Good News and Better News… September 4th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Is peace merely the absence of war or a majestic anointing to dissuade all conflict?

This question crossed my mind Sunday morning when Janet and I had the privilege of sharing our program at Peace Lutheran Church in Palm Bay, Florida, under the able leadership of Pastor Paul. Although the folks were hesitant at first to open their hearts to “us strangers,” in no time at all the glory of Spirit filled the room with reconciliation, realization and renewal.

It was good. It felt good.

Which brings me to my point this morning. Even though we may exalt ourselves for being extremely intellectual or even spiritual, we actually spend most of our lives being prompted by our feelings. Some would insist that this predilection is our weakness, but I have discovered that our emotions are what endear us to the Creator.

So when anyone steps into Peace Lutheran Church, they are taking the pulse of the heartbeat in the place.

Is it a sanctuary for redemption minus the fussiness propagated by our society? Is it warm with human smiles–aglow with care, and just lit up by the notion that “all things work together for the good for those who love the Lord?”

Only after we feel good about a place do we actually look around to see.

We notice faces. We observe actions. God forgive us, we become spies at our present location. Are we critical? Unfortunately, yes.

This is why there must be a belief system on Earth that understands that we’re constantly letting our light shine before all men. There is no backstage for the journey of faith, nor are we given a dressing room. There is no time to learn lines because all the daily setups are improvisational.

  • The world is looking.
  • The world is critical.
  • The world must see evidence for what it feels.

And finally, if we like what we feel and we’re pretty satisfied with what we see, we’re ready to hear.

As we know, faith comes by hearing, so it is the responsibility of every believer to bring peace to our quadrant by providing a faith that can be seen and felt.

That was our message yesterday. We must stop insisting that merely opening the doors to a house of worship promotes brotherly love, good will or recognition of our Creator.

No–if people don’t feel it they will never see it.

And if they don’t see it, they won’t hear it.

So the good news is that by the time I left Peace Lutheran I felt them and I saw the love of God. They let me eyeball their soul.

And the better news is, I can now trust what I hear from them.

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Good News and Better News… August 21st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I had the night off from my gigs.

I decided to take in a church service at a small pioneer work where I’m staying. It is called Renaissance Fellowship. It touts the uniqueness of being a Christian church focused on the arts. Since I’ve been known to have a brain cell or two tuned in that direction, I was titillated.

The church is held at a community center and has about twenty-five folks who attend. The people are typical “church.” About 35% of them are excited, involved, busy scurrying around, and the rest of them have the appearance of folks arriving for a seminar on an unknown subject, with the promise that they might get free passes to a restaurant at the end.

Renaissance suffers from what every church suffers from. In trying to find God, they accidentally kill passion.

The pastor, a young man in his early forties, has a delightful desire and talent for sharing his thoughts. You can tell he is still deeply involved in the pursuit of God and the salvation of human souls, but growing a bit worn around the edges in all the well-doing. It happens to all of us.

But I heard something I liked. I heard rumblings that sounded like possibility.

Even though his message was plagued with too much preaching to the soul and teaching to the brain, I sensed that he’s beginning to reach for the heart.

For you see–human beings are not really spiritual. We aren’t thoughtful. We are emotional.

It doesn’t matter if it’s about work, play, a football stadium or church–the evidence that we are impacted is always an emotional outburst.

So I speak with great clarity to this pastor and tell him to keep reaching for the heart. Go ahead and abandon preaching to the soul and teaching to the mind. No one cares what Abraham, Moses, Joseph or any of the old patriarchs did. If the stories do not relate to family, Wal-mart and the Internet, they will not touch the hearts of American people.

Instructing the brain by pointing out clever pieces of information may once have been a path of probability, but no longer. Our brains are inundated with too much information, and of course, way too many posts on Facebook about nothing.

  • Reach the heart.
  • Touch the heart.
  • And demand a heartfelt response.

