New Life… January 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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New Life

I picked up my calendar and noticed that tonight I’m going to be sharing at New Life Lutheran Church in Pearland, Texas. I couldn’t help but notice the two words: New Life.

I like that idea. I think everybody wants a new life to some degree, even if they’re enjoying the essence of their present journey. “New” is fun and fresh, and “life” is beautiful, if for no other reason than it’s the absence of death.

But I have never been a soul satisfied with the offerings of organized religion. I want new life, but Heaven and the promise of eternal existence is not enough to get me through Earth.

I need some heaven done here.

This is what Jesus promised in the Good Book–that it was possible for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I’ve always wondered why we thought Heaven was going to be so special if we weren’t impressed with the adventure God offers us on Earth. It’s like owning a Toyota Camry and being dissatisfied, and having the company offer you a Tercel. Still made by Toyota. No reason to believe the different name will make things better.

So I go to Jesus to find out what he thinks life is. Two things jump out immediately. He contended that life should be “abundant” and life should be “joyful.” Actually–full joy.

So what is abundance? I suppose it could be interpreted as “wealth” or accumulation. But I think in this case it means variety.

Yes, I will know that I have new life when I’m not afraid of what’s coming. If God was with me yesterday, why would I believe that overnight He’s abandoned me simply because today offers a different dilemma?

Yet, it is what plagues us. We really gain new life when we’re not afraid of what’s coming and we welcome the abundance because we know it grants us the wisdom to use our talents to gain our security.

And I need joy. Joy is the decision to be happy while you’re pursuing contentment.

If you do it the other way around, you’ll end up quite disappointed, trying to find contentment as a means of determining your happiness. This means that every disruption of your experience, actually bringing abundance, will distress you instead of bless you.

Yes, “new life” is the ingenious blending of abundance and joy.

So as I talk to these folks tonight I will share with them that Jesus did not come to try to make things comfortable. Instead, he came to comfort us as we grow able to handle our circumstance while maintaining our good cheer, eager for a chance to prove that what is in us … is up to the challenge.. 

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

Hastens and Chastens … November 29, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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stocksThe quickest way to manufacture an agnostic is to allow false doctrines and teachings about God to continue to be propagated without challenge. Religion struggles under the burden of traditions rather than experiencing the power of transition.

This is definitely exemplified in the old-time Thanksgiving hymn, which begins: We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.

The next line continues: He hastens and chastens, His will to make known.

He hastens?

May I explain to you that God is in no hurry. Being a creative sort, he is fully aware of the gifts and limitations of His creation. Human beings are intolerable when they’re in a hurry. The best advice we ever give to each other is “slow down.”

Speed kills–and not just because it takes away the ability to control direction, but also because it removes the pleasure of scenery along the journey. I will guarantee you that God is not hastening.

If God believes that a day is as a thousand years, then He certainly doesn’t expect you to accomplish everything in one morning. If you want to find God, calm down. For I will tell you–Type A personalities never make it to Z.

He chastens?

For those of you not familiar with the Old English term of “chastening,” it means discipline or correction. I suppose you could consider life, Mother Nature and the way things work as a form of punishment–unless you were just smart enough to learn them and stop resisting what all of us have to live under in order to be part of the family of humankind.

  • God doesn’t discipline anyone.
  • He doesn’t tempt anyone.
  • He doesn’t punish anyone.

Built into the ecological and physiological nature of our planet are the guidelines and systems that rule the roost. Learn them. Then you won’t have to paint a picture of God with a wicked handlebar mustache tying you to the railroad tracks to be hit by the train.

His will to make known?

A true revolution in spirituality will occur when we stop believing that God has a perfect plan for everyone’s life and that He weeps crocodile tears over our inferior efforts.

God has given us a life where we can slow down, learn how things work and then possess the free will to pursue our dreams as we respect others.

So you can understand why people get so overly zealous promoting an angry God–and how those fed up with such an Abominable Snowman have run from the church in search of other comforts.

A quick review:

  1. God isn’t in a hurry, so why are we?
  2. God doesn’t punish; He instructs through life.
  3. God’s will is that nobody perish but that all people learn the power of repentance (change).

It’s so much easier to believe in God when you’re not religious.

He’s the Creator … who just keeps on creating.

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

Emotional Cabbage… February 22, 2013

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cabbageI had to laugh. The slender young woman on the television set was explaining that the key to weight loss was portion control.

Of course, dear friends, if I could control my portions, I wouldn’t be a big fat boy, now, would I? If I was able to put less food on my plate and convince myself that I was satisfied, I would certainly be slim. Unfortunately, I can’t do that.

So the key to my weight loss is to trick my body into believing that I am eating just as much as I was before–but making sure that all that food going into my mouth is much healthier and has many fewer calories.

Casseroles help–just taking a baking dish and throwing in a whole bunch of stuff that looks delicious, cooking it up together and knowing that you will be able to fill your plate up just like you used to, but with about one-third the calories.

And one particular thing to add to that goulash is cabbage. It is a great filler, it is absent calories and aside from adding a little gas to your diet, it makes your plate of goodies look robust and full.

