Good News and Better News … June 27th, 2016

Good News Kochenderfer 2 

Jonathots Daily Blog

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My visitation yesterday was to the Kochenderfer United Methodist Church in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, not far from Harrisburg, the capital. A smile comes to my lips as I imagine you reading this, trying to mentally pronounce the word. For the sake of brevity and clarity, from now on I will refer to it as “KC.”

They were in the midst of a VBS explosion, hoping for 150 kids from the community to come out and enjoy some inspiring activities, complete with nutritious snacks.

So I slid in to address the humanity. After all, there are two aspects to our everyday challenge: there is the goal, and there is the humanity.

We love to talk about goals, so when the humanity arrives and robs us of some of our aspirations, we lament how it would have been “so much better if it had worked out according to plan.”

This has created a generation of people who struggle, promoting two central principles:

  1. Life is hard.
  2. Hard is good.

And why do we think hard is good? Because it makes us feel grown-up and causes us to believe we’re mature, like our parents. Unfortunately, it also makes us grumpy, grouchy, overly sensitive, depressed, despaired and I suppose even constipated.

But it’s the price we pay for being Earthlings, right?

Hogwash.

Such foolishness only makes disgruntled disciples of a Gospel that was meant to set us free.

So I don’t know if people agree with my simple approach to matters or not, but I have found it to be very liberating to my own soul.

Jesus really had only two things he wanted to get across to the human race. Matter of fact, he makes it clear that this is why he came to be among us:

A. “I have come to give you life and it more abundantly.”

B. “I have come that your joy might be full.”

We think he’s talking about heaven. But since Jesus said that he wanted his will to be “done on Earth as it is in heaven,” we should probably get busy practicing.

I let the people at KC know that if something comes along and robs you of your sense of abundant living and jubilance, you should be suspicious. Matter of fact, I guarantee you that if church was a place that produced abundant life and full joy, there might be more people showing up.

So by the time we got done chatting, fellowshipping, celebrating, laughing and crying at KC, I think the congregation was pretty well convinced that I was sold out on the concept of living abundantly with a jovial glee.

Did I have any converts? Did anyone buy into the concept that life is not meant to be hard and that hard is not a good thing?

I can’t be sure. But I know this–pain never produces gain.

That’s the good news–the arrival of pain is always a warning to cease the stress which produces the ache.

For you see, the better news is that “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

Good News Kochenderfer 1

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … May 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: Would you vote for a woman for President just because she’s a female?

 

Dear Man: Would you?

 

Dear Woman: I don’t understand what you’re asking. Would I what?

 

Dear Man: Would you vote for a woman for President if you still held true the things you were taught about the differences between men and women.

 

Dear Woman: I think I understand but let me give you a chance to explain.

 

Dear Man: Well, let’s just look at two of them–two things both of us were taught about men and women as being “natural” facts: women are more emotional and men are stronger.

 

Dear Woman: Yes, I was certainly taught that. It was tempered with excuses, examples and supposed reasons, but those two principles are certainly in my brain

 

Dear Man: Mine, too. Matter of fact, as a woman I am taught, to a certain degree, to glory in my sensitivity as a replacement for being muscular, forceful, decisive and strong.

 

Dear Woman: The old bait and switch. “We’ll let you be more sensitive if you let us be stronger.” So to answer your question, with that in mind, do I want a President of the United States who is very emotionally involved with the world, or one who is strong enough to stand up to our enemies?

 

Dear Man: There you go. And that’s not the belief of just common or ignorant people, but of scholars, liberals, ministers and even educators.

 

Dear Woman: There’s only one problem. Every human being is emotional if you find their treasure.

 

Dear Man: You’re referring to the statement, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

 

Dear Woman: Exactly. I may not get worked up about a sick kitten, but if my favorite project, my favorite cause, my favorite team or even my favorite car is attacked, I can be brought to tears in a minute.

 

Dear Man: So you’re saying it’s not an issue of possessing emotion, but instead, finding the treasure which controls the emotion.

 

Dear Woman: That’s absolutely right. So how about strength? Are men stronger?

 

Dear Man: Let me advance this theory. Strength does not exist like it’s a mountain, standing tall on the horizon. Strength is associated with the amount of joy we’re able to maintain in the presence of difficulty.

 

Dear Woman: Because if we become angry, frustrated and feel cheated, strength goes away. So if a woman–or a man–have contact with their real feelings and avoid getting defensive, either one can be strong.

 

Dear Man: As either one can be emotional based upon what they’ve decided to treasure.

 

Dear Woman: So the danger is the question of whether we will elect a candidate based on what we know about the things they treasure and how easily disappointed they become, or whether we’ll just look at their genitalia.

 

Dear Man: I couldn’t have said it better myself. And to answer your question, I would vote for candidates, male or female, who know where to place their treasure and who don’t allow difficulty to turn them into angry children.

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