G-Poppers … February 10th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop is fully aware that most people do not realize that their ultimate self-worth is gauged by how valuable they are to others.

Self-confidence may have its charm, but if it doesn’t manifest into some sort of contribution to the human tribe, then it comes across more as boasting than boosting.

With that in mind, it might be good to have a pulse on the heartbeat of people’s needs. So here’s how it breaks down:

50% of the time, the only thing people want from us is our ears.

They just want us to listen. Are they offended when we contribute thoughts? Yes. They have planned a soliloquy and we try to turn it into a dialogue.

20 % of the time they want our hands.

“Can you help me lift this?”

“I need some assistance.”

“Somebody finked out on me and I was wondering if you could be there to fill the gap.”

15% of the time, they yearn to have our feet.

Folks are always advertising something, are tied up, and require others to support the cause and put feet to the faith.

10% of the time, they want our eyes.

They would like us to be observant.

For instance, notice when they have broccoli in their teeth.

Maybe that new outfit we think is so adorable actually makes us look like a stuffed sausage.

And 5% of the time they tolerate our words.

It’s why sermons don’t work well.

Seminars are for those who like stale Danish and anemic coffee.

And prayer meetings and Bible studies have diminishing audiences.

Too much talk.

G-Pop wants his children to learn what makes them worthwhile:

  • People want your ears
  • Then your hands
  • Your feet
  • Your eyes

And on strange occasions when they’re in a particularly cheery mood … they will put up with a little bit of your yammering.

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Good News and Better News … March 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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wilmington composite

2:42 A.M.

I am suddenly awake.

It is a ritual I follow every Saturday night before the Sunday morning sharing of my heart with a congregation. This week it was Lutheran Church of Reconciliation in Wilmington, North Carolina with Pastor Bill.

What wakes me up at that early hour is a mingling of excitement, inadequacy, a hint of fear and wonder. Yes, I wonder if I can get enough of “me” out of the way to be able to feel for those around me.

For I will tell you–the good souls of Lutheran Church of Reconciliation deserve more than a pompous ass. Even though I don’t view myself in that manner, it doesn’t hurt to take a few moments to scour the soul for hidden dirt in the corners.

That’s why I have posted a picture of my pillow. During those late night sessions, my pillow becomes my sounding board as I muse some important questions:

1. Can I get rid of my anger?

We’re all angry. We all have an axe to grind. We all have unrequited feelings that whine at us. But they are useless when we are interfacing with our brothers and sisters.

2. Can I find my weakness?

Jesus said when I’m weak I’m strong.

Why? Because talking about our strengths is easily misinterpreted as boasting instead of reality. Sharing our weaknesses links us with others who are duly reminded of some shortcomings of their own.

Which leads me to:

3. Exploit it.

Yes. Exploit my weaknesses. Giggle about them. Tell stories that show how these frailties have failed me–but the grace of God has saved me. This brings me to:

4. Chase away my fear.

My greatest fear is that I will be exposed for my foibles. If I share my own mistakes, the human race does not have to expose me. Which concludes with:

5. Let love laugh.

  • Love is fine when it speaks.
  • Love is better when it hugs.
  • But love is supreme when it laughs.

Yes, a full-hearted laugh at my humanity lets you know that I believe that God will see me through.

When I finally get peace over these five, sleep slips back in. I’m ready.

That’s the good news.

The better news is that when I take the time to prepare my heart, I have the right tool to open the hearts of others. These beautiful people in Wilmington did just that.

One man shared with me the spine-tingling story of his calling from God.

Another lady was dealing with a nasty email, which she decided to answer with gentleness.

Yet another gentleman came up with a memory of using his talent.

And there was a woman with a painful event from her past which had been eased by the sweetness of Spirit.

They tell us that people in America are angry. Here’s the truth: angry people attack, which causes other angry people to attack back. Disappointed folks hurt–but cheerful souls heal.

So what is my mission?

Get America to be of good cheer.

 

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The G Series: G-1 … December 6, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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G SeriesIt’s going to be very difficult to have faith that moves mountains if you attempt to maintain a positive attitude that fails to recognize the “rise” in difficulties ahead.

Likewise, if you contend that every Tennessee “smoky hill” is Mt. Everest, you probably won’t do much earth rearranging, either.

