Jesonian … April 7th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Every story is better told and more effective when the facts are allowed to line up in a reasonable order.

Such is true of the Gospel of Jesus.

Theologians spend so much time proclaiming him the Son of God that they lose the fragrance and uniqueness of the Son of Man. In an attempt to make the tale “super” they lose all of the “natural.”

The average person going to church is deluded by an array of facts which just don’t add up to a crucifixion.

One of those great misconceptions is that Jesus was extremely popular. There were certainly occasions when his crowd appeal spiked, but it always revolved around three stimuli:

A. Was he doing miracles?

B. Was he feeding people?

C. Did it look like he was the Jewish Messiah?

Whenever the populace became convinced through these three “signs and wonders” that God was going to save them from the Romans, they rallied around Jesus. Whenever it was obvious that he was intent on sharing a more universal message which included people that were not Jewish, they slipped away.

Let’s look at some facts:

1. Jesus was rejected by his home town, Nazareth, and never able to return again. Not only was he ignored, but threatened with death–dangled from the edge of a cliff.

2. Even though Jesus held a great revival in Samaria with the testimony from a woman at a well, when he returned to the city, he was forbidden to enter by the town fathers because they found out he also ministered to the Jews.

3. When he fed the 5,000 in Galilee, the hordes followed him for a while–until he told them this was not a food pantry, but rather, that his words and life were the message they were supposed to “eat.” They all departed–except for the twelve.

4. Over and over again, interest sparked with the Pharisees, but when Simon, one of their number, invited him to a special meal, the Pharisee snubbed Jesus and treated him like an outsider.

5. After the resurrection, it is recorded that over 500 people saw Jesus–witnesses of the miracle. But on the Day of Pentecost only 120 remained. Kind of a drastic drop-off.

I guess we feel the need to believe that Jesus was greatly appreciated by the people in his generation, and taken to be crucified only by a handful of powerful critics.

It’s just not true.

We are told that most of the time he dealt with twelve disciples–and he focused on three of them, to be the core leaders. We have some idea of the size of a normal following of Jesus when the scriptures let us know that he sent seventy out to share in his name.

If you are trying to give credence to the message of Jesus by pointing out how enthralled the Jewish community and the Roman oppressors were, then you will be sadly disappointed when you read the actual accounts of his mistreatment and the number of individuals who desperately tried to ignore him.

We’re even told that John the Baptist’s disciples did not believe in him.

Jesus had a model. It’s very simple: Develop a hot core of followers and let them radiate the message.

Nowadays we are so eager to build up numbers in the sanctuary that we fail to build up people. Jesus basically spent three-and-a-half years working on twelve human beings.

  • One of them betrayed him and killed himself.
  • Another denied him, and was prepared to leave the work.
  • Yet another one doubted that a resurrection was possible.

Do not despair–Jesus suffered the same slings and arrows of human apathy that you and I encounter every day. He just had a great system. So when he left the planet, there was a handful of people who knew what he taught, knew what he stood for and were prepared to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to give them the power and insight to take the Gospel to the whole world.

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Ask Jonathots… September 29th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

I am always suspicious of superstition–blaming resistance on outside forces and nefarious entities. But at the same time I believe the blessings in life are always wrapped in hassle and difficulty. How can you tell the difference between the resistance that comes from a bad idea and the resistance that come from the brink of greatness?

In the moment of conflict, our personal reaction cannot be controlled.

Even though people insist they can “count to ten, take a deep breath” or “breathe a prayer” to muster a mature response to difficulty, we have already locked in our profile.

This is the essence of “turn the other cheek.”

Jesus is saying that we must literally choreograph our reactions. Otherwise we will spill out the abundance of our emotional turmoil.

Therefore, it really doesn’t matter if something comes from a nefarious source or if it’s just an inconvenience.

Our reaction determines if it will be elongated or eliminated.

So we should be working on an emotional sense of security. We are heart creatures. We don’t answer tribulation from our spirit. All communication comes from the abundance of our heart.

So where should we start?

