Wars and Rumors of War

???To the conqueror go the spoils???.

Does it not seem like when you boil it all down, the one who gets
???their way??? seems to be the conqueror?

They ???get to write the history??? from their own slanted perspective,
they and those with them become the heroes and get the props.

Have you ever noticed that in the American Revolution, the rebels were
the patriots and good guys (unless you were British or an American
loyalist who supported the crown) while the established order (rule by
England) were the tyrants and the bad guys? The core issue is who had
control. It???s always the core issue among people.

Flip that over when you think about Americans wiping out large
portions of native American tribes… unless you believe ???the savages???
needed conquering and of course the whites, mostly of European
descent, brought these heathen the Gospel of Christ… so does that
mean everything they did was automatically right, humane and done in
Christian love? Did the native Americans ever act inhumanely to the
whites or to other tribes around them? Same old stuff isn???t it?

Further back in history one might consider the Spanish or Portuguese
either wonderful business-like (and accompanied by Christian
missionaries much of the time) exploration teams who were extending
the kingdom of God along with good European commerce into the New
World (South, Central, North America and the Caribbean)- or as
conquering invaders who stole the local???s land, women and culture in
exchange for dominance and whatever spoils they could get from the
conquest. Shall we consider torture methods they used on the native
people?

This seems a near-endless pattern in history over and over again, does it not?

Micah 6.8 states: ???He has shown you humankind what is good. And what
does the Lord require of you? That you do justice, love mercy and walk
humbly with your God???.

How can one connect those words, in fact -commands- of God with so
much profane conquering which often was done with the stated intent or
complicit service of ???God and country????

Jesus was not and is not an American nor European -nor was he even a Caucasian.

I love Iceland and have toured there many wonderful times.

Their history of ???conversion??? to Christianity happened when a foreign
king gave them two options: repent of your pagan beliefs and publicly
convert to Christianity or face an invading army that will wipe you
completely out.

They thought about it for a bit and threw their idols into a waterfall.

The invasion didn???t happen -but this was more about dominance and
economic control than it ever was about the love of Jesus Christ for
Icelandic people!

Did any truly come to saving faith in Jesus? History seems to say some
did. So…??

Can we not- especially in the U.S.,- be honest that there are mixed
reasons as to WHY we allow, agree and/or even demand our politicians
send our military forces into violent conflicts around the world?

As in the past, as among many nations, tribes, cultures and with a
great many mixed rather than fully Christ-centered motives (!) we must
come to grips with the ???why??? and ???how??? of war and whether or not each
and every deployment should have taken or should now take place.

I am no pacifist. I shoot, hunt and fully understand the need- not
only desire- for weapons. I truly believe in a strong defense. I also
do not believe that everything ANY leader or nation or military
individual or force does is forever neat, pristine or righteous in the
Lord???s eyes.

I???ve a good many friends who now serve or who are veterans. There are
so many who are so debilitated by their experiences in war, who???ve
lost their minds, hearing, spouse, children, job opportunities and
have gained a world of hurt often including on-going issues with
trauma and addictions that largely took root as a result of their
service.

I beg the reader to take sober thought and prayer about what we as a
nation are actually doing or allowing leaders to do when conquest for
material gains are involved. I would further like us to consider if
our own ???standard of living??? and ???American way of life??? doesn???t at
times boil down to ???I LIKE what I have, want more of it and don???t you
try to mess my kingdom up by somehow getting in the way???.

Jesus Christ is (John 14.6) ???The Way???. He???s also ???the truth and the
life???. I suggest to you that material gain and prosperity, dominating
power and control have greatly promoted military conflicts from the
beginning of humankind.

Torture, death, innocent victims and plenty of misery have come
ultimately from decisions we make out of our own selfishness and
desire to dominate and live ???the good life??? which does not look much
like Matthew 6.31-33 and less like Micah 6.8 but rather over and over
again brings me to recall James 4.1-4

A great many people in this world are starving to death. They are
watching their sons, daughters, grandchildren die for lack of clean
water, nutritious food, basic hygiene, clothes that fit their climate
and useful shelter.

Meanwhile the U.S. is expected to spend over a trillion (with a ???T???) dollars in
2012 for military ???defense???. We know that ???defense??? is a misnomer as a
large portion of what this money goes to is offense.

I???m not saying scrap the military services entirely. I???m not
suggesting all service personnel are immoral, heinous war-mongers,
nothing of the sort! I am indeed questioning our ethics and morality
as well as common sense with regard to the way we spend our money,
cast our votes and live our lives, often in quite arrogant and harsh
judgment of other nations and systems of government throughout the
world.

Education is not THE solution, but I believe a great many otherwise
good-hearted Christians are not thinking very deeply about what we???re
doing and in fact, what we as Christians are supporting when it comes
to (as General/ President Eisenhower referred to it) ???the
military-industrial complex???.

Too many sheep live like goats. Too many Christ-followers focus only
on themselves, their family and their immediate church and
neighborhood. Too many who speak of faith live in fear, anger and
shallow thought about these things.

Are you a patriot or a terrorist? What???s the difference?

What does all this have to do with agape love and the Good News of Christ?

There are portions of verifiable history that all-too-clearly call we
Christians to account for our lack of love, compassion, mercy or grace
toward others.

At times, I think our lack of depth is staggering and in fact offers a
horrible and negative witness of the Gospel. What will you and I do
about all this?

Study, pray, think, repent where needed. Vote but do not consider
everything everyone does as pure and fully supported by The Bible!

What are your (and my) motives for living as we live, and who are we
willing to displace in order to live in relative comfort?!

How much is truly enough?? At what point ought we to share as opposed
to grasp for more?

Jesus, our neighbors, the Church and this world deserve better.

Things I???m thinking about on a Sunday afternoon. -Glenn

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Unavoidable Change

In my best moments I tend to think about change.

Change happens and continues to happen regardless of what we wish for, what others do or do not do, political or spiritual traditions, what a majority of people believe or work to establish, etc.. Change seems truly hardwired into the scheme of things throughout history and up to this very moment.

Some changes seem good and others quite bad, even evil, but change is with us.

We find our view of this or that changes, as we age our tastes change, our work, social activities, exercise, sense of place in the world, families, friends and of course bodies all change.

Our hearing, eyesight, stamina and energy, all sorts of things change.

Change- and in particular that metamorphosis only God can produce is something I usually like, even if I don't like it in the given moment!

I look forward to good and positive changes in my life, that of my wife, family and friends.

I believe good and uplifting changes happen and -can- happen with anyone, I really do.

This of course is rooted in my own faith in God, His Word and His power to work His will in anyone as long as they breathe.

After our last breath, those who have followed Jesus and have embraced His work of change in us and through us, shall change again. The Bible tell us ???in the twinkling of an eye we shall be changed???, and that we will ???see Him as He is.???

Change indeed!

It goes on to say ??????Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him.???

Apparently a great many people will have their view of Jesus Christ changed, both those who followed Him and those who did not.

Meanwhile, are we embracing His work of change, or working hard at ignoring and/or effectively defying it?

I ask myself such questions. The answers will be given.

A core part of past, present and future reality is??that God is sovereign??-we???re not! Some changes will overtake us whether or not we fight them or not.

Ready for change?

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

What Motivates…

"What Motivates a Fired-up Disciple of Jesus Christ?"

http://tinyurl.com/3k4dx5m

Over at faithalive365 they're asking this question and inviting people to post their responses. Perhaps you'd like to do so?

Here's what I posted there-

In biblical Greek, a disciple is ???a listener, a learner???.

I happen to be a musician. By definition, that???s not a person who owns music gear, rather it???s one who practices and actually plays/uses the instrument(s). A listener who is truly a learner becomes one who acts out rather than merely thinks or talks about it.

Direct answer to your question re. detail:

God the Holy Spirit, intentional response to Him and His Word (Bible), application of John chapter 15 regardless of what happens or doesn???t happen, choosing authentic, accountable relationships with people who are serious disciples and who clearly love Jesus, you and others -outside- as well as within the church. Simple obedience given in love over the long haul rather than short-term service which we bail on soon as we???re not getting what we want out of the relationships or area(s) of service.

By the way, I???ve never met a pastor or leader in the body of Christ (I mean, world-wide) who doesn???t have deep concern over the need for discipleship among the people they serve. Thanks for the question and responses coming! -Glenn

A Week in the Life of a Rock Star??

I???m grateful for a wonderful family: wife, kids, grandkids, extended family, JPUSA community, Ev. Covenant church family, friends and fans around the world… and I know it!

God has been incredibly good to me and I truly get it and have never ???earned??? His love and grace as they are by definition un-earnable.

Fans of Rez Band, GKB and/or myself are never an issue and what I???m about to write should never be taken that way.??There really are no negatives having so many kind people who seem to appreciate whatever it is they get out of what myself and my friends bring to them via music, speaking or just in terms of sharing bits of our life together.

I don???t take offense to this- but every now and then people make comments or insinuate that I???m some sort of rock star, (or blues star?), or something special. I know myself all too well to believe any of that!

In light of such feelings that some have toward me, I thought it may be helpful to let you in on what I???ve done (and will finish up doing) this week. As you;d expect, some of this repeats in various form, and some is specific to this week.

To me, it??gets interesting but it???s also pretty mundane. Don???t get me wrong, plain and mundane is, to me, a very good thing alongside of the ???cool and amazing??? moments… because of the One who walks with me, not because of anything I bring to the table.

So last Friday I was pleased to share music and a bit of my story as well as encouragement to a large gathering of??public school teachers and administrators in a poor Chicago near-suburb. It was a gift to me and I hope inspiring to them- I owe a great deal to many teachers throughout my school years.

I was excited enough to only get about 3 hours of sleep the night before, had to get up about 5 a.m. to get there on time and was on stage doing music around 8:30 a.m.! Not exactly musician???s hours ๐Ÿ™‚ But it was great- and when I got home I slept clear until supper…

Saturday was largely a work day for me. I tried to catch up with a great deal of email and as JPUSA has ???clean teams??? that all pitch in for first-floor (lobby, kitchen, cleaning and serving ministry) every six weeks or so for a week, it was my turn to mop the lobby. Earlier in the week I???d cleaned the bathroom and toilets. Wendi got pretty sick with a coughing cold that triggered her asthma… a difficult thing, so I tried to keep her in water, coffee (helps breathing) and meals and so forth.

Sunday church was wonderful- all I had to do was show up and focus on the Lord, enjoyed my daughter Ami and her band as they brought the music and Hilde, a dear friend who gave a message about God???s call on her (and our) lives.

Then as it was our clean team???s last day of service, my weekend work slot was washing pots in our main kitchen from noon until 5 p.m..

In warm months we have GYO (???grill your own???) on Sunday afternoon, so our huge brick grilling pit is surrounded by family and friends as most all JPUSA comes out to the side yard to grill various meats provided, then we get the rest of the meal laid out for us and enjoy a great dinner. Fun!

My final work slot that night was doing garbage and mopping our lobby and entrance area.

Wendi felt just good enough to check on a memory foam mattress she found via Craigslist, so we got a van from the JPUSA car pool, checked it out and realized it wasn???t the one we wanted- but the night was cool and it was good for us to get out of the house for a bit.

Then I sat like a slug and watched soccer (football to those outside the U.S.), checked out news, Linux and cigar box guitars on the Web and hung out with Wendi until bedtime.

A longtime friend as well as a new friend flew to Chicago to spend Monday with me. I can???t comment on that much except to say they have an idea we may ???move down the field??? if things come together. Don???t ask, I can???t say until and unless things progress.

