Jesonian … July 28th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Today I’m doing something a little different. I’m sitting here with the Good Book open, peering down at John the 7th Chapter.

I have no intention of trying to impress you with my Bible knowledge nor attempt to turn some passage into a magical expression of salvation.

What I want to share with you is a pattern.

I would like to find an adjective to describe this pattern. Foolish comes to mind. Perhaps dangerous. But certainly repetitive.

The pattern is the ongoing belief in every generation that you can evaluate something by the numbers–“the bottom line.”

Ironically, it was verbalized perfectly over two thousand years ago by the brothers and sisters of Jesus of Nazareth when they critiqued him on his approach to promoting the message he had chosen to share.

Their insights are frightening to read because they are so current to today’s ignorance. They spoke the following to Jesus:

“For there is no man that does anything in secret but instead, wants to be known.”

Have you ever heard that philosophy?

“Promote yourself.”

“Get it out there.”

“Showcase it.”

“Use your tools.”

“Adjust your intensity to the present flow of thinking.”

Amazingly, through the whole 7th Chapter of John, this repeats over and over again. For later on in that same passage, the audiences that come to Jesus muse whether he could be the Messiah, because they’re concerned about where he was born.

Added pressure.

Not only do you need to promote yourself well, but you need a certain look–maybe even a color. How about a culture to back you up?

We have the mistaken idea that Jesus always had great multitudes following him. There were times that people hung around for a while–after all, if you turn water into wine and can take a Happy Meal and make a buffet, you will gain some attention.

But the truth of the matter is, as soon as Jesus started teaching, the crowd thinned, and on one occasion totally disappeared.

For after all, what concerned the average Jew was whether God would send a military man to destroy the Romans and establish the Kingdom of Israel.

On the other hand, Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God, which was within us, and would enable us to get along with everyone, including the Romans.

Conflict.

Yet it is best capsulized in that same chapter in a meeting among the Jewish leaders.

When they sat discussing the phenomenon of Jesus of Nazareth, what finally made them decide he was a joke, a hoax or at least a light-weight was the fact that none of the hierarchy of their religion–those considered intelligent, educated and astute–believed in him.

The premise was, “If you really are somebody, all the “somebodies” will recognize and promote you.”

“If you really are talented, you will be discovered.”

“If you really are bringing a possibility of hope and salvation, eventually you’ll be offered a platform instead of a cross.”

It didn’t work out that way.

Nowadays, I often sit around with my children, explaining to them that success is meaningless. In my lifetime, notorious people, who appeared to be powerful and everlasting, bit the dust and became cautionary tales of stupidity.

You can’t look at the numbers.

If you had lived in 1st century Palestine and looked at the numbers, the popularity, the acceptance, the blending and the support of the people in the know, you would never have found Jesus.

If you want to find out what is going to last, be helpful, truthful and carry the touch of God, do one thing–simply watch and learn.

How resourcefully does he, she or they use the resources?

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G-Poppers … June 15th, 2018

Colin Kaepernick.

Here’s a young fellow who chose to protest alleged use of irrational violence by the police department against young black men. His method of objection was very simple:

He was a football player, so when the National Anthem was performed, he refused to stand, but at first sat, and eventually, along with many others, took a knee during the Francis Scott Key.

It was harmless.

Unfortunately, it became quite a row when capitalism and democracy were unleashed from their cages to wrestle with one another.

G-Pop wants you to understand that the two don’t get along. Democracy contends that individual citizens have the freedom to express themselves without inhibition.

Capitalism places the entire significance of its purpose in its name–capital. Money is the reason, money is the means, money is the passion and money is the bottom line.

So G-Pop found himself in an interesting situation two nights ago while having dinner with friends. Having not given adequate thought on this battle between capitalism and democracy, G-Pop stated that he felt the decision to forbid the protest of these excellent athletes was a sham and would eventually be perceived as a national shame.

G-Pop spoke too soon.

As long as we continue to have a democracy that is acted out through capitalism, those who work for the corporation will need to honor the tenets, principles and concepts of the company–even if they feel it deters from their freedoms.

Every day, each one of us sacrifices a little choice so we can be part of a bigger unit.

We do so because of money.

We do so fearing that launching too much on our own, without financial prospects, will leave us broke and busted instead of a fine bloke who’s trusted.

It’s really quite simple.

As long as Mr. Kaepernick was “Colinizing” an idea with his friends, to project their disagreement, and the National Football League was NOT insisting they follow any particular code, it was beautiful, totally sane and within the bounds of reason.

But when President Trump challenged the owners of the NFL to make the “knee salute” a profile against the policy of the National Football League, capitalism won over freedom.

Pardon the pun, but Colin and his buddies had no leg to stand on.

It was nasty.

It was plotted.

And it turned what could have been a dynamic discussion into a wicked slap on the wrist in the principal’s office.

G-Pop was wrong.

Capitalism–the pursuit of capital–will always trim back democracy, the insistence on freedom.

So Colin and his “Colinizers” will have to find a different way to protest. G-Pop is completely confident they will.

