Jesonian … August 25th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3775)

Jesus without religion--the mindset of Jesus

Temperamental.

Yes, I do believe that would be the word that the folks of our culture nowadays would attribute to Jesus if they carefully studied his actions and reactions with the human race.

He wasn’t always sweet.

He wasn’t always kind.

He wasn’t always compassionate.

But in reviewing his lifestyle and his personal moods, you get a good glimpse of what the Gospel is truly about instead of what it’s purported to be.

We take great pains to convince people that they’re sinners, but it doesn’t make any difference–God’s grace covers it all. But if the motivations of Jesus are any indication of the mind of God, I think we’re sorely mistaken. After all, Jesus did say he “came to show us the Father.”

Based on that premise, what do we know about God through Jesus?

Jesus had no mercy on incompetence.

When he told the parable of the virgins, he made it clear that they were foolish because they didn’t think ahead and provide enough oil for themselves to last until the bridegroom came.

He also stated that people laugh at anyone who builds a foundation but doesn’t have the time and money to finish it.

And of course, let’s not forget the basic teaching of “counting the cost” before leaping into a project.

Jesus had no mercy for judgmental people.

When the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, Jesus weighed the value of a human being against the sin of adultery, and determined that the soul was more important than the judgment.

He explained the same principle to James and John, who wanted to hurl fireballs from the sky down on the Samaritans. He challenged them, “You don’t know what spirit you are of.”

And Jesus certainly had no mercy on people who were self-piteous.

When the man at the pool insisted that he was too weak to get into the healing waters–that everybody beat him to it–Jesus later told him, “Be careful how you think and what you do, because something worse could befall you.”

And we must understand that Jesus never visited a leper colony. Those who felt sorry for themselves because of their disease never found the healing touch of the Master.

Christianity would prosper if we would let Jesus be Jesus instead of insisting that he fit into the mold of a Christ who salves the Old Covenant while initiating the new one.

Jesus had no mercy for the Old Covenant.

He told them their “house was left desolate,” and that they couldn’t put “new wine into old wineskins.”

Would you call that temperamental?

Maybe not–just impatient with those who make excuses and end up losing the opportunity to be fruitful.

 

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Jesonian … November 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Those that are not for us are against us.

Those that are not against us are for us.

These seem to be two contrary thoughts–even a contradiction. Yet Jesus said both of them.

And due to a lack of understanding, the soldiers of the cross all line up behind one campaign or the other.

Some churches firmly believe that the Gospel is under attack by a sinful world, manipulated by Satan.

Other churches insist that people are basically good, and it’s up to us to help them through their hard times so they can find themselves.

We even divide our political parties along the same lines. Devout Republicans tend to favor isolation, and the Democrats are proponents of intervention.

We also see this clearly with James, John and Judas. James and John were isolationists. When they came to Samaria and the people rejected them, they were angry and suggested the folks should be destroyed for their lack of hospitality.

Jesus rebuked them and said they didn’t understand what spirit was working inside them.

Judas, on the other hand, criticized Jesus for spending money foolishly instead of taking the funds and using it to feed the poor. Jesus replied to him that the poor were never going away, and if we try to resolve poverty, we’ll end up angry and bitter. He said the best we can do is offer what we can afford.

The battle still rages today:

Are we going to be a church of isolation, a country of isolation, or should we favor intervention, both spiritually and politically?

What is the way of the Earth? What is the true message of the Gospel?

Did Jesus come to isolate off a group of believers, or did he come to intervene in the lives of everyone?

Neither.

The Gospel interrupts.

It offers an alternative. It sheds light and produces salt as evidence of another possibility.

The Gospel interrupts the process by offering a more common sense, logical, easier and gentle approach.

When the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, they asked him what he thought they should do. He doesn’t answer specifically. He says, “If you have no sin, you should feel free to cast the first stone to kill the woman.”

The Bible says at this point, he turns around, stoops and fiddles in the dirt with his finger. He leaves it to them to come up with the right answer.

It is rather doubtful if we can live in a world that is an Internet click away from covering 25,000 miles, and believe we can isolate ourselves from other nations.

It is equally as ridiculous to contend that our intervention–taking over the circumstances of nations–will do anything to generate permanent resolution.

Jesus has called his church to be an interruption. While enjoying our lives of simple Gospel bliss, we offer an alternative to others through our example and our generosity.

We interrupt.

Jesus said, “I didn’t come to bring peace. I came to bring a sword to divide people.”

The ultimate interruption.

To be a Jesonian believer is to understand that isolating ourselves from others does not alleviate being at the mercy of their insanity, but also understanding that intervening and thinking we can feed all the poor is equally as unstable.

What we can do is interrupt.

In the process of living a full, joyful life, we brush up against others, and in doing so, we plant the seeds of better notions. For after all, people are not changed by being ignored or controlled.

They must see our good works to glorify the Father in heaven.

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Jesonian… June 10th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sex, money and family.

These are the three topics that encompass the majority of conversation for the average American.

Sex, discussed in the context of portraying ourselves as studly and virile while simultaneously pointing out the sinfulness in others.

Money, a perpetual complaint because we all feel we should have much more than we do.

And family because somewhere along the line we’ve convinced ourselves that our particular brood of offspring has a special place in the universe because we spawned them.

Matter of fact, I can pretty well guarantee you that if you wade into the horde of humanity, you’d better be prepared to talk about one of these subjects–probably all three.

I offer this preface because Jesus avoided these three subjects like a religion.

When they tried to get him to gossip about a woman caught in the act of adultery, he turned away, stooped down and fiddled in the dirt like he didn’t even hear them.

He certainly made the point to a bunch of pious Pharisees that because prostitutes were coming into knowledge of the Kingdom of God, they were going to enter heaven much sooner than the religious leaders. (This wasn’t very popular.)

When it came to money, he was confronted by a gentleman who wanted Jesus to be an arbiter in an inheritance squabble with a brother. Jesus curtly replies that “no one has made me a judge over such matters” and then proceeds to tell a parable about the dangers of greed. Probably not what the young fellow was looking for when he advanced his question.

And as pertains to family, Jesus made it totally clear to those around him that when his kin came to see him with the intent of returning him to Nazareth because they thought he was crazy, Jesus explained that his family was “anyone who did the will of my Father.”

So if you remove the subject of sex–which is often judgmental condemnations about the preferences of others; and money–which seems to be a perpetual lamentation over not having enough; and family–the extolling of our particular procreation due to sexual prowess–you really don’t have much to talk about, even in the lobby of a church.

Jesus had other topics that interested him:

Mercy.

Justice.

Compassion.

Faith that was ready to move mountains and those individuals who broke out of the pattern of the “sex, money and family fixation” to find a way to get along with everybody on the planet.

If you’re going to progress as a Jesonian individual–someone who pursues the heart of Jesus and not just his sacrifice–you need to realize that Jesus is not worried about your sex organs, your financial status nor how cute you think your grand-baby is.

This would probably cause him to receive some very critical glances from the Mens Fellowship and the Ladies Auxiliary. He did not care.

If you can’t get your mind out of the gutter, your brain free of feeling financially cheated, and your heart devoted to something other than those living under your own roof, you probably will back your way into a tragedy.

At that point you will have a choice.

Will you take responsibility for it due to your short-sightedness, or will you wonder why God didn’t do something to stop it?

 

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Good News and Better News… September 28th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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map of Sheboygan

Many years ago, I sensed a voice within me, encouraging me to go out and share my heart and abilities with the world. Some people would say it was the voice of God, while others would probably insist that it was just me, declaring my own bidding.

I don’t care.

I heeded the call, and that decision has taken me on an exotic adventure.

Kindness. I deeply love that word. It saddens me that it has been equated with weakness. There is actually nothing that takes more human strength than to be kind. It threatens to attack us if we dare consider it.

I spent the weekend in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I felt kindness–whether it was the surprise bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup given to me with the meal I purchased at the restaurant or the warm-hearted folks strolling across the green at the Farmer’s Market, sniffing the tomatoes and pondering a pumpkin.

Then we arrived at the church, with half a dozen folks, ready and able to help us carry in our equipment and assist us in any way possible. They are shepherded by a man named Rick who has a gentleness which oozes the aforementioned kindness.They received the strength of my teaching while being sensitive to the weakness that presently inhabits my body.

I am moved at their interpretation of the soul of Jesus. I am so in love with this particular congregation that I will tell you, they are on the precipice of discovering a greater understanding. And what is that greater understanding?

True spirituality is a three-step process:

1. Listen.

That’s right. Shut up. Talking is exhausting and it’s also boring. Try to listen to what people are saying. Try to listen to the pain and the joy of the world around you. Try to be a hearer of the Word before becoming a doer.

2. Change.

Because I can tell you, as you listen to the patter of your brothers and sisters, you will feel the need to change.

When they brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, they explained to him that the law of God said that she should die by stoning. He didn’t argue the theology with them–he questioned the practicality. What chance is there for righteousness to grow if we kill off all the sinners?

Jesus changed, right there on the spot. Jesus altered religious fervor in deference to God’s favor. He forgave the woman.

If you’re not ready to change, don’t expect anything of quality to happen.

3. Respond.

Once you’ve listened carefully and altered your philosophy to be sensitive to humans instead of critical of them, you are prepared to respond, and that normally will be kindness.

Thank you, Sheboygan, for being kind.

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G-Poppers…May 1st, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Popper

Grandson returned from Sunday morning church, moping around the house, barely touching his Sunday lunch.

G-Pop kept an eye on him but felt it was wise to let the little fella come around in his own timing. Sure enough, just about the time G-Pop was ready to take that blessed Sunday afternoon nap, Grandson arrived, full of energy, but confused, brimming with questions.

“G-Pop, I need to talk to you.”

G-Pop gauged the young boy’s temperament and realized he was about to hear a speech, so he nodded his head and the little guy commenced.

