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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The Alphabet of Us: F is for Fret … January 12, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2471)

Building Block F bigger

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

Fear tentatively creeps across the stage and cautiously introduces “fret”–then runs and hides. Fret takes over.

Fret has three modes of operation:

1. Hesitation. “I’m not sure.”

2. Procrastination. “Let’s wait a little while.”

3. Frustration. “What the hell is happening?”

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that fear is what got our fretful show going. Matter of fact, it’s almost impossible to trace it back to a specific apprehension that triggers our nervous twitches and worrisome attitudes.

People spend millions of dollars in therapy attempting to find the lineage of their fret. Honestly, my dear friends, I think it’s time and money wasted.

Since fret has decided to be the front man for the “band of fear,” you might want to deal with the lead singer.

Therefore, the main reason we hesitate is because we either refuse to deal with what we have or we’re convinced it’s insufficient. Here’s a great piece of advice:

What you have you have. What I have, I have.

Waiting for a new shipment to reinforce our supply causes us to fret. We do much better when we assume that no more is coming and we make a plan to use what we have.

Likewise, we procrastinate because we are unsure that what we have can be turned into what we can do, and that it will have any impact in solving our situation. Can we simplify?

What we can do is what we can do, and if more is needed, there is nothing we can do.

And often, developing a sense of humor about our lack causes others, and even God, to want to step in and fill in the gap.

And finally, frustration is when we’re constantly obsessed with the finish line and have lost sight of the steps that get us there.

For if I find out what I have and what I can do, I have the great opportunity to celebrate what is at least a good start.

Fret is an exercise in vanity.

It is the notion that we have achieved some status of importance that should make us pressure-free.

But if we find out what we have, and we discover what we can actually do and we pronounce it to be a good start, then hesitation, procrastination and frustration will be dismissed from our cast and replaced with much better actors.

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The Alphabet of Us: D is for Despair… December 29, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2458)

Building Block D bigger

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

DESolate. “I got nothing.”

PARalyzed. “I can’t move.”

Despair is when these two come together and we are convinced that our situation is unchangeable.

It is also a miscalculation–allowing the emotions and the brain to wage war with one another instead of consulting the wisdom of the soul and using the body to do something to improve our surroundings.

I believe it occurs in the human family because we get three things out of whack:

  • God scares us
  • Mother Nature confuses us
  • And people piss us off

When this occurs, the only reaction that seems logical to us is to relive our defeats.

So first, let’s get these three things straight:

  • God is our Father. In other words, He’s stuck with us. Nothing can separate us from His love.
  • Mother Nature is a system that can be learned. Yet she has no favorites.
  • And people are inconsistent and must be handled with a good sense of humor.

Without this, we quickly lose sight of any goal motivation and resolutely determine to lick our wounds in some corner of our mind or cave of our emotions.

Here are two very important precepts that just happen to be true–at least from the perspective of my journey:

1. Nothing is personal.

The rain that falls from the sky wasn’t sent from some dark place in hell to taint your picnic. If you had checked the weather forecast two days earlier, or even the sky, you might have had an inkling of what was coming down.

2. When it is personal, it is nothing.

You should rejoice. Why? Because anyone who takes out a vendetta against you will soon lose interest. The only way to keep anyone intrigued in bullying you is to give them focus by being angry or upset. With the 24-hour news cycle, the attention span of our country has gone down to about twenty-four hours.

So as long as you understand that nothing is personal, and on those rare occasions that it is personal, it is nothing, you can allow your soul to give you patience and wisdom to survive some disappointment–which gives your brain the chance to come up with a plan on what to do next.

Despair is not merely self-pity–it is a self-pity cemented by a lack of understanding of how life really works. 

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Three Ways to Parent Your Money… September 11, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2349)

disgruntled teenagerMoney is much like the disgruntled, snotty teenager who decides to get even with you by running away from home because you told him or her that the pair of shoes the young’un desires will have to be put off until the next paycheck.money

Also, money will embarrass by going out during this little misadventure and humiliate you, overindulging and even getting in trouble with the law.

What I’m saying in a nutshell is that money needs parenting. Without parenting, it begins to run your household with its bad attitudes, making you cringe in the corner of your bedroom, fearing a knock on the door.

