1 Thing That Makes Sense All the Time

 

REPENTANCE

“Don’t you just hate change!” he said with a huge bobby-bubbalicious smirk, looking across the room at what he knew to be adoring fans to his wit and humor.

Although an older gent, he was confident in his attractiveness and the sway he held with the little conclave. He paused, allowing time for the “amens, attaboys,” and “you-said-a-mouthfuls” to pour through the room, and then turned to me, awaiting my appreciation for what he considered to be an obvious observation about the nastiness of change.

I probably should have kept my mouth shut.

I certainly would have been more popular. But instead, I replied, “Mark my word, dear friends, death and taxes are not certain, but change is—and those who try to stall its purpose will find the wheels of progress rolling over their sensitive toes.”

I received no support for my position. After all, if the human race did not have an explainable ignorance, we would have to conclude it was pernicious.

Repentance should always be at the ready, or you may very well find yourself doing a “perish in your parish.” Therefore, as each new day begins, and you realize that neither you nor I created the universe—rather, we are permitted to remain on a very tentative lease—try to follow the spirit of common sense wherever it goes. That spirit will tell you:

  1. Change is necessary.
  2. You are necessary.
  3. Therefore, you will change.

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3 Things … January 10th, 2019

 


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That Light Up the Darkness

  

  1. When there is little available, don’t be demanding.

 

  1. Celebrate progress, even if it’s small. 

 

  1. Don’t get stubborn—evolve.

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1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Begin the New Year Right)


 

UNTANGLE

You must be honest with yourself and realize that you’ve taken this whole year to tangle yourself up in relationships, causes, theologies, politics and negativity that has every intention of bumbling its way into the month of January.

We do not engage. We tangle. And the reason we tangle is that we lack the confidence to believe we have the ability to do things with our own talent, and we cautiously collaborate with those who have less ability and we end up achieving only as much as they are able to accomplish.

  • We become sentimental when we actually need to be revolutionary.
  • We become revolutionary when what is required is wisdom.
  • And we try to act wise and often end up with arrogance.

Untangle:

  1. Your relationships

Get a piece of paper and write down the names of your friends. Then consider the number of times they were friendly to you as opposed to the number of times you were friendly to them. Don’t offend them but adjust your contact with them based upon this ratio.

If you were friendly five times and they were friendly three, then include them in your life accordingly. Your time is valuable. You don’t want to hurt anyone, but you don’t help anyone by letting them hurt you.

  1. Your goals.

Are they realistic? Have you ever achieved them? Has there ever been a hint that progress has been made? Don’t be stubborn. If you made no progress on your goals this year, then the problem is probably your goals, not your progress.

  1. Your clothes.

Go in your closet and inventory your wardrobe. If you have garments you haven’t worn for six months which aren’t seasonal, take them down and find homes for them. There are people out there who will rejoice over your rejects.

And finally,

  1. Untangle yourself from your failures.

If you have found the root cause of what precipitated your defeats and you’ve made adjustments, then don’t nervously wonder if the same things will happen again. They can’t because you’ve changed the playing field.

Untangle.

Because situations in our lives which are not useful or helpful will eventually wrap around our throats and strangle our life force.

 

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G-Poppers … April 27th, 2018

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It is totally unrealistic to believe that we can tout our strengths without having our weaknesses show up sometime in the heat of the struggle.

There is a healthiness to being positive about our gifts and talents. Yet without understanding the darker side of our character, we can mislead ourselves into thinking that matters are much better than they truly are.

It’s the difference between “scoring” and “scouring.”

G-Pop knows when to score; in other words, those moments when some self-promotion and blowing one’s own horn comes in handy so people recognize possibilities instead of being in the dark about his potential.

But likewise, there is the need to scour–to scrub the emotions, motivations, and buff up honesty in order to create a clean heart. Unfortunately, most friends, family and even strangers become somewhat miffed if G-Pop becomes too self-aware, or in their opinion, self-critical.

They ask him if he’s “going through a bad time.” They want to know if he’s been offended. They think his moments of scouring are useless, and could be better applied to more scoring:

  • Of course, scoring himself high so people will know about his achievements
  • Quietly scoring others a little lower to make his own efforts seem plumper
  • And scoring the difficulty of life in such a way that the progress being achieved appears monumental

America is full of those who score and rarely scour. What is scouring?

  • Scouring motivations to make sure they are clear, although they may never be pure.
  • Scouring to make sure that G-Pop is not out to hurt anyone else–just to improve himself.
  • And scouring the passion to realize that life is not difficult–just waiting for those who are open to finding creative ways to make it easier.

Today G-Pop recognizes that he needs some scouring. There are some trailing lies, misconceptions, fears and aggravations that cling to the corners of great plans, preventing them from gaining flight.

Without this scouring, scoring starts to be a memory of the past and a false projection of what might be.

 

 

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Good News and Better News … September 19th, 2016

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good-news-marlette

It is utterly amazing how many potholes on the highway of progress can be gloriously filled in with the marvelous cement of enthusiasm and repentance.

Although many people tout the power of thinking and prayer, our thoughts are often stuck in the past, and our prayers can be pious.

When I arrived in Marlette, Michigan, to meet up with Pastor Dave and the human beings who inhabit that region, I was looking for enthusiasm and repentance. Nothing of any significance is going to happen without this pair of miracle-workers.

Enthusiasm has a simple message: “I want to be happy.”

And repentance comes along cleansing the process by offering, “And I realize I may have to change to get it.”

Without enthusiasm. we eventually regress to complaining. And absent repentance, we always become “makers of great excuse.”

I was so pleased to encounter one friend after another in this gathered array of Michiganders, who expressed enthusiasm, and with tears in their eyes, realized the necessity of repentance.

Throughout my journey I have discovered that politics does not work because it’s so afraid of failure that it lies.

Education is limited because without the spunk of perseverance, it may not survive.

And religion is nearly comical because it pursues salvation without revering personal responsibility.

But the magic of enthusiasm followed by the anointing of repentance turns the human race into a livable sort, making folks able to co-exist with one another without gossip and murder.

I think this begins with how we answer the question, “How are you?”

We can decide to hide our feelings and say “fine” with varying degrees of apathy, or we can launch into a series of woes about our present condition, hoping for sympathy.

But I have found the perfect answer to “how are you?Here it is: “At first, a little overwhelmed, but by nightfall, kind of surprised at how well things turned out.”

I shall always remember the folks in Marlette with Pastor Dave and his evolving outreach. They brought to the sanctuary enough enthusiasm to welcome repentance.

That’s the good news.

The better news?

It turns out that enthusiasm and repentance are much easier to work with than defeat and stubbornness.

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

Click here to get your copy now!

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Jesonian: Mastering Service … September 21, 2014

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john marcus

John Marcus was a “householder.”

It was the title granted to the colored slave to afford just enough dignity with a King James flavor, without bestowing elaborate honor for his needful subservient status.

Yes, John Marcus did it all. Cook, clean, repair, blacksmith, minister, caretaker and physician.

And because he took the jobs on–often that no one else wanted, including the white family which became very accustomed to being served–he was granted more and more liberty to work solo in order to achieve his ever-expanding, sophisticated results.

Today he was given a new job. He was to be mentor, and even punisher if necessary, to a belligerent sixteen-year-old runaway named Zachary. The little tyrant was placed in his care to train and also temper into achieving his place as a worker on the plantation.

So John Marcus decided to give the angry lad the job of cleaning the pots and pans. It was done alone in the back room of the kitchen and could be achieved even by a fitful worker without destroying too much private property.

When Zachary got John Marcus alone, far from prying ears, he shouted, “Why do you walk around with a smile on your face playing good house nigger?”

John Marcus smiled and gave no response, wiping the bottom of a dirty pot as any good instructor just might do.

After a good season of pan-scrubbing, Zachary challenged again. “Are you deaf? Why do you give in to the Massa?”

John Marcus paused, ceasing to scrape at the blackened pans. He stepped about five paces away and gently and tenderly stirred a cauldron of delicious stew he was nurturing for the evening’s consumption.

Zachary shook his head.

Suddenly John Marcus spoke. “There’s one Massa. His name is Jesus. He told me that the only way to gain mastery in life is to serve.”

“Weak words,” spit Zachary.

John Marcus chuckled. “And where have your strong words gotten you, boy? Lassoed? Drug through the dirt? Rejected? Listenin’ to some old man chaw at’cha while you’re scrubbin’ pans? And you know what else? You’ll be here scrubbin’ these same pans, cursin’ these same whites two years from now, nary feelin’ any better or makin’ any progress.”

Zachary shook his head again. “I’d rather be an angry man than a happy nigger.”

John Marcus took him by the shoulders and looked him square in the eye. “That’s because you don’t know what happy is because you’re too busy bein’ angry. I don’t like what’s happenin’ around me, but I know one thing. It’s not gonna change tomorrow. It’s gonna be the same next week. Probably even by Christmastime, I’m still gonna have the same color they have decided is less than ‘dem. But I know this–if I believe they’re wrong, then there’s a God in heaven who knows it, too. And He told me there ain’t nothin’ a man sows that he doesn’t eventually have to pull up out of the ground and reap, and eat. So I’m workin’ on what I sow. I’m quietly learnin’ more than they want me to, and there are things around this ‘ole fifty-three acres that nobody knows how to do but me. Because when it came time for doin’ it, I learned it. And they were completely happy with me bein’ the pack mule.”

Zachary interrupted. “So what? So you’re a smart nigger without ever being able to be called smart, and being able to take the smart and use it for yourself.”

“Maybe so. But every time I master something of service and I serve it well, I gain the attention of the master who controls this household and I make myself of great value. Just the other day, young boy, several of the farm hands who own the plantation just south of here had to come to me to find out how to fix their plowshare and what to do for an ailing mule. Did they appreciate it? See, it doesn’t make any difference. In that minute, they had to admit they needed me. Maybe they choked on it; maybe they refused to completely give in. But they needed me. My Master is Jesus, and he told me that the more I serve, the more territory I gain.”

Zachary just shook his head, but he returned to his labor with a bit more respect.

In March of 1861, John Marcus passed away. He was the only slave allowed to be buried in the far corner of the white cemetery. Many of the townsfolk turned out to see the old servant put to rest. He had made more friends than enemies and to the surprise of a young worker who had finally adopted his philosophy…

Yes.

Zachary was set free.

It was the last request made by a servant to a plantation owner … but granted because of the teachings of a greater Master. 

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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.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Keep … April 10, 2014

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Delta pic 1Many years ago, packing up and getting ready to leave a small Upper Room venue, where a couple dozen bare-footed and jean-clad souls had gathered to listen to music while sipping tea and eating day-old doughnuts graciously provided by the local baker, I received warm hugs and two abiding sentiments: keep truckin’ and keep the faith.

Tears filled the eyes of the exhorter, only partially clouding the great emotion of hope, belief and abiding knowledge that God isn’t done with any of us yet.

Alas, a new wave of pessimism, cynicism and agnosticism is sweeping our country and is even permeating the pores of the righteous, and makes such declarations–“keep truckin'” and “keep the faith”–seem misplaced, nostalgic and even absurd.

I have no desire to return to former times that were plagued with their own viral stupidities, but there is a thread of gentleness that has to be passed from one generation to another. Otherwise, this experiment of humanity comes unraveled.

So with humility in my heart and an abundance of confidence in my soul, I share with you the five phases necessary to change the world. Please take them on one at a time, and when you feel the nudge and permission from your spirit, move on and allow yourself the joy of embracing the next possibility.

Delta pic 2

PHASE ONE

Change my heart

Awake my soul

Renew my mind

Give me strength

PHASE TWO

(As Boldness Allows)

Anoint my touch

Expand my reach

Let me stand

Enliven my moves

PHASE THREE

(After Spiritual Muscle Has Grown)

Bless my walk

Guide my steps

Give me people

Let me be gentle

Share, don’t preach

Feel, don’t teach

 

PHASE FOUR

(Enlivened, Moving On)

Learn instead of know

Watch myself grow

Establish trust

Relate good news

Avoid the darkness

Light a candle

Do good works

PHASE FIVE

(Glorified, I Continue)

Reject my fear

Welcome new love

Point joyously to progress

Call progress God.

 

Keep truckin’. Keep the faith.

delta pic 3

(pictures of journey from Gallup, New Mexico to Paonia, Colorado)

Donate Button

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

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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