1 Thing You Can Do This Week When You Win


Take the Time to Get Better

One of the classic mistakes of the human race is that we decide to discuss, discover and disagree when failure has arrived and has smacked us in the face.

When you have gone through the trauma of not achieving your purposes, it is not the time to scrape yourself with a razor blade, trying to cut away the portions that caused your problems.

Sweeten and Smooth

The time to improve one’s life is when one has had a successful adventure, and there is no fear or apprehension, but instead, just a desire to Sweeten and Smooth. Life is about revealing what you can do, and finding ways to sweeten it and smooth it out.

A Season of Healing

If you’ve experienced a disappointment, what you need is a season of healing. You don’t need to be reminded of your shortcomings. You don’t have to play the video tape one more time, and you don’t have to place yourself in the role of the scolded child. These are useless profiles for someone who needs restoring.

Winning is the best time to critique yourself. When you lose, develop a sense of humor and give yourself time to recuperate.


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Catchy (Sitting 40) 101 Days… March 18th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Wedding bells.

Landy Loren, one of the original members of Matthew’s marketing team, fell in love with McKendree Davis, who was the drummer in Jubal Carlos’ band.  Most folks knew him as “Michelob” because of his fondness for beer. He wasn’t a “bowling alley drinker”–more a connoisseur of fine beers from all over the world. He always talked about how he drank his beer like wine-sipping, never chugging.

Landy and McKendree were married on the jet plane en route to a rally in Washington, D.C., where Cassidy Templeton was scheduled to speak in front of a crowd predicted to be 500,000.

After his national exposure, his phrase, “check if you’re dead,” became a slogan all across the country, selling two million t-shirts with the saying in just eight days. The nation had suddenly gone from being engorged in its own self-involvement to being given a new set of eyes–and those peepers were all on Cassidy.

Cassidy was astounding on all fronts. He was strikingly handsome, muscular, devoted to his family, but drenched in good old-fashioned humility. His speeches were blessedly short, his sense of humor was keen and his energy seemed boundless.

Three days earlier he had appeared on international television with Merklin Shineer–probably the most well-known atheist walking the planet. Even though Shineer was in his early seventies and considered intolerably grouchy, young people from all over the world were drawn to him because of his plain-speaking manner and his no-nonsense approach to what he deemed “the monster of religion.”

Even though Jubal Carlos warned Cassidy to avoid this “cattle show,” as he called it, Cassidy just smiled and said, “It never hurts to tell the truth.”

So when they got together for the debate, a coin was tossed, and Merklin was given first crack at the audience. He talked for a solid forty minutes about the indignities of life, the unfairness to the poor, the wretched treatment of women and children and the absence of any divinity to curtail the efforts of what seemed to be rampant evil. Merklin occasionally glanced back at Cassidy, who sat thoughtfully, listening.

At the end of his time, Merklin turned to Cassidy and posed a challenge: “If you can give me one reason why I should believe in a God who doesn’t give a damn about people, then I’ll walk out of here today accepting your Jesus and repenting of my sins.”

The audience hooted and howled their approval. Merklin strolled over to his chair, sat down and smugly crossed his legs. He motioned to Cassidy to take the platform. The crowd continued to hiss and sneer as Cassidy got to his feet.

He walked over and shook Merklin’s hand, and then took the microphone and said to the crowd, “That was amazing. What was truly astounding to me was that as I sat there listening to Merklin speak, I realized how much I agree with him. I became fully aware that I share pretty much all of his doubts. I, too, am pained by the power that evil seems to carry in our world. I am deeply saddened that women and children are the targets of that sinister plot. I often sit in a corner by myself and say, ‘Cassidy, how could there be a God?'”

He paused, looking at the people with tears in his eyes. “I do, you know.”

There was a stillness in the room. Even the babies knew it was no time to cry for their mothers.

After a long moment, Cassidy continued. “But I found, Merklin, that you left out one doubt that I have. I thought you would cover it since you’re such a beautiful and intelligent man. But you didn’t. So let me state the one doubt I have more than you.”