We should work on the dance–the ability to know how to move when life tries to stop us. To do this we must learn to recognize the triggers that cause us to fall back into genetic or pre-programmed training instead of making our own pure choice.

1. If I’m angry and I do not reveal it, it will turn into frustration, which will make me incapable of handling any unwanted surprise.

2. If I feel cheated and don’t voice my concerns, I will accidentally look for ways to diminish the ego of others to match my depleted profile.

3. If I’m tired of trying, I will stop doing the necessary steps that make my effort productive and start acting entitled.

4. If I believe that I’m supposed to find my enemies in order to isolate and avoid them instead of love them and overcome them with wisdom, then I will become paranoid and find myself making new adversaries.

Even those evangelicals who fear Satan and his wiles need to realize that the punishment of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden was to be cast down to Earth. In other words, evil has to work with Earth-bound fussiness to get at the believer.

So any way you look at it, the more you prepare for life by choreographing an emotional outlook that is not shocked by the arrival of setbacks, the better the chance that you can conquer problems–whether you believe they are natural or supernatural.

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 19) The Writing on the Wall … September 4th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3054)

Reverend Meningsbee

Running ten minutes late, Meningsbee motored his way through some of the back streets of little Garsonville, on his way to the high school to speak to the creative writing class about “what’s it like to be a writer.” He was late to the appointment because Matrisse had entranced him with a tale of foolishness and woe.

When Matrisse first arrived, she referred to Kitty as “Sassy.” Meningsbee didn’t think much about it. But as she related the events from her homestead, he realized that she had no great affection for the young girl he had befriended on his overnight trip to South Dakota.

It seems Kitty had quickly become antsy hanging around home with Matrisse and Hapsy, and slipped away to the only bar in Garsonville–an establishment with nine stools, a pool table, which offered extra-hot buffalo wings to any brave takers. There, Kitty met up with a young man named Tarbo. Although Matrisse was pretty certain this was not his given Christian name, it was the only one Sassy–or Kitty–would provide.

Matrisse explained that Kitty was in tears because she wanted to go with Tarbo to Chicago, where he intended to sign up to join the Navy, to become a SEAL. Kitty was afraid if she didn’t go with him, she might never see him again, as he would certainly be sent off to fight the terrorists in foreign lands.

Long story short, Kitty wanted Matrisse to watch Hapsy for a couple of weeks so she could go chase this dream–which seemed to be ordained by God, Himself, since they met under such supernatural circumstances down at the pub.

Meningsbee had listened intently, knowing that eventually Matrisse would close off her tellings with some sort of question–that probably being, “And what are you going to do about this?”

Fortunately, he was able to make an escape because of the speaking commitment at the high school, telling Matrisse he would call her later so they could cap their conversation.

She frowned, looking at him with an old witchy evil eye, and said, as she departed the house, “It ain’t no good, Reverend.”

So still having the whole fiasco on his mind, Meningsbee arrived at the high school creative writing class to discover that four of the students had asked to be excused from the lecture, because their parents were former members of the church, and didn’t think it was right to have the preacher come to teach the children. This affrontation was more distressing to the instructor than it was to Meningsbee. He just smiled and said, “Let’s go.”

He didn’t talk long to the class–about ten minutes.

He explained to them about writing his book, The Jesus Church, what it meant to edit, how to realize when you were finished with a book, and some of the inner workings of publishing.

At the end of the class, he opened it up for Q and A–the teacher’s request. Meningsbee was pretty sure none of the kids would be very inquisitive.

After what seemed to be an interminable silence (probably only about fifteen seconds), one student raised his hand, and with a huge smirk on his face, said, “I don’t think I would like your book. I don’t believe in God.”

The classroom offered up a mixture of gasps and giggles. The teacher stepped forward to scold the boy.

Meningsbee interrupted her.

“Thank you for your question,” said Meningsbee. “Or whatever it was. I write about God because God wrote about me. It seemed the right thing to do. Polite, you know. Like coming up with a legitimate question for a guest speaker when he takes the time to come to your school. You see, God is either our Creator–or He’s nothing. If He’s nothing, He’s been really successful at extending a myth for thousands and thousands of years. If He is our Creator, then He knows how we are made. I don’t know how I’m made. Do you?”

