3 Things … November 1st, 2018

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That Remove Fear From Your Life

1. Sharing your apprehension out loud

2. Making your love an action

3. Counting your blessings instead of your blastings

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Catchy (Sitting 32) The Prophet Has No Honor…January 21st, 2018

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It was a starry night in Las Vegas. The weather was perfect–just warm enough that you wanted to be out and about, but not so hot that you would avoid getting close to someone you loved.

It had been such a refreshing day that Jubal decided to take the evening’s meeting and put it out in an abandoned Little League ball field, offering hot dogs, corn on the cob and great rock and roll.

The word spread like creamy peanut butter. By 6:30 P.M., for a 7:30 starting time, there were nearly three thousand people gathered. Jubal had expected a good crowd, but nothing of that magnitude.

Hot dogs were soon gone, and there were only “cornless” cobs. People didn’t care. Those who brought food shared, and those who didn’t were careful not to over-stuff themselves. About halfway through the musical portion of the show, Jubal ceased in mid-drumming and walked to the microphone.

After about ten seconds, as the band stopped and the audience grew silent, Jubal spoke.

“I just have never understood it,” he said. “If you go to the church down the road, they’ll hand you some bread and wine and tell you it’s what Jesus did at the Last Supper and what he wants us to do to remember him. They seem to completely forget that he did something else that fateful night. He took off all of his clothes, wrapped a towel around his waist, and got down on his hands and knees and washed the feet of his disciples.

“It blew their small-town minds. They viewed him as the Messiah.They thought he was better than them. They believed he was God–and it was beyond their comprehension that God could kneel down and do such a menial task.

“Jesus told his disciples to do it in the future. Wash feet, that is. And in so doing, communicate our commonality as people, and the gentleness of our spirit.

“But don’t get freaked out. I’m not going to take my clothes off…”

A boo and then a groan went through the crowd.

“Oh, stop it,” said Jubal, looking officially red-faced. “I brought along water, I’ve got these basins and wash cloths, and I’m also gonna wear my swimsuit.”

He held it up, displaying it for the audience. “I don’t swim much, so I just picked this up at Dollar General on the way over. How’s it look?”

There were some whistles and catcalls.

Jubal giggled. “Again–stop it!”

Everyone laughed.

“As I’ve told you before many times, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just feeling my way. And I feel like taking this water and washing some feet. If you want to, help yourself.”

Jubal jumped off the stage to the ground, filled a basin with water and headed out into the crowd. People backed away like the wind had blown them to the side.There was a deep respect for Jubal’s words, but apprehension over such intimacy.

Finally a little girl came up, plopped down and sat cross-legged on the ground. Jubal pulled out her feet and started washing them as the people stared in amazement.Then he did another, and another.

Having waited for one of the policemen who had been sent to watch over the gathering to remove his shoes and socks, Jubal sponged his feet, and many in the audience burst into tears. Nowhere on earth was there a more beautiful sight.

A few people here and there began picking up basins, filling them with water and heading out into the crowd. Soon there was a new practice–one soul would wash the feet of another, and they, in turn, washed the feet of the person who had blessed them.

It was very quiet in a noisy sort of way.There was a sweet hum and mumble of conversation, and the sound of weeping, and some laughter. It went on for thirty minutes. Forty minutes. Then an hour. No one was growing weary. No one was looking at a clock. No one was concerned about a lack of hot dogs and corn.

Everyone seemed to realize they would never in their lives be any closer to other human beings than they were in this moment. The most amazing part of the whole experience was that most people completely lost sight of Jubal–they didn’t even pursue having him wash their feet. They became intensely focused on one another.

Jubal found himself standing next to Matthew, who was watching, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Did you get your feet washed, Matt?” asked Jubal.

“Had two offers,” said Matthew. “But I’m holding out for the free manicure.”

Jubal laughed. He didn’t push it. He knew very well that the scene was beyond Matthew’s comprehension. He just allowed his buddy to receive it in the moment.

