Jesonian… March 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Buyer’s remorse.

It is that eerie sensation that seeps into the human heart when the realization that the passion for the project, the person or the purchase has lost some of its original gleam due to the passage of time, and perhaps even the accumulation of disappointment.

It happened to a disciple named Philip.

He was one of the fellows on the ground level of the Kingdom Movement. Matter of fact, it’s believed that he was a disciple of John the Baptist and popped up right after Jesus popped out of the Jordan River.

He was thrilled. He was one of five of the Apostles present for the changing of water to wine. He was so encompassed with the potential of this new experience that he sought out friends, like Nathaniel, and told them that the Messiah had been found, and “come and see.”

But two-and-a-half years later, when there were five thousand hungry men in front of him, and Jesus put him on the spot, asking how Philip intended to feed all those people, he freaked out, explaining that it was too expensive, and ended up feeling like a fool when Jesus found a way.

So on the night of the Last Supper, a weary, flustered and maybe even disillusioned Philip posed a suggestion:

“Show us the Father, Jesus, and it will be enough for us to continue to believe.”

He is rebuked.

Jesus asked him why, after all these years of being in the presence of the Teacher and the teaching, he did not realize that to be part of this beautiful anointing was to be with the Father.

Philip had buyer’s remorse. He was not alone.

  • Judas betrayed Jesus in an extreme fit of buyer’s remorse.
  • Peter denied and decided to go back to fishing before being personally interrupted by Jesus, once again on the seashore.
  • And as you know, Thomas had his doubts.

This problem happens when what we expect is not delivered. It’s why many Christians have a Baptism certificate and a brief story of their salvation, but very little contentment brought about in their Earthly lives.

Jesus was both–he was both a Savior and a motivator.

Most of the churches in America preach him as a Savior. Those who don’t, but rather, present him solely as the motivator, fail to offer his saving grace and forgiveness. But it’s the balance.

Although your church will be quick to tell you what Jesus will do for you, they are not honest about what he will not do:

1. Jesus is not going to take away the problems.

He said, “In the world you have tribulation.” It’s not going away. But your defense is to be of good cheer.

2. Jesus is not going to do all the work.

He said, “You are the light of the world.” Men are going to see your good works. And it is up to each and every one of us to multiply our talents.

3. Jesus also wants us to know that salvation is not a one-time experience.

The remission of our sins is a cleansing, but we continue to experience the “graces of salvation” over and over again, as we walk faithfully through the power of the Gospel.

4. Jesus does not have favorites.

Although the religious system may tell you that the Jews are the “chosen people” or that Christians have become the new “royal priesthood,” Jesus said, “in the Kingdom of God there is neither Hebrew nor Greek, Jew nor Gentile.” God just does not look on the outward appearance.

5. So therefore, Jesus will not join you in hating people.

Matter of fact, if you make the foolish mistake of deciding that certain folks are lesser, those are the very ones he will expect you to love the most.

And finally:

6. Jesus demands visual love.

Not the cursory spoken kind or the single hug during greeting time in the sanctuary, but the temperate, compassionate affection that we grant to one another when periods of craziness seem to make us intolerable.

Are you experiencing some buyer’s remorse?

Are you afraid to admit it?

If you’re smart, like Philip, and you decide to hang around, there is always the possibility of a resurrection … and being filled with the Holy Spirit. 

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Turning Kids Into Humans (Age 15-18) Apprentice… October 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Assumptions are dangerous because they can cause us to become lax in a season when our attention is most warranted.

This is certainly true when it comes to dealing with the adolescent mind–between the age of 15 and 18. There isn’t a parent alive who doesn’t experience buyer’s remorse, personal disappointment, aggravation and a sense of futility while dealing with a teenager on an everyday basis.

The media and educational system do little to assist. Their goals are either to entertain or maintain order. So because of this acquiescence to the unchanging nature of the rebellious teenager, we actually end up extending those frustrating years into their twenties, when it should be dealt with and ministered to by the age of eighteen.

