Good News and Better News … February 19th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3588)

During a particularly glorious pee-pee break during the night, I turned on the TV to light my path, muting the sound (as I didn’t require any audio commentary while urinating.)

Upon returning to my bed, I reached for the selector to turn off the TV–my normal practice–so I could roll over and hook Sleep One up with Sleep Two, when I looked up and saw Joel Osteen on the screen.

I have no strong sentiment about Pastor Osteen. There are some people who think he is handsome, with his million-dollar smile and house to match, and others who call him everything from a charlatan to a heretic. (The worst thing I probably have done is finding myself holding the coats of those who were stoning the Houstonian.)

But I also do not favor his instruction. Oh, that’s stupid. I just really have never listened to him. After all, I find myself so fascinating there’s little time for others. (I hope you know I’m kidding…)

But on a whim, I unmuted the messenger and let him speak. Amazingly, for the next three-and-a-half minutes, this young gentleman spoke directly to my heart. His message was so specifically designed to my circumstance that I was startled. If I were the superstitious sort, I might even believe the actual show did not exist, but was manufactured in the heavens to be aired on my screen and mine alone.

For three-and-a-half minutes there was nothing but Joel talking to me. After that it got a little clunky, but I treasured my three-and-a-half minutes.

Clarity. It is one of the greatest things God can give us. We all pray for healing, finance and retribution, and He offers us wisdom and strength, knowing that these two powerhouses usually set everything else in motion. I was struck by the simplicity of it all.

You see, I’m tapped.

I’m not angry, I’m not frustrated, I’m not disillusioned. I’m just tapped.

I am drained of any further toleration for a religious system that spends time bickering instead of beckoning.

Drained of a political collision in Washington which is no merely longer involved in gridlock, but has transformed our country into bumper cars.

And a business world which decides to charge more for a candy bar while simultaneously shrinking its size.

So in a sense, I have great empathy for the WWE (another show I’ve never watched). I am tapped out.

I don’t want to wrestle any more. I’m tired of the struggle. I’m weary of watching people pretend they’re passionate, only to resume their mediocre lives once the cameras are turned off.

I don’t want to hear any more about school shootings–not because I’m indifferent to brothers and sisters who were slain, but rather, enraged by those who use the event to become overly religious, maudlin, improve ratings or posture for votes.

God came into my room last night with the aid of Joel’s words, calmed me down and gave me another gallon of hope for truckin’ on.

I am no longer tapped. I am open for business, to be gentle, kind, humble and therefore, powerful.

The good news is, God spoke to me through Joel Osteen.

The better news is, I didn’t act like a jerk, but instead, listened.

 

 

Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

3 Things… December 28th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3535)

 

To Remember Going into the New Year

1. Stop calling it stress. It’s just life.

 

2. Charge yourself 3 dollars an hour for watching TV, movies and Internet programming. Then take one-half of that money and give it to charity, and the other half put in your retirement fund.

 

3. Take a nap. It’s better than exercise.

Donate Button

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

Reverend Meningsbee (Part 36) A Rebuking Hour… January 8th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3180)

Reverend Meningsbee

About twenty-five miles outside Garsonville, Meningsbee pulled his vehicle onto the side of the road because the tears in his eyes had become so overwhelming that he couldn’t see to drive anymore.

He didn’t know why he was crying.

Certainly there was a lot of incrimination and anguish behind the tears–but something else was emptying his well of discontent. He didn’t know what it was and he didn’t want to think about it–he just wanted to get back to Garsonville.

Home.

Was it home?

Or was it really just a place he had inserted himself to make some theological point? It certainly seemed to have grown beyond that. He had a very tender heart for the people he served.

After a few minutes, some good old-fashioned thinking dried up the gushers in his eyes and he headed toward the parsonage.

He arrived there on Saturday evening, about nine o’clock. There was just enough time to put together some notes for the next day, crawl into bed and collapse from exhaustion.

The next morning, he purposely arrived a little later so he wouldn’t have to field a series of “narthex questions,” leading to stymied silences.

The congregation was already seated and singing “Sweet Hour of Prayer” as he made his way down the aisle to the front, turned and waited for them to finish the beautiful hymn.

He took a pause, not trying to be dramatic, but staring at the people, searching for words. He began.

“Jesus once preached a sermon that was so pungent, pointed, relevant and convicting that the Bible says everybody left. At least five thousand people.

Jesus was saddened. He turned to his disciples and said, ‘Are you going to go away, too?'”

All at once, Meningsbee was interrupted by a woman in her forties, standing to her feet.

“Reverend, my name is Sarah–Sarah Rothchild. I don’t go to this church. I don’t go to any church. But I came here today because this church found a way, through its message and love, to permeate through the doors and windows of my home and reach me–even without my attendance. We haven ‘t left you, sir. There aren’t five thousand disciples marching away, grumbling about your ministry. You keep leaving us. You keep running away. You came here to do something magnificent–different–personal–and dare I say, human. And then because some critics have come along to challenge you, you scurry away like a little spider to quietly spin your web of self-pity. We need you. But most of all, we need you not to run away. I don’t know if I’ll join this church, but I do know this town is better since you came here. And I decided to dress up and join you folks today so I could rebuke you. Isn’t that a Bible word? If it isn’t, it should be. I’m here to rebuke you for being a coward.”

