Good News and Better News… November 20th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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As we drove to our weekend gig, we crossed Tampa Bay, and Janet was able to quickly snap a fuzzy picture of a fish jumping out of the water.

A moment in time.

The truth is, in the climate of our present social insurrection, human souls everywhere are attempting to leap out of the murky waters of despair. It just isn’t very fun…being unhappy. Even when other folks around you insist that they,too, are miserable, that particular form of fellowship is quite unfulfilling.

The problem is, we think the Bible has all the answers, and if we pass it along to lost souls, they will be able to find their way to salvation.

It’s similar to being hired by a corporation and having the rule book passed to you, thinking that the regulations which have been jotted down should be able to guide you through the daily activities of your workplace.

Everybody knows the company manual has nothing to do with the success of enjoying your job. It’s all about your manager and how he or she uses the rules to generate a friendly, human, creative environment.

Here’s a simple statement: Christianity is just a bag full of beliefs until we come along and agree together on a philosophical approach and implement the
ideas.

So you see, I placed in today’s article a picture of an empty church. I think that’s where we need to start.

Our churches may not be full of people, but they are full of religion, practices, traditions, and preferred culture. Most of this has nothing to do with the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus.

We would do better to imagine our churches empty–and start from scratch to build an environment of people who are accepting, understanding, filled with good cheer and ready for both evolution and revolution.

The fish are jumpin’–but there’s no one there to catch ’em.

We’re too busy maintaining our traditions and our worship style. We want people to become “church folks”–so they have to accept the culture to fit in.

It is time for the church to ‘manage’ itself better, and create an atmosphere which I shall dub “compassionate chaos”–where mercy is revered much more than sacrifice.

The good news is that Jesus gave us a lifestyle, not a religion.

The better news is, if we will empty our church of too many pre-conceived religious practices, we can fill it with actual living human beings.

 

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Jesonian–Troubling (Part 6)… August 5th, 2017

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jesonian-cover-amazon

It is troubling.

Yet I must profess to you that no one has greater joy and regard for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross than I do. It is my salvation and it rattles my consciousness to a sensibility of my own sinful nature and the grace of God.

That being said, I fear that the church has become “atone-deaf.”

Nearly desperate to land on a universal message for Christianity which can be compactly shared at a moment’s notice, we have placed too much attention on a hill called Golgotha, and not nearly enough tender loving care with a Sermon shared from a Mount. In doing this, we have contradicted things we know about the nature of God in order to fulfill the doctrine of the propitiation of sin.

For instance, God ordained free will for humans. Yet we’re led to believe that “from the foundations of the world” it was pre-destined that Jesus would be killed on a cross.

When God spoke through the Old Testament prophets, He declared that He wanted mercy, not sacrifice. Yet for some reason we decide that He changed His mind and adopted human sacrifice as the symbol of His covenant.

As a writer, the first thing you learn is to be faithful to your characters. You can’t manipulate the plotline by causing your character to do something completely beyond the scope of his or her nature, just so you can advance your story.

God gave us free will. We chose to kill Jesus.

God hates sacrifice. He took the death of Jesus and transformed it into our salvation.

What was meant for evil, He made good.

Atonement should be a central theme in the Christian message. It is powerful. It is priceless. But by no means should it be preached so loudly that it makes us deaf to the greater matters of the kingdom–tenderness, responsibility, excellence, consolation and tolerance.

What can we do to keep the death of Jesus in perspective?

I have always received the gift of Calvary as my salvation and a license for me to go out and salvage. How? First, deal with my own appetites and also multiply my talents. Once I become the salvager–the “light of the world” and “the salt of the earth”–I have the ability to transfuse the energy of salvation, pass it along to others and see them reborn.

The conclusion? As a saved soul who has become salvaged and a saver, I fulfill the purpose of me being rescued.

We’ve got to start listening again. We have to stop trying to fulfill denominational doctrine and instead, emphasize the character of God.

Jesus lived for thirty-three years to give the human race a chance to accept his message. He used stories; he used confrontation. He used healing; he used mercy.

And at the end of it all, we used crucifixion.

God, in His infinite grace, chose to take the blood that we shed and make it a symbol of our salvation rather than a further curse of our rebellion. It’s remarkable.

But if we want to find the heart of Jesus, it is not at Calvary.

It is in the words, deeds, actions and anointing of his life.

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Ask Jonathots… September 1st, 2016

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ask jonathots bigger

I have a friend who is not a believer. He loves people, is kind-hearted and generous. In other words he acts like a believer who follows Jesus. How can I convince him that Jesus is the way? P.S. I have done my best to “shine my light” before him, but he doesn’t seem to budge.

I assume you’re talking about the standard Plan of Salvation:

God sent His son in the body of Jesus of Nazareth to come to Earth to give himself as a human sacrifice for the sin of mankind, so that if anyone accepts him as Savior, they can be redeemed and guaranteed a home in heaven.

I will tell you that if your aspiration is to see your friend follow this step-by-step procedure to attain eternal security, you probably will be greatly disappointed. The amount of anger, disaster or devastation that comes into one’s life before reaching the “end of the rope” that is required to comply with this particular enacting of salvation is not very common–and not something you would actually wish on your worst enemy.

So let me offer you a different insight.

Your friend has the power of knowing where the switch is, to turn on the lights. That’s pretty special. What he doesn’t have is the awareness of how that light works or what to do if the switch is broken.

Once we understand that God is not only our Father, but is the Creator of Earth, and therefore the Initiator of science, technology, atmosphere and logic, we have a much better comprehension of the mission of Jesus.

Jesus basically grants human beings two things they do not have without him:

  1. Don’t worry about life.
  2. Don’t worry about eternity.

He made it clear that we should not sit around “taking thought” about what we shall eat, drink and wear because it is all built into God’s system if we keep our eyes open and pursue opportunities.

And Jesus made it equally understandable that eternity was prepared for us, and that he would be there to meet us.

The rest of the Gospel is merely explaining how the juice gets to the lightbulb–so just in case our light switch stops working, we can ask the “Master Electrician” to join us in reconnecting.

Is there truth to the Plan of Salvation about a human sacrifice?

When mankind was given the freewill choice of accepting the teachings of Jesus, and rejected, murdering him, God chose to use it as a means of forgiving us for our shortcomings.

Pretty powerful.

So what should your profile be? Make sure that your friend is fully aware that the Creator is also the scientist, philosopher, musician, technologist and free thinker that he requires in his everyday life.

Remember, Jesus wanted to be known for his words.

The religious system honors him for his blood.

But the average person is not nearly as intent on finding a sacrificial lamb as in discovering someone who can understand and show compassion.

Case in point:

When Zacchaeus gave his money back to those he had cheated on taxes, Jesus said, “Salvation has come to your house.”

Zacchaeus didn’t confess, he wasn’t baptized and Jesus had not yet died. But salvation was there because Zacchaeus welcomed the wisdom of awareness and mercy for others.

Stop being in a hurry to get your friend to sign on the dotted line, and instead, give him more “lines” of appreciation to his Creator.

 

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Good News and Better News … July 4th, 2016

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Good News Effort 1He was Saul of Tarsus, who after a dramatic Damascan conversion, began to travel the ancient empire under the stage name, Paul the Apostle.

He once said, “By grace you are saved through faith.”

Little did he know that this quote would become one of his greatest hits. Matter of fact, the doctrine of grace, which emerged from this statement, is preached every Sunday.

The validity of the statement is powerful. The salvation of our souls is a free gift from God through the love, mercy and sacrifice of Jesus. It blooms the potential of eternal life. But it doesn’t tell us what we’re supposed to do with our emotions, brains and bodies through this process called human life.

Because those who live on grace, hoping it will cover a multitude of their annoying practices, do very little to promote the expanse of the Christian message.

This came to me yesterday when I arrived at the Effort United Methodist Church near the Poconos in Pennsylvania.Good News Effort 2

Effort.

What a great word.

It is ridiculous to think that Jesus took the time to preach the Sermon on the Mount about character, bearing fruit, loving your neighbor, avoiding hypocrisy, channeling your lust and respecting the planet if he wanted us to merely lounge on the cushion of grace.

Belief in Jesus does give you salvation, but to live on Planet Earth, we require sanity. Sanity is achieved by accepting the Gospel of Jesus to free us from fret, worry, pride, prejudice, anger and fear. It simplifies our emotions so that our minds can be renewed and we can gain strength.

Religion does not grant us this peace.

Religion wants to give comfort to the convert and condemnation to the world.

It’s when we take grace and blend it with effort that we meld the alloy of faith–certainly trust in God, but also reliance on “Christ in me, the hope of glory.”

In the long run, there are two salvations–there is the salvation that is a free gift of God through acceptance of Jesus.

Good News Effort 3And there is a salvation which each one of us, individually, “works out with fear and trembling” as we journey, simplifying our lives with joy and understanding.

I had a monumental time yesterday with the folks in Effort.

They did put up an effort.

They showed up on July 4th weekend, when they could have gotten by with “pew hookey.”

They listened to this stranger expose new ideas about abundant life.

And they allowed themselves to be impacted rather than insisting that grace eliminates any need to learn.

The good news is that we are saved by grace through faith.

But the better news is that we save our sanity by taking the beautiful Gospel of Jesus and putting some Effort into it.

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 8th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn July 8th

The Lore of Love

Eve loves Adam

Adam adores Eve

Tamra marries her madam

Dan commits to Steve

 

Each one pays a price

An internal sacrifice

For love has a voice

Often without choice

Compelling us to share

Daring us to care

Breeching our tradition

To announce its admission

Yea, of the eternal three

The “greatest of these is me”

Always on my mind

Thankfully gentle and kind

Making me believe

Teaching to receive

Can we question while kneeling

What is truly our inner feeling?

For if God is love, you see

And God is living in me

Then love must be my essence

The evidence of His presence

Or I am a foolish ass

Clanging sounding brass

So who am I to know

The one who helps you grow?

And who am I to refuse

The message of your good news?

Yes, and the best place to start

Is to birth mercy deep in my heart. 

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NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… July 1st, 2015

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PoHymn for July 1st

Read Between the Stripes

My country ’tis of Free

Sweeter land as we grow to be

Of this I sing

More than a history

An unfolding mystery

How shall we endure?

Holding priceless the sacrifice

Of those who expose the vicious lies

Fearlessly speaking a truth

Enslaving souls to free the same

A national disgrace, we take the blame

Hoping to learn much better

What will next question our dream?

Unscrupulous thieves hatching a scheme

To rob justice from all

Yet we will learn from our past

Or risk the glory will fail to last

Awaken our sleepy dread

Land where my brothers die

Repent to see the children cry

Changing to a better good

For to be a living American

Demands we pursue what’s still undone

Refusing no one a chance

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NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

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$3.99 plus $2.00 S & H

$3.99 plus $2.00 S & H

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When Living Stops and Breathing Continues … November 11, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Aerosol oxygen mask on patient“I just don’t know what to do!”

Be careful.

This statement is not a question. When you hear people speak it aloud, do not assume they are looking for counsel.

Rather, it is a proclamation–a surrender.

Too many individuals have given up on the idea of happiness as being childish and immature, and have settled in to try to achieve contented breathing. They have become so involved with forgiving others, their calling or being overwhelmed with responsibility that they have ceased to pursue the idea of being happy.

Matter of fact, in our art and literature we often decry such an emotion. We like to take people who act happy and portray them as inexperienced and unaware.

But I’m curious–if happiness is not the goal of our earth journey, then why do we think we would be comfortable with it in the afterlife? Wouldn’t we find it unusual? Perhaps redundant? Or would we continue, in eternity, to consider happiness to be “unrealistic” and keep waiting for the sky to fall on us?

If you don’t start believing in happiness now, you will never be allowed to have happiness forever.

So what can you do when the process of forgiving other people and yourself, or pursuing your job and calling with its responsibilities, has sapped all the maple out of your syrup?

Every day of your life, make sure of three things:

1. I am involved in my own choices.

Never sacrifice your ability to decide to either God or man. We gain power, intelligence and creativity when we allow ourselves the privilege of stopping, considering, concluding and moving out on an idea born of our own spirit.

2. I feel joy, which brings strength.

I will take a moment every single day to make sure that I allow joy to be a part of my experience. What is joy? It’s the knowledge that God has everything under control. And what is that control? Nothing can separate us from His love–therefore there is nothing which is truly terminal.

3. I am moving toward what is proving itself to be fruitful.

When I lived in Tennessee we had a tree in our front yard that was proclaimed by the former owners to be a pear tree. Here’s the problem: it never produced pears. I caught myself one day telling a visitor that it was a pear tree. Then I paused, took a deep breath, and said, “Honestly, I don’t know WHAT kind of tree it is. But one thing for certain–it’s NOT a pear tree.”

If your tree isn’t making pears, don’t think that next year will be any better. Pursue what is fruitful, even if it is not immediately to your preference. In the long run you will enjoy success much more than tradition.

  • We must continue to forgive.
  • We should pursue our calling.
  • And taking responsibility for our life is essential for maturity.

But when these three things rob us of joy, turning us into mere “breathing organisms,” we need to restore our choices, regain our strength and pursue our fruit.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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