Heaven’s Gates(ville) … January 26, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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cring and clazzy billboardThe words are quite stunning.

Though if you stop and think about it, it not only makes sense, but sets in motion a way of thinking, a passage of human heart and a philosophy of life which challenges us to excellence, while providing a plain path.

“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Although this phrase is contained in the famous Lord’s Prayer, and often receives no more notice than other lines within the structure, it really is the heart and essence of the mind of Jesus.

Think about it. What is my job?

To find out what heaven is going to be like and do my best every day to construct a prototype in the life provided around me. In so doing, I achieve two goals:

  • Confirm that I actually believe in something instead of mouthing words.
  • Bring a little heaven down to earth.

Where it gets complicated is in trying to summarize heaven to a few ideas instead of getting all caught up in “streets of gold, gates of pearl” and ten thousand years of praise and worship.

I made an attempt. And since I’m in Gatesville, Texas, this weekend, I thought I would share with them the three aspects of heaven I feel are transferrable to earth:

1. God.

I don’t think I want a heaven without God. Gee whiz–I think I could get universal agreement on that. The problem is, God has a speckled reputation. Some people think He’s mean, some would portray him as the hall monitor of morality, and others find him ethereal–floating in the clouds. But after all that gets done, the most universal thing I find about God, and certainly played out through his son, Jesus, is that God is love. Any attempt to portray Him with different light is a dilution of His power.

So if heaven exists with a God of love, it is my mission on earth to bring that love–to myself first and then to others.

2. Unity.

I have good news. There will be no political parties in heaven. No denominations. No races. No religions. All that will survive in the place of Supreme Reward are those who have faith and mercy.

No race. No religion. No politics in heaven.

So it stands to reason that if I want to make a little piece of heaven on earth, I should replicate that in my interactions with my brothers and sisters. I have found a quick way of phrasing that phenomenon. I tell everyone I meet that “NoOne is better than anyone else.” Yes, I bring a bit of eternal life every time I eliminate the differences between people and replace them with similarities.

3. Joy.

Since God will dry all our tears in heaven, it is safe to believe that the greatest gift of eternal life is joy. So I believe it will be the mission in my life–however long I am allowed to stomp about–to teach happiness, live happiness, share happiness and be happiness.

Yes. “Be of good cheer.”

Verily, verily I say unto you, sadness and worry do nothing to aid our dilemmas–just start the misery early.

So I believe heaven will be a place with God, unity and joy.

This morning, in Gatesville, Texas, I will tell people that God is love, and any other representation is afoul.

I will insist they understand that “NoOne is better than anyone else.” To build little boxes for people is the busy project of the devil’s workshop.

And I will certainly espouse joy and tell the dear folk to “be of good cheer.”

It is not of much value to bring earthly fear to earthly creatures who are basically a little lower than the angels and a bit higher than the monkeys.

Bringing heaven is allowing the God of love to unify us in good cheer.

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Andrew It Out … April 27, 2013

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fiVe loavesAs I get older I realize it more and more.

The game is not fame. The game is not acclaim. It’s about leaving behind a plain path of understanding concerning your life so that others can study it, follow it and progress the idea.

Imagine how excited I was when I discovered that my Sunday would be spent at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in San Antonio, Texas. Andrew is one of my favorite Bible dudes. He is one of a quartet of fishermen from the little town of Capernaum who Jesus welcomes into his “kingdom dozen.”

Andrew was among the first to discover the message of Jesus.  Here’s an interesting fact: even though he was one of four fishermen, three of them–Peter James and John–became what we refer to as the “inner circle.”

Andrew was not included.

We do not know why. We don’t even know if there is a “why” to it. But there is no incident listed in which Andrew pitched a fit or ended up betraying Jesus because he felt cheated. What we have is a man who found his place, occupied his space, made his case and finished the race.

Andrew did three really notable things.–and as I said, as the years pass, I realize that I want to have more of the spirit of Andrew in me, and not insist on being a Peter, James or John.

1. He came early. Dear God, may I learn that in the matters of spirit, justice and equality, to arrive first and jump on the bandwagon of freedom instead of dragging my feet because my culture and prejudice have taught me to be reluctant. Andrew met Jesus and went with it. How amazing. Come early, folks. It’s not as crowded, and you get to share beautiful moments with something beginning instead of later on just being part of the maintenance crew.

2. He brought a friend. Yes, the Bible tells us that Andrew brought his brother, Peter. Every night when I walk onstage and share my thoughts, I realize that they may never gain international attention, but there is always the possibility that I will inspire the mind and spirit of someone in the gathering who has the capability of doing things much greater than me. Sometimes the best thing you can do for the world is to stimulate somebody else who has the power to change it.

3. Andrew encouraged young humans. When it was discovered that five thousand men needed to be fed, Andrew was the one who found a young lad with five loaves and two fishes and brought him to Jesus. He gave this fledgling kid a chance to be the hero of the day. He gave him a lifelong memory. He gave him a place in the Bible.

There are two ways to become old: you can become old and grouchy or you can become old and hip. If you’re old and grouchy, you think everything young people do is stupid. If you’re old and hip, you look at what young people do, remember what you did, laugh and encourage them in their better choices.

I want to be Andrew. I want to ignore the inner circles of life. I want to show up early, bring a friend and encourage young humans.

If that’s what’s going on at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, they are on the verge of revealing the Kingdom of God.

Andrew: enjoying your portion without needing the whole platter.

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