The God Option

A. W. Tozer once wrote something along the lines of “If you will be satisfied with an imaginary savior you will have to be satisfied with an imaginary salvation”. Whew!

I recently wrote about options and mentioned that due to the internet never has there been more opportunity to research and fantasize about one’s possible options.

This, in my view, is very good. It is also the Pandora’s Box of our times.

Again, I am a Linux guy, I love and use several web-connected devices each and every day. The issue is not mere (and purely) knowledge. See the early chapters of Genesis and if you think very deeply on it, the issue was non-Gods (Adam and Eve) acting AS God. In very simplistic, blunt terms, the “not” acting out as “I Am”. History records the extent of the damage.

As God is one of many, many options along with all the other options, everything from fanatical, non-reasoned, knee-jerk violence all the way to full-on atheism (which few truly are imho, frankly) as well as smatterings of “maybe” and just tacit indifference are all part of the spectrum of options.

Certainly these and other views on God have existed from the earliest history of the human race, but in our time the world-wide-web connections help sustain my core points: God is but one of many options and therefore, optional.

Until your heart stops beating. Until nothing short of a “miracle” can bring you escape from death, continual pain, crosses you cannot seem to escape or simply freedom from the misery and literal impossibility of being a victim of your worst, seemingly inescapable enemy: yourself.

How would I know?

God was my last… and it turned out, not only “only” but BEST option. Then again mercy, forgiveness, redemption, eternal LIFE were more than options in my view. They were necessities without which I could not be alive and writing this blog without.

it all came down to relationship, not mere knowledge or information. I had access to a lot of that prior to coming to Jesus in faith and surrender.

But as some in the early Jesus Movement days used to say, “Jesus isn’t my “crutch”. He’s my Iron Lung!” I cannot live without Him and would not be alive but for Him.

In my view, God is far other than an option. His presence and action in my mind, heart, choices and life are ESSENTIAL in relationship, both to Him, my relationship to my wife, kids, grandkids, friends, church community and the world I interact with every single day.

To consider God a mere option is much like considering love and death optional.

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

Modern Romans

The title of this blog post was the same as Michael Bean and The Call’s project of quite some years ago.

The theme of many of their songs on that project spoke of corruption (the Bible calls it “old nature” or “the old man” with reference to our individual ability to play naughty in the dark, to sin) within humans.

I have often quoted the scripture “None is righteous, not even one” because it is sooo obvious any of us can fall into “me, me, self, self” and play a game of hide-and-seek.

I have long been a news junkie and this morning read in the AP online about Rome. I have been there and it is indeed both beautiful and chaotic. In some cases sounds very much like “the church”, no? Or like families, plenty of them in any case!

So it seems the intense heat wave is now coupled with a mayor who two years into his term is beginning to try to bring real reform to political corruption. Everything from patronage, nepotism, the public transit system of trains (dirty, old, sometimes doors open as they zip through the subway), buses (which drivers either park or are now deliberately driving slower than one could walk as protest to the reforms… including punching a clock as the rest of Rome’s city employees must do) and under-the-table financial kickbacks, etc., are being dealt with.

Meanwhile the pope has decreed Jubilee so there are many more thousands coming to Rome and the Vatican… yow!

History provides ample lessons but of course even history can be re-written (and often is by the “victors” of war or politics).

Then we have the other side of the proverbial “coin”.

Last night as I drove the adds for regional Chicago tv jumped off of local buses and billboards for two of the most famous (infamous?) tv-court shows. Both in Facebook and other social media outlets as well as daytime and cable television we find ratings when “kick them lousy bums” is the core story.

In other words it does seem there is both care for actual justice as well as “FRY THEM JERKS” in our culture.

I expect most in metro Rome are tempted to both -as well as any of us.

The problem is that you cannot legislate the nature of Jesus into humans by mere law.

There are certainly criminals in Rome who are playing games for money, power and likely prostitutes just as there are good and fair peeps among the local politicians and city workers.

One point in the news was that the regional governor who supported the mayor has now begun to distance himself from him as many are unwilling to change their corrupt ways or slop work habits.

Meanwhile the garbage piles up in Rome.

