Good News and Better News… December 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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good-news-christmas-morning

 

My Christmas morning:

  • Four tiny little ones
  • One twelve-year-old
  • A teenager
  • Eighteen adults
  • And six dogs marauding about, sniffing at presents.

It was all held in a lovely, but somewhat square-footage-impaired house in East Nashville.

Although most people consider Christmas to be a holiday season which they either enjoy or complain about trying to get through, I contend that Christmas is a microcosm of life as it should be. It’s a collision of giving and receiving, organizing and finding yourself surprised by a slip-up, and having a crunch of humanity around you which requires you to be open-minded and willing to adapt.

For instance, in the course of our morning, well over a hundred presents were opened.

Also, one of the young men decided to use it as an occasion to propose marriage to his girlfriend–an amazing precedent.

And there were moments of silliness followed by junctures of tenderness, concluding with decisions to stay energetic enough to survive the gauntlet.

The adults made themselves flexible to appreciate toys opened by Santa believers and the subtleties of certain gifts which needed to be explained because they only had significance to the recipient.

Then, in the midst of the festivities and the brunch following, we discovered that one of the guests just lost his grandma. She had passed away in her sleep.

Quiet–and amazing it was how quickly it settled on the room, even among the children. A time to feel and consider the magnitude of such a departure.

Tears.

Gentleness.

Allowing ourselves to transition from one emotion to another without trauma or drama, to return to eating and enjoying one another as life insisted on pushing forward. I heard one person declare the day a “miracle,” but actually, it’s the way our lives are meant to be lived: in abundance.

Abundant opportunities

Abundant problems

Abundant relationships

Abundant attempts

Abundant failures

Abundant successes

And abundant gratitude

The good news is that Christmas is a time for abundance.

The better news is that the baby in the manger came to give us life, and it more abundantly.

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Ask Jonathots … March 10th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

You hear it all the time: “She got that talent from her mother…” Is talent actually inherited?

No.

I suppose I could just stop there, but maybe you would like some clarification.

Let’s start off with a definition for talent: Talent is a capacity for success.

Simply having talent does not guarantee us prosperity.

  • It is a capacity.
  • It is a potential.
  • It is an opportunity.

It is an even playing field for those who are willing to work hard, allowing them to use some natural inclinations.

There can be physical attributes that are passed along through the DNA system. Maybe these specific “pluses” make it easier to pursue certain directions in life.

But talent is and always will be the realization of a dream through the pursuit of focused labor.

Therefore, people who have no history of music in their families can become dynamic examples in the art form.

All things being fair, our Creator never intended that privilege and preference would be infused into anyone. The gifts that God gives to human beings lie in the discovery of our inner strengths, our weaknesses, and learning how to balance these to our advantage.

Of course, if you surround a child with hammers and nails from the time he is five years old, the chance that he will grow up to be a carpenter is heightened. But he also might grow up to be an itinerant preacher who changes the world.

Be grateful for the fact that talent cannot be attributed to anything but your own faith, the desires of your hope and a really well-put-together and disciplined work schedule.

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The Alphabet of Us: O is for Opportunity … March 16, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Colorful Font illustration

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

  • Opportunity doesn’t knock. It walks by at a brisk pace, and if you’re sitting on your laurels, you’re bound to miss it.
  • Opportunity has a momentum–and if you’re not in movement, you probably won’t catch up with the motion.
  • Let me put it this way–opportunity is not provided; it comes to those who position themselves at the right place and patiently wait for the right time.

It appears in three forms, you know: there’s yesterday’s opportunity, today’s and that elusive tomorrow.

Successful people learn quickly that yesterday’s opportunities are a chance for us to take inventory of what we learned and what needs burned. After all, that’s life. If you’re intelligent, you learn from your opportunities, and you burn everything that didn’t work.

Today’s opportunity is a situation where we need to take our time. Don’t be in a hurry. I love the old formula: “Ready, aim, fire!”

That’s what we should do with today’s opportunity–ready ourselves, find out what our aim is and then fire off our best talent in that direction.

And for tomorrow’s opportunity? We should take no thought. Wondering, wishing and praying are ineffective ways to be fruitful on Planet Earth. So looking at the human family, what is our best approach concerning the institution of opportunity?

1. Stop chasing what you want and start working with what’s provided.

Dreams are best utilized during sleep, not wasting our time squandering the moment.

2. Don’t expect to do well. Just be glad for any chance to do.

People get too worried about what’s going to happen or how proficient they will be when opportunity arrives. Don’t sweat it. Human life is a learning curve–otherwise we would be born potty-trained.

3. Look for the next crack in the door.

We often pass over the little fish while we’re trying to capture the shark. But truthfully, in the world of the ocean, if you hang around the little fish the sharks will eventually show up because that’s what they eat.

Human beings can’t survive without opportunity … but they can be happy, joyous and fulfilled while they’re waiting for it to come their way.

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Cring & Clazzy present concert in Ocala on March 24th!

Cring & Clazzy present concert in Ocala on March 24th!

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G-25: Insulate or Isolate? … May 23, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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handsSo you found yourself in the middle of a raging feud with your brother and a festering jealousy exploded into a violent rage, ending up with you murdering your sibling.

When confronted with the facts, you lied and then got caught–and instead of being executed for your crime, you’ve been exiled to the Land of Nod, East of Eden.

Now what?

The truth of the matter is, life doesn’t stop with the latest happy event, nor does it cease at the conclusion of a tragedy, but goes on.

How? The immediate temptation is to insulate yourself:

  • Why did this happen and how can I avoid it ever happening again?
  • How can I improve my image as quickly as possible?
  • Going forward, how can I play it safe?

This is what happens when people are bruised, offended, battered or just intimidated by the sheer, brute force of responsibility.

They begin to seek protection instead of opportunity. They request a reprieve from interaction instead of gaining strength through fellowship.They lessen their workload, insisting that being overwhelmed was what caused the problem–only to discover that being underwhelmed leaves them bored.

It’s a tough decision, but the most crucial moment in our lives–when we realize that the next thing we do needs to be important –and also better.

There is another path.

Isolate.

1. What did I do?

Sometimes we don’t totally realize the magnitude or the insignificance of our deeds and either overblow them or downplay them, never having an actual assessment of the event. Without this, it’s difficult to repent.

Yes, repent–the magnificent blending of “I’m sorry” and “this is how I’m going to change.”

2. What can I do?

Even though a certain desperation and futility can follow a defeat, the sooner we start convincing ourselves that we can be fruitful and contribute to our own efforts and the common good, the better off we will be.

Yes, as we’ve isolated off our deed, now we need to isolate off the abilities that remain.

3. Where do I start?

I hope it’s not an overstatement to say that the greatest danger in life is to either try to do too much or too little. Too much puts us right back at being overwhelmed–which may be the cause of our deviation in the first place. Taking on too little causes us to feel inadequate and weakened.

Where do I start? Isolate off a beginning point–and get busy.

It is a true statement that there is no sin or action that cannot be forgiven, but even little mistakes can stall us forever if we insulate ourselves from the truth instead of isolate the mishap…and discover a reason to commence.

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Populie: Always Be Positive … April 2, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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black eye smiley faceTo review: a POPULIE is an idea which is popular but is laced with a lie.

It is something we agree to when we’re around large groups of people, but privately either question or dismiss as irrelevant when applying it to our own lives.

One of these is the contention that it is important in all of our dealings to “always be positive.”

Politics loves it because promises get votes. Reality often scares people away.

Entertainment favors this particular populie of “always be positive” because it gives them an ending to a movie that the audience members can predict, making them feel smart and preferably, happy.

And religion touts this precept because we have this imbalanced notion that faith is about believing that good things will always happen because God is in control. (Of course, on the flip side, spiritually it makes us believe that when bad things happen, we’re being punished.)

I think the most important question we can ask is what kind of people does this create and what kind of society does it evolve?

If you’re going to live a life where you’re always trying to be positive, you will view trials, tribulations and hassles as deterrents to your cause instead of little friends–pesky as they are–who come along to warn you of fallacies in your plans.

So if you’ll allow me to offer an alternative to this populie:

THE CORE OF FOUR

Yes, let me introduce you to the Core of Four.

We need to determine what our outlook should be in any given situation. To get this information, simply ask four quick questions:

1. What do I see?

Faith is not about poking your eyes out until you become blind. Faith is about accepting what you see, but then also being able to see beyond it, to further possibilities. You will never be successful if you’re not able to deal with reality. Matter of fact, one of the signs of mental illness is the insistence that reality should “go away.”

2. What do I believe?

Sometimes the things you want to accomplish are not yet seen, but the need for them is still in existence. Belief is a wonderful combination of what we see, what we desire and what we’re willing to endure.

3. What will I do?

A positive attitude is quickly killed off by an unwillingness to participate. I won’t tell people I think a plan will work if I cannot commit to them how I will be involved. For after all, nice words and encouraging prayers are not very helpful in the heat of the struggle.

4. And finally, what are the prospects?

As I take a look at what I see, what I believe and what I’m willing to do, it pretty quickly becomes obvious what the logical prospects are for the adventure.

After this evaluation, I can choose my profile.

  • Often I can be passionately positive, because my “see, believe, do and conclusions” are very encouraging.
  • On other occasions, it’s important to be realistic. That which I see, believe, and am willing to do show my prospects to be within the realm of possibility–but maybe not quite as fruitful as I once thought.
  • And finally, there are times when it is required for us to be needfully negative. What we see, believe, and are willing to do has brought forth prospects which show that this particular endeavor is doomed.

A fruitful process. It is the absence of the populie which tells us that we should walk around with a smirk on our face, saying that everything will be fine, when secretly we’re dying inside.

Don’t forget your Core of Four. This will help you to choose the right attitude to approach each and every opportunity.

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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.

Jesonian: Before We Walk … March 9, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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footprints he wantsDon’t be afraid.

Life will make sense if we can be sensible.

God, nature and science work together.

They were never intended to be separate.

So we were created by God, given nature as a place to live and work, with science providing ideas, guidelines, principles and knowledge that make our earth function.

It is a team organized to bring you individual challenge, opportunity and joy.

So please remember, your destiny is not determined in the heavens, stars or your DNA.

You are in charge.

You have the past as a teacher.

You have the present as a stage.

You will decide your own future.

Now, stand up and walk.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

G-14: Jungle or Garden?… March 7, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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jungleI think most people have found themselves in the embarrassing situation of arriving late to an appointment, being held up by traffic, and requiring an ice-breaker to share when entering the room of awaiting friends.

One of the favorites quips is the gasping exclamation, “It’s a jungle out there!”

It usually evokes some laughter–partly due to its corniness–but mostly because we have all become a bit convinced by society, entertainment and even religion that human beings are depraved animals.

So rather than looking at life and our potentials with optimism, we find ourselves desperately trying to avoid the human representations of silly monkeys, ravenous lions and venomous snakes.

Somewhere along the line we have forgotten the beautiful explanation that man and woman were spawned in a garden. Maybe it’s too idealistic. Perhaps the world around us will not permit us to believe that such beauty is attainable and such blessing within our grasp.

I just don’t know what we ever gain by allowing the underbrush of weeds and human mediocrity to surround us, causing us to retreat to our caves in fear. Yes, I think there’s a choice. Am I going to continue to live in a jungle or am I going to do my best, before I leave here, to turn the earth–or at least my portion of it–into a garden?

cultivated gardenTwo things are necessary to transform a jungle into a garden:

1. You’ve got to cool things down.

Jungles are steamy and hot, breeding all sorts of creeping, crawling vermin which welcome such a searing climate. Sometimes the greatest thing we can do in any situation is to refuse to participate in frenetic energy and heated debate, find a quiet place, sit down and wait for things to cool off. I do think it’s what Jesus meant when he suggested that the “meek inherit the earth.” As long as you’re struggling, punching and fighting with everyone for the dead carcass in the middle of the Serengeti, you are exhausting yourself–not to mention casting your lot with the more unseemly actions of the beasts.

Cool things down.

Occasionally I find myself in an argument and realize that the flame is rising and the intelligence is leaving. The situation requires that somebody shut up. When I actually am wise enough to do so, things cool down.

2. Clear things out.

I have been focusing this year on eliminating the scrub brush that suffocates my life, making me feel paranoid and claustrophobic. There are things I just don’t need, require or even desire anymore. Maybe they were once status symbols or security blankets, but now they’ve just become all-encompassing. If you’re going to grow something, you often have to remove what is occupying space but is useless.

Clear things out.

When you cool things down, all the hot-headed animals and the plant life that is tropical disappear. When you clear things out, you find soil underneath the tangled mess of weeds. Then you’re prepared to plant a garden.

And what is a garden? A glorious three-step process. A garden give me the chance to:

A. Seed what I need.

Yes, to actually get specific instead of hoping for the best or praying for miracles because I failed to do my job.

B.  Grow what I know.

I realized last week that I don’t lack wisdom. I lack frequent flyer miles using it. There is so much I can do, say, share, perform and be that I squander in pursuit of things unknown or beyond my capability.

C. And finally, receive what I believe.

Having come to peace with myself and my own gifts in the garden I have cleared off, and knowing that things have cooled down, I can be a good farmer. Yes:

  • Seed what you need.
  • Grow what you know.
  • Receive what you believe.

You can think whatever you want–I believe we were born in a garden … and have settled for a jungle.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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