One of the ushers stepped forward with the intention of leading Sarah out of the church. Meningsbee held up a hand, motioning for him sit back down. The pastor turned back to Sarah to listen. Sensing that she was finding disfavor, Sarah became defensive.

“I didn’t come to make trouble. I just believe that the only way you can prove what you say is to stick around after people disagree with you. I think it’s time for you to either pack your bags, leave Garsonville and admit this was just a game to you. Or else hang in here with us and see if we can’t make it through these problems–especially getting out of the condemnation from these horrible shows on TV.”

Sarah looked around the room for some sign of support. Everybody was afraid to move. So she reached down, grabbed her purse, turned around and was ready to dash out of the sanctuary.

Meningsbee stepped forward, stopping her.

“By the way, Sarah, that is officially called a rebuke. And you helped me discover what I was crying about last night as I drove into town. I am a coward. Not something you’re really able to say about yourself, until you hear somebody else accuse you of it. I’m scared. I’m not scared of being wrong. I’m scared of being right…and all alone. So if you’ll forgive me and give me another chance, I would like to try to do better. I would like to try…”

Meningsbee stopped.

He didn’t know what to say and had probably already said too much. He bowed his head.

One after another, the congregation members rose, walked up and gave Meningsbee their rendition of Christian greeting, love and hugs.

The last one to come to him was Sarah, his rebuker. She started to say she was sorry, but before she could speak, Meningsbee erupted with a revival of tears.

He fell on her shoulder and cried like a little boy who had just skinned his knee. She patted his back, weeping along with him. The Garsonville elect stood back and watched, like little children seeing a deer in the forest for the first time.

At length, everybody headed out of the church.

But as the first congregant opened the door, standing there was Kitty, Hapsy’s mom.

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

Jesonian: The Original Millennials… October 11th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2719)

millennials

Using information provided and having a general understanding of the longevity of their lives, we can pretty well assume that Peter, Andrew, James and John were somewhere between the ages of 15 and 25 when they met Jesus of Nazareth.

And since they ended up living in the 1st Century A.D., they are “the original millennials.”

So it’s very intriguing to consider how Jesus handled these young men, who obviously had little interest in religious matters, God, traditions or anything but fishing.

Yes, they were typical young folk:

  • They were fishing for purpose.
  • They were fishing for compliments.
  • They were fishing for ways to avoid responsibility.
  • And in their case, they were literally fishing for fish.

They would never have encountered the Nazarene if he had held meetings at the local synagogue or started a store-front in Capernaum. So how did Jesus handle his millennials?

We find that answer in the Good Book, in Luke the 5th Chapter.

1. He went where they were.

They lived by the sea, so he went to the sea.

2. He worked with what they knew.

Since their business was fishing and they were accustomed to boats, he asked to borrow their boat so he could teach from it, which in turn created a climate for:

3. A captive audience.

Yes, to a certain degree they were trapped in the boat, doing him a favor, but at the same time, hearing the message. Yet Jesus did not stop there and make it a theological encounter. Instead:

4. He profited them in a way they could understand.

After the sermon he told them to take their nets and cast them into the water for a great haul of fish. Thus he proved that the best parts of believing in God are the benefits that come through practical application. Which ended up with:

5. Jesus joining them as they joined him.

And instead of holding a revival at the synagogue or storefront, Peter’s home became their headquarters. It’s much easier to minister to people in an environment where they feel comfortable taking off their shoes.

It is unlikely we will be able to conventionally reach a younger generation that has already given up on the idea of organized religion. Perhaps it is their mission to show us the fallacy of religion without reality.

So if you’re a minister, stop inviting people to church and instead, write a blog reviewing movies, TV shows or video games.

Meet the millennials at the sea, where they’re doing their fishing.

And benefit them by showing them ways to enhance their relationships, children and families.

And then, don’t force them to come to your institution, but instead, set up a way for them to have faith … in their own homes.

 

Donate Button

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

***************************

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

 $3.99 plus $2.00 S&H

$3.99 plus $2.00 S & H

$3.99 plus $2.00 S & H

Buy Now Button

 

The Family Way… July 19, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1947)

angy kitchenAt first consideration, one would not think that Jerry Springer, the PTL Club, MSNBC and Fox News have much of anything in common.

But having great fun in the middle of the night, awakening from sleep, and doing a little channel surfing on the old TV, I found that all four of them, in the process of a few moments, espoused an identical declaration:

“It’s all about family.”

Even though the words came out of the mouth of a former crack-addicted mother, a black preacher, a liberal lesbian newscaster and a blond bimbo, they were still exactly the same wording and rhetoric.

Matter of fact, I would say that those words are what you would call a “safe haven” for anyone to speak if they wanted to evoke applause.

