Jesonian–Troubling (Part 6)… August 5th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It is troubling.

Yet I must profess to you that no one has greater joy and regard for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross than I do. It is my salvation and it rattles my consciousness to a sensibility of my own sinful nature and the grace of God.

That being said, I fear that the church has become “atone-deaf.”

Nearly desperate to land on a universal message for Christianity which can be compactly shared at a moment’s notice, we have placed too much attention on a hill called Golgotha, and not nearly enough tender loving care with a Sermon shared from a Mount. In doing this, we have contradicted things we know about the nature of God in order to fulfill the doctrine of the propitiation of sin.

For instance, God ordained free will for humans. Yet we’re led to believe that “from the foundations of the world” it was pre-destined that Jesus would be killed on a cross.

When God spoke through the Old Testament prophets, He declared that He wanted mercy, not sacrifice. Yet for some reason we decide that He changed His mind and adopted human sacrifice as the symbol of His covenant.

As a writer, the first thing you learn is to be faithful to your characters. You can’t manipulate the plotline by causing your character to do something completely beyond the scope of his or her nature, just so you can advance your story.

God gave us free will. We chose to kill Jesus.

God hates sacrifice. He took the death of Jesus and transformed it into our salvation.

What was meant for evil, He made good.

Atonement should be a central theme in the Christian message. It is powerful. It is priceless. But by no means should it be preached so loudly that it makes us deaf to the greater matters of the kingdom–tenderness, responsibility, excellence, consolation and tolerance.

What can we do to keep the death of Jesus in perspective?

I have always received the gift of Calvary as my salvation and a license for me to go out and salvage. How? First, deal with my own appetites and also multiply my talents. Once I become the salvager–the “light of the world” and “the salt of the earth”–I have the ability to transfuse the energy of salvation, pass it along to others and see them reborn.

The conclusion? As a saved soul who has become salvaged and a saver, I fulfill the purpose of me being rescued.

We’ve got to start listening again. We have to stop trying to fulfill denominational doctrine and instead, emphasize the character of God.

Jesus lived for thirty-three years to give the human race a chance to accept his message. He used stories; he used confrontation. He used healing; he used mercy.

And at the end of it all, we used crucifixion.

God, in His infinite grace, chose to take the blood that we shed and make it a symbol of our salvation rather than a further curse of our rebellion. It’s remarkable.

But if we want to find the heart of Jesus, it is not at Calvary.

It is in the words, deeds, actions and anointing of his life.

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Good News and Better News… January 9th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It is reported that animals can smell fear.

I do not know if this particular “sniffology” is passed along in the human family, but I am fully aware as I travel and interact with my brothers and sisters, that there’s a strong apprehension in the air.

It’s not so much an odor as it is a loss of confidence and a disconcerting sense that doom looms too close to the home fires.

So in a season when the church should be rallying from its stagnancy because of the yearning of the human spirit to relieve tension, our ranks still seem to be filing out the back door.

There are those in theology who conclude that it’s due to a lack of serious religious reflection, and others who believe that we’ve not yet struck the right chord with the younger generation concerning traditions and the teaching offered for their children.

If you will allow me, I will tell you:

  • We have too much God and not enough Father.
  • Too much Christ and not enough Jesus.

It’s similar to a chemistry teacher who constantly gives tests on formulas while never having the students do lab work.

Church is boring because the idea of God is stifling.

Church seems insipid because a Christ who offers eternal salvation doesn’t give us a Jesus who offers us Earth solutions.

We are stymied.

For fear of losing our “worship credentials,” we have sacrificed our human appeal.

The heavenly Father is a Creator, not a manufacturer. Not everything can be taught in a six-week series from the pulpit as we expound upon every reference in the Bible about love, and hope that folks will draw a pious conclusion.

Jesus was our brother–tempted as we are in every way and touched by our infirmities long before he became salvation through the cross. Thirty-three years of life can not be ignored because of three hours at Golgotha.

Until we have more of the Father and an abundance of Jesus, our churches will be full of dead men’s bones and promises that seem to have been “rain checked” until after death.

The good news is that God is our Father, Jesus is our brother and the Holy Spirit is not a ghost.

The better news is that the Holy Spirit has come to remind us about the goodness of our Father and the genius of Jesus.

 

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Jesonian: Roads… November 16, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Salvation: being salvaged from the junk heap mere moments before toted away.

There are roads.

There’s the road to Emmaus, where a stranger is encountered who warms the heart with conversation and fellowship, ending up being the personification of what is truly believed.

A road that heads for Damascus, where headstrong intentions are interrupted abruptly by the realization of error and wrong-doing, eliminating blind ambition, having scales fall from the eyes.

That road to Jericho is one where the thieves of life come and strike their will, leaving a victim lying desperately in need of human kindness, which will allow for a season of restoration.

Of course, the road to Golgotha climbs upward through ridicule and humiliation, nailing the afflicted to a cross so that through the death of foolishness can come the resurrection of hope.

And finally, the road to Bethlehem, where a starry-eyed hope illuminates the night sky with the notion that there’s something more, something better, something righteous.

There are many roads that achieve a similar destination.

We must realize it is not where we travel nearly so much as with whom we travel.

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G-40: Practical … September 5, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2343)

hand of JesusCrucifixion should never be discussed casually.

Damn those who study it as a theological necessity or a part of any kind of holy plan.

For after all, the idea of capital punishment isn’t particularly “capital.”

I came to live as a human. Of course, somewhere along the line, that does entail death. I guess I was hoping this would occur as an old, old man, from a mild heart attack as I was sleeping in Rome, after finishing up a spectacular revival.

Just not to be.

If God has a plan, He must desert it because He has cast his lot with humans.

Golgotha–the place of the skull. A cranium without face or brain, for that matter.

My feelings are mixed, tossed to and fro, squeezed by reality, only prohibited from smothering me by the expansiveness of faith.

The trial they put me through came to an awkward impasse–the witnesses against me constantly contradicting each other. It became apparent that I might be cleared on a technicality–maybe exiled back to Galilee.

Yet you can’t go back, can you?

What is their concern?

They say they are worried because I call myself God.

Alexander did it.

Caesar, likewise.

It’s nothing new. Whenever men gain power, they like to claim some aspect of divinity.

But see, here’s the problem: if God really has visited mankind, then why do we need religion or priests anymore? Scared the bejesus out of them.

So I stepped in and simplified their plight.

I told them I was God. I told them that they would see me one day and know I was God.

They deemed this arrogant and blasphemous. The proclamation sealed my fate.

They are killing me.

I am a reluctant martyr, a disappointed teacher, a rejected friend and a lonely savior.

I must warn them that their deeds will reverberate back to them with future consequences.

“Your house is left to you desolate!”

How can I tell them that chosen people must be replaced by people who choose?

I know this–you can’t save the whole world if you’re trying to promote one race.

So I took a haggard breath, wincing in pain.

I am trying to die well.

It is all they have afforded me.

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

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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