G-Poppers … August 4th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3388)

Jon close up

During a recent appearance on a talk show, the host asked G-Pop, “If you had one minute of air time to speak to the whole world, what would you say?”

G-Pop took a deep breath and replied:

“Take responsibility for your life. There is no shame in making mistakes. There is great disgrace in lying.

Repent to live. Then you are free to be trusted.

Be a giver, not a receiver. Some receiving is necessary to have something to give. Don’t get used to it. Share what comes your way.

Feel strong because you breathe.

Feel wealthy because you eat.

Don’t judge anyone at any time. Stop listening to gossip.

Find a place to create–then create.

Don’t answer a question that wasn’t asked.

Never give an opinion, even when it’s requested.

Your life is your voice.

In other words, love your neighbor as yourself.”Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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Good News and Better News… November 28th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3139)

good-news-man-thanksgiving

Yesterday–for the first time all year–I did not go to a church and share my heart for a Sunday morning worship service.

I am officially on hiatus for the Christmas season. I think the obvious questions would be, how do I feel about not ministering and performing. Did I miss it?

Actually what I felt was nothing.

Although some people would consider that to be a negative statement, “nothing” is the most positive position in which we can find ourselves.

Several years ago I was prompted in my spirit to close letters I wrote to a friend with the phrase, “without nothing.” I think she was a bit confused by this departing phrase, but it’s quite simple. Without nothing, something has no chance of happening.

The best way to ensure that you will not pursue anything of new value or creativity is to constantly claim, “I’m busy.”

Busy smothers the better parts of our soul

Busy convinces us that we have no time.

And busy shuts out others in preference to a pre-arranged party-goers.

When we finally stop being busy, we can arrive at nothing, which then offers the possibility of something.

If we don’t have enough time on our hands to be nearly frustrated by the time on our hands, then we’ll never use the time on our hands to take our hands to create.

  • Without nothing, there is no something.
  • Without a void, there is no filling.
  • Without loneliness, no new relationships.
  • Without grumbling over the absence of a feeling, there is no seeking innovation.

So as I sat in my chair Sunday morning, thinking for a moment what song I might be singing or story I might be telling under normal conditions, I was suddenly flooded with the assurance that God uses nothing to get my attention to do something.

That’s the good news.

The better news is: I found something.

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Good News and Better News … June 6th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2957)

Cassius and Martinsburg composite

On February 25th, 1964, I was twelve years old when Cassius Clay totally surprised the boxing world by destroying Sonny Liston in Miami Beach.

It had been an interesting ninety days. Within three months, John Kennedy had been assassinated, the Beatles appeared multiple times on the Ed Sullivan Show, and now a 22-year-old black fellow was ranting and raving about his greatness.

My home town hated all three.

I was told that John Kennedy was a philanderer, the Beatles were communists and Cassius was an uppity colored man.

It got worse when Mr. Clay chose to change his name to Muhammad Ali, becoming a foreign, dangerous infidel.

I was in my twenties before I felt the freedom to think for myself and develop new opinions about JFK, the Fab Four and Ali.

I was thinking about this very thing in my green room yesterday at the Otterbein United Methodist Church in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Muhammad Ali was cursed, threatened with prison and had his title removed because he refused to fight in the Viet Nam War. Why? Because at the time it seemed important to do so.

But we were wrong. We were wrong about him, we were wrong about Viet Nam, we were confused about the Beatles, and Kennedy certainly had some moments of brilliance.

You see, it’s not a political issue and it’s not a spiritual issue. It all comes down to deciding whether to live a life where you complain or an existence where you create.

Because complaining people don’t create, and creative people don’t complain.

My heart’s desire yesterday, as I sat in front of the audience and shared my journey, music and insights, was to communicate that simple thought–complain or create?

Because even though Muhammad Ali was condemned by society, his consecration to his causes has endured the test of time. Matter of fact, the southern city of Louisville, Kentucky has tributes to him all over the metroplex. Isn’t that amazing?

You see, it’s simple.

The good news is that if you stop complaining, you start to learn. And the first thing you learn is that the more you create, the less you need to complain.

The better news is that there were a handful of folks in Martinsburg who got the message.

Others will be driven down the streets named after the men they once condemned–on their way to the graveyard.

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Good News and Better News … October 26th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2734)

Lakeville composite

Was it three, or four?

If I remember correctly, I think it was four individuals who came to my book table saying, “How did you guys end up at our ‘little church’?”

Ms. Clazzy and I found ourselves in Lakeville, Indiana.

