I Almost Missed It … December 14, 2011


Live from Palm Coast, Florida, in A Spirited Christmas

The day after Thanksgiving I woke up with a sore throat.

After many years of planet dwelling, I am well aware that a sore throat means I am coming down with a cold, and like most mortals, that is the standard formula of “three days coming, three days of snotiness with you and three days leaving.” Also, my particular viruses enjoy settling into my chest, turning my voice into a cesspool of pitches.

Here was the problem–I was about to begin a fourteen-day, thirteen-performance Christmas tour. Being the typical human being that I am, I was wondering if I could survive through the weekend before the cold overtook me, and exactly how many dates I would have to cancel due to incapacitation. It was not an issue of if dates would be canceled. No. In my mind, it was an issue of whether it would be two, four, or worst case scenario–all of them.

I made it through the weekend. But on Monday I sprouted another symptom–a stomach virus, which caused my internal organs to be visible on the outside of my body. Yet somehow I survived the Monday night presentation–kind of inching my way along like a really fat worm. By Tuesday I felt better. What was interesting was that the introduction of the stomach virus frightened my cold symptoms away. I guess it’s really true that God does not tempt us beyond what we can bear–because to be sneezing and coughing while having diarrhea may be the true definition of double-trouble.

I made it through Tuesday night, Wednesday night and by Thursday night I had completely forgotten about all infirmities and was taking for granted my good health. Now, having completed the entire tour, I realize I nearly missed a miracle. Isn’t that amazing? I didn’t miss a date. The shows were great, and I was never late. But I quickly took it for granted instead of marveling over the miracle of the Christmas tour.

Yes, I almost missed it.

That’s why I’m stopping off today to tell you amazing folks one of the greater secrets to life. (It isn’t really a secret at all. I just thought that added great flair to my writing…) Because I can tell you with certainty that miracles are what happen when our plans actually come to fruition because they were unselfish enough to include as many people as possible.

Miracles are not turning water into wine. A miracle is when you find a good, tasty cup of water. I don’t need the wine. I don’t need parlor tricks to convince me that life is good. I need to be able to use my brain while tapping my emotions and spirit to come up with ideas that meet my needs, and in the process help others–and then use all my energy to do my best to enact these notions, trusting God to be benefactor and cheerleader.

For instance, all the vegetables I had consumed during the year helped with my immune system and gave God good reason to protect me from the onslaught of my cold. I understand that the little bit of exercise that I do was also of great assistance in dispelling my stomach virus as quickly as those little boogers will depart. I now see that everything worked together to the good–because I did love the Lord, trusted Him and am trying to learn how this planet works rather than bucking the system.

I don’t know what’s going to happen to me tomorrow. But I do know that every time I get in my car and turn on the key it is possible that the car will not start. Am I saying it’s a miracle when my car starts? No. What I’m saying is this: a car starting is better than one that doesn’t–and if I’m intelligent I will appreciate my engine igniting instead of misfiring.

You see, I almost missed it. I almost missed the miracle of everything working together to the good and at the end of the process, me completing a tour that could have just as easily been canceled. So what did I learn?

Miracles are my plans with God’s nod and others included. When that happens, we can certainly welcome additional visitations by acknowledging the process.

So I’m about to leave and go out to my car. If I expect my car to start, I will be infuriated if it doesn’t. If I’m grateful for my car starting, I may be willing to grant my vehicle absolution for those times it fails to spark.

I know it sounds child-like. It is. Every good thing in life comes from learning to appreciate what is provided, as if it were a Christmas toy instead of a demanded paycheck.

If you can keep that simplicity, you can rule the world … or at least the part that you have planned.


Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!


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


Ho, Ho, Hope… December 13, 2011

In Melbourne, Florida


Hope makes me nervous.

Maybe it’s because those who extol the virtue of hope outwardly appear to be confident but inwardly seem to be shaking like a leaf. Hope is a spirit, desperately searching for a body of work.

I love Christmas because it is a season of hope–but our jaded society dispels the notion as childish–and those who still insist on propagating the precept are often ill-prepared for disappointment and end up looking naive.

How can we have Ho-Ho-Hope? In other words, blending the beauty of the Christmas story with the realities of our world to bring about a functional plan of action to improve our circumstances instead of merely enduring them? I think it comes down to a very simple verse of scripture which has now become part of the American lexicon:

“You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

Yes–it is a message of hope, but it has two parts. First of all, I have to be willing to know the truth–not ignore it, not embellish upon it, not pretend it is a passing fancy which will soon change because of the goodness of God, but to really KNOW the truth. That’s the first stage of unveiled hope.

We work with honor. Let me give you a quick definition of honor: “I have enough confidence that I am loved that I am not afraid to speak the truth about myself.”

That’s honor. Every attempt to cover up, gloss over, spread disinformation, lie or cheat is an admission that we really do not believe we are loved. I know God loves me. God loves me so much that even when I act like an ass, I can still have confidence that I will be able to sleep in the barn tonight.

Most of us fail because we insert hope where we should be speaking truth.

  • I hope I can do well.
  • I hope things work out.
  • I hope I’ll come up with an idea.
  • I hope I can quit smoking.
  • I hope I can lose weight.
  • I hope I can do better.

This kind of hope leaves us destitute when just average temptation comes along and kicks the props out from under our makeshift house of faith. “You shall KNOW the truth …”

We work with honor. When I turn to an audience and tell them that I’m not very good-looking, I am not throwing a fishing line out, hoping that someone will disagree and find me attractive. Instead, I am praising my heavenly Father for taking such a homely physical specimen and making him of such great value to the planet.

Likewise, I could never vote for a politician who lies–which is why I don’t vote. They all feel it is their job to put their best foot forward–and end up with that same foot stuck in their mouth. The beginning of all valuable hope is knowing the truth–and to do that, we work with honor–which leads to the next step. What will knowing the truth do? Make us free. And once we work with honor, we gain power and energy because–we honor what works.

Sometimes my ideas are crap. If I persist in them because they are MY ideas, I end up looking like crap. But if I’m willing to forsake my flawed concepts and honor what works, I can benefit from the journey of others and in no time at all, there is no one who remembers who had the idea in the first place, because we all end up enjoying the fruit.

America is flailing today because we do not honor what works. We have become obsessed with names, like “conservative” and “liberal,” instead of ideas which supersede the barriers created by mankind and minister to the heart of the matter. It’s impossible to be made free without learning to honor what works.

About half the time I agree with the Republicans and about half the time I agree with the Democrats.  And the other half, I disagree with both of them. (As you can see, math is not my strongest suit…)

Hope bears forth its joy when we work with honor and we honor what works. At that point, we have the capacity for knowing the truth, which will make us free. And as wonderful as freedom is, it is merely the doorway to the greater possibility of liberty. And liberty is when I can trust myself to be honest so that my freedom won’t hurt anyone else.

So Merry Christmas, and Ho-Ho-Hope. But keep in mind that hope which is merely a fleeting thought–wishful thinking–will always make you emotionally ill.

True hope is when we work with honor and we honor what works. It grants us the ability to know the truth that makes us free.


Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

%d bloggers like this: