G-Poppers … June 16th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop welcomes all his children to the jungle called “today.”

It is possible to negotiate the experience as long as you avoid over-optimism or a nasty streak of pessimism.

First and foremost, G-Pop wants his children to know that coming into the jungle anticipating “good, better and best” is a futile, if not cruel, perspective. Human being s are not geared for such an agenda. Your friends will crumple if you place this regimen upon them.

What you have in the jungle is 1) the reluctant 2) the mediocre and 3) the available. Just realize this. It is the key to survival, which allows for success.

Reluctant people have one message: “leave me alone.” To pursue any further with a reluctant person will ignite their inner rage instead of awakening their potential. They will need to see much before they do anything.

On the other hand, the mediocre communicate clearly, “Why should I change?” They can explain why others need to alter their course and repent, but they feel deeply that they have done as much as they possibly can without sucking on their last straw of sanity.

Then you’ll come upon a clearing and meet the available. Those are the human beings who realize, “We need something.”It doesn’t mean they’re highly motivated to be productive, but they will admit that something needs to happen, or the same mediocre reluctance will render all of us vulnerable to the creatures of prey who devour the weak.

So what is your job? Are you called to turn a reluctant person into an eager one? God forbid. When you run across someone who’s reluctant, just encourage them to keep rummaging. If you see anything of quality, praise it.

Likewise, when you interface with the mediocre, G-Pop wants his children to leave them with something to think about–that good, old-fashioned food for thought with a lot of relish and mustard. Just tell them what you’re considering, and admit that you don’t have the answers, but you’re curious. Mediocre sometimes gets stirred, and in the process, can turn into a bubbling stew.

And of course, when you stumble upon those who are available, urge them to wonder. For instance:

  • How much could a little change accomplish?
  • How about if we just painted the fence?
  • What if we just purchased a welcome mat for the front door of the house?
  • What power does a little creativity bring, which might stimulate the passion to do more?

G-Pop must warn his children that the search for good, better and best is only suited for when we walk among the angels.

Enter the jungle called “today” knowing how to deal with the reluctant, the mediocre and the available.

 

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Ask Jonathots … November 10th, 2016

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What role do you think the media played in the 2016 Presidential election?

Decide.

It’s the most important step each one of us takes in our lives. Decide what we think is important and steer our life in that direction.

Without this determination, we often find ourselves misled by the passing fancy of an overzealous press or an under-informed society.

Once you understand the function of the media, you can begin to comprehend how their input is valuable, and where it is detrimental to your own well-being. Here is the agenda of the media in the United States of America:

1. Dig up information–the fresher the better.

In the process of desiring to bring news-breaking stories, often truth and detail are compromised. So in order to be intelligent, you must realize that what you hear is not dependable unless it has survived 72 hours of scrutiny.

2. Fill time.

When the nightly news was only half an hour in length, there was no requirement to cover so many stories with so many angles, as with the introduction of the 24-hour news cycle.

It is similar to going to a party knowing you’re going to stay an hour, or going to a party knowing you will be forced into the confines of that environment for four hours. Under the one-hour limit, you don’t have to work so hard to fill the time, and therefore may actually be less likely to lie, exaggerate or gossip.

3. Make money.

Yes, the media is at the mercy of sponsors, and they often have an agenda. So the media finds itself subject to that agenda, and therefore they pad reports with stories which support the requirement.

So whenever you watch a news organization, you are getting their “take” on the news instead of an even representation.

As for me, I consider what the media is doing–having already determined three things for my own lifestyle

A. I will love my neighbor as myself.

B. I will take personal responsibility for my life.

C. I will be of good cheer.

I feel that the media during this Presidential election was instrumental in robbing us of a sense of brotherly love, personal responsibility and certainly a desire to have good cheer.

There were just times I had to turn it off  to maintain the integrity of my heart’s desire and mission.

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Good News and Better News … January 25th, 2016

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Good News Messiah Lutheran

I arrived early.

Nothing had started popping at Messiah Lutheran.

I was sitting at my book table checking out a few details when I looked across the vestibule and saw the bulletin board pictured above.

