GivingThanks

ThumbsUp1This Thanksgiving I give thanks to Jesus Christ, my Lord, Saviour and best friend.

To Wendi, my incredibly kind, gracious, wise wife of 41 years, my best friend on earth.

I am SO thankful for my children, sons-in-law, grandsons, pastors, church, friends and fans all over the world who have shown us kindness and grace.

I’m so thankful to God for all these gifts. So thankful for health to this point… amazing these 60 years. For travel mercy as we’ve logged a LOT of miles.

For ears, eyes, hands and a heart that all still work.

For the many opportunities to bring music to places sometimes overlooked to people who appreciate we came.

Above all, for grace in this journey!

Blessings on you and your family this (American) Thanksgiving holiday, thanks for stopping by!

-Glenn

How to Play a Cigar Box Guitar?

For those of you asking about HOW to play a cigar box guitar, my buddy Shane Speal has a load of YouTube tutorials. Please have a look/listen/learn. They progress from simple to more complex re. tunings and how to play certain songs, etc.. so just look through and give ’em a go.

I’ve made this Tiny URL as the original was so long it was crazy… anyway it’s safe and will take you directly to Shane’s YouTube lessons for playing these sweet little guitars. Enjoy!

http://tinyurl.com/ld3dcas

Reply and Response to “Feeling Stuck”

Thanks Bro ,

That’s a lot to think and be praying about.

GK- Yes it is! I try to be brief but there are times when a simple “quick, paint with a broad brush” answer just doesn’t do the issue (or the person) justice. Too many variables in why we do/don’t do, or are where we are and so on.

I guess I already do serve part-time being on a worship team, but it doesn’t feel like something that would be called service, but more like a gift that I’ve been blessed to be a part of.

GK- You sure do- and two points on this as well: it IS service… “the widow’s mite” seemed little but she gave all she had and that, says Jesus, is PLENTY and even more than the rest of ’em! Secondly, you’ve just hit on a super mature reality, that sometimes (thankfully!) we indeed feel what we’re doing is more of a gift to us than it is service. Both are true at the same time! Yes!!! Don’t minimize that which you are doing in His Name. Don’t harshly judge yourself and your offering by the offerings others bring. It’s easy for a billionaire to give a million. We don’t know the motives nor what God is or isn’t to them, you know?

I will talk with the pastor and some of the elders of the church and see what their thoughts are as far as where I can serve in some of the other ministries inside or outside of the church.

GK- Great stuff! In His timing, there may be other ways you can really serve that you’ve not even considered yet. It may indeed be re. music and that’s cool if so, but either way.

There’s a new ministry started on Friday’s called ” Arts Collective” maybe I’ll start to going to that as well and see if there are others that would like to Jam or maybe even start to write our own worship tunes , that sounds like fun.

GK- That could be a great thing indeed. Sounds like a cool thing going there too!

But getting back to the subject I really feel the Holy Spirit kind of telling me to get off my butt and start doing more to help make a difference other than doing just enough to call myself a Christian. If I was comparing it to work I feel like I’m doing just enough to not get fired.

GK- I hear you on both points but do remember, it’s not about works as such. We can do a ton of stuff “for Him” He never called us to do. But sure, plenty of folks “are saved” (and I mean truly belong to Jesus) but that’s about it, I hear you and of course love is about lovING not mere feelings, concepts and desire. Love in action. But again, take time to pray and listen. Do what He puts before you each day. But it does seem to me it’s not the size of the gift but the heart of the giver God is most concerned with.

I guess I look up to You and other people right in my church and even other Christians serving the LORD whole heartedly.

GK- That’s cool but take care, not all have the same gifts, callings, financial load to carry, etc., etc., so even judging yourself on the basis of how much time you give in “overt ministry” is not a great measure of your love or service to Jesus and others.

I don’t claim to know other people’s hearts, but some people I know and meet I can see how they are really serving and sacrificing their own wants and needs to serve and help others and go out of the way to help.
and they always seem to be happy and full of joy.

I want to be part of that.

GK- I admire such people too… and am not always among them either!! “Give and it shall be given unto you”… but I’d say focus on giving and let the joy come or not. It WILL come but you are in such a matter also embracing the crosses which are part of serving.

So to wrap this up, please be praying for me to get over my fear of praying out loud in front of people I think that is my current biggest challenge to get over.

GK- Will do. And again, He can cure that, but also again, serving with or without words and public prayer is still serving!

There is soo much to go over in your response- I may have to read it a few more times but, Thanks again for the advice and prayers.

These are the times where I’m glad to have friend and brother like you.

Blessings , prayers and hugs too,

GK- Understood. Slow down your read and consider, feel free to respond or not as you wish. You’re so welcome. Glad I can be of some little help along the path. I have been SO blessed  with friends including my wife, pastors and others who have helped me limp down the road over the years!!

Keep me up on how you’re doing. Blessings and have a SWEET Thanksgiving, so much to Thank God for!

-Glenn

Feeling Stuck? What About Your Calling?

EarTimeA friend recently emailed me a question that I’ve been asked so very many times that I think it’s time I write a rather thorough response to him -and he gave me permission to share all this with you here.:

“Glenn, How did you know you were called to do more than the vicious circle that I and a large portion of Christians seem to be stuck in: Work 5 to 6 days a week, church 2 or 3 times per week, eating and sleeping, sometimes witness or talk with others about God, but it just doesn’t seem to go beyond that. I feel like I’m not doing enough. Like I’m not making a difference. I don’t have a large vocabulary and have a fear of public speaking, but I feel like I should get involved in ministry somehow. At least part-time for a starter. I’d love to start a Christian rock band and take that route, Like what you did with REZ, but I don’t know if that’s where I can serve best. What do you think?”

My Bro.- Your core questions bring to mind two comments from Eric Liddell in the film “Chariots of Fire”: “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure”. At another point he said, “He made me fast”. He was a serious Christian, brilliant athlete but also died on the mission field as a missionary. He was fully convinced of his calling and sacrificed fully to live that call out.

A large part of the answer is truly about listening. Getting a sense of confirmation, an “I am sending you” to do whatever it may be, music or otherwise.

So how might we hear God’s confirmation of calling us to do x, y or z?

He speaks and confirms via His Word, prayer, via accountability with friends in leadership who will tell you the truth (either way…) and also in practicalities of doors opening or closing and lastly (and I do mean lastly because it’s easy to mess this up or have others mess it up for/with us) visions/dreams/signs-and-wonder stuff.

Perhaps one day I’ll write a short story detailing how God called me and regarding Rez Band from my own perspective. I don’t know why some people get the massive confirmations that I did before and after (literally in every area I just listed above) and why others do not. All I can say is in my own case, I suppose I needed them and they fell like rain. Still do at times. Ha, it happens to be raining outside as I write this! But onward to some of your fine points which I think are seriously worthy of response.

There are SO many hard realities in life. We must have food, water, clothing and shelter. Our spouse and kids, loved ones (if we are needed to help them out with these necessities) need them supplied as well. We must “render to Caesar” and money is mostly the stuff we must have to do this in the Western world. We can of course barter, co-op and do some deeper measure of community to help meet such basic needs, but in any case all this takes time and energy. This is WHY (survival, basic need-meeting) most folks, Christ-followers or not- end up disliking their day job. Or work two or even 3 jobs in order to pay the bills. For a musician, doing music full-time sounds a lot more fun and fulfilling and on the surface, more of a legitimate “ministry” as you mention. Well, yes and no. Track with me on this a bit more…

For a believer to show up in close fellowship with other believers and study the Word, pray, sing, confess faults, really interact in a local congregation, plus keep the bills paid and food on the table is often as much energy and ability as one can muster. This is all understandable to me and I don’t judge it or those in such a situation as I’d say it’s the same for most Christians on the planet. The fact some of us care enough about Jesus and people to verbally share and be sensitive to what sort of examples we bring others of our love and faith due to Him, well that’s even more amazing. I’d say few believers are as sensitive to that as we should be.

But LOTS of people feel they’re not doing enough, aren’t making all that much of a difference. Here’s where we need to be more thoughtful:

Feelings can be due to truth, lies, exaggeration, mental illness/body chemicals, a great or really imbalanced congregation/friends/fans… the Holy Spirit might be nudging us to get over ourselves and just serve in simple ways right where we are. Or it could be jealousy and envy. Could be we have either/and spiritual gifts or natural talents we’re burying because of the personal sacrifice in sharing them… could be any number of things.

It -could- be a case of fear and/or worries about freaking out our neighbors or moving out of status-quo Christianity.

Sometimes the “status quo” of whatever culture/community of peeps you’re in is what you seek to keep cool about. What I mean is that “normal” isn’t always satisfying and frankly, I am forever grateful the status quo of both the world and what sometimes typifies church isn’t the main voice in my head- nor my ball-and-chain so to speak.

What I mean is that the majority of people don’t want their boat rocked so to keep peace and shallow friendships we just trudge along. Nobody on our block thinks we’re bums (or they may) but at least they’re not really mad at us… so we maintain peace with others while losing peace in our own hearts about following Jesus and serving where He may be calling us.

Serving where He called me meant a LOT of folks thought I was crazy, self-indulgent and/or just an idiot. Many who would not consider themselves believers (and some who do) STILL think that, ha! So what. I am not God nor are they. Each of us truly WILL give account to God one day and I am SOOOOOO thankful He called me to link with other like-minded Christians who love in deed and not simply live a status-quo life on the sidelines.

To do a local congregation well, to start a band or worship team or whatever you need like-minded people, not only yourself, alone. So that’s part of how things opened up and have been confirmed in my own life and times.

Now- getting on the field means getting hit and hurt. That’s part of working with people, especially really hurting people… again, this is why I think a good many people -choose- to live a status-quo life.

Def. of “status-quo”? “The existing condition or state of affairs, as in We don’t want to admit more singers to the chorus; we like the status quo . This term, Latin for “state in which,” has been used in English since the early 1800s.”

Reminds me of “same-old, same-old” and “all change is perceived as loss”.

So sometimes we (or those around us) don’t want change and therefore we get stuck. Sometimes God doesn’t want change and we leap into what we ought not. Sometimes He is calling us to wait! Sometimes He’s wanting us to move out and go. There are risks and possible land-mines on all sides when you’re considering change, especially a huge change in your life, lifestyle, income, work schedule and relationship changes that will come as a result of doing nothing or actually getting into deeper waters of how you use most of your time each day.

Not all are great at public speaking or music or whatever. No worries! The Book says plainly that we don’t all have the same spiritual gifts. Cool! We need others and to work with others in serving. I’d say start (continue) where you are in small things and ask godly, wise folks for input on what you might otherwise do. Share your dreams but face the very real pains of living them out a bit before you take the big leap.

And bro., in your case, you ARE involved in a ministry (as are all Christians whether like yourself or not). You are on a worship team. You serve your family. That’s ministry. Don’t minimize what you already do!

On to your last points re. Christian rock band and Rez:

Part time as you say, is a GREAT way to get your feet wet. Pray, ask around and make sure you link with disciples in your local congregation or in your area, not merely talented people with an itch to do whatever, band or whatever it is. If I were you I’d ask your pastor and leadership if there are other ways you might serve in music, or if there are other areas they think you may be called/gifted to serve. It’s all about service, not so much what the actual area of service IS. “Let love make you serve one another”.

Maybe I’ll write a short book on how REZ Band came to be one day, but it would take more time and effort than I have at the moment. It was a deep conviction about need, a great deal of confirmation of my/our calling, immediate tests but also confirmations via leadership and amazing response to the Lord from our very first concerts. Not everyone gets all that stuff so I believe God in His grace wanted to write on my wall in the positive sense, likely in part because few were doing what we did in those days and He knew the flack we’d catch because of it.

Lastly, hobbies are not automatically great nor are they automatically sinful. But what you can do is take some of the time you give to hobbies/recreation and prayerfully consider a way you might serve God and others through that particular medium, again, be it music or otherwise. Too many folks focus on what they wish to do as a full-time gig that pays enough to let them do it. Some should indeed go for it. I can’t personally imagine how I could have supported myself, wife and kids over the years had I not been supported by my local congregation financially and in other areas. But prayerfully, creatively thinking about what you might do here and there each week or weekend may be a large part of the answer for you regarding serving others!

Hopefully I’ve provided you and others a bit of food for thought.

Let me know, Love and Hugs, -Glenn

Whut AM I Thinkin’??

On November 11, 2013:

—About the first day of snow, just a bit, wet and likely won’t stick but still nice.

—Thankful for being nearly fully healed from a nasty ear infection! SUPER grateful to God and all who prayed 🙂

—About vets giving their lives, sometimes for worthy causes, sometimes for our corporate intere$t$… but in any case they don’t deploy themselves and I thank them as well as care deeply about how we treat them when they come home.

—About Miley… nothin’ new under the sun. parochial school, preacher and missionary kids have long been tempted to “prove” they’re as self-centered and hedonistic as non-followers of Jesus… but the sad deal is this is likely (ala Monroe, Madonna, Gaga, etc.,) more about the publicity for the bucks than much else. Root of all evil? The Book said it long ago… “love of money”.

—About “atheist churches” as the media calls ’em. Nothing new… plenty of desire for community and self-worship outside (as well as inside) Christian churches. Same old same old.

—About grace with recovery, how many are dealing with it and how faithful God is to show up when we show up. Lovin’ the Steps and appreciate the mercy.

—About a cool group using Ubuntu Linux on recycled computers helping the poor get online in Milwaukee (my old hometown) and elsewhere for education, etc.. VERY cool work and good peeps imho: http://www.projectcc.org/?page_id=409 You will find they’re also in FaceBook.

—Praying like crazy for the victims of the typhoon in Philippines.

—Continually thankful for my wonderful wife, kids, sons-in-law, grandkids, church, friends!

—Kickin’ around adding more podcasts… maybe even test a live-stream vodcast if folks are interested, around Thanksiving time… we’ll see.

Thanks for stopping by:) -Glenn