Christmas and SO MUCH MORE.

Our Advent service was amazing and again tonight, the Christmas Eve. gathering again just touching and beautiful.

Friends old and young, carols, hymns and THE Greatest Story ever told.

Great food, cool gifts, kids having a blast, hot cider, cold nog, a very family and extended family night. Blessed!

Jesus came into our world so we could be truly blessed, truly born, born all over again, a spiritual birth that is beyond mere belief. I say it that way because faith, though both a gift and essential (yes, a choice and a path to follow Jesus in) it comes down to fact and reality, not mere belief.

What God says is. You and I can believe it or not, nothing will change what the Author of truth considers truth.

One can believe the sky is non-existent but in the end, it is.

“I Am”… -is-. So… how do I know?

Yes, faith, but also “circumstances” -over 42 years of them via following this Infant King Jesus Who unlike you or I, isn’t in the end, stopped nor changed by anything or anyone. God is like that. He reveals Himself as He chooses.

Jesus -is- Emmanuel, God with us.

What a difference He has made in my life! Some might say from these addictions to those… from drugs, sex and the worst of them: -self- addiction to a Christ-addiction. And they’d be correct. Absolutely.

He has proven Himself real in my life over and over in more ways that I can number. Perhaps another time I’ll write a long blog on just how many ways and situations that only a total Neanderthal would believe (ahh… faith… hmmm?) didn’t happen exactly as they happened. Mere coincidence? Not even close, and too many times no other sane explanation than God present in my life.

But for now, Merry CHRISTmas and know that there is a God who is seeking you out. Love is like that. No… love IS Him.

Merry Christmas everyone. And Happy Birthday Lord Jesus!

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Tapestry Show

Wow. What a beautiful, gracious night!

Ami and Brock were as always, amazing. Great songs, well performed, all enjoyed them as I knew they would.

They both joined me at the top of my set and on the last tune (Silent Night).

I actually used a bit more typical guitar than I had originally planned but wanted to keep things simple on the night. The cigarbox guitars and diddley bow came out toward the end of the set and as usual seemed an inspiration (so I was told by several folks afterwards) to many.

The kids were so sweet, playing, singing and sharing in the songs, lots of Christmas carols/hymns and such.

I also accented “Why a blues Christmas?” in terms of the many poor, homeless, hungry and addicted, the many servicemen and women in great need and often distress, the fact that for some this is their first Christmas without a loved one that had been there for many years.

But really, a nice crowd on the Friday before Christmas (I wondered if many would make it out but they sure did) so it was a gift to us.

The Tapestry crew are very sweet, kept the many treats, tea and coffee coming. Their venue is just amazing, what a cool atmosphere!

And my recent bout with a rocking cough/chest cold only kept me down to about 80 percent of the vocals I wanted to bring. Grace. Sweet grace of Jesus.

So I trust those reading will find and make time to think, pray, read the Bible story of the greatest love that the world can ever experience!

As a young girl who shared during Ami’s set fairly well said, “Christ IS Christmas”. Amen.

Blessed Advent, the waiting is almost over.

Oh.. and right near the end of the night I did a short rendition of “Where Have all the Mayans Gone”… heck, this being the end of the world and all ๐Ÿ™‚ Oops… I see it’s Saturday already… when will we ever learn… when will we ever learn?

May God BLESS you and yours with a truly Merry CHRISTmas! -Glenn

The Hopes & Fears of All The Years

Been thinking a lot about various Christmas songs, their lyrics, the mystery and passion of that first Christmas- the real one, not the mere myths, fantasy and advertisement stuff that passes for Xmas in many folk’s minds.

So one of what some may consider a cheesy song (“Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”) or merely a children’s tune is on my radar today. Consider: “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight”.

Hmmm. Hope in a time such as Newtown, Connecticut along with so many other issues of concern? Fear perhaps -but hope??

I think the author had “met” down cold.

It’s about Bethlehem, the place the Savior of the world was born, God came down as fully God and fully man. In Jesus Christ, in that time and place the hopes (salvation, forgiveness, grace, the un-earnable favor of God, eternal life, peace) and fears (is there any hope, any safe future, any sure passage through this “veil of tears”, anything or anyone worthy of faith in an eternal heaven with God and those who have loved and served Him, any assurance of eternal life after death?) indeed faced off in the Person of Christ.

Guess what? God had His way and shall have it.

Christmas is all about Him. So does this mean all suffering ends (even for a moment) on December 25th? Certainly not.

As a friend and colleague pointed out recently, Herod conspired and carried out the slaughter of a number of innocent children, two years of age and under, within a couple years of Jesus’ birth. If not for an angel speaking to Joseph in a dream to “take the child down to Egypt and remain there until God instructs you for Herod seeks to find the child to kill him” the story would have ended then and there.

