Social Media Connections!

By now most of you know I have an increasing heart for the poor, homeless, prisoners and veterans in need.

All of these are being served daily at JPUSA's Cornerstone Community Outreach here in Chicago. So much to share and now more ways to read and interact if you should wish to.

Here are all 3 key networking sites for CCO. Please visit and tag, like, share via a Tweet and do pray. If so led, volunteer, visit, share financially.

Not "inaction"… rather Matthew chapter 25 -in- action..!

-Glenn

This Past Weekend

Great weekend of concerts!

One of my son-in-laws, Brian, came along to do merch on Friday night and we had good fellowship time.

The St. Matthews in Glendale Heights, IL crew were really sweet, Mike Kosmala and band were amazing, attendance was very good and the response was a bit over what I'd expected (to the positive).

Doing songs from "Cardboard Box"- pretty intense in terms of calling people to do something more for the poor, homeless and returning veterans -can be slightly upsetting. But folks were very, very kind in their applause and verbal response after the show.

We also projected 18 black and white photos from the cd jacket during the set. These are pics of people we work and have worked with at our shelter in Chicago.

Saturday my Wendi came along and we had a really fine time with the staff down in South Holland, IL and again the response was very, very good. Another kind and caring group of people who are making a difference in their area, in their case, with an attached drug rehab work. Spirit of God Fellowship rocks…

Tomorrow I link again with the Willow Creek Cook Co. Jail team by bringing a message to the bros. in CCJ. Looking forward to it.

Notice the pics here from St. Matt's (yep, all 3 of 'em 🙂

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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Musician’s Booking Agent Checklist

The other day a musician friend and I talked about the importance of booking agent duties and their ability to task and organize details for each artist regarding each and every event they might do or are booked into.

I told him if I had such a job I'd have a checklist on my computers and online as well as making paper copies.

I figured I could come up with a list in about 20 minutes that would cover most of the details. He asked me to do it and email it to him. Then it occurred to me others might benefit from such a list… so here's what I sent to him along with a standard Bandize.com gig sheet for another template to consider (for a well-formed form). Perhaps this could be helpful for some visiting my site.

I'd also keep running notes as to when I phoned and/or emailed the promoter(s), and each time I tried to get through to them but couldn't as well. Then I and those I work for/with know I'm doing my job well.

Good and continual communication as well as patience -yet persistence -is all part (and sometimes the pain) of the work, but what a great gift a solid booking person is!

Note, this is -not- a contract, rather it's a detail list from which to work.

Thanks for visiting, -Glenn

MUSICIAN'S BOOKING AGENT CHECKLIST

Artist:

Show Day of Week, Date, Year:

Requested Date(s):

Confirmed Date(s):

Contract Sent Date:

Signed Contract Received Date (signed by both parties, filed by Agent):

City/Location:

Promoter(s) Name, Phone(s), Address, Mailing Address, Email Address(es), Website Info.:

How often does/has Promoter produced concerts? What acts, what was the attendance, etc.:

Publicity Means & Plans (Promoter and artist):

Communicate all Artist on-line/postal press kit, photo, interview and logistics information:

Name of Venue & Address:

Seating, Expected Audience "Guesstimate":

Sound System Details:

Lighting Details:

Soundcheck Time:

Opening act(s):

Time-length of Set:

Stage Plot info. (positioning gear, mic and amp placement, etc.):

Equipment Needed for Promoter/Venue to Provide:

Equipment Artist will bring:

Transportation Method(s):

Lodging Details, Address, Logistics (travel to-from venue, etc.) Plan:

Merchlist, Merch details (tables provided, lighting, merch person needed/not needed, venue and/or promoter percentage of sales or not, etc.):

Pre-shipped Merch and Unsold Merch Return Logistics Plan:

Agreed-upon Honorarium/Percentage/Ticket Prices, etc.:

NOTES:

REMINDER TO ME: BACK UP -ALL- INFORMATION ELECTRONICALLY AND/OR IN PAPER, FILED FORMS OR BOTH- ACCESSIBLE FROM BOTH OFFICE AND HOME!

