Good News and Better News … February 19th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3588)

During a particularly glorious pee-pee break during the night, I turned on the TV to light my path, muting the sound (as I didn’t require any audio commentary while urinating.)

Upon returning to my bed, I reached for the selector to turn off the TV–my normal practice–so I could roll over and hook Sleep One up with Sleep Two, when I looked up and saw Joel Osteen on the screen.

I have no strong sentiment about Pastor Osteen. There are some people who think he is handsome, with his million-dollar smile and house to match, and others who call him everything from a charlatan to a heretic. (The worst thing I probably have done is finding myself holding the coats of those who were stoning the Houstonian.)

But I also do not favor his instruction. Oh, that’s stupid. I just really have never listened to him. After all, I find myself so fascinating there’s little time for others. (I hope you know I’m kidding…)

But on a whim, I unmuted the messenger and let him speak. Amazingly, for the next three-and-a-half minutes, this young gentleman spoke directly to my heart. His message was so specifically designed to my circumstance that I was startled. If I were the superstitious sort, I might even believe the actual show did not exist, but was manufactured in the heavens to be aired on my screen and mine alone.

For three-and-a-half minutes there was nothing but Joel talking to me. After that it got a little clunky, but I treasured my three-and-a-half minutes.

Clarity. It is one of the greatest things God can give us. We all pray for healing, finance and retribution, and He offers us wisdom and strength, knowing that these two powerhouses usually set everything else in motion. I was struck by the simplicity of it all.

You see, I’m tapped.

I’m not angry, I’m not frustrated, I’m not disillusioned. I’m just tapped.

I am drained of any further toleration for a religious system that spends time bickering instead of beckoning.

Drained of a political collision in Washington which is no merely longer involved in gridlock, but has transformed our country into bumper cars.

And a business world which decides to charge more for a candy bar while simultaneously shrinking its size.

So in a sense, I have great empathy for the WWE (another show I’ve never watched). I am tapped out.

I don’t want to wrestle any more. I’m tired of the struggle. I’m weary of watching people pretend they’re passionate, only to resume their mediocre lives once the cameras are turned off.

I don’t want to hear any more about school shootings–not because I’m indifferent to brothers and sisters who were slain, but rather, enraged by those who use the event to become overly religious, maudlin, improve ratings or posture for votes.

God came into my room last night with the aid of Joel’s words, calmed me down and gave me another gallon of hope for truckin’ on.

I am no longer tapped. I am open for business, to be gentle, kind, humble and therefore, powerful.

The good news is, God spoke to me through Joel Osteen.

The better news is, I didn’t act like a jerk, but instead, listened.

 

 

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Hope: Good v. Bad … September 11, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2003)

Garden cityI suppose, technically speaking, that hope is viewed in a positive light–something perpetually draped in white linen, espousing good. I certainly do not want to portray in this morning’s essay that I am opposed to something as universally enshrined in purity as hope, yet I must tell you–there IS such a thing as “bad hope.”

When hope is ill-placed or fails to evolve through the leading of the Spirit,  it becomes “bad hope.”

For instance, we live in a time when the two words “I can” are continually touted as the symbol of confidence–the battle cry of the victor. Here’s the problem: what if your “I can”  is really and truthfully an “I can’t?” What if claiming an ability you HOPE you have does not conjure it into existence? What if you believe you can dance, but really possess two left feet? Will your continual proclamations of superiority make you a better hoofer? Or are you opening yourself up to disappointment with a side dish of ridicule?

Secular society dupes the public into believing that merely stating a desire makes it come to pass as long as you “keep on believing.” Tain’t so, Joe.

Somewhere along the line, the advertising that falls off your lips with “I can” needs to audition on the stage of competition and prove its merit. At that juncture, many people walk away not only disillusioned, but also angry at those who are better than them.

The second “bad hope” comes from the religious community, as those with beatific expressions lift their eyes to the heavens and shout, “HE can!”

It amazes me that we believe we have the right to declare the will and preferences of God, especially as pertaining to our prosperity and future. There are folks who think if they become fervent enough, they can force the hand of “Our Father, which art in heaven” to do their beckoning. What God is able to do and what He chooses to do are two different things. You do not impress the Creator of the Universe by quoting Bible to Him.

So what IS “good hope?”

As I head off tonight to share with the folks at Good Hope Lutheran Church in Garden City, Michigan, I want to make sure they understand that their edifice of worship is well-named–as long as they pursue the correct style of hopefulness.

Good hope happens whenever we promote the truly heavenly notion that “WE can.”

“I can” will fail based upon my talent.

“He can” often dribbles away due to presumption and pride.

But when we finally arrive at the “we” part of the Kingdom of God, we discover the power of hope.

Here it is in a single sentence: I need you, you need me, we need God and God needs us.

That’s it.

As long as you choose that line of logic, you will find that hope is a very fulfilling and delightful exercise.

  • I may be able to do things but that doesn’t mean I don’t need you.
  • You may have great gifts, but truthfully, you probably require my involvement.
  • We all could benefit from picking the brain of the Guy who came up with the idea of earth.
  • And He has no intention of doing anything without coming into covenant with human beings.

It’s just the way it works. If you’re not going to bring your five loaves and two fishes and hang around to see what happens, don’t expect God to multiply it out to the thousands.

So there IS “bad hope:”

Any time we believe that merely saying “I can” puts a shudder of fear down the backside of the universe, we are on a fool’s journey. And also, on those occasions when we bow our heads and piously proclaim, “HE can,” with no intention of changing our own personal calendars, we are equally as dumbfounded by the less-than-promising results.

But when we realize that I need you and you need me, we come to the conclusion that we need God and we see that He has decided to need us, then whatever we hope can become faith, which has proven, over time … to have the power to move mountains.

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

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