The Money Brick … January 11, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Some people are stained glassbrick of money

Others, just stained

Either way, we’re hurtin’

Our flaws bring us pain

Or is it that our pain invites the flaws?

Who knows?

Stained-glassers focus on the flaws

Stainers, on the pain

But both remain

And it is useless to counsel a leper

And mean-spirited to offer a good book to a blind man

I awakened in the middle of the night, finding myself deep in thought. I like that. I believe life should be a balance between discouragement and satisfaction, exhorting us toward greater discovery. As I was quietly lying in my bed reflecting, a sense of well-being and warmth filled my soul.

Some folks would become cynical if I suggested God was speaking to me. They would insist I was just being prodded by my own conscience. To each his own.

But the revelation was that it is beautiful that I am traveling, excellent to share my life with tens of thousands of people, smart to write daily columns and ingenious to always be trying to update the material and the message to reach a specific gathered audience.

Then a yearning came. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was the realization that even after all these projects and outreaches are done, I still have time on my hands. After all, the bills are paid. I often have a little extra money.

Time and money–the dynamic duo. When they work together, lives can be changed.

In that moment of quiet, I was strongly impressed to take a small purse of cash–what I now refer to as a “money brick”–each and every week and invest it in human beings.. Here’s why:

  • Some people will not listen to words.
  • There are those who refrain from partaking of a melody.
  • And very few individuals will tolerate a sermon.

But everyone appreciates a few dollars offered as encouragement and evidence that they are not alone.

I don’t have much; I’m not going to pay off people’s debts. But sometimes what the stained-glassers and the stainers need is just a dollar or two–to let them know that someone sees them, cares and wishes them God speed.

Money does talk. It speaks a universal language.

So I thought that the generous folks who contribute to my cause would not mind me setting aside a specific amount of coinage each week, to bless the folks I encounter on a daily basis. I have requested that God send such individuals my way.

We shall see.

I will offer the brick … and ask God to provide the mortar. 

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

Five Signs You Are Doing Fine… November 13, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I'm okWe do not need discouragement to be discouraged.

We are human, capable of getting depressed on our birthday because of the possibility of our imminent death.

Once you realize that we, as a species, are tuned to the negative–and you also come to the realization that merely “acting positive” does not stimulate extra energy or true emotion, you can realistically look at the barometers which allow sunshine to enter our lives instead of dark clouds.

I can think of five of them–a quintet of good signs for “people mental health.”

1. “I don’t complain.”

That doesn’t mean I like everything that happens–but complaining is a mask we wear for arrogance, which stifles our possibilities and eliminates grace from working in our spirits.

2. “I am learning.”

I can always pick out folks who are in trouble because they are resistant to the notion of change and won’t admit that they require refreshing.

3. “I know my gifts.”

Let me give you a definition of gift: a gift is a talent or ability which when applied, normally allows me the opportunity to overcome my difficulty.

4. “I am aware of my limitations.”

There is a power in knowing when to say, “I can’t do that.” It opens the door to collaboration and provides the opportunity for someone more suited to the position to provide excellence.

5. “I am looking for reasons to join in fellowship instead of alienating myself from others.”

If you believe that “NoOne is better than anyone else,” you will constantly be looking out for fellow travelers to chat with and to energize you as you exhort them.

Church attendance is dropping in this country because it’s no longer popular to believe. But it is also drooping because we don’t like each other anymore.

Take a look at that list and realize that a complaining know-it-all who has an over-assessment of his or her ability, and thinks they don’t have weaknesses and avoids interaction with other humans which might create change is probably the most dangerous bomb in the world. They are flesh, stuffed with the explosive of discontentment.

There are your five signs that you are doing fine. Think about them. Better yet, keep a good sense of humor as you change the ones that are undercutting your joy and success.

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

The Running List… October 18, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

Eleven days ago, when I awakened with the startling notification that my legs had decided to become non-supportive of my endeavors, my first instinct was to become discouraged. (I personally relish discouragement. It is comforting. Discouragement is the emotion we select when we really don’t want to look much deeper into the situation, but instead, would prefer to believe that we are the offended party.) It does have its dark side, however. It only has one door. Yes, it has an entrance but provides no exit, while simultaneously dimming all the light around you. So I immediately rejected discouragement and instead leaped to my running list.

My running list has five items: God, Mother Nature, people, friends and me.

Those are the elements, really, that interact with me every day of my life, since I rarely have to have a personal interchange with a goat or an elephant.