Simple Yet Profound Recipe For Spiritual Growth

I have a few intellect-based friends… well, I have a few emotions-based friends also… but in any case, some of my rather "in the head" folks in my view often needlessly complicate (and sometimes worry over "mystery") matters of spiritual life- in my opinion.

If they can't "figure it out" in what they deem a satisfactory way, they get rather depressed and somewhat fearful.

Then again, some more extremely emotions-driven (or emotions-sensitive) folks I know seem to "leave their brains at the door" of the sanctuary or prayer meeting or wherever.

If they don't get the endorphin-buzz they expect (which they -always- figure is from the Holy Spirit) they get upset and wonder if God is involved in their lives… or hop to another church looking for the action.

In my view both extremes are understandable. Both groups of people need spiritual growth of course. So how can that happen?

I get a couple daily Bible devotionals in my email inbox, one being from pastor Dave Whitehead from Grace NYC. This morning's was one of the sort I really like. More on that in a moment…

When Jesus answered the question of what the most important command of God to us was, He replied by quoting an Old Testament verse (not uncommon for Him at all by the way): "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind???[a]; and, ???Love your neighbor as yourself."(Luke 10.27)

God gets our loving attention above all others… next we lovingly attend others. Simple. And of course the most difficult calling for any of us, and I'd bet these are also the two commandments we break/violate most often. I know this is true of me.

So this morning, pastor Dave's devo (nearly always solid, and always brief) included the following:

"Surrender leads to transformation, which leads to worship, which leads to a new way of living for God."

With all due respect to the multitude of ways people come to saving faith and personal discipleship/spiritual formation… much of which I find personally helpful… Dave nailed it.

1. Surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Really, truly repent and give your life, dreams, hopes, despair, the whole of yourself to God and trust Him to do what needs to be done in you and for you- at very least to BE with you through the muddle and mess of this earthly life. Relationship where HE rules, you follow.

2. You'll be transformed by God the Holy Spirit… or if you don't surrender you can be sure you won't be transformed into greater Christ-likeness!

3. Worship: giving GOD the focus, the glory, the attention HE deserves means getting your eyes off yourself and in fact not only praying (both listening and talking -everything- out with Him… and singing alone and together on Sun. morning with other Christ-followers… and all the other stuff we connect with worship -but actually being so focused on Him and His will that we are about HIS work as opposed to sort of tithing 10 percent to God on Sun. morning and living the rest of the week for ourselves. In other words, putting as much and more into what He has called us to do in service as we would our favorite hobby. Worship is -not- about us. It's truly about Him. We simply get the benefits, the blessings from connecting intimately with Him in a genuine relationship.

4. If one will (and not by coercion, no arm-twisting or brow-beating from others) by their own choices choose such a path and walk it out over time, this "new way of living for God" thing indeed happens! Conversely, it will not happen without these.

Now I'm certain there are formulas that make some level of sense, I'm equally certain this "simple minded" recipe for spiritual growth and success in an authentic relationship with God may put some off… but I have seen the fruit of it over my own lifetime in countless numbers of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have seen the grace of God work in me exactly in this way.

I truly dislike formulas as one can "drive trucks" through most of them, but this basic concept of life is more than a formula, philosophical ideal or theory for spirituality.

I've been there. Generally speaking and certainly within the parameters of my own imperfections, temptations and sins, I am there. It works, and it's the truth!

So- here's the link if you're interested in a good bros. daily devo.

http://www.thedailybibleverse.org/

And thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

The Center of Attention

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There may be a thousand reasons why we may wish to be the center of
attention… but in fact we ARE the center of attention… we just
don’t always realize it.

For some it was a difficult, even violent childhood where the way to
get attention was to be rude, mean, throw your toys or in some way get
loud and act out until a parent or guardian just went off on you
somehow.