All at once Cassidy slipped to his knees and reached out his right hand to the audience. “I doubt,” he began. Then he stopped. “I doubt,” he started again, his voice cracking, “I doubt if I can love you all as much as I need to without God’s help.”

He bowed his head and let the microphone drop to the stage, sending an echo of reverb throughout the building. And then he just wept. He cried like a widow who had just lost her long-loved husband. This went on for a solid two minutes.

Then there was a sniff or two from the audience, some gasping, and then sobbing. In no time at all, most of the people in attendance joined Cassidy in what seemed to be a needful moment of mourning.

Merklin himself bowed his head, squeezed his nose between his thumb and finger, stood up and strolled off the stage.

America seemed to be coming to a long overdue introspection:

The Catholic Church had decided to try a “test parish,” assigning a female priest in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. They asked Sister Rolinda if she would become “Mother Rolinda” to the congregation and lead them.

After much controversy and many debates, the Mormon Church offered an apology for allowing years of indoctrination against the black man to be included in their books.

The Baptists came out against Confederate flags.

The United Methodist church became more energized, with a sense of hope and revival.

Everywhere there was the essence of awakening, without the religious trappings.

Yet as the jet made its way to Washington, D.C., and the marriage ceremony was completed, Matthew found himself enjoying the night life of Las Vegas and the benefits of Nevada’s legal prostitution. He never jumped on the plane to join the “caravan of the concerned” anymore. He wrote checks, he took care of the books and made sure that all legal questions were fielded by the proper attorneys.

Jo-Jay was busy tracking down Prophet Morgan’s murderer, so every attempt he made to contact her was met with her familiar answering machine: “Hi, this is Jo-Jay. Like the Blue Jay but I’m not a bird. Leave a message.”

Matthew was a man who knew he was ill but preferred the pain to the cure.

Meanwhile, the rally in Washington exceeded expectations. Nearly 700.000 people showed up, many sporting the black t-shirts with hot pink lettering which read, Check if you’re dead. Cassidy spoke only ten minutes in front of the crowd, which had traveled from all over the world for the moment.

Jubal Carlos, who had been taking less and less of a role of late, filled in with music and a fifteen-minutes retrospective on where they had come from and where they prayed to go.

After the meeting, the 700,000 people dispersed with hugs, smiles and tears, as Cassidy was whisked away to the White House to meet the President. He was to be honored with a special Public Servant Award. When he arrived, it was not just the President but his whole family, plus the Vice President and many members of Congress, who had gathered in the East Room to see “the Lazman.”

Cassidy, when asked to say a few words, stood to his feet and quipped, “You know, I used to work with power. But looking around this room–this is ridiculous.”

A great burst of laughter. So he continued. “And as I learned, power can energize you, or it can…well, it can kill you. I hope all of us in this room realize that. I pray for each and every one of you every day. I wouldn’t want your jobs. My job is easy. I take the life God has given me–now in my 101st day of resurrection–and try to just love as many people as I can. It may sound silly, or even weak, but it’s what I got.”

He nodded to the dignitaries, who burst into applause and stood up to give him honor.

Cassidy went to sit on a lovely divan and lay his head back for moment, resting. The President and First Lady walked over to meet him. He took their hands and thanked them for their courtesy in inviting him.

All at once, he raised his eyebrows as if he was looking deeply into their souls. He gave a small chuckle, took a deep breath, and quietly said, “I guess that’s it.”

He laid his head back against the divan, and the President and First Lady, thinking he must be exhausted from the rally, left him to rest. Everybody gave him space. Actually, people thought it was cute that he had fallen asleep at the White House during a tribute to his life and success. Some people even started to leave.

Then one of the butlers noticed that Cassidy had not moved for some time, and it appeared that he wasn’t breathing. The butler slowly stepped over, lifted a hand and felt for a pulse. He lurched back in alarm, speaking to the surrounding guests, “He’s dead.”

A doctor who was present for the occasion ran forward and discovered the same. He placed Cassidy on the ground, trying to revive him. An ambulance was called, but by the time it arrived, it was much too late.

Cassidy Templeton was dead. He had passed away in the White House, on the 101st day after his miracle resurrection.

The nation was stunned.

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Good News and Better News … January 15th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sunday morning, I woke up with laryngitis.

Having dodged a cold most of the week, I was finally overtaken by the little booger and my larynx (voice box) was completely surrounded and incapable of screaming for help.

I sat on the toilet seat, realizing that in two short hours I was supposed to share at Saint James United Methodist Church in Goose Creek, South Carolina. That hardly seemed plausible. The word “unlikely” came to mind.

Yet I must tell you, I’ve never been content with accepting my first look at anything. My initial observation is always full of fear, culture and predictability. So realizing that I could not call these fine people and bail out at this late hour, I asked myself a valuable question: “What is it you can do this morning that will edify your brothers and sisters?”

Candidly, we all wake up every morning, each one of us a little lame simply due to being human beings. Yet it is our purpose to find ways to edify.

Singing was out of the question. My singing voice yesterday morning resembled a child’s squeal after falling off the monkey bars.

But I was able to speak.

I was able to think.

The ten fingers on my hands were not infected whatsoever, so playing the piano was available.

I had no congestion in my sense of humor.

So without troubling Pastor Susannah, Vance and all the cherished, human folk at Saint James, I just launched into what I still had at hand.

I made no explanation because it would not have been edifying.

I made no excuses. Once again, not edifying.

Edifying is when you take what you’ve got and instead of proclaiming it insufficient, you use it to bless other people.

It was a bit of a mine field–guessing when my voice would crackle or crunch–but after three blessed hours, I was able to make connection with my new brothers and sisters, and from what they tell me, lift their spirits.

The good news is that God’s spirit is sufficient to our every need.

The better news is that if we want to tap that grace, we need to humbly admit when we have found ourselves buried under the weather.

 

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Good News and Better News … August 29th, 2016

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Dividing people is easy.

Just get them to focus on their differences, and their prejudices will do the rest.

But uniting people is equally simple.

Turn the conversation toward our common humanity and let our sense of humor draw us closer.

Ebensburg Penn State highway signAs I finished up eleven weeks in Central Pennsylvania, I headed off to Ebensburg en route to begin my tour in Michigan.

Every little community in America touts some piece of uniqueness, or sometimes even insists that it has a personality unto itself. I have absolutely no idea why we want to distinguish ourselves by our quirks and profiles.

But once you break through that initial crustiness, what you find are human beings. As human beings, they have three basic natures:

1. They are concerned for themselves.

2. They are concerned for what is directly around them.

3. But it doesn’t take a whole lot for them to realize that in order to get Numbers 1 and 2 means they need to be concerned about others.Ebensburg set with Jan

I loved my time in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania.

The audiences were not easy. Having an insulated sense of community, they wanted to look on Janet and myself as strangers, but we popped out of that box and offered big hugs.

So by the time we got to the end of our programs and were ready to pack up, they invited us to a luncheon. We shared with them that we needed to hit the road, because we had a two-hour drive to Youngstown, Ohio. dividing people, prejudices, uniting people, sense of humor, commonality,

They sweetly accepted our explanation, but then they came back a second time and invited us again. Why? I suppose if I were bratty, I could say they were being pushy. But that wasn’t the case.

Ebensburg pianoIn the three hours we were with them, a connection was made–and they just wanted us to know that they were fully aware of it and treasured it.

We gently declined again, and all at once one of the sweet Ebensburg souls said, “Why don’t we make you some plates to go? You have to eat. What is it you want?”

It was so moving. Perseverant love.

They wanted us to eat their food, and we needed to eat food, even though we could not stay–so they came up with a plan.

They bagged us up dinners, complete with two cold bottles of water.

As I drove down the highway enjoying my salad with just the right dressing and all the little choices they put on my plate, I considered perseverant love.

The church is in a position to become the only resource in America that has an open door policy and offers perseverant love. It will begin when we stop studying the Bible in abstract, but instead, study human life, find out what’s really going on with people, and then come back to the Gospels to unearth what Jesus says about it.

That’s the good news.

