1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To See Things Done)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

(To See Things Done)

How much preparation is necessary to begin a task and how much energy is required to complete it?

Most aspirations, goals, projects and dreams find their graveyard in that cemetery of contemplation.

Because we are frightened of beginning something and looking foolish, or running out of money, or failing to complete it, we decide that hesitating, delaying and avoiding is often the more mature choice.

I am not sure that the airplane could ever have been invented if there were not thousands of legitimate attempts to make one which failed–but in the process, gave a valued piece of information for going forward.

So the one thing you can do this week is:

Find what needs to be done and learn how to do it.

In the process of that education, you may well discover that the conclusion is far beyond your ability, or maybe even grasp.

But you will become informed. Therefore, you will progress the cause and you will possess greater understanding of yourself and your world with this noble attempt.

There are two great responsibilities given to the human race

1. Tell the truth

Nothing goes forward when we’re constantly trying to do damage control and lying.

2. Try something

Stop discussing, plotting, criticizing or undermining the efforts you see around you and get behind an idea, having first prepared yourself by learning how to be a good contributor.

That is your goal for this week–the one thing.

When you find what needs to be done, sit down and learn if there’s any way that you can lend a helping hand.

P. S. (This is actually a double P. S.):

My heart and soul are crushed this morning over the loss of Gilda York, a friend of mine who followed today’s principle as a champion. She took the young people around her and gave them direction, purpose and a little bit of beauty that they wouldn’t otherwise have experienced. She was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver

And also, today is my anniversary. The secret to marriage is actually to have the stamina and intelligence not to keep too many secrets.

 

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Jesonian … March 3rd, 2018

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The Gospel writers had a really stiff drink to mix to stir together all the ingredients to write the cocktail of the life of Jesus.

First and foremost, let me tell you as a writer, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are not books. They are long short stories–an oxymoron. The number of words in each Gospel is about the same as a big short story.

So with an economy of words and phrases, these gentlemen set out to capsulize what is arguably the most interesting life ever lived. On top of that, they had the problem of being infested with some agendas of their own. Each one of them was intent on convincing the reader that Jesus was Messiah/Anointed One/Christ/Son of God.

They were also pretty pissed off with the Jewish leaders. This is reflected in many references. And they certainly wanted to compete with each other in the retelling of the resurrection.

I offer this preface because in a good overview of their works, there are only a few times that each of them include the same stories.

  • Crucifixion
  • Resurrection
  • Feeding of the five thousand

These are in all four Gospels. And in Matthew, Mark and Luke–the Synoptic Gospels–one other particular story is included by this trio of authors.

It seems to be a rather insignificant tale–matter of fact, I doubt if it makes its way into many sermons. But it was very important to Matthew, Mark and Luke.

On a Sabbath, the disciples were walking through a field of wheat and picked some of it because they were hungry. The story-tellers are clear that the disciples take the kernels and grind them in their hands to “get the good stuff to eat.”

The significance? According to the Pharisees, it was permissible to pick the wheat but you couldn’t grind it in your hand and eat it–not on the Sabbath. That was work. Therefore, if you were hungry, you would have to take the wheat home and wait until the next day to eat.

It is the travesty of the religious mind–to manufacture a God who is so displeased with us that He demands we function in uncomfortable contortions to receive His favor.

In this story, the Pharisees complain to Jesus.

Now, Jesus is not a diplomat. He is not determined to offend the Pharisees, but every time he did, refused to pull back from his position.

He told these fellows that King David ate the shewbread that was reserved for holy days and for the priests. His army was hungry. No one died.

Jesus explained that the Sabbath was a time to do good and not evil. It was an occasion to fulfill mankind’s needs instead of heaping heavy burdens on them.

Knowing that the Pharisees would be quite unwilling to criticize King David, he offered this argument while simultaneously insisting the his disciples should be granted the full measure and respect that David deserved.

Then, in the story, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they should learn mercy and not sacrifice–otherwise they will spend their whole lives attacking innocent people.

And if that wasn’t enough to fully flummox these religious leaders, he closed off by saying, And by the way, “I am the Lord of the Sabbath.”

This story was important to Matthew, Mark and Luke. It sniffed of their Master. It smelled like Jesus.

For they experienced and knew that Jesus was a champion for the human race and would not tolerate anyone attacking people, especially if it were being done in the name of God.

Damn it to hell, you don’t pick wheat and then not eat it. It is illogical, irrelevant, irreverent and inhuman. Jesus didn’t come to turn human beings into gods.

Jesus was the personification of God turning himself into a human being.

