Good News and Better News… September 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Optimism is completely useless in sharing the Good News. It always hopes for positive results which are only determined by the audience and the moving of the Holy Spirit.

Likewise, pessimism is a meaningless, funky choice. After all, what value is there in preaching the end of the world while the doggone thing is still revolving?

I think Paul Simon summed it up best in his song, “The Boxer” when he wrote: Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

So if you want to be a bearer of good tidings, you must keep two essentials in mind. These were in play when I went to Tampa Bay to do two concerts, one at the Sun City Center United Methodist Church and the other at Atonement Lutheran in Wesley Chapel. I was hosted by two fine gentlemen–Kevin and Scott–both of whom desire to see something good happen in our time.

But over the years, you learn that passion, deliberation and organization are not enough. Talent falls short, and patience is a virtue which often fails to impress the meandering mob.

Two things to keep in mind if you want to make a difference: make it clear and make it good.

Honestly, if you don’t come with quality, don’t expect to get any kind of ear turned in your direction. So stop trying to do things that are difficult, believing they’ll be impressive in the long run. Find things you can accomplish well in almost any circumstance, and perfect them.

I am not the best anything. I never will be the best anything. But I can always get better at my best.

That’s our job. Make it good. It’s time for us to stop apologizing for what we present under the guise that “since God is in charge, and He loves us all, He’ll forgive a few sour patches.”
Tain’t so, my brothers and sisters. We’ve got to make it good. And then, you’ve got to make it clear.

To do this requires simplifying your message so that everybody in the room, from six to ninety-six years old, knows exactly what you’re trying to say. Some folks will still try to twist your words to their advantage, but there’s not much you can do about that, so don’t worry.

If you want people to believe that “love your neighbor as yourself” works, you need to say it five times and provide three good
examples.

And then do everybody in the room a favor: Don’t try to make another point. Three-point sermons leave two points forgotten and one point confusing.

So my time in Tampa Bay was lavished with lovely, inspiring people who benefitted from my presence because I determined to not be either optimistic or pessimistic, but instead, made it clear and made it good.

So therefore, the good news is that life is not hopeless, filled with ungrateful human beings who are beyond redemption.

The better news is, as Paul Simon said, we need to give them things they can hear and don’t disregard.

 

 

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Good News and Better News … January 18th. 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2817)

broken door

It is impossible to avoid difficulty.

Blessing is when difficulty arrives at a manageable moment.

Now to my story:

We had a date cancel. That’s a fussy situation. Two days later, another engagement dropped out. Two Sundays in a row without having the opportunity to share.

Let me explain. When you are on the road without gigs, it’s like being on a budget vacation minus the means to enjoy it or even explain it.

Stay open.

Therefore, we decided to attempt to fill in these two missing bookings with only two weeks notice. To accomplish this, we developed a philosophy to coincide with our escapade.

1. Find a location to pursue.

After all, you have to go somewhere to get something.

2. Have passion.

If you’re not excited about what you’re doing, don’t expect the world to be set on fire.

3. Don’t get your hopes up.

A desperate attempt shouldn’t leave you feeling desperation if it fails.

4. Use your sense of humor.

If it’s ridiculous, always be prepared to laugh.

5. Take what you can get.

People with too many standards often end up without a chance to make their point.

Yes, too much emphasis is placed on the quality of opportunity.

And then there was Graceville, Florida.

A fellow named Sean said yes.

He was open.

Facts are, he needed someone to fill his position on this past Sunday so he could go away on a trip with his son.

So we did the Graceville church yesterday.

We stayed open.

So did the delightful, intriguing, smiling souls in Graceville.

An Amazing Grace-ville.

Footnote:

Did I mention that our van’s back door handle broke on Friday? We thought we got it fixed. But on Sunday after the presentation–with an open congregation and an open approach from us–suddenly our door wouldn’t open again.

So rather than fuss, fume or fret, we just decided to come back for our equipment later on.

It was a difficulty.

But it arrived at a manageable moment.

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