Yes–the key to weight loss is to change the amount of calories without changing your desire to enjoy good food.

Of course, the body is not that different from the human emotions. Everyday of our lives, we need confirmation of our status, reinforcement of our ego and encouragement of our pursuit of happiness. If we don’t have this we will start getting depressed, fussy and critical of other people who seem to be improving their lives while we are standing still.

So just as you need cabbage in your casserole to make your dinner seem like bounty, each and every one of us needs emotional cabbage added to our everyday, repetitive chores, to make us feel full of passion. Without this, we start feeling starved and cheated, stealing dignity from other people to make ourselves look better.

So what is emotional cabbage? Every day we need:

1. An opportunity to use our talent. That may sound silly, but most individuals work a job and perform duties that have very little to do with their actual talent. It is something they have learned to accomplish to make a living, but their heart’s desire lies in other areas. If your quest is not being pursued daily in some kind of opportunity you have created for yourself, be prepared to go to bed feeling a little emotionally empty. Each and every twenty-four hours, we need an opportunity to use our REAL talent.

2. To keep that emotional cabbage churning, you also need a challenge to that same talent. Repetition–even of good things–often makes us believe we are spinning our wheels, going nowhere. We require a challenge–because a challenge gives us two very important things. It puts our abilities to the test and secondly, it gives us the chance to celebrate our victories and correct our mistakes.

3. And finally, to have emotional cabbage in your life, you need a good, hearty, DAILY cleansing laugh. It may sound silly, but I will tell you this–if you are seeking an opportunity to use your talent and you are challenging your talent, many funny things will come your way. Laugh. Good cheer is when your whole being confesses that nothing is too serious to ever bring you down.

I call it emotional cabbage. Without it, we feel hungry for more, even when we’re too exhausted to do anything else.

  • An opportunity to use your talent
  • A challenge to your talent
  • And a good laugh

It will keep you pure in your heart. It will make you believe that good things are possible. It will create a loving spirit.

It will make you valuable to your fellow-man.

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

Step Into It … November 25, 2012

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He was five foot ten inches tall and weighed two hundred and twenty pounds. He was on my team–a good friend, and his name was Scott.

I used to love practice with him. He was so much fun to tackle. It was like chasing a bowling ball down the alley and trying to wrestle it into the gutter before it knocked down the pins.

One day during scrimmage, he was having great success against our defense. On one play, while running through the line, I caught him at just the right angle and solidly knocked him to the ground. I was so proud. Rising to my feet, I realized that my coach was standing over me. He grabbed me by the arm, took me back to the original line, pointed to a place on the ground and said, “That’s where you SHOULD have gotten him. You should have stepped into it two yards earlier and kept him from making any progress at all.”

Being just a punky kid, I was aggravated with the criticism, especially considering the fact I had made such a magnificent tackle. It got in my craw.

So at the end of the practice, the coach gathered us all together and did his daily wrap-up of our efforts. At the end of his pep talk, he pointed at me and told all the fellows on the team, “You guys see Cring, there?  Cring is so good–he can be better.” Then he looked at everybody’s face. Some people smiled; some crinkled their brows in bewilderment. One or two laughed and about four clapped their hands.

Realizing that nobody understood what he meant, he explained. “When you haven’t got much, it isn’t worth the time to try to make more. But if you’ve got something to start with, then your greatest joy is knowing that you can make it even bigger.”

Of course, we were just a bunch of bratty kids and didn’t understand. But I still remember that day. Matter of fact, it came to my mind on Tuesday when I was trying to get out of my van and my knees hurt really bad. I was about ready to hatch a fresh batch of complaining. It crossed my mind that this whole business with my legs was a little unfair, considering that all I want to do with my life is share my little dab of talent and help out where I can. And then … I heard the words again.

“Cring, you are so good that you can be better.”

I realized that the only way God can say He loves me is to give me greater challenges so I have a chance to produce lasting possibilities. I was humbled. I recognized that even though we think our accomplishments are sufficient, each and every one of us CAN “step into it.”

And the greatest compliment God can give us is to trust that we won’t give up just because it gets a little harder.

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

There’s Got To Be a Morning After… October 2, 2012

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Three words: humble, humility, humiliation.

I think I have spent a lifetime learning the difference among that trio of offerings. For after all, I’ve met many people who have suggested that “humble” is the path to take in attempting to please God and make your life spiritually in order. Here’s the problem–acting like you’re not capable of much is quickly proven to be true when your efforts fall short of adequate, and rather than being viewed as humble, you are deemed inept.

Then there are people who take the other route. They decide to lead with their talents, accomplishments, dreams, aspirations and fleeting acclaim. They think a little piece of pride is necessary to grease the wheels of the train of success. The only problem is, there’s going to be a morning after. Eventually you have to display your wares in the marketplace of life and be evaluated by the existing forces on the qualities of who you are and what you do. If you’ve spent too much time bragging about your potential, the end result will be humiliation–and others will get the chance to tell you how rotten and unfulfilling you really are.

