Talkin’ Feedback

GKfeedbackFeedback!

First, warm thanks to Mark Hootman for the great photo from the GKB set at this year’s AudioFeed Festival ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re a rock guitarist or simply a loud music lover you likely know what “feedback” means.

I have long loved hearing feedback from live and sometimes studio recordings of great bands playing cookin’ songs. There is something about that electric guitar through a cranked amp moving the speakers in that way that adds to a performance something like Scotch Bonnet peppers do to a bowl of chili.

But not everyone likes heat (or perhaps some other spice) in their meal.

There is great feedback and what we call “uncontrolled” feedback. There is a chaos that really ends up being noise of a not-good nature. It ain’t right, don’t fit, no singing or song, just an off-key noise.

In what is often called “the circumcision dispute” among the new Christ-followers written about in Acts chapter 15 and elsewhere there was another sort of feedback issue. You might even say there was feedback responding to feedback.

Paul and the apostles in Jerusalem met to discuss whether all new Gentile Christian men needed to be ritually circumcised as was Jewish custom for believers.

Some people had begun teaching that this must happen for the new converts to truly be saved.

Meeting over this question, they discussed what God had been doing among these Gentile converts. Various of the leaders spoke, quoted scripture on the issue(s), deliberated for a time and then wrote what was for me, a super eye-opening letter that I believe gives great insight on dealing with various teachings, disputes, discord and issues of strife among believers.

One of these lines is the sort I’d personally never be comfortable writing (“It seemed good to us and to the Holy Spirit”) but I’m glad they did. Of course they meant “we think God is saying thus and such” but translated into English it comes over pretty bold.

So they made sure this letter was copied and passed around to local churches all over. Here it is:

โ€œThe apostles, the elders, and the brothers, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: greetings. 24 Because we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, โ€˜You must be circumcised and keep the law,โ€™ to whom we gave no commandment; 25 it seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose out men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves will also tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay no greater burden on you than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality, from which if you keep yourselves, it will be well with you. Farewell.โ€ -Acts 15.23-29

In many years of traveling the world I’ve met plenty of amazing people and heard lots of amazing (!) things, some of which seemed quite out-to-lunch in terms of truth from the Bible, and/or historical reality. Sometimes it seemed I was hearing nonsense that someone or a group of someones had latched onto as “revelation from God” they were compelled to pass along to myself and/or others.. I could tell you stories and with no embellishment, you’d get how crazy things can be via words at times!

Having said this, it’s also true I’ve heard and received powerful, accurate and edifying words from people. Sometimes what they bring is absolutely solid, genuine and truth, convicting (me personally) of sin I must repent of, an important direction I need to take, etc.. Sometimes a teaching rings biblical and true, sometimes not. Paying careful attention to feedback is a good thing!

I’ve had people prophesy Spirit-led truth (both kind and hard-to-hear corrective stuff) that I had to act on… as well as nonsense, blathering foolishness at times proclaimed in faith that the Spirit was giving them The Message for me.

I have always tried to really listen, pray, ask God honestly “Is this for me? Is there any truth in it? What do YOU want me to do with this Lord?”

As a Christ-follower I learned early on to go back to the Book, prayer, accountability to those I know are the real deal, know Jesus, His Word and really know me- to those who have the love and guts to confront me if I need to accept and deal with something I’d rather avoid.

This is one of several examples highlighting the importance of linking with honest, genuine Christ-followers and not merely fans, friends or “yes-people” slack in following Jesus, those who rarely consult the Bible on the issues or simply don’t love you enough to tell you hard truth. Some don’t care enough to get at the truth, either from the Word nor in life.

TOOOOO many believers either don’t seek out or will not accept input (FEEDBACK) from truly good-hearted peeps, be they leaders or not, or due to the difficulty of finding and maintaining close relationships of love and trust with godly, loving people, well… “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” as it says. Not good.

Many traveling musicians have told me crazy stories of what folks said to them and had little input on what to do with the feedback. So check this out:

v. 24 “Because we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, โ€˜You must be circumcised and keep the law,โ€™ TO WHOM WE GAVE NO COMMANDMENT” (My caps for accent).

