Jesonian … July 28th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Today I’m doing something a little different. I’m sitting here with the Good Book open, peering down at John the 7th Chapter.

I have no intention of trying to impress you with my Bible knowledge nor attempt to turn some passage into a magical expression of salvation.

What I want to share with you is a pattern.

I would like to find an adjective to describe this pattern. Foolish comes to mind. Perhaps dangerous. But certainly repetitive.

The pattern is the ongoing belief in every generation that you can evaluate something by the numbers–“the bottom line.”

Ironically, it was verbalized perfectly over two thousand years ago by the brothers and sisters of Jesus of Nazareth when they critiqued him on his approach to promoting the message he had chosen to share.

Their insights are frightening to read because they are so current to today’s ignorance. They spoke the following to Jesus:

“For there is no man that does anything in secret but instead, wants to be known.”

Have you ever heard that philosophy?

“Promote yourself.”

“Get it out there.”

“Showcase it.”

“Use your tools.”

“Adjust your intensity to the present flow of thinking.”

Amazingly, through the whole 7th Chapter of John, this repeats over and over again. For later on in that same passage, the audiences that come to Jesus muse whether he could be the Messiah, because they’re concerned about where he was born.

Added pressure.

Not only do you need to promote yourself well, but you need a certain look–maybe even a color. How about a culture to back you up?

We have the mistaken idea that Jesus always had great multitudes following him. There were times that people hung around for a while–after all, if you turn water into wine and can take a Happy Meal and make a buffet, you will gain some attention.

But the truth of the matter is, as soon as Jesus started teaching, the crowd thinned, and on one occasion totally disappeared.

For after all, what concerned the average Jew was whether God would send a military man to destroy the Romans and establish the Kingdom of Israel.

On the other hand, Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God, which was within us, and would enable us to get along with everyone, including the Romans.

Conflict.

Yet it is best capsulized in that same chapter in a meeting among the Jewish leaders.

When they sat discussing the phenomenon of Jesus of Nazareth, what finally made them decide he was a joke, a hoax or at least a light-weight was the fact that none of the hierarchy of their religion–those considered intelligent, educated and astute–believed in him.

The premise was, “If you really are somebody, all the “somebodies” will recognize and promote you.”

“If you really are talented, you will be discovered.”

“If you really are bringing a possibility of hope and salvation, eventually you’ll be offered a platform instead of a cross.”

It didn’t work out that way.

Nowadays, I often sit around with my children, explaining to them that success is meaningless. In my lifetime, notorious people, who appeared to be powerful and everlasting, bit the dust and became cautionary tales of stupidity.

You can’t look at the numbers.

If you had lived in 1st century Palestine and looked at the numbers, the popularity, the acceptance, the blending and the support of the people in the know, you would never have found Jesus.

If you want to find out what is going to last, be helpful, truthful and carry the touch of God, do one thing–simply watch and learn.

How resourcefully does he, she or they use the resources?

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Good News and Better News … January 1st, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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“When life gives you lemons…”

Hold out for some nice oranges. See if you can’t pick up some fresh strawberries. Even some marked-down bananas would be better. Lemons need too much sugar to be drinkable–and often still end up tart.

It was my deep, abiding pleasure and joy to begin our 2018 tour across this great nation by sharing my heart at Saint Andrews United Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

It is ably and gently pastored by an open-faced and friendly brother named Brad. He sent along Jim, Chris and David to help us set up on Saturday, and they all treated us like kings instead of the vagabonds we be.

As I sat behind my keyboard before the service began and watched the congregation gathering, my heart was ablaze with the blessing of contentment. Even though I have lived for a decent season on Earth, I am still jubilant and optimistic over the possibilities of seeing humanity achieve its better potential by negating the available lemons and shopping for more fruitful possibilities.

And the lemons are available.

So my message to all I will encounter this year will be very simple:

  • Stop believing that lying is acceptable.
  • Mean is not and never will be good.
  • And prejudice is not common–just prevalent.

Once we accept these lemons, attempting to sweeten them, we can find ourselves frustrated and stuck with a drink that is still sour. Why? Because it’s got lemons in it.

So stop accepting the social lemons that make us believe we are trapped in our humanity instead of blessed by God to revel in it.

The command for this year is monumental: We will be kind to those of our own kind.

Of course, I’m talking about people. You may feel free to enjoy your pets, you can admire the wonders of nature, you can insist that you have the loveliest home in town, but we will be evaluated on how kind we are to our own kind.

The good news is, Saint Andrews has got the message.

The better news is, they don’t have to make lemonade.

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Jesonian … December 30th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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A message does not change simply by revising the tone or the tune.

Our churches across America are convinced that if they became either softer or louder, the Gospel message will land on the hearts of the people more efficiently. There is also a strong contingency which contends that the music, styles and even instruments used in worship services are the key to drawing in the masses.

We have tried both of these methodologies, and we’re still losing people–and the general empathy for Christianity is diminishing.

What’s wrong?

Whatever Jesus did to share his thoughts and mission with the people around him was obviously more impactful and efficient than what we presently do. Matter of fact, Matthew the 9th Chapter, Verses 35-36, describe a day when Jesus enters the synagogue, teaches, preaches the new Gospel of the Kingdom and heals the sick–what you might call a complete package.

In other words, people come into the meeting, are challenged, changed and rid of some of their difficulties.

But it’s the next verse that makes me curious–that’s verse 36. It states that Jesus was “moved with compassion because the multitudes were harassed and helpless, like sheep having no shepherd.”

I guess I’ve always heard that interpreted in a positive way, spotlighting Jesus as the solution to the problem. A solution he may be, but not by offering the same insipid message that was already harassing the multitudes, leaving them helpless.

The present thrust and blending of Judeo-Christian values which is presented in the average church harasses us in our sins and inadequacies while simultaneously putting us at the mercy of society, and sometimes even the devil–helpless.

I do not understand what the value is of going to church if you’re going to be harassed and left helpless.

I also do not know how value could come to your life by constantly wandering around like a sheep looking for someone to give you directions.

Jesus was not describing a situation which he planned on addressing with a band-aid. Jesus intended to remove the harassment, empower the people and take away the silly, unfortunate profile of being sheepish.

How?

1. Even though we’re sinners, it does us no good to languish in that knowledge. We need to repent and move on, not hear it preached at us every single week.

2. We need to stop harassing the congregation with foolish discussions of worship approaches, prayer seminars and new ways to express our hospitality, and instead, give people tools to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.”

3. We need to stop victimizing the people who come to the church building by making them feel like they’re the underdogs in a world of tribulation.

4. We need to understand that Christianity is not a religion, but rather, a lifestyle, and therefore works best when it’s presented in small doses of ideas which enhance human life, and then follow it up through patient trial and error.

5. There is no Christianity without love and appreciation of one another. We cannot replace it with worship or ignore it with prayer, and merely attending the church service does not guarantee that we “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

6. We would do better to teach people to want God in their lives instead of making them needy.

7. And even though we are “sheep in the midst of wolves,” we gain the advantage by being “as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.”

Jesus was moved with compassion because religion had harassed the people, leaving them helpless, stumbling around like lost sheep.

The harvest he suggested his disciples pursue was to gather those souls from the danger of meaningless proclamations of faith and lead them to a place where their faith had meaning and their proclamations began to move mountains.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … December 13th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I Am Christmas

I need a virgin mind

To process what I find

I need the Spirit to birth

Some peace upon our Earth

Give me a simple place

To reach the human race

The angels from on high

Descend from the sky

To inhabit my human frame

The message to proclaim

“Good will to men and women,” you see

Let the tenderness begin with me

Stars in my eyes

Reject vicious lies

Follow the dreamer’s path

Abandon the King of Wrath

Shepherd my thoughts toward grace

See God in my neighbor’s face

My heart is the gold I bring

Blessing is the song I sing

It’s Jesus, Prince of Care

The only wisdom I know to share

For the Word has become my skin

Free at last of the burden of sin

I will dwell among my likeness

To humbly share with kindness

For I am Christmas–come and see

The manger child reborn in me.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 25) I’ll Fly Away (Old Glory) … December 3rd, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Turns out a new Lear jet cost twenty million dollars.