My first instinct was to chuckle since I was peering at a snowman while abiding in Panama City, Florida. But I guess because it was Sunday morning and my thoughts had become a bit introspective, I considered the snowman.

It isn’t, you know–a man, I mean.

If you came across a snowman and decided to melt it and free the human being inside, after extensive warming, all you would end up with is a puddle.

There’s nothing within.

It’s an imitation of life–using lumps of coal, a broom, a button, a scarf, a carrot and a top hat.

But it got me wondering if there are frozen people crusted over by the iciness of our culture, who really are more than just snowmen. Is it possible to become so chilled by indifference that you live beneath inches of ice?

Well, I certainly see it in politics.

Freezing out your competition and appearing above the fray, free of fault, seems to be the “call of the wild” in Washington. But I fear if the real heat of pressure and responsibility fell upon any one of them, they would sink into a drippy mess.

How about entertainment?

What could be more hypocritical than a bunch of snowmen in Hollywood who think they are so open-minded and liberal, who make a stand against guns–even as they use pistils, automatic rifles and any number of instruments of mayhem to kill thousands of human beings in their plotlines.

Then there’s religion.

Seems to me that we have sunk to the position of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, who spent their time counting cups, cleaning plates and decorating their robes.

Snowmen.

Nothing really left inside–just a cold form of what they once might have looked like.

So as I prepared to share with the folks at Messiah, I was reminded of the sarcastic statement of the angel, speaking to the women who came to the tomb to embalm Jesus: “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”

I had to ask myself a two-part question:

  • Is my life the pursuit of melting snowmen, only to find there’s nothing really there?
  • Or, under this arctic exterior, are there still living human beings who would like to have joy and abundant life?

The good news is that Messiah lifted my spirits.

Although at first they treated us as strangers, our hearts soon burned within us, taking away the frigid fear.

It was powerful.

It was good.

It was hopeful.

And unlike the snowman on the wall of their bulletin board, what I discovered were human beings suffering from a little hypothermia from being exposed to too much cold. So here’s the better news: We can warm up society and find out where the snowmen are and where the people just need to come in out of the elements.

1. When you see somebody doing a good job and you know they make minimum wage, give them a buck and a word of encouragement for their extra-mile efforts.

2. When you’re in the doctor’s office, instead of pretending to read an out-dated magazine, attempt to strike up a conversation with a nearby human being and see where it takes you.

3. Let “thank you” come off your lips more and more easily.

4. Lead with a smile long before you come face-to-face.

5. Appreciate the small things and be amazed at how the big things begin to take care of themselves.

6. Sit in your quiet, staid church and clap your hands during one of the hymns and see if anyone joins you.

I could go on and on.

Here are two dangers in life: falling under the spell of the deep freeze, or believing that you have no power to thaw it.

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Do You …?… July 28, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Do you care?

Do you have a way to help?

Or do you feel the need to push your agenda?

I woke up this morning with these three questions percolating in my mind.

Emotionally:

Can I be more honest about the extent of my real commitment instead of making too many promises which cause people to glow with enthusiasm at first, and then, when I fail to deliver, just burn out?

Spiritually:

Do I believe in a caring and helpful God who lifts burdens instead of loading the heavens down onto frail, earthly shoulders?

Mentally:

Do I realize that my training and experience are a beginning of understanding instead of the summit of knowledge? Degrees from universities eventually must translate into some degree of common sense.

Physically:

Can I package and present myself well without competing in an ongoing beauty contest or centering in on the differences in others?

Being valuable means possessing value.

It involves care and help with a minimal agenda.

  • Does my God care?
  • Does He help?
  • Is He locked into an agenda that sounds righteous in a heavenly board meeting that isn’t very practical on the assembly line?

Three questions.

Great questions.

To question is to care.

 

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Listen! Stop! Look! … July 21, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Listen!

Don’t assume you’ve heard it all.

Allow your brain a chance to receive the freshness of a new insight.

People are always telling you their story.

They will let you know where it hurts.

They will inform you of what they need.

Sometimes they bury the lead under a joke.

