1 Thing You Can Do This Week to Change Your World


You Can’t Be a Shepherd and Act Like a Sheep

If you want to shepherd your ideas, guide your plans and steer your dreams, you have to stop being a victim to your own circumstances or a prisoner to your own limited “mental barn.”

Sheep clump.

Sheep are often afraid.

Sheep don’t know how to move to greener pastures.

Sheep are vulnerable to wolves.

Sheep are not comfortable unless they’re doing what the other sheep are doing.

A sheep is an animal

As an animal, it responds to its environment instead of changing it.

A shepherd, on the other hand, is a human who understands sheep weaknesses, and is able to lead them to more prosperous and safer adventures.

A shepherd does this in two ways–sometimes a shepherd uses tenderness; sometimes, stern.

If you want to change your world, you have to stop being a sheep. Because if you are, you cannot shepherd your own passions.

So find your own humanity, develop some spunk, don’t respond to the greenness of the grass–and bring leadership and compassion to the sheep around you.


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Jesonian … August 11th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Astonished.

It is the word that Saint Matthew selected, in his Gospel, to describe the reaction of the audience which heard Jesus of Nazareth share the Sermon on the Mount.

Some synonyms for astonished:

  • Shocked
  • Confounded
  • Bewildered
  • Astounded
  • Flabbergasted
  • Startled
  • Stunned
  • Dumbfounded
  • Blow your mind

Astonished is a word that combines impressed and alarmed.

It is the way Matthew perceived the mood of the hearers.

He added that they felt that Jesus had more “authority” than the scribes. As you probably know, the scribes were not the Pharisees. The scribes were the local ministers in charge of writing and reading the Law of Moses.

The style they imparted in sharing those ancient words was: read, said, dead. When the scribes read, they said what was exactly there–as dead as they possibly could, so as not to add too much flavor.

So as you can see, it was not a roaring accolade, to say that Jesus exceeded the knowledge or enthusiasm of the scribes.

The importance to the verse is that the people departing that day were “astonished.” What do people do when they’re astonished?

On the way home, as the afterglow disappears, they begin to pick at the corners of great ideas until they disassemble them, convincing themselves that these principles are implausible.

How do we know this is true?

Most of them do not follow Jesus down the hill, but instead, go to their homes, where they justify their disbelief.

Meanwhile, Jesus, who has just delivered the most radical, truthful and practical message ever heard on Earth, descends the hill, and is greeted by one leper, who asks for healing–who had probably missed the sermon.

After twenty-two years of traveling with my dear friend Janet Clazzy, to thousands of churches, I will tell you this:

It is very possible to stir up a congregation, and even their local shepherd, to the point of astonishment.

You can raise dead spirits that haven’t been alive since Grandma and Grandpa sat in the pews.

You can get people to clap, think, react, smile, and even do their best impersonation of loving one another. But you can’t go home with them.

And home is where they rationalize all their present actions–to avoid the horror of repentance.

*****

If you like the mind of Jesus without religion, buy the book!

                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

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Jesonian … January 13th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Every single week.

As I journey across the country and stop off to do my presentation, I am always greeted by people who want to know my political persuasion. When I reply, “Apolitical,” they smile and begin to probe me so they might unearth my hidden beliefs, and thereby categorize me with either a big “R” or a big “D”–Republican or Democrat. How disappointed they usually end up being when I do not attack President Trump or swear my allegiance in that direction.

Many years ago, I discovered four verses from the Good Book which are so full of common sense and understanding of the human condition that I have embedded them into my own thinking, declaring this passage to be my touchstone.

When Jesus was explaining the Pharisees to the disciples, he said, “They hold Moses’ seat.”

In my lifetime, twelve men have held the position of President of the United States. Jesus’ approach on the matter? Honor the men because they’re in the position–and he goes on to say that we need to be careful to do what they say.

You see, this is where it gets tricky.

Many of my friends who are Democrats feel it’s necessary to resist President Trump, and likewise, my Republican friends demand some blind acceptance.

Jesus’ take? “Be careful.”

For instance, every time I step into my van to drive, I realize I am losing my freedom, suddenly at the mercy of the policemen in the local village who might have a speed trap. If picked up, I lose my ability to be autonomous.

“Be careful.”

