Good News and Better News … February 12th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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You are not a farmer.

You are not called to plow, plant, kill weeds and fuss about the weather.

You are a sower.

Your parents were wrong–life is not about “being careful” so you won’t accidentally reap some undesirable result. As long as you’re not starving to death, hurting yourself or interfering with others, get out there and sow.

Your caution only hurts you.

Your intimidation robs you of the experience for which you yearn, and if you fail to achieve, makes you grumpy, old and judgmental. “How dare other people have fun in my presence?”

The story goes, “A sower went forth to sow seed.”

The end result of the process is as follows: Once you drop, you end up with a flop or a crop.

That’s how easy it is. And according to this tale, most of the time it is a flop. Yes, we sustain enthusiasm through many a disappointment, reveling in the sweetness of pleasure.

Some seed will just miss. It won’t get anywhere near soil. Forgive yourself. Laugh it off. “Okay, it landed by the wayside.” Maybe you can aim better next time. It didn’t do anything you wanted it to do. Get over it. Keep in mind, when you refuse to partake of life, you sit in your own sediment until you stink.

Some of the “drop” lands on stony ground. Yeah, the idea started out good, but it didn’t have sustaining power. This doesn’t mean you don’t get joy out of the undertaking. It’s the power of knowing when to walk away. And here’s a clue–when it stops being fun, you should start looking for your shoes.

Some of the seed you drop lands in the middle of thistles. Now, this is soil that’ll grow anything–good and bad. The trouble is, sometimes the bad eats up the good, so it’s not the greatest climate to maintain a cherished mission. Keep sowing.

And some seed miraculously lands right in the middle of rich soil, grows and gives you a crop. This is why we celebrate. It’s why we praise. It’s why we reflect. Why we testify.

We do all of these because success doesn’t happen as often as failure, and if you refuse to try because “doom is more likely than bloom,” you will only guarantee yourself the failure of nothingness.

And if you’re surprised that things don’t work out the way you planned, you may just hang up your bag of seed and pout.

The good news is, we are not farmers–we are sowers.

The better news is, every once in a while we sow into the right soil, and the meaning of life grows right in front of our eyes.

 

 

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“Stephening”… May 15, 2013

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0akdaleSometimes I just can’t sleep very well.

It’s not insomnia–it’s usually because I’m excited about the next day, and my brain is moving at seventy-two miles per hour in a thirty mile per hour zone. On those rare occasions, I turn on the TV.

Last night when I did so, the first thing that popped on the screen was a high-energy rock and roll concert with a young lady running across the stage, dancing and singing with vibrance and enthusiasm. I was unable to make out the words but they had something to do with how excited she was to be in love.

You see, I’m kind of a weird old fart. I’ve always liked rock and roll and still do. I even like all the transformations that have occurred and am greatly intrigued by the present crop being harvested in the music field. What struck me last night was that even though I’m not critical about how young humans entertain themselves, I am greatly concerned about their pursuit of inspiration.

Whether you like jazz, dancing, hunting, fishing, sewing or tap dance really doesn’t make much difference to me, but I do think that somewhere along the line we human beings need to come to an agreement on what is truly inspiring.

This week when I made my way to Stephenville, Texas, my mind floated back to recall the life of a young fellow named Stephen. He, too, was bursting with youth. He was selected to do a job. They put him in charge of food distribution for the hungry and told him to make sure it was done equitably. They trusted him.

Now, here’s the twist: the next time we hear about Stephen, he’s not passing out bread to the hungry, but instead, is sharing his life story and the mission of his message with the masses.

And then, in our next encounter, he is speaking truthfully to the powers that be, and because his words are so convicting, he ends up being killed.

Quite a transition.

It got me thinking about what I think “Stephening” is. For I believe this–if you’re a young human, interested in rock and roll, movies, video games and technology, more power to you. But somewhere in your soul, there has to be a kernel of awareness about the world around you and your part in helping to make it better.

Stephen had that.

  1. He had a yearning to take care of the needs of others.
  2. But he also was not going to be limited to that, and freely stepped out of the box prepared for him, to do something of his own heartfelt desire.
  3. He shared with others–he didn’t hold the truths that were working in his life inside himself, but instead, freely communicated his joy to the world around him.
  4. And finally, he wasn’t afraid.

True success is when we walk away from tradition and also avoid walking toward “the world.”  We find out where tradition has failed, and instead of pursuing the foolishness of abstract materialism and bad habits, we forge a path towards inspiration.

Tonight I will be at the Oakdale United Methodist Church in Stephenville. I am so delighted to be with them–and I’ll be curious if there are any folks there who are interested in “Stephening.”

Because if you don’t decide to care for others, step out of the box, open up your heart to the people around you and not be afraid, you either become a slave to tradition–or a puppy dog chasing the world.

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

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

Scared Cropless… January 3, 2012

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Jonathan in Miami

I just found out that she’s very sick.

I met her thirty years ago when she was just a kid and I really was, too, although I had a few years on her. She wanted to be a singer but had settled for a husband. He was a religious fellow who ended up procuring some violence and repression along with his favorite Bible verses. He didn’t want her to sing–so she didn’t do much.

She was an idealist. An idealist is a person who cleans up the messes in life, convinced that it’s just preparations for a great big party. More often than not, the party doesn’t arrive. Her life became a journey of disappointment, masked by moments of religious euphoria. In a juncture of weakness, she obtained a lover who fathered three children with her but never quite got the idea of being a husband. She was a damaged soul with a pasted-on smile, singing hymns with tears in her eyes.

She was always in financial need, always praying for God’s grace and always talking to me about how “next week” she planned on doing “something” with her abilities. She never did.

She did the three things that we humans perform when we are silently frightened of trying to compete and still want to appear self-righteous. She settled in, she hid away and she checked out. She settled in to a life of domestication, making her children her life. She hid away in the choir at a large church, pretending she was using her gift to full capacity, and she checked out of any responsibility to sow her seed and reap. And the Bible she honored so dearly made it quite clear that God is not mocked–that “whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”

The problem with that concept is that most people are scared cropless. Out of fear of reaping the wrong conclusions, they just refuse to sow anything into the earth and they sit back and do their best impersonation of patience.

She was a princess, expecting a prince. She was a believer, demanding a miracle. And she was a talent, waiting for opportunity. She failed to realize that the Prince has already arrived and is offering us peace; that miracles are what God provides when He encounters an exhausted believer who is still moving forward faithfully, and that opportunity only comes to those who refuse to bury their talents, but place them out visibly for others to see and enjoy.

Tears came to my eyes when I heard about her illness, mainly because I love her and I’m very sad that she’s not well. But I’m also greatly angered by a religiosity that still permeates our society which keeps people crippled in their inadequacy instead of telling them to rise and walk in the newness of life. The fact of the matter is, most people don’t reap bad things in their lives because they sowed poorly–the majority of the populace reaps nothing because they planted nothing. They played it safe, they waited for the next train, and they passed on the possibility. So the time of harvest comes around and they have very little to celebrate. They falsely believe that it is the lot of those who follow Jesus to be the underdogs.

How sad.

Please pray for her. I hope she recovers and gets another chance to stop expecting, demanding and waiting. I hope she gets a door to escape settling in, hiding away and checking out.

Don’t be scared cropless. Take what you have, plant it, water it and see what happens. You never know. It just might grow.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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