Jesonian… June 24th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3348)

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“Go.”

But where?

Into all the world, Jesus said as he was about to ascend into Heaven.

Although most theologians like to focus on the Ascension based upon Jesus’ arrival to “sit at the right hand of God the Father,” I would like to discuss what we have called the “great commission”–to go into all the world.

Was it not actually the ludicrous commission? After all, Jesus had traveled with his twelve disciples for three-and-a-half years. He knew they were Jewish, bigoted, disrespectful of women, indifferent to children and completely bound to their home base. How could he possibly anticipate that these immovable religious boys could ever take a message anywhere?

There were three keys to the success of the early church:

  • The Holy Spirit
  • The Apostle Paul
  • The destruction of Jerusalem

If you remove any one of these elements, Christianity becomes a cult of Judaism, therefore suffering the fate of the Jews when the Romans destroyed their Temple.

Peter, Andrew and John had no intention of doing anything but hanging around Jerusalem and aggravating the Pharisees. (You may notice that I left out James because early on he mouthed off and lost his head–literally.)

So the Holy Spirit arrived on the Day of Pentecost and gave Peter the boldness to speak about the murder of the Messiah in front of Jews visiting from all over the known world. Three thousand of them were saved that day, went back to their homes and began the process of reaching the entire planet.

Meanwhile, a Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus became quite adept at killing Christians, therefore terrorizing them. He was on his way to crippling the movement when Jesus signed him up on the road to Damascus, to take the message to the Gentiles. Why? Because the original twelve were not going to do it.

And even though Paul was a Pharisee, he was a rabble rouser–a fire-brand of intellectual and spiritual energy. He found himself criticizing the original disciples because they would not eat with the Gentiles, deeming themselves better.

Paul took the Gospel to the Greeks, and since the Romans always followed everything the Greeks did, they made excellent evangelists. He ended his life in Rome, teaching, knowing that the Romans were going to reach the Germanic tribes and the Germanic tribes would evangelize the Angles and Saxons, and the Angles and Saxons were going to climb into boats, land on rocks near Plymouth and begin a new nation called America, which would generate the technology to reach the whole world.

To ensure that those “stay-at-home disciples” would eventually leave Jerusalem and follow in Paul’s footsteps, Jesus warned them about the coming destruction of Jerusalem–to make sure they left town before the Romans arrived with their deadly foreclosure.

By 70 A. D. there was no Jewish synagogue, race or movement. Christianity survived because the followers of Jesus literally “headed for the hills.”

In the process of touting the power of prayer, the value of meditation and the worth of Bible study, we need to understand that Jesus intended us to be a “go” people.

He wanted us to view the world as a whole instead of just our little village, and he desired that his children would be the most tolerant, non-bigoted, caring and clever people on the face of the Earth.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … May 3rd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3296)

Tell You What

I know Jesus

You know Jesus

They know Jesus

We know Jesus

Seize us

Please us

Tease us

Do you need us?

What’s the fuss?

Is he one of us?

Hop the bus

Please don’t cuss

Put your trust

Where you must

Dust to dust

Kill the lust

Become a nerd

Read the Word

What’s absurd?

Use Jesus

Abuse Jesus

Jews for Jesus

Cruise with Jesus

Who is the man?

Tell me if you can

Holy Spirit fire

Or just a simple “tryer”

Make him my own

Me and me alone

Stop working so hard

Use your human card

He loves you as you are

Truth will take you far

You can make it

Just don’t fake it

I’m strong when I’m weak

I inherit with the meek

Me and Jesus

Jesus and me

We’re born human

We’re both free.

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Jesonian… March 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3243)

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Buyer’s remorse.

It is that eerie sensation that seeps into the human heart when the realization that the passion for the project, the person or the purchase has lost some of its original gleam due to the passage of time, and perhaps even the accumulation of disappointment.

It happened to a disciple named Philip.

He was one of the fellows on the ground level of the Kingdom Movement. Matter of fact, it’s believed that he was a disciple of John the Baptist and popped up right after Jesus popped out of the Jordan River.

He was thrilled. He was one of five of the Apostles present for the changing of water to wine. He was so encompassed with the potential of this new experience that he sought out friends, like Nathaniel, and told them that the Messiah had been found, and “come and see.”

But two-and-a-half years later, when there were five thousand hungry men in front of him, and Jesus put him on the spot, asking how Philip intended to feed all those people, he freaked out, explaining that it was too expensive, and ended up feeling like a fool when Jesus found a way.

