Thoughts For Christian Leaders

By my own judgment of myself I tend to be a slow learner.

After a number of years in pastoral leadership I realized a few things. Some years later a few more. Here are three of them you may find helpful if not frustrating πŸ™‚ !

In no particular order:

–IT REALLY IS ***NOT*** ABOUT YOU.

Following Jesus and in particular helping others to get to know Him, His Word, to walk the walk as opposed to merely hang around is not about you. Or me. Or “success” as many even in the church or other ministry think of it.

Fruit is grown. A positive, Christ-ordained attitude and life lived including things such as a fruitful mind, speech, commitments, marriage, being a father or mother, work ethic in day-job/ministry/whatever… this is the work of the Holy Spirit over days, months, years.

I do not agree with the concept of short-cuts, secrets to growth or major revelations outside of genuine from-the-heart daily prayer, Bible study, confession/accountability, actually serving (in whatever way via whatever gifts the Spirit has actually given a person)… and that of time itself.

Leadership believes, prays, models and teaches all this, but in the end the individual must come to personal epiphany and surrender in love and faith, not mere “doing” for fruitful spiritual and practical life to happen. It is not your job nor mine to -be- God the Holy Spirit. Neither by form, demand nor force can a person be brought to spiritual maturity in the love and actual relationship with Jesus that is of course, essential. There is no one-size-fits-all template though I am sure some reading this will not accept such a fact -until time and experience reveal the reality of it.

You and I may be part of the process, some of the process or in some cases, none of it. No worries, it’s not about us though at times God graciously uses us as part of the process for some. Either way, give thanks and keep serving!

–IT’S ABOUT -TIME-.

Time, time, time.
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God tells us “Our times are in His hands”, “Whosoever WILL let them come”, and of course re. the prodigal son- “When he came to himself” meaning the lights came on for him in a way he recognized his deep need to come home or die. Survival at the very least, right and restored relationship to his father at best.

Over many years in ministry it has become glaringly obvious some folks just are not ready at this or that point in time.

It may take months, years, “eating grass” and horrid conditions that God either orchestrates or surely allows in any case, but time is the common leveler of “I did it MY way”… and “not His”. The lights come on and often you and I won’t see it. It may be at another stop on their individual road, but it is more likely than not to happen.

Sweet old ladies took me to a vacation Bible school in a little rural church when I was perhaps six years old. They helped me memorize John 3.16 -but it was not until addiction and misery on a number of levels a full 12 years later that I remembered that verse in a moment of crying out “WHO are You and what are You trying to say?!! I don’t get it but I know You are here!” Boom. MAJOR, eternal BOOM. The lights came on big time.

How often leaders wring their hands, consider quitting or full-on quit and bail on their calling to serve due to the pain of giving all they know to give and yet see tragedy if not simply long-term fruitlessness in lives they have given themselves to care for.

Walk on and keep loving, giving and serving REGARDLESS of the obvious fruit or lack of it. This takes loving faith and daily obedience no matter the details. God knows FAR better than you and I how to “write on the wall” of the person/s in question. Trust Him and keep serving.

–GENUINE LOVE HURTS… BUT IT’S THE BEST HURT.

And a good hurt. Consider Jesus on the cross. Easter -did- finally arrive!

Love hurts. You know it and I know it.

True love costs. It costs a lot. This is at core why so many put their hand to the particular calling of Christian leadership and eventually “look back”. It is easier to leave than stay, to “go to seed” than to produce disciples (listeners/learners).

But take heart and remember how many areas of maturity only came into your life over many years… many-many years!

We experience encounter after encounter with God, His people, those not His people, various events (some breaking us, some uplifting us, BOTH part of the process) before we “got it”… or at least at present are beginning to “get it”.

Patience is also a fruit of the Spirit, also produced over time. Wisdom (based on accurate knowledge) comes much the same. There are no short-cuts, no 1, 2, 3 and bingo methods.

Loving obedience to the Lord is a long-term walk and though I admit it includes personal crosses, I see no other life worth living.

Please consider this before you are tempted to “curse God and die” dear Christian brother and sister in leadership.

Please love God and the sheep (and potential sheep) enough to keep your hand on the plow He calls you to, the field He places you in.

Love calls us to nothing else and nothing less.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Killer Culture

Culture is so much a part of personal and shared (or non-shared) dna, such a natural part of our personalities that in one sense it hardly warrants a blog.

I began this particular post months ago but never finished it. Due to my friend Joe Futral’s recent (and imho, great) piece having to do with culture and art, I decided to finish mine which takes a different track.

“Culture wars” have long been a rather dragged-out-heard-it-enough-already sort of fodder for blogs, news people and pundits, political and otherwise -who really wants to discuss it further?

I do. Because I’m convinced the massive fear and insecurity on one end and fully self-serving arrogance on the other we see in society in ANY part of the world -is often fueled by cultural preferences. My personal view is that plenty of history’s wars came about at least partially due to a vein of cultural preferences that people literally died to protect and defend.

As I’ve often mentioned here, I’m a student of war.

Studying our American Civil War I again found a huge slice of culture and competing cultures colliding. A “way of life” to kill for, a “peculiar institution” (slavery) and a few other issues that brought a nation to its greatest potential breaking point. Throughout the eastern half of the U.S. and more are graveyards with literally thousands upon thousands of markers that testify to the inhumanity of humans.

The “glory” of a “way of life” was in my view, a horrid lie about subjugation of a race on the basis of economics. Eventually some were convinced their very survival wasn’t even a possibility without it.

There were riots and murders in the north as well as south. Racism and robber-barons set up shop (literally) at all points of the compass.

Culture. Preference. Position. A “way of life” that was in fact a way of death and in the end, horrific deaths from the occasional young person clear to the sitting president of the United States. Culture worth killing for, worth dying for, even worth lying for? It seems so, sick and wrong as it was.

And is.

All too often people will build barricades to the light. Sin is defined as “THOSE people!” and here comes the trash talk, the rhetoric, the table-turning, the propaganda and eventually in too many cases all-out war with all its horror, misery and fatalities.

Over and over even in modern times- Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia (Then “South West Africa”) under the Germans, the former Belgian Congo, on and on it has gone.

America loved the fruit of colonization and empire and still does. Russia and China demonstrate it plenty as I type this in 2015. Nothing new under the sun.

Culture- the dominant (majority OR minority) people in power in a given region decide to rule even to the extent that “it’s time to cleanse the land of ‘them'”. In recent European history consider the Balkans.

Certainly dictatorships (be they Muslim or not…) vs. western-style democracy have a fair load of cultural norms and a sense of culture and desire for control at core? Then again those with the most money usually have the most power and therefore dictate politics, laws and so forth. In many places the money controls political clout which controls the military and it’s deployment. Again, a core culture is laced throughout all this.

Notice that human nature- that is, the dark, selfish, controlling side of it is a major cog in the wheel of plenty of these cultures. In two words, I would boil it down to “sin IS”. Sin nature is a fact relevant to culture just as is the possibility of redeemed nature via personal relationship (and indeed obedience in love) to Jesus.

Another analogy that comes to mind is say, a wish to eradicate blue in favor of red, or rid ourselves of a particular style of music we find distasteful.

Families break apart, churches split, sometimes it finally comes to people lobbing shells over into the next street or town.

Culture worth preserving! Really? REALLY?

Tozer said if we were satisfied with an imaginary savior we’d have to be satisfied with an imaginary salvation.

Too many people end up shredding their lives as well as the lives of others on the basis of culture, ultimately customs they feel they simply cannot live without.

One may write off Christianity as mere culture- and for those who think so (even as professing Christians) I say “useless and worthless”. If you recognize it is a genuine, faith-Relationship with the Risen Jesus Christ as one’s personal Lord and Savior… nobody can take that away, nor as such, actually give “it” to you in the sense that a relationship with Him is above and beyond mere culture, custom or lifestyle.

