G-Poppers … April 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2912)

Jon close up

G-Pop wishes for his children to listen carefully.

Yes, during this season of great confusion, it is important to be careful how we hear.

With rivers of information flowing through the countryside with greater speed than ever before, there are also mounds of misunderstanding pouring out raw sewage of stupidity, tainting the flow.

Beware the liberal.

Also beware the conservative.

The thing to remember is that truth has no agenda–just a message to make us free; free of the obstruction of needing to stand behind an opinion.

You can always identify the words that are rotten with antagonism.

They blame.

Each political party, every religion, countless races–all point a finger at one another to create blame.

Is there blame? Perhaps. But such accusations need to take a journey through scrutiny.

It begins with the facts. It’s difficult to get them. Websites, news reports and pundits tend to obscure them behind statistics and endorsements.

Listen to all sides, and then find that sweet spot in the middle, where truth has cuddled up, waiting for the persevering soul to discover it.

Find the facts. Don’t be so sure.

Once you find the facts, then it’s important to decide who or what is responsible. Finding the responsible parties is not a decision to target blame, but rather, discovering who has the power to bring solution.

Who is responsible?

Could it be that we are responsible?

What part of the responsibility can we take onto ourselves, to make sure that something will be addressed?

Then, once responsibility is addressed, any blame that needs to be brought forth in order to clean up the nastiness can be pointed out without fear.

  • Facts.
  • Responsibility.
  • Blame.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work if you go the other direction–blaming someone and making them responsible to fit your allegation.

G-Pop must warn his children that if they pursue the facts to ascertain responsibility, to correctly place blame, that they will find themselves being neither conservative nor liberal–just real.

It is a season when goodness will be determined by those who are not so intent on advertising the badness in their adversaries.

To do this requires a set of ears tuned to history and the love of humankind … instead of listening for reasons to confirm our suspicions and alienate one another.

 

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Good News and Better News … December 28th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Fulford jpeg

Rarely do we find ourselves abused by the Devil from Hell, nor steered by the Lord of the Heaven.

Most of the time, we are situated smack-dab in the middle of our own whim or lack of planning.

It really is good news.

It would be a miserable thought–to believe that we mortals are part of a cosmic chess game between good and evil, and more often than not, end up being the sacrificial pawn.

This little piece of joy came to my mind this week as I arrived in South Florida to celebrate the birth of Jesus with my family, work on my blogs, make plans for the coming year, and do two gigs in the area.

Honestly, I had some apprehension about being able to pull off all the stipulated events with the amount of professional quality and personal touch I felt was necessary. But fortunately for me, I’ve been granted the grace of having a wonderful group of sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren, who seem to be functioning quite well on the auto-pilot of faith.

In other words, I didn’t need to do nearly as much as I thought I would. Therefore, I was much more qualified.

On the other hand, making plans for the coming year to enhance my program, enriching the results, is a labor of love to me. The Gospel is always good news, but it is refreshing to find a way to make that revelation even more inspiring and easy to understand.

So by the time I arrived at my two performances on Sunday, I was itchy to share my heart.

The fine folks in North Miami, pastored by a delightful young man named Nathan, welcomed us with open arms, even though I’m sure we appeared at first to be strangers.

I just happen to believe that in the pursuit of loving your brothers and sisters, the best route to achieving such a sublime experience is to seek out commonality. My dear God, we have so much in common.

So by the time I got to my Sunday evening performance, I was prepared to relish the people around me, and was especially invigorated because the venue is a new church plant pastored by my son, Jerrod.

He’s always had a calling in his life, although, like many of us, it seemed a little in the distance from the everyday chores of maintaining life and limb.

But now–he’s launched.

About thirty souls came out, and we just had a festive time in our human smorgasbord.

The two churches had something in common: they were unsure enough of what they are doing to be open to the possibility of the Holy Spirit changing lives.

So I celebrated the good news, which is: there is no Devil chasing me nor God manipulating me. Rather, I am a free-will agent to pursue my heart’s desire.