In essence, they said “Hey, WE didn’t send these guys out to lay these law-trips on you. These people may have been part of the assembly in Jerusalem but we don’t agree with their position regarding circumcision and Jewish law-keeping as essential to salvation, period. So here are four areas we -do- think are important to the Lord. Don’t let these folks and their teaching mess up your walk with God.”

So many times I’ve taken someone’s “word for me/us” back to The Word, to those I trust in leadership in the church, of course to God in prayer, and even when needed, to church history for reflection and guidance. We want to truly hear His voice through others, but we also want to dismiss error or foolishness.

THIS is how I’ve lived my spiritual life with a fair sense of peace, security and yet openness over the years.

God’s Word is clear: we are to not despise prophecy but we are also called to test all things and not merely accept just any bit of feedback as sound.

Things to consider! As always, thanks for stopping by.

-Glenn

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Listening?

ON “LISTENING”

There’s so much in the Book about hearing God, and often little of paying attention by humans in life- including me at times.

Then again, I (I’m certainly wrong plenty) think I mostly -hear- Him rather well. It’s lovingly obeying Him, doing what I believe and am fairly sure is His will rather than hearing and not doing it that I must often confess. “For all have sinned” relates to each of us… ouch!

I also understand it’s the hight of stuff like rebellion, ignorance, arrogance, plain nastiness to just ignore or actively head in one direction when God is calling me/us/you somewhere else. See the Book of Jonah for details.

I shudder when I consider the grace of God and our response in the un-grace of human rebellion against Him, His Word, and therefore His voice. We are so in need of hearing and in love, obeying.

So consider:

Oh that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! -God in Psalm 81.13

GK- This is a deep desire, a heart-cry of God if you will… relationship, relationship, relationship. “The conversation IS the relationship” a wise woman once wrote! Hearing plays a massive part.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. -Jesus in John 10.27

GK- In a recent Bible study the question was asked of the group: “How much doctrine do you need to be saved”? Our consensus conclusion was “Not much”. In the end, Jesus lays it out very clearly and in very practical terms if you continue reading through verse 28.

Jesus in Mark 12.28-31:

28 One of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together. Knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the greatest of all?”
29 Jesus answered, “The greatest is, ‘Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one:
30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
31 The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

GK- Wow. Has anyone other than Jesus Himself flawlessly fulfilled loving God like this? Ok, same question with regard to loving neighbor? The scripture that comes to my mind is “the one who fails in one point of the law fails in them all”. Nobody is saved by works, not even in terms of attitude, focus and ultimate practice of loving God supremely and neighbor as self.

We are left to God’s grace and to these best-of-all and most important goals during our time on earth. Spiritual/practical maturity in our faith and walk with the Lord in one view means coming to terms with these two foundational issues of love and relationship. Then comes the practicality of living, walking it out.

Thank God it truly IS grace by which we’re saved, not works. And yet: we are called to live for Him and others, to truly follow Jesus, not merely pray a prayer of salvation and nod intellectual agreement to Christ’s death and resurrection.

He who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. -(Most likely the writer is Solomon) Proverbs 28.9

GK- I have long ago quit arguing about the “perfect” status of the Bible as a fight worth fighting. What I argue is there is simply no other book or collection of what I believe to be ultimate truth on planet earth, certainly not among human beings all with flawed, illogical thoughts which I find thoroughly wanting in comparison to scripture.

So what does He say about His own Word in this passage? Ok, so you’re thinking “Nahhh, it’s Solomon writing, not God”. I would posit Who is inspiring the writing, but let’s leave that aside for a moment.

In essence I think this tells us “if you don’t care about what I think and say, why should I pay attention to what you think and desire”? Does God, at times, choose to NOT answer our prayers? It does seem so to me.

He never stops loving His children, but He is at times hurt, saddened and yes, angered at our lack of caring about our side of the relationship we supposedly have with Him. He is deeply concerned over the lack of love and compassion we live out toward those we consider unworthy of them.

I’m not saying many reading this are not true Christians -though some who’ve merely prayed a prayer of salvation and lived like the devil are likely, not. Is it not plain that any relationship is a two-way thing, and if we are not listening and indeed obeying, applying His Word to our daily decisions and activities should it shock us when at times He trains us, chastises us, seeks to turn and even grow us up spiritually by -not- responding to our prayer?

I think it sensible and even an act of love, though not one I enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Do I like it when this seems to be happening in my own life or the lives of those I care about? Of course not! But loving God and His loving us cannot be based on Him doing our will. It must in fact, be based on our faith, our trust in Him, His love, goodness, wisdom and timing. We KNOW we are undependable. To judge Him for being so is simply believing an untruth about His character and nature. Guess who likes us to do that??!

At times, God speaks to us in silence.

And, He is still speaking when our prayers are not answered.

I’ve had to learn and am still learning to be at peace with God when I experience such things. And yet I DO read, pray, love and try (not perfectly by a long shot!) to apply His Word to my life daily.

But “an abomination”? Wow. Well, next time you want to debate the place of scripture in your life, consider the starkness of His view on this point…

And that’s my nickel on this for now ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

AudioFeed Fest Report, July 4th Thoughts

AFlogoA.F. FESTIVAL

Wow. In a word, just wow.

So many kind peeps, old Cstone Fest friends, new ones, 3 gens. in some cases and just so sweet to us. Band seemed to haveย  a solid set- as did the other artists I heard, great responses right through!

Ami Moss and The Unfortunate and other Grrr Records artists- same deal, just an amazing day. And of course AF continues through this 4th of July weekend!

Roy and I came back late night after hanging with folks at the festival, soooo good to sleep in today.

JULY 4 THOUGHTS

So I have several things to mention this July 4th holiday in the U.S.:

USflag

No matter what you believe about history, this country was founded on individual, then corporate desire. It continues in this to this day- and this is true of many nations, not only the U.S.A..

Plenty of blood has been spilled and families torn apart on the basis of war and conflict.

I still return to the Book of James when I think about the guts of conflict. We want what we want and are willing to kill and die for it at times. God have mercy because all too often humans will not.

So do I love my country? Yes. Am I thankful for its freedoms and the vets and others who have sacrificed for us? Absolutely!

What we each (and gathered) DO with the freedoms are the haunting issue for me. And as I’ve often mentioned, the rest of the world is deeply affected by our choices. Often it does seem to me power, money and expansion of both are core to wars and other conflict. God have mercy… because people are often so in-humane in these points!

So I celebrate with most Americans, but I’m not fooled in thinking everyone has a pure, gracious or even honest heart in their pursuit and living out our freedom.

It always begins with each of us as individuals. Do not be surprised when it all ends with God before His throne… when all powers, dominions and self-interests will be judged.

Enjoy your holiday, but know this: freedom is only found in right relation to Jesus Christ. The rest is shadow, not substance!

Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

-Glenn

GKB Blues/Rock @ AudioFeed Festival, Etc.

SHOWS:

As posted previously, along with Ami Moss and The Unfortunate and several other Grrr Records artists are playing this week throughout AF Fest. See earlier post for details and either the AF website or GrrrRecords.com

GKB plays early Thurs. night on the Arkansas Stage there in Champaign, IL. Hope to see some of you there ๐Ÿ™‚

There have been various requests for other shows, we’ll post my solo and GKB gigs as we confirm- or I’ll post them a couple weeks ahead of time as I have several solo shows booked through Aug. and Sept.. Nothing outside the U.S. is firm at this point. Stay tuned ๐Ÿ™‚

MISC. ETC. :

Wendi’s total hip replacement has gone very well, she’s finally really feeling better… on to the other one, possibly in October, thanks SO much for prayers, this has been a tough road for us both.

Just no time to record so nothing new to offer on that front.

Writing a great deal, but trying to just find times I can sit in the garden and pray, watch the World Cup and get rest in between Wendi’s Dr. and therapy appointments.

Just had a meeting and re. schedules. In finishing our new recording studio it does look like quite some time before we can make time for a fresh GKB project. Maybe much later next year, we’ll see.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing Ustream.tv or other live webcasts, lots of ideas that may be of use to help others. Again, we’ll see how my schedule unfolds as time passes. I’ll post when I know if I’m going to do something along these lines.

Nearly ready to post all details on my Cigarbox Guitar/Bass-building Workshop and Show for Sat., AUG. 9th at Wilson Abbey. Nearly ๐Ÿ™‚ !

Enjoy your summer and thanks much for stopping by!

-Glenn