For after all, one of the great comedies-in-error is the fact that human beings require a certain amount of balance that they rarely find, or for that matter, are willing to pursue. So instead of analyzing our feelings to find shreds of quality within, we relegate certain emotions as “bad” and others as “good.”

For instance, boredom is normally considered to be a negative in the human family. When we’re bored we become grumpy and immediately try to alleviate the condition by grabbing onto the first roller coaster that zooms through the amusement park.

Yet we consider confidence to be a positive attribute which will propel our wishes and dreams to a conclusion and manifest an obvious victory.

Here’s the truth:

  • When I’m bored it’s because dissatisfaction has warned me that I’ve begun to settle for things that are less than I hoped or are inferior to my abilities.
  • The purpose of confidence is to remind me, in my dissatisfaction, that I have been successful in the past when I’ve ventured into the wilderness of possibility, without every eventuality covered.

I can’t be a complete person if I’m just dissatisfied–I settle into a muddy pit of mediocrity and complaining.

But in like manner, if I have confidence all the time, it will soon be dashed by the reality of competition, trial and tribulation, leaving me running to the corner like a little whipped pup.

It’s the balance of the two.

Every Friday in this G series, we’re going to discuss this balance, which will be one thing we consider to be negative and another we think is positive–which really need to be blended, to generate our human effort through creativity.

I’m dissatisfied, so I will consider, with confidence, what more I can do.

Without dissatisfaction, my confidence is just boasting. And without confidence, my dissatisfaction is merely cranky.

Learn the ways of your human days.

Come face to face with the nature of the race.

And understand that a dissatisfied soul who is able to tap his or her confidence notices that the mountain is small enough that the faith provided …, just might move it.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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

Peace with the Pieces… March 10, 2013

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piecesIt was odd.

I was suddenly overwhelmed by the notion of my own inadequacy.

Thinking about the sharing I would be doing tomorrow morning at Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, I was confronted with my lacking. I am a bald, aging man with limited mobility, who has suffered–or at least struggled–with obesity all my life.

To say that I feel humbled by the notion of offering exhortation, edification or even insight into the lives of others would be an oversimplification of my vacancy. I don’t know whether anybody is worthy to be a voice crying in the wilderness–especially entrusted with the concept of challenging people to “prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight.”

Somehow or another it seems prudent for me to straighten some of my own paths before instructing others in path-straightening.

But what does that mean? Am I to sit around and wait until I am a worthy representation of goodness in order to praise goodness, point to goodness or even stand in awe of what goodness can do?

I am pieces, trying to make peace with myself.

I am chunks of what could be a whole, but doesn’t really promise to ever coagulate.

I am an incomplete vessel who really has only one responsibility–don’t lie about my insufficiency. Don’t exaggerate my qualification. And don’t pretend to be anything other than the subtotal of my pieces.

When my knees gave out on me late last year, I thought my time  of speaking in front of audiences and pouring out my heart was over. I honestly did not want to be a disgrace to the kingdom of God through my weakness. I was determined to develop an excuse for escaping my continued participation in the unification of the human spirit with the presence of God by pulling up lame–literally.

Maybe it’s just that I felt stupid. Maybe “wheeling” my way in front of an audience to hobble to my keyboard was just a little too much hyperbole of uselessness.

I don’t know. It wasn’t that I wanted to quit. It just seemed that quitting was an honorable thing. Make room for someone who’s more … whole.

And then I remembered the words that God said to Adam in the Garden when his little buddy was hiding among the fig leaves.

“Why are you hiding?”

“I’m hiding because I’m naked,” said Adam.

“Who told you that you were naked?” asked God.

Yes–who told me I was unworthy? Who told me I was weak and beyond redemption? Who told me that it was time to graze in the grass instead of  shepherding people to greener pastures?

I did.

I decided what was righteous.

I decided what was beautiful.

I decided what was marketable.

God hasn’t worked with me for these many years and seen me crash and bounce to the earth to not allow me to continue to speak my mind.

I’m finding ways to be at peace with my pieces. For after all, being complete is over-rated. When we express our weakness, those around us perceive us as stronger by the confession. When we pronounce our strengths, yet obviously sprout flaws, we are only made weaker by our boasting.

I come to you in pieces, trying to find a way to have peace with them.

You can decide … whether it’s worth hearing.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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