I find it amazing that so many shrug off the Bible when it is so blatant in it’s histories, especially not leaving the harsh and cruel realities of life out of the picture. There is little “window dressing” to the “fears” of this life in scripture. If one studies the New Testament there are plenty such difficult references so it’s not just Old Testament stories of brutality I’m thinking of.

So what about hope? The hope of Bethlehem is in the Person of Jesus Christ, not in strategies to solve fiscal cliffs, terrorism, nuclear disarmament or global warming. Jesus told us “In the world you shall have tribulation”. No surprise.

No- the surprise is truly hope!

I admit hope came my way as a rather shocking surprise the night of my own conversion to faith in the risen Jesus.

I would say the hopes and fears are met in the One born in Bethlehem.

Now if we can only move on into “Go Where I Send Thee”!

Thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

Landfill Harmonic… Amazing!

This cool clip of what poor folks can do with mere garbage in a landfill is inspiring indeed!

Thanks to my longtime friend, pastor Randy Schoof for sending this on to me. I felt it needed to be shared more broadly!

Not blues or rock but great classical music and cool young musicians here- "Landfill Harmonic".

http://vimeo.com/focusforwardfilms/semifinalists/51890020

Amazing how people can become so very creative and grow with what's available.

Enjoy Advent and thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Last Night’s Show in Chicago

Imag1942

Nice, gracious time last night in Chicago. One more pre-Christmas set next week on Fri. Dec. 21, then leading worship at JPUSA on the 23rd, then Christmas with family. Praying a lot for those suffering in Connecticut… whew how incredibly difficult for all involved.

Had a small but -very- kind crowd last night and I decided to only bring cigarbox and found-object guitars on this particular set. Thanks to Rocky and God's Garage on West Fullerton in Chicago for a blessed night.

Turned out a bro. from Arkansas named Savitri (spelling??) came by with his guitar and even opened (did a brilliant set) with quite a flair. He's from Louisiana but spent time in Texas and now lives in northwestern Arkansas. Gifted guitarist and singer for sure.

A couple friends came by and made the night special for me on several levels, one of which was that the bro. had about 8 really (really!) cool cigar boxes for me to build guitars with. Made my night!

At the end of the night Savitri loaned me his guitar for two songs but the rest I played on the gits you see here.

Left-to-right they are:

–A four string antique bedpan slide guitar given me as a gift from Albuquerque's own Mark Bush- aka Rat Daddy. Here's a clip with one of his gits with himself right near the end:?? http://www.artistopia.com/rat-daddy#.UM3lpKz-1yU

–My Shane Speal Special (my name for 'er), a three stringer which he made for me, nice flatpup (pickup) on this one… even has a gear shift!

–My GrrrBox (three stringer), my signature guitar based on several ideas, the neck-on-top concept from Crow Richardson who along with Shane Speal, you can search for and find over at cigarboxnation.com

–The first guitar of this sort I ever made, from a little metal cookie tin and a few old tuners I had laying around

–My diddley bow (one stringer) complete with hot sauce bottle "bridge" and I think an acoustic A string wound up to whatever pitch ๐Ÿ™‚ I ended up using this for Joy to the World!

Also on the bench there are my two brass-accented Joe Filiksko-built harmonicas (in G and A) and a copper slide for the guitars.

This was mostly a blues set, and I added a few Christmas songs as well. On the 21st I'll be at Tapestry Fellowship in Chicago along with The Unfortunate and my solo set will be totally comprised of Christmas songs along with sharing the biblical Christmas story.

Oh, didn't take a pic of one but last night I used a new portable piezo pickup I commissioned a good and talented friend to make me several of. As my 2×4 diddley didn't have a pickup I just wedged it under the bottle and also did the same with another one under the eye-bolt bridge on my original cookie tin guitar. They sounded great!

Picked up a Boss tremelo foot pedal a few weeks ago and all of these via my little Trimmed & Burnin' amp rocked very nicely on the night… or so I"m told ๐Ÿ™‚

I've written a lot of songs this past year and hope to do a full-blown cigarbox guitar project for release at some point in 2013. More on that as things progress.

May God Bless your Advent season, may we focus on Jesus throughout the tears, joy and graces given us.

Thanks for stopping by,?? -Glenn

A Word from a Friend Re. Worship & Connecticut Tragedy

My friend Geoff Twigg has written a solid response to the terrible events out East today.

It was partly a response to an excellent question from one of the Ev. Covenant worship leaders in our forum re. how might this affect our Advent worship service planning. Very much worth a read no matter who you are nor whether you lead worship or not!

blogs.covchurch.org/wc/2012/12/when-tragedy-strikes

Praying for the families now… -Glenn