Meningsbee didn’t wait for the boy to respond. “Didn’t think so. So I read what God wrote about me, and basically, my book is writing back what I think about Him. You see, it’s a combination of appreciation and doubt. First, I appreciate the fact that I can live. I especially like eating. I could do without bowling.”

The class mustered a giggle.

“But also, I have questions. I wonder why, since we’re all children of God, we can’t get together and find what we have in common instead of constantly harping on our differences. I wonder why my Creator tolerates idiots preaching for Him, who don’t care about anybody else, and do nothing generous in His name. And most of all, I wonder how sad He must be that an intelligent young man sitting in a schoolroom has to deny he believes in Him to look like he’s smart. So even though you didn’t ask, that’s why I wrote the book. Any more questions?”

Meningsbee quickly grabbed his papers and headed for the door.

“Didn’t think so. Thanks for your time.”

As he scurried down the hallway of the school like an alien from outer space escaping a NASCAR convention, he chuckled to himself.

He was imagining what the students must be thinking…or maybe he was just hoping he got them to do so.

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Jesonian: Strict July 20, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

parchment

Strict compliance to Judaism and Mosaic Law means you find yourself dependent on “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Strict reverence to Mohammed and the Muslim faith requires an acceptance of the superiority of men over women and a mission of conquering the heathen to win them to the faith.

Strict understanding of Buddha is the suppression of pleasure in favor of neutralizing passions in order to achieve your enlightenment.

Strict allegiance to atheism eliminates any supernatural inclusion in one’s life.

Strict respect for democracy means that the majority is always ruling.

Strict interpretation of communism is the sharing of all things in common, pursuing social and financial equity.

Strict following of Jesus means to love your neighbor as yourself, not to resist evil, don’t judge and receive mercy by giving mercy.

They aren’t all the same.

They aren’t equal

They aren’t reflections of one another.

I have made my choice.

 

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G-27: Figments and Fragments … June 6, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2256)

puzzleAfter billions of years of evolution, the ushering in of humanity formed in the image of the Creator, a season of Utopia, a betrayal of trust, a banishment, a murder between brothers, an exile of the accused and the birth of a new son who brought promise, things calmed down.

And this manufactured serenity was viewed by most parties concerned as positive–except God.

For you see, God knew that we, as people, are best when hassled. We are more powerful when weakened. We are smarter when survival is at stake.

And yet, human beings began to breathe, work, eat, sleep and die. Many generations passed, following faithfully on the redundant path.

But in the midst of this malaise, a tragic miscalculation transpired. Although, as monkey-angels, we were pulled from the jungle and merged with heaven to have a heart, soul, mind and strength, each individual member of our race began to focus on one of these aspects, usually to the exclusion of the others.

We became fragmented, causing us to chase figments of our imagination. It is a problem that happened thousands of years ago and still persists to this day.

For you see, some people focused only on the heart, becoming very emotional and therefore tossed to and fro by circumstance.

Others became “soulish,” with a desire to study and worship perceptions of the supernatural, which often made them superstitious and bitter over their earthly lot.

Then there was a contingency that preened their minds with knowledge, which often became arrogance instead of a mission to eradicate ignorance.

And finally, a goodly number chased after strength, following a sensual lifestyle, which only dealt with things of the body.

We became incomplete people.

We segregated into our colonies of interest and even warred with one another because we believed our particular rendition of human behavior was more suited for the times.

We lost our way.

In the midst of a calm came a doldrums–a sense of hopelessness because of the aching sensation of incompleteness.

Let us be clear:

We are heart creatures. Our emotions cannot be denied, but instead, should be passed along to our soul, where they can be clarified. Once we’ve achieved this cleanness, we can renew our minds with information that is personal and not merely related to the experiences of others. Once the mind is given a mission, the strength can be directed in more profitable and healthier choices.

