Jesonian … November 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Those that are not for us are against us.

Those that are not against us are for us.

These seem to be two contrary thoughts–even a contradiction. Yet Jesus said both of them.

And due to a lack of understanding, the soldiers of the cross all line up behind one campaign or the other.

Some churches firmly believe that the Gospel is under attack by a sinful world, manipulated by Satan.

Other churches insist that people are basically good, and it’s up to us to help them through their hard times so they can find themselves.

We even divide our political parties along the same lines. Devout Republicans tend to favor isolation, and the Democrats are proponents of intervention.

We also see this clearly with James, John and Judas. James and John were isolationists. When they came to Samaria and the people rejected them, they were angry and suggested the folks should be destroyed for their lack of hospitality.

Jesus rebuked them and said they didn’t understand what spirit was working inside them.

Judas, on the other hand, criticized Jesus for spending money foolishly instead of taking the funds and using it to feed the poor. Jesus replied to him that the poor were never going away, and if we try to resolve poverty, we’ll end up angry and bitter. He said the best we can do is offer what we can afford.

The battle still rages today:

Are we going to be a church of isolation, a country of isolation, or should we favor intervention, both spiritually and politically?

What is the way of the Earth? What is the true message of the Gospel?

Did Jesus come to isolate off a group of believers, or did he come to intervene in the lives of everyone?

Neither.

The Gospel interrupts.

It offers an alternative. It sheds light and produces salt as evidence of another possibility.

The Gospel interrupts the process by offering a more common sense, logical, easier and gentle approach.

When the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, they asked him what he thought they should do. He doesn’t answer specifically. He says, “If you have no sin, you should feel free to cast the first stone to kill the woman.”

The Bible says at this point, he turns around, stoops and fiddles in the dirt with his finger. He leaves it to them to come up with the right answer.

It is rather doubtful if we can live in a world that is an Internet click away from covering 25,000 miles, and believe we can isolate ourselves from other nations.

It is equally as ridiculous to contend that our intervention–taking over the circumstances of nations–will do anything to generate permanent resolution.

Jesus has called his church to be an interruption. While enjoying our lives of simple Gospel bliss, we offer an alternative to others through our example and our generosity.

We interrupt.

Jesus said, “I didn’t come to bring peace. I came to bring a sword to divide people.”

The ultimate interruption.

To be a Jesonian believer is to understand that isolating ourselves from others does not alleviate being at the mercy of their insanity, but also understanding that intervening and thinking we can feed all the poor is equally as unstable.

What we can do is interrupt.

In the process of living a full, joyful life, we brush up against others, and in doing so, we plant the seeds of better notions. For after all, people are not changed by being ignored or controlled.

They must see our good works to glorify the Father in heaven.

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Keep … April 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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Delta pic 1Many years ago, packing up and getting ready to leave a small Upper Room venue, where a couple dozen bare-footed and jean-clad souls had gathered to listen to music while sipping tea and eating day-old doughnuts graciously provided by the local baker, I received warm hugs and two abiding sentiments: keep truckin’ and keep the faith.

Tears filled the eyes of the exhorter, only partially clouding the great emotion of hope, belief and abiding knowledge that God isn’t done with any of us yet.

Alas, a new wave of pessimism, cynicism and agnosticism is sweeping our country and is even permeating the pores of the righteous, and makes such declarations–“keep truckin'” and “keep the faith”–seem misplaced, nostalgic and even absurd.

I have no desire to return to former times that were plagued with their own viral stupidities, but there is a thread of gentleness that has to be passed from one generation to another. Otherwise, this experiment of humanity comes unraveled.

So with humility in my heart and an abundance of confidence in my soul, I share with you the five phases necessary to change the world. Please take them on one at a time, and when you feel the nudge and permission from your spirit, move on and allow yourself the joy of embracing the next possibility.

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PHASE ONE

Change my heart

Awake my soul

Renew my mind

Give me strength

PHASE TWO

(As Boldness Allows)

Anoint my touch

Expand my reach

Let me stand

Enliven my moves

PHASE THREE

(After Spiritual Muscle Has Grown)

Bless my walk

Guide my steps

Give me people

Let me be gentle

Share, don’t preach

Feel, don’t teach

 

PHASE FOUR

(Enlivened, Moving On)

Learn instead of know

Watch myself grow

Establish trust

Relate good news

Avoid the darkness

Light a candle

Do good works

PHASE FIVE

(Glorified, I Continue)

Reject my fear

Welcome new love

Point joyously to progress

Call progress God.

 

Keep truckin’. Keep the faith.