The better news is that when we have this perseverant love, it’s a lot easier to comprehend that somebody could feel that way toward us, too.

Ebensburg empty piano bench

 

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Jonathan’s Latest Book Release!

PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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G-Poppers … July 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop watches and listen intensely.

While confident of his intelligence, he still realizes that rich wisdom can be attained through great observation.

Once again the political parties meet to do battle, contending that the one left standing is superior simply because he or she has not been vanquished. Promises are made in the midst of an avalanche of accusations, tossed back and forth with a disregard that foretells ignorance of the beauty of consolation.

How many different things can we insist we’re going to accomplish, so as to make our opponent’s list seem puny? But once elected, every President of any party immediately discovers that life takes over–and the stumbling blocks that have been permanently established in the lethargy of legislation forbid much progress to pass through the gates. After all, in regards to Congress, any organization that operates by Parliamentary Procedure is in no hurry to achieve its aspirations.

So how should G-Pop’s children evaluate who to place in the position of prominence for our land?

They must look for the candidate–whether male or female–who:

1. Handles disappointment with grace.

Since we live in a democracy, nothing of original purity will ever pass muster without being manipulated. There will be disappointment. How that is handled will determine meaningful outcomes, especially if a split second of frustration causes our leader to take his or her eyes off the prize.

2. Discovers the better way to navigate reoccurring surprises.

After all, some of us fare pretty well if one blip comes on our radar screen, but when they start popping up all over, a disgruntled spirit can cause us to forsake our more clever and intuitive parts, and succumb to our more Neanderthal attitudes.

3. Has a great sense of humor.

What we “take personal” becomes personal–even if only in our minds. Once we feel we have been targeted, we tend to seek revenge. The President of the United States cannot have vendettas.

So even though a promotion of ideas is constantly flooding through stump speeches, once the election is completed, these wishes will have to take a back seat to the daily tribulation that the world threatens to afford.

Every once in a while, things calm down long enough that you might be able to fix a highway, start an after school program, or keep the country a little safer.

But most of the time, if you are President of the United States, you’re trying to maintain the purpose of our nation and the dignity of our freedom–in a world gone crazed.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … January 30th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: A couple of days ago I read an article in a magazine…

 

Dear Man: You’re just trying to impress me with the fact that you can read.

 

Dear Woman: Actually, I’m trying to impress you with the fact that I read something and retained enough to have a discussion. Anyway, in this article it said that men and women should appreciate their differences because it grants each of them a “unique perspective.”

 

Dear Man: A unique perspective?

 

Dear Woman: Yeah, that’s what I geared in on too. What does that mean?

 

Dear Man: That means I have a way of looking at things that’s different from you, and you would garner great insight by listening to my feelings on the issue.

 

Dear Woman: Do you think that’s true?

 

Dear Man: I was taught it was true. Matter of fact, I grew up believing that relationships were 50-50. Somewhere along the line, that got pooh-poohed, and now we believe that it’s gotta be 100% and 100%. It’s the me plus me equals us.

 

Dear Woman: We don’t believe that. It’s a war with an unsettling truce. Men pretend that women are smarter while still retaining the power.

 

Dear Man: Well, how do they do that?

 

Dear Woman: By telling you that you have a “unique perspective” which they value hearing and enjoy ignoring.

 

Dear Man: So what you’re saying is that telling someone they have a unique perspective is not a positive?

 

Dear Woman: Absolutely not. It’s never positive. Saying that someone has a unique perspective is only two argument points away from the classic, “We’ll just have to agree to disagree.”

 

Dear Man: So you believe that’s why we have so many stalemates in discussions between men and women?

 

Dear Woman: Yes. Every idea has a genesis and an exodus.

 

Dear Man: Explain.

 

Dear Woman: That wasn’t very clear, was it? What I’m saying is that the word “unique” is a genesis, but as the word “unique” goes through the human experience, it changes to other words. And by the time it evolves, our emotions interpret it in a much different way.

 

Dear Man: So you’re saying that “unique” doesn’t really mean “unique” to us?