Yes, the goal of the human race is to use our heart to reach our creative soul to renew our extended thinking to pursue deeds of fruitful daring.

Unfortunately, things became calm.

People got lazy.

And the door was left open for confusion.

 

 

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After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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

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Unto Us … December 1, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2081)

babies newbornSome people just don’t get it.

They seem to be completely adverse to the notion of a “baby God,” born in a stable, to bring peace to the world.

Maybe it sounds too much like a “hippie philosophy,” or reeks of humanism. I don’t know. But this is what I’m sure of–or at least, convinced of in my own mind: God didn’t cheat.

When He decided that a more human approach was necessary to convey His love and message, He put Himself through the entire process, beginning with birthing, circumcision and diaper rash.

The story of Jesus is not a supernatural one. It is a naturally superone.

It isn’t God stuffed inside the skin of a human being, but rather, a human being who allowed God to come in.

On this Advent Sunday, which welcomes in the Christmas season, some individuals will remind you that the most important thing about the Christ is his death, to bring us salvation for our sins. They are so anxious to nail Jesus that they’re willing to tear apart the bassinet in order to build the cross.

But as the prophet said, “Unto us a child is born.”

Yes. It’s for us.

Jesus was a little brother who took the hard knocks of human life without exception, to become our older brother. But it all began with Mama’s milk, burping, and a helluva lot of crying.

I love Christmas because it reminds us that God didn’t take any shortcuts in finding a path to become one of us–even choosing to be conceived, born and becoming a child needing to grow in wisdom, stature and in favor with everyone.

So Merry Christmas. And in this season, stop looking for the supernatural and find magnificent ways … to make the natural more super.

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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

Grace Period … September 13, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2004)

leaseI remember how thrilled I was in my twenties when I realized that even though my rent was due on the first of the month, I had five days to pay it before I was delinquent. It was referred to as the “grace period.”

But here’s the problem with that idea: within two months I became convinced that my rent was not due until the fifth. Instead of following the rules of the lease, which said I should pay on the first, I felt my rent could wait until the fifth. Eventually I created my own grace period–I started paying on the tenth and then the fifteenth. In no time at all, I rationalized that I was only one month behind.

You see, grace sounds like a wonderful idea until it’s perverted in the mind of a human twister. Rather than being grateful for the extension of mercy, we have a tendency to redefine and expand upon the original offer.

It doesn’t work in our secular society when we tell people to lie, cheat, deny and avoid doing anything admitting fault, and it does not work in the religious community either, where we generate simpering converts who tearfully espouse their weakness and pray for God to cover their lack.

Is there anywhere or any place where people are still trying to make better human beings?

I will tell you what grace is NOT. From there you can draw your own conclusions:

1. Grace can never be expected. Why? Because the Good Book says that grace is “given to the humble,” and the minute we start thinking we’re picking it up like a paycheck, pride and arrogance remove the value of the gift.

2. It can’t continue to allow us license to be stupid. Once again, the Good Book tells us that we can’t “continue in sin,” hoping that grace will arrive by oxcart, just in time to cover our butts.

3. And finally, grace can’t brag. The minute we start telling stories about how God has supernaturally protected us from our own foolishness instead of silently breathing a prayer of gratitude due to unmerited favor, we not only become obnoxious, but heaven also stops returning our phone calls.

God’s grace is sufficient for us–and therefore is determined by Him, not by the accumulation of our mounting pleas.

I think we would do well to take a season in our society to walk away from grace and encourage people to rediscover the power and majesty of personal responsibility.

  • I don’t think it will diminish grace, because when we are looking to our own hearts, we are humble. God gives grace.
  • When we’re checking out our own motives, we stop fostering foolishness and sin in our lives. Grace is permitted to hang around.
  • And if we will cease screaming and yelling about grace being everlasting, we will discover that the amount sent our way is always sufficient.

I have noticed of late that not many companies talk about “grace periods” anymore. For grace given to a lazy fool is always wasted, always taken for granted and always defined by the sluggard as a blank check … for stupidity.

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