The third choice is humility. Humility is when you have a private counsel in your soul with all your faculties and the spirit of God, and through that meeting you decide on a course of action and quietly set it in motion without fanfare, planning it meticulously, rehearsing your portion faithfully and believing God to be able beyond measure.  When prosperity is brought about through that effort, you then have the power to receive the praise and deflect it in any direction you desire.

I am astounded, as I travel this country, at the arrogance displayed from both the conservatives and the liberals, and the phony, humble attitudes manufactured under the guise of coming across like “just one of the people.” Humility can not be faked. It is a delicious blend of effort with faith. It is a concoction where we understand the importance of excellence, while also comprehending that perfect things are often nailed to a cross.

As I sat onstage last night in Conneaut, Ohio, at New Leaf United Methodist Church, in front of some of the sweetest human beings you would ever want to meet, and the cameras were rolling, filming my show, I was temporarily overcome by the beauty of a simple word: opportunity.

Some folks spend their whole lives trying to achieve a station, a stage, or a format they deem to be worthy of their abilities instead of grabbing any soapbox available and standing in humility and delivering. As I watched my partner, Janet, display all of her years of rehearsing and excellence in front of the audience, I was moved with great admiration that this dear lady was absolutely delighted to be sharing her portion of God’s gift in this small, Ohio town.

Afterwards, I interfaced, embraced, chatted, laughed and cried with these kind folks who had come out to see me shake my reed in the wind. It was beautiful.

But as I lay down to sleep last night, I felt a burning, incendiary anger in my soul. Yes, I am furious with Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, religious, secular, fundamentalist and scientific folk who have squared off against each other and created an atmosphere of tension and inflexibility instead of building pathways to understanding.

I even saw it yesterday.There was a conservative contingency in Conneaut which collided with a liberal element, which was introduced by the presence of my film crew. They never were quite able to make connection. I am sure both would be enraged that I suggest that such an impasse exists. But the truth is, when you believe there is a distance between your belief and that of another, you will just naturally try to maintain the distance.

So I would like to introduce you to three other words: collision, congealing and cohesion.

All we have succeeded doing in this country is creating a collision of ideas, coyly referring to it as “debate.” It isn’t debate because there is never resolution–just an agonizing, gnawing needling about one group’s superiority over another. I, for one, am so tired of it that I not only refuse to participate, but fully intend to dismantle the intransigent, selfish attitudes of both sides, until they are exposed for the charlatans they truly are.

You conservatives, it doesn’t do any good to tell the world they are going to hell in a handbasket unless you also tell them that Jesus has given us the keys to the kingdom and that the gates of hell will not prevail against us.

Liberals, it doesn’t do any good to put your faith in science and technology, when the very nature that you acclaim was created, fostered and implemented by the will of God.

We are in the midst of an ongoing collision which is doing much more damage than we can imagine, even though we insist that it’s just two big tanks, hitting each other. Somewhere along the line, we have to congeal.

Here’s a start–you can’t have art in the church and think it’s going to conform to your doctrines and theology. Art by definition is expansive and is set in motion to challenge ideas rather than confirm them.

On the other hand, how can you build a mutual respect for human beings when you’re constructing your Tower of Babel based solely on personal self-worth and the aqcuisition of money and worldly goods? How can you expect to keep the earth well-rounded when you square off the corners in foolish controversy?

Congeal. Find a reason to mingle what you believe with the feelings of other human beings without compromising the depths of your spirit, but expanding the borders of your heart.

I agree with about half of what my conservative friends in Conneaut have to say and about half of what my film crew thinks. This doesn’t make me better. It makes me usable. I can work with any conservative as long as he or she tells me that God does not have a vendetta to hurt human beings. I can work with any liberal as long as he or she does not try to express their superiority by showing God the back door.

If we would begin to congeal, we could set in motion the possibility of the final phase, which is cohesion. Yes, we would begin to cling to each other in respect, love, admiration, and also a bit of wonder–because our lack of comprehension about the other party’s views would keep us on our toes, learning and growing.

When I walked off the stage last night in Conneaut, I was so grateful and felt such humility–to be part of the process moving us towards cohesion instead of destroying us in perpetual collision.

My journey has just begun. Right now I am introducing the notion of congealing. Conservatives are not my enemies. They remind me of little children who are afraid to play with the toys because the gifts are still in the boxes and they’re not sure they have the right to tear into them and launch into great joy. I love my liberal friends–because they have torn into the boxes and they are playing, but the toys are broken. And because they do not know the manufacturer very well, they do not know how to fix them.

Could I be more of a blessed man than to have interacted with the salt of the earth from Conneaut, Ohio, and delivered the only true, eternal message–NoOne is better than anyone else.

There’s got to be a morning after–and on this particular morning, I feel great humility, because I didn’t try to be humble or prideful, ending up in humiliation. I feel a giddy leap in my soul because I’m walking away from the collision and asking my brothers and sisters to congeal so that one day, in the sight of God and man, we can create a cohesion of fellowship with a bond that cannot be broken.

Would you join me? Forget about me, for I, too, will pass away. Would you do what’s right for yourself? Stop being part of the problem and at least make an attempt at the solution?.

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

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