Hendrix wrote and sang “Castles made of sand melt into the sea… eventually.”It occurs to me that selfish individualism is one major funnel-down as to why so many people hurt today. They not only hurt themselves but others due to this.I am thinking not only of the obvious such as, dictators who rape and pillage the country they supposedly serve and lead but also of average individuals in the world who seek at core, to build and maintain their own personal kingdom.What I am not saying is that all people everywhere in every decision ignore, overlook or otherwise trash everyone they are in contact with. What I am indeed saying is that all of us are tempted and at times for no other reason than we don’t like the feel of X, Y or Z cause others damage various levels because not getting our way rocks our personal boat.Keeping with the boat metaphor, Jesus shows up and does things like telling professional fishermen where the fish are.Think about that.All of us think we know what real life is or should be. So did Peter, James and John.When someone challenges our illustrious dream at least some of us want to fight or at perhaps talk them down or we may default to considering them a threat or just plain idiotic and disregard their thoughts and concepts straightaway.I have done this myself so don’t think I’m pointing all my fingers outward here!Self, in my view, is largely responsible for long-term hardening of the heart, extreme defensiveness, continual running from (or breaking up) relationships of love and trust, blame-shifting and “it’s none of your business if I do” attitudes.Unless you live on a deserted island alone and never have contact with other human beings, your selfishness will eventually affect others. That is certainly true of my selfishness and everyone else’s as well.Self is the constant companion and culprit: not the devil, the church, cops, anyone else who crosses me- or who has truly (or who I think has) abused me in some way.I mean, many of us have suffered due to these, but self… well… self is a core and continual part of -me-!Jesus commanded us (literally) to love our self, love our neighbor AS we love our-self. So there certainly a proper and right sort of self-love, seeing ourselves as God sees, loves and values us- but this is not what I am talking about here.I’m simply repeating what I’ve said many times, this idea of living as though we are God and have some sort of right to judge everyone by what we got or didn’t get from them is a serious monkey we need off our back. In part, because it sometimes neglect and other times attacks others.When your kingdom is as selfish, petty and small as a false god’s always is, who to blame but… self?We all make our own choices. Do we make them based on the true God and His Word or is that unusual for us?Is it more common or rather a rarity for us to consider and then choose sacrifice for another’s benefit?Now, the balance:Some reading this are likely saying “Dude, what about ME once in a while?” and my answer is “Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you”.Believe me, I can truly be a selfish clod but these words of Jesus are not about trading our gain for our sacrifice, nor our sacrifice only for rewards.I do not believe He is saying “If you suffer I will reward you in an exchange sort of deal for services rendered!” Rather the Lord is saying “Don’t worry about getting paid back, just give and watch how you reap what you sow… I will see to it you are richer in various ways than you were when you lived a fully self-centered lifestyle. Let that sort of life be done with for you!”Things like “It is more blessed to give than receive” ring in my head. It’s not about getting. He is simply saying “GIVE, don’t worry about blessings, don’t sweat getting anything or fret or worry or get mean about life- because My gifts and blessings will come in the normal course of life when you live as I modeled and taught you to live!”But oh how we want a return for our labor! And further, what WE deem fair trade is quite near the top of our false self-godhood claim.If you and I got what was fair, it would be hell. Nobody can earn the true God’s love. No one is righteous, not even one. All of us like sheep wander off from time to time, but what a sad world this is, mostly due to phony kings and queens seeking to rule fake kingdoms.Jesus said “when the storms come” not “if the storms come”. Storms and flooding melt our sandcastles every time. Only those houses built on rock will remain in the end.Those fishermen whom Jesus called turned the world upside down with a Good News that still changes lives for the better- for eternity.Most of them were martyred in the bargain. Did it hurt? You bet! Did their own kingdoms remain? Not a one of them. But by the time they left this earthly coil they had fully traded sandcastles for another kingdom, one that has no end- and but one King.
