Good News and Better News … February 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2838)

Good News Better News McCormick

Pictured above is a Kleenex, which I discarded yesterday when I was sitting at my book table, enjoying the blessings of being in the presence of delightful souls in McCormick, South Carolina.

I thought I was going to sneeze. I grabbed the Kleenex, and when I did not sneeze, I wadded it up and put it to the side, having never put it to use. But since it was rejected, it no longer had any purpose, even though it was not trash.

That’s the way I feel about the church.

Many people have wadded it up and cast it to the side, and it looks a little dilapidated even though it has not completed its purpose.

Yesterday, while relishing in the interaction with Paul and Kay, and the local congregation, I was inspired by the fact that they succeeded in getting people from the whole community to come out to church simply by being excited themselves over the prospect of a special event.

Here’s the question: can we get excited again about being together and celebrating the life of the church, instead of being like a used Kleenex which hasn’t even absorbed a sneeze?

Because once people get excited, they will do the work.

Once people believe that something different from the commonplace will happen, they will be prepared to rejoice, clap their hands and even hug one another.

But if you’re going to treat the Gospel message like it’s used Kleenex, don’t be surprised if people choose to ignore it.

The good news is that the citizens of McCormick, South Carolina, rallied together and had a sweet time in the spirit.

Now let me tell you some better news–you can have that same thing happen every week if you take three things into consideration. The Gospel needs:

1. Humanity

We spend too much time talking about God and not enough about how to be better people. Jesus was not interested in exploring new ways to worship God. He was concerned with how we treat the least of our brethren. This defines our belief.

2. Humor

I don’t know how the humor of Jesus escapes theologians. I suppose it’s because they read everything he said as if Jesus just finished sucking on a lemon.

But Jesus had a dry wit.

  • He told his disciples to “be of good cheer.”
  • He told them “the blind can’t lead the blind–otherwise, they’ll end up in a ditch.”
  • And tongue-in-cheek, he told them they were “worth many sparrows.”

A humorless Gospel is a discarded tissue.

3. Honesty

If we’re going to teach our congregations to approach life as if it’s a political campaign, attempting to dodge charges instead of facing realities, the church will become a sanctuary for losers.

Jesus was clear. “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.”

Stop trying to make explanations. He said anything that is not a yes or a no is usually born of evil.

So to all of my new friends in McCormick, thank you for being who you are. And I encourage you to keep the humanity, the humor and the honesty in your gathering.

It will make every Sunday a Super Sunday.

 

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The Alphabet of Us: Z is for Zeal… June 1st, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

(2599)

building block Z

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

“Be careful.”

I think it’s safe to say that all parents mouth that sentiment at least a thousand times to their child from birth to high school graduation.

It’s sound advice if it’s defined correctly and backed up with suitable examples. What we’re really trying to tell our offspring is to be smart.

But sometimes it’s not smart to tread carefully.A greater danger sneaks into the picture, creating a fuzzy outlook on life. Because careful can easily become cautious.

The difference between careful and cautious is that careful is a profile to be ready for trouble and cautious is a decision to look for it.

Ultimately, caution tends to lead the over-protected soul into a pathway of suspicion. And of course, when you think that everything or everyone is out to get you, you not only miss out on many blessings, but eventually something or someone does get you–merely to mock your defenses.

Here is the truth of the matter–human beings cannot live without passion. Even if we become passionate about being suspicious, we are still engaging ourselves in an active profile.

So without abandoning the position of being careful, how can we unleash the energy of our faith and talent into the world around us?

Zeal.

  • “I am ready.”
  • “I am not hesitant.”
  • “I am not fearful.”
  • “I also am not stupid.”
  • “I’m ready to believe that something good can come my way.”

Without zeal, we become encumbered by conspiracy theories and absorb the available doom and gloom in the room.

As careful leads to cautious, zeal opens the door to zealous. Matter of fact, the Good Book tells us to be zealously affected by a good thing. Zealous is when we take our “ready” status, select a favored cause and become excited.

I’m not completely sure what the Father in heaven dislikes, but I will tell you–He is deeply enthralled with human beings who are excited.

Zealous contains two important parts:

1. “I believe it’s possible for something good to happen.”

2. “I believe I’ve found it.”

Zealous is the opposite of cautious.

It is walking into a room knowing that you’ll be looking for a light switch instead of cursing the darkness. This culminates in the word “zealot.”

It is most unfortunate that this word has such negative ramifications. Actually, a zealot is someone who is committed and has become excited because he or she is ready for something good to happen.

We can’t live our lives like pre-teen girls who see a small spider in the corner of the bedroom and spend the rest of the night believing that hairy-legged varmints are crawling all over them.

Zeal makes us ready to be zealous, excited about possibilities, which gives us the opportunity to become committed zealots–chasing down a miracle that will change our world.

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Rebirth Certificate… December 18, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2096)

birthdayJonI was born.

Although present, I retain no memory. Apparently there were people who were excited about the idea, who later became overwhelmed with the duties and responsibility and eventually settled into a nearly comical profile, blending pride and disappointment. Funny thing about family–it is often touted as our greatest benefactor. But truthfully, it’s more like investors grumbling over the return.

They gave me a certificate at my birth to confirm that the appearance actually happened–that I was not an alien and therefore was qualified, or at least permitted, to be President of the United States if I reached such an arrogant and ridiculous conclusion.

As wonderful as it is to be born of the wife of my father, I have found this year that to be born of Mother Nature and honoring my Father in heaven to be an even greater transformation.

Yes, this year I feel like I have received a “Rebirth Certificate.” It was really quite simple to procure. After all my years of earth travel, I have finally surrendered to a pair of principles that make everything work together to the good:

  1. Don’t expect too much.
  2. Don’t get offended.

That’s it.

If you can remind yourself of these two ideas every day, you can finish out with the setting of the sun having a joyous resignation to reality.

Of course, the society I live in denies these two precepts and replaces them with “dream big and don’t take crap off of anyone.” Matter of fact, you can get a cheer in almost any gathering by proclaiming your uniqueness, individuality and determination that you will not be overcome.

Not me.

Today is my birthday, so I’m going to tell you what I’m celebrating:

  • I have taken this year to lessen my need and increase my gift.
  • I have used these 365 days to find a way to accept my surroundings as the available climate for my next endeavor.
  • I have reached inside myself to find the Kingdom of God instead of demanding that others adhere to my theology or moral code.
  • I have challenged the only person I am able to affect: the one who stares back at me in the mirror.
  • I have realized that the treatment I receive from strangers has nothing to do with me, but rather, their ongoing struggle with understanding their own birth.
  • And those people who are determined to hurt me waste valuable time that they could be using to pursue their own personal excellence.

It is a “Rebirth Certificate.” I don’t expect too much and I try real hard not to get offended.

Since I have no recollection of my initial forthcoming from my mother’s womb, if you don’t mind, I will celebrate this new experience.

Born again.

Yes, I think I finally get it.

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

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