O.k., you’ve read this far.

Is there a to fight? Certainly. Rarely.

Note that Christ-followers are called to “overcome evil with good”. He told us “those who live by the sword shall die by the sword”.

Honor? Swinging some sort of sword is always about authentic “honor”? No.

Too many horrors have been perpetrated on the basis of “my will and way of life or else”.

God help us!!

Something to consider when you’re ready to take aim…

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

My New CigarBox Guitar- Built by the Amazing Tony Taylor!

Fretted bliss… indeed! Amazing. Major cool. And this is what I came home with πŸ™‚
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20150521_115551 Sorry, the pics don’t do her justice… but I will add more along with a song or two later…

Years ago slide-player extraordinaire Bryn Haworth came out with a record titled “Slide Don’t Fret” which like most of what he does was peerless.

Most of you know I have used, built and played cigarbox and found-object gits for quite a while now. I blame Shane Speal for plenty of this… he has been the human dynamo for the movement (and that it is!) from founding C.B. Nation and championing these amazing gits and more. I play my own signature model from Grrr Records, continuously Shane’s amazing git (see my blog pic above) and have now added this sweetheart from Tony. Blessed R Us!

I am no perfectionist but one thing you just cannot allow for: a poorly fretted instrument. The notes will be either sharp or flat as you move up and down the neck, sometimes due to poor fret placement, sometimes due to position of the bridge or nut corresponding to the strings (individually, some of all of them).

Slide players can use a typical or cigarbox guitar with a horrible fret-job and never notice due to never using the frets with fingers pressed down. slide means pressing the string hard enough to sound, but not down onto the neck itself. So the frets are mainly used for positioning the slide. But I wanted to both fret and slide on a cigarbox git.

A gifted luthier for such a box happens to live about 2 1/2 hours south of Chicago, and I had long wanted to visit him: Tony Taylor of Ascendent Instruments.20150521_12080120150521_115914

I LOVE artistry. I love Illinois (the state I live in, where Chicago is the major city). I love small villages and rivers, rural areas and spend what time I can in them all over the world -but especially Illinois.

Tony Taylor’s front deck sits on a river bank about 3 feet from which you can look down to the Middle Fork of the Vermillion River just outside of a very small village (one restaurant, great burgers!) called Potomac, Illinois.

He is a stand-up bro. who “caught the bug” to build cigarbox guitars,20150521_12101420150521_121208 basses, amps20150521_12092320150521_121123 and stomp pedals (large variety of effects) as well as cool guitar cases and straps for his builds. His amps and effects pedals are majorly cool old-school in look and design but truly sound flippin’ cool. Artistry. Uniqueness. He happens to be a drummer, but also plays bass and guitar, gives lessons, does cigarbox guitar workshops teaching peeps to both build and play these amazing instruments.

I had known about Tony for quite some time, visited his site on CigarBoxNation.Com and between looking for articles on the Web and pouring over his photos it became clear he was likely the person I wanted to build me a fretted cbg.20150521_123003

I have built a LOT of these guitars and basses, but have only slightly entered the area of placing and installing frets, all sorts of ways and with all sorts of material. I just wanted something done right, solid and in my own case, asked for something simple, basic but loud.

Tony delivered BIG time! Ok, so I drove down with my father-in-law Curt to visit him, get to know him face-to-face, check out his other work, his amazing (self-built) shop20150521_113939 and just hang out for a good part of the day.

I asked for something without a pickup in it because I plan to use this in the street. I’ll attach a removable pickup for larger shows so I can “amp” it as well, but I must say this puppy is INSPIRING.

Look, nobody asks nor pays me to rave on gear like this- and when on occasion I find much less own it… I just cannot keep a secret.

Tony’s website and more info. can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ascendent-Instruments/314844751976308

http://www.cigarboxnation.com/photo/home-of-ascendent-instruments

I also decided to interview him and will get that audio as well as video clip up soon as I am able.

Enjoy! I sho’ ’nuff am!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Arts Blog/Link Site, Shows, Live GK Webcasting

As our friend Peggy Howard says, “We’re just sittin’ around eatin’ bon-bons!” -NOT.

NEW ART/ARTISTS/LINKS SITE:

I know some excellent people who themselves teach, direct artist schools and do mission work around the world. Wendi and I have taught, done concerts and gotten to know peeps you should know about!

There has been no single online site listing such organizations with live web links to my personal satisfaction. There is now πŸ™‚ I will likely make a few changes to the site and will add to it little by little. I am starting slowly but moving forward! Some 85 percent of those I include in the links section are personal friends who do amazing work.

Please share with those seeking the Lord about faith-based artistry, where to learn and opportunities:

http://gkarts.wordpress.com

SHOWS, SUMMER AND VERY EARLY AUTUMN:

We normally post shows about 2 weeks out, so plz don’t ask for details as it just takes too much time to respond to the volume of emails and personal messages on such things- Big Thanks for your understanding!

Having said that, there are several Glenn Kaiser Band and a number of my solo shows (my shows sometimes including speaking/teaching, worship service as well, etc.) happening through the next four months. Again, dates, and details will be posted as we get closer to each.

EUROPE (Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic) -GKB Tour (see http://grrrrecords.com/shows

or

http://glennkaiser.de/shows)

PEORIA, IL -GK Solo

CHAMPAIGN, IL -GKB at AudioFeed Festival

QUAD CITIES AREA: MOLINE, IL -GK Solo

MONTERREY, MEXICO -GK Solo

MUSKEGON, MI -GKB

STURGIS, SD -GK Solo and jammin’ w. friends at Sturgis Bike Week

CHICAGO CLUB (tba) -GKB

OHIO PRISON TOUR (week-long, including an outdoor set in the hood- Cleveland, OH) -GK Solo

JANESVILLE, WI -GK Solo

HASTINGS, MI -GKB

BLOOMINGTON, IL -GK Solo

WEBCASTING

Presently sorting through the responses I have gotten by asking for your input and so forth (ONLY via gkaiserwebcast@yahoo.com). Some Great questions being asked and enough peeps interested that I will begin likely sometime in late June. Web address, date and time will be announced about two weeks prior to the webcast. I am leaning towards a Saturday, scheduled at a time that can work for both U.S./Central American/South American -and- European time zones.

Stay tuned… to tune in online πŸ™‚

As always, thanks for your prayers and stopping by! -Glenn

3 Major Lyric Issues: Psalm 101.1

Quite a few years ago I found my head turning when I laid eyes on a particular verse in the Book of Psalms.

After long consideration it strikes me that this might be a good example of a rather direct text, that is, there is little “fudge room” or lack of clarity or difficulty in solid interpretation. Not so with application, but I will offer a few thoughts on that further down the page.

First, let’s unpack the scripture, but then let’s consider our expression in any lyricism and worship music (lyrics to be specific) in the local and larger church.

Psalm 101 verse 1 is one of those we might just blow through- you know, pass over quickly and move on into the “meat of the message” so to speak. Only I am convinced this is more than a passing verse which merely “sets the stage” for the rest of the lyric as this entire Book is comprised of song lyrics.

You would do well to research other’s scholarly insights in commentaries as well as other English translations (both which I do regularly), but I will here quote the World English Bible:

Psalm 101.1
I will sing of loving kindness and justice. To you, Yahweh, I will sing praises.

“Love, Justice, Praise”

Other translations render the Hebrew into various English words:

-lovingkindness, steadfast love, faithful love, gracious or loyal love

-judgment

David says “I WILL SING -OF-…”, then “-TO- THE LORD I WILL SING”

Though the context would rightly be singing to the LORD Himself, there is a broader application in the practical if not fully intentional by David, that is, this Psalm among all the others in part of the hymnal of Israel, therefore sung in worship.