Here’s your basic difficulty: a young human between the years of 15 and 18 doesn’t want to do anything unless it’s in the moment’s whim.

This is why they are so susceptible to temptation. At their very core, vices are exaggerations of potential without ever warning of future difficulties.

So rather than throwing our hands in the air, giving up on our teenagers and waiting for them to emerge from the dark cave of futility, we should instead aggressively pursue a path to apprentice them in a direction that parallels their heart’s desire.

There are very few old-fashioned concepts that should be kept alive, but certainly the practice of apprenticing an adolescent is one of them. You can do it after school, you can make it a summer project, or perhaps a weekend endeavor. But every teenager needs the opportunity to:

  1. Work and be taught on a subject or occupation which seems to presently suit their mission.
  2. In the process of doing this, gain an appreciation of the adjustments necessary to be able to function with other fellow-workers.
  3. Earn money so they learn to meet their needs, save a bit, but most importantly, give to others from their own resource.
  4. Do something they’ve committed to do, even when they don’t feel like doing it.

Without this experience, everything is a theory which is put into practice when they are in college and need to make the grade, or worse, have begun a life filled with financial responsibility, and are required to pick up a paycheck.

The apprentice approach creates a beautiful buffer zone between childhood and adulthood, where teenagers can still maintain a novice profile without shame, before they reach an adult path which requires greater acumen.

They will learn empathy by working with others and gratitude by sharing with souls less fortunate.

If you allow your teenager to sleep in, maintain a bad attitude and refuse to participate in any organized endeavor, you are cursing him or her to putting off their adult life until age thirty.

This is your last gift to that little bundle of joy you brought into the world. While they still have choice, give them a chance to learn without being destroyed, to discover without pressure and to change their minds about their occupation without losing tens of thousands of dollars at the local university.

To be a human being, a teenager must learn how to express that empathy and gratitude which sets us apart–and gives us the righteous authority to have dominion on the earth.

 

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Testing the Repair … September 6, 2012

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Confusion is a bad thing. It tends to make us frustrated and lazy. It should be avoided. But how can you avoid confusion without either developing some sort of “pie in they sky” philosophy, or walking around so disgruntled that you put the entire human community on edge?

Here’s what I do–I relate everything to me. I know that may sound arrogant, so let me qualify. I try to envision any situation in the world around me and compare it to something about me or something I’ve experienced.

So when people talk about education, I pursue learning and personal instruction in matters that will enlighten me and make my choices more informed. When people talk about food and healthy selections, I go to the grocery store and look around for things that fall within the spectrum of what is considered to be nourishing, and from those particular possibilities I grab my personal favorites to form my diet. When people talk about God, I envision a father much like myself, who through trial and error is trying to do the best for his children in instructing them while continuing to love them at all times.

So when they talk to me about politics and business, I don’t let my head spin with a bunch of statistics being offered by both Republicans and Democrats, who are promoting their cause and agenda. Instead, I like to take the situation happening in our economy and apply it to my own life–thereby getting a deeper understanding. Let me hush up with the explanation and give you an example.

I told you earlier in the week that I was “leaky”–that is, my radiator. Well, it turns out it needed to be replaced. Now, I don’t know much about radiators, so I contacted some friends and asked their opinions. You might call them my “advisors.” I got four different outlooks on the issue.

One friend insisted that I needed to take it to a dealership because they were the only ones who completely understood my vehicle, and I shouldn’t enlist some local repair shop, even if it cost me more to go to the big guy.

Another of my counselors asked me if the van was presently leaking. I explained that some friends in South Lyon had put some Stop Leak in it and that it was not dripping any fluid at all. He just laughed and said some variation of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  I think it was, “If it don’t leak, don’t plug it.”

A third friend I conferred with said I should go out and get it welded, or sautered, or whatever they do–get it repaired. It would be cheaper. For after all, he said, there was no need to throw away ninety per cent of a good radiator just because ten per cent was being fussy.