Days Six, Seven, EightSo we are having lunch at a rest stop in beautiful West Virgina on the way to Hebron near Bloomington, Indiana.Gorgeous day, nice sunny, a few clouds though just a tad cold, but very nice.And it seems last night a few interesting local people did a bit onstage, mostly cool, one a bit drunk and couldn’t play very well they told me.I was sleeping by then, but in any case most of the P12ers ended up having worship together and then several read the Bible to the group as they drifted off to sleep.Due to the long drive Brian and I crashed out at the bookstore owner’s home and slept as much as we could prior to leaving this morning.From last night’s forecast, it’s quite likely we’ll hit rain up in western Kentucky and in Indiana, but hopefully not until a lot later on so we get some miles behind us.Two large vans both pulling trailers and a mini van complete our fleet… but at night in darkness it’s of course a lot easier dealing with dry as opposed to wet roads.But a great day, people sleeping until we get out for gas, bathroom and meal stops.Well, back to the van for me, a little rest and we’re off again!Now I write on day eight-Slept a LOT last night, though I woke up off and on. When married for nearly 38 years it’s not easy sleeping without your spouse next to you :)So I woke up, did some email, got caught up on news of Chicago, U.S. and the world, went back to sleep. I did that twice, then eventually showered, had a great supper and chat with some of the staff and then with some of the students individually.We got lost (though had great directions from the Web) on the last turn or so getting to the camp last night. Got in about 2:20 a.m. after leaving Charlottesville at 9:30 a.m..Very light rain up here in Indiana, and then lots of thunder and lightning… AFTER we got everyone in the cabins and established a sleep-in day! Yahoo… just a tad tired after the drive :)Curt’s mini-van had a rear tire needing some input, but after he put the stuff in it in Kentucky, it never lost air so it looks good.Both students and staff were gems on the long drive, just really kind, had fun, slept a lot but all were quite in the Spirit considering long drive.We stopped off and on but still, I was very proud of them for really good attitudes.One very cool thing was just before we got to Hebron we saw a couple guys trying to push a car that had obviously had problems… so we pulled off the little two-lane road out in the Indiana sticks, and about 8 P12ers jumped out and helped them push it roughly 2 city blocks distance to a gas station. They were of course thrilled… and I’ve never ever seen a car pushed so far so fast. Impressive… good witness!The meals at Hebron are wonderful and tonight’s was no exception. These are hard-core drug dependant guys that are in a program to change, and the Lord is clearly with them.I’m always blessed when we can link up on these trips and leadership gatherings I attend here from time to time.Today ended up very sunny and bright for the most part. Most all slept long and good, lots of our people swam at their pretty lake, though they say the water’s a touch cold!Rain is still in the forecast but later on tonight, likely after a bonfire we will join with them in. S’mores will be served :)I must say we’ve never had a group of P12ers who are more into praying about Everything and reading the Word together in groups and individually… later this afternoon that’s what most did and as I type early after dinner, more are doing the same. Just SWEET!Some very good conversation, several students are certainly stepping up to lead in more biblical ways and conversations regarding right relationships, repentance, change and growth are common on this trip.God is truly working in hearts.Here, we will do a bit of practical work, more worship/Bible/sharing, listening to peoples’ stories here at Hebron, do the P12 production and perhaps cook them breakfast if they’ll let us before we head to our next destination.So… have a look athttp://www.project12.us for pics from this part of our journey! And thanks for prayers and stopping by.-Glenn
Day One-So we got out a tad late (what else is new:)?) but all are in the Spirit. And what an amazing little thing God did… I decided we should stop for gas for all 3 vans in Indiana as it’s a lot cheaper to fill up there, so we did.There was a sign for the station I wanted, we pulled off the freeway, there were not one but 2 stations of the same brand on both sides but I was already in the left lane so went to the older one.Normally I’d have gotten way off to the right as the newer one had more bathrooms, and when traveling with 28 people you need to think of such things.But nobody seemed concerned and we all were fine- and even better when we realized we’d stopped at what had to be the only gas station in North American doing a free pizza day!Let’s just say they had to cook more fast… but did and all were quite happy as we continued south through Indiana toward Kentucky.Most of our stops this trip are places I’ve been with leaders I’ve known for quite a while. Good folks who really love Jesus and care about ministry, about serving people with biblical integrity.A couple will be new folks/ministries to me, but Ami knows them and has done shows with them before.It’s always a blast to see what God is doing among other Christ-followers around the nation and world. It’s also excellent to serve alongside those who really love Him and care about other’s needs getting met.So far I’ve personally enjoyed good testimony-sharing with one of the bros., and in fact he does the cell phone communicating for us, and does it well.Check this out- GKB