But until they do, let us not make it an issue of patriotism, but rather, conclude correctly that it is merely patronizing the bottom line.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … December 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-sunshine

Sun of the Beach

 

Sunshine, feeling fine

But what would I know?

Left my shoes at the beach

And then I stubbed my toe

 

Turned and cursed the guilty rock

Limped along an ocean block

Stumbled over a three-inch rut

Fell upon my big fat butt

 

A child laughed, I gave a glare

His mother frowned, I didn’t care

Me required some gentle look

That is what it would took

 

To keep me from killing the boy

Who bled and died near his toy

Had it coming! was my excuse

Went to jail, couldn’t refuse

 

Arrested I was for a natural deed

Curious how the farce would lead

A trial before a grumpy judge

Who gave the jury a threatening nudge

 

Convict the kid killer! he said

I realized I was surely dead

I removed my sock to display my toe

Swollen and sore–all aglow

 

Looking for someone kind

No sympathy did I ever find

Guilty, they said,

Pronounced me dead

 

Thus my song has been sung

Three days later I was hung

So here’s my conclusion, the bottom line

It’s best to stay clear of all sunshine

 

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Ask Jonathots … July 30th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

What is the best way to stand out in a job interview? I have three of them scheduled in the next month. I’m a manager in a good stable company, but want to work in a more innovative business environment.

First and most important, there is no correct, accurate, positive and valuable answer for the inquiry, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

If you say too little, you look timid.

If you say too much, you look arrogant.

Every company has a different approach, but basically it revolves around three different questions. Every job interviewer wants to know:

  1. What do you think about yourself?
  2. What do you think about others (co-workers)?
  3. What is your position on personal responsibility?

If you go into a job interview understanding that these are the “big three” that need to be answered, then you will know how to present yourself in a better light.

So if you get that infamous request–to share about yourself–break it down into two different parts:

  • This is what I believe I can do
  • And this is what I’ve been able to prove I can accomplish.

Because we are human beings, we require other human beings to have a balance of confidence and humility. So if you’re going to rehearse for an interview, what you need to do is find a way to keep that balance in order.

Example:

“I have always felt that I was pretty good at dealing with people, but I think that is getting better because the evidence is showing up in the fact that my sales, interactions and productivity have increased when working with others.”

It’s a balance. It shows that you have confidence, but you realize that it’s being put to the test, and will only be proven when there’s a fruitful conclusion.

I also think it’s important in every interview to have a point when you disagree. I’m not suggesting an argument, but in the process of asking you questions, people will make assumptions.

For instance, “At our company, we believe that everybody is valuable and everybody’s feelings need to be taken into consideration.”

Your response: “Even though I agree with what you’re saying in principle, we are a company, and the bottom line is producing and making money. So we have to be careful not to stop every five minutes to work out office conflicts, but instead, be looking out for the good of the company. At least, that’s what I believe.”

And finally, the third thing to take into consideration in an interview is the “Rule of 25.” Try to keep all of your initial answers to 25 words or less. Rambling or running out of things to say and groping in the air for more information is a sure way to come across tentative. Make your interviewer ask you more questions, and give shorter answers.

These are some guidelines which I hope will help you in the pursuit of a new opportunity.

And by the way, best wishes and good luck.

 

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Three Ways to Avoid War… May 28th, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

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explosion

“War is hell.”

Actually, tracking down the origin of that quote is not very easy. Some people attribute it to General Sherman, from the Civil War. I think the people of Georgia would certainly agree that he brought the hell of war to their doorstep.

We have been programmed in this country to believe that to some extent, war is inevitable. We now have two holidays during the year when we commemorate those who have fallen in conflicts, and give them due honor.

Yet a voice of reason, insisting that war is to be avoided, is needed at this time in our history. It is not only patriotic, it is life-saving.

I will tell you–war is hell–whether fought in your living room, your work place, your church, your town, or nation against nation.

And there are three very strong profiles that can be taken to avoid war:

1. Don’t push your freedom.

If you have found something meaningful and beneficial to your life, don’t assume it’s your mission to evangelize it to the entire world–or even to insist that others are “lacking” because they don’t share your vision.

America does the world a disservice by contending that the seeds of democracy can be planted anywhere and grow a similar crop. It makes us come off as self-righteous.

In your own personal life, don’t insist that your principles are meant for general consumption. If people are interested in your philosophy or your freedom, they will let you know.

When you push your freedom, you incite war.

2. Don’t interfere in family arguments.

If you have two friends going through marital difficulties, don’t take sides. Matter of fact, refuse to–even if it initially makes them angry with you.

If you take sides and they reconcile, you will be the villain.

If they don’t reconcile, you have the opportunity to maintain relationship with both parties.

When will we finally understand that the situation in the Middle East is a family squabble? By taking sides, we deepen the conflict and increase the violence. We should stand prepared to support both sides–especially if they are working toward immediate reconciliation.

Taking sides increases the ferocity of the warfare.

3. Don’t let corporations dictate policy.

Corporations have one goal–to make money.

If corporations are deciding our foreign policy, then we are at the mercy of their bottom line instead of respecting the power of peace and keeping our free-standing army standing instead of falling.