And the final person I spoke to thought I should go to a junk yard, find an old van and remove the radiator from that vehicle and place it into my transportation–because it would be cheaper, even though I would have to put on my rummaging shoes.

Please understand, I took all four perspectives into account. Each one of them was pretty sure he was giving me superb advice. I suppose I could have taken each particular maneuver, applied it and achieved some level of success. Instead, I pursued a fifth option.

I found a reputable repair shop and had them put on a new radiator. It was expensive. I realized if I paid all that money for the radiator and it ended up not working very well or something else broke down in the next few weeks, I would be compiling great financial turmoil for myself and probably end up looking pretty stupid.

Bold maneuvers always put you on top of a mountain, where it’s hard to escape being peered at by the congregation below. So if I bought this radiator and it went well, within a few weeks I would be so happy that I was cruising along without fear of my Stop Leak giving up its “stop,” or my junkyard radiator being junk, or my repaired water holder being irreparable, or paying even more by having the reassurance of a dealership.

I had to risk looking stupid to give myself a new, fresh opportunity. Even as I drive down the road today, heading towards Indiana from Michigan, I am not out of the woods. Every mile is a test-drive of my decision on how to repair my van.

The holes in the radiator were not my fauilt.I don’t feel guilty that the problem came up. I don’t feel responsible that it occurred “on my watch” instead of the time-clock of the former owner. I just want to make sure that I give myself the best chance to resolve the situation, even though my wallet took a hit and I put myself in a vulnerable position, where if something else goes wrong, I might just end up looking stupid. Remember–“smart” is often “stupid” which survived the trial. Do you see my point?

I think the same thing is true in our country. The last thing in the world we need in the US of America right now is an election. What we really require is a revival of common sense.

We need our teachers to instruct in subjects that will prepare the students for a real-life situation in this twenty-first-century global economy.

We need corporations to stop sitting on profit margins, contriving new bonuses, but instead, taking the good old-fashioned capitalist risk of venturing into new schemes which will require more employees.

We need politicians to stop campaigning and start considering ways to make ideas functional, even though often when you implement them they may seem scary at first because you do not know if they will actually take care of the repair.

And we need ministers and spiritual people in this country to stop plugging religion and give us the impetus and motivation to believe that “NoOne is better than anyone else” and that we are the only “we” that is available at this time in this season for this situation.

What do I think about America? I think we decided to do something four years ago, as a nation, by a majority, and now we’ve got a little “buyer’s remorse.” As I drive along today, I am hoping that my choice on how to repair my van is going to hold up and work. Any good American should be feeling the same way about the choices we’ve made to repair this country and its economy. It doesn’t mean other things won’t come up. It doesn’t mean we won’t need each other for further counsel–to tweak the solution. It just means that sometimes, all you can do is choose the best you can and then work with your best guess.

I do not condone either party or support either candidate. I know this–as in the case of the radiator on my van, every choice I made had its good points and bad points. I made a choice. Yes, I gave my van a stimulus program. We’ll see if it works. And if it doesn’t, I’m going to need those friends who gave me their input, to help me find a way to reclaim a new solution. And if it does work, I need to humbly bow my head in prayer and thank my Father for being merciful to this child.

It’s time for Americans to stop fighting. Hang in there with each other; make some subtle changes–but test out the repair. It took us eight years to screw up the economy–and the people who did it weren’t bad. It’s just that their repair didn’t hold up. But since it took eight years to get in trouble, I don’t know whether we can expect to escape in four.

  • What we need are people who will believe without demanding that their opinions be supreme.
  • What we require is faith in one another.
  • What we don’t need is to tear our nation apart over tiny points of legalism and end up with too much to prove for any good to come of it.

So here I go–my confusion about the United States has been clarified by a decision I had to make this week about a radiator. Am I right? Am I wrong? I won’t know until I test the repair.

But I do know this–whatever happens, I won’t blame anyone, including myself. I’ll just take the next better idea that comes along, thank whoever gave it to me, and make it my own.

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