But doing a little figuring, assuming that there are eight billion people in the world and growing, if each little family consists of about four to eight individuals, then we would have one billion non-connecting units on planet earth, who are mainly concerned about their clump of four to eight people.

Does that frighten you? Does the notion of one billion renegade troupes of human souls, focused only on their own well-being, put a chill down your spine?family studio

But once again, ironically, we refuse to reference Jesus’ feelings and attitudes on this issue, even though we claim to be a Christian nation. So let me refresh you:

  • When Jesus was informed that his family had arrived “to see him,” he turned, pointed to the crowd and said, “These are my family. Anyone who does the will of my Father is my mother, sister and brother.”
  • During his Sermon on the Mount, he warned us that if you only love those who love you, you are no better than the heathen.
  • He gave another stern admonition to his disciples, warning that often our worst enemies are those of our own households.
  • He selected twelve disciples with not a brother, sister or cousin among them, mainly because his family members had rejected him.
  • And he closed out his philosophical insights on this subject by saying, “If you don’t hate your mother and father, you are not worthy of the Kingdom.”

Now I do understand that these are all subject to interpretation. Some folks would even say I am taking them out of context. But the sheer glut of evidence lets us know that Jesus wanted us to expand our vision of family to include the entire brotherhood and sisterhood of humankind.

I have an absolutely fabulous family. I would not use the word “proud” in describing my sentiments about them–their lives are their own and I should not garner kudos for their accomplishments. Christmas jassBut I will tell you this–I have often upset those immediate kin of mine by including more people into my circle as family than they deemed necessary.

I have three sons who were born of my seed and three others that I took into my home and adopted.

I have young people all over the country I have supported with prayer and encouragement, who I feel close to because I include them in my family.

The notion that we can continue to shrink our vision of fellowship and treat the rest of human beings as either peripheral OR superfluous will cause us to become a more closed society, wracked with indifference.

Here are my three suggestions:

1. Love your family by finding other people who remind you of your family and love them equally.

2. Don’t cut more slack to your family than you do to other people; otherwise, you are on a dangerous road to hypocrisy.

3. Teach your children to love people because they are God’s creation instead of the fact that they’re “your creation.”

The “family way” of doing things in this country is a sly trick, designed to keep us insulated from feeling the pain of others.

If we don’t increase our vision, don’t be surprised if we become blind to the need.

 

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

“Stephening”… May 15, 2013

(1,821)

0akdaleSometimes I just can’t sleep very well.

It’s not insomnia–it’s usually because I’m excited about the next day, and my brain is moving at seventy-two miles per hour in a thirty mile per hour zone. On those rare occasions, I turn on the TV.

Last night when I did so, the first thing that popped on the screen was a high-energy rock and roll concert with a young lady running across the stage, dancing and singing with vibrance and enthusiasm. I was unable to make out the words but they had something to do with how excited she was to be in love.

You see, I’m kind of a weird old fart. I’ve always liked rock and roll and still do. I even like all the transformations that have occurred and am greatly intrigued by the present crop being harvested in the music field. What struck me last night was that even though I’m not critical about how young humans entertain themselves, I am greatly concerned about their pursuit of inspiration.

Whether you like jazz, dancing, hunting, fishing, sewing or tap dance really doesn’t make much difference to me, but I do think that somewhere along the line we human beings need to come to an agreement on what is truly inspiring.

This week when I made my way to Stephenville, Texas, my mind floated back to recall the life of a young fellow named Stephen. He, too, was bursting with youth. He was selected to do a job. They put him in charge of food distribution for the hungry and told him to make sure it was done equitably. They trusted him.

Now, here’s the twist: the next time we hear about Stephen, he’s not passing out bread to the hungry, but instead, is sharing his life story and the mission of his message with the masses.

And then, in our next encounter, he is speaking truthfully to the powers that be, and because his words are so convicting, he ends up being killed.

Quite a transition.

It got me thinking about what I think “Stephening” is. For I believe this–if you’re a young human, interested in rock and roll, movies, video games and technology, more power to you. But somewhere in your soul, there has to be a kernel of awareness about the world around you and your part in helping to make it better.

Stephen had that.

  1. He had a yearning to take care of the needs of others.
  2. But he also was not going to be limited to that, and freely stepped out of the box prepared for him, to do something of his own heartfelt desire.
  3. He shared with others–he didn’t hold the truths that were working in his life inside himself, but instead, freely communicated his joy to the world around him.
  4. And finally, he wasn’t afraid.

True success is when we walk away from tradition and also avoid walking toward “the world.”  We find out where tradition has failed, and instead of pursuing the foolishness of abstract materialism and bad habits, we forge a path towards inspiration.

Tonight I will be at the Oakdale United Methodist Church in Stephenville. I am so delighted to be with them–and I’ll be curious if there are any folks there who are interested in “Stephening.”

Because if you don’t decide to care for others, step out of the box, open up your heart to the people around you and not be afraid, you either become a slave to tradition–or a puppy dog chasing the world.

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

*****

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

%d bloggers like this: