3 Things … April 11th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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You Should Never Take For Granted

1.  The honesty of your fellow humans

 

2.  The grace of God and the mercy of friends

 

3.  Tomorrow 


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Good News and Better News… September 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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For the first time in a ten-year stint of writing this column–every single day–yesterday I missed posting.

It wasn’t because I was lazy (though I’m quite acquainted with lethargy.)

It certainly wasn’t because I ran out of ideas. My mind dances its way to the next folly and adventure.

It was because of Hurricane Irma.

Everyone will have a story about the storm, but I will tell you. this is one atmospheric disturbance that absolutely despised Internet. She was like an old grandma walking into your room, finding out that once again you were checking out naughty websites, and it was her duty to unplug you.

So I gave in.

There’s the thought. At what point do we give in? At what juncture does “inconvenience” become “impossible?”

Is there a station in our lives when we’re just being bratty and don’t want to do anything, or is Mother Nature literally “shuttin’ down the show?”

I know there are people who are critical of our generation. I’m sure it goes back to prehistoric times, when the grandparents of the present cave-dwellers complained that their children no longer liked to scrawl pictures on the walls.

Yet, I don’t think the folks living on Earth right now are bad people. With all the cosmic clowns dancing across the Big Top of the present circus, we still have not found anyone as rotten as Attila the Hun or Adolph Hitler.

It is a time to rejoice–not because everything is good, but rather, because the tragedies and disasters that have made their way into our lives have not crumpled us.

We have not given up.

We bought sandbags, purchased too many supplies and hunkered down–to survive the best punch that nature could give us.

We are pretty amazing, in our awkward and redundant way.

So I stopped being a fussy big-butt yesterday and allowed myself to just be another creature of nature, learning to submit to the climate that the heavenly Father had provided.

After all, there’s no such thing as a pleasant complainer and no one has ever given a reward to the “righteous bitcher.”

So the good news is that with the grace of God, a little help from our friends, and the support of the Great Cloud, I will post this to you today.

And the better news is, trials remind us of how good a fan feels.Donate Button

 

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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 … March 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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wilmington composite

2:42 A.M.

I am suddenly awake.

It is a ritual I follow every Saturday night before the Sunday morning sharing of my heart with a congregation. This week it was Lutheran Church of Reconciliation in Wilmington, North Carolina with Pastor Bill.

What wakes me up at that early hour is a mingling of excitement, inadequacy, a hint of fear and wonder. Yes, I wonder if I can get enough of “me” out of the way to be able to feel for those around me.

For I will tell you–the good souls of Lutheran Church of Reconciliation deserve more than a pompous ass. Even though I don’t view myself in that manner, it doesn’t hurt to take a few moments to scour the soul for hidden dirt in the corners.

That’s why I have posted a picture of my pillow. During those late night sessions, my pillow becomes my sounding board as I muse some important questions:

1. Can I get rid of my anger?

We’re all angry. We all have an axe to grind. We all have unrequited feelings that whine at us. But they are useless when we are interfacing with our brothers and sisters.

2. Can I find my weakness?

Jesus said when I’m weak I’m strong.

Why? Because talking about our strengths is easily misinterpreted as boasting instead of reality. Sharing our weaknesses links us with others who are duly reminded of some shortcomings of their own.

Which leads me to:

3. Exploit it.

Yes. Exploit my weaknesses. Giggle about them. Tell stories that show how these frailties have failed me–but the grace of God has saved me. This brings me to:

4. Chase away my fear.

My greatest fear is that I will be exposed for my foibles. If I share my own mistakes, the human race does not have to expose me. Which concludes with:

5. Let love laugh.

  • Love is fine when it speaks.
  • Love is better when it hugs.
  • But love is supreme when it laughs.

Yes, a full-hearted laugh at my humanity lets you know that I believe that God will see me through.

When I finally get peace over these five, sleep slips back in. I’m ready.

That’s the good news.

The better news is that when I take the time to prepare my heart, I have the right tool to open the hearts of others. These beautiful people in Wilmington did just that.

One man shared with me the spine-tingling story of his calling from God.

Another lady was dealing with a nasty email, which she decided to answer with gentleness.

Yet another gentleman came up with a memory of using his talent.

And there was a woman with a painful event from her past which had been eased by the sweetness of Spirit.

They tell us that people in America are angry. Here’s the truth: angry people attack, which causes other angry people to attack back. Disappointed folks hurt–but cheerful souls heal.

So what is my mission?

Get America to be of good cheer.

 

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Jesonian: It’s An Adjective … September 6th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian.

I coined the word.

Originally I came up with it because I felt that the term “Christian” had lost some of its pungency and impact, having been diluted by indifference and hypocrisy.

But mainly, I use the word as an adjective. For after all, we have made the error of turning “Christian” into a noun.

It’s supposed to stand alone, to singularly represent an ideology which has already been divided into at least 362 different denominational compartments. No wonder it suffers from overuse, misuse and abuse.

Jesus never intended his philosophy and approach to life to become a religion. It was meant to be the impetus which fuels the lifestyle and career of our choice.

So there should be Christian businessmen and women, Christian musicians, Christian plumbers, Christian athletes. But because we changed Christian into a noun, it is supposed to mean something in itself, while we continue to fuss and argue about its significance.

Jesonian is an adjective.

It’s a way of telling those around us that we actively pursue the activities of our lives and professions while fueling those efforts with concepts and beliefs born from the mindset of Jesus.

It is the hope that we can have Jesonian Baptists, Jesonian Lutherans, Jesonian Methodists, Jesonian Catholics and Jesonian Charismatics who freely admit that they may have a preference for their style of consecration and worship, but no difference in the application of their thinking.

It was the Apostle Paul who said, “Now abide faith, hope and love…” But the Jesonian comes along to help us define those three words with much more cohesion.

  • Faith is not what we believe. In the Jesonian lifestyle, faith is what we live out.
  • Hope is not what we dream. It is what we visually and actively pursue.
  • And love is not what we feel. It is confirmed by what we do.

The Jesonian: living out, pursuing, doing–and leaving all the rest to the grace of God.

 

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