Good News and Better News … October 10th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-holly-sign-facesWhether you’re promoting the idea that Mexicans are rapists or insisting that your political opponents should be stuffed in a basket labeled “deplorables,” you have basically failed to recognize the central meteoric truth of life on Planet Earth:

Our human journey is about getting along with humans.

The ministry of Jesus is capsulized in how we treat others. Also, our relationship with God is determined by how well we welcome those who have been deemed worthless.

When I arrived at the Holly Calvary Church to meet the energetic and engaged Pastor Cliff and his congregation, I was fully aware that nothing I have to share has any value if I am a grump.

Yes.

  • I am my Gospel.
  • I am my message.
  • My facial expression is what I think God feels about people.

And my attitude is certainly my theology.

During one of the prayers, a word came to my mind: exceedingly.

good-news-holly-sign-namesLooking back on the past week in America, there have been people who are exceedingly mad. They want to get even. They want to hurt somebody. Their energy is fueled by fury.

There are people who are exceedingly sad. They’ve given up. They’ve decided to settle. Despair has become their cry for retreat.

What we desperately need–and what I shared with the good folks in Holly–is the message of Jesus: rejoice and be exceedingly glad.

What does that mean? Why isn’t “glad” enough? Why does it need to be “exceedingly?”

Because mad and sad people try to cover up their true motivations with missions which seem to be legitimate. So if our gladness doesn’t spill out of us like cold water from melted mountain snow, then it will be difficult to set ourselves apart from those who snarl and sigh.

Pastor Cliff is encouraging his church to get back to the Word of God. I agree. That “Word” is personified in the lifestyle of Jesus. He is the Word. And he wants us to be glad.

How do we know when we’re being glad?

  1. We decide to love everybody even if it seems ridiculous.
  2. We refuse to judge anybody even if it appears necessary.
  3. We determine to help everybody find their abundant life.

I truly believe if the absolutely amazing individuals I met yesterday in Holly will generate love, stop judging and aid their brothers and sisters in finding life, which is grounded in the Word, they can also be free of religious chains.

That’s the good news.

The better news is that “exceedingly glad” does come with the additional benefit of personal smiles and inner joy.

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Jesonian: What do you know about him? … October 12, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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He was called a bastard because his mother got pregnant before she was married.

He was born in poverty in a stable reeking with animal manure.

Even when his family tried to establish a life in the little town of Bethlehem, they were visited by astrologers from the East who brought gifts, but also brought down calamity on their lives because they accidentally passed on information to a jealous king who put out a contract of death on the little boy’s life. So they were forced to go into exile, into the land of Egypt, where they were strangers, and for about six years tried to subsist and carve out a life, as additional brothers and sisters were added.

His father, a man who believed in guiding his life by dreams, returned them to Judea, only to find out there was still danger, so they settled back into the community where the original gossip about his conception had brought them such pain.

He struggled to learn how to become a carpenter, even though deep in his heart, there was a strong calling toward other missions and goals.

He was made fun of by many of the local children because his customs seemed foreign, his demeanor was simple and he had not learned the letters of the Jewish law in their time-table.

He spent years in a small-town life without ever taking a wife of his own.

When he embraced the aching wishes of his heart and began to share a message of love and hope, which included not only Jew but Gentile, the local townsfolk pushed him to the edge of a cliff and threatened to murder him.

He escaped to a nearby fishing village, where he began to teach and discovered there was often healing, and miracles which followed when the people brought their faith to the situation.

His brothers and sisters thought he was crazy and came to retrieve him, so he was forced to alienate himself from them. He would not see them again for two years.

Even though his message did nothing to hinder the well-being of the Roman Empire, all the factions of the religion of his countrymen turned against him as one, plotting his demise.

Yet he persisted.

The advancements he presented in his teachings are still a stumbling block to many fundamentalists today:

  • Women are as good as men.
  • “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is foolish.
  • It is what we do to the least of our fellow-humans that matters most.
  • There is neither Jew nor Greek.
  • We are not to judge.
  • There are people who are born to be eunuchs and born by the will of God to be a certain way.

Eventually he was betrayed by one of his closest friends, accused on trumped-up charges and killed for a crime of sedition, which was the furthest thing from his doctrine–for he believed it was important to render unto Caesar the things that were Caesar’s and unto God the things that were God’s.

He was abandoned by his friends and tucked away quickly in a borrowed tomb so that the surrounding faithful could honor the traditions of their religiosity.

It was in that tiny enclosure that he was finally able to manifest the true essence of his power, by being allowed to rise from the dead.

But after nearly two thousand years, a name that was reviled, persecuted, rejected and cast aside from his brethren is now the central figure in the history of the world.

Because when war has finished tallying all of its victims, there will always be a need for the voice of peace. And the voice of peace was found in his throat and resounded through his message.

Do you know him?

How much do you know about him?

Because the more you know, the lighter your load.

 

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