Today GKB rolled on to Cal. Chapel in Siegen, Germany. Wendi and I were here when I did an acoustic blues set a month ago, and GKB played here about two or three years ago as well.These kind folks always treat us so graciously! Note the cake (not mine… I did the black coffee) from their cafe.But tonight I did a solo blues set and spoke at their drop-in center in downtown Siegen. A lot of street people, some with substance abuse issues and all in need of both a good warm meal (thanks kitchen servants… wunderbar abend essen!) and God’s love.One of the fine bros. brought me his beautiful acoustic guitars to use, one of which I set up for slide. Such fine hand-built guitars -from the Czech Republic as I recall.I broke out the harmonica on a few songs too.Playing a bit with my very scant language skills, people seemed to relate… and also seemed to like the blues.Some of you may know it takes a great deal to move me to tears. Honestly, it’s usually the Holy Spirit just doing something I expect He feels deeply about.As I shared about my own deliverance from addiction and the love Jesus brings, prior to praying with folks… I found myself stumbling along crying.I have been so touched by our own CCO shelter that seeing all these folks just moved me… to the extent I found it very difficult to sing what I thought was the last song before dinner. As it turned out the meal wasn’t quite ready so they had me two more tunes.I was able to move around the room and shake hands and exchange a bit of chatter, received many kind comments and a number of people were clearly touched. God’s grace and a lot of people praying I think!As usual I am posting pics over at:http://gkaiser.posterous.com/Blessings and G’night! -Glenn
GKB German-Swiss Tour Pics Part 5
Cal. Chapel Siegen, Germany
House of Hope Streetcafe Pics
So here you see photos of the beautiful cake, C.C. cafe, Bible School, skatepark across the street from C.C., Strassecafe and poster (where I played and spoke), some of the crowd at dinner after the set. Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn
O.K.- the weather is getting a little colder here, all day looked like rain but it was very light really. Nice audience tonight, fine pastor and just the best time at their home. Once again the staff did a great job at the venue and lots of great chats after as always. Roy and Ed rocked as always, my ears don’t seem to be ringing TOO much and I may even sleep a bit more tonight! Good old jet-lag 🙂 But really, we are blessed.They were playing cool blues on the p.a. before the show, and I was able to do some email, had a nice dinner and we pulled out a few older GKB tunes, a fun night!Saw a few old friends this evening also. Good to hear/see they are doing well too.And Ed played me several new demos I have done, new songs for upcoming cds I expect to record, so it’s nice to be able to listen back to these and consider whether to use them or not, change arrangements and so on.Had another great talk with my Wendi tonight! All is well at home and after the crazy Chicago weather it seems to be warming up a little there. Good!I will again include a few pics and hope to post again either tomorrow night or the next day as we have time and web service. They can be viewed here: http://gkaiser.posterous.com/Thanks again for stopping by! -Glenn
So here are pics from the past day or so… Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn
Well- nice a.m. service at Kraftwerk, sweet folks and really good things going on there. Martin and crew, Marc and all are really good peoplel. Just great to work with them. On we went- fun on the AutoBahn… and to our German tours home-away-from-home McCafe. Nice coffee, cheap and I even get sugar-free iced… NICE. Kronprinz hotel and a long rest today after the Sun.night set w. another good e.v. free group, very kind pastor and wife, staff. We always get to work with such kind people! Nice crowd, lots of after-show chats with people. And on to our hotel. Nice to sleep most of the day away. Jet lag is what it is! But then to dinner, internet cafe where I am getting this together to send into cyberspace. I’ve played around with Posterus online before, and think I will add pics via it here, if you’d like to see ’em, then you can come back here to read the rest of today’s post if you’re interested. So here is that link: http://gkaiser.posterous.com/31531081 Nice voice chat with my Wendi today. And I updated myself on news of home and the world. So in need of God’s love in Jesus. So we get to sleep in, off to another city, next is a short unplugged show and interaction with people at an inner-city homeless and drop-in cafe. I look forward to that. Writing more songs for an upcoming cd… and expect to do something (tour, cd) for our own Cornerstone Community Outreach in this next year. Such needs in these days… and a great love to share with those in need. Thanks for stopping bye! -Glenn
What a kind crowd tonight! A guitar cable went out right at the beginning of our first tune and again later… but with a few other glitches as well the audience was very, very kind and responsive throughout the evening.Tomorrow I’m up for breakfast with Carsten and back at the church to do a couple acoustic songs and speak, then we’re on to the next show.