In the midst of this explosion of human contact, there was a sudden interruption. Standing on the stage was Prophet Morgan.

He grabbed the microphone and screamed, “Matthew 23! 23! Matthew 23–23!”

He kept repeating it over and over again.

Matthew turned to Jubal and asked, “Is he talking about me?”

“No,” said Jubal. “It’s the scripture where Jesus said if they tell you the Christ is over here, don’t go.”

“Well, that’s kind of shitty advertisement,” said Matthew. “What are you gonna do?”

Jubal walked over to the sound man and whispered in his ear. Suddenly it appeared that Prophet Morgan was still screaming but no one could hear him.

“What’s going on?” Matthew asked.

“I didn’t want to hurt his feelings,” explained Jubal. “So I kept the monitors on so he could hear himself, but turned the house speakers off so the people could still enjoy their experience.”

Matthew didn’t know exactly what that meant, but the problem was solved. Prophet continued to rant from the stage, but nobody else was able to make out his words. After about two minutes of hate and rage, Morgan left the stage, climbed into his sports car and took off.

Matthew turned to Jubal. “What are you gonna do about that, my brother?”

“I don’t know,” said Jubal. “I want to give him space, but not enough to destroy himself.”

“He hasn’t been the same since he did those interviews,” Matthew noted.

Jubal shook his head. “Nope. He feels like a traitor. I keep telling him that nobody’s upset–but he sees disapproval where there is none.

“Well he really went crazy,” Matthew inserted, “and they started calling him Profit Margin.”

“That was screwed up,” Jubal replied.

Matthew nodded in agreement. “You know–he’s just a young fellow but he’s had a helluva life.”

“Yeah,” Jubal acknowledged. “But we all have. You see, here’s the key, Matt. When you get a free tour of hell, it’s a good idea to come out of the experience, find heaven somewhere and make sure you never return to the fire.”

Matthew smiled, looking around the ball field. “How do you plan on stopping this foot thing?”

Jubal laughed. “I don’t know–but I’m thinkin’ if we had some more hot dogs and corn on the cob, we could certainly steer their interest.”

**************

The next morning, a Nevada highway patrolman found a sports car sitting by a huge rock near the edge of a cliff. The ignition was still engaged, but the car had run out of gas.

Inside was one man, his body leaning against the steering wheel–quite dead.

It was Prophet Morgan.

The preliminary diagnosis by the Nevada crime scene investigator was death by carbon monoxide poisoning. Apparently, Prophet sat in his car, unaware that he was being killed.

Yet taped to his windshield was a note. It read:

“I’m sick of being sorry. Or is it that I’m sorry I’m sick? Sometimes I want to be dead. Sometimes I am dead. Since I was a child, I’ve been abused by religious fanatics who said they loved God–but really hated people. I am a mess. It’s a mess I don’t want to deal with anymore. Father, into your hands I commit my mess.”

 

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Ask Jonathots … December 8th, 2016

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What do you think about the idea that people get depressed during the holidays? Do you believe in “Blue Christmas?”

The diagnosis of depression is applied to everything from copouts to extreme physiological disorders. It is a shame that such a legitimate concern is rendered questionable by people who simply want to feel sorry for themselves.

So when we talk about depression, we’re referring to three different regions of human behavior:

  1. Fear of the afar
  2. Fear of our surroundings
  3. Fear borne from a chemical imbalance within

So when dear hearts come to us and say they’re in no mood to celebrate Christmas because it leaves them sad, it is important that we listen to them and decide if they’re expressing some apprehension about the world around them, some feeling of a lack of appreciation by those they interact with, or whether the recent concern about the holidays is aggravating what seems to be an ongoing thread in their lives.

Those who are involved in conspiracy theories or worry about what’s going on in our world can often be comforted with good cheer, a sense of well-being and the knowledge that someone cares for them.

Others who are disappointed by their surroundings or who have been subjected to mistreatment are often healed right before our eyes by a spirit of gentleness and kindness.

And those who have physiological roots for their depression need our encouragement to see a doctor so they can feel better.

So during this holiday season, when you run across people who are expressing misgivings, start with some good cheer and give them a listening ear, and see if that doesn’t lift their spirits.

If it does, you are like the angels on high, who declared “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

But if your attempts at healing still leave them feeling empty, you might use your holiday joy to encourage them to seek an answer and find out the source of their depression within.

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Ask Jonathots … August 20th, 2015

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I know the Bible says not to worry, but I worry about money all the time. I really don’t have enough to pay everything. Every month I juggle something out of rotation, and then wait through all the notices. I hardly have any debt–I have one credit card, so that’s not the issue. I’m talking about rent, utilities, cable, phones, car, insurance and childcare (two of them, ages six and eight). I just don’t make enough money to get by. Suggestions?

Brain space.

Long before you solve a problem, you have to make room in your brain for creative consideration.

Jesus told us not to worry. He didn’t say this because he was some sort of air-head who believed we should live off our faith in God, with no consideration for being responsible for our needs. He was just enlightening us that worry, fear, apprehension and too much budgeting take up humongous amounts of space in our minds, closing the door on inspiration.

Someone asked me the other day what I thought about welfare. Here’s what I think: if someone is unable to work, finds it difficult to live on the money they make from working when daycare is included, then, they should be given assistance–as long as they realize that this blessing requires a lifestyle of using what they have instead of what they want.

In my lifetime I’ve had much money and literally no money. When I had no money, my main problem was feeling cheated out of the things I wanted, and therefore I was unable to creatively address what I needed.

The first thing I would suggest that you do is figure out how much real money you have coming in each and every month. Get a number.

Then take a look at your responsibilities, and subtract them. If you end up in the red, go back again, trim things up, and see if you can get yourself within striking distance of your own budget.

I understand that with children there are always surprises, but you won’t know what to look for, ask for and seek out until you understand how you must live within your means.

I know it’s not popular to say this, but you just don’t get to eat Hamburger Helper if your budget only allows for hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. And you certainly don’t get to eat chicken and steak if your intake only allows for Hamburger Helper.

The best way to get assistance from agencies–or even friends–is to ask for a specific portion of your living expense that you’re having trouble with, instead of coming in general desperation.

To do this, you must free up your brain space.

To free up your brain space, you have to transfer your fear of money (or the lack thereof) and change it into numbers.

As long as money is about feelings instead of numbers, you will fail.

  • Money is a number thing.
  • Your feelings should be reserved for creative solutions.

So keep in mind that Jesus was not trying to get you to spend hours in prayer, waiting for the miracle of a big check. Jesus was asking you to take the brain space you’re using for worry and fear, change your need into numbers, and use your ideas to find solutions.

If it doesn’t work out on paper, don’t start worrying.

Instead, get it out of your head and onto paper … so you are freed up to seek out solutions.

 

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Three Ways to Conquer Despair… December 11, 2014

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big sad little boy

Despair comes into our lives when the pile of what we need seems to be bigger than the pile of what we have.

It’s an issue of perception.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small child in India or the Son of God, struggling in the Garden of Gethsemane, suddenly overwhelmed by the task ahead. You still want to screech, “Take this away from me!”

Despair is hard to escape. The classic remedies of prayer, counseling, positive thinking or even medication are all limited in their scope, based on faithfulness to the process.

Let’s be honest. It is very difficult to be faithful when you’re scared.

If you’ll allow me, here are three ways to set in motion a process to conquer despair by not allowing it to wash over you in the first place:

1. Don’t ignore your moods.

You are an emotional person and merely quoting scripture, uttering your mantra, finding your yoga position or trying to ignore the problem is not going to make it go away. Our moods are powerful to us because they project the symptoms of a condition existing in our soul, which requires our attention.

Stop perceiving yourself as “moody,” and realize that you are actually symptomatic. There is a tendency in our society to try to douse the emotions and limit their value. This is the worst thing we can do.

Deal with your emotions–they are telling you something important coming from deep within your soul.

2. Find a human mirror.

You will consider yourself irreparable until you realize there are other people in your same situation, and you can see your problem or apprehension in the face of another human being. This is why rehab surrounds you with addicts instead of people who have never taken drugs sharing their insights on self-control.

We all need a mirror.

I can’t change my life if I’m looking at people who have never had a life-changing experience. Look in the eyes of someone who suffers from the same despair that you do and draw strength from his or her struggle.

If you surround yourself with people who appear not only to be stronger than you, but also let you know how much stronger they are, you will only deepen your anguish.

3. Find a friend to note your progress.

Yes, you will need to be honest with someone. For a moment you will have to stop trying to be Superman or Superwoman, and admit you’re Clark Kent or Diana.

You will make progress. You’ll have a tendency not to ignore it because your expectations are too high. Get someone who understands your pursuit and can tell you how many steps you’ve made from where you started.

There are those who want to make depression and despair an illness, and perhaps in a handful of souls, it is.

But most of us become trapped in a cave of misunderstanding and worry, and soon find ourselves nearly immobilized–unable to function.

At that point, if you will simply give place to your moods, find other human beings who reflect your need, and get a friend to encourage you in your steps of progress, you can actually win the day and bring despair under your control instead of allowing it to make you an inmate to its prison.

 

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G-48: 1619… October 31, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Excitement.

  • A season of reason.
  • An hour of power.
  • A college of knowledge.
  • A start for art.
  • A relief for belief.
  • A release of peace.
  • A righting of the course of fellowship.

And then … 1619.

A Dutch trader, selling his goods along the African coast, runs across a tribesman who has no money, but is willing to give a cargo of human beings, his neighbors, as exchange for his merchandise.

The wayfaring seaman pauses, thinking. He knows he doesn’t dare return without some sort of remuneration, or face losing his job–maybe worse. He looks at the half-clothed, nervous, twitching beings in front of him. They don’t look like him.

His brain sets in motion a nasty logic:

  1. These people are vulnerable.
  2. Therefore, these folks are less.
  3. These souls are our servants.
  4. These creatures are our property.
  5. These possessions are our slaves.

Much to his surprise, when he returns from his journey, expecting a rebuke for his choice, he is praised for such an inventive idea and commissioned to return and do it again.

As often is the case, there is a market. Therefore we pursue it–without wondering about its ramifications.

A painful portion of poison is perpetuated upon peoplehood. They digress.

And then one day, in a crowded, heated hall, nervous men, trying to cover their apprehension with verbal boldness, agree to a document which states clearly, directly and without apology:

“All men are created equal.”

1776.

Perhaps it is the remedy for 1619.

We shall see what price they’re willing to pay…for their own convictions.

 

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

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Three Ways to Blaze a Trail … October 16, 2014

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Davy Crockett

1. Find a forest that needs a path.

There are many bramble bushes of confusion in society today. It often seems that the only way they’re being addressed is by pundits who further confuse the issues. So you can become a force of nature simply by problem solving instead of problem debating.

The three largest difficulties facing us at this point are gender inequality, racial prejudice and pernicious apathy. There is plenty of room for trail-blazers.

Find a forest. Build a path.

2. Don’t be afraid of the bears and the wolves.

There are bears in our society who want to scare you away with their growl and claws, and wolves who would like to take a bite of you in order to establish their dominance. But just like the bears and wolves in the actual woods, they are more afraid of you than you are of them.

Walk confidently, let them see you coming, and stay faithful without apprehension.

3. Cut down some trees so people can see the forest.

You remember the old saying: “can’t see the forest for the trees.”

Sometimes nature gets in the way of our progress. There are institutions, organizations and even religious conclaves which must be trimmed down to make room for human beings to enjoy the forest.

We can no longer merely throw our hands up in the air and sigh, “What am I going to do?” and think that we’re going to have the life we presently enjoy, or anything resembling it, to pass onto our children.

You will need to blaze a trail, but like all the pioneers and explorers before you, you will have to escape your seat of comfort and learn how to take dominion in unknown territory. 

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

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

 

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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