Good News and Better News… November 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-summit-heights

Fifteen friends and family joined us yesterday at the Summit Heights United Methodist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, to celebrate and fellowship over our final gig of the year.

What a year.

Twelve states, thousands of people and memories to last a lifetime.

The Summit Heights congregation was a beautiful human concoction of simplicity and joy, with a great sense of humor–guided by a bright, hopeful and forward-thinking young man named Todd.

So when I took the stage to begin the morning with our prelude, there was an eagerness and energy in the air. I thought to myself, This is what God wants. He wants His children showing up to His house ready for cookies and milk instead of thinking they’re going to have to stomach the medicine.

As I continued in the service, an abiding notion suddenly permeated my mind.

God is not going to do anything without us.

We can pray, we can study, we can hope, we can criticize the world, we can judge others–and God will ignore our feeble, religious efforts. For God is not going to do anything without us.

When Jesus wanted to feed the five thousand, he required the five loaves and two fishes from the disciples.

When it was time to preach the good news, he sent them out two by two.

When desiring to make wine, he requested water.

When people came for healing, he told them that their faith made them whole–and when their faith was absent, it says he was not able to heal many.

And certainly when God wanted to save humanity, He found a willing woman to bring the Savior into the world.

I don’t know why we’re so afraid to become involved in our own life, ministry, outreach and salvation–but it will take our spirit, our countenance and our heart to transform America from its angry position of self-absorption, back into one nation that truly is under God’s guidance.

What kind of spirit?

It’s a spirit of repentance. “I could be wrong and because that’s possible, I am prepared to change.”

What is the countenance?

It is a full-faced expression of joy, which shows that we’re aware of life’s pain, but we realize it can only be conquered through good cheer.

What is the heart?

It is a heart of compassion–letting everyone know that because we have weaknesses, we feel a tender kindness to those like ourselves, who find themselves weak.

It is my prayer that Summit Heights will take on the power of the Gospel, which is: “Christ in me, the hope of glory.”

 

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Three Ways To Change Your Image… April 16, 2015

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2563)

cheshire cat smile big

30% of your image is based upon people’s prejudices and 70% of it consists of how you project yoursef. (Honestly, I just made up the percentages, but the balance seems pretty accurate.)

There is nothing you can do about the 30%. You can’t help it if you look like somebody they don’t like, or if you’ve voiced an opinion which found their disfavor.

But you can work on the 70%. You can improve your own image to the public at large.

I would suggest three different techniques, which are fairly easy to enact and don’t demand that you spend forty days in the wilderness, fasting and praying.

1. Smile.

You probably do smile sometimes. Just do it a little more.

The reason for smiling is not to come across as jovial or a sap, but instead, to affect your default face.

We have a countenance we settle into when people aren’t looking or we’re just sitting around. If you’re not accustomed to smiling, that appearance will end up being grim or despaired. The corners of your mouth will turn down instead of slightly turning up.

Keep this in mind–every time you smile, your eyes also rise and light up. Every time you frown, your eyes are cast down.

Smiling lets people know that you’re ready for the challenge because deep in your heart you believe that all things will work together for the good.

2. Courtesy.

Just say “thank you.”

It won’t kill you. It will feel unnatural at first–matter of fact, some folks will say you don’t need to say it. That’s true. And that’s also what makes it powerful.

You will be surprised at how much courtesy has slipped from your mannerisms.

When somebody hands you something, say thank you.

Open a door every once in a while, whether it’s a man or a woman.

And let somebody go in front of you in the grocery line if they only have one item.

It’s a simple act that makes you look like a saint of God.

3. Patience.

Patience is not allowing yourself to be walked on, but instead, making a decision on how you walk and the joy you keep in your life while doing it.

Never sit and wait.

If you discover there’s going to be a wait, do something else.

If you’re stuck in traffic, turn on the radio and start singing at the top of your lungs.

If you’re in a line, pull out your phone and read your emails or strike up a conversation with someone nearby.

Patience is not achieved by learning how to wait. Patience is acquired by distracting yourself from the wait.

Honestly, if you change these three things, you can immediately create a new image.

And in doing so, the landing strip that people allow in their hearts for your ideas will be much wider, longer and more open.

 

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Boiler plate 

I Pretend… May 22, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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It is not that everything in my life is good. It is just that I cannot be healthy musing over the bad.Jon close up

So I pretend:

I pretend that my words are valuable and gain a listen.

I pretend that the smile I flash to a stranger cracks through the stony countenance I view.

I pretend that my children and friends welcome my thoughts and weekly emails.

I pretend that my mission is God-induced and not merely self-motivated.

I pretend that the church down the road wants me to come and inspire.

I pretend that my legs can carry me on, to complete my task.

I pretend that I am not alone.

I pretend that the Golden Rule still has the same rate of exchange.

I pretend that my creative offerings bless instead of bore.

I pretend that my plain features and overweight body do nothing to deter my outreach.

I pretend that God’s will can be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I pretend that a heaven awaits that I have never seen.

I pretend that good wins over evil.

I pretend that my whispers might one day be shouted from the housetops.

I pretend I matter.

I pretend you matter.

I pretend that anything matters.

I pretend because that’s what faith is.

It is pretending we see things that should be done before they can be.

I pretend…that I’m not pretending.

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

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

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

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

G-11: Mad, Sad, Glad … February 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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  • We feel safe.Titanic
  • We made it.
  • The thunder rolled, the winds blew by and the rain ceased.

We’re standing on dry land, having escaped another near-disaster, feeling no repercussions whatsoever from the disruption–just grateful to be alive.