It is the only way people are healed. As Jesus said, “If you say to this mountain, be removed, and you do not doubt in your heart, it shall be done.”

The soul, the brain and the body have nothing to do with moving mountains. It is a heartfelt action.

Although I’m sure they are delightful and blessed people, many of the folks at Renaissance were doing their best imitation of being church cardboard cutouts. But becoming a church of artistry will require that the congregation that’s already there–tiny as it is–become emotionally excited with its own faith.

If it doesn’t, they will be just an average church that occasionally puts on plays.

The good news is that the Gospel is an experience of the heart.

The better news is, the pastor of Renaissance Fellowship and his congregation have a great opportunity to become heartfelt.

I have confidence in them.

For you see, the pastor is my son.Donate Button

 

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G-Poppers … July 7th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Is it natural? G-Pop is particularly curious.

Are people naturally mean, or typically kind?

Is it normal to be self-involved, or is there a part of our inner being that yearns to escape selfishness?

Are folks naturally bigoted? In other words, is there an inclination somewhere in our DNA to cling to those who resemble us?

Are we talented?

Is the human race spiritual, or much too burdened by its carnal appetites?

Is intelligence a part of our makeup, or is a certain amount of vague, blank misunderstanding intertwined in our beings?

What is natural?

Are we naturally generous?

Is it common to be vengeful?

Forgive, or unforgiving?

What are the drastic differences between the genders that cause us to believe there’s a chasm that cannot be crossed?

What is natural?

G-Pop offers this warning: over the past ten years we’ve promoted a sarcastic, cynical and bitter interpretation of our species. It’s become easier to accept lying, cheating, immorality, greed, and hubris as natural parts of the human intellect instead of temptations that are given too much time and turf.

So the statement, “I’m only human” covers a multitude of sins–from being late to a dinner party to accidentally shooting a suspect or a police officer.

What is natural? G-Pop wants you to know one simple fact:

Babies are born beings. We teach them to be human.

Being human is simple–it is an intelligent awareness of our animal instinct, while simultaneously reaching inside ourselves to find the breath of God.

Even though we’re not spiritual, we also are not carnal. Not one of us would last fifteen minutes in a jungle with other creatures. And though our first instinct may not be gentleness, we are fully aware that the backlash which comes from sporting antagonism leaves us offensive, if not mortally wounded.

Beware–there is a movement in our society to make every human vice seem natural. It is not.

We are not animals. We are the part of the animal kingdom which has emerged through the intelligence of the Creator, to be able to think, reason, feel, empathize and invent.

This is natural.

So we may find ourselves needing to challenge our motives a bit more often.

But in the long run, we will find that we live more peaceably with other folks when we go to sleep knowing that we did more loving than gnawing.

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G-Poppers … April 21st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop awoke this morning with an idea as pristine as a Windexed pane of glass.

Clarity–those moments when for a brief second, it appears that intelligence has been allowed into the garbage dump of our brains.

It was rather simple: the body should die first.

We spend countless billions of dollars to keep our physical beings alive years after our hearts, souls and minds have deteriorated to nothing.

The body is supposed to die first. It’s really the only way to leave happy. If you’re emotionally drained, spiritually strangled and mentally executed before that happens, it is a misery that simulates the vacuous nature of hell itself.

We are supposedly a people of faith–who are scared to death of death.

We visit every doctor, swallow every pill, buy every step-climber and pursue each and every herbal remedy suggested on the comical Internet of knowledge.

So we live without passion.

We exist from one doctor’s appointment to another.

We spend our time discussing our ailments, lamenting our lives because that which made us who we are has decayed, fallen off and blown away as dust.

I don’t want my body to live one more day than my heart, soul and mind.

Simple.

There’s a blessing to dying while you’re still productive. It is a gift to have people lament that you died too soon instead of quietly whispering to one another, “It was for the best.”

G-Pop thought this was especially significant on this day, when he’s celebrating the birth of his dear friend. She has escaped the rigors of her culture, denied the stupidity of her youthful mishaps and has come out the other end chasing her talent to greater and greater discovery.

