Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 4) Needful … May 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

The fourth Sunday at the Garsonville Church was marked by the return of Deacon Smitters, who entered the building with very little ceremony, but much pomp over renewing his efforts as Chief Usher.

He immediately became distressed because there was no bulletin to hand out–just a chalk board in the narthex with these words scrawled upon it:

Welcome to Church

1. Our thought will come from Luke the 18th Chapter, Verse 31 through Luke the 19th Chapter, Verse 1

2. Take a moment to think about what you need

In an environment which was experiencing tremendous upheaval, the absence of a reassuring piece of paper to guide the congregants through the minefield of spirituality seemed cruel and unusual.

But everyone made their way into the sanctuary and sat in the first five pews, with Deacon Smitters making sure he was as far back on row five as humanly possible.

Promptly at service time, Reverend Meningsbee walked in and addressed the congregation.

“If we do not know why we gather in this building, we will very soon ask ourselves, why are we gathering? Makes sense, don’t you think?

You don’t have to look very long into the ministry of Jesus to realize that he never preached. He taught his disciples, but when he was in front of the masses, he only offered two possibilities: he was always ready with a healing touch or a great story.

More often than not, it began with a healing.

Even though I look out today and we have a few less than we did last week, what we should be focusing on is what the few of us here really need in our lives.

I just don’t think you need a retelling of the story of Jonah and the whale.

So let’s look at what happened over in Luke the 18th Chapter, verse 35, through Luke 19:1.

Jesus was on his way to Jericho when he was interrupted. He was stalled by a blind man who refused to shut up and observe how the service was supposed to progress. The man kept screaming for mercy.

Jesus asked him what he wanted and he flat-out demanded healing.

So Jesus did.

Then, from the excitement of that encounter, Jesus took his entourage, including the blind man, through Jericho, where he caught the attention of a non-spiritual, cheating, lying tax collector named Zacchaeus.

Do you folks really think Zacchaeus would ever have listened to Jesus if he had not heard the excitement of the crowd, celebrating the healing of the blind man?

Of course not.

It is why the people of Garsonville would much rather stay in their homes, eat waffles and watch television than come here. They don’t feel any excitement coming out of the building when we dismiss.

So from now on, in this church, we will begin our services by listening, praying and believing for those who have a specific need. So it’s the blessing of people that will set the direction for our service.

You can see, there are two chairs up here. Does anybody want to come up and begin the service by sitting down for prayer, to have their needs met, like the blind man, instead of waiting for comfort?”

Reverend Meningsbee took a long moment, pausing to allow someone to make the brave step.

Nobody did.

At length he spoke.

“That’s fine. It’s new to all of us. But understand that every Sunday we will begin this way and flip the service by having our singing at the end, as praise, before our departure.”

Suddenly a hand was raised in the congregation, and a woman, Betty Landers, sheepishly stood to her feet and said, “I don’t really have a need, but I’d like to report on what happened when I left the church last Sunday and went out to be reconciled with my cousin, who I have not spoken to in eight years.”

The pastor nodded, smiling.

Betty continued. “She only lives two miles from me, but we had a fight, and we have succeeded in avoiding each other through all family gatherings and piano recitals for the children.”

The congregation chuckled.

“Well, I went to see her, just like you said, and she wouldn’t let me into the house. It was weird. I just stood at the door and spoke, hoping she was there. I apologized. I told her how crazy it was for the two of us to be angry at each other. I even told her why I had come, based on what my minister had challenged us to do.”

Suddenly, in the midst of Betty’s story, a woman appeared in the rear of the sanctuary, and interrupted.

“I apologize for disturbing your service. I feel real silly. But what Betty is saying is true. My name is Clarice. Betty really did come to my door and talk to it like a crazy woman.”

A big roar of laughter.

Clarice continued. “I’ve spent the week with my heart pricked by her actions. I woke up this morning feeling the need to come here, find her and tell her that I am equally sorry for our silly argument.”

Betty scooted past a couple of people, ran to the back of the auditorium and embraced her cousin, as they wept.

The congregation sat very still, afraid to move. After a few moments of tears, the two women turned awkwardly to the pastor and said, “Now what do we do?”

Reverend Meningsbee said, “Go out and have lunch together. We’re done here.”

The two women left, hugging each other, and Reverend Meningsbee led the congregation in an a cappella version of “We Are One in the Spirit.”

The service was over.

The attendance was dropping.

But the spirits were soaring.

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Jesonian: Order of Importance… June 1, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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jesus in a fieldThere is the smell of “stale God” in the air.

It stinks.

The odious cloud has risen from a thousand misunderstood scriptures, ten thousand meaningless sermons and a million converts sitting around thinking that saying a prayer or munching on Holy Eucharist does anything of lasting quality.

Maybe it’s just this American attitude that everything is important, which makes us end up giving undue attention to the least effective path to progress.

I will tell you this–I’ve read the Gospels many times, and it doesn’t take much perusing to discover that Jesus had an order of importance when it came to human living. It may astound some of the faithful to discover that he doesn’t give prominence to prayer, fasting, church attendance or Bible reading. He assumed that we should just do those things on our own time, without any pomp and circumstance, to help us energize the things that are important.

From my discovery, these are the five that keep us alive:

1. No one is better than anyone else.

I remember when I was ten years old, I sat down and picked out my favorite army men. After that I never played with the others. I lost out on some great toys. The same thing happens when we pick our favorite people.

2. Don’t judge people.

Drawing conclusions makes ugly pictures and jumping to conclusions always lands you in a mud puddle.

3. “Give and it shall be given unto you.”

If you happen to be going through some lean times, you might want to fatten up your generosity. Human beings are led by example.

4. Don’t be a hypocrite.

Nobody expects anybody else to be perfect. But we do require honesty about faults.

5. Go the second mile.

Life is not meant to be easy; otherwise, lazy people would soon be in charge. It’s in the second mile of effort that we discover the treasures of our own perseverance and the mysteries of human life.

I can guarantee you that whatever afterlife awaits us will have little to do with piety or sanctimonious practices. But if you pursue these important things, you will find that whatever is awaiting us is merely a continuation of the joy we have found in our magical five.

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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

 

 

King Jesus … November 23, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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crownI don’t like kings.

They give me the creeps. Too much pomp for the circumstance.

On the other hand, I like Jesus.

So imagine my surprise when I discover that the church wants me to call him a king.

Yes.  Christ the King. Here’s my problem:

Kings live in castles. Jesus said, “Foxes have holes but the son of man has no place to lay his head.”

Kings always possess land. Jesus told us that “his kingdom was not of this world” and therefore couldn’t be measured in acres.

Generally speaking, being a king comes with a certain gaggle of servants. Yet Jesus told his disciples that he didn’t come to be served, but to be of service.

How about a lavish throne? For Jesus, that was the back side of a baby donkey, bouncing his way into Jerusalem.

Then there’s fine clothes and a royal family. Yet Jesus’ philosophy was to “take no thought for what ye shall wear” and his mother was a peasant woman.

Here’s a question: can you be a king without an army or a treasure chest to fund that force? If I recall, Jesus said “we shouldn’t lay up treasure on earth, but in heaven.”  And concerning the military, he warned us that “they that live by the sword shall die by the sword.”

Even though Jesus was surrounded by devoted women, he possessed none of them as his queen.

And at his coronation, he was crowned … with thorns.

Christ the King Sunday.

He was a king. But he was a king because he came to testify to the truth: the truth that faith is the part of belief that we use, like a mustard seed. Hope is the desire we pursue. And love is the God we give to others.

All hail, King Jesus, who taught us that the only way to be a master … is to become a servant.

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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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