Good News and Better News… September 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Optimism is completely useless in sharing the Good News. It always hopes for positive results which are only determined by the audience and the moving of the Holy Spirit.

Likewise, pessimism is a meaningless, funky choice. After all, what value is there in preaching the end of the world while the doggone thing is still revolving?

I think Paul Simon summed it up best in his song, “The Boxer” when he wrote: Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

So if you want to be a bearer of good tidings, you must keep two essentials in mind. These were in play when I went to Tampa Bay to do two concerts, one at the Sun City Center United Methodist Church and the other at Atonement Lutheran in Wesley Chapel. I was hosted by two fine gentlemen–Kevin and Scott–both of whom desire to see something good happen in our time.

But over the years, you learn that passion, deliberation and organization are not enough. Talent falls short, and patience is a virtue which often fails to impress the meandering mob.

Two things to keep in mind if you want to make a difference: make it clear and make it good.

Honestly, if you don’t come with quality, don’t expect to get any kind of ear turned in your direction. So stop trying to do things that are difficult, believing they’ll be impressive in the long run. Find things you can accomplish well in almost any circumstance, and perfect them.

I am not the best anything. I never will be the best anything. But I can always get better at my best.

That’s our job. Make it good. It’s time for us to stop apologizing for what we present under the guise that “since God is in charge, and He loves us all, He’ll forgive a few sour patches.”
Tain’t so, my brothers and sisters. We’ve got to make it good. And then, you’ve got to make it clear.

To do this requires simplifying your message so that everybody in the room, from six to ninety-six years old, knows exactly what you’re trying to say. Some folks will still try to twist your words to their advantage, but there’s not much you can do about that, so don’t worry.

If you want people to believe that “love your neighbor as yourself” works, you need to say it five times and provide three good
examples.

And then do everybody in the room a favor: Don’t try to make another point. Three-point sermons leave two points forgotten and one point confusing.

So my time in Tampa Bay was lavished with lovely, inspiring people who benefitted from my presence because I determined to not be either optimistic or pessimistic, but instead, made it clear and made it good.

So therefore, the good news is that life is not hopeless, filled with ungrateful human beings who are beyond redemption.

The better news is, as Paul Simon said, we need to give them things they can hear and don’t disregard.

 

 

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G-Poppers … January 20th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop loves the Gospel.

Not because it’s religious, but because it’s good news. And good news always has a market, an audience and a possibility.

Many religious people think the Gospel is Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the world. This is the invitation to salvation, not the solution to human conflict. After all, you can have seven billion baptised believers in the crucifixion who still want to kill each other.

The power of the Gospel is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

For years, it has been honored as a sacred oracle, and even though tarnished, attacked and ridiculed, it stood the test of time–the only hope for us getting along with each other.

Then came 2016.

Under the masquerade of a Presidential election, the Republicans, Democrats, press, pundits and lobbyists worked together to dismantle the integrity and power of the Golden Rule. Through countless proclamations, we were told that “loving your neighbor as yourself” was too weak a position to defeat ISIS, negotiate Syria, overcome racism or eliminate terrorism.

You and I were there for it. It was televised nightly–a four-step process:

  1. People are different.
  2. Difference makes conflict
  3. Because there’s conflict we need to be strong
  4. Because we’re strong, we will make enemies

It was a macho, self-righteous belief that the “exceptionalism of America” means that we have a duty to view ourselves as superior to the rest of the world.

Both political parties utilized the platform, abandoning the Golden Rule in favor of alleged “brass balls.”

What is G-Pop telling his children?

What is our mission in 2017?

Get out there and renegotiate the Golden Rule.

  • Stop advertising violence and the aggressive idea that another drone strike will take care of our problems.
  • Stop focusing on our differences.
  • Stop colorizing people with blue, black, red, yellow or orange.
  • Find common ground and build a hope there.

Yes, the Golden Rule is under siege.

For thousands of years, it has prevented us from dissolving the human race

The Golden Rule is still gold.

It just needs people who will continue to tout its value.

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Getting in Character…July 13th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2632)

heart

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

“Not believable.”

It is the two-word epitaph for every actor’s performance which seems dead-on-arrival. It is pronounced by critic and audience alike when the scene set before them lacks sincerity, legitimacy and heart.