It’s the only way to live.

It’s the only way to be.

God grant me the insight to know that I am a heart, soul and mind, surrounded by a body which desperately needs to be the first to give up the ghost.

 

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G-Poppers … January 6th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Awakened in the middle of the night, G-Pop took an extra moment or two to ponder a question.

Actually, the inquiry in his mind was the by-product of a whole series of conversations and interactions over the holiday season.

He realized, looking at friends and relatives, that each one had acquired a profile based upon their opinion about Earth’s origins.

It’s really rather simple: Is Earth cosmic or is it comic?

Does the path we choose take us into a realm of greater understanding because we accept that there was some sort of Great Architect who laid foundations for future building, or is it all just jumbled atoms colliding into one another to generate mutations which gradually move us forward in tiny increments?

A third option is that it’s both–in other words, mutations which the Great Architect scribbled into the blueprints.

But here’s the difference–without believing in a cosmic intelligence, we are bound by luck or controlled by destiny.

If I’m manipulated by destiny, what in the hell would I care about my own personal attitude or sense of motivation?

And if it’s all luck, I’m just waiting to tumble into one bucket or another.

Yet if it is cosmic–if there’s a way things work and a function to the fiction–then even limited mortals such as ourselves could learn a note or two to participate in the concert band.

This was brought to G-Pop’s mind last night when viewing a project by loved ones, and wondering what prompted these souls to envision a world so out of control, so beyond redemption, that even the “good” characters in their little movie were inflicted with disaster.

Do we have any control toward our own happiness?Because if we don’t, three score and ten years is much too long to endure.

And if we do, then the entire focus of our educational system, our spiritual upbringing and our moral code should be to discover the messages built into the eco-structure which foretell of possibilities.

Is it cosmic? In other words, was there an energy that initiated energy here on Earth?

Is it comic? Is it a collision of haphazard events, with me being the latest accident?

Or was this Master of Wisdom able to blur and blend the two possibilities together–cosmic and comic–to confound the wise and stimulate the simple?

It’s a very important question.

It informs us whether we can master any of our future, or whether we’re at the mercy of the latest splatter.

As G-Pop was thinking, he realized that the difference between the words “cosmic” and “comic” is a single “S.”

Perhaps the “S” stands for Savior.

For in the cosmic world, we struggle and fall short–and find our ultimate peace in accepting grace from our Creator through the Savior.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … December 3rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I want a woman who’s smart.

 

Woman: Well, I would suggest that you get smarter. Intelligent people tend to find each other. I want a man who’s confident.

 

Man: You’ll need to be careful with that one. Confidence isn’t bragging. It’s a delicate balance between accomplishment and humility. I want a woman who’s sexy.

 

Woman: Well, there are lots of women who need sex–claim to have a yearning for it. But if you’ll allow me to say so, you might look for a woman who wants to have romance solely with you. I, on the other hand, would like a man who’s talented.

 

Man: Well, there’s talent that’s perceived, and talent that has the proof of performance. It’s easy to find a guy who has a guitar and a whole bucket of songs he’s written and is convinced he might have a future. Let’s be honest. If somebody isn’t giving him money for his talent right now, they probably never will. That’s why I would like to have a woman who’s generous.

 

Woman: Now, generosity is a tricky thing. Some people are generous to those they know or to their families, or might even spread it to their friends. But the true spirit of generosity is doing something for someone who has no ability to give it back in your direction. I guess that’s why I yearn for a man who’s spiritual.

 

Man: That can be a trap. There’s a big difference between being religious and being real. True spirituality is realizing there’s nothing in heaven that can’t at least be attempted on Earth. If your man is constantly talking about heaven, faith, prayer and church, he’s letting you know that he has no intention of making God’s will done here on Earth as it is in the sky. Me–I would love to have a woman who’s funny.