I suppose in some ways I would understand their question, since our society is indoctrinated in the idea that good things go to big places to make a huge splash. But if you look at history and you understand the essence of the Gospel, it really doesn’t work that way.

Life is about finding a mustard seed, planting it and then not worrying about what happens next.

Jesus promised it would grow into a tree, but how long will that take? Certainly not within one harvest.

So what you work on is your mustard seed.

  • Is it good?
  • Does it have growing possibilities?
  • Does it nestle well into the soil, accepting nutrition and water?

I don’t worry about numbers of people. Truthfully, the places in our society which draw the largest crowds are often bigoted and errant.

I always feel like the Holy Spirit giggles at our notion of popularity–because even though we insist that Jesus shared in front of large crowds, they often left pretty quickly once they realized he was going to teach and not just offer another all-you-can-eat fish dinner for five thousand or more.

Do you know what I liked about Lakeville? It isn’t put together yet.

I suppose they might be offended by that statement but they shouldn’t be. There are many things in America that are put together–even organized into clubs or parties–which are doing absolutely nothing to help mankind.

Lakeville still has a chance to be of benefit to the human race. They’ll have to turn down some of the noise of the world and simplify things instead of complicating them, but they have a good mixture of men, women, children and older saints. They are led by an enthusiastic, fine chap named Brian.

So what would I tell Lakeville as I leave it?

1. Reject religion.

Since religion is what killed off Jesus 2,000 years ago, let us go ahead and assume it does the same today.

  • Religion wants organization. Jesus wants spirit.
  • Religion wants rules. Jesus wants faith.
  • Religion wants to worship God. Jesus wants us to find God inside the person standing next to us.

2. Push away politics.

Yes, the church is obsessed with politics. Even though the two political parties over the past 16 years have nearly destroyed the integrity of our security and economics, for some reason the church wants to join the mayhem instead of bandaging up the wounded.

Politics is what people pursue when they no longer believe in God.

3. Get excited about Jesus.

Yes, I will tell you–the best way we can help our Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters who are trying to kill one another is to actually step away, be separate and act like Jesus. You don’t become a better Christian by worshipping Judaism. You also don’t become a better Christian by reading the Koran.

If your church can’t become excited about Jesus, at least be honest enough to warn people that you no longer are followers of his dream but instead, are just readers of the Bible.

4. And finally, create something.

  • Don’t settle for leftovers.
  • Don’t insist there’s nothing new under the sun.
  • Write new songs.
  • Think new thoughts.
  • Share your arts, your crafts, and your professional abilities–and give God glory for them.

The first nature of God is found in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God created.”

No kidding.

Go and do thou likewise.

 

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G-3: Create or Critique… December 20, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2097)

apeI struggled with the decision.

I do believe I have ability, but apparently I possess enough insecurity that I would rather discuss my efforts than enact them. Why? Because stepping forward always generates the possibility of slipping or falling off a cliff.

Yes, it is much more pleasant to contemplate an idea than it is to perform it.

But here’s the difficulty: when we fail to create, we find ourselves tumbling into the backward, ignorant position of critiquing. Why? Because those around us who have the audacity to actually produce a product end up making us look insipid in our indecision, so we feel compelled to pick and fuss at their endeavors in order to make ourselves look viable and intelligent.

At the heart of every critic is a person who could have been creative, but balked out of fear. But I will tell you–once you begin to create things, you are much less likely to criticize the virgin efforts of others. The experience of making yourself vulnerable by presenting your gift also causes you to feel greater mercy for others who brave the terror.

Why are we so afraid?

1. We have convinced ourselves that something has to be perfect.

I don’t know why–nothing ever is.

  • But the reason most people don’t write is because they think every sentence has to be aligned with the gospel of grammar.
  • People refuse to sing, horrified that bad pitch or forgetting the lyrics will render them the fool of the day.
  • A carpenter will stop working with wood, terrified that he’ll hit his thumb with a hammer.

All creativity is brought to a halt by the superstition of perfection. There is no such thing, but we insist on its existence.

2. We are afraid to perfect.

Yes, there is a certain chill that goes down our spine over the dual prospect of admitting lack and jumping in once again to remold the idea. So because we’re plagued by this tentative energy, we choose to critique instead of create.

But after I wrestled with my own frustrations, I finally decided to become a creator instead of a criticizer. And what did I get for my noble decision? Criticism. But also–something to work with.

So I will make something today that did not exist yesterday, knowing that it will be critiqued by those who made nothing. For creativity is the only way we sense the breath of God within us.

Criticism is for monkeys … and those who ape them.

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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

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