Sometimes it is caused by the script being underplayed; often it’s a result of overacting. But somewhere along the line, the actor has failed to take the words that he or she has committed to memory and equally commit them to heart.

  • The emotion is phony.
  • The emotion is lacking.
  • The emotion is pre-determined and therefore sits on the shelf too long, arriving stale.

There is a certain amount of emotional purity necessary to convey who we are to the world around us. When this is lacking, the jungle sense inside every mortal comes to the forefront, screaming “this is not real.”

So since the world is a stage and we are actors, what can we do to guarantee that our contribution is believable? Because long before we are valuable, we need to establish that we are as we say we are.

To gain this pure heart, you must:

1. Be the first person around you who is not afraid of sharing your feelings.

You can be selective. You can release it slowly–just as long as you’re forthcoming and not being “caught”–trapped in a web of lies.

2. Realize that your feelings are inescapable, yet they only gain the possibility of change when shared well.

No one is suggesting that there has to be an outpouring from the heart of every single sensation that happens from moment to moment, but when a reality exists, to deny it, mask it or reject it is to set yourself up for being exposed instead of controlling the update on your own situation.

3. Know that people can trust you because they are fully aware that you’re willing to be honest.

Without this kind of emotional purity, human beings spiral down. They end up in the basement of consideration, relegated to a position of worthlessness because they were unable to deliver what they advertised themselves to be.

Fear makes us doubt.

Doubt makes us defensive.

Defensiveness turns us into liars.

And all liars end up looking like fools.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… December 31, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2459)

pohymn 12 31

I v. You

I want more

Less is available

I am beautiful

Others, insist plain

I can sing

Where’s the audience?

I can love

Find the loveable

I am happy

Keep sadness away

I am lonely

Are you home?

I am valuable

See my worth

I am white

You have color

I am believing

You question me

I am laughing

Stop your mourning

I am crying

Cease the show

I am hungry

Fed, see more

I am earthly

You are heavenly

I am religious

You are irreverent

I am prejudiced

You are sensitive

I am weary

You are well-doing

I am here

You are there

I am absent

You are available

I am tired

You look exhausted

I am ready

How about you?

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click above for information on 567!

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Untotaled: Stepping 39 (March 23rd, 1967) The Gospel Brothers–Dreamy, Cute and Darling… November 8, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2407)

(Transcript)

If you live in Central Ohio, the month of March is a beacon of hope–not just of the arrival of spring, but the burgeoning reality that summer cannot be far behind. It makes everyone want to shed their parkas, remove their long underwear and run naked through the streets, clapping their hands to some great Woody Guthrie folk tune. (Well, maybe not that far, since we tend to be a stoic, bashful Germanic sort.)

The month of March was also the time when we had our annual youth rally, held at the Ohio State Fair Grounds, featuring an array of speakers no one remembered, seminars when we passed notes to each other, and venues when the young people could express themselves through music, which had to be gospel.

Last year our group was the hit of the conference. The guys were slapping us on the back and the girls were swooning. We felt we were studs, ready to conquer the world.

But this year, when the poster arrived advertising the event, there was a new music group on the slot, from Boardman, Ohio (up with the rich folks) who obviously were named Dreamy, Cute and Darling–since that’s what all the girls said as they lingered, drooling over their picture.

I thought they were ugly and obviously could not sing, since visually they did not exude any tonal quality.

Jealous, I decided to bad-mouth them, and found that the only allies I had were the other members of my group, who were equally as intimidated by the “beauties.”

Making matters worse, when we arrived at the conference, the three little dweebs were nice. Their rich daddy had just purchased them a Shure Vocal Master System, fresh off the assembly line, which they proudly reported was the twenty-fifth unit available. Only a few famous rock groups were ahead of them numerically.

They were so expansive that they allowed us to use their new PA system, explaining how it worked and encouraging us during rehearsal.

This did not keep me from hating them, and as hate often does when it links with jealousy, it wipes our mind clean of any thought and talent, making us look completely incapable of achieving what we originally were easily able to accomplish.

In other words, we stumbled all over ourselves trying to be better than people who were already better than us because they were nicer.

Yet unwilling to relent from our jealousy, we tried to gossip about them, garnering no audience other than the Grumblers Four.

I learned a lot at that conference.

