Good News and Better News… January 2nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-jon-hat

Every January 1st, a preacher friend sends me an email with his prophecies for the new year.

His predictions are always pretty general–and also grim. I guess he thinks it’s a safe bet in a world of tribulation, to foretell disaster.

  • Yet there is no love without giving.
  • Faith dies without passion.
  • And hope disappears without dreams.

It’s just too easy to be upset.

It’s way too predictable to continue to complain about the circumstances.

Yesterday morning when I arrived at Carteret United Methodist Church, I was looking for people who were fed up with being depressed.

I think Pastor Frank was pretty surprised at the turnout. After all, it was New Year’s Day and a tremendous opportunity for folks to use it as an excuse not to come to church.

But they didn’t.

We gathered, we sang, we mused, we laughed, we cried, we fellowshipped and we left–believing that certain things must be honored, or honor will leave our world.

1. Love your neighbor is not optional.

Although we spend much time in diplomacy and negotiations with countries which are determined to hurt one another, the truth of the matter is, our greatest possibility lies in the souls who still insist on loving and believing in each other.

2. Be of good cheer.

Nothing is ever accomplished from a defeated position of gloom. If knowing the facts upset you, then choose the bliss of ignorance–because in the long run, it is not intelligence or education that saves us, but rather, the wisdom we garner from the data that gives us the power to believe.

I so enjoyed the congregation in Beaufort, South Carolina–and may I tell them:

The good news is that there’s a song of praise that needs to be written every day.

And the better news is that I, for one, want to meet my Creator with that song in my heart.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 31) Seek and Ye Go Blind … November 27th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

Reverend Richard Meningsbee searched for an hour for a computer he knew was gone.

It was impossible it could be any other place than where it had been left, but to fulfill righteousness and drain off some angst, he scoured the house.

It was nowhere to be found.

He spent the rest of the day, when he should have been preparing his Sunday morning sermon, conjuring images of what might have happened to his P.C.

Was Katrina involved?

Was it stolen by an agent of the USBN?

And more frightening was considering what they wanted.

Ninety-nine percent of what he had on that magical box was common drivel or ecclesiastical notes. It was that one percent that terrified him–and each new flashback was more injurious to his mind than the previous.

Surviving a restless night, he made his way to church, and decided that the only way to cleanse his soul of the pain and anxiety was to share–not in detail, but in principle.

So he stepped in front of the congregation and began.

“I feel attacked. Do you ever feel attacked? In my case, I feel attacked by circumstances–just the everyday happenings that seem to have suddenly decided to target me and take me down. This attack is causing me to worry. Like most human beings, I worry about the future. What will this attack mean going forward? Can I overcome my circumstances and achieve some form of victory–or at least draw a stalemate with the evil that taunts me? And most certainly, I feel betrayed. Not so much by others, but betrayed by my own weakness–a hounding dog barking at my heels, reminding me that I am insufficient. So I come before you this morning attacked, worried and betrayed.

Yet in the midst of all this is an abiding faith which says ‘nothing can separate me from the love of God’ and that ‘all things will work together for my good.’

I must be honest with you. Those voices are softer and gentler than the screaming attack of the worried betrayal. But if I get quiet and still, I can hear the whisper of faith. So that is what I am going to do right now. I’m going to stop speaking and just allow myself to listen as I kneel.”

Meningsbee walked to the altar rail, which had basically become a decoration in the modern-day church–a reminder of past revivals, when people allowed themselves to be overtaken by the goodness of God.

He knelt and prayed.

He prayed about his computer.

He prayed about the hidden iniquity displayed on the browser.

He prayed to be forgiven for his weakness.

So intently did he pray that he failed to recognize that he was suddenly surrounded by nearly all the congregation, as they, too, gathered to admit the attack had brought worry and betrayal to their lives.

God had taken the evil that had befallen the community and was now using it to make good.

It was a warm, kind, tear-filled morning that culminated with everyone embracing and encouraging one another.

Reverend Meningsbee was heartened by the experience, but still in the throes of a deep depression as he made his way home.

Stepping inside, he opened the door and gazed into his little office–and there it was.

The computer was back.

“Where have you been, my friend?”

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Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

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An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

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G-Poppers … October 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop’s thought for the day:

Stop explaining.

Don’t do it yourself and certainly quit demanding it of others.

Explaining leads to lying, lying ends up in mistrust and mistrust is the seed that sprouts hate.

It is very important to understand human beings:

  1. Human beings make mistakes.
  2. Human beings are selfish.
  3. Human beings insist they don’t make mistakes and are not selfish.

So if you ask one of your fellow-travelers about a mistake that was made or a piece of selfishness you encountered, they will definitely explain how you misunderstand.

The best way to live this Earthly life is to answer yes and no.

“Who ate the last doughnut?”

I did.

Truthfully, most people won’t leave it at that. They will ask why or sometimes even how it happened. If you give in to the temptation to produce a storyline about your clumsiness or lack of attention, you will probably find yourself, like Brother Adam and Sister Eve, making really lame excuses and eventually pointing fingers at each other.

