Good News and Better News… July 17th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3371)

Church attendance is dropping.

The statement is so widely accepted that no one is objecting, nor considering the ramifications.

We are absolutely terrified if the ocelot become an endangered species, but barely flick an eyebrow over losing an intricate part of our society–the church.

Those who hate the church smile in a bit of wistful glee, and those who still attend look around at the empty room, shrug their shoulders and quietly head to the altar for communion.

If the American church dissipates to nothing, what are we losing?

We are forfeiting a place where once a week we can come and admit that we’re sinners. The humility does us good.

Also, it’s a location where we can rejoice over being forgiven.

Where else in America do you sit in a room and sing with other people?

How about the message? A lesson on the power of good.

It gives us the chance to be quiet. Everything roars around us–and we have a tendency to roar back.

When I was growing up, I was suddenly around kids from other school districts, who became my “church friends.”

It gives me a chance to think about possibilities other than myself.

While I’m trying to stay awake, I have the realization that I’m part of something.

I have to look for a shirt that matches my socks.

I find myself giving.

I also am put in the position to receive.

I’m actually leaving my home for something other than shopping, games, movies and dinner.

I am in a room full of people who will pray for me.

When church is done right, I can question. I can doubt. I can shout.

I can see, hear, feel and touch the gospel.

We certainly should be concerned about baby seals–they are a part of creation.

But if we allow the church to go the way of the dodo bird, we should stop wondering why things are not flying high and straight.

The good news is, there is still a church out there.

The better news is, that church is waiting for our unique input.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 8th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2958)

PoHymn June 8th

The I’s Keep Coming

I was raped

I am a rapist

I killed a gorilla

I aborted a fetus

I laughed at a vicious joke

I told the joke

I preached a sermon

I am a sinner

I am a virgin

I am promiscuous

I am a liberal

I am a conservative

I cheated on my taxes

I pay too much tax

I am saved

I am lost

I am Muslim

I am Hindu

I hate Jews

I despise Palestinians

I am a Christian

I am an atheist

I love animals

I butcher cows

I bully weaker folks

I pee in the pool

I am an American

I want to kill all Americans

I am a terrorist

I am terrified

I am a racist

I am considered inferior

I am a man

I am a woman

I want to die

I am dying

All God’s children

No respecter of persons

Papa’s love

Mystifying

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G-Poppers … December 18th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2786)

Jon close up

G-Pop was born years ago on a day like this one, repeated annually.

Born, G-Pop decided to seize the opportunity to live, dwelling in a small village until limited talent afforded broader possibilities.

Trying to blend aspiration, inspiration and procreation, he birthed songs and sons, four boys in all, three surviving the process of growing, and yet a trio of others who arrived desiring a homestead, and seemingly have moved on, no worse the wear from his tutelage.

He traveled the country, interfacing with those who crossed his path and turned in his direction.

Pain and pleasure merged to form potential.

Success and failure united to construct a character.

Being neither political or bound by business constraints, G-Pop chased the whim of his heart and the vision he insisted was inspired by Spirit.

  • A man.
  • A human.
  • A salvaged sinner.
  • A saint, requiring props.

He had a belief in a God who believed in people–belief in people who allow room for an expansive God.

G-Pop lives on.

There are those who think he should settle into his place. Yet finding a place is an address, not a way to address our generation’s quandary.

G-Pop does not seek acceptance, just a reasonable doorway.

Mary had a baby and named him…

He became an angel to some, shepherded the souls sent his way, and works on becoming a wiser man … who can follow the stars in the sky.

 

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Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

 

“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

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We need a good Christmas this year.

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Confessing … December 12th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2754)

XXXII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

This will be my last installment of “Confessing.”

When I began this category eight months ago, I did so for two distinct reasons:

  1. To clear the air–to simply explain that imperfection does not eliminate me from the game.
  2. To open the door to allow myself to be even more forthcoming in the future.

Over the weeks, I have received many comments. Most people were surprised with my candor.

Yet I will tell you–I learned a long time ago, for every story I can tell about myself, there is always an available bystander who can make it seem worse.

Truth is not an option, but rather, a protection. It allows me a circle of influence which cannot be broken because I’ve already allowed the information to set me free.

So as I close this off, I encourage you to pursue the wisdom of allowing yourself to be transparent.

Of course, I have committed many more than thirty-two sins, but I have given you a great cross-section of my iniquity. Details and names were often changed to protect what innocence remains.

Here is one simple fact: the only way to stay a sinner is to try to believe you’re not sinning.

You can do terrible things and repent, or you can do little stupid things … and look terrible because you didn’t.

 

Confessing Jon

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Don’t let another Christmas go by without purchasing Jonathan’s bestselling Christmas book!

Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

 

“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant …March 4, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2521)

PoHymn March 4

(I am a) Magnificent Mess

 

I am a sinner

Likewise, a saint

Can be a winner

Also an “ain’t”

Catch me caring

Amazingly daring

Believer in truth

Demanding more proof

Reach for the sky

Swear and lie

Cuddle and kiss

Often I miss

Made divine

Crossed the line

Lost my place

Outer space

Full of talk

Absent walk

Struttin’ spunky

Feelin’ funky

Taking it on

Run and gone

Giving my best

Surviving the rest

Praying for the sick

Run away quick

Giving a buck

Wishing them luck

I am a king

Acting as a slave

Bird on the wing

Crashing to my grave

Time is my friend

Waiting for the end

I am color-blind

While blinded by color

Keeping it real

To privately conceal

For in every shark

There’s a large-mouthed bass

And in every horse

A little ass.

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Boiler plate 

All Wrapped Up… December 28, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2104)Bible wrapped

The gospel works.

That’s why we call it “good news.”

On the other hand, our culture is not nearly as efficient. It is often a cult of cop-out convenience.

I don’t wish to become brash or harsh, but I do want to say that there is an ongoing danger of people wrapping the culture of our country in the pretty paper of the Bible, tying it up with the bow of “God and country.”

Let’s make some distinctions:

1. The gospel teaches “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Our culture, on the other hand, promotes the idea, “do unto yourself while including others.”

2. The gospel teaches that “NoOne is better than anyone else.” Meanwhile, back at our culture, it is promoted that we are all unique, and therefore different.

3. The gospel: “give and it will be given unto you.” The culture: “get what you can and give to others as you can.”

4. “Don’t judge others.” There’s the gospel. In the culture, we preach, “Don’t allow yourself to be judge.”

5. Continuing on with the gospel: “to he who is given much, much is expected.” We have a three-word cultural mantra: “cut yourself slack.”

6. And finally, the gospel teaches that “whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” Yet the popular philosophy in our culture is, “After we reap, we will get around to sowing” with a sidebar of, “It’s not my fault.”

So in an attempt to hold people in a church, we create a surrogate–impregnating faith with our culture.

  • Our sermons are laced with grace, absent any responsibility or guilt.
  • We teach that God has “a wonderful plan for our lives” in order to stay hip with all the fantasy and Hobbit movies.
  • We insist that “God will supply all our need” without warning people that He does expect us to show up and be involved.
  • We pretend we can love the sinner and still hate the sin.
  • We literally screech that God’s salvation and grace is free to all, leaving us with believers who are bound to a culture, habits and lifestyles that are not fulfilling.

I don’t see anything wrong with wrapping the gospel up in what is culturally pleasing. You can use all the technology, all the music stylings and all available data to sparkle the message in a contemporary way. But when you start preaching the culture in the name of the gospel, you are flirting with disaster.

So how do you know when you’re in the presence of the gospel?

You’ll hear a message that teaches us to believe in God … while taking personal responsibility for your hunk of the kingdom.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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I Decided to Read It… November 30, 2012

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Having some time on my hands, I stopped off in the parking lot of a Food Lion Grocery Store and chose to enjoy doing a little reading.

While sitting there helplessly in my van, I was approached by two fellows walking through the parking lot, peering for potential prospects. I thought they would want some money, so I reached for my wallet, rolled down my window and discovered that instead of being homeless, they were out trying to find the “churchless.”

They explained that they were concerned for my soul. It was interesting that they didn’t even inquire how my soul was doing. Apparently they could tell by looking at me that I was  lost. They handed me some literature–without a smile–and invited me out to their church, which had some Old Testament name which included a salute to a minor prophet. They went on their way.

Normally, I stuff such information into a glove compartment to rediscover it six months later during a thorough cleaning of the van. But I decided to read it. There were seven things that this particular gospel tract wanted me to know.

  1. I am a sinner.
  2. I am presently going to hell.
  3. Jesus came to die for my sins.
  4. Without his blood, I am disgusting in God’s eyes.
  5. But if I accept Jesus, I can receive eternal life.
  6. Then I should go to church and worship God.
  7. And give my tithe to the church as evidence of my faith.

Forgive me. I was unimpressed.

The offer was not very satisfying–mainly because it wasn’t on point with any of my dreams and desires. So I came up with my own format for a gospel tract. See if you like it.

  1. I want to do better. (I don’t think I’m alone here…)
  2. I want to prosper. (I know I’m not alone there…)
  3. I want to give everybody a chance. (I may have just lost a few travelers…)
  4. I really want to learn what’s right. (Several more deserters…)
  5. I want to honor God by loving people. (May be getting down to a party of five but still get the egg roll….)
  6. I want to start heaven now and let God surprise me with His rendition. (Renewed interest from the gallery…)
  7. I want to have fun doing it. (I just got my crowd back!)

I don’t begrudge anyone their faith. It’s just that I believe faith shouldn’t look like you just came from the dentist and discovered that Walgreen’s is completely out of the pain medication you were prescribed.

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