Often they disguise the anguish beneath religiosity.

But listen.

Allow yourself to believe there’s more.

He that has an ear, let him hear.

Stop!

Yes, cease to believe that you’ve heard it all and know it all.

Don’t try to fix people.

Find a way to input them in the space they’ve provided.

Stop trying to save the world.

Instead, give people a chance to grow.

Don’t be so sure you know the will of God.

Because after all, it’s not His will that any should perish.

Don’t allow yourself to be so far behind the times that you’re chasing truth.

Stop repeating things that don’t work.

Start anticipating fresh blessings every day.

Look!

  • For ways to bless people.
  • For ways to hug people.
  • For ways to touch people.
  • For ways to make people laugh.
  • For ways to drop a dollar at just the right moment.
  • For ways to learn.
  • For ways to avoid too much work.
  • For ways to lift a burden.
  • For ways to establish your humanity.
  • For ways to be forgiving.
  • For ways to be vulnerable.
  • For ways to accept that people are the closest thing to God you will see today.

Listen!

Get your ears on.

Stop!

Selling an agenda.

Look!

For God.

He’s out there.

 

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Entertaining … November 22, 2013

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Let-Me-Entertain-YouI joined in the discussion.

Well, actually, I more or less monitored it by reading what people were writing back and forth as they discussed the value of entertainment on Facebook. It really fell into three categories:

One group thought entertainment was supreme, and that a message of inspiration could be added as long as it didn’t push an agenda or wasn’t too obvious.

Yet another contingency insisted that all entertainment had value because it was escapism from the rigors of adult life and the difficulties of our society.

Then there were those who believed that entertainment was in the eye or ear of the receiver and therefore was difficult to define because it was so individualized.

To some degree, at various stages of my life, I have held fast to each one of these ideas. But honestly, none of the three define entertainment.

Entertainment is the blending of entering and attaining.

One of the weaknesses in our society is that we’re losing “sweet” fellowship for “tweet” fellowship. We no longer press human flesh by arriving at a location where we sit with other human beings and enter into an experience that lets everyone know that “we showed up.”

Then I believe that it’s the responsibility of the artist, the teacher, the preacher or any communicator–to find a way to use the common sense and good cheer of life to help us all attain greater understanding of one another.

Entertainment and inspiration are not at odds with each other nor mutually exclusive. They are fraternal twins.

For after all, you will never inspire people if you are not prepared to entertain their fancy, and you never truly entertain folks if they leave uninspired, merely comparing your offering to others they’ve sampled.

  • I will enter.
  • I will attain.
  • I will show.
  • And I will grow.

And when you mingle these two together, you get the essence of God, who was both a show-off in the way He exploded the universe, and a practical philosopher in the procedure of how it operates.

Tonight I head to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to perform after a banquet. They want it to be entertaining. This might cause some people to pause, wondering if they had the material and the inclination to solely entertain.

I don’t worry about such things. Because I believe if you truly entertain, you inspire. And no inspiration ever happens without the audience being entertained.

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An Agenda… November 13, 2012

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Everybody has an agenda. That particular statement is considered to be truthful, but also negative.

Yet–don’t we all need an agenda? Is it possible to live an entirely spontaneous existence without having some foundational goals and purposes?

The problem may not be the agenda. The difficulty is often the premise on which the agenda is built. For instance, if you’re trying to communicate to the world that God is love, you must have some sort of explanation for the scriptures in the Bible that darned tootin’ seem to be hateful. If your precept is that God is wrathful, you’d better be prepared to explain away the mercy, gentleness and inclusive spirit of Jesus.

People seemed determined in this day and age to divide into two camps–conservatives and liberals. Would you allow me to sum up the agenda of a conservative? This is what they believe:

“I am trying to remember the very best things of my childhood and then return to them as an adult by making sure that progress does not eliminate the quality of my remembrance.”

How about a liberal?

“I am trying to get what I desire and I feel the best way to do that is by giving everything to everybody so as not to shut out anyone. But to do this, I have to make sure that I don’t scrutinize the end result.”