“Why does God kill people? The reason I ask is because in Sunday School today, the teacher told us that God rained fire down from the sky on some cities–I forget their names. Well, anyway, that He did it because they were sinful and He had to destroy them. So I asked my teacher why God killed those people and he said it was because they were sinful. Well, I asked, don’t we all sin? And the teacher said yes, but their sins were really, really bad and we should realize that if our sins get bad enough, God could do the same thing to us. This really bothered me. How can God love us and kill us at the same time? So after a while, it didn’t just bother me, it made me mad. And I felt stupid being mad at God, since that could be a sin–and the kind He would want to kill me for, if you know what I mean. So I don’t know if I want to go back to Sunday School to hear more about God killing, because it makes me sad for those He killed and also scared that He’s going to kill me.”

G-Pop waited to make sure the little boy was done. Also, he hadn’t heard a question, so wasn’t sure if it was the time to provide answers.

Grandson realized that G-Pop was quiet, so he said, “What do you think?”

“Well, I think there are many stories about God but only one God who creates the stories. And before you ask, what I mean by that is that we have to judge the stories by what we know about God. For instance, when Adam and Eve sinned, did He kill them?”

The little boy shook his head.

“How about when Cain killed Abel? Did God kill Cain?”

“I don’t think so,” said the Grandson.

“No, he didn’t.” repied G-Pop. “How about when James and John wanted to kill the Samaritans with fire from heaven? Did Jesus do it?”

Once again, the boy shook his head.

“When they brought the woman who had sinned to Jesus and they wanted to kill her, did he let them?”

“No,” said the grandson.

“Matter of fact,” said G-Pop, “Jesus told his disciples that people who want to kill other people are not acting in the spirit of God. So I don’t know why some stories insist that God kills. But it doesn’t mean they’re right. What if you went to school tomorrow and somebody told you that G-Pop was a killer. Would you believe them?”

“No, G-Pop wouldn’t kill anybody!” objected the young man.

“Exactly. But what if they told you a really good story and it sounded true. Would you believe them then?”

“I don’t know,” said the little boy.

“Exactly,” responded G-Pop. “I’m not trying to tell you that parts of the Bible are wrong. I’m just saying that when parts of the Bible contradict what we know about God, we need to quietly walk away from them and follow our hearts.”

“So why do they teach them?” asked the boy, a little bit perturbed.

G-Pop paused. “Well, because they think the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, those cities that were destroyed, is just as important as Jesus teaching the multitudes. They forget that Jesus came to fulfill all the stories through the example of his life. So if you didn’t see Jesus do it, or hear that Jesus said it, then it’s probably just a story.”

The little boy was greatly relieved, partly because he didn’t want to believe God kills…but mostly because he didn’t want God to kill him.

 

 

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Jesonian: Depraved or Saved? … August 3, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2311)

Jesus healing

For those who are saved by grace, it would be wonderful to see them become more graceful. Otherwise, salvation by grace generates an insecure people who have lost hope, and threaten to become a disgrace.

What is salvation?

Is it as the fundamentalists believe–an admission of our entire, depraved, sinful nature, which has to be reborn through baptism so that we become acceptable in the eyes of God?

Or is it as the mainline denominational people believe–a submission to the teachings and philosophy of Jesus, while applying the traditions of the church?

I am most comfortable looking at salvation through the eyes of Jesus rather than the permutations brought about through denominations.

A Centurion once sent word to him, asking Jesus to heal his servant. He believed Jesus could do it from a distance, since he, the Centurion, felt that he was unworthy of a personal visitation. Jesus said he had never seen such great faith.

There was a woman at a well with five previous husbands, and was living with a man, but became the conduit for a revival in her town because she brought her curiosity, which was accounted unto her for salvation.

Zacchaeus decided to make reparations for all he had stolen from people, and Jesus said “this day salvation had come to his house.”

The woman caught in adultery hung around after the crowd departed, to receive a final verdict from Jesus. He confirmed her salvation by telling her that he did not condemn her, but challenged her to go and sin no more.

The woman with the issue of blood brought a plan. “If I just touch the hem of his garment, I’ll be well…”

The Prodigal Son came to himself and offered common sense. “I would be better off being a servant in my father’s house than starving out here in the wilderness.”

  • Faith.
  • Curiosity.
  • Reparations.
  • Humility.
  • A plan.
  • Common sense.

These are all part of the process of salvation. When we believe that the depravity of man must be established in order to prove that God’s grace has been extended, then we close the door to those who don’t require a complete overhaul, but instead, just a way to identify the source of the beautiful life that God has given them.

We must be careful that in the pursuit of proving that God is great, we allow for the disciples of Jesus to mature instead of becoming more meager in their character, to bolster the doctrine. Because as the Gospel of John tells us, “to as many as believed in him, gave he the power to become the sons of God.”

Salvation is an empowering experience. It is taking our spirit, which has been unplugged, and uniting it with the Spirit of God … to recreate the beauty of Eden in our soul.

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