And the better news is that all the fretting and fuming I may do from time to time, wondering if my abilities are sufficient, is irrelevant and quickly calmed by the realization of two beautiful ideas:

1. If it’s not my business, then drench it in mercy and love.

2. If it is my business, fill it with creativity.

 

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G-Poppers … November 27th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

 

Though a little bizarre, G-Pop decided that Thanksgiving was fine because the grandchildren outnumbered the dogs by one.

Yes–five to four.

A little too close for the sake of sanity but still within the margin of error.

As all the family busied themselves preparing the delicacies they hoped would be the winner of the day, G-Pop just sat in his chair and thought for a moment about how absolutely amazing Thanksgiving and the season leading up to Christmas truly is.

In a way it’s about Santa Claus.

Very few personalities are as much maligned and revered as the Jolly Old Elf. But he does have a special formula for approaching humanity which is a workable format, and seems to gain traction every year.

It’s never out of style. It’s never rebuked so much by the religionists that it ends up being cast aside in favor of Biblical themes, and his presence is not so bound to the manger that those who have no reverence can still acknowledge the relevance.

It’s really a very simple plan of action:

1. Get prepared.

Think about the children and get the grownups to become more childlike.

2. Climb a little higher up on the roof.

You can see better. Ground level often leaves us grim.

3. Once you see better, slide down into people’s living rooms.

For after all, there’s no way to get folks to come to the North Pole–it’s too cold. At least, that’s the rumor. Also, human beings are not interested in becoming elves. So instead, you go to them, you go into their living rooms where they fellowship and nurture one another.

4. Next, bring gifts.

We’re all suckers for a gift. As long as we don’t have to sign on a dotted line, ending up with hidden payments, a free gift opens up the human heart.

We will never be able to intimidate the world into a submission of peace.

We will never evangelize the world into accepting a common Christ.

But we can come into their homes with a great package:

A. God loves.

B. God listens.

C. God learns.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … November 25th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Nov. 25

Little People

Little people, not quite human

Need some time for gentle groomin’

Before they’re ready to take their place

And understand our noble race.

Mistakes aplenty they will need

Sow and reap their furtive seed

Room to grow, things to know

Moments to vent, ways to repent

For the breath of Father is in their flow

Some they sense, so much to blow

Hold them close so they can feel

The power to share is our appeal

Then when it’s time to let them go

Just step away–it’s now their show

The baby is born, the child arrives

The youngster is torn, the teenager drives

Then one day, they bring another

A little sister or a brother

It’s time to walk another soul

To a place where they can reach their goal.

Dedicated to my 16 sons, daughters and grandchildren, with one more due in 2016.

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“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

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G-Poppers … November 13th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2751)

Jon close up

Thoughtful is not the opposite of thoughtless.

G-Pop wants his children to understand that.

There is an in-between world. It is lodged somewhere between being absent thought and being filled to the brim. Shall we refer to it as thought-parts?

It’s the quicksand human beings often find themselves in when deliberating the best way to be generous without really giving up anything. It revolves around two questions:

1. Why don’t they…?

2. And why isn’t it…?

For some reason, we get stymied by the fact that life is not working out exactly the way we envisioned it. Even when we pretend to be flexible and resilient, there is a hidden animosity lurking within us, causing us to be grouchy or overly careful.

On our way to thoughtful, to escape thoughtless, we get bogged down in thought-parts.

Because we certainly want to avoid thoughtless, characterized by staring down at the phone with buds in the ears and a grimace on the face, as a pair of texts arrive, ruining the day by reporting that the tickets desired for the concert were not available and the favorite department store no longer sells skinny-leg jeans.

People don’t want to be thoughtless, where they throw up a wall of insecurity and frustration which basically makes them believe that life sucks and they deserve better.

They attempt to avoid pessimism, but still find themselves unwilling reach the status of “thoughtful,” sliding down into thought-parts.

They don’t want to make decisions, therefore they become a target of every pesky hassle that comes along.

So how do you get from thought-parts to thoughtful? Thoughtful is pretty simple–or shall we say, simply stated?

Thoughtful is two realizations:

They don’t have to.

And I can use it.

This pair brings about the holy realization that no human owes us anything, and rather than complaining about what we have, we find a trail in the direction of success.

Since one of the more common questions in life is, “What do you think?” we probably should develop an astute answer.

  • Thoughtless is always cynical.
  • Thoughtful is always prepared.
  • And thought-parts wants to do something positive, but finds it hard to get over being offended.

 

 

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“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

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G-Poppers … October 30th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2738)

Jon close up

G-Pop wants his children to be aware:

“Don’t be overwhelmed with the underwhelming.”

There’s so much in our society that is loud and proud that sometimes it’s difficult to discern the portions of behavior that are valuable, and the truths that are worthy of being upheld.

There are two great dangers in this journey we call human life:

  1. Being convinced that what you’re hearing the most is real.
  2. Being jaded because what you’re hearing the most is insane.

In both cases you put yourself out of the game, becoming either a pawn of the craziness or too cynical to believe in better things.

So what’s the answer?

G-Pop suggests to his children that they stop listening to the noise, and instead, listen for the harmony.

There are ideas that have lasted for thousands of years and have endured the ridiculous to bring the sublime.

G-Pop has a simple test he places on every notion that tries to crowd into his mind:

A. Does it make us laugh?

It’s possible to have laughter that’s based on prejudice and sarcasm, but eventually when we laugh we do learn to chuckle at ourselves and our own inconsistencies. People change more quickly through a giggle than they ever do through a sermon.

B. Does it make us feel?

For you see, the danger is not being inundated with information and painful reports which cause us to close off our hearts so as not to feel the pain anymore, but rather, to limit what comes inside and make sure that we can feel for those around us.

Don’t listen to a report on CNN telling you that 328 people died in an earthquake in Afghanistan. Put yourself under the rubble and you’ll feel the impact.

C. Does it make us better?

Simply watching a movie about depravity is not the pathway to understanding reality. Reality is useless if it doesn’t challenge us to go the second mile and supersede our jungle instinct to find our Garden of Eden.

If you’re listening for the noise, you can’t hear the harmony–and that harmony is a three-part anthem:

  • History sings its truth
  • Present life adds its part
  • And our story chimes in to create a chorus of joy.

 

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Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

 

“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

Buy today.

"Buy

 

 

Confessing … September 26th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2704)

XXI.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

  • He was 69 years old and I was counting down the days to my 18th birthday.
  • He was slender and I was fat.
  • He was a veteran of World War II and I was trying to figure out how to get out from under the Vietnam draft.
  • He was an agnostic and I was “Little Charlie Church Chum.”
  • He was a psychiatrist and I, on the other hand, was impatient.
  • He loved his daughter and I was having a high school affair with her.

This man and myself shared absolutely nothing in common, which became obvious whenever we were left in a room alone together.

But despite all these differences and the fact that he did have a reputation for being a curmudgeon, he allowed the two of us to take his Corvette convertible to the prom. He gave me about three minutes of instruction, and with that exhaustive training, I went out in the middle of the night on the 3-C Highway to see how fast the car would go. When it hit 105 miles per hour, I chickened out, slowed down and went home.

I think he felt fairly confident in being supportive of his daughter’s present romantic choice because he knew that in a couple of months, he was retiring to Mexico to live by the ocean, taking his little family with him.

What he didn’t know was that his daughter was pregnant.

I wish I had been man enough to sit down with him and own up to the situation, but I was frightened over my actions and also feared that he would send her away to New York to get an abortion.

So instead, we plotted against him. And just a month and a half later, when my girlfriend was supposedly safe at the University of Arizona, learning how to be a freshman, I flew out, grabbed her and we took off to start a life together.

He was furious.

He was so upset that he called the Tucson, Arizona, police department to stop us, but of course, there was nothing they could do.

He disowned her.

Being a young foolish boy, I cast him into the role of the villain, easily fitting him with the required black hat.

I wish I could tell you that things worked out.

They didn’t.

Seven years later, he died of cancer in Mexico, having never reestablished contact with my wife nor having ever seen his three grandchildren.

I suppose I could tell you the reasons for my action or convince you of her father’s more sinister side.

But you see, that’s not what Confessing is about. It is not being apologetic while simultaneously trying to explain away your motivations.

I was young, dumb, careless and unappreciative to a man who could have used the image of a responsible Christian fellow.

I failed him.

Whatever he’s doing, wherever he is, I want him to know today that I’m very sorry that I interrupted his plans.

 

Confessing Leonard

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