will tour part of Scandinavia, then myself and Wendi will travel on to Germany doing a week-long arts camp, then another longtime promoter friend asked if I could stay another week for several shows and a regional tv show and interview.We had decided we’d do it and he phoned while I was driving so Micah took the call. The interesting part is our German bro. speaks quite good but sometimes limited English, while Micah lived in Germany for a few years and was able to have the conversation largely in German regarding all this.What are the odds of both free pizza and a fluent German booking conversation in the space of an hour? God does what He does, and He does all things well!A long drive to Morehead but we got there safe and sound, plenty of floor space to sleep and even wifi. Nice.Day Two-We had gone to New Orleans for Katrina relief work for several years running and had figured to do the same as part of this year’s mission trip.It was strange but all of us had the sense we should stay further north for each stop this year… and still wondered, though God opened doors in each place.About 4 days prior to getting to Morehead the rain fell hard, rivers, creeks and lakes rose and in several places all around the area flooding fairly wiped a lot of people’s belongings out. So many are pretty poor and certainly have no flood insurance as it has been rare for such devastation to come to these parts. But God knew where we needed to be to help clear houses, mobile homes, stores and a church from a great deal of mud, rubble and destroyed carpeting, etc.. That is what we began doing today, and will do for several more hours in and around Farmers, KY.Writing after the show, which was kindly received at Morehead U. Methodist Church, we then had great sleep and were very thankful for it!Day Three-More work in Farmers, then wonderful showers, photos with the local newpaper photographer, prayer with our kind hosts, then we packed and drove to Berea, KY where we met more great folks at the Baptist Campus Ministries.Day Four through Six!Tonight’s production is outside their ministry center. A small team went out in the town letting people know about the evening which will include open mic time.As I type others are setting up in the parking lot which is next to the ministry house and church, bordered by the police station. We asked and they were nice enough to allow us to do the show outside, so we’ve moved sound gear, couches and chairs from inside to outside.Tomorrow we will make a long drive to Charlottesville, VA for a show the following night.But it turns out our friends here at the Baptist church are doing an all-day outdoor music fundraiser for a missions trip and have asked us to play a set for them prior to leaving for Virginia. We will try to do that early on, then hit the road.After Charlottesville we’ll take another long drive to visit our friends at Hebron Center (intense, wonderful substance abuse rehab ministry) at Camp Hunt near Bloomington, IN.God is keeping us busy indeed, but it has really been good!Wow, very nice turnout last night for the show, and at the end as darkness came, and we had no lights, we pulled a van up and spotlighted each performer. Music, poetry and a number of local folks brought songs out as well. P12ers did a great job from songs to poetry, skits, sharing a bit here and there… very cool!This morning all were a bit too fried to do the set for our friends, and it turned out to be quite a long drive through West Virginia on to Charlottesville, VA where I post this from now.We all slept quite late, then after breakfast met together and had a lengthy Sun. church service amongst ourselves in a local park. Just a tad breezy cold, but nice warm sun outdoors today.Many P12ers shared from the Word, personal confession, some testimony and staff also shared encouragements and input. Just a really sweet meeting along with singing and prayers. A lot of Scripture quoted.Then lunch and fanning out to let people know the team will do an open mic night at the most cool used bookshop stage tonight (Random Row Books) as per my earlier post here.Friends who run it fellowshipped with us at JPUSA in Chicago for many years and are just as sweet as can be.So Curt and I found the local coffee shop for wifi and posting. Those of us driving will try to get good sleep as we leave early for the longest drive of the trip, on to our friends at Hebron Center in Indiana.Pics are posted at http://www.project12.usThanks so much for your kind prayers! I will post more from Hebron toward the end of the week. -Glenn
HERITAGE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, WEST ALLIS, WISCONSINSome background: I was invited by one Bill Sargent to join a number of other Christian artists (bands, solo and duo, Celtic Dancers, choirs, etc.) in a two-day benefit concert for their school (elementary through senior high). A common friend told him about me and the fact I do blues music. So I agreed to come and do a set for them in the effort to raise money in their financial crunch. What he didn’t know prior to our chat on the phone is what I’ll explain now. He ended up laughing about the wisdom and move of God in all this… and so did I!First, A Bit of Old News-In 1965 I was a very lost young kid. My family had largely fallen apart, Mom divorcing Dad when I was nine, my sister married and out of the house, older brother out doing his thing, myself the youngest at home with my Mother when she wasn’t working or out with her boyfriend.We had moved from a very little town in south central Wisconsin to “the big city”, actually a working class suburb when I was nine. I attended grades 3-6 at Walker Elementary (public) school, walking the six or so blocks from our little second-story flat.Graduating to Lane Jr. High for grades 7-9 made life simpler as the campus was right across the street from our flat (1109 S. 109th St.) and when we moved into a little house a block north, it was still nothing to walk to and from school each day (921 S. 109th St.).I had begun singing, playing guitar and teaching myself drums, bass and a bit of harmonica from 12 years of age. I think the band I was in at the time was The Lost Souls (not to be confused with others of the same name as it got used in other places too!). But in any case, we’d done one or two basement birthday parties, and then at 13 yrs. old, we were part of a talent show at Lane.By ’65 I had learned how to fight (on occasion), swear, smoke and had been sexually active since about 8 year of age. Getting addicted to drink and drugs came about three years later… but by the time I’d transferred to Lane Jr. High I had learned to be a “greaser”, very much into blues, soul and r&b music as a musician and fan of many bands of that sort.A good buddy of mine tossed a live .22 rimfire round into the metal shop kiln at that school. I was suspended twice in those years for fighting, eventually being called to spend the last hour of the day in the principal’s office and then given the task of collecting all attendance for all classes that last hour… where I learned I could simply get my friends to skip that hour from time to time and nobody ever knew about it.In short, I was a messed-up kid living for sex, music and popularity. I was always overweight and insecure but had a lot of friends and was focused on fun, just getting by in my classes so I wouldn’t flunk out. Sure enough, I survived and graduated from Lane to Nathan Hale High where I went on to finish by the skin of my teeth, drinking, drugs, helping with an underground paper for a while, continuing in sexual and other addictions.Half way through my senior year and just before my eighteenth birthday I came to know Jesus in an intense, powerful encounter the night my uncle Gene (also my godfather) died. I was still living at 921 S. 109th and did so until the end of that summer (1971) when I had graduated high school. I’d asked my parents for two gifts, one from each of them: a full Bible and a cross. Mon got me one, Dad the other. All I said as I crossed the stage at Hale to receive my diploma was “Praise the Lord!”.By September 18th I had fully moved into the Jesus People of Milwaukee’s brother’s house and have been in fulltime ministry ever since.Prior to asking Jesus to forgive me and beginning my journey of faith with Him and many good Christian people I had overdosed three times and had tried to take my own life. Let’s just say that there is nothing but grace in my story as no one was more surprised than I was when I woke up to God’s love and began following Jesus, reading the Bible daily and quietly (at first) sharing my faith with those around me at Hale High. I’d been dealing dope off and on. So many of my friends were at least (if not more) as messed up as I was.In a public school (I never attend any other kind) and especially with all the pressure to “be cool”, even my excess was largely thought of as hip by most of the kids. Being a musician was a big deal as well. And I lost so much weight between my 10th and 11th grades, many people didn’t recognize me, girls started flirting with me (and I was clueless as that had rarely happened before) but I was so very sick, lost and in deep trouble and knew it. Jesus changed all that… and I surely never could as I had really tried.The Other Good News-Wendi and I met at Jesus People in Milwaukee, married June 1, 1972 and after a short honeymoon immediately went off with the U.S.A. Traveling Team (from JP Milwaukee) which continued on as Jesus People U.S.A. (based in Chicago’s inner city since 1973) after JP Milwaukee closed.Yet my Mom still lived on 109th St. for several years and we of course visited her there.During one visit I noticed Lane had closed up, and remained empty for at least a couple of years.Then, as we drove by during a visit to my Mom’s, the building had new tenants… and by now you’ve likely guessed it’s Heritage Christian School. What an amazing trip both myself and that old building ended up taking!The other night I shared many old (and mostly naughty) memories with some of the current staff and present students there. A kind, current student who was quite aservant to me, walked me through both old and new buildings, and I shared a number of stories from my younger days there.The Lord made it clear to me to emphasize to the many who showed up for the concerts as well as to staff and present students that one never knows what God may do to change a young, lost life… and that at 1109 S. 109th and a block north at 921 where I ended up on my knees surrendering to Jesus Christ, there were others in the area just like I had been- just as lost NOW as I had been until I met Him. I encouraged them to follow Jesus and understand that a truly surrendered Christ-follower can make a huge difference.I recently stood on the stage where I had sung a song (the first one I ever wrote, called “Don’t Lie to Me”) at least forty-five years earlier as a lost kid -and now spoke and sang about Jesus, about caring, about love, about walking our talk. What a difference God makes!Ha, not only was I converted, so was the building and it’s use, there at 1300 S. 109th St., West Allis, Wisconsin.Have a look, make a donation, change a life! http://www.pleasesaveourschool.org http://www.heritagechristianschools.orgWith Love, For Jesus Forever, -Glenn