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(pictures of journey from Gallup, New Mexico to Paonia, Colorado)

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Will… June 19, 2012

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A hidden prejudice–it is a decision made by those who should be the MOST giving and spiritual–to allow their personal preferences to enter the life of their gentleness and mercy and determine who will be loved and who will be set aside. It is the foolish conclusion that the Kingdom of God is a democracy–that somehow we all have a vote over whether each new member should be included in the holy flock. (By the way, we don’t.)

“Whosoever” means everybody. And “whosoever” also equals “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

But I must tell you that there is another hidden agenda that has cropped up in this generation of those who were meant to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” This particular situation was triggered by a collision between reality and destiny.

Reality: the world is a mess.

Destiny: God is in control.

If you follow that logic through to completion–that the world is a mess and God is in control–then it certainly must cross your mind that God is a mess. So the source of our enlightenment, refreshment and salvation suddenly seems inept. So the average searcher finds himself escaping into fantasy.

In other words, “Since the world is nuts and God doesn’t seem to be able to do much with it, I’m going to go watch a movie about vampires, allow myself to be absorbed in a comic book flick or go to some seminar and hear about the end of the world and consider what kind of horse Jesus will ride when he comes back to the earth again.”

The rebirth of the popularity of fantasy is a hidden surrender by the church and those who believe, to the nastiness of the world around them, and a silent resignation to the incompetence of God. I know we consider “surrender” to be a positive spiritual attribute–and it may be, in terms of our own personal consecration and admission of our weaknesses–but once our foibles are revealed, it is time to get strong again.

It is the season to use our will.

Most Christians will tell you they think we are praying for God’s good works to be accomplished so we can give glory to Him. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what Jesus taught. He said that the actual process is that WE do the good works, which people see and they glorify God on our behalf.

When you take the responsibility away from the individual believer–to make the world a better place–you put him at the mercy of coping with reality and destiny, and he will eventually escape into some form of fantasy. A quick perusal of the gospel of Jesus lets you know that it is a “go–be–do” proposal.

  • Go into all the world and preach the gospel
  • Be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect. and
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

God is not absent; He is just the only one in the company doing the job correctly. He has come to give us wisdom, His spirit, His grace and His agreement. But He expects His children to use their will to become “go-be-do’ers.”

You may think that it’s a powerful thing to relinquish your personality in pursuit of God–and there is a season where repentance demands that we admit our frailties–but only that we might acquire new power and new authority. If you tell people that the world is a terrible place and that God is in control and leave them without the will to make the earth become “as it is in heaven,” then don’t be surprised when they escape into all forms of fantasy.

Case in point: this is the source of much marital infidelity. In other words, “Marriage is not what I expected it to be (reality) but marriage is sacred (destiny) so therefore I am going to cheat and create a counter-relationship so that I don’t have to deal with either one (fantasy).”

We see it in the theology of the present religious system. “The world is in such a horrible condition that something has to change (reality). God cannot save the whole world, so Jesus will have to come back to destroy the wicked (destiny). So therefore, what’s the sense in me trying to do anything when God’s given up on the whole thing? Let me just develop my own world and dwell within its boundaries (fantasy).”

We are destroying the gospel by pretending that God is supposed to solve everything. He said He would care for us, He would meet our need (which is what we can’t come up with on our own) and that He would be with us always. But Jesus said that we are the “salt of the earth and the light of the world and that we’re a city set on a hill for all to see.”

Finding people in the desperation of reality and only offering them a destiny of heaven is removing them from the equation of changing the earth, and instead, thrusting them into a forced fantasy. There is a hidden surrender among those who should be attacking the gates of hell and tearing down the negative attitudes.

Here is the truth: the world says “no.” The universe is negatively charged. “No” is the most common word you will ever hear. So don’t you think we need a group of people on Planet Earth who are geared to say “yes?” If we’re going to end up with anything that resembles beauty, purity and clarity, the “no” that is chimed from the worldly system MUST be contradicted by the “yea and amen” from God’s people.

To do this, we must cease our hidden surrender, take our will and step forward in faith, believing that God has made us the front line in His campaign to love the world. Without this, ritual becomes more important than being real, worship becomes a replacement for mission and devotion, and platitudes are read from the Holy Book without any understanding of application.

Beware the hidden surrender which looks at reality and destiny and sighs in despair, heading off towards a selected fantasy.

God gave us the power to make a difference. Unfortunately, He does not force us to do so, but rather, waits for intelligent people to understand that living a miserable life is not a good warm-up to heavenly bliss.

A hidden surrender–it takes away our blessing of being involved in our own lives, bestowing grace and mercy to others.

So take a moment and redefine reality. Reality is actually what the world thinks is true PLUS my ability to make it better. Escape the foolishness of destiny, which tells us to wait for God to do good things so we can act impressed, and instead, go out and do something impressive–and delight in the fact that people see God in the work.

This will keep you away from the fantasy that makes your life a game of chance instead of a personal decision to go, be and do.

   

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