 

Dear Woman: Exactly. “Unique” is translated in our brain as “different.” And different is not something we enjoy. It’s something we tolerate. And we always tell people they need more tolerance.

 

Dear Man: So how do you build a relationship on tolerance?

 

Dear Woman: You can’t. You kind of end up faking it.

 

Dear Man: So let me try my hand at it. After “unique” becomes “different” in our heads, “different” can quickly become “alien.” In other words, people from Mexico have different customs than we do, so therefore we view them as aliens.

 

Dear Woman: Very well said. And of course, once something is alien, we stick it in Outer Space. It’s not really allowed past our borders, is it?

 

Dear Man: So if I convince myself that your feelings are unique and therefore different, which makes them alien, it’s very easy for me to turn a deaf ear and view them as intrusive.

 

Dear Woman: Yeah. I’m an intruder on your girl power.

 

Dear Man: And I’m an intruder on your macho.

 

Dear Woman: So we end up tolerating each other to get what we want.

 

Dear Man: And when we don’t want it so much any more, we decide to get rid of the intruder.

 

Dear Woman: So as long as we look at each other as unique, instead of finding common ground, we will focus on the differences, become alien to one another and eventually, in a bit of disgust, consider each other intrusive.

 

Dear Man: It’s kind of funny. Because if either one of us found ourselves stuck in the jungle, we would quickly learn to adapt–find our inner monkey–instead of insisting that the monkeys have a “unique perspective.”

 

Dear Woman: You should never consider yourself a monkey.

 

Dear Man: You know what I’m saying. To survive, we find commonality. To fail, we focus on differences. That’s just life.

 

Dear Woman: Except when it comes to men and women, right? Then we think we’re so damn clever by highlighting the uniqueness.

 

Dear Man: So you don’t think I have any uniqueness?

 

Dear Woman: Yes, I do. But it has nothing to do with you being a woman. It has to do with your experience. Your faith. Your charity. Your hope. Your sense of humor. That’s what makes you fresh to me.

 

Dear Man: So how did it get all screwed up?

 

Dear Woman: I guess the way it always gets screwed up. One night, one member of the sexes didn’t want to listen to the other one, so he or she decided that the other gender was unique, and therefore incomprehensible.

 

Dear Man: So I am going to give you a blessing. You are not unique. You are not different. You are not alien to me. And you are not an intruder. It’s my job to figure out how the culture screwed us up … and how we can get back to the Garden.

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Good News and Better News … January 18th. 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2817)

broken door

It is impossible to avoid difficulty.

Blessing is when difficulty arrives at a manageable moment.

Now to my story:

We had a date cancel. That’s a fussy situation. Two days later, another engagement dropped out. Two Sundays in a row without having the opportunity to share.

Let me explain. When you are on the road without gigs, it’s like being on a budget vacation minus the means to enjoy it or even explain it.

Stay open.

Therefore, we decided to attempt to fill in these two missing bookings with only two weeks notice. To accomplish this, we developed a philosophy to coincide with our escapade.

1. Find a location to pursue.

After all, you have to go somewhere to get something.

2. Have passion.

If you’re not excited about what you’re doing, don’t expect the world to be set on fire.

3. Don’t get your hopes up.

A desperate attempt shouldn’t leave you feeling desperation if it fails.

4. Use your sense of humor.

If it’s ridiculous, always be prepared to laugh.

5. Take what you can get.

People with too many standards often end up without a chance to make their point.

Yes, too much emphasis is placed on the quality of opportunity.

And then there was Graceville, Florida.

A fellow named Sean said yes.

He was open.

Facts are, he needed someone to fill his position on this past Sunday so he could go away on a trip with his son.

So we did the Graceville church yesterday.

We stayed open.

So did the delightful, intriguing, smiling souls in Graceville.

An Amazing Grace-ville.

Footnote:

Did I mention that our van’s back door handle broke on Friday? We thought we got it fixed. But on Sunday after the presentation–with an open congregation and an open approach from us–suddenly our door wouldn’t open again.

So rather than fuss, fume or fret, we just decided to come back for our equipment later on.

It was a difficulty.

But it arrived at a manageable moment.

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