So on the night of the Last Supper, a weary, flustered and maybe even disillusioned Philip posed a suggestion:

“Show us the Father, Jesus, and it will be enough for us to continue to believe.”

He is rebuked.

Jesus asked him why, after all these years of being in the presence of the Teacher and the teaching, he did not realize that to be part of this beautiful anointing was to be with the Father.

Philip had buyer’s remorse. He was not alone.

  • Judas betrayed Jesus in an extreme fit of buyer’s remorse.
  • Peter denied and decided to go back to fishing before being personally interrupted by Jesus, once again on the seashore.
  • And as you know, Thomas had his doubts.

This problem happens when what we expect is not delivered. It’s why many Christians have a Baptism certificate and a brief story of their salvation, but very little contentment brought about in their Earthly lives.

Jesus was both–he was both a Savior and a motivator.

Most of the churches in America preach him as a Savior. Those who don’t, but rather, present him solely as the motivator, fail to offer his saving grace and forgiveness. But it’s the balance.

Although your church will be quick to tell you what Jesus will do for you, they are not honest about what he will not do:

1. Jesus is not going to take away the problems.

He said, “In the world you have tribulation.” It’s not going away. But your defense is to be of good cheer.

2. Jesus is not going to do all the work.

He said, “You are the light of the world.” Men are going to see your good works. And it is up to each and every one of us to multiply our talents.

3. Jesus also wants us to know that salvation is not a one-time experience.

The remission of our sins is a cleansing, but we continue to experience the “graces of salvation” over and over again, as we walk faithfully through the power of the Gospel.

4. Jesus does not have favorites.

Although the religious system may tell you that the Jews are the “chosen people” or that Christians have become the new “royal priesthood,” Jesus said, “in the Kingdom of God there is neither Hebrew nor Greek, Jew nor Gentile.” God just does not look on the outward appearance.

5. So therefore, Jesus will not join you in hating people.

Matter of fact, if you make the foolish mistake of deciding that certain folks are lesser, those are the very ones he will expect you to love the most.

And finally:

6. Jesus demands visual love.

Not the cursory spoken kind or the single hug during greeting time in the sanctuary, but the temperate, compassionate affection that we grant to one another when periods of craziness seem to make us intolerable.

Are you experiencing some buyer’s remorse?

Are you afraid to admit it?

If you’re smart, like Philip, and you decide to hang around, there is always the possibility of a resurrection … and being filled with the Holy Spirit. 

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Jesonian… March 4th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3230)

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Long before the empty tomb, Golgotha, the Garden, the trial, the healings, the miracles, the Sermon on the Mount or even the water turned to wine, Jesus stopped off in the wilderness for forty days to deal with his appetites and the essence of his humanity.

Jesus was a human being. Much of Christian theology is rendered ineffective because clergy are unable to fathom this.

His relationship with God, based upon being the only begotten Son, is completely unknown and irrelevant to us. Why? Because when he lived in our presence, he had no special favors, no advantages and claimed to be a “son of man”–just one of the gang.

Jesus was sent to Earth.

According to the story, Satan was cast down–his punishment, to be bound and limited to Earth.

And for the period of time that Jesus was here, he was in the same situation, except that he was granted the Holy Spirit.

So when we talk about Satan tempting Jesus, what we’re really discussing is the pernicious nature in all of us which makes us aggravated with the way things are.

That is the definition of sin.

The sins of the heart trigger the sins of the flesh.

Therefore when you boil down the three temptations, they are nothing more than a series of lamentations:

1. “I’m hungry. Why are there just stones and no bread?”

2. “Here I am–so cool, and nobody knows me. I’m not famous. Maybe if I jumped off the Temple…”

3. “I need a short cut. Maybe if I worship what everybody else worships, they’ll all think I’m really neat and I can rule the world.”

It is the nature of human beings to want to control. It’s foolish, since there are too many people, animals, weather formations and evolutions going on for us to ever stick a flag anywhere and claim it’s our turf.

Therefore we fail. When we can’t control we either pout or we cheat.

Jesus took the time in the wilderness to abandon his human instinct to control–because during his ministry, sometimes people had faith and sometimes they didn’t. The Pharisees were more interested in traditions than compassion and the disciples were often as dull as your wife’s shower razor.

We fail because when we realize that our plan has gone awry and we’ve lost control, we become depressed and don’t recognize the opportunities around us.

I know it’s hard to believe, but there really is only one sin. We start it early, keeping it to our grave:

Pouting.

  • “It’s not fair.”
  • “It’s not good enough.”
  • “It isn’t what I planned.”
  • “People don’t understand me.”
  • “I’ve been cheated.”
  • “I’m the wrong color.”
  • “I’m mistreated.”