For me as an individual Christ-follower, the reality is that confession, repentance, keeping short accounts, BEING honestly accountable to others and facing the fact we shall all answer to God after this life brings life, peace and a clear conscience.

1 John 1

6 If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and don’t tell the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we haven’t sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Notice “if” appears in each and every one of these five verses.

THIS much is within anyone’s personal control and ability to do!

God have mercy on Rome… and each of us.

God gives the grace to live these verses, and life is the result of those who do.

As always, thanks for stopping by:) -Glenn

GK Ohio Tour, Cleveland Area Show

Right after Sturgis Bike Rally dates (see earlier post in my blog) I am doing a -lot- of prison sets all over the state of Ohio. At the end of that week- Mediana, OH (Cleveland area) -gonna be Blues time:)

Saturday, August 15Th at 7PM Glenn Kaiser, The Frank Boyd Jr. Band, The Stampers
@ Buckeye Christian Assembly 3159 Columbia Rd. Medina Ohio 44256

-This is a free event, but food is available
-Outdoors if weather permits IF not then we’ll be inside
-Doors open at 6pm
-More Info: John 440.342.0448

Newest Frankenstein! (Diddley Bow Guitar)

Look, I admit it’s a disease… but a good and fun one!20150726_152832

Today, a quiet Sunday afternoon, before my turn at the grill I decided to do what I had been thinking about for quite some time.

I had gotten a small clipboard, slightly bent, and put the metal part back into correct shape.

For the longest while I had dreamed of building a 1 string (diddley bow) slide guitar with a clipboard backwards (as you can see here. It had to be little enough to fly in a small plane, so had to fit diagonally in a compact carry-on suitcase. And it would need a piezo pickup with a 1/4 inch jack because I didn’t expect it to be very loud without amplification.20150726_152733

Drilled a few holes, one for a screw in the middle to hold the neck in place, and in that the hardwood throw-away “neck” was already flat on two sides, just sanded it where I would be moving my hand up and down, put it at a slight angle and drilled, screwed it together. The bottom of the neck is flush with the metal clip piece.

Then I added a little more solidness to the neck by drilling four holes, two on either side, near the end of the “body” and also at the bottom and secured it a more with 2 zip ties. One more hole right through the metal clip and down through the neck and out the bottom of the clipboard for a wound G acoustic guitar string, stretched and tuned to “E” with the ersatz (eyebolt/wingnut) “tuner”. A flathead screw was put in place for a “nut” to feed the string into the eyebolt.20150726_15303320150726_152749

I then found a good spot for the piezo and got out the packing tape (what else… I like it a bit more than duct tape sometimes…) and it was plug-and-play time.

Blues baby!

HA! So there, top that!!? I know you can.

The thing is very small, actually sounds quite good plugged in and even somewhat loud acoustically. All this and only 24 1/2 inches long. The scale (nut to bridge) is 20 1/2 inches, and I can play a full two octaves on it with ease. Got a glass bottleneck and small copper slide for her.

Might put a smiley face on the back of the clipboard because this sort of thing makes me want to grin.

I named it “Paid For”. This one comes with me to Sturgis Bike Rally next weekend.

This lil’ git and some ribs will do me just fine 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

What Small Group Commitment Can Do?!

20150719_203807A very new (just over 1 year) local congregation of about 60 people decided to do a relationship-building one-day festival in their city.

Of course not all in the fellowship were able to help out, but a strong core did, and this is what they produced in Monterrey, Mexico.20150718_132414
http://allevents.in/monterrey/activarte-fest/700247240079677
They brought in one international artist (myself) some very talented local musicians,20150718_172129 dj’s, paint and chalk and other artists,20150718_15400320150718_153934 clothing design peeps, tumblers, fire-twirllers,20150718_214736 bmx bikers20150718_163404 and food trucks.20150718_163627

From 1-10pm that Saturday the weather cooperated and it was a blast!20150718_163439

Think about what a small group of committed people can bring their neighborhood, town or city!?

Indeed.