Others may have sat in corners crying and shaking, or hiding in
closets or perhaps doing all they could to avoid human contact though
it was exactly what they desperately wanted and needed.

My own life was laced with pain from my parent’s divorce and seeing
other marriage, engagement and friendship breakups all around me.

Little did I expect after I’d begun to follow Jesus that I’d see (and
experience on some levels) all of these myself- regardless of the
faith/belief/teaching/quality of the people or any other factor.

Then we have the many pressures in life: illness, financial, job and
other issues… really difficult people (or they are at least to us or
by our way of thinking and doing) and more seem to bring stress levels
to ever-higher peaks.

At such times we may want to sit in a room and BE the center, the main
attraction, The Person Who is Respected in that particular setting.

Some of us are so very self-centered, our thoughts so fully focused on
ourselves, our own feelings and desires that others in that time and
place are always second-class citizens. We may not want to think about
them or treat them that way, but we do- and often are so full of
self-interest we don’t even realize it.

I have done all this and had it done to me. Any of us can be a
negative, at times even toxic sort of person.

I’ve also been around (somewhat constantly) people who share the very same
maladies and in my own opinion the simple answer is “get over yourself”.

But here is a kinder, gentler way of saying it: if you and I looked up
and out, that is, at Jesus and others more often we’d likely feel and
even act a lot better than we do!

We have a loving, patient heavenly Father even when we are unloving
and impatient with both He and His children all around us.

Choosing to respect God and people, thinking of others “as better than
[our] yourselves” as the Word of God instructs us is a great healer
and deliverer.

Our habit patterns must be broken, changed, re-formed. We literally
need reformation!

To “Put on kindness, humility” as Paul writes in his letters is no
mere “put-on”! It is a way of thinking and acting, it is a way of
life.

This means the alpha male zips his lip and does NOT have to carry the
conversation in a room. It means the insecure woman does NOT have to
laugh at every coarse joke or be the “hottie” at every gathering. We
learn to be part but not dominating, we can truly find freedom in NOT
having to be the key entertainment in the moment!

Now this means in short, someone other than you or I will be getting
the attention. It means giving and not just taking. Its about sharing
rather than controlling. This can lead to interaction as opposed to
acting (as in being an “actor” who is always playing a role in order
to get the attention of others).

When Rick Warren says “It’s not about you” he couldn’t have been more correct!

Then the flip-side of this must be accented: Jesus DID come, live,
teach, apply the Word of God in all moments of His earthly ministry,
died and rose again… and is coming again… FOR YOU. YOU. You and I
already ARE the center of His attention.

Of course because we’re not taking responsible, personal steps to
listen to His Word, apply it, focus on Him and others over ourselves
we get caught in the endless vortex… down, down we go into even more
self-self-self.

Confused as to why we’re not getting the adrenaline rush we’re used to
getting we may even decide the answer is more self-centered behavior.
We fall into ever more acting for the crowd, “playing to the stands”
to curry favor, to get applause, to somehow get people to like us and
think well of us.

This is not only cheap and immature, it’s a spiritual and emotional
trap, a jail we’ve built for ourselves.

Interestingly enough, the answer to our insecurity is not getting more
spotlight… but rather less of it. It is about sharing, lifting
others up, helping to make THEM look good. It truly is more blessed to
give than receive though we don’t always like such a tactic. But this
is where the life of Jesus can change everything -if we let HIM direct
our thoughts, words and actions.

I speak as a musician who has often been the center of attention in a
room. Part of what I do to serve God and others but certainly to some
extent in order to counter-act my own temptation in this area is to
writing lyrics that focus on how others feel, what others need, to
express to the best of my ability how much God loves and desires to
include THEM.

In the process, my eyes get off of me… which is truly refreshing!

When I’m not the focus of me I likely end up giving my best service to
others. THEY get to BE the center of attention from time to time. They
get my ear and not just my mouth, my words. Learning to listen is
truly difficult when one wishes to be the center of attention.

The very thing we want is the very thing we must learn to give.