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Catchy (Sitting 20) Jail Jargon … October 29th, 2017

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Matthew was arrested.

The charge was obstruction of justice/interfering with the duties of a peace officer. He didn’t really care.

They finger-printed him, took his mug shot and he was escorted through two green, metallic doors into a holding area with a large L-shaped cell, occupied by about twenty or so people.

Matthew immediately noticed that all the detainees were sitting on one side of the cell and Jubal Carlos was on the other. He was a bit confused about the separation–until he was placed inside and came close to Jubal. Mr. Carlos explained that since his incarceration, he had refused to eat or bathe. He smelled like a rotten tomato at a manure factory. All the inmates had decided to leave him alone to literally stew in his own juices.

Jubal looked horrible–already gaunt, ashen, with a bit of sweat dripping from his brow. He was happy to see Matthew, though perplexed as to why he was gaining a partner.

“What happened?” Matthew asked.

Jubal drew a deep breath, looked around to make sure no one was listening and replied, “I don’t exactly know. I was down in the homeless area, passing out bologna and American cheese sandwiches, when I was suddenly surrounded by what looked like a battalion of policemen–clad in armor! I protested, so they added the charge of “resisting arrest” onto my indictment. They explained that a complaint has been levied against me by a woman from New York City, who was visiting in Vegas, and she said I accosted her, demanding donations for the street folk, and she felt threatened.”

Matthew squinted. He hadn’t known Jubal very long, but the chance that this pacifist had stirred up a sea of violence seemed highly unlikely. Something was obviously going on. He paused, trying to figure out whether he should assimilate into the scene along with Jubal, or share the vision he had for taking Jesus to the streets.

Instead, Matthew opted to ask for his phone call. He chose to dial up Jo-Jay. She was once again right on top of matters, and had a lot more information than Matthew.

She explained that Prophet Morgan had gone off to the blackjack tables for his yearly fund-raising campaign for an orphanage he funded in Honduras. Sister Rolinda was in the streets of Las Vegas, passing out condoms to the prostitutes, Soos was already on her way to the Clark County Jail, having picked up through the grapevine that Jubal was in there and assuming that Matthew would not be far behind.

Matthew gave Jo-Jay one instruction. “Find out the source of the arrest of Jubal Carlos.”

She jumped on the opportunity. No question or doubt. What a dynamic lady she was. It would have been so easy to whine–discontent over such an ill-defined mission. Instead, she decided to learn as she went and hope for the best.

As soon as he hung up the phone, one of his jailers told him he had a visitor. It was Soos. Matthew was confused by Soos’s appearance–she was limping and had what appeared to be a colostomy bag hanging from her side.

“What the…?” Matthew wasn’t able to finish his thought before Soos grabbed his arm and guided him back toward the clink. Being placed safe inside again, the keeper of the crooks brought Soos a chair so she could be comfortable during her visit with Matthew.

Matthew continued to stare at Soos in disbelief. “What the hell is going on?”

Soos motioned for him to be quiet, whispering, “I found out they wouldn’t let anybody see you or Jubal, here, unless it was a relative or an emergency, so I told them I was your sister and I was on my way to have an operation to be further disemboweled for my cancer treatment.”

Matthew gasped. “You what?”

Soos continued. “Figuring they would need to see some evidence of my condition, I went to the medical supply house, picked up this colostomy bag and some other contraptions that made me look real endangered.”

Matthew shook his head and Jubal chuckled.

“Don’t encourage her,” Matthew said to Jubal.

Jubal reached through the bars, took her hand and shook it. “Brilliant, my dear.”

Soos looked Jubal in the eye. “Thank you. Do you know how bad you smell?”

Jubal laughed. “No…but thank you for making me aware.”

Matthew began to explain the situation to Soos, but she stopped him. “I only have ten minutes. That gives you five minutes to tell Jubal what we’re trying to do with this campaign, and five minutes for me to take the I-Phone I snuck past the guards in my colostomy bag, so I can make a video of Jubal and put it on the Internet, and see if we can’t get him out of here.”

Matthew was speechless, dazzled.

Soos went on. “Oh, you’re such a man. I don’t have time to explain the details to you. Just trust me. Let me tell Jubal. Here’s the way it is, Mr. Carlos. We’re trying to get Jesus popular again, and we thought the best way to do that was to get you to travel around the country, in character, playing the part and the heart of Jesus, so that once again there would be a visual for the young people, and in so doing, the same controversy, presence, and maybe power, would be generated.”

Matthew tried to interject but Jubal touched his arm and silenced him.
“You explained that so well,” he said to Soos. “It would have taken my brother here two hours to do that. I don’t know if I want to be Jesus or not, but I would like to get out of here, eat a nice steak and take a shower.”

Soos, tipping her head back to avoid the odor, agreed. “We think that would be a good thing, too.”

“So what do you want me to do?” asked Jubal.

Matthew started to give stage direction. Soos interrupted. “Listen, Mattie Boy, I’m on a roll, so let me handle this.”

Matthew felt it was a poor time to have a business argument in the Clark County Jail. He submitted.

Soos paused, thinking, then looked at Jubal and said, “I want you to be Jesus, and I want you to tell people what Jesus would feel about being in the Clark County Jail, accused of a crime he did not commit.”

Jubal crinkled his brow, then bowed his head. After about fifteen seconds, he lifted it up and spoke to Soos. “I think I’m ready.”

She cautiously removed her phone from the bag and pointed it in his direction. “Action.”

Jubal began. “I was in prison, and you visited me. I am in prison, and I’m so lonely. I do not know what I’ve done wrong. I have tried to love people–and they told me these folks were not lovable. I passed out a bologna sandwich, and was informed I was disturbing the peace. I’ve tried to bring my music to the world. I have brought the rhythm of joy, and now I find myself quite alone–without anyone to be my champion. I’m not afraid. I’m not sad. I haven’t given up on anything I believe. And if I’m supposed to stay in here until my sentence is completed, then praise God. But if I could get out, I would do even more. I would climb a housetop and shout. I would find an injustice and expose it. And I would find ways to sprinkle hope and faith on everything I see. My name is Jubal Carlos. There’s nothing special about me except whatever I can do special to bless others.”

He bowed his head again.

Matthew was in tears.

Soos smiled. “That’s a wrap,” she said. “Now let me get to work.”Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

 

Ask Jonathots … May 26th, 2016

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I have a buddy at work who just separated from his wife and is filing for divorce. He’s going to fight for full custody of his two daughters. He says his wife is not fit to be a mother because she’s mentally unstable. I met her once at a party, and she openly talked about how her daughters had “betrayed” her. They were five and six years old at the time. Here’s my question: how do you know when someone is just flat-out crazy? Is there anything I can do for my friend?

You are actually posing three questions:

1. How can you tell if somebody’s crazy?

2. How can you get involved in a situation without interfering?

3. What is the basic criteria for being a parent?

So I will attempt to address each inquiry individually and let you sew them together as an answer.

I don’t believe there is an actual condition called “crazy,” but when we deny reality, we certainly teeter on the brink of mental instability.

There are many ways to deny reality: you can lie about it, pretend it’s not your fault, insist it’s not your business but instead, God’s affair, you can blame the devil, or as in the case of your subject, you can believe that your children are trying to sabotage you.

Insanity is the idea that ignoring reality can change your circumstances.

Now let’s look at the second question. Unless somebody asks your opinion, giving it is interfering.

I have learned that my opinion is not really needed, wanted or valued unless there is a question pending. In other words, without someone asking me for my input, I am being obnoxious.

Now, shall we go to the third question? There is actually one criterion for being a good parent. Are your children safe?

Because as they grow, sometimes they may perceive the parent as a comforter, friend, warden, enemy, Satan, Santa Claus or boring. So you can’t evaluate good parenting on how happy the children are to actually have a parent.

Are they safe? And by safe, I mean that they have a sense that they will be taken care of, and they are not threatened by those who have authority over them.

So let’s see if we can put the three answers together.

Since children do not dictate the policies of the household, it is difficult for them to be betrayers. Therefore believing children are betrayers is certainly an imbalanced and unhealthy profile. It opens the door for the parent to retaliate instead of express affection.

But since your opinion has not been sought and you are not in a power position to change things, what you need to do is express your joy, concern and hopes by being supportive of the kids–through little notes, maybe some gifts, and a loving, open door.

You should avoid taking sides, but instead, pass on to both the mother and father that you feel the most important thing is the well-being of these children. In doing this, you will establish that you are the champion of the daughters instead of the crusader for either Mom or Dad.

This is the advice I give you–but also be fully aware that any time you leave reality (for instance, thinking you’re the savior of this other family) you can become just as “crazy” as the next person.

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Three Ways to Gain Respect Without Bragging … August 7, 2014

 

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Aretha

“R-e-s-p-e-c-t

Find out what it means to me…”

Aretha Franklin vibrantly and tunefully punctuated the Otis Redding lyric.

Almost every human being desires to gain respect, and therefore, placement in the pecking order of the human family.

Yet for some reason or another, we’ve begun to believe that this can be achieved by boasting, bragging or screeching our requests to the world around us, bolstering our demand with the threat of bad attitude or vengeance.

It’s just not the way things work.

Although we tolerate people making claims without backing them up, we eventually require that they prove their point or we will find a way to set them aside.

So I’d like to tell you three ways to gain respect without bragging:

1. Show up on time.

Let us make it clear once and for all: there is no such thing as “fashionably late.” People who arrive late communicate that they think they’re more important than everybody else in the room. It is only excusable if humility is at the heart of an apology, and then only if it’s done once or twice.

If you want to establish a reputation for being powerful, show up on time and make sure everyone knows it is part of your conviction.

2. Show up with your mood.

Honestly, it doesn’t have to be a good mood. But people who fluctuate, constantly bouncing among emotional profiles, are considered to be unstable, gossip-worthy and basically negated by their friends and family.

Being positive is good–if you’re always positive. Being neutral is fine as long as you bring that at all times. Even being in a sour disposition has its charm as long as you don’t occasionally build up hopes that you’ve made some sort of transformation to positive thinking.

Consistent moods are powerful. We may act like we will put up with people gyrating from one mood to another, but secretly we don’t.

3. Show up with the work done.

Here’s the problem with procrastinating and failing to achieve your quota: you have to explain why, which lends itself to excuses, too much story-telling and an over-abundance of drama.

The greatest gift you can give to yourself and everyone else is to make sure that today’s calendar is free from yesterday’s “things to do” list. If it isn’t, just say so, without explanation.

So these are three things that will gain you respect without you having to plant your foot, put your hand on your hip and posture for it.

After a while, if people know you’re going to show up on time, that you have a consistent mood and you get the work done … you become the champion you desire to be.

 

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Jesonian: Say, Do, Become … April 6, 2014

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big I'm picWhen I heard him say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” honestly, I rolled my eyes.

It sounded like one of those statements made by someone who feels he is spiritually or intellectually superior, but tempers it with a short burst of manipulated humility.

But then, when the Centurion told him that he didn’t need to come to his house to heal his servant–just speak the word–and instead of becoming defensive or flexing his religious muscle, he praised the gentleman for the enlightenment, I realized that this one had the capacity to become a friend to the faithful.

Likewise, when he touted the importance of mourning, my cynicism came to the forefront. It’s so easy to elevate distress to a status of soulful discovery when you aren’t actually going through it.

But later, when he wept with his friends at the grave of Lazarus and shed tears for Jerusalem because of its hard-heartedness, I grasped that he had the capacity to become the savior to the ignorant.

“Blessed are the meek.”

Time after time he put that into practice as he was rejected by his family, the religious leaders, and even close friends. Yes, a respecter of the choices of others.

He told us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” He backed it up by fasting in the wilderness for forty days. A source to the seeker.

Being merciful is often a politically safe phrase to mouth in front of the masses but not so easy to enact–especially when they bring to you a woman caught in adultery, and the socially correct position is to condemn her.

He didn’t.

A champion of the lost.

I was a little surprised when he spoke about being “pure in heart.” And then, when I stood at his side, looking down at the very cold, pale and still body of a twelve-year-old girl who was obviously deceased, and he turned to the room with an almost foolish glee and told us not to doubt, “she’s just asleep,” my eyes filled with tears over such genuine simplicity. He became a child of the children.

A peacemaker? In our day and age? When it’s considered to be noble and righteous to stand up for your turf and proclaim your worth? I watched him carefully. When he was obviously snubbed one day by a Samaritan village which had formerly welcomed him, and now had decided to renege on the invitation, and those around him wanted to declare war on the inhabitants, he stopped them, and said that his was a spirit of reconciliation. God knows we needed it. Behold, a repairer of the breach.

I winced a bit when he suggested to the masses that they should be happy when they’re persecuted. But when his entourage grew into the thousands, only to shrink to a tiny handful every time a new rumor or misrepresentation of his words filtered through the crowd, he still pursued his calling.

In so doing, for all time, he shall be deemed the voice of reason.

I, myself, was startled by the notion of trying to find tenderness for those who speak evil against us. And then, at his trial, when the false accusers literally stumbled over one another to incriminate him, he remained still, and became the calm in the storm.

  • I listened to what he had to say.
  • I watched carefully what he chose to do.
  • And I was there when the friend of the faithful, the savior of the ignorant, the respecter of others, the source of the seeker, the champion of the lost, the child of the children, the repairer of the breach, the voice of reason and the calm in the storm–yes, I was there when he rose from the dead and became the Son of God.

I learned from him. Choose what you say, because you will have to back it up with what you do.

Only then do you become what you believe.

 

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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