PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … January 13th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Jan 13 Make Me

Make Me

Sunshine makes me glad

Rain makes me sad

Cold can make me shiver

Insults make me quiver

Work makes me tired

Especially if I’m fired

Love can make me grin

Jealousy makes me sin

Laughter makes me glow

Tribulation makes me grow

Generosity makes me a friend

But poverty has no end

Prayer grants great assurance

But mission promotes endurance

Confidence makes me believe

Humility helps me receive

Truth makes me bold

Yet mercy makes me unfold

Teaching helps me learn

Repentance helps me turn

Renewal makes me feel

While revival makes it real

The old ways are often true

But blessing must be new

So Father of All Serene

Come and make me clean.

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Tomorrow’s Today… May 11, 2013

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North RichlandI never think too much about tomorrow. I try to stay on my daily bread and focus on the activities set before me in this particular twenty-four-hour period. Yet sometimes tomorrow’s activities are part of today’s thoughts.

For instance, I know that I am going to be at Smithfield United Methodist Church tomorrow morning. I really don’t have any worries about it–after nearly forty years of interacting with folks and sharing my heart, I have discovered that the real secret is to keep it simple and never try to make things appear either bigger or smaller than they actually are.

But I have also learned that there are a few goals which can be pursued when pressing flesh with mankind–and womankind, for that matter–which universally set in motion a pattern for success instead of fostering a climate for dissent.

Communication. It’s the main thing on my mind. I believe it’s very important that people understand what I’m trying to say and comprehend who I am. I don’t hide behind books, philosophies, religious attitudes or my history of experience. What I try to do is share a very simple message in a simple way, tapping as much excellence in my talent as I am able to do in the moment.

I do not think that we will ever achieve fellowship or stimulate an atmosphere for renewal when we’re presenting things to each other that we don’t understand.

Case in point: I don’t talk about heaven very much. It’s not that I don’t believe in it–it’s just that for most of us it’s not the next stop on the bus line. You’ll rarely hear me mention the devil, simply because there is a dark nature in each of us which already wants to believe there are evil reasons why we don’t achieve righteous conclusions.

I chat about human things and how to do them better. In the process of that communication I hope to make connection. That link-up is a simple question: “Can I help?”

I just don’t think we do much to assist our brothers and sisters by giving them more problems, more commandments and more reasons to despair. If you can’t edify folks, then exhort them. If you can’t exhort them, encourage them. If you can’t do any of those three, you might just want to leave ’em alone.

After I’ve made a connection, I am joyously looking forward to a sense of contentment. What is contentment? “I discovered my best and I gave it to you.”

Candidly, without knowing that this is true, we either become grumpy or obnoxiously make excuses for our failure.

And the final part of the process is continue. Yes, I want to continue to do what I’m doing for as long as I’m able to pursue it, while garnering a new idea from every encounter.

I’ve been criticized by friends and family because I listen to every concern or criticism and weigh it in relationship to what I know–even if the words spoken were an attempt to hurt. I don’t think there’s as much danger in our being overly analytical as there is in repelling critique that might just give us a better path.

So when I come to Smithfield tomorrow, I want to communicate. I want to make sure they understand me.

I want to make a connection–to see if I can lighten their load instead of piling up their wagons with useless trash.

Because when I leave, I want to have the contentment that I’ve given my very best to these fine children of God.

And I also would like to know that because I was with them, I can improve the quality of my own presentation.

That’s what I call tomorrow’s today. It’s a quick review in my heart and soul to renew my mind, looking for better ways to use my strength. And because of the beauty of the process, I am often granted the blessing of leaving a town having edified both my audience … and myself.

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The Two That Got Away… April 15, 2013

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MosesYesterday, as I had the honor and pleasure of sharing my thoughts and feelings in front of the beautiful souls at Helotes Hills United Methodist Church, it registered deep in my heart what is necessary for human beings to step out of their commonplace mundanity and reach for the heavens with their dreams.

We have to quell two nasty portions of our behavior that certainly cling to each and every one of us: rebellion and revenge.

Every fussy iniquity and mean-spirited event that has happened in the history of mankind has been initiated by one or both of these tyrants. You want to know what the problem is? Both of these can be backed up by individuals with a lack of understanding, grabbing pieces of the Holy Bible and using it to foster their rebellious nature or their instinct for retaliation.

I guess I would refer to it as the two that got away: “Thou shalt not” andan eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

These two statements are countermanded by ninety percent of the Bible.

“Thou shalt not…”

I’m sorry. I believe that God is my Father–and I, being a father, know that the LAST thing you want to say to your children is “don’t do this.” It is a guarantee of turning them into rebellious brats, totally preoccupied with what has been refused, until they finally partake of the forbidden fruit. I proved this once with my oldest son when he was thirteen years old. I walked in the room and said, “Jon Russell, whatever you do, don’t EVER chop off your foot.”

You know what he responded? He asked, “Why?”

You see what I mean? Even something obviously painful that is taboo draws us like flies to crap. God, being a wise Father, knows it is much better to extol the virtues of an issue than it is to turn it into cherry pie hidden away in the cabinet.

And the other one that got away is “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

I find it difficult to believe that a God who proclaims Himself to be love and light, and insisted that vengeance is up to Him and not us, would actually have slipped up and suggested that human beings wreak havoc on one another. Yet to this day in the Middle East, Abraham’s children by Sarah are poking out the eyes of Abraham’s children by Hagar, who quickly retaliate with jabs of their own.

Even though there are countless enlightened scriptures that contradict this philosophy, because it appeals to our darker nature of revenge, we keep it high and lifted up.

You will never become a good citizen of Planet Earth, a follower of Jesus or valuable to your fellow-man and fellow-woman as long as you live a life of “thou shalt not” and believe in “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

I insist that pair slipped through the cracks–and when they are mentioned, God rolls His eyes and says, “How many times must I send words to replace those before people will finally retire them?”

We had a great morning in Helotes Hills. It was an event free of rebellion and completely devoid of revenge. That’s what creates the possibility of revival and renewal.

So on behalf of myself, other human beings I know quite well, and an exasperated God who is fed up with rebellion and revenge, I would humbly ask you to erase these two notions from your mind and disinclude them from the holy writings.

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Any Given Sunday… March 4, 2013

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country churchI often find myself challenged.
Usually it’s by friends and family, who wonder why I continue to pursue an “inreach” to the church instead of expanding my activities outside the stained glass windows, to the marauding masses.
Did you ever notice that it’s always easier to view somebody else’s situation and figure out what they should do instead of messing with your own life? It’s why Jesus said we would rather take the speck of sawdust out of our brother’s eye than deal with the log protruding from our own.
But there is a miracle going on in this country. Just because it does not presently feel very miraculous does not detract from its potential. Any given Sunday, millions of Americans rise from their beds and head off to buildings, to worship the God of their choice. There’s nothing quite like it. There’s nothing that imitates it.
Even though my critics would occasionally suggest that I should go into the educational system and teach, or turn all of my products into a marketing scheme and start businesses that reach larger forums, or even that I become politically involved and change the world around me legally, I have to stand back and take a good gander at the opportunities afforded to me at this juncture in history and pursue what’s really going to work instead of what should work.
Let me tell you the problem with education. You need a diploma. What I mean is, we still evaluate the intelligence of our population based on the level of certificate they’ve received. Of course, we know this to be fictitious. We have gradually been admitting that technical schools, personal training and even apprenticeship can be preferrable methods for preparing people for the marketplace.
So how about entertainment? The problem with entertainment is that it needs applause. When you’re trying to appeal to the mass mentality, it is difficult to land on powerful ideas born through spirit or wisdom.

I suppose you could pursue corporations–but as you well know, they need a profit. They require squeezing every single dollar of savings out of your ledger of costs to always plump the bottom line.
How about politics? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that politicians need a vote–and if you’re trying to get everybody to vote for you, the only thing you’re really running from is the truth.
It’s the church.

Flawed as she may be, encumbered by tradition more than passion, she still remains the only avenue for change–where people understand that some receptivity and learning may be necessary to gain favor.

Any given Sunday, you will see them gather. They are the huddled masses of our nation, still clinging to the hope of better ideals, even if those principles are muttered instead of proclaimed.
I sat in my green room yesterday morning preparing to share my heart with a new group of people from Houston, Texas. Outside in the hallway there were a myriad of conversations that floated through my door. These interactions were not any different from what you would have heard at a barbershop, a shopping mall or outside a football stadium prior to the game. They were laced with humanity, riddled with a lot of opinion, and even frustration.

But here’s the difference–we weren’t at a barber shop, a shopping mall or getting ready to go to a football game. We were heading into a room to sit our butts down in the presence of God and try to think about something besides ourselves and our own woes.

It opens the door for a possibility for renewal. It opens the window to revival. It opens our minds to the resurrection of change.

No one left the way they came. That’s why I go to the church. That’s why I keep believing.

And that’s why, on any given Sunday, there is the magnificent mission of generating a glorious new Monday.

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

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