This was their very first attempt at such a thing. Wow.20150718_150757

https://www.facebook.com/activartemty

Kudos to staff at ActivArte Fest! It was my pleasure to work with you 🙂
-Glenn

Sweet Time In Uptown, Chicago at Argyle Night Market

GKargyleNightMktFor as long as I can remember as both a fan and musician I flat-out LOVE outdoor shows, block parties and all open-air sets. When the weather is sunny but with a nice cool breeze, people smiling, dancing and sharing community is just a blast.

Tonight at Argyle Street Wendi and I had a lot of fun, lots of chats with cool peeps -Uptown United and Ward folks were gems to work with.

I was able to do about an hour of blues, got the cigarbox guitars and diddley bow as well as a 6 string acoustic and harp out, the Percolator amp cooked and it was truly fun, like 6 blocks from our house!

So kudos to David Baumgartner for his help and this backstage photo as I brought the blues set.

Great night, expect to do it again!

Next up STURGIS BIKE RALLY blues sets. Nice!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

-Glenn

Life After Glenn

20150227_190938Been thinking about new life, the fact that we are each able to change, grow, and are ever (while on this planet) in flux.

It’s certainly not always easy to change and grow but it really isn’t for the most part, impossible.

When I was young I thought I could do anything.

As I aged I realized I could do some things, not others.

As I age further I realize it’s not important or always necessary to change in some areas while in others the changes bring me life beyond my wildest dreams.

Why the hot sauce bottles above? There was a time I would have NEVER thought I’d be able to handle such heat. Now I love and use it nearly every day!

In my final year of high school I’d come to saving faith in Jesus. In a public school of some 1,600 I only knew two people who ever openly stated they were followers of His. One of them seemed to have little that confirmed such faith, the other I didn’t know very well- and in that I’m not God -who knows if they were living in and out of a genuine faith not? God alone knows.

As for me, everyone around me knew where I was at rather quickly. Music, drugs, sex, leftist-hippie, anti-war (for the most part) and a deep love for alternative lifestyles, cultures and experiences were who I was and had been most of my later teen years.

I still relate to some of these but very differently, and over a 9 month period many things began to change- for the better.

Most of the addictions fell away. Suicide was no longer an option I wanted. Blatant distrust for people who didn’t see things my way was less of a threat and I began to pray for people asking God to give them the same grace I had found in Him.

I got a “real” job and was eventually offered a promotion as manager… which I declined as I realized I had a call on my life to live “outside the box” to share love and music with people who often saw Christians as anti-everything, racist and just idiots -which we sometimes have been and perhaps are. Which is why I’m still outside the box and loving my God and His calling all these years later.

In the process, there is (as I wrote years ago in a Rez Band song called “The Struggle”) “still a whole lot of old wineskin”. That’s a reference to “the old Glenn”, the self-centered, “pleasure and MY WILL above ALL else” life I had lived B.C..

When I’d read “now you are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God” I got it. It’s a different “dead” Paul is talking about there. I HAD BEEN spiritually dead and empty for those first 18 years.

Most of my life on earth has since passed and I STILL am not fully “dead to self”. But OHHHH what a DIFFERENCE from who I was back then. What a deep, profound journey and what an amazing grace (yes) I’ve experienced.

Very few of my B.C. running buddies are left. A few follow Jesus. Several are dead. For others, the pain of most of their lives is largely worse than when we were teens -and in fantasy: thought we’d be together “forever”.

Life after “Glenn” is what it could have been much earlier for me, but I can’t thank God enough for His compassion and the healthy changes He’s made, the callings on my life and the apparent fruit He’s borne along the way.

When you finally surrender: “lose your life for My sake and the sake of the Good News”, you’ll find it. Not until, not before, not ever.

Not until, not before, not ever.

One translation renders it this way: “For Christ IS our Life”.

Everything else is passing.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

Today, Monterrey, MEX

What a sweet, dear family I have been hosted by here!

I rarely have a day off when touring but today was one, the weather was actually cooler here than in Chicago… and we had great meals, got to see a lot of cool architecture, the river here, mountains and most of all, hanging out with great people.

All over the world I have been blessed with getting to spend time with amazing people, and it is such an encouragement as I travel.

Good and genuine people are BY FAR more important than all the rest though it is fun and sweet to enjoy a lot of other experiences when touring. Truly, the people are what make it for me, neither music, food, scenery or other pleasures compare in the end.