So let me offer three ways to parent your money, making sure that you are still in charge:

1. Always be prepared to give an honest report.

Not only does money fail to grow on trees, but it never sprouts through lies. Pretending you’re something you aren’t is the quickest way to poverty. Failing to recognize the signs of difficulty is not optimism, it’s just stupidity with a smile on its face.

The best way to get in control of your finance and welcome money into your life is to assess your situation without becoming giddy with potential or suicidal with the facts.

2. An organized plan.

Give yourself the greatest gift you can–stop insisting that you’re not an organized person. It’s like taking a dagger and sticking it in your heart and reaching for the band-aids. Life without organization, a plan and clarity to your actions is like walking on the edge of a cliff blindfolded. It is much easier to be organized than it is to put out the brush fires ignited by too many spontaneous choices.

3. A slower pace.

It is a lie that the race goes to the swiftest. It doesn’t. The most important attribute in success is endurance, followed closely by foresight.

Slow down.

If you need five hundred dollars by the end of the month, try to make fifty dollars by the end of the week and see where it takes you.

Life is a much better teacher than opinion. So learn from experience.

And to do so, slow yourself down so you can enjoy the scenery and see the berries hanging from the trees as you go by, and never be hungry.

Just like a teenager, money will try to run your life if you don’t develop a sense of humor and know that you are in charge.

Teenagers don’t have to be insufferable brats. But to stop them, just like with money, you have to make it clear who’s boss.

 

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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

Houston, We Have a Solution… December 29, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2105)

Apollo 13As I drove into League City, Texas, yesterday, which is a part of the greater Houston area, my mind predictably pumped out memories of the Apollo 13 mission and the stark statement from Jim Lovell, announcing to NASA, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

I know that’s not very deep, but it was on my mind. And even though Mr. Lovell certainly did have a legitimate concern, there are many people in this country creating problems to make themselves appear important.

So as I begin my tour this year, I am determined to be one of the people who tries to bring hope instead of just complaining about the surroundings–because here’s the fact:

In the past twelve years, we have had a Republican and a Democrat as President, and we aren’t particularly better off with either one. Why? No one is trying to solve anything, mainly due to the insecurity and fear of being wrong and looking like an idiot. And since I already start out a little idiotic already, I don’t have as much concern about being considered obtuse.

So going into this morning, I will share with the people, “Houston, we have a solution.”

Can I get these folks to believe that politics and religion are our worst enemies? Will they comprehend that our best asset is to keep trying, maintaining a good sense of humor? I don’t know.

But here’s my Houston Solution:

I’m going to love myself, others and God without becoming too selfish, too weird or too religious.

That’s it.

Just think–what would happen if a bunch of people would make this their mission statement instead of complicating theology or debating politics?

Because just like Jim Lovell and Apollo 13, you find out that life is pretty simple: you’re going to have to use what’s available to you in your tiny capsule, do your best to keep breathing and hope you don’t burn out.

So for me, I will share with these folks today my Houston Solution. May I reiterate:

I’m going to love myself, others and God without becoming too selfish, too weird or too religious.

 

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

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

Shell-rocked … July 27, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1956)

faithlutheranshellrock

  • The me you see
  • The me that’s me
  • The me I’m freed to be

 It’s three different people, you know. Maybe success in life is about getting that trio of personalities to blend into oneness—for if they stay separate, there can be a lot of frustration.

As I head off tomorrow morning to Faith Lutheran Church in Shell Rock, Iowa, I am completely aware that God was speaking the obvious when He said that “man looks on the outward appearance.”

Honestly, my dear friends, my outward appearance has never been my “best foot forward,” unless you are fond of stumbling:

  1. I am fat.
  2. I am certainly NOT tall, dark and handsome.
  3. The aging process has relieved me of my hair.
  4. And I don’t seem powerful because my knees are pretty bad and I utilize a wheelchair to cover long distances.

Now at first reading of this description, you might be sympathetic, or even feel that I need your pity. But that’s the me you see. That is not the me that’s me.