The same thing is true in a family. Moms and Dads end up fighting with each other because they fall mercy to their bills, responsibilities and mortgages.

These are things you pay; they are not meant to prey on your sense of stability.

Corporations start wars to make money.

If you keep an eye on these three things you can avoid war.

So don’t force your freedom, take sides or let business decide policy. If you do this, you have a great chance to become a peace-maker.

Word has it…they are called the children of God.

 

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Three Ways to Ask… December 18, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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child pick up bigger

Timid or aggressive?

It is the unholy bounce we find ourselves in when trying to pursue our heart’s desire.

  • Timid makes us ill-suited to acquire our dreams.
  • On the other spectrum, aggressive is undesirable. We end up looking self-serving.

Yet we do have needs. We do require certain input to make our lives work and on occasion these valuables are not immediately provided.

So how should you ask? How do you bridge the gap between timid and aggressive and find the appropriate profile to offer your beseeching?

1. Ask from a history of gratitude.

I do not believe that anyone will get what they want in life without preceding it with a great dose of gracious thankfulness. There is something in the heart of humans–and I also believe in the heart of God–which repels those who think they can come making demands without first giving testimony of the blessings that have already come their way.

People don’t like to do this because it seems awkward, contrived and insincere. But what could be more awkward, contrived or insincere than coming one more time to ask without expressing a “thank you” for what has already been provided?

2. Ask and be specific.

It is annoying to have to draw out of someone what they really need instead of them being candid and sharing their heart with you.

If you’re embarrassed about your lack, then you should learn to live with it. You have to decide if you want to improve your situation or if you just want to act humiliated.

Be clear about what you want.

Focus on what you’re asking.

3. Ask, prepared to use what is available.

Once people know you’re grateful and you have been forthcoming, be prepared to get a little bit less than what you petitioned, and then astound yourself and the world around you by working with it.

My definition of greed is thinking that what you have determined to be your bottom line has to be achieved before you will move one muscle to begin.

Asking is one-third of the great energy that’s necessary to be a human being. It is the first step to seeking, and finally culminating with the perseverance of knocking.

Never be afraid to ask–as long as you have a grateful heart, an honest tongue and a willingness to make a start of things instead of stubbornly waiting for exactly what you want.

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Any Given Sunday… March 4, 2013

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country churchI often find myself challenged.
Usually it’s by friends and family, who wonder why I continue to pursue an “inreach” to the church instead of expanding my activities outside the stained glass windows, to the marauding masses.
Did you ever notice that it’s always easier to view somebody else’s situation and figure out what they should do instead of messing with your own life? It’s why Jesus said we would rather take the speck of sawdust out of our brother’s eye than deal with the log protruding from our own.
But there is a miracle going on in this country. Just because it does not presently feel very miraculous does not detract from its potential. Any given Sunday, millions of Americans rise from their beds and head off to buildings, to worship the God of their choice. There’s nothing quite like it. There’s nothing that imitates it.
Even though my critics would occasionally suggest that I should go into the educational system and teach, or turn all of my products into a marketing scheme and start businesses that reach larger forums, or even that I become politically involved and change the world around me legally, I have to stand back and take a good gander at the opportunities afforded to me at this juncture in history and pursue what’s really going to work instead of what should work.
Let me tell you the problem with education. You need a diploma. What I mean is, we still evaluate the intelligence of our population based on the level of certificate they’ve received. Of course, we know this to be fictitious. We have gradually been admitting that technical schools, personal training and even apprenticeship can be preferrable methods for preparing people for the marketplace.
So how about entertainment? The problem with entertainment is that it needs applause. When you’re trying to appeal to the mass mentality, it is difficult to land on powerful ideas born through spirit or wisdom.

I suppose you could pursue corporations–but as you well know, they need a profit. They require squeezing every single dollar of savings out of your ledger of costs to always plump the bottom line.
How about politics? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that politicians need a vote–and if you’re trying to get everybody to vote for you, the only thing you’re really running from is the truth.
It’s the church.

Flawed as she may be, encumbered by tradition more than passion, she still remains the only avenue for change–where people understand that some receptivity and learning may be necessary to gain favor.

Any given Sunday, you will see them gather. They are the huddled masses of our nation, still clinging to the hope of better ideals, even if those principles are muttered instead of proclaimed.
I sat in my green room yesterday morning preparing to share my heart with a new group of people from Houston, Texas. Outside in the hallway there were a myriad of conversations that floated through my door. These interactions were not any different from what you would have heard at a barbershop, a shopping mall or outside a football stadium prior to the game. They were laced with humanity, riddled with a lot of opinion, and even frustration.

But here’s the difference–we weren’t at a barber shop, a shopping mall or getting ready to go to a football game. We were heading into a room to sit our butts down in the presence of God and try to think about something besides ourselves and our own woes.

It opens the door for a possibility for renewal. It opens the window to revival. It opens our minds to the resurrection of change.

No one left the way they came. That’s why I go to the church. That’s why I keep believing.

And that’s why, on any given Sunday, there is the magnificent mission of generating a glorious new Monday.

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