3 Things… August 23rd, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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That Mentally and Emotionally Disturbed People Could Do Instead of Shooting Up Schools

1. A rugged buffalo hunt in the Montana Mountains with members of the Shoshone Tribe (you could even use your assault rifle)

 

2. Bingeing video games, mixing tequila with Gatorade and trying to set the record on the most pizza eaten in a 24-hour period (that’s a great shot)

 

3. Take advantage of months and months of free therapy provided by the tax payers, who would much rather see you comfortable in a hospital than for them to attend the funerals of their children.

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Catchy (Sitting 49) Soulsbury… May 20th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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At Matthew’s request, Carlin made the tour of the network morning shows to answer questions about the tragedy on behalf of the corporation.

Wearing a black fedora and a black t-shirt with red lettering which read “Romans 5:20,” he went from one station to another, answering two repetitive questions: (1) What does Romans 5:20 signify? and (2) What does this massacre mean for the movement going forward?

Carlin, having realized that this was going to be the thrust of the inquiries, had prepared his answers well. As to the first probe, he explained that Romans 5:20 was from the Bible, and that it stated that “where sin doth abound, grace doth much more abound.”

This perfectly led him into the second answer. What was going to happen to the movement? “Since it was a movement, it would move–and the choice was to move forward.

While Carlin took care of the public relations side, Soos “hit the ground loving.” She had not joined the others on the plane to Las Vegas, but stayed in Salisbury, donating her blood, talking to the victims, passing out food and doing her best to console those souls God sent her way.

Simultaneously, up in Baltimore, Mother Rolinda was working with ten young women who aspired to the priesthood. She popped into the motor home that had been purchased as a gift by Matthew for her work, took the ten young women with her and headed to Salisbury. She figured there was no better way to learn the ministry than by ministering.

Jo-Jay, stuck in the middle of a nonsensical investigation of evil-doing in Washington, D. C., climbed into her BMW and headed south. By evening time, Rolinda, Soos and Jo-Jay were linked up and spreading as much tenderness and kindness in the community as their bodies would allow.

Meanwhile, back in Las Vegas, Matthew and Jubal were trying desperately to avoid each other. They had always been a little intimidated by each other, but now there was not much to say or much that they agreed upon. Matthew was ready to move forward and Jubal was stalled in a mental traffic jam. How could he go on? The death toll left him vacant of spirit.

Over the next four days, funeral after funeral and tribute after tribute, meshed together into a massive requiem for the lost angels of Salisbury. Condolences, prayers and money rolled in.

Yes, Jo-Jay, realizing that the families would need finance, had started a fund for them, which, within twenty-four hours, had accumulated thirty-one million dollars.

But Soos felt there was more to be done. She was sitting and sharing this with Rolinda when all at once, she stood up, left the room, and headed off to City Hall. She formulated her plan en route. It was really quite simple. She asked the mayor to give permission for a local park to be set aside as a memorial to those who had been stolen by the violence. She envisioned an open sanctuary, where people could come from all over the country and commune with one another for a day or two, express their frustrations and in doing so, maybe discover hope for tomorrow.

Salisbury had a new mayor–a women who was immediately touched by the idea, and in no time at all, squeezed out approval from the city council.

With Matthew’s permission, Soos purchased a hundred high quality tents which slept eight people, and six motor homes.

She called it the “Camp of Remembrance.”

When Carlin got wind of the idea he realized it was not only a great spiritual possibility, but a boon for the promotion. He scheduled himself onto more talk shows, spreading the vision for the “Camp of Remembrance.” In no time at all, people from all over the country made their way to Salisbury, North Carolina–rich, poor, all sorts of colorations and faiths.

Some stipulations were established: no cars within ten miles of the camp so as not to block traffic. No media, cameras, videos or promotion allowed. And a suggestion that people wear their simplest garb. This was further accentuated when Chaneilson, the famous world-wide model, arrived in jeans, t-shirt and no makeup. She stayed for a week–feeding the hungry, playing with the children and sitting and listening to nighttime conversations by the fireside.

The Camp of Remembrance quickly became a conduit for healing. People talked to each other. Cell phones were not prohibited, but generally speaking, were pocketed, as folks made eye contact and connected with one other.

Musicians, ministers and even the hip hop rapper, Secession, came, sharing his heart and giving a new name to the whole adventure.

One night, as a group sat around a blazing fire, he suggested the town should be reclaimed and declared to be “Soulsbury,” where souls could come and bury their fear and prejudice.

The name immediately gained the approval of the nation. Still–no Jubal. No Matthew. And no idea whatsoever of what would become of the rallies.

About three weeks after the tragedy, in the little town of Sunbury, Ohio, a rally was held in the middle of the small town square, with five hundred attendees. There was no professional band with drums and horns and guitars, but they did their best. The high school band appeared, some local singers sang, some nearby farmers provided cider, and hamburgers were cooked on a plethora of grills. The rally was not nearly as polished, and perhaps not nearly as exciting, but it was real, and belonged to the community.

Soon other towns all across the nation were following the example of Sunbury. Churches opened up their doors and allowed people to come in for prayer, discussion and faith-building, using the example of the miracle that was happening in Soulsbury.

After a month and a half, there were nearly two thousand people who had moved to the Camp of Remembrance, to find themselves, their hearts, and to try to believe in their dreams once again.

In the little community, crime disappeared, guns were holstered and differences were discussed instead of ripping at the fabric of peace.

Soos became a permanent part of the tent city. When the tents Matthew provided were filled, other people brought more tents and other sleeping quarters. Rolinda and the sisters worked very hard to maintain a clean and orderly grounds.

It became such a scene of tranquility that the Vice President of the United States paid a visit–and when his motorcade was stopped ten miles from the city, he was driven in a small van by the local police to the location. He made a decision to spend the night and listen to the congregated share their hearts by the fire. The Secret Service was incensed, and might have won the day except that the Vice President insisted that he be afforded the chance to take on the whole experience of the Camp of Remembrance.

What had begun as a series of pep rallies for Jesus across the nation and world had now settled in to a thoughtful consideration of what it really meant to believe.

The movement was changing. Jubal was still nowhere to be found. Matthew was hiding in Las Vegas.

But the heart of the people was in Soulsbury.Donate Button

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Good News and Better News … April 18th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Antioch

Yesterday it was my joy to share my heart with dear souls in Antioch, Tennessee.

In the Book of Acts, it informs us that Antioch was the first city where the new believers in Jesus were referred to as “Christians.” It was meant to be a derogatory term, thrown at this new movement by the arrogant Greeks, who were trying to connote that the people who believed in the Nazarene were just a bunch of “little Jesuses.”

In other words, they had no mind of their own.

I didn’t talk about this to the people yesterday because I figured that over the years they have probably grown weary of the reference. But it did help me realize that the term “Christian” has become synonymous with going to church, or being religious, instead of being like Jesus.

Jesus frustrated religious people. After a while they got tired of being frustrated, so they decided to murder him.

Even though your average church-going people will admit that attendance is dwindling and that people seem to be “leaving the steeple,” they still insist that there’s basically nothing errant with what’s going on behind the stained glass windows.

Here is something I have learned:

If it’s not working, it’s probably not going to get better just because you keep doing it. And if it’s not working, the first step is to admit it’s broken, and then commit to getting it fixed.

The problem in the church is simple–it is a body of believers working under a false premise. The false premise is that we please God by gathering to worship Him.

Jesus made it clear that we please God by being the salt of the Earth and the light of the world.

Can you see the difference?

So as I leave Antioch, having had a tremendous morning of fellowship with these dear friends, I can offer them a simple suggestion:

Do one thing.

Yes–just start pursuing one thing that’s different from what you’re doing now. And make sure it doesn’t resemble anything like the present menu offered in church.