The me that’s me is a father who has raised six sons, traveled the country many times over, written symphonies, books, movies, and has performed in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

I learned early in my life that my best shot was to abandon beauty, my “good looks,” and instead, take a good look at myself and find the best way to be of benefit to others, and therefore find great prosperity in my soul.

new jon and janSo what does that mean?

It means that I’ve developed a sense of humor about how I look, a sense of passion about what I do and a deep abiding gratitude for who I’ve been freed to be.

For you see, that is the third process. God has come along and given me permission to be a new creature—born again, as it were. He has implanted in my spirit notions, ideas and promises that don’t always jibe with my reality, but still remain available if I’m willing to accept them by faith.

Take salvation, for example. I’m glad He handles that particular arena. If I were in charge of salvation, I would first of all have to always be a good person, saying all the right things, while being that guy who believes in life after death even in moments of doubtful consideration.

But I don’t have to worry about that.

The reason most people get shell-shocked on their way to Shell Rock is because they become anxious about what other people are going to think about them and they don’t have much confidence in God pulling off His part. They have bookends of insecurity, making them very nervous about their own package of talent.

I fully expect the people in Shell Rock to initially see me as a fat guy rolling along in a wheelchair. In fact, if it were a silent film, that would be it. But life isn’t a silent film:

  • We get the chance to have a voice.
  • We get the chance to express ourselves.
  • We get the chance to be loving.
  • We are afforded the opportunity to be generous.
  • We are provided moments when we can be confrontational in a way that benefits the common good.

And I am not about to ever forget that even though people may have an immediate visceral reaction to me and I may have gifts that can overcome that prejudice, it still holds no candle to how much I am loved by my Father.

If you’re going to be successful on Planet Earth, you have to realize that the me that people see can never, ever be perfected. No matter how many times you lift your face, tuck your belly or comb your hair, someone will have a problem with your appearance.

So spend more time with the “me that’s me,” and perfect the art of being yourself. And don’t be afraid to move towards excellence.

Because when it’s all done, even when people reject your offering as a whole, you can come home to the “me you’re freed to be” … in the arms of your Father in heaven.

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

Sittin’ in the Van on a Rainy Day… July 10, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1939)

vanThe plan was to hold a meeting in the sunshine, maybe even sitting in a park. Minnesota provided us rain instead.

A change of venue. Honestly, that can often be enough to destroy any momentum.

But my traveling companion of seventeen years and I decided to enjoy the rain pelting against our big, black van and hold our conversation in the interior of our cab. You understand, it only worked because both people agreed.

We live in a day and age when equality is defined as “one person quietly dominating as another one obviously submits.” This would explain our lack of progress. For candidly, in order for human beings to be successful, there needs to be agreement.

It’s actually pure mathematics. For our morning session to gain purpose, both of us had to overlook the rain, ignore our disappointment if such existed, and add our energy.

Yes, often rather than having a decrease of enthusiasm due to a change in plans, life actually requires a boost in energy to compensate for any disappointment.

I was so happy that my friend added her energy. She didn’t act like she cared one little bit if we were sitting in a rain-soaked van or were perched in a park. After all, what made the difference was being able to discuss really neat ideas.

To further complement the notion of growth, after we add our energy, we need to subtract our ego. There will be plenty of ego to go around during the final celebration of victory. To insert ego into the process of planning–or even performing–the task is not only futile, it is the death knell of achieving your purpose.

After you’ve added your energy and subtracted your ego, it is mandatory that you multiply your talent. If what you were going to achieve was able to be accomplished by only using the ability you’ve taken out of mothballs, it would have already happened. You will need to stretch the rubber band of your talent to handle the new horizons.

This expansion is a process of rejecting fear, embracing love and keeping a great sense of humor.

After you’ve multiplied that talent, you should divide your treasure. And what IS our treasure? Three things:

  • Our time
  • Our passion
  • And our money.

Make sure you’ve got enough for yourself. Poor people are terrible emissaries for generosity. Make sure you procure enough for your mission, so you can keep yourself in the game. And then set aside some for your brothers and sisters, who have not yet discovered the true beauty of multiplying their talents.

Sitting in the van in Minnesota on a rainy day with my friend, I felt a sense of satisfaction.

Because we added our energy, subtracted our ego, multiplied our talent … and made plans to divide our treasure.

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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