Matthew discovered this alarming fact because Jubal wanted to purchase one.

Amazingly, a Las Vegas businessman, Bob O’Connell, who was totally intrigued with the notion of popularizing Jesus, offered his used Lear jet with only 1,020 landings, for a reasonable twelve million.

Jubal insisted that Matthew snatch it up. Mr. Carlos had an idea. He decided the key was to take the same message to the same people if you wanted the same results. For after all, Jesus made the point that his campaign hid the contents of the mission from the wise and prudent souls of the time and delivered it unto the common man and woman.

So Jubal wanted to rise every morning at 5:30 A. M. and fly the Lear jet into small towns all over America, to hold lunch-time rallies in the biggest park close to the landing spot, giving away free hamburgers and cokes, playing great music, and delivering an inspiring piece of Gospel.

After these rallies, which were to be completely spontaneous with no one knowing where the next one would be from day-to-day, Jubal and his entourage would get back on the jet and fly back to Vegas for a nighttime meeting in Clark County.

They located an abandoned warehouse, which they purchased for $120,000, and were able to suit it up as a decent, but rustic, auditorium for another hundred grand. It was called “The We House”–and it was a place for souls to gather to find simplicity and abundant joy.

Town after town was selected for the daytime rallies:

  • Bismark, North Dakota.
  • Butte, Montana
  • Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Traverse City, Michigan
  • Bangor, Maine
  • Waco, Texas

Jubal, Matthew and the band, along with a couple of extra wives and friends, used the plane trips to sleep and rest coming and going, and used the energy from the towns to rejuvenate their spirits.

Whenever they landed in a community, the local hamburger establishments jockeyed for the right to offer their burgers to the populace.

Jubal Carlos had a phrase which he passed onto all these budding entrepreneurs who were trying to get in on the ground floor of a good idea and promote their product at the same time. His response was always the same: “Thank you for your products, but no thank you. We shall not promote you.”

Amazingly, this didn’t seem to make any difference. Hamburger and coke people begged to be part of the unfolding.

Posted on the Lear jet was a series of “NOs”:

NO sponsors

NO bitching

NO divas

NO give-up

NO drugs

And NO interviews

Yes, this was an intricate part of Jubal’s plan. Under no circumstances were any people to talk to the press, conduct any interviews or answer a question from those with journalistic intentions. Although there was a feeding frenzy for data, Jubal and the gang remained mum.

It didn’t take long. People began speculating on the location of the next day’s noontime meeting. When a rumor sprouted that Jubal was spontaneously showing up at some church in America once a week on Sunday morning, church attendance suddenly spiked, with many hoping they would accidentally stumble on the musician/prophet.

And the evening sessions at “The We House”–often conducted in candlelight–were rich with emotion, tuneful and carried a mingling of melancholy and joy which nearly struck one down with its gentleness upon entering the room.

Four weeks into the promotion, news reports started to circulate about the past history of band members or how some girl had infiltrated the troop as a groupie to gain a sexual rendezvous with the nation’s now most famous drummer.

This worried Matthew–but Jubal’s answer was easy. “We’ll put out daily press releases about our weaknesses. Each member of the band, each person in the entourage, will confess one of their faults or sins and release it over social media long before the press can pounce on it.”

At first people were interested in the flaws of the Lear Jet Revival membership. After that, they thought it was silly, and eventually everyone got bored with finding out the sins of the travelers, which were not that dissimilar from their own.

Church attendance continued to climb.

News organizations were offering hundreds of thousands of dollars for any interview with staff from the movement.

And people were becoming sensitized to the relaxation, simplicity and immersion in joy.

Matthew marveled. Jubal was breaking every rule of Madison Avenue, but was promoting better than any organization or corporation he had ever seen.

If anything became complicated, they just stopped, thought and prayed until it got easier. If anybody attacked them, they agreed with the truthful parts and ignored the foul.

Two months in, the country was stirred and stalled by this mixture of rallies and evening meetings. People began to hop into their motor homes, cross the country and camp out on the grounds of the warehouse and nearby RV parks.

Soon the warehouse was too small–but a bigger warehouse would make things less intimate. They had a pleasant problem.

What can you do to keep something beautiful going once it starts getting popular?

 

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G-Poppers … September 8th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop sat back with the rest of the American population and watched the national media turn the 2016 Presidential election into a cavalcade of bizarre claims and accusations.

It has not stopped.

We are still in the midst of an entertainment-driven news force which delves into critical issues by exposing the scandals that surround them. We have become a nation that reveres the messenger. We are intrigued with personalities. We are possessed by finding heroes who can just as easily be transformed into villains.

G-Pop would like to encourage his children to regain sanity by placing matters in the right order:

First is the message.

  • What is being said to us?
  • What is being communicated?
  • What is at the heart of the movement?

Secondly, messaging.

  • What style, restrictions and kindnesses are being recognized by an organization, a party or a church in promoting its cause?

Number three, the messenger.

  • Who is the face on the body?

For instance, Islam asserts that it is a religion of peace.

So if Islam is peace, what is the messaging? Are the talking points of the Islamic faith peppered with peace, brotherhood and kindness?

And who is the messenger? Is it some Mullah from a small mosque in Kansas who’s feeding the hungry in his community, or is it a well-advertised murderer from ISIS?

Another case in point: we are told that the message of the Republican Party is small government.

The messaging is the ridicule of anyone who would suggest anything other than that, casting aside other issues that don’t fall into the purview of that spotlight.

Who is the messenger? Well, President Trump is the messenger of the Republican Party.

What is the message of the Democrat Party? “Government is here to assist.”

What is the messaging? “The one percent is out to destroy the ninety-nine percent.”

Who is the messenger? It would appear that Bernie Sanders has become the messenger of the Democrat Party.

What is the message of the American Christian Church? “We are still here, we care and we’re important.”

What is the messaging? As in the case of Islam, it ranges from the promise of peace to extreme forms of bigotry and intolerance.

Who is the messenger? Well, it isn’t Jesus. There is a struggle in the church right now to fill the shoes vacated by Billy Graham.

So what is the true message of Christianity? “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

What should the messaging be? “Take responsibility for your own life and never judge others.”

Who is the messenger? Well, I do believe Jesus could get behind that message and messaging.

Be aware. Cease to be enamored with messengers and track back to the message. Then consider the messaging that’s being used, and finally, look at the messenger.

Is he or she an adequate, intelligent representation of the message?

If we do this, we have a chance to make a decision about our lives based upon the quality of the vision instead of blindly following the loudest, the meanest, the wealthiest or the brashest braggart in the room.Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

 

 

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 20th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Message

A Message

A message to religion:

Only friendly gods are welcome

A message to women and men:

How about just be human?

A message to politicians:

You don’t build my confidence by tearing down others

A message to business:

Make a good product

A message to Hollywood:

Every once in a while, give us what we need

A message to teachers:

Hone your ideas, trust your skill

A message to lovers:

Linger

A message to bigots:

History is cruel

A message to terrorists:

You can’t kill enough to win

A message to arrogance:

There is always someone more accomplished

A message to the suicidal:

Death may not take away the pain

A message to parents:

Your kids aren’t human until you make them human

A message to kids:

Learn how to repent quickly

A message to animals:

Thank you

A message to Earth:

We will treat you like we want to get our deposit back

A message for all time:

No one is better than anyone else

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