Castles & Kingdoms


"But You go on… and on…" (From U2's "October")

We have a delightful late-Spring weather thing going on in Chicago as I write! But the words of "October" are in my heart
this morning.

In just getting home from a long European tour I've been looking through all the photos I took including several of castles, some
pretty solid and others fully crumbling.

Anyone can build up a sort of "fortress mentality", that is, the concept that the only way I can be truly safe is if I'm in
total control.

Been there, done that!

Between what others do or don't do, illness, natural disasters and our own bad choices none of us are, were or ever -can- be
in "total control" of our lives.

I have often made a statement that seemed right to repeat in many shows and services I've been involved in lately:

"It's not "our" or "my" kingdom" we're building… or is it?!

MY plan is X, Y or Z. Did I miss something or ought we to be thinking, praying and seeking God about "MY plan" as opposed to
assuming it's totally cool with God as long as it's cool with me?

Just asking 🙂

The saying comes to mind "It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission"!

So many of us (myself included) could do so much more to truly serve Jesus and build the kingdom of God (as opposed to
our own little sand-castle melt-away world) had we asked Him for clarity, input and confirmation in the first place.

We are just so focused on our own wants, supposed needs, desires.

YES, He WILL "give the desires of the heart to those who fear [reverence, respect] Him"… but we often respect our own
self-serving choices more.

The brutal, unvarnished truth as I see it is this: we're often more serious about ourselves than we're serious about God.

If you think about it, this effectively puts God outside our door and ourselves in the center of our own kingdom. It means HIS
desires are secondary to ours in actual practice, in terms of our daily lives, daily choices, perhaps even long-term and
far-reaching (affecting others) plans.

If God isn't my God, it's likely I am. Often, it's not until you take a hard look at the naked truth about yourself that you give
much time or room for Him.

At one point I had a cookin' drummer and bass player in a 3 piece band up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I (in part) spent most
of my teen years. We played a huge show where we opened for one of the biggest bands in the area at that time.

It was an amazing show for us, we likely had the best set we'd ever done and the crowd went nuts. At the end of the night they
screamed for encores and kept yelling for us even after the other band took the stage. It was overwhelming and exactly the sort
of thing most musicians would die to experience.

I pressed past the crowd and out a back door. I couldn't figure out why I felt so empty after all of that… but I did.

It was truly strange.

Sitting on the curb all alone, a very quiet voice whispered "Well, I've allowed you to have about everything you've been working so
hard to get. Are you happy? Fulfilled?" And my response to what I believe was the voice of God speaking to me was "No. No I'm not."

Soon after that I surrendered… and I mean surrendered to Jesus. I'm not saying I never fought Him over what seemed to be His
call on my life- essentially to live for Him and not make all the choices based on my own desires- but this was part of my own turning
myself over to Him. I was 18 years old at the time and not quite graduated from High School at that point. But it was one of the more
important moments in my life. WHO are you listening to… and is GOD calling the shots or are you following yourself, just chasing
your own tail so to speak?

Someone recently told me "You have preached and written lyrics for years about our need for Him, about how we truly look
without Jesus at the center of our lives. Thank you and keep doing it. If people don't face themselves as they really are they often don't
think they have any need for God."

I have often stated that I think one of my main jobs on the planet is to reflect Jesus… but using that mirror analogy, I
also think another part of the job is to hold up a mirror (and not the distorted mirrors like in a fun-house carnival) to people.
Trust me, I use mirrors daily, for myself as well!

The Bible (the Word of God) is the best mirror I know of. It reveals the heart (including my own… often "ouch"!) of
human beings- both godly and ungodly. It's stories, sermons and short homilies bring people (including Glenny boy) into REALITY
which often exposes and contrasts the true kingdom of God against the petty kingdom I or you may be working so hard to build.
The contrast between these two kingdoms is rather stark and sometimes even alarming, don't you think?

Well… it's easier to NOT think, to avoid mirrors, scales, photos and also the Bible, people who may just tell us the truth
about ourselves… you know, those "mirrors on two legs".

Spiritual LIFE and spiritual GROWTH are not magic nor can they be had by some formula. John chapter fifteen, Galatians
chapter five and Matthew twenty-five will rock your world though!

Then again, we may just want to take ourselves and our own kingdom more seriously than God and His.

Remember this: if you live that way, there is nothing eternal nor truly life-giving in it. Our "kingdom" has an end. God's
kingdom has -no- end.

Choices. The most important choices indeed… God help you and I make up our minds to live in the light of the Son, to think,
pray, repent where we must, to build the only eternal kingdom there is… and bring glory to the only eternal King there is!

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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