God. Who is He? God is a spirit. What do we know about spirits? Absolutely nothing–except they’re not physical. So it’s understandable that when God thinks about me, He’s thinking about my heart and spirit instead of about how I need to shed some pounds, start an exercise program and avoid pasta and salt. He is a spirit who became creative. Even to this day, we can tell something is truly spiritual if it was birthed from a creative place. And finally, being a spirit that’s creative, He has afforded us the opportunity to receive Him as a Father if we so desire, by faith.

So what did God think about my legs? Not much.

I moved on to Mother Nature. She is the enforcer, the practicality, the earthly intelligence and the evolver of planet life. She tries to create an even playing field, which requires some rules, followed by surprises. After all, if people only learned the rules, then we would just be a bunch of obedient robots, but if life were just full of surprises, we would be ducking for the cave every time we heard thunder. It’s balanced. Mother Nature has no relationship with me at all. She sees me as she sees everyone else, and because of that she is of great value in my life. What does Mother Nature feel about my legs? Mother Nature does not like sixty-year-old fat men who occasionally splurge on their eating like they’re eighteen and carry out the schedule of a twenty-five-year-old troubadour. She has an ax to grind with me.

So let’s review. God loves me; Mother Nature thinks I’m a prick. Okay. Let’s move on to people.

I love people because they have one moving part: they think about themselves. If you’re offended by that, you will probably not find yourself to be much of a people person. If you expect high-sounding virtue and great generosity of spirit, you probably will come to the conclusion that Homo sapiens should be wiped from the face of the earth. But once you understand that people are self-involved, then you can find a way to become involved with their self. So what do people think about my legs? Once again, not very much. They might consider me weakened if they saw me in a wheelchair, until I could demonstrate that I still bring value to the tribe and therefore, blessing to their teepee.

How about friends? Remember, friends are just people who decide to make you one of the things of their self-involvement. In other words, you are ONE of the ingredients (so don’t get puffed up). What do my friends feel about my legs? Being friends, and often related to me, they want to make sure they say something intelligent and meaningful. Also, just in case I fall over dead, they want to make it clear to everyone around them that they warned me. Their involvement is most valuable, with precious junctures of tenderness and prayers that go up to my Father, who would love to see my heart and spirit live on.

So let’s catch up and keep score. God does not really focus on my bad legs, but rather, is concerned about my heart, spirit and maintaining a personal relationship with me. Mother Nature couldn’t care less about a personal relationship, but instead, wants me to follow the rules better, and then she will consider whether I get to hang around. People are busy with themselves and only consider my legs a weakness if I do, or if I refuse to be of benefit to their pursuits. Family loves me, and as they think about themselves, they include me because I have become part of them and they want to make sure they have done everything reasonable to assist me without becoming overly zealous.

Then there’s me. I, being human, am also self-involved. So I am afforded two choices when it comes to dealing with affliction: Self-awareness or self-pity. Let me not be too noble here–I occasionally indulge in self-pity when I find I have too much time on my hands and get in some sort of bleak place, where I only see the lesser possibilities for my soul.

But self-awareness is a delicious combination of hope, humor and honesty. Hope in the sense that we know that as long as there’s life, there’s always a chance for something to change. Humor because we know that change will be slow and often comical. And honesty because nothing happens until we’re dealing with real, hard-core facts instead of wishes and dreams.

I decided that it was useless for me to pray for a miracle unless I had already started one. So for eleven days I have been on a fabulous food regimen, using exercise prudently, resting, drinking lots of water, and just enjoying myself to the hilt in the process.And then I have employed the following philosophy: the best way for me to honor God is by respecting Mother Nature while simultaneously attempting to turn all the people I meet into my friends.

There’s the key.

You can’t come to God and pray for a miracle if you’re ignoring the principles, the guidelines and the system of His creation established through Mother Nature. I do not know if I’m going to get better, but I do know that the process to getting better is to honor God by following Mother Nature and turning all the people I meet into my friends.

It makes the “me” part of my running list less cranky, less self-piteous and less boring. That’s where I am right now.

Have you checked your running list lately? God is waiting, Mother Nature will teach you if you listen, people are available if you’re interested in them, and friends are valuable if you give them direction on where your heart wants to go. After all, it’s not that complicated. What complicates life is when we believe too much in God but ignore His nature, or we don’t believe in God … and are stuck with ourselves.

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

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