Such a warm welcome and great chats afterwards this eveningSeveral people shot pics and a bit of video so IF we see it see it someplace online we’ll let you know.Ha, couldn’t resist teasing my brilliant bassman Roy… getting real serious just prior to the show on his Ipod 🙂
Kraftwerk is a sweet, cool fellowship -the pastor and staff are just gems.
Another shot from our dressing room… love the older style houses… and satellite dish as well. Love that media!
O.k., shower, workout, Complines and zzz’s. I know I have the rap about the house in the wrong spot here… but whew, jet-lag, 3 hours of sleep and a 17 song set… think I better sleep now and let it be:) Love and Hugs from Germany! -Glenn
So we had a great flight (United run by Lufthansa… always nice), staying at a couple homes of good Christian friends we met before here in Germany.
Carsten has once again taken great care to set things up well. An intense schedule so I must really begin speaking only when I really need to, for singing all these shows, speaking and a little music at a couple Sun. a.m. services and all takes it’s toll on the voice. A great time for prayer, reading, listening and reflection :)I already miss Wendi, but Lord knows what He’s doing so my focus is on Him and each crowd, constant prayers for my sweet wife and family each day and off and on in the night. That’s the way I am able to keep focus and at peace in such a tour. And of course a lot of reading, study, writing and listening. That’s been the ticket for me on a lot of tours these past several years.So it now seems 13 shows and a couple Sun. a.m. meetings. A LOT going on all over Germany and one Swiss Blues Service… cool.My email inbox will pile up as it always does in such times… I apologize in advance to those wanting quick replies from me over the tour and prior to Thanksgiving, sorry! I of course get a great deal of email, which I love, it’s part of how we’re able to interact and help people at times… and when we tour we get more.And I’ll finish by posting a few pics as well.
A couple are larger than shown, just click on them for full view…My dear buddy and bassmeister Roy zzz’ing in our van after the flight to Frankfurt on the way to our first
accomodation, autumn leaves in a German Oktober
and my arsenal for this particular tour: my own sunburst Warmouth Strat, my Guitar Aid blue strat, my Gibson lapsteel, and four loaner guitars (thanks to all who are helping Carsten and GKB with great gear!!) from here- Epiphone Dot, Epiphone Les Paul I set up for slide to use when I don’t use my lapsteel on a song, Hohner Strat and Washburn acoustic. All good but whew it took some time to set them all up, change strings and so on tonight. Nice to have it done.Time for a workout, a bit of reading, Complines and sleep. Tomorrow night we rock :)I will try to post now and then as I have time (!) and web connections during the tour. Thanks for prayers and stopping by! -Glenn
Many years ago over a couple of winters I read through the Russian activist/author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s lengthy and important volume “The Gulag Archipelago” which chronicled his and many other’s horrific in-country exile in some of the worst Siberian concentration camps of Soviet Russia.I’m a slow reader and especially so when I care about the material, major points are being made and of course, when the book(s) are thick.In “Gulag” he commented on the deep and sincere spirituality, connections with God and one another inmates experienced while condemned (in many cases) to die in the midst of sub-freezing weather, slow starvation, torture and the ever-present spectre of death in the camps.He wrote specifically of the various Christian groups who had been enemies, who had preached against one another by name, who had been in competition with one another… until they were thrown together like rats in the worst of conditions staring the worst sort of misery in the face.The warmth came in waves, over time, through nursing the sick, sharing the meager food they could scrounge, in prayer and Bible-focused gatherings. God was present and the many differences and old, often thin, trifling disagreements meant nothing in such a time and place.Solzhenitsyn eventually wrote how horrible it was when after a number of them survived and were released that within a very short time the old nastiness, vitriol and strife between otherwise Christian pastors and leaders returned just as before. The warmth of deep love, compassion and friendship they’d experienced in the camps dried up as they returned to normal life outside the Gulag.Each and all of us are capable of love. Any true follower of Jesus is in fact commanded to love in a number of verses of Scripture.How quickly God’s agape love evaporates- not in Himself but among you and I… when circumstances change. In fact often when they change for the better!It seems to me getting what we want is often not the best place for spiritual growth, not even for brothers and sisters growing together in unity. So often it’s the wartime, “foxhole” experience that brings people closer to things that matter and in the process, our focus is so sharpened that the dogmas, the personal pettiness and desire to control is jettisoned… as it should have been prior to the shared pain.But as Proverbs tells us “A brother is born for adversity” -when we find a genuine friend in Christ who themselves are truly Following Jesus and His Word in the midst of the trial, fellowship like that sustains us. It carries us through the darkest of times.Isolation in the camps only happened when guards threw someone into an isolation cell. Otherwise, they were forced into overcrowded, bug-infested huts where disease ran rampant, the occasional rat or field mouse was a life-saving meal and a painful Siberian wind blew through the holes day and night.As Solzhenitsyn wrote of spring, warmth and sunshine and the health and life it brought, I could only wonder at the contrast and imagine what these poor souls felt.When those who survived the cruel years and who happened to be set “free” (or at least comparatively so being back in everyday Soviet society) they found work, places to stay and other things difficult to find. They were not so sure family or old friends had truly been- or would now choose to be- friends. In some cases family members or “friends” had either been coerced or out of fear, reported things that had put them in the prison camps in the first place. The KGB was alive and well though so many of these men and women were half-dead when they were released.But it seems to me what was worse, was the temptation and embracing of the old, thick walls of suspicion and harsh judgment of Christian to Christian many succumbed to.Isolation might mean personal quiet time with God. It can mean a “prayer closet” experience with Father, Son and Spirit. Such is wonderful refreshing and life-giving.Isolation can also mean we separate ourselves from godly friends who love us and encourage us to love Jesus, His Word and one another more… sometimes more than we want to.If we don’t have such friends, do we have any true friends at all?What does it take to bring people to a place of realization, of understanding of what true fellowship, genuine, forgiving, loving koinonia in Christ truly IS? What might it cost you or I?The communion of saints in the camps reveals something that causes me to wonder.Thank God we don’t all have to experience the horrors of a Gulag or a Chilean mine disaster to experience and appreciate it.
I read with joy and interest a longtime friend’s comments on his walk with the Lord today. God has graced him with a wonderful heart, wife, kids, local church and some fruitful ministry to quite a large group of people both locally and beyond.What he did mention was that at times he finds the work of ministry investment in family, church and other mission as well as plain old survival in such a difficult economy as we now face, truly exhausting. I’ve heard much the same from a lot of people and have experienced it myself over the years in different time periods.There is dragged-out tired and there is the end of the day tiredness of good and right service to God and others where you are drained but really Good Tired, not just burnt-out tired! I can recall many situations where I really needed sleep, but it was with a great feeling of God’s blessing on my life with a secure knowledge I had done what I needed to do, in loving obedience on the day. Such bedtimes are really sweet. Sleep comes with a smile rather than fretting over getting up the next morning.BUT- there is a rest for the people of God and we all need to learn such Sabbath rest… even on a Wednesday 🙂 It only took me about fifteen years (!) but at some point I realized the true importance and indeed, necessity of actual REST.No matter your heart, calling and sacrifice, a handful of people may mis-judge you for being lazy or “why isn’t he/she working?!”, but blow it off and enjoy God, peace and quiet, a garden, a good book, music, a movie or just a coffee or tea and the sun and wind in your face for twenty or thirty minutes every now and then.I try to make/take and enjoy such times each week, perhaps twice or three times per week really. Alone with God, sitting on a park bench or somewhere you can just take a breath, turning off the cell phone and laptop, just cooling out a bit is SERIOUSLY NEEDED for busy, working people.Stress is what it is- and often even very short breaks like these can help you “come up for air”, bring a fresh perspective on current events in your life or that of your family and others who you care and perhaps fret over.Years ago our entire Christian community moved several blocks into our current buildings. There was so much work to do, all of us were so maxed out in expending energy, and the new place needed extensive work. One night I ended up at dinner alone after a long day. Well, not totally alone but my wife and kids were packing a little bit up left at our old building, and so I sat alone at one of a few tables in our new dining room. Seeing one of our pastors across the room I pleaded “Tom- don’t leave after supper bro., I gotta talk and get some prayer!” He stuck around and we had a short chat and prayer together. I just said “Dude, I’m fried and don’t want to be on edge with Wendi and the kids tonight… you better pray for me please”.He laughed and said “We’re all fried. But I have some advice: take a few bucks, ask for someone to listen out for the kids and you and Wendi go out and see a movie together.” We did. He was right- we just needed to chill for a bit. And I still do from time to time. And so do you.If you’re reading me right- and you are… it’s not only about a scheduled quiet time with the Lord. That too, But any sort of break, rest, just slowing down, quiet time of reflection, watching the birds in the trees, fishing, whatever, we ALL need to learn to take short breaks throughout our week.It’s not always the extended vacation. Re-fueling with God, sometimes with a hobby, sometimes a cup of tea and quiet chair with our shoes off. A long, hot bath.By the way, I don’t know how many Christ-followers really “get” that rest is part of rather than excluded from our worship of the Lord… but it truly -is-. Rest is literally a command of God, and part of worship is loving obedience to Him, is it not?Trust me- you’ll find recovery time from your energy-burn a very important and helpful thing!Grace!-Glenn