And yes, I’m talking to myself as I write this blog, I freely admit it.

May the Lord help you and I mature into far better listeners and
givers than we are at present.

There are plenty of people around us in deep need- and it’s -still-
“more blessed to give than to receive”!

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Politics? I Don’t Think So…

In the event you either don’t know or perhaps wish to know where I am at with regard to politics and social justice/change and equity -regardless of your own particular position- I can sum mine up rather quickly:

I do not believe either the Bible, church nor general world history gives us much hope that any specific form of politics or justice system is beyond corruptibility. That is, humans are by nature sinners and largely work for selfish ends.

What I’m -not- saying is that all self-interest is selfish and sinful. Jesus commands us to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” so there is certainly a “self-love” that He considers not only right and godly but even an essential ingredient in loving others as God desires us to do.

I am indeed saying (and I seem to have read this somewhere…:) “no one is good, not even one…”. In the end I don’t believe any system of government or justice template has or will ever exist (outside of the kingdom Jesus Christ is building) beyond corruption. People can be bought, therefore justice can be either by-passed or certainly in some cases, eliminated in terms of this world and this life in exchange for money, political or other positions of power and so forth.

So do I think we are hopeless? Not at all! Our hope is in Jesus Christ and there is ultimately no other.

Yet I also believe that if we in the church (actual Christ-followers, not merely attendees on Sunday mornings) truly loved one another and yes, our neighbors as we love ourselves there would be such an amazing change in society that whatever government was in power would become rather moot.

A huge part of my thoughts and heart for the poor stems from a deepening knowledge of God’s grace in my own life. In terms of freedom from addictions, living a fairly simple life (which to be blunt, I’d love to simplify even further) and recognizing God’s hand in supplying all my needs over a lifetime has taught me to trust Him.

People, myself included, are not to be glibly trusted nor depended on! And yet I don’t walk around judging everyone I meet or for that matter think I’m any more worthy of anything other than hell than anyone else!

It’s grace, and His grace is not only extended to me but to “whosoever will, let them come”!

But the point is that God continually seeks to extend His offer of grace, love and forgiveness THROUGH HIS PEOPLE, THE CHURCH.

We so often look the other way with regard to prisoners (“I was in prison and you came to me” Mt. 25) and the poor (“The poor you shall have with you always and you can do good to them whenever you want to”).

As some on the extreme left have drunk the koolaide of “no God but myself”, plenty on the extreme and even not-so-extreme right seem to think that self-centered living and correct voting fixes what ails us. Not so.

Some have so easily bought the propaganda lie that those of a different race, ethnicity, who have lost their jobs and cannot find work, who have become drug-dependent, alcoholics and/or have ended up in jail or prison are all simply reaping what they’ve sown.

While many -did- make sinful, stupid choices that landed them in such a state, plenty have not.

The idea of the self-made person is a myth. “What have you been given that is not a gift?” writes James. Indeed. Grace isn’t earned. It cannot be.

So on the one hand some Christians on the right seem to believe God predestined the poor to their lot (which truly reminds me of one of the slave-holders favorite lines back in the day) or conversely, that all the rough and sometimes horrible and despair-feeding situations they end up in are merely a matter of their own sinful lack of taking personal responsibility.

Nice ‘eh? This means you don’t lift a finger to love, you simply make a neat, tight judgment and do nothing or next-to-nothing.

Finally, I have grown increasingly weary of the thick-headed assumptions and oft-repeated nonsense from speakers and their clientele who fully believe it’s always someone else’s job to serve and sacrifice for the poor, the widow and the orphan… to the extent they have the gall to say “RUN from any church that claims to stand and work for ‘social justice’ as they’re obviously liberal and likely not true Christians”.

Cute. So if Jesus’ Own words in Matthew chapter 25 don’t qualify as “social justice”, what does?!!

People work so very hard to extricate themselves from application of the very Word of God they say is so core and central to all they hold dear!

If I were commenting on such inane commentary using British English, I’d say such clap-trap is suited only for the rubbish tip.

Why is it we work so very hard for exits to loving our neighbor?

I suppose in very brief, at very least, it’s about our own fear, laziness and despair over our own lack of control of the way our world, nation, state, county, city, town, countryside or personal property may possibly be (or is being) affected by… well… by THEM. THEY are the issue, not ME!

Not so. Not in the judgment.

If there is any sense of truth in the biblical statements about our reaping what we’ve sown, let me ask you what I ask myself: what if you only reaped what you’d sown (in this life) to the poor, the widow and the orphan?

I KNOW it’s all about God’s grace to you and I… so is it somehow NOT about God’s grace for those around us?

This double-standard of reasoning is not only unreasonable, it’s unbiblical and really what some would call “pretzel logic”.

“Judgment must first begin in the house of the Lord”. Yes. Yes indeed.

Please pray about whether it’s God’s truth or rather your own fear and the desire for control that most shapes your judgment about others, especially those in prison or living in the street.

If more of the church truly lived as the biblical church, oh how more would flock to follow the Good Shepherd!

God help us better reflect Jesus Christ rather than our fearful, angry, demanding selves!!

Sincerely, thank you for reading through my thoughts. -Glenn

Easter? So What?

Tonight I think of a dear Ev. Free Church pastor friend (Mike Baar, Canton, Illinois) who has just gone to be with Jesus face-to-face. What does Easter mean to him now?!

I think of his dear wife and boys, his church, so many like myself who were blessed to know him as a friend and encourager, an example of Jesus among us. What does Good Friday and Easter mean to his family and the rest of us?

I am remembering another kind, amazing Calvary Chapel pastor friend of mine who went home to the Lord several years ago… and how his sweet widow and one of his young daughters visited JPUSA that holy week… and how the sad young girl wanted to go forward at our Good Friday service. Weeping together we walked hand-in-hand to the front in the semi-darkness, crying at a painful loss as well at the wonder of God's grace through this "veil of tears" here on earth.

I'm thinking of several dear friends who are getting older, not as healthy as they once were, who are battling this or that disease. What does Easter mean to them?

There are so many sitting in jails and prisons across the U.S., some in solitary confinement or on death row in those states that allow it. What is Good Friday and Easter to them?

For many of us- especially with young children or grandkids this is at least in part a time for colored eggs, chocolate, candy and little cards and prizes in baskets. It's a time for fun.

A lot of adults see it as an excuse to drink plenty of booze, do up whatever their drug of choice is, to get out and party, to basically find whatever pleasure they can while they can on the weekend.

There are those who with various bits of speaking, prayer, song and other art and/or ceremony remind us all about the Last Supper, Jesus' foot washing of His disciples feet (Maundy Thursday), of Good Friday (the crucifixion) and of course Easter Sunday- often remembering Jesus' resurrection upon the rising of the sun as the scriptures proclaim.

My own view is that too many people focus on themselves and not Jesus Christ.

Easter, as Christmas and other holidays are either a bore, a joke with regard to a myth, an excuse to party or basically just useless and something commercial interests care about due to making more money off of whatever sales they can generate.

Even Christians fall into the trap of selfish thought and pursuits at a time serious thought and meditation of exactly what Jesus did for us and why it means EVERYTHING now and in eternity ought to be considered.

WHY is Friday "good"? Why is Easter so very important, not only to Jesus or church people… but to all humankind?

Serious illness reminds us. Death reminds us. A loved one in pain and distress reminds us. Our own frailty and inability to somehow earn or otherwise self-obtain our own salvation reminds us.

There is in fact a reality that your belief or disbelief cannot change or affect in any way. But it changed my life and the lives of millions of others and as I write this in 2012 it can change you- Hallelulia and Gloria Deo!!!

That reality is:

Christ has died.

Christ is Risen!

Christ will come again!

Grace to you this Easter -the grace to grasp what the love of God for you truly looks like… on the cross and in the empty tomb.

-Glenn