Maybe you could adopt one family in the community every week, take $150 and buy them groceries and shoes for the kids. Put a committee in charge of this endeavor.

Then on Sunday morning you can share, having something for prayer time other than weddings, funerals, births and sicknesses.

How about challenging twenty people from your congregation to volunteer just one hour a week in area nursing homes, food banks or homeless shelters–and then have them testify of their encounters.

Maybe the pastor could do the same thing–or take a small part-time job to increase his or her humanity in the community. Play guitar? Start a cover band and play at the local bar on Saturday nights prior to the Sunday services.

Take something that is non-church but filled with Jesus and act it out in your community every week, and see if something doesn’t bloom.

It’s not complicated. I could probably sit here for another twenty minutes and pop off more ideas.

But the notions have to come from the congregation and be a source of excitement to them to make it work.

If we don’t develop a sense of mission about bringing the heart of Jesus to our community, we will gradually implode from over-reverence or bickering from the choir about which anthem should be used for the Introit.

Jesus was simple:

Find a way to be loving, and then go act it out.

So as I leave Antioch, filled with a spirit of joy from encountering these delightful “little Jesuses,” I tell you that your good news is that all you need is one thing to do that is not religious, and that will bring real people into your presence.

The better news is that you’re not responsible for the fruit.

Just the seed.

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Jesonian: God’s House … June 29, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Simon Zealotes Jesus Christ Superstar (7)Word has it that God has a house. At least, that’s the popular belief by most folks about the church building.

Even though there are a few folks who try to go cosmic and insist that “the people are the temple of God,” it is still generally considered that His Holiness’s address is somewhere on Church Street with a steeple above.

It is a building filled with individuals who have a history of attending such conclaves, and believe they should be conducted in a particular way. This proposed “God’s House” usually has organ music. Men and women usually only hear an organ three times in their lives–weddings, Sunday church and funerals.

They blur.

But what would God’s House be, and what would the sounds of His domicile consist of, if we really felt He made a visitation within four walls?

I know this–when I go to Steve and Sharon’s house, there’s the buzz of business, papers everywhere and the sound of phone calling to promote new ideas and commerce.

Arriving at Jerrod and Angy’s house, there’s the ruckus of two young women growing up in an exciting environment, with little constraint on their level of joy.

If you pop into Jon Russ and Tracy’s house at any time, you’ll hear the hum of machines and editing bays, and films being pieced together like giant jig-saw puzzles, with unfortunately, many pieces often absent.

Jasson and Deahna’s house has the sound of two young boys, who certainly believe that screeching is permitted in every room of their abode, to the delight of the young parents.

Yet what are the sounds of God’s House?

Jesus described it as an enclosure filled with the sound of music and dancing. As he told the parable of a prodigal son who returned home to the delight of his father, to be thrown the greatest party ever known, the overwhelming exuberance of the visitors and the young lad who had miraculously received a reprieve from his misdeeds, vibrated into the night air.

The only person upset with all the noise, and felt it was disrespectful, was an older brother who was accustomed to somber ambience and the sounds of silence.

He complains.

The father does not apologize. He explains that it’s necessary to have the sound of music and dancing if you’re going to adequately commemorate human beings making progress.

Here’s what I think: as soon as we realize that church is not for our ancestors, nor a gig for the chancel choir, and also not a platform for sermons, responsive readings and overblown special music, is when we actually will build a house that God is comfortable living in.

For if it’s going to be God’s House, it must be a place in which human beings are allowed to cut loose and “rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”

As the father in the story of the prodigal son said to his older, complaining offspring, “It was right to party. Your brother was lost and is now found.” (He was gracious enough not to add, “What in the hell’s wrong with you?”)

God’s House should resound with music and dancing–to the best of our ability.

Maybe that’s a little too far for you.

But subsisting on the same repertoire program that might be used at your funeral is a bit premature, don’t you think?

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

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