 

Woman: Keep in mind, there’s a fine line between silly and humor. And the trouble is, sometimes women who are silly are also air-headed about everything. Here’s how you know a woman is funny. Is she self-deprecating about her own weaknesses without losing a bit of her self-esteem? For me, finding a man who’s kind would be the greatest thing I could achieve.

 

Man: That does sound good, doesn’t it? Except for the fact that some people are kind because they’re afraid of being honest. Kindness has to be borne from a knowledge of the truth, with the addition of mercy. Otherwise you start insisting that everybody in the world is okay, and slam the door on those who might have decided to get better. Let me guess–you’d like a strong man.

 

Woman: Strong worries me. He may be able to lift a box and carry it up to the third floor, but those same muscles could be attached to a bad temper and used against me. I think I would prefer a man who pursues being fearless and uses the strength he’s got to tackle his problems instead of attacking the people he loves.

 

Man: You know what I’m hearing?

 

Woman: What’s that?

 

Man: We’re looking for the same thing in each other.

 

Woman: I guess it’s safe to say, we’re looking for people who realize they’re human beings instead of a penis and a vagina.

 

Man: A little blunt, but I think I agree.

 

Woman: I wasn’t blunt. I was just being strong.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 18) It’s Not Good For A Man To Be… August 28th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

Alone.

More than lonely.

The frightening realization of having no one.

Unable to get the personal attention of another human being.

Meningsbee had settled in for his afternoon time of reflection, which usually started with pulling up some news stories on the Internet and reading some articles to sharpen his insight.

But there was a dark side to this ritual. Ever since he had lost his wife, Doris, the lack of intimacy had driven him to a nagging temptation to peruse pornography.

He hated the word.

When he pastored back East, he often counseled people who were completely obsessed with the practice.

He knew all the right answers but the loneliness overtook him–the sense of abandonment caused by losing his love.

For you see, Doris died as she had lived–suddenly.

She had an infectious spirit with a childlike quality that manifested itself in the belief that her whim was the same as God’s will. If bananas were on sale at the grocery store, Doris believed it was ordained to make banana splits.

Although Richard was a bit put off by the theology, he benefitted from the glow of her enthusiasm.

She loved him. She loved him all the way. If she was dissatisfied, Richard never knew it.

She laughed more than she cried; she planned more than she complained, and in the bedroom, she had the steaminess of the Queen of Sheba mingled with the mercy of an angel.

She granted Meningsbee the role of Midas. Everything he touched she called gold.

He never had a chance to doubt himself–until one morning, she sat straight up in bed and said, “My head hurts.”

They were her last words. She crumpled to the side, the victim of a simultaneous massive stroke and heart attack.

No history of disease, just a demise.

So now Richard was without his Doris, yet still needing the comfort and consistency of a gentle love.

He was repulsed by the images he saw on his screen. He was only interested in “peek-a-boo porn”–in other words, pictures of beautiful women yearning to be loved. But every time he pulled up an innocent profile, his inbox was inundated with popups of violent rape and sexual mayhem.

Strangely, he both hated and pitied himself at the same time–hated because he knew he was wrong, but pitied because he was forced into the wrong by an evil twist of fate.

He was more than ashamed.

He was intellectually disgusted by his choice.

He was spiritually bewildered by his weakness.

And he was mentally dissatisfied with the antidote provided to him via the Web.

So at the end of each one of his afternoon sessions, he scrubbed his browser and walked away from his computer feeling a little more decayed each time.

What right did he have to preach the Gospel when such desperation tormented his soul?

Meningsbee was in the midst of a fresh burst of incrimination when there was a knock at the door. He was startled.

He quickly made sure there was no evidence of his iniquity, and went to see who it was.

Matrisse.

He was so glad to see her.

She was like a supernal presence drawing him back into what he wanted his reality to be.

“I need to talk to you about Sassy,” she said solemnly. Meningsbee nodded his head and invited her in.

Once again, Matrisse was the needful distraction to draw him away from his own foolishness.

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