When considering Paul writing both the Ephesians and Colossians (Eph. 5.19,20; Col. 3.15-17) one finds both “vertical” and “horizontal” language. We sing TO God, but also TO one another ABOUT Him, His attributes, and from His Word and authentic experience sing/speak/teach one another regarding His views on any matter you’d care to name, regardless. Note the key points David is emphasizing in this particular text-

LOVE -utterly true/genuine love: God’s love

MERCY -goodness, kindness, faithfulness -which God is the ultimate Source of, therefore, God’s mercy

JUDGMENT judgment, justice -perfect and absolute justice/judgment, therefore God’s Own judgment

SING PRAISES- Heb.- sing, sing praise, make music, make music on a musical instrument -THIS we are both commanded and encouraged to bring to Him and for Him directly. And yet people also directly benefit as we do so in any public setting.

But how might people be served via our lyrics?

Relating to the Ephesian and Colossian verses, I often remind people that we are not called upon to either teach nor admonish God Himself… rather one another. We make music and sing lyrics TO God but also TO one another.

Thinking this through my own questions are formed.

***WHAT or HOW do my/your/our current lyrics (vertical OR horizontal) reflect regarding these three key points in Ps. 101.1?

***WHY or why not?

***WHAT is the need in our personal life, the lives of our fellow believers especially local congregation, and in the larger church as well as world?

Lastly, put bluntly, love songs are cake. I’m not saying there is no need for them, rather they are at times a cop-out for a writer or performer or even worship leader.

JUSTICE?! Write and sing about justice (particularly in a worship lyric) and some people begin to judge (I mean in a negative way) especially if the issue is mercy extended to someone/s they strongly dislike! God has a way of being gracious to those we would rather see him smack, no?

PRAISES?! They get “up the nose” of pre/un-believers and at times, even Christians who would rather focus on self and humanity than truly giving honor/glory/thanks/PRAISE to the Only One truly Worthy of continual praise. For the larger world it is a foreign, almost offensive thing due to human arrogance and insecurity (both)… they, we, are NOT God but want to be. He does not -share- His glory (note… HIS glory) with another nor is anyone else worthy of praise in the sense the Bible calls for it. Worship? This is about God, not us. So this is often offensive both to unbelievers as well as rebelling Christians. Yep. Deal with it. And repent where you need to!

You and at times I may not FEEL LIKE singing or writing or playing such songs regardless of the setting… or shall I say more regarding my/our personal issue/s at the moment. So what?! Growing up benefits both us and our audience/congregation. Immaturity and wallowing in it corrupts both of us.

David says he WILL sing with reflection in all three general categories. Do we? Are we? Should we?

Things to consider, and as always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Live Glenn Kaiser Webcasting Info

I have long known about Ustream Tv and other webcast sites, and am considering doing some live, real-time webcasting. If you might be interested I am asking for your input- please read on:

UstreamTv (like similar sites) is free. They collect your
information, allow you to log on, watch and listen and at times interact with the show.

There are advertisements but typically they’re easy to ignore.

If the show allows it (I would) people viewing a live webcast can type in questions live which the host can then respond to.

The host has full control over what is seen or not seen, so trolls, spammers and nonsense are not issues.

If you follow my blog, Twitter or Facebook or have any knowledge of my life and years of music, speaking and such, let’s just say I’ve “been around the block” a bit and hopefully could bring something of interest, encouragement and good challenge to people.

I would publicize the topic in advance. For the webcast I would speak for 20 minutes on the issue, then offer another 35 minutes for question/answer chatting. You would type, I would read, pick and choose and respond live.

So my questions to you follow here (below).

Please reply ONLY to my Yahoo Email address- and ONLY regarding webcasting. Thank you!

gkaiserwebcast@yahoo.com

If I proceed with this, I will publicize webcast address, topic and time soon as all seems sensible.

My Q’s to you:

1. Would you log in to such a webcast?

2. If so, what topic/s would you like me to focus on?

Thanks so much, God Bless you!
-Glenn