Good News and Better News … December 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Christmas takes my breath away because it removes the stale air of predictable behavior and infuses the pure oxygen of the beauty of life.

It took a baby in a manger to address my childishness–because I am guilty of making the unimportant valuable, as I set aside the truly significant parts of life, praying in my soul that one day I will be able to give them their due.

Heft.

Yes, Jesus said there are “weightier matters” in life–things with girth, depth and breadth, which need to be addressed before all others, but are often ignored in favor of the pursuit of solvency.

It’s absolutely ridiculous.

The difference between religion and faith is that religion is satisfied to perform a service, and faith requires our full mustard-seed.

The weightier matters:

Mercy.

Mercy is not a lip-service devotion, but a proving ground, where those things that make us uncomfortable are forgiven so that we might retain human souls within the borders of the Earth.

Justice.

Escaping our family, clan, kin and even our country to catch a world-wide vision of equality within our race.

Faithfulness.

It is more than telling the truth and escaping the lie, but rather, making sure that the truth endures so that the lies don’t have a chance to gain root.

There is no season like Christmas.

There is no time during the year when “good will toward men” is considered a plausible possibility. There is no other occasion when redemption is viewed as a message rather than a human sacrifice.

The good news is that God weighs matters and gives them importance.

The better news is, if we place our concerns on the scale, we will know what value to give to each and every offering.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 7) Toothy … June 12th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

  • Why do we come to church?
  • Do we need music?
  • If so, are there certain instruments that are more church-acceptable?
  • What about silence?
  • Are our lives enriched by sermons?
  • What is the purpose of an offering?
  • How about the choir?
  • Is liturgy good–or just repetitious?

The questions had been posed all morning long, and Reverend Meningsbee sat back listening, only contributing if asked or if there was the need to clarify a point.

The attendance was good. Amazingly, most of the visitors had returned, and even a few of those who had left the flock were back in the corral.

But the most outstanding moment of this week’s service happened when Maxwell, one of the few teenagers remaining in the church, came forward to sit in the chair for prayer because he had a toothache.

It was such an amazing sight to behold–a young man who normally perched in the back pew, fondling his phone, texting friends–made his way to the front in the belief that the supplications of the congregation might bring him relief.

And it did. At least, he said he felt better.

Meningsbee was astounded at how the people were taking the moment of fellowship and turning it into common benefit.

Near the end of the discussion, one of the older members of the church stood to her feet and said, “I think we all agree that whatever we do in the church, it should be to worship God, because that’s why we’re here.”

There was a general rumble and assent of “amens” from all present.

Meningsbee paused. He wondered if it was time for him to offer insight, or to just leave the moment alone for later instruction.

No time like the present.

He stood to his feet and walked to the front of the sanctuary. Turning slowly, he spoke.

“I know what our dear sister just said seems right. We have been taught–shoot, it’s literally been infused in us–that we’re here to praise God, express our reverence, and leave with a sense of awe about how big and wonderful He truly is. But I came to town so we could have a Jesus church, and Jesus made it clear that God was not interested in worship that was born merely of affirming His goodness. Jesus put it this way: Man was not created for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created for man. And by Sabbath, he was certainly referring in part to our weekly gathering in church. So the real question we’re asking today is, and always will be, what is best for us humans to grow as we gather to acknowledge a common faith? Remember what I said last week–what is going to give us full life and full joy? Whatever that is–well, that will be worship.”

Meningsbee thought his message was simple, but for some reason it touched the hearts of all those gathered. Many cried aloud and others sprouted silent tears.

Meningsbee, looking at the scene before him, wept.

It felt so good to be honest about church. It was delightful to be around those who weren’t afraid to feel.

All at once, Maxwell, who had come with a toothache, started sweetly singing, “Jesus Loves Me.”

Everyone joined in.

Yes–everyone joined in.

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Turning Kids into Humans–Part 3 (Age 1-3) Events … September 1, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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HumanatingAmazingly, almost sixty to seventy percent of what we learn how to do and apply every day is discovered between the ages of one and three–forming sounds, tactile skills, crawling, walking, making words, constructing sentences, pooping and peeing in a pot and even many of the basic human-family attributes of conscience and manners.

Needless to say, it’s a very important transition.

And it certainly can’t be shoved to the side with an exasperated excuse about “the terrible twos” or “they’re just too young to understand.”

Since we’re trying to initiate a human being into the landscape of Earth instead of just a monkey with too much money, we need to focus on what generates empathy and gratitude into the bosom of the tiny tyke.

It is not sufficient to instruct your little one in the essential nature of empathy (feeling for other people) and gratitude (appreciation for what has been offered) by merely dealing with the activities that transpire in a normal day. Yes, by the time little Johnny is stealing the toy from Kathy during playtime or he has stuffed half a candy bar in his mouth as you plead with him to say thank you, the moment will have passed and you will be left exasperated, swearing to never bring it up again.

It’s why I believe that anointed, intelligent parents plan events which are teaching tools for taking the heart, soul, mind and strength of a toddler into arenas where he or she can discover humanity.

What do I mean?

Make sure you place your child in a position where he or she is around other children who are weaker, in need, impoverished or even infirmed–so that the child you love so dearly can learn to love so dearly.

  • Create an event.
  • Manufacture an opportunity.
  • Make your offspring see that it’s eternally significant to feel for other people.

Likewise, sit down and generate predicaments and possibilities for your child to be grateful.

That does entail a very intricate procedure–it means that sometimes you’ll have to say no, so when a yes does come, it is greeted with glee and appreciation.

If you are under some sort of misguided notion that you want to give everything to your child that he or she desires, you will destroy them for future interactions, making them poor candidates for relationships.

Each and every week, you should have two events planned to spotlight the need for empathy a pair to stimulate gratitude–because if you’re merely relying on the course of human events to teach these valuable lessons, you will lose the potential of your best classroom.

You are the adult. You are the brains of this operation.

So use those brains to take little Johnny or Kathy down to the homeless shelter to see other children who are living without–and bring them a blessing.

It is the old-fashioned common sense of kindness.

And the only reason it’s old-fashioned … is because people have stopped doing it.

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

 

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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Click here to listen to Spirited music

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