Because of that profile, Adam and Eve went from being prosperous gardeners to “Paradise Lost.”

The more explaining you do, the more you try to convince yourself that you’re a victim of unusual circumstances.

No one buys it, no one believes it and everyone is quietly thinking to themselves, “Please shut the hell up.”

One of the greatest ways to contribute to the peace and harmony of Earth is to stop explaining and certainly refuse to make others go through the agony of the process.

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Confessing… July 4th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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IX.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Mack was gay.

Actually, in 1980, such a term did not exist. The nicest word we had for people who pursued that lifestyle was “homosexual.”

Mack never told me he preferred men. I never asked him.

Mack was my friend but also my benefactor. He believed in my ability to be creative, and thought the things I came up with were worth promoting.

So when I wrote the musical, “Mountain,” Mack got right behind it, insisted we put together a cast to tour across the country, and on his own, raised $10,000 to fund it.

After the tour we parted our ways but not our affection.

A few months after we had finished our business, he called me and told me he had a lead on someone who wanted to sign my musical and publish it.

He only required one thing from me. The publishing company wanted a score of the music. In other words, they wanted all the music written down on staff paper in a fashion that could be read by musicians and performed.

It was at that point that I should have told Mack that even though I was able to compose music, I had no idea how to score it.

I didn’t. I didn’t tell him.

Oh, I had my reasons.

Since I had last seen Mack, I had moved away and was working in a terrible situation. One of my children had been hit and run by a car, and I was in the midst of moving to another community to acquire a new job.

It’s the classic situation–when we transform our circumstances into excuses, which we turn into reasons. But the reasons soon lose their power and have to be fortified by lies.

So at first I just cited my circumstances to Mack. He was understanding, but persistent. So I made promises.

But then when I failed to meet my deadlines, I had to move to excuses and then try to manipulate them into reasons, and ultimately ended up lying.

And of course, the greatest lie was when I sat down and tried to write the score of the music with my limited ability, and ended up with the manuscript equivalent of manure.

I sent it off anyway.

Mack trusted me, so he forwarded my work to the publisher, and ended up humiliated because the material made no sense whatsoever.

Mack forgave me–but we never did business together ever again.

I tried to justify it. I remembered the few occasions that I told him I didn’t know what I was doing instead of recalling how I insisted I would do it anyway.

I owe this fine person a huge apology.

I also need to realize that every time I’m tempted to pretend I’m something I’m not just so everyone in the room will feel that I am “hip” or part of “the gang in the know,” that I do much more damage than I ever thought possible.

The truth is, God has blessed me.

If I don’t think His blessing is enough, my exaggerations and lies will not make it any better.

 

Mountain Music

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Jesonian: EARTH 101 … April 13, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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The search for a world without problems is a decision to stumble down a back alley of disaster.image

Yes. Trying to avoid difficulty is the best way to obtain more.

Life has problems.

These trying situations keep life lively. Living must be lively or we end up bored and cease to grow.

So let us understand: God does not have a will–not in the sense of a pre-determined plan of action which He adheres to without revision.

Free will eradicates heavenly “big plans.”

God has a way: a way of working, breathing, loving, sharing and expanding. It is expressed clearly in the actions of Nature.

Learn the style  of God’s earth, and your problems begin to submit to the ways of the Creator.

EARTH 101

1. What needs to be done?

Don’t be afraid. Don’t over think. Look at it honestly: what is needed?

2. What can I do?

Don’t exaggerate. Don’t promote. Don’t explain. Don’t complain. Just produce a practical list of your abilities.

3. Is it enough?

Sometimes your ability is enough. Sometimes it’s doggone close. Sometimes other folks see you trying and offer help. Sometimes time changes the circumstances.

4. Can I work with less?

Is there a way to be creative? Can I share the responsibility with others? Does it all have to happen now? Can I make a start of it by handling a portion of the problem?

After you have finished this EARTH 101, the struggle that remains following this analysis is your true need. Your lack. The starting line of your faith.

And very simply, my dear friend, the Good Book says that this need is what God promises to supply.

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

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Leaning … November 18, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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bad weatherI said yes to life, so here comes no–to give me a chance to prove my point.

The push.

I shove off to achieve and circumstances push back. Now what?

Leaning–either to my own understanding, or trusting God. One makes sense to me and the other sounds really religious. But here’s the problem with my understanding: it is generations and generations and situations and situations, literally screaming at me, “Be careful!”

Now deep in my soul I know that I’ve never been successful while pursuing a path of caution. I haven’t even managed to manipulate a comfortable status quo. After all, the world is filled with tribulation and if you’re not prepared to adjust to the new dilemmas, you will lose ground even if you don’t move one way or the other.

  • My understanding tells me to find a safe path.
  • My understanding reminds me to protect myself.
  • My understanding has a tendency to negate the feelings of others.
  • My understanding generates suspicion which limits my possibilities by removing folks who could be my benefactors.