We finished the day with dinner, then I tried to take care of Wendi and bed was a welcome spot as I was feeling pretty tired out.

Today (Tuesday) and all Tuesdays unless something comes up I can???t get out of- or unless I???m on tour or such, I work at JPUSA???s Lakefront Roofing Supply Company in the sheet metal shop. It???s a simple volunteer workday that is great for me and hopefully beneficial for them.

I create some of the basic stuff they sell and also help clean where cleaning???s needed. Great bosses, good folks who serve day in and day out to provide nearly all JPUSA???s needs so we can serve the poor, homeless, disciple folks and live in intentional community together.

Frankly, it???s the easiest thing I do in an average week as it???s straight, practical work and not spiritually taxing as pastoral leadership can sometimes be with so many people in need.

On my lunch break I created the little ???found object 3 string slide guitar??? you see here. There was some metal and wood scrap I figured might be cool to work with… it was ๐Ÿ™‚

Tomorrow (Weds.) it???s time to help Wendi, do a partial clean of our storage area and woodshed on several songs, perhaps demo a few I???ve written recently. Tomorrow night GKB rehearses for a Sat. night set we???re doing up in Michigan (see Grrr Records shows section for details).

Thursday is our JPUSA pastors/board meeting from 10 to 5.

Friday I have an appointment downtown with a friend who serves on a team which has??invited me to share in??chaplains work at Cook County Jail, and who is credentialing me. That afternoon??I think I???ll be??doing a long study on the biblical implications of singing.

Saturday we load the van and head to Michigan and either return home that night late or Sunday morning.

I write songs, studies, sermons and blogs as I???m inspired. I do Twitter and Facebook and in trying to clean up email often have up to 3 people seeking to chat with me at a time (grace in that I type 54 words per minute or I???d be jammed!) but there are truly a lot of you out there!

I expect some of this sounds fun, some boring and some just a matter of doing what people do in everyday life.

What it is not- is the life of any sort of ???rock star???!

So thanks for your prayers, kind words and stopping by! -Glenn

Found1Found2

Positive Change Or?

I???ve mentioned this before but when I was in high school I was part of an underground newspaper. Really it was only a few sheets of type-written complaints about how messed up the staff and faculty was, why we should all be allowed to dress like we want, do all the drugs we wanted, and in short, to turn the public school into an alternative school.

By ???alternative??? we in reality meant ???we need to run this place how WE want it run???. Of course the students weren???t working and paying the loot to keep the place open and none of us really cared to learn about anything other than what we wanted to learn- which was how to get more pleasure out of sin, basically ๐Ÿ™‚

In the end, the little rag folded due to pressure from the school administration and lack of effort on the part of the small staff to really bring positive change to the few genuine issues that needed attention. We just stopped showing up.

What we were experts at was the art of complaining. Oh… did I mention we didn???t have workable ideas about how to fix most of what we were yelling about? In fact we weren't all that fond of work either.

Sounds like a good many politicians and yes, all too many Christian people I know. It never ceases to amaze me how loud some Christians can shout about what's wrong with "the government" while they lift so few fingers to fix things within their local ability to fix.

It is -always- easy to gripe and moan about injustice from the cheap seats.

It is quite common to (even accurately) call out what???s wrong- but to get personally involved, taking one???s OWN responsibility to -do- something positive about the injustices and ills (of any society or group) is another thing entirely.

Positive, loving concern that does more than screaming about the wrongs (supposed or real) is what often seems missing among the people of God.

???What???s wrong with this country/state/city/neighborhood/church/workplace is -you-fill-in-the-blank??? may sound like the start of a good thing… but often a great deal more is said than done.

I suggest the church BE the church, more people sign up for hard work and slivers and keep showing up as opposed to bailing out when we get a ???boo-boo???. I suggest talk must morph into positive, creative activity that answers genuine needs for change and health.