Jesus says to “be careful to do what they say,” but then he adds, “But don’t do what they do.”

Not one of the twelve Presidents I’ve encountered in my lifetime would I choose to imitate in personal profile. Fortunately, since we don’t live in a dictatorship, I don’t have to do that. As long as I maintain a respectful cooperation with present laws, America gives me the right to pursue my single-minded goals while following my own philosophy.

With that in mind, I will also tell you that every week I meet a new pastor. He or she has a job. They also have a calling. What they discover is that the job often interferes with the calling, and the calling certainly complicates the job.

So they often end up pastoring a church instead of the church. They learn the mannerisms of their congregations–the quirks, limitations, aggravations and the preferences–and then try to build an institution saluting the lifestyle of Jesus inclusive of these guidelines. It often leaves them exhausted, and sometimes faithless–because believe it or not, people don’t always agree with Jesus, even while they’re praising him. People don’t always concur because they’re too busy being Republicans or Democrats.

So unfortunately, the job of the local pastor becomes that of an arbiter instead of a proclaimer.

They can even forget to give respect to the congregation, but don’t follow their ways. It is the mission of the pastor to shepherd the people to greener pastures. That begins by removing the “R’s” and the “D’s” and the denominational allegiance, and finding the simplicity of the message of Jesus, and keeping it as healthy and pure as possible.

It will take such men and women to bring about a revival.

But in Matthew 23:1-4, Jesus pronounces that it is completely plausible to respect the position of someone without following the leadership.

I do it every week. It doesn’t make me anemic. It doesn’t make me hypocritical. It simply means there are temporary solutions which are offered and can be implemented as long as the greater good is held in supremacy.

To be Jesonian is to follow the heart of Jesus. Part of the heart of Jesus is respecting those who have “gained a seat” in our society.

But most of the heart of Jesus is clinging to your autonomy so that the choices you make in your life are yours and yours alone.

 

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Cracked 5 … December 12th, 2017


Jonathots Daily Blog

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

 

 If Amazon Sent a “Complete Christmas Package” for You and Me from Bethlehem.gov it would include:

A. One carton of the finest virgin olive oil from the Middle East

 

B. Three shepherd pies from the ovens of Scotland

 

C. The complete video series of The Three Stooges–lots of wise-crackin’ from the “stars”

 

D. Matching lambs-wool, angel-soft sweaters from Jerusalem International Fashion Gala

 

E. The latest book: “Nighttime Meditations for the True Seeker” by Joseph Carpenter

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … December 6th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I Don’t Fit

I don’t fit the manger scene

Not a lass who’s barely fourteen

Nor a man who heeds his dreams

I’m too possessed with my schemes

Never sheepish, devoid of sin

Willing to welcome a baby in

Yet perhaps an ass from the working class

Grunting a complaint over midnight cries

Where would I fit, with all my lies?

I would be the shepherd who remained with the flock

Bound and determined to punch the clock

“Angels we have heard on high”

Don’t pay the rent–let ’em fly

Bethlehem’s too simple and quaint

No time to stress or offer complaint

I just don’t seem to belong

With angels singing a heavenly song

Go to bed, get some sleep

Rise again to sow and reap

For I would never stare at the sky

Believing a star had the answers why

And trek across the desert sand

A stranger in a foreign land

To burst into tears of joy

Because I found Heaven’s Boy

I’m so glad I missed Holy Night

Because I would have failed to see the light

‘Tis the story that touches my pagan soul

And allows me a chance to be made whole

I don’t fit in the manger scene

With Mama and child, so serene

God was smart, with all His clout

To give me time to figure it out

 

 

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Good News and Better News… August 28th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther marched to the Catholic Church in Wittenburg, Germany, and nailed his 95 theses of grievances and complaints onto the door. Thus began the Reformation Movement.

So, could I be any more blessed than to be at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Lakeland, Florida, during the commemoration of the Reformation? And I didn’t even plan it. I just went with it.

That’s been the great joy of my life–to stop struggling so hard to achieve my will, and to find my needs accomplished in the unfolding of the opportunities that come my way.

Pastor Robert is a fine, congenial gentleman who shepherds this church, filled with delightful Lutherans who would make Brother Martin smile with pride. We just had a hum-dinger of a time (if you are allowed in this day and age to say “hum-dinger.”)