From that position of pitiful, we try to beg enough sympathy to be loved and considered. If that doesn’t work, we cheat, lie, deceive, commit adultery, take drugs or any other sin that’s ready to jump on our backs like a monkey.

Jesus took forty days to deal with his humanity. He accepted the fact that he did not have control and would have to work with what was available.

It was only after the Resurrection, on his way to ascend to heaven that he proclaimed, “All power is given unto me in heaven and Earth.”

So let’s stop controlling, and instead … work with what is available.

 

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G-Poppers … January 27th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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18 years of age.

G-Pop’s granddaughter is celebrating today.

She is so excited. She has waited a lifetime for it–at least, her lifetime.

She is ready to be a person instead of a passenger.

A participant rather than a daughter.

A mover and not just a child.

G-Pop could share many superlatives about this young woman and bore you to tears.

She is intelligent to the point of being sharp.

She is clever and creative.

She is tender-hearted and allows tears to flow without shame.

Even though her life has been peppered with missteps, she went back, corrected them and took responsibility for the stumbles.

She is talented, she can sing, and dear Lord, she even plays the ukulele.

The canvas set before her is prepared for the beautiful colorations of her dreams.

But she is still plagued by one concern:

She doesn’t want to miss anything.

She doesn’t want to be considered an “also ran.”

She does not want people to believe she’s just a preacher’s daughter who cushioned herself from the realities of human life.

She wants to do it all.

She is frightened of becoming a “goody-two-shoes.”

It is a sensation that jolts the heart of every person who dares to pursue goodness. Can you chase the star of purity and still enjoy the cosmic journey?

But here’s the reality: nothing bad ever made anything good.

No vice ever actually promoted a versa.

No inhalation stimulated respiration.

No liquid spirit ever conjured a Holy Spirit.

Side-tracks. That’s what all those are–little temptations to distraction that we’ve convinced ourselves are necessary to add to our diary to make our lives seem plausible instead of merely a fairy tale.

What G-Pop would like to tell his granddaughter on this glorious day is that good is the only thing worth living for.

But you must never preach it.

Preaching good always leads to self-righteousness, selfishness and anger over missing out over some sort of sinful delicacy.

The more the reverend reverberates against iniquity, the more he is drawn to it. It is a historical fact.

God never gave us permission to preach good–thus the warning, “Don’t judge other people.”

G-Pop would also tell his granddaughter that being good is the curse of a thousand yearnings.

None of us are good. No, not one.

So every time we try to be good, we punish ourselves, incriminate our hearts and tear down our confidence. It’s why the phrase, “I’m sorry” needs to be at our tongue-tip, prepared to be uttered at any moment.

We’re just not good.

And those who try to be good often end up either lying or preaching. (I’m not sure if there’s a difference there.)

What G-Pop wants to wish to his beautiful, creative, gentle, comical granddaughter is the mission of doing good.

Good becomes very obvious because it’s always the thing that includes somebody besides yourself. It’s not hard to find–and even though you’re not going to preach against evil nor claim to be pure, the least you can do for a battered, bewildered and betrayed mankind is grant them the touch of grace brought by a moment of goodness.

I’m always enamored by the story that comes out of the 1969 music festival, Woodstock. Even though all the parents were critical of their young ones who went off to this “den of iniquity”–and perhaps there was a farm-load of sin being perpetuated in every field–when it was discovered that the purple acid was hurting people, they interrupted the concert and got on the microphone to warn their brothers and sisters to stay away from it.

They did good.

I suppose some pious parents might suggest that if the children were not taking acid in the first place, there would be no reason to avoid the purple.

But you see, that’s not life.

Life is realizing that wherever you are, whoever you’re working with, and whatever the rules for that environment, there is still a way to do good.

It does not make you a goody-two-shoes.

It means that you walk with feet of blessing.

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G-Poppers … August 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3045)

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G-Pop just wasn’t sure it was relevant.

He wanted to share a story from the Acts of the Apostles from the Good Book, but was concerned that when it comes to the Bible, many people are looking for religion instead of reality. Yet the parallel to our times was so strong that he decided to take a risk.

The tale is rather obscure and rarely spoken of in church circles. It’s about a fellow named Simon, from Samaria. He is described as a prominent man with great influence and appreciation among his peers. When the disciples of Jesus appear, sharing their message of love and hope, praying for the sick and bringing the Holy Spirit to the masses, Simon is impressed by the anointing and intrigued at the opportunity.

So he approaches Peter. He says, “How much would it cost for me to get the Holy Spirit?”

To a man who believes that material things provide all security, it was logical for Simon to think there was a purchase price for anything and everything. We’re even told that Simon professed to be a believer–but what he was interested in was absorbing the power.

G-Pop would like to pause for a moment and parallel this with Hillary and Donald.

Both of them claim to be Christians, feeling the need to acquire that support and even be immersed in the community. But simultaneously, they deny the power of the message of Jesus of Nazareth and his lifestyle.

  • Jesus did not verbally attack his enemies.
  • Jesus did not subjugate the poor.
  • Jesus did not think that lying was an option.
  • Jesus did not believe that one person was better than another.
  • Jesus did not contend that the Jews had an edge over the Gentiles.

Yet we have two candidates running for President who purport to be followers of Jesus, and are not bearing fruit of his mission in their everyday lives.

Returning to the story, when Peter was offered money by Simon, who was referred to as a Sorcerer, his reply was very blunt. “Take your money and go to hell.”

Today the response given by the Christian community and evangelicals to the Presidential candidates is quite different. It’s because they don’t believe in the insights of Jesus and are looking for a political solution.

What would happen if the Christians in this country stood up to Hillary and Donald?

Because when Peter challenged Simon, there was a happy ending.

Simon repented.

Hillary and Donald will continue to assert that cutting, hurting, attacking, back-biting, gossiping and lying are viable ways to become the leader of our nation until people who treasure faith stand up and say, “To hell with this.”

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 12) Obsession… July 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

A damnable itch, festering in the brain, simpering to be scratched.

Meningsbee was enraged.

He was wounded.

He couldn’t decide if he was more angry or hurt.

But on the drive home, grasping a moment of maturity, he decided to keep the events of the failed Bible study to himself. Yes, when asked about it, he would play dumb and refer all questions to the other parties involved.

And there would be questions. The congregation had great faith that Meningsbee would be able to come into the living room setting of Sammy Collins’ home and use his spirit and charm to initiate healing.

Maybe that’s what bothered him the most–a complete sense of failure; a rage over being out-foxed by this common possum, Swanson. How did he ever let himself be in such a vulnerable position that this upstart could make him look foolish and insignificant?

Even though he decided that the mature–or as he called it, the Jesonian–way of handling the event was to remain silent, his brain was inflamed with an inferno of retaliation.

And the more he considered his noble choice, to turn the other cheek and pretend it never happened, the more a self-righteous slime made him feel pious–superior to his adversary. Then an aching anger chased that religiosity, leaving him bound in a week-long fit of overwhelming obsession.

Fortunately, he succeeded in dodging all the phone calls from church members by proclaiming that he would share his findings on Sunday. This seemed reasonable to all of them. Why tell the story fifty times when you could tell it once, and have it done?

But what would he tell?

Even though Patrick Swanson did not ask him to keep their conversation in confidence, he knew that anything he would relate about the plans of this worship leader would come across petty–and of course, be easily denied.

He’d had such great hopes.

Meningsbee had come to Garsonville with the spirit of a servant, but now he was realizing that he still had a mind to be king.

Yes, in his more enlightened moments he was willing to be patient and wait for good things to come his way, but that damnable itch insisted on being recognized.

He got so worked up that he ended up with some sleepless nights that invited a common cold to further aggravate him. Sneezing, blowing his nose and sipping some tea and honey for a scratchy throat, he wondered if he could skip the Sunday service due to illness.

Implausible.

Things had to be handled, and unfortunately, it was his hands.

He didn’t pray enough, he didn’t study anything, he over-ate, over-thought and over-reacted.

He reluctantly dressed for Sunday morning and headed out the door. He had no message.

He had never come to spend time with the Heavenly Father so ill-prepared. All he had inside him was poison. But he drove to the church and stepped to the door.

A few people tried to hug him and he was able to maneuver away by explaining his contagious condition. Fortunately, the congregation easily handled prayers, offering, testimonies and even a song.

Then everybody grew quiet, the building completely still, waiting for Pastor Meningsbee to speak.

He stood to his feet, vacant of inspiration.

He walked slowly, as a man treading to an execution. He turned and looked into the hopeful faces of those who yearned for peace with their neighbors.

Suddenly tears filled his eyes. He feigned a sneeze and grabbed a Kleenex to draw attention away from his sudden emotional outburst.

Catching his breath, he picked up a Bible nearby and held it in the air. He stood there for a long moment, waiting for the Holy Spirit to give him utterance. There was none.

Yet the congregation was waiting.

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