I further suggest that until and unless one is willing to show from one???s own personal relationships (marriage, family, local church, workmates, etc.) that one is paying the price for positive change, growth and healing, that mere mouthing of what???s wrong sets nothing right and rather infects others with a culture of grumbling and complaining or what may even be worse: passive stagnancy.?????Neither grumbling nor complaining??? -seems like I read something about that somewhere…

Now I???m sure nobody reading this has ever experienced any of this among church folks… and even more sure neither you nor I have ever been guilty of these… right?!

God help us grow up. It???s your turn to live out and model??positive solutions for actual needs in your life, church and world??. It???s not ???them??? who need to step up. It???s time for you and I.

Throw down. FLY your experimental plane and perhaps we'll come to believe in human flight. Talk is so very cheap.

-Glenn

After a Hard Rain

One of my fave quotes (and I???ve heard many) has been passed around for a long time. It goes ???Things grow in the valley???.

We may wish to live on the mountaintops and only experience the rush of pleasure, light and joy but this is rarely where we grow most.

I???m not big on thinking a person???s name hard wires a character strength or weakness to them, not at all.??I am attracted to blues and laments, that I???ve experienced enough struggle in my life to often sense what people may feel and put it to music and lyrics.

So I find it mildly interesting that my names (first, middle and last) seem to fit me pretty well.

Glenn is Gaelic for ???valley???, Harold indicates ???army ruler or commander??? and Kaiser is of course the German for ???leader???.

If taken literally, I???m one of those you might follow through the valley to get through on the other side!

Whatever that (and I) am worth, I???m just a guy who stumbles, blunders, both sins and makes mistakes like anyone else!

In any case, the Air and Water Show had a shortened day today, though it???s one of Chicago???s largest free events each summer.

A massive passing thunderstorm with a lot of rain passed through early and kept the planes and flight exhibitions on the ground most of the day. In the end, the sun came out and at least a few of them flew over the lakefront crowd whose spirits were somewhat (literally) dampened.

I had a huge load of garbage to take out and stepped between the puddles to get to the dumpster, noticing that the sun was shining after all.

I often mention our amazing garden at JPUSA and after doing the rubbish had to take a short detour through it.

It had been a truly hard rain, but now with the sun brightly shining the flowers and other greenery is just a lush and gorgeous as could be!

It???s often like that in life- we get drenched and then out comes the light and glory on the other side.

Scripture says we???re being ???changed from glory to glory???… but it doesn???t always feel like it ???eh?!

Countless times in my life I???ve prayed ???Mercy! You don???t HAVE to help me but I???m toast if you don???t Lord!??? He???s already told us ???Without me you can do nothing??? and nothing of value comes of simply doing whatever it is we feel like because that is mostly comfortable and for our personal sense of joy and satisfaction.

I???m not saying that our own satisfaction is always disconnected from God???s will, not at all… but rarely do we recognize that things ???grow in the valley???. Avoiding such storms doesn???t in the end promote growth.

The glory of God is that we can make it through to the light- if we???ll trust and walk with Him.

I remember a hunting trip where in the middle of about 2,500 acres I was moving through what was mostly an open field between two large tracts of forest.

A powerful but short-lived rainstorm was obviously forming in the west and it was clear I wouldn???t make it across the field before it hit, perhaps with lightning and very likely a hard rain.

I quickly put on a camo rain poncho I???d remembered to pack, put my backpack and gun -under- the poncho and hunched myself into to a small clump of four foot high bushes there in the middle of the field.

Another hunting buddy had just come out of another section of woods and was crossing the field at that very moment and we both met and waited out what proved to be quite a rocking storm and light show for about fifteen minutes!

The rest of the day was cool, the walking/stalking quiet and successful for both of us… but we had to wait out the storm because there was no getting around it.

Sometimes we do all we can to escape, or we try to ignore these difficulties. We may get angry or blame God or someone else for our ???hard rain??? experiences. But most of the time if we???re honest, we???ve learned, grown and benefited from the cloudbursts.

That???s been my experience. It was like that today too.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

-Glenn

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