Little do we know that this is the most dangerous juncture in life. It is when we accidentally carry the anxiety of the previous encounter into the future, without realizing that the residue is hanging from us.

Yes, we are still mad: “It ain’t right.”

Or maybe sad: “It ain’t fair.”

But the once-confident spirit that propelled us into deeper and deeper adventures of faith is now making us cautious. We accept this new profile under the guise of being “well-seasoned,” But actually, we are not the same.

We have lost a bit of the joy that makes us the people we are, and when we realize it, we become defensive, insisting that nothing has changed.

What is the countenance of the average person you see on the street, when they don’t realize they’re being observed? A mad frown? A sad droop? Or maybe a blending of the two?

If maturity depresses us, then what is the purpose of growing older?

How can we overcome the extra destruction done by the storms of life which inflict unseen damage to our foundation? We gotta be honest: just because we’re standing on dry land does not mean we have escaped being drenched in worry.

We want to reach glad. We want to escape the sensation of “it ain’t right” and “it ain’t fair,” to arrive at a jubilant feeling of good cheer: “It ain’t gonna kill me.”

Sometimes we think projecting a brave front is a sign of our willingness to avoid doubt. But actually, acknowledging that the trials and tribulations that came our way did impact us but were unable to destroy us is the best way to escape the madness and the sadness.

For after all, mad people are cocked and ready to strike out at others, who unwittingly trigger aggravating memories.

And sad people are ill-prepared to enter into new relationships which certainly will require a bit of adjustment and forgiveness.

It isn’t just about surviving–it’s about surviving and candidly admitting how amazing and miraculous it was to be rescued. And then, to have the sense of humor to progress, keeping an eye on our motives, and healing our wounds instead of hiding them.

I am glad. This does not mean that everything is all right. It does not mean that I was saved from all the ravages of my temptations without any casualties. It means I lived. And in living, I am open to the dual process of inner healing and outer expressions of creativity.

Beware–being placed in the lifeboat is miraculous.

But it does not mean you will avoid horrible memories of the sinking vessel and fleeting trepidations to sail again.

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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

He’s All Right … July 16, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1945)

richardRichard is dead.

For six years he has lain low in a grave, in a town not his home or even his casual acquaintance, purchased by a younger brother who selected the plot based upon a reasonable fare.

I have not thought much about him.

Alive, he was my friend–perhaps more honestly presented, I was his friend. He was a man without family, sporting a hair-do that would have been popular during the 1950’s, a bit cranky, with a tender heart which had crusted over through the years, leaving him occasionally willing but more often than not, at the wrong times.

So when he suddenly, inexplicably and nearly intrusively appeared in my dreams last night, I was a bit alarmed. But as I allowed myself to participate in what truly could have been more an apparition or night vision than a simple sleepy-time mirage, I found myself completely engorged in the emotion and revelation of the idea.

It was Richard but it was NOT Richard. He was younger, stronger. The ashen, pale-yellow pallor of his skin was replaced with a bronzed, glowing countenance. Although he still sported his pompadour, it was golden, well-kempt and seemingly free of the need of intrusive creams and sprays.

He was happy.

Perhaps that was the greatest shock of all. I never really saw Richard happy. God knows he tried. He even developed an impersonation of the emotion.

But this was different. He was aglow. He was excited. He was bubbling over with new ideas.

He was running across the top of a high building, breathlessly explaining to me that he believed the concert “needed to be held up here, and required tons and tons of sound and lights.”

He was sharing his ideas with such energy–when I noticed there were actual biceps in his arms instead of dangling flesh, barely disguising skeletal confines.

I looked over, and suddenly, standing next to me, was my friend, Janet. She had ambled up during my focus on the dazzling sight before me. She kept looking at me instead of at the top of the building and our cavorting comrade.

And then suddenly Richard did something completely out of his well-known human character. He pulled money from his pants and held it out to me, explaining that I would need lots of money–an abundance of money–to pull this concert off.

I motioned to Janet to take the money from him and she looked at me, perplexed, but still reached up, and when she pulled her hand down, all that was in it was a receipt for the meal we had just enjoyed.

“Here,” she said, handing it to me. “We should keep this for tax time.”

I was a bit aggravated that she was unable to see our resurrected buddy, who had obviously gone through a transformation beyond all earthly comprehension.

As I turned back to look at him, suddenly he was not more than four inches from my face–and he had translated himself into a litte four-year-old Chicano toddler. Rather than being startled, I found myself giggling. Before I could ask him what had happened, he spoke in a child’s tenor.

“We are all children here.”

I trembled.

I turned and ran away, hid in a room. I was followed by the memory of my young son, Jerrod, circa eight years old. He wanted me to play with him but I was too traumatized by my vision.

“Give Daddy a moment,” I said. “Just give me a moment.”

I closed the door and wept. No, I mean I really cried. And I realized that I had never mourned my friend on his passing. Too many details. Too much pain. And too much disappointment over the seeming meaninglessness of his journey.

But now I cried and I cried.

All at once, he was standing in the room next to me and he placed his hand on my shoulder, although I never felt it, and he simply said, “I’m all right.”

I awakened with tears in my eyes.

I don’t know why I had this visitation. Maybe wherever he is, he had graduated from one status to another and I was invited to the celebration. Maybe I just needed to feel something about his life since I was so vacant of emotion during his death.

Or maybe it’s a message that is important to me and to all of us: He’s all right.

And you know what?

Bless the Lord above:  we’re gonna be all right.

 

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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