And although they wanted me to learn about King David and his mighty sling against Goliath, what I learned was that jealousy makes you look small, resentment robs you of your talent, and gossip gives you an ever-shrinking market.

I retain that to this day.

The brothers never went on to pursue a musical career and I have. I assume they did continue to be handsome, and I continued to be … well, determined.

 

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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

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

Three Ways to Avoid Arrogance … July 24, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2301)

ThunderlipsIt’s always easy to identify the loser.

On a show like America’s Got Talent, you can always pick the ones who have absolutely no ability by how much they jabber about the quality of their gift, and also brag about winning the contest.

Yes, I will say it clearly: talent does not dissipate with age but certainly dribbles away with much-speaking.

It’s called arrogance.

Even though we live in a society which insists that a certain amount of self-confidence is necessary to get the job done, every single one of us despises another human being who touts his or her prowess.

With that in mind–fully aware that the herd of humanity will kick you out of the corral if you become too bossy–let’s look at three ways to avoid this nasty tendency for over-wrought boasting:

1. Never talk until you “do.”

Even if someone asks you about the extent of your work, always choose to demonstrate instead of becoming demonstrative in your language. Each one of us has a market value. Certainly, we have personal value to ourselves, our families and even to God. But our market value is what the other travelers on the road consider our attributes to be worth.

Let your light shine. Then you have a chance to be proven successful and rather than needing to bolster your own ego, you can be uplifted by others, and therefore choose an adequately humble response.

2. Don’t “do” without a story.

In other words, if you don’t have something to say or share, don’t jump into the race just so you can tell folks you were there for the running.

After all, is there anything more comical than a fat person saying they plan to start an exercise regimen tomorrow?

Or in my profession, I run across people who claim to be writers but have no daily output. Can you tell me a job you can do once a year and still be proficient at it?

Have a heart that can tap your experience that gives you a reason for what you do, which makes you precious to others.

3. Let the story bring the glory.

If you’ve got a good message and you’re sharing it with people who need a good message, then a better message will come out of it as proof of the value of your efforts.

It’s why Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them.”

  • Not their claims.
  • Not their degrees.
  • Not their position.
  • And not even their potential.

Does your story create another story which brings glory to the situation?

There you have it.

Anything you do to try to convince people of your quality before you do it is wasted time. Trying to do something without having experience and a goal of edifying is equally as annoying. And finishing up what you do without having an obvious experience for the common good is just aggravating.

Arrogance is where non-talented people go when they feel they can intimidate the audience into being appreciative.

 

 

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Arizona morning

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

 

 

Three Ways to Improve Your Talent … June 19, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2268)

America’s-Got-TalentAmerica’s got talent.

So what? Talent is merely the capacity for success, rarely arrives with a plan, and is never well-funded.

We have become obsessed with the idea of talent. We are constantly looking for obvious ability. It is really quite meaningless.

There are many people in this country who are more talented actors than those who receive Academy Awards, yet you will never know their names.

There are many politically minded people who are more statesmanlike than those who win seats in Congress, and yet they, too, remain unknown.

The talent which gains notice in our society is the bit of ability that has the agility to wiggle its way to the top, using much promotion.

So what do you do if you have a talent?

1. Use it.

Stop sitting around waiting for an opportunity or a big break to bring attention to your dream occupation, and make sure that at least once a week you are doing something that resembles the better parts of your “craftiness.”

It doesn’t matter what it is, and it certainly doesn’t matter if you get paid for it. There are too many people in America who believe they could be “just as good” as anyone else, if they just had the opportunity.

Truth is, you are just as good as the last time you did it. When was that? If it was more than seven days ago, your talent is a theory, not a fact.

2. Delete ego.

Most people fail to use their talent because they do not realize that no one is given a perfected virtue. If your ego is involved in your talent, you will resist comments and end up maintaining your mediocre. It is much easier to use your talent and expand it if your ego is retreating.

3. Edify others.

Whatever your talent may be, if you can find a creative way to use it to enrich the lives of others, enlighten people around you or even prosper your neighbors, you have a much better chance of gaining attention and having your reputation climb to the surface.

These three things will assist you in transferring a talent that only exists in your mind into one that is acted out in front of an audience of your peers.

Use it, delete ego and edify others.

If that was the talent America had, well … stars and stripes forever.

 

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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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