Good News and Better News … January 22nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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She stopped for five minutes to listen to the young teenage girl lament over the fussiness of a budding love life.

Arriving in the kitchen, he found a mess, but rather than complaining about it, he hummed a song while he cleaned it up, telling no one of his deeds.

She noticed that one of the pages of the hymn book was ripped. Rather than bothering anyone in leadership, she found some invisible scotch tape and repaired it–nearly good as new.

One of the older ladies was on her way to complain to an usher about a stopped-up toilet when he intercepted her, followed her to the restroom and successfully unclogged her need.

Realizing that the young preacher was very insecure in his new position, she was careful to take notes and ask him questions to further stimulate his study and bolster his ego.

Knowing that the choir director was employed to work with the existing talent to provide anthems for the church on Sunday mornings, he was very careful to encourage the conductor for his efforts instead of wondering why the altos were always just a little off-key.

And she–well, she noticed there was a young woman who took several extra pieces of cake off the hospitality tray every week, tucking them into her purse, with her little girl in tow. Coming to the conclusion that there might be some hunger need there, the following week she brought a cake just for them–fresh, sweet and theirs alone.

Church happens all the time. We just don’t call it church. We call it mercy, compassion, tenderness and concern.

Somehow or another we’ve convinced ourselves that true church is a worshipful atmosphere of massaging God’s ego.

The good news is that Jesus was a humanist.

The better news is, when we love one another and care for each other’s needs, we become the best friend of the Master.

 

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The Alphabet of Us: Z is for Zeal… June 1st, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

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building block Z

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

“Be careful.”

I think it’s safe to say that all parents mouth that sentiment at least a thousand times to their child from birth to high school graduation.

It’s sound advice if it’s defined correctly and backed up with suitable examples. What we’re really trying to tell our offspring is to be smart.

But sometimes it’s not smart to tread carefully.A greater danger sneaks into the picture, creating a fuzzy outlook on life. Because careful can easily become cautious.

The difference between careful and cautious is that careful is a profile to be ready for trouble and cautious is a decision to look for it.

Ultimately, caution tends to lead the over-protected soul into a pathway of suspicion. And of course, when you think that everything or everyone is out to get you, you not only miss out on many blessings, but eventually something or someone does get you–merely to mock your defenses.

Here is the truth of the matter–human beings cannot live without passion. Even if we become passionate about being suspicious, we are still engaging ourselves in an active profile.

So without abandoning the position of being careful, how can we unleash the energy of our faith and talent into the world around us?

Zeal.

  • “I am ready.”
  • “I am not hesitant.”
  • “I am not fearful.”
  • “I also am not stupid.”
  • “I’m ready to believe that something good can come my way.”

Without zeal, we become encumbered by conspiracy theories and absorb the available doom and gloom in the room.

As careful leads to cautious, zeal opens the door to zealous. Matter of fact, the Good Book tells us to be zealously affected by a good thing. Zealous is when we take our “ready” status, select a favored cause and become excited.

I’m not completely sure what the Father in heaven dislikes, but I will tell you–He is deeply enthralled with human beings who are excited.

Zealous contains two important parts:

1. “I believe it’s possible for something good to happen.”

2. “I believe I’ve found it.”

Zealous is the opposite of cautious.

It is walking into a room knowing that you’ll be looking for a light switch instead of cursing the darkness. This culminates in the word “zealot.”

It is most unfortunate that this word has such negative ramifications. Actually, a zealot is someone who is committed and has become excited because he or she is ready for something good to happen.

We can’t live our lives like pre-teen girls who see a small spider in the corner of the bedroom and spend the rest of the night believing that hairy-legged varmints are crawling all over them.

Zeal makes us ready to be zealous, excited about possibilities, which gives us the opportunity to become committed zealots–chasing down a miracle that will change our world.

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Reservations… December 16, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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angel light“Behold, the handmaiden of the Lord…”

These were the words uttered by the Virgin Mary of Nazareth upon hearing that she was to be the human incubator of the Messiah. Of course, she had no idea what the project entailed, nor exactly how God works with people to perform greatness.

  • Jesus was an idea.
  • God loves ideas.

The problem with our comprehension of the Divine is that we believe the “idea person” should jump in and do all the work. It doesn’t happen that way.

Actually, if you study the story carefully and put it into the context of Mary’s lifespan, it is a tale of unfulfillment, punctuated by obedience and highlighted by very brief moments of encouragement.

For after all, getting pregnant in a small town when you’re not married is not pleasant whatsoever–especially among people who consider stoning. Being a teenage girl going through morning sickness, swollen legs and a growing belly leaves little time for reflections on angels and promises.

And then to discover that your family is about to be taxed and you will have to leave town during your third trimester to journey over a hundred miles away–only to have your water break right outside the town of your destination, while your husband is unable to find any kind of lodging without situating you next to an animal–well, it certainly takes the glimmer off the original statement of acceptance and willingness.

But it didn’t stop there.

She was chased out of Israel, lived for at least five years in a foreign land, returned home to renewed gossip from non-forgiving-nor-forgetting townsfolk, and settled into what seemed to be a quiet life with a normal family, with no signs of her “miracle son” being particularly special, except for the one time when he was twelve years old and disobeyed her by hanging out in the temple.

When he was grown, she watched his erratic behavior as he lived among wild beasts and fasted, preached against religious intolerance and was rejected by his home town and nearly killed.

Shortly after that, his execution was completed on a hill–hung between two thieves and thrown into a tomb, where to her amazement, he was resurrected. But even at the point of her death, his movement and words had not traveled much beyond the borders of Judea. Hardly confirmation for a world-wide savior.

All of this was initiated by an angel’s proclamation and the only further confirmation she received to give strength to the original promise was an occasional dream, which she had to choose to believe was significant.

The Christmas story is a beautiful insight into the mind of God. It reminds us that everything which is eventually deemed heavenly is brought to pass … through earthly sacrifice.

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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

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