Because Pastor Robert and his assistant, Doug, have a gentleman’s style about them, the congregation came through the front door a bit excited over the prospect of having a unique “spiritual entrée” to accompany their usual “tater tots.”

It makes a difference. People who believe breed faith, and faith is able to manifest miracles.

Martin Luther had one major premise, summing up his 95 theses: “We are saved by grace.”

Dr. Luther was very concerned that we would lose our sense of awe and wonder over God’s salvation and begin to think we could “work our way to heaven” or, “what’s the sense of even trying?”

But the new message for the Lutheran Church–and all churches who have joined into this Reformation–is that we have been saved by grace to be gracious.

A church without gracious people is like a door without a knob. You might comprehend that there should be a way to get in and out, but nobody has given you a handle.

People complain that the church is getting older, but when you’re talking about graciousness, age is insignificant. Matter of fact, could there be anything more appealing than a genial, loving and giving 78-year-old man or woman who has an open heart to the human beings around him or her, and is ready to be accepting?

You can’t build a church without old people.

As the Prophet Joel proclaimed, it is those of elder years who provide the dream for the vision that the younger folks bring–the dream being that mystical mixture of what might be, while confirming that it is possible by sharing what has already happened.

People of grace need to be gracious. If not, then all the objections lodged by Martin Luther are empty and cold.

The good news is that five hundred years ago, the church went through a Reformation which opened the door to salvation by grace for everyone.

The better news is that we are due for another Reformation.

 

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Come To Think Of It … Sunday, December 25th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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christmas

Come To Think Of It

I am not Santa Claus. Ho, ho, NO.

I am not Jesus. I can turn water into ice.

I am not an elf. Closer to Santa Claus there.

I am not snow. I find it impossible to melt–especially pounds.

I am not a Christmas tree. I would find it difficult to be evergreen.

I am not a manger. HAY!!

I am not Joseph. I have mistrusted women.

I am not Mary. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a virgin.

I am not a donkey, though I can act like…you got it. An ass.

I am not a star, but I’ve been a good warm-up act.

I am not a promise. I fail too often.

I am not salvation. But… where do we stand in line?

I am not the Prince of Peace. Too often I find myself in pieces.

I am not a shepherd. I can be impatient with sheep.

I am not an angel. I have a list of people who will confirm this.

I am not the King of Kings. I’m learning to be crowned with humility.

Of course, not the Lord of Lords. Though some of you may think I lord it over you.

I am not the Little Drummer Boy. Simple: not little, can’t drum, not really a boy.

I’m not Rudolph, though my nose gets red when I have high blood pressure.

I’m not tinsel, although I’m working on being the light in the world.

I am not Christmas. Just trying to be merry.

But today I looked out at a crazy world which pleaded to me with sad, distraught eyes. Help! So…

I must be Santa Claus. Time to pull on my boots.

I must be Jesus. Where is that neighbor to love?

I must be an elf. I’m practicing my “giddy.”

I must be snow. If you get my drift. (No flakes allowed.)

I must become a Christmas tree–standing tall for those who want to decorate me with great possibilities.

I will become the manger–a humble home for the Master.

I can become Joseph–believe in the people I love.

Mary? All I have left is a virgin heart.

I will be a donkey, making an ass of myself for a good cause.

Star light, star bright–I shall be the first star you see tonight.

I make this promise: no promises–just the truth.

I will become salvation in the sense that I will show you how powerful that gift can truly be.

I will be the Prince of Peacemakers, so I can be a child of God.

I will shepherd myself and as many souls as possible, to safety from the wolf.

I will become an angel by visiting those who haven’t seen angels for a long time.

Can I be a King of Kings? If by Kings, you mean helping those who need to find their personal place. Then, yes.

Lord of Lords? Certainly not. But I can show people that to be master is to serve.

Forget about the Little Drummer Boy. I’ll leave that to the marching band.

I certainly am Rudolph. I have strange things about me that I’m trying to use to get through the fog.

And like tinsel, I will find a place to hang in there and shed some light.

I am Christmas.

I am the only Christmas that some people will see.

I am Christmas, and without me, Christmas could become just another day of the week.

****

Meningsbee will return next week with the ongoing saga.

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