ways we attribute honor–and even pray for the folks in Oklahoma. By joining them in the pursuit of the appreciation of life, we tell them that we get the message: even when nature blows you away, you need to blow back–with your best heart–and live large.

It’s about life. It’s about abundant life. And it’s about abundant life that brings full joy. So is it possible to be in Moore, Oklahoma, today and be joyful?

Yes. Especially if you realize you still possess life.

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Friedens… April 5, 2013

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friedens colorFriedens. The word is German for “peace.” Yet when I first eyeballed it, it looked like it might be the word for “friends.”

Maybe those Germans have come up with something. After all, the best doorway to peace is to establish a gentle life with friends–and likewise, an excellent avenue to friends is to arrive with a bit of peace. Put the two together and you come up with the essence of faith.

Peace, friends, faith.

Peace: Dear God, I will find my life in You. It’s a promise. If I’m willing to lose the confusing mass of mixed signals that I call my will, I will gain my life.

Friends: I will let you into my life. There’s a certain vulnerability to the process of interacting with other human beings which is simultaneously frightening and invigorating. If I am not willing to let you into my life, it’s difficult to make a case for true friendship.

Faith: We have life abundant. Once I discovered my peace by finding my life in God, and I’ve humbled myself to let you into my life, the miracle of fellowship allows us to share life abundantly. friedens brick

Sunday morning I will be with the Friedens United Church of Christ. We will share a peace that will lead to friendship and culminate in faith.

 

 

Friedens

There is a place of peace

Where human fears release

Holding our trembling soul

Worry taking its toll

For then our mind will ease

Turmoil finally cease

And rest warm with others

Our sisters and our brothers

Breathe the scent Divine

Allow our light to shine

Sense what we dream to be

The truth that makes us free.

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