So you can see, of the two philosophies, it is obvious that the liberal agenda will always win out. It doesn’t make it better or more righteous, it’s just a wider tent which will hold more people. After all, with the conservative agenda, what you and I may have thought were the better parts of our childhood may have been the worst recollections of others. White Americans certainly enjoyed the 1950’s, but if you were black, you might not remember the Eisenhower years quite so favorably.

Likewise, even though the liberals tout the stupidity of Prohibition, they fail to mention the free love, drug culture and excesses of the 1960’s and ’70’s, which left many of our creative artists and young aspiring Americans dead from overdose.

So what is an agenda? Should we have one? Should we join one of these two camps, so we’re not out of the flow?

I guess I have to go back and find God’s agenda. It’s not so difficult to acquire.Here’s what I think: It is not His will that any should perish.

Almost sounds like He’s a liberal, doesn’t it? Matter of fact, if you’re a liberal you might raise a cheer at this point because you’re imagining this expansive force in nature which is all-accepting, all-loving, all-kind and all-receiving.

But there is a closing phrase to that this agenda of God’s: Truly it’s not God’s will that any should perish, but He also wants everyone to come to repentance. Repentance? That almost sounds conservative, doesn’t it?

So let’s put it together: It’s not God’s will that anyone should perish, but He wants everybody to come to repentance.

If I step into a room of conservatives, they want me to be against abortion, against drugs, against gay marriage, against immigration, but for war, for focusing on the family, for traditional values, and completely for capitalism.

If I walk into a meeting of liberals, they want me to be for abortion choice, for the legalization of marijuana, for gay marriage, for animal rights, and against creationism, against religion in the marketplace and against any questioning of scientific research whatsoever.

Can I be truthful? I would be uncomfortable in both settings. I don’t want to see people perish. I love people. But I do not believe that human beings are capable of redemptive thinking without repentance and transformation. I don’t think we plop out of the womb with an understanding of what is best for ourselves, let alone the world. There has to be some sort of salvaging of our souls–otherwise, our more basic animal nature will make us bungle in the jungle.

Here’s the truth–neither the conservatives or the liberals are able to create an agenda that is satisfying, fulfilling and sensitive to humanity. The conservatives close too many doors and the liberals open too many.

So what can we do? There are three things necessary to make sure that the philosophy you select in life does not cause you to run into walls or contradict yourself.

1. Does what I believe generate salvation or perishing? Anything that shuts people out, failing to leave the possibility for rebirth can therefore not be God. Conservatives fail because they see men, women, black, white, moral and immoral instead of giving God the right to judge His own children and simply focusing on their own pursuit of happiness.

2. Anything that kills is anti-human. Drugs kill. Legalizing them will not bring down the death toll. The assumption that human beings have the capability of using anything in temperance is utterly ridiculous. Part of our appeal is our passion–and certainly an attribute of our passion is the danger of excess. By the same token, to be against abortion and allow guns to flow freely into our society is a contradiction in spirit.

3. Change makes us happy. As long as you have the mindset that change is the enemy, and the more we keep things the same, trying to make everybody comfortable in their present skin, the less effective you will actually end up being in helping others. Everybody has a need to repent. I will grant you that it is their journey and their requirement to find that problem, but to act as if we’re all fine the way we are is to rob human beings of the capacity to get better.

If you enact these three principles, you can come up with an agenda that is close to the heart of God.

But you will NOT find yourself being either a conservative or a liberal.

Each group will believe, from time to time, that you are part of them–because one of their ideas falls into agreement with one of the three statements above. But each group, from time to time, will consider you an enemy, because you have to disagree with something cherished by  them.

Agenda–it can be a good thing if it is based on the facts of human beings instead of the nostalgia of our youth and the wishy washiness of our own desires.

Now, I understand that this essay may not be one of your favorites as far as having humor, stories and clever twists and turns. But every once in a while, you have to buy tires for your car or it becomes very insignificant that you have an engine. And every once in a while, it is essential in jonathots that we find a way to roll in our live so what we mobilize will actually find God’s favor … instead of His opposition.

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