Good News and Better News … September 19th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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It is utterly amazing how many potholes on the highway of progress can be gloriously filled in with the marvelous cement of enthusiasm and repentance.

Although many people tout the power of thinking and prayer, our thoughts are often stuck in the past, and our prayers can be pious.

When I arrived in Marlette, Michigan, to meet up with Pastor Dave and the human beings who inhabit that region, I was looking for enthusiasm and repentance. Nothing of any significance is going to happen without this pair of miracle-workers.

Enthusiasm has a simple message: “I want to be happy.”

And repentance comes along cleansing the process by offering, “And I realize I may have to change to get it.”

Without enthusiasm. we eventually regress to complaining. And absent repentance, we always become “makers of great excuse.”

I was so pleased to encounter one friend after another in this gathered array of Michiganders, who expressed enthusiasm, and with tears in their eyes, realized the necessity of repentance.

Throughout my journey I have discovered that politics does not work because it’s so afraid of failure that it lies.

Education is limited because without the spunk of perseverance, it may not survive.

And religion is nearly comical because it pursues salvation without revering personal responsibility.

But the magic of enthusiasm followed by the anointing of repentance turns the human race into a livable sort, making folks able to co-exist with one another without gossip and murder.

I think this begins with how we answer the question, “How are you?”

We can decide to hide our feelings and say “fine” with varying degrees of apathy, or we can launch into a series of woes about our present condition, hoping for sympathy.

But I have found the perfect answer to “how are you?Here it is: “At first, a little overwhelmed, but by nightfall, kind of surprised at how well things turned out.”

I shall always remember the folks in Marlette with Pastor Dave and his evolving outreach. They brought to the sanctuary enough enthusiasm to welcome repentance.

That’s the good news.

The better news?

It turns out that enthusiasm and repentance are much easier to work with than defeat and stubbornness.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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After Sunset… March 25, 2013

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A good plan. It is important. Not because it always comes off without a hitch, but a good plan is necessary simply for the reason that nothing in life comes off without a hitch. It’s just too overwhelming to come up with stuff on the spot, while being bombarded with new surprises. That’s why most exasperated people find themselves sighin’ and cryin’. Nothing is going to work out the way we planned it.

I think the majority of the human beings on this planet have come to that realization but some of them have made an incorrect decision concerning that revelation. Why plan in the first place since everything is going to go topsy-turvy now and again?

So this has brought about an atmosphere of demanding “guarantees.” Can you guarantee me this? Will you put a guarantee on that–just in case? Do you promise it’s going to work out that way? And if it doesn’t can we blame you?

I think the healthiest moment of my life was when I realized there ARE no guarantees, and that the pursuit of such a venture is not only presumptuous, but dangerous.

I had a good plan for Sunday, March 24th. And to my surprise, nearly ninety per cent of it came off with no hiccups. It was really quite astounding.

I began my day in Trinity, Texas, with two presentations in front of some of the kindest and loveliest people you’d ever want to meet. Russ and  Carol had apparently sat down at some time or another and realized that the Golden Rule begins by figuring out how you’d like to be treated yourself, and then just Xerox that and present it to your neighbor.

I found a motel room that permitted me a late check-out on Sunday so that I could go back after my morning engagements, eat a bite and rest before driving the two hours down to Houston for my evening encounter. (Of course, this courtesy did come at the price of fifteen extra dollars for my motelier. But I’d already prepared for the fact that favors often demand cash.)

I got to put my feet up–and all the other parts attached–for about an hour before driving down to Sunset United Methodist Church in Houston, with Winston and his blessed cohorts. It was a beautiful journey. I had allotted time for traffic in the big city, because Houston, like any typical American metropolis, will suddenly back up traffic just to intrigue the tourist trade. But there was none on this particular Sunday and I cruised in with time to spare, set up and had an absolutely magnificent visitation with the good folks at Sunset.

It was done, I was done and all that remained was to drive out of Houston, find a motel room, and settle in for the night in a lovely “ker-plop” of exhaustion.

It worked.

But if it hadn’t worked that well yesterday, I was prepared to make some revisions. I think if we’re going to be intelligent, we need to realize that anything short of our murder grants us the brain and will to evolve–because all we want at the end of the day, is to be able to collapse in a chair and speak to the room around us, “It was good to be alive today.”

So remember two important things:

1. Make a plan because you WILL need to change it.

2. There are no guarantees.

If you follow those two simple principles, then after sunset, as the night is falling, peace will settle on your soul.

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