Good News and Better News … July 4th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Effort 1He was Saul of Tarsus, who after a dramatic Damascan conversion, began to travel the ancient empire under the stage name, Paul the Apostle.

He once said, “By grace you are saved through faith.”

Little did he know that this quote would become one of his greatest hits. Matter of fact, the doctrine of grace, which emerged from this statement, is preached every Sunday.

The validity of the statement is powerful. The salvation of our souls is a free gift from God through the love, mercy and sacrifice of Jesus. It blooms the potential of eternal life. But it doesn’t tell us what we’re supposed to do with our emotions, brains and bodies through this process called human life.

Because those who live on grace, hoping it will cover a multitude of their annoying practices, do very little to promote the expanse of the Christian message.

This came to me yesterday when I arrived at the Effort United Methodist Church near the Poconos in Pennsylvania.Good News Effort 2

Effort.

What a great word.

It is ridiculous to think that Jesus took the time to preach the Sermon on the Mount about character, bearing fruit, loving your neighbor, avoiding hypocrisy, channeling your lust and respecting the planet if he wanted us to merely lounge on the cushion of grace.

Belief in Jesus does give you salvation, but to live on Planet Earth, we require sanity. Sanity is achieved by accepting the Gospel of Jesus to free us from fret, worry, pride, prejudice, anger and fear. It simplifies our emotions so that our minds can be renewed and we can gain strength.

Religion does not grant us this peace.

Religion wants to give comfort to the convert and condemnation to the world.

It’s when we take grace and blend it with effort that we meld the alloy of faith–certainly trust in God, but also reliance on “Christ in me, the hope of glory.”

In the long run, there are two salvations–there is the salvation that is a free gift of God through acceptance of Jesus.

Good News Effort 3And there is a salvation which each one of us, individually, “works out with fear and trembling” as we journey, simplifying our lives with joy and understanding.

I had a monumental time yesterday with the folks in Effort.

They did put up an effort.

They showed up on July 4th weekend, when they could have gotten by with “pew hookey.”

They listened to this stranger expose new ideas about abundant life.

And they allowed themselves to be impacted rather than insisting that grace eliminates any need to learn.

The good news is that we are saved by grace through faith.

But the better news is that we save our sanity by taking the beautiful Gospel of Jesus and putting some Effort into it.

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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PoHymn cover jon

 

The Faith We Earn … June 9, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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ant“Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

A statement from the Good Book.

Many times, people fail to understand that it’s a two-part presentation–a faith which is the substance of things hoped for, and a faith that’s the evidence of things not seen.

It is true for each of us. There is a faith we are given.

Even if you weren’t raised in a religious home, morals, principles, ideals, precepts and conduct were infused into you and have become alloys in the steel of your soul. It is an inherited conscience, steering you, influencing you and on occasion, deterring you.

Unfortunately, most people’s faith stops right there. They cling to traditions planted into them in early years, or they reject them in some fit of rebellion, feeling that it makes them appear autonomous.

But faith doesn’t stop with what you’re given. We gain our individuality by how we earn our own faith. Somewhere along the line, we become responsible for our own dealings, our own decisions and our own soul.

It is the evidence of things not seen.

  • We don’t see them because they are not part of our past.
  • We don’t see them because they are fresh opportunities, or trials in our lives, demanding that we make personal selections.
  • And we don’t see them because often a loneliness settles into us because of the pressure of needing to make a decision.

Earned faith breaks down into three categories:

1. Here is less. What will you do?

Some human beings lose their way simply because they are frightened by the prospect of poverty and diminished by lack. We earn a faith by deciding to remain industrious and optimistic during hours when it seems that our personal needs are in jeopardy.

2. Here is more. Who will you be?

Yes, whether we’re willing to admit it or not, there are times when a bit of bounty comes our way and we have to decide whether we believe in generosity or if we’re just going to open an extra bank account which will eventually be eaten away by need.

3. Here is silence. Where will you go?

It is part of life–to find ourselves absent friends, devoid of human contact and appreciation, and even feel orphaned by a Heavenly Father, our Creator.

It’s not that we should relish the vacuum. It is a test, to see whether we continue to pursue our dreams without the applause and affirmation of the surrounding earth.

There is a faith we are given–the substance of things hoped for.

And a faith we earn–the evidence of things not seen.

And the latter is when we know what to do when we have less, we choose who to be when given more and we can still continue to go forward in the chill of silence.

 

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

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