Five Moments … May 10, 2013

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In my not-always-so-humble opinion, there are five moments necessary to experience in order to generate a human life that is valuable and not detrimental to others. Without this quintet of encounters, certain levels of presumption, insecurity, arrogance and frustration overtake us, rendering us ineffective and at times, even nasty.

  1. “I am not God.”
  2. “I am not saved.”
  3. “I am not better.”
  4. “I am not guaranteed.”
  5. “I am not right.”

My particular disasters which instilled these important truths deep within my internal organs were terrifying and even life-threatening. Yet without them I would be a self-reliant egotist, determined to push my will to the forefront, even when it was of lesser quality than my peers.

I found out I wasn’t God when I was a nineteen year old kid. I wrote a series of bad checks, thinking that the Almighty would bless them, covering them at the bank because I was pursuing His will. Fortunately for me, before they bounced and turned me into a felon, I came to my senses, slapped myself around a bit and decided it was better to have money IN the bank when you promised someone he could retrieve it.

I found out I needed to be saved when I was in my early twenties. At the time I was constantly hurting people’s feelings, wondering “what the hell was wrong with them.” I was convinced I was talented and that this was all that was necessary, requiring no common decency or gentleness towards humanity. Fortunately again, God and His friends–people–gave me a very quick lesson in humility.

It became clear to me that I was not better than anyone else when I started to compete in the marketplace and realized there were many people just as good as me, and some even more accomplished. At first I was in denial, making excuses or even attacking my competitors to find holes in their abilities. But eventually I realized that the purpose for having those around you who are equivalent to you is to have collaborators, and the reason for having individuals who are more established than yourself is to have angels, promoting more heavenly results.

Likewise, my concept of feeling guaranteed that God’s grace was always sufficient for me was challenged one night in Mobile, Alabama, when I looked down at the body of my son, the victim of a hit-and-run accident. I realized that misery does not “passover” those who are called to minister, but instead, teaches us to minister more effectively.

And finally, every day of my life I find out that I am not right when my ideas are quickly shown to be errant, weak, outdated or ill-timed. At that point I have a choice. Do I persevere in stupidity, acting like I’m a resilient fellow? Or do I evolve and learn from my mistakes, discovering the beauty of transition?

If you haven’t experienced these five moments in your life, do not despair. Yet you should understand that each one of them is essential in forming a human being from the dust of the earth who truly is in the image of God instead of  one who merely munches on the knowledge of good and evil.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Moment-O … July 14, 2012

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I think I finally understand.

Sometimes it’s not so much that I’m dense or lacking intelligence, but rather that I have a pernicious unwillingness to come to logical conclusions. You too?

Yet I do finally understand why they refer to alcoholic beverages as “spirits.” There is something inside every human being that knows that we need to be prodded by, if you will, these “spirits”–to foster the better parts of ourselves which energize us instead of leaving us forlorn and bedraggled.

I came to this conclusion last night while sitting in the home of my son, having come to meet and visit my new grandson, Johann Luther Cring.  I brought a little oil along with me so we could anoint and christen the fine young man and welcome him into our family as one of us and also as a member of the noble human race.

It was rife with spirit. Because it was already rich with spirit, there was no need for alcoholic spirits to be introduced into the event. Teetotalers are often critical of those who imbibe, thinking these people are weak of character or just have some sort of desire to turn life into a party. Not so. Deeply ingrained in our genetics is the knowledge that we require emotional explosions to keep us from being overcome by circumstances–or just bored. So if you’re not going to tap one spirit, you end up untapping another.

Last night this just made sense to me–because after all, it IS about grabbing the moment to justify the journey. There is no explanation for a creature of our intellect and potential to live for less than a century and then disappear–unless that life is saturated with living. For that to happen, we need spirit. And to gain spirit, we must allow our emotions to be released from their cage of captivity, to be freed to roam, unleashed and permitted the opportunity to express true heart.

Yes, I am saying it aloud–you can’t touch the spirit of a human being unless you first unlock the emotions. To use spirituality to merely promote prayer, foster fasting, generate giving or wiggle out worship is wasting the mission and worthiness of the quest for God. And unfortunately, most people can’t unlock their emotions unless they’re a little inebriated. So you can either be drunk on spirits from a bottle or uncork the Holy Spirit that’s bottled up inside you and let it take you on its “magical mystery tour.”

Last night was immense. It’s because the process of human expression was honored. Everyone in the room was emotionally invested in the birth of a new son and the joy of knowing that the precarious process, although very natural, was pulled off without tragedy. Because we were emotionally invested, the room was engorged with spirit. We just talked a little better. Our thoughts escaped fiscal responsibility and fears of pending doom, and for a few moments we allowed ourselves to revive and believe again in our dreams. And because the atmosphere was enlivened by spirit, everyone felt mentally renewed. It was like our brains had been cleansed from all the unrighteousness of worry, naughtiness and apprehension.

We were thinking better. And you know what happens when you think better? You actually become thoughtful. And once the brain has a chance to rejuvenate ideas instead of merely falling into a default position, all the participants are physically challenged to be healthier, wealthier and wiser–so that we can be around for a long time to enjoy the company of young Johann.

It was a moment–one that should never be isolated as unique–as long as we know how to pull the fine wine of the spirit from the cellar of our existence and use our emotions to drain the cup of all its sweetness and delight.

You WILL be involved with the Spirit. You can do it by pressing in on the breath of life granted to you by your Creator and becoming emotionally invested in your own pursuits, or you can drink a few glasses of wine until you let your guard down and allow your heart to feel.

I just don’t want to be drunk on anything but life. That’s my choice. I’m not being judgmental of others, but as long as there are opportunities to toast the initiation of those who are born–OR born again–I will use the Spirit that is in me rather than the spirits that merely dribble down my gullet.

I am grateful for this. Now I know this may sound trivial, but I will tell you–the more you allow yourself to be emotionally invested, the opportunity to be “spirited” will suddenly flourish in your soul and you will be mentally renewed and physically challenged to live out a better life.

Although the old saying is “seize the day,” the truth of the matter is, there are too many moments to wait for a whole day to pass.

Leap in.

Bring your heart.

And taste the spirit.

   

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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