Good News and Better News… September 4th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Is peace merely the absence of war or a majestic anointing to dissuade all conflict?

This question crossed my mind Sunday morning when Janet and I had the privilege of sharing our program at Peace Lutheran Church in Palm Bay, Florida, under the able leadership of Pastor Paul. Although the folks were hesitant at first to open their hearts to “us strangers,” in no time at all the glory of Spirit filled the room with reconciliation, realization and renewal.

It was good. It felt good.

Which brings me to my point this morning. Even though we may exalt ourselves for being extremely intellectual or even spiritual, we actually spend most of our lives being prompted by our feelings. Some would insist that this predilection is our weakness, but I have discovered that our emotions are what endear us to the Creator.

So when anyone steps into Peace Lutheran Church, they are taking the pulse of the heartbeat in the place.

Is it a sanctuary for redemption minus the fussiness propagated by our society? Is it warm with human smiles–aglow with care, and just lit up by the notion that “all things work together for the good for those who love the Lord?”

Only after we feel good about a place do we actually look around to see.

We notice faces. We observe actions. God forgive us, we become spies at our present location. Are we critical? Unfortunately, yes.

This is why there must be a belief system on Earth that understands that we’re constantly letting our light shine before all men. There is no backstage for the journey of faith, nor are we given a dressing room. There is no time to learn lines because all the daily setups are improvisational.

  • The world is looking.
  • The world is critical.
  • The world must see evidence for what it feels.

And finally, if we like what we feel and we’re pretty satisfied with what we see, we’re ready to hear.

As we know, faith comes by hearing, so it is the responsibility of every believer to bring peace to our quadrant by providing a faith that can be seen and felt.

That was our message yesterday. We must stop insisting that merely opening the doors to a house of worship promotes brotherly love, good will or recognition of our Creator.

No–if people don’t feel it they will never see it.

And if they don’t see it, they won’t hear it.

So the good news is that by the time I left Peace Lutheran I felt them and I saw the love of God. They let me eyeball their soul.

And the better news is, I can now trust what I hear from them.

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Last Night … January 10, 2013

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The success of any adventure is usually devised in one’s own mind, wherein the failure is likewise plotted.

Often I don’t believe that.

I falljon and jan oboe victim to the concept that circumstances can be so intense or forbidding that no matter how much effort or good attitude I bring to the table, it ends up being impossible to create a banquet. Foolish.

Yesterday I had a 300-mile round trip to go to a small church in Palm Bay, Florida, to put on a program. The number of people projected to attend the event was not much more than one would have at a large dinner party. I began to focus on my potential fatigue–the energy I would have to expend to perform this deed–and preliminarily, depressed myself with the “notion of the motion.” In other words, I had a dread before I was dead.

But I have learned one or two things as I have opened up the magic box of tricks provided for me on life’s journey, and the main thing that has finally settled in my soul as truth is that nothing is decided until I bring everything I’ve got, invite God along on the journey and then actually play it out.

So when I arrived at the church, I was suddenly struck by a verse which commands us, as people of faith, that when we come to a house we should salute it.

Now, this always seemed like a silly little piece of advice. After all, a house is just four walls with corresponding furniture and knick-knacks. But I realized, as I stared at the building in front of me where we were scheduled to present our ideas, that many sermons, discussions, meetings and even arguments had occurred in this edifice long before my arrival.

I think locations have emotional wallpaper. Because the doings in a room have been so repetitive over the years, the people who find themselves walking in the doors fall under the spell of the surrounding spirit. I know that sounds creepy, and I’m not suggesting that any particular address is inhabited by demons or angels. I’m just saying that we get accustomed to the procedures tied to certain buildings and we convince ourselves that nothing can be changed. That’s why we say Congress and Washington, D.C. are hopeless. Religion also seems locked in to emotional wallpaper, which can be anything from sullen to judgmental to joyous.

This is why Jesus wanted us to salute a house when we enter it. He said if the house is worthy, that “your peace will come upon it.”

So instead of being in a grumpy mood about my drive all the way up to Palm Bay, I decided to walk into the house of Fellowship United Methodist Church and salute it. Matter of fact, I saluted the youth room, where I sat to prepare for the service. I saluted the narthex, where people gather before entering to worship. Doggone it, I even saluted the bathroom.

I felt a little weird doing so, but I realized that God has called me to speak my piece to the world around me. Even as I sit in my motel room today, I realize that this space has been rented many times. It’s been the scene for happiness, sleep and maybe even violence. I have an opportunity during my stay to change the emotional wallpaper–to leave behind my peace.

If the house is worthy, my peace will remain. And Jesus said if it’s not worthy, my salute and peace will return to me–unscathed. It’s a pretty good deal.

I didn’t come to this planet to leave things the way I found them. There is much emotional wallpaper hanging off the halls of justice, schools, homes, churches and auditoriums in this country. They need to be renovated. We need to believe once again that our salute has value because it brings peace.

I saluted those beautiful people last night, who actually came out in abundance. And I found a worthy place–where my peace remains.

It made the long drive back much easier, and it makes this morning sweeter to know that I haven’t come to use my talents to tear down anything.

I am an interior decorator of mankind.

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