Day One — Make a Meaningful Mess … February 15, 2012

Life is not about painting the Mona Lisa. Our human journey more resembles a game of Pictionary–we grab a crayon,  a piece of paper and we scrawl out our best representation of who we are, what we want and where we’re going, trying to get people to understand our heart’s desire. If you’re going to create a masterpiece like the Mona Lisa, you’re going to have to draw an awful lot of stick figures first.
I find it so amusing when people tell me that God doesn’t make any messes. Right there in the first two verses of the Bible, it says that God “created the heavens and the earth”–and right after He did that, in come the reviews:
“The earth was without form.”
“The earth was void.”
“Darkness was upon the face of the deep.”
Let’s sum up all of these comments. In other words, the earth was a misshapen orb which was basically useless but so dark that you couldn’t see anyway. Folks, I wouldn’t call that “perfect.”
We make a mistake by thinking that God wants things to be perfect, when the Bible makes it clear that God is creative and His heart is to perfect His handiwork. We, unfortunately, are the arrogant ones who don’t want to do anything unless we can do it top-dollar, top-notch, top-of-the-line or top-shelf. So instead of pursuing a representation of our heart’s dream, we would rather languish in discouragement over never having achieved our goals. Discouragement may be the only human emotion that causes us to freeze in our present status–and also makes us negative and pessimistic to those around us.
The key in life is to make a meaningful mess. It’s what God did when He created the earth. It wasn’t great, but it was begun. Let’s look at the three reasons why people don’t pursue their particular vision for their own lives:
1. “I don’t know where to begin.” Some people can talk hours about what they wish they could do, only to walk away and perform nothing that resembles their conversation. You know the interesting thing? When you say you don’t know where to begin, you don’t actually ever have to do anything. You can just pretend that if you’d had the opportunity, things would have been different. And I will tell you bluntly that “pretend” is the opposite of spirituality. To be spiritual is to stop all pretense and bring what you have–and try to make a meaningful mess.
2. “What will people think?” I’ll tell you what people will think. If what you present is different, they won’t like it at first. But if you don’t present anything, you will never know their comments, learn from good critique and perfect your mess. To be concerned about human reaction is a cop-out. We know what our friends are going to be like. Everybody wants everybody to stay the same so nobody has to feel the pressure to become different. Yet if we all stay in our present status, we’re going to continue to get the same results.
3. “What then?”  Yes–if I step out of my fear and make a meaningful mess, people can see what I envision, they give their comments, and after 24 hours, all of the energy and enthusiasm dies down. Then, what can I expect to be the next course of action? Who knows? That’s the truth. So the issue really becomes whether you want to be frustrated because you never did anything or whether you’d rather burn your frustration on what to do next. At least with the latter, you have evidence that the capability to make something exists within you.
It doesn’t matter WHAT we’re talking about. Maybe you want to start your own business. Perhaps publish a book of poetry. Maybe you’ve collected hundreds of recipes you’d like to share with others. Could be you want to found your own bowling league. Maybe you like to sew or knit hats. Maybe you would like to start a website for people who like to hunt. Everyone, no matter what their goal, suffers from the same questions: “I don’t know where to begin,” “what will people think?” and “if I do something, what then?”
Can you imagine if God (whoever He was without a universe and an earth) had just stayed in his spiritual closet somewhere and refused to step out and manifest His personality into a tangible world? Because an idea is just a “holy spook” until we give it breath and let it come to life.
So what are the three things we can do to overcome our insecurity and trepidation?
1. Start. Make a meaningful mess. Take what is available to you with what is around you and give the world a visual of what you dream to do or be. Remember Pictionary? You don’t become Leonardo da Vinci until you’ve drawn a thousand stupid-looking cartoons.
2. Listen. Not all criticism is valuable. But any criticism that begins with, “You know, I kind of like it” or “I get where you’re going, but …” you should listen to. Anybody who begins by finding the good in what you’re doing may have a very valuable point on how to improve your product.
3. And finally,  always move towards the movement. One of the most difficult things for human beings to understand is that long before you can make a living wage at your dream, you have to create a market by giving away your ability. People will often come up to my book table and ask me how I can afford to offer my products so inexpensively, when CDs, movies and books in stores are so high-priced. I just smile and tell them I’m glad to give them a good deal. But the truth of the matter is, my CD is not worth as much as Lady Gaga’s–because I’m not Lady Gaga. It may be made out of the same material, be the same size and cost the same to produce, but until the person who purchases my CD thinks it’s going to be of value to his or her life, my CD, book or movie is worthless. Find out where there’s movement and move towards it, being fully aware that at first you may have to give away some of your time and talent to get people fully cognizant of its potential.
So, if we’re beginning a Day One of truly putting bones and flesh on the spirit of an idea, we’ve got to be willing to make a meaningful mess. To do this, we need to make a start, listen to our good critics and move towards the movement.
Then we will be ready for Day Two…

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.


Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

Here You Adapt–November 12, 2011


If  you believe in your dream strongly enough, it will come true.

I’ve heard that for so many years. Of course, this statement is not factual. The reason we have stories on the news about people achieving their dreams is because it’s a rarety. It’s the same reason lottery winners end up with their picture in the paper. If everybody was fulfilling their dreams or winning the lottery, there wouldn’t be enough space in the media to cover the stories.

So is there a power to a positive attitude? I would have to ask you what you mean by a positive attitude. If you are referring to a tenacious presence in your thinking, causing you to pursue one particular line of success fervently, then I would have to say no. If by positive attitude you mean taking the benefits of thankful thinking and finding a place to begin with your abilities and make a start of things, knowing that any semblance of being able to do what you dream would be fantastic–then I would say yes.

It’s what Jesus meant by the mustard seed. Once we adopt thankful thinking, we have the clarity of mind to actually segment off our heart’s desire and begin to pursue it with an available avenue. It is the mustard seed. It is the tiniest of seeds, which does not necessarily represent the vision we have for our ultimate goal, but is the seedling of what we desire to be.

When I finally discovered that I wanted to be a writer, I didn’t contact Random House and ask them if they were interested. Why? Because Random House wants to make money, not promote unknown authors. I realized that the time and energy I would expend trying to impress them with my prowess with the pen would be wasted–because their bottom line would scream disapproval over taking on such a literal unknown quantity. Since I wanted to be a writer, what I did was to start writing–paragraphs, song lyrics (which turned into actual songs), little booklets which I passed along to people with some of my ideas–any chance I got to plant my mustard seed of passion about writing I pursued with great perseverance and energy.

Because my emotions were clean and I knew the rudiments of what I possessed, and was granted a thankful brain, I therefore was not afraid to begin small and plant my mustard seed in the ground–daily presenting evidence of what I ultimately wanted to accomplish.

If you think someone else is going to come along and make your dream come true because they possess the connections, money or vision for your project, you not only will end up disappointed, but very often duped by charlatans.

Thankful thinking promotes a positive attitude that causes us to be willing to plant our mustard seed of a dream into life and give it a chance to grow. Do I think it would be better for me to be on television than traveling to churches, sharing my heart? No–because this is my mustard seed. And if I do it well enough where I am, then very possibly I will be given chances to do it more.

If I had become famous at nineteen years of age when I finished writing my first book, my popularity would have lasted six months to a year and by age twenty-one I would have been a has-been. But because I had thankful thinking, I was able to plant my mustard seed, and now, forty-one years later, I have a flourishing work which journeys me all over the country, sharing and granting me tens of thousands of readers for my daily column. It has also given me four decades of blessing, rejoicing and being with beautiful people instead of being a flash in the pan. My mustard seed has grown.

It’s because I was not ashamed to take what I had and with a thankful mind, go out and do something that imitated the ultimate success I desired. If you’re waiting for life to afford you opportunity, you will never find the opportunity already afforded you by life.

Do you want to start a business? Plant your mustard seed. Go out and discover if your product actually sells, face-to-face, with the public. Do you want to be a singer? Go to a nursing home or to a homeless shelter and see if anyone is moved by your voice. Do you want to be a farmer? Start a small garden before you purchase twenty acres of land. Do you want to play sports? Toss the ball around with your neighbors until their abilities no longer challenge you and you’re ready to move to the next level.

I have a friend who wanted to start a business cleaning houses. He did not go out and line up twenty or thirty clients and then develop the ability to conduct his affairs in a professional manner. Instead, he started out by cleaning a couple of houses–including mine–to take in a little bit of money, finding out if he enjoyed it and could discover a way to do it in excellence. He now has more customers than he can handle. His mustard seed has grown.

When your emotions betray you because they are not clean, which causes you to take a poor inventory of what you’ve got, making you mentally ungrateful, you may end up thinking you’re better than what you are because you haven’t planted your mustard seed–you’ve just insisted on being recognized.

  • Clean your emotions. (Here you go)
  • Find out what you really possess. (Here you got)
  • Renew your mind with thankful thinking. (Here you adopt)
  • And begin doing what you desire to achieve–in a mustard seed way. (Here you adapt)

I am a blessed man because I did not sit around waiting for people to make me famous. I realized that the best way to be famous was to leave behind an audience which was impacted by my message. I do it every week.

You will not see me on network television, but by the grace of God, because I have planted my mustard seed, I am still everywhere. I wish the same for you. It is the definition of a positive attitude:

I will adapt my dreams by taking my mustard seed and planting it in the earth that surrounds me instead of demanding opportunities beyond me.


Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!


Jonathan sings “Let”


Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”


Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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