Trusting God is the step of allowing myself to “be ready.” Ready for what?

  • Ready for change.
  • Ready for adjustment,
  • Ready to use my talents.
  • Ready to recognize opportunity.
  • Ready to completely alter my circumstances if such a maneuver grants me my heart’s desire.

Yes, it comes down to a choice between “be careful” and “be ready.”

Case in point is what happened to me this weekend in Vandalia. I was a little bit frustrated with the circumstances of an engagement that came our way. It was a late-notice arrangement and I was never fully convinced that the venue wanted us to come in the first place. I’m a human being. I want to be loved, I want to be appreciated and I want to be needed. I felt the church had decided to “accommodate” me. I hate that word. I don’t want to be accommodated–I want to be desired.

So because of that, when a storm watch foretold of bad weather on Sunday night, I seized on the opportunity to cancel the date, fully aware that if there were a tornado watch in the air, all of God’s little children would scurry to their basements.

You see, it sounds logical. But actually I was being careful.

Careful about the storm, careful about the audience, and mostly–careful to avoid humiliation by small attendance.

As it turns out, the alleged vicious outpouring from the heavens never materialized and the concert could have been held without interruption.

My leaning was to my own understanding. Rather than being ready to use my talents, abilities and take a chance that things would work out to the good, I decided to be careful. I did it because I was frustrated, cautious and quite honestly, a little lazy.

So the good folks of Vandalia never got a chance to receive what we could share with them.

  • I was tentative
  • I was traditional.
  • I was fussy.
  • I decided to be careful.

And by the way…I was wrong.

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

Why Don’t They? — October 20, 2011

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The absence of a question is the presence of an opinion. Opinions build walls which inhibit touching moments.Generally speaking, questioning is a good thing, but I am contending that there are two dumb questions, which not only fail to provide the potential for answers, but also generate great aggravation merely in the asking.

Yesterday we talked about “what if?” The obsession the human race has with the past and the future makes us often fail to be present in our own lives. Let me say it aloud: you are not destined to do anything. I am not destined to do anything. Unless you and I get up every morning, plug in our brains and move our feet, very little is ever accomplished.

I believe that God does have a will, but for some inexplicable reason, He always chooses to express it by using human agents. Those who wait for a heavenly solution are often struck dumb, deaf and blind by earthly events. So “what if?” is one of those dumb questions that leads to no conclusion and offers even further digression from us reaching our goals.

But the second question is equally as useless.  “Why don’t they?”

When we begin to speculate on the choices, will and personalities of other people, making ourselves a compass for their actions, we have lost all sight of what really makes this thing called life tick.

People are free-will creatures. Can I say it again? People are given free will and if you try to take it away from them, or even cast aspersions on them, you have stepped out of the mind of God.

I have trouble with this one. The “what if?” question has never been a source of conflict to me because I never did buy into the notion that God is my great puppeteer. But I have to remind myself every single day that people are not here for my pleasure, nor am I given license to gossip and question them in their free-will choices.

Here’s the bottom line–we have two possibilities when dealing with our everyday experiences. We can either change them or we can deal with them. Truthfully, we always make the wrong choice because we attempt to deal with our circumstances and we try to change people. It is exactly opposite of the way things work. We can become more proficient in our projects if we will understand that circumstances can change but people have to be dealt with. If you flip that the other direction, you will become an angry, insolent and frustrated traveler who just can’t understand why people don’t do the right thing. Often people don’t do the right thing because we either want them to or they don’t have to. You are not going to change that. God in heaven cannot change that. What you can do is select to deal with them or not deal with them. I think we spend entirely too much time trying to change people who not only don’t want to be changed, but every time we suggest they make a revision, they dig their heels a little deeper into the trench of resistance.

On the other hand, we tolerate circumstances that could easily be transformed into a different playing field because we have convinced ourselves that our surroundings are immutable. This is what messes us up. Let me say it again–when it comes to people, you must decide to deal with them or quietly walk away. In other words, “Deal or no deal.” When it comes to circumstances, they are your business and feel free to change them at your whim.

It’s a simple principle but it will keep you from becoming an anti-human force that is a guided missile out to destroy your fellow-man.

“Why don’t they?” is a dumb question because no one was born to be your servant. No one was born to answer to your call. And no one was born to worship your God.

Even when I hear people refer to the United States as a Judeo-Christian society, I realize they are making the error of thinking that a nation of individuals can become a clump of “agree-ers.” It’s just not going to happen.

So get rid of the dumb question. The next time you…and I…catch ourselves asking “why don’t they?” just pop back the answer, “Because they don’t have to.” And the next time you run across a circumstance that is not to your liking, jump right in there, get involved and see if you can’t improve it.

Things can change–people must be dealt with. I will say it again: things can change; people must be dealt with.

Give yourself a great gift. Find out what circumstances suit your taste. Abide therein, prosper and allow your example to be the shining light that causes people to reflect on how they might want to do some redecorating of their interior on their own.

Not only is it impossible to legislate morality–it is immoral to do so.

***************

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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