Getting to hear their stories, see the grace God brings into others lives is a gift I deeply appreciate.

So tomorrow I do part of a set closing out the (in English) ActiveArts Fest and the rest of the set with a local bassist and drummer, both quite talented.

It will be cool to hear the other groups and see what is what south of “the border”.

One thing is certain- the people I have gotten to know here are gems.

So… a bit of study and prayer and then zzzz-time!

Thankful you stopped by my site, -Glenn

Like a (Well) Watered Garden

20150617_142458This phrase (from the following passage) has been on my heart for a couple weeks now for various reasons. Truly important I think. Allow me to keep it brief and let’s consider Isaiah 58.10-12

Wow. Fasting, that is, serious prayer rather than eating throughout the day and at mealtime, perhaps sunrise to sundown, etc. is a less-than often accomplished spiritual endeavor among most Christians. I would posit core values of Isaiah 58 seems clearly accenting getting eyes off of self, focused on God and others -and finally to do something more than not eat and just chat with the Father.

Most who follow Jesus understand this is about taking that time to intensely listen and talk to God in prayer and then to walk out in the practical exactly what is being said here… which is… what?

Let me break it down as best I see it at present:

10
And if you give yourself to the hungry

GK- Oh oh… social gospel? Not. Or yes, depending on how you look at it. Simply (!) a COMMAND of God what fasting and prayer should include and precisely engaging with hurting folks to do so… is GOD’S CALL TO ALL WHO LOVE AND FOLLOW HIM. Feed those in need of food. Give yourself, not only sandwiches and coffee.

And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

GK- So you helped them to eat. Are there other needs, desires that you can in good conscience help to meet?

Then your light will rise in darkness

GK- I know, sounds like reaping what you sow, maybe even “works-based righteousness…” but I didn’t write this and expect the Holy Spirit indeed inspired Isaiah to tell folks this is what God does in the lives of those who proclaim family hood with the true God. It does come back to you, but He and they are the focus, not you. Read 1 John re. “light”.

And your gloom will become like midday.

GK- As I have often said, best personal therapy is focusing on and serving others, not big ME. It is one of the finest helps to depression and emotional pain that I know of. In love get busy doing the small you can for others in the Name of Jesus.

11
And the LORD will continually guide you,

GK- Wow. Just hey, think about this!! Clarity of purpose and vision comes as we do what?

And satisfy your desire in scorched places,

GK- Provision, Jehovah Jireh right in the middle of others bumming out you have a sense of relationship and fullness from the Spirit. And sure, little God-kisses that you know He is bringing to you just because of His love and your faithfulness to Him and serving others.

And give strength to your bones;

GK- Nice. Those that wait upon the Lord… I read that somewhere…

And you will be like a watered garden,

GK- Indeed, the beauty of a disciple is the fruit God grows as a result of relationship, pruning and a listening ear is all part of it. HEAR Oh Israel, and be not a forgetful hearer but doer of His Word. The widow, the orphan , the prisoner, the poor, the outcast… yes, clearly the garden (you and I) are well-watered AS we obey the loving Spirit in His flowing through us to serve others in love. MORE blessed to give than receive.
20150617_142528
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

GK- Spring-fed pools for drinking, swimming, wow… yes, and do not fail? Wow. Eternal fruit in what we do, not wood, hay, stubble but gold, silver, precious stone stuff! Yes.

12
Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;

GK- Societies and cultures are trashed world-wide for lack of love lived out in faith. How to re-build, how might we turn minds and hearts toward the city of Love and Faith? Backsliders brought ruin. Half-committed peeps were more than half the reason the place went “down the tubes”.

You will raise up the age-old foundations;

GK- That is, the foundational matters as pertain to God, His Word and ways. The house built on The ROCK Himself.

And you will be called the repairer of the breach,

GK- Breach in perhaps two walls, that of relationship to God and people, and that of the local city, congregation and God whom they may have largely forsaken.

The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.

GK- Actual geographical city/town, place, and may I suggest walking in “the way of the LORD”.

My question in light of all this is simply: do the positive things here reflect who you and I and our local congregation actually -are-?

Fasting indeed. God help us!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn