Appleton, WI Evening

Had an amazing time with new and old friends last night at Rushing Wind Bikers Church in Appleton, WI.

Pastor Tommy and band, crew and all the peeps who came were really kind to Wendi and I and my father in law Curt. Just a great evening of chat, music and Word together.FoxValleyBFC

I met Tommy at Sturgis Bike Week this year and he had asked if I could come up for a visit. When I realized we would be on vacation just a bit over an hour from them it seemed good to take part of the one day to hang out together and it worked out.gkAppleDiddley

I brought some solo songs, several on cigarbox guitar and diddley bows, then we jammed on 4 tunes of mine they had rehearsed. A great band and a fun night, a pretty full house and a lot of good chats with friends.
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After the show we had a great look at the lunar eclipse too.
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No matter when- we are always closer to seeing Jesus face-to-face.

“People get ready” for sure!

As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

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Vacation

20150926_175000Quite a few people in the western world are privileged enough they can take a vacation most years or at least every other year. Many cannot as so much depends upon the economy, job, health and the like.

In British English the term is “holiday” and most summers a great many people in Europe and slightly beyond take about 2 1/2 months and travel, head for beaches, forests, mountains or otherwise just get away for a bit to relax, enjoy sport, rest and perhaps family.

Reality is that most of the world never has such an option due to their economic situation, poverty or just getting by.

This year our own schedule and funds are such that we are blessed to have saved up just enough and had time to do a week, though for years two weeks vacation was our norm.

We are at a lake in Wisconsin mostly to ourselves, very fun for our families, kids and grandkids.

We have access to several boats and are loving the lake as you can see.20150925_123705

One pic here is taken in the sun room which is surrounded by glass doors and windows. I love it. Two of our three daughters and their families and my father-in-law, Wendi and I and a friend were able to chip in and do this- blessed!

The weather is due to be excellent all week and has been the past 3 days- cool nights good for bonfires, warm, sunny, slightly breezy days. So nice to rest!20150925_200040

My sweet wife just baked home-made bread and breadsticks and one of my daughters and sons-in-law are making a dinner to enjoy. Wow.

I have been able to take grandkids in the canoe, kayak and do a little yard-sale shopping with my father-in-law. Very restful time.

Sleeping until we wake up is a treat too.

Last night the family did s’mores around the bonfire, sang worship songs and for a change, at night in Wisconsin the bugs did not participate, ha! They usually eat me alive so this is truly cool.

I do appreciate God in His grace giving us times to rest and refresh- and regardless of time or finances we can have that. I am also very thankful for a week with the family in this beautiful place.20150926_164658

Here you see the glass table in the sun room, fresh breadsticks cooling in the towel, scrabble game, Wendi has her knitting all around, the deck and lake outside. This is my morning devo spot, evening devo with Wendi.20150926_173804

Each night a large flock of geese honk and fly directly overhead.The fish are not biting just now -but they will 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my blog! -Glenn

WWJB?

Who would Jesus BLAST?!

Simply because Jesus says hard things does not give myself nor anyone else the “carte blanche” to say or write hard things. Punch in the mouth nasty things go beyond that.

Three nights past a well-esteemed and very intelligent friend posted a personal lament about the “shoot ’em with a mouse” click-and-post ignorant, vitriolic and un-substantiated rubbish via social media- you guessed it, all about political candidates. Nothing new about this, but it’s so early in the election process.

I recently shared how Billy Graham lamented preaching too harshly in his younger days, and that I also carry that personal regret.

Been thinking more and more about Jeremiah- a lamenting dude who is sometimes called “the weeping prophet”. He spoke hard words about Israel’s sin but the man truly
-loved- Israel and deeply loved the living God of Israel. I agree with him… and Him.

Last Sunday’s message (which my brilliant wife Wendi and our friend Tammy Perlmutter brought to us) was on the second chapter of John. The clarity of God’s grace was huge (water into wine, old to new attitudes, law to the Christ Who is “full of grace and truth”, the living fulfillment of the law for all who believe). It also states His outrage (Jesus at Passover Who made the whip and knocked over the moneychanger’s tables).

The scriptures command “Be angry but sin not.” Indeed one can be quite angry but not in such an attitude that God would consider it truly sinful, wrong, hurtful -nothing close to wishing ill on your enemies whom Jesus commands us to love. Wow. Re-read that please.

As I age I realize my testosterone level as a male is likely be ebbing some but beyond that I have spent many, many hours studying The Bible and can say with experience that “the anger of humans does not work the righteousness of God”. When it comes to politics, and for that matter inter-church or church-to-church relations all over the world, it seems plenty of us aren’t “getting” this very well!

Then to the internet and a regular stream of, to be blunt, verbal puke. Violent barfing of every sort done -by Christians- as though we all have both right and responsibility to scream our guts out at our “enemies”.

When I was much younger often fell very much into “outrage mode”. As I look back over the years I wonder exactly how many hearts were turned toward God, toward the love and kindness of Jesus, toward surrender to the Holy Spirit as opposed to some (at least) feeling like I was trying to “throat-punch” them into this or that?

Sometimes it’s key words, sometimes a sentence or two. Sometimes it’s the tone of voice and/or the facial expressions, over-all body language. All or some mix of these can really turn people AWAY from the love and truly Good News of Christ.

Hey, all of these come up in communication with your wife, husband, kids, other family members, someone at school, work, church, band, right?

So when someone blasts in social or other media it can really kick people in the face.

How many are “converted” by shooting sludge at high-velocity? My guess is very few if any… while you’re simply playing to the stands, preaching to the choir, your buds and buddettes cheering you on from the cheap seats with “YEAAAAAAAHHHH, COOK THEM LOUSY JOKERS”! Only you’re your own worst enemy when it comes to winning in terms of making new converts… to anything or anyone really. Certainly true if we are talking about winning people to the true Jesus.

Consider:

Shall we ask God to rain down fire on them Lord? They’re not with our group!

A soft answer turns away wrath

Put all anger, wrath and malice away from you

Blessed are the peacemakers

Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword

God is not mocked- that which you sow you shall also reap

Note that all of the above are direct quotes from scripture, all have to do with right communication and right relationships.

As I listened to the morning message my thoughts turned to the reality that you can count on about one hand the number of times where Jesus “blasts” people.

In most every case it had to do with religious hypocrites interested in power and position, fearful Jesus would wreck their hold on political strength and more, His popular influence among the people. This is the case throughout all four Gospels.

Further, consider from the Book of Proverbs- “Faithful are the wounds of a friend but perverse are the kisses of an enemy.”

If one truly has a genuine faith, authentic relationship with Jesus Christ, whatever “wounds” come directly from Him are more like disciplines to bring us to spiritual maturity in the blessing of His character being formed in us, not to slap us down or jam us into a form we were not created for.

In other words, at times He brings a stinging medicine to heal us out of compassion for us. This is based in His love for us, not to merely win an argument or a verbal “wrestling match”! How very unlike sinful humans, no?

On the other hand, you may well think someone is your “friend” when in fact if you disagree with them on anything of consequence, kisses turn to flying fists and sometimes that’s the end of the relationship. With apologies to Alice Cooper, no more Mr. nice guy ‘eh?

On the one hand it’s easy to beat a drum and trash talk, something quite another to speak truth IN LOVE and from a motive of God’s actual love for a person or people group. When you’re in “more heat than light” mode it’s always easier to draw and pull the trigger rather than take a breath and consider your own attitude in the process of communicating. Man do I ever know such sin- and have repented often due to it.

All this to say the key and core commandment (not option) throughout the Word of God given by God, Father, Son, Spirit and the many Old and New Testament writers, apostles and prophets is this: LOVE. Love God, love neighbor -not “agree on every point”, rather “love”.

Does that sound like what you or I say, type in Facebook, Twitter, WordPress etc., podcast or put load into YouTube? Does it sound like those you routinely watch on tv, listen to on radio or via the Web?

These are questions I ask myself with some regularity as my first concern is learning to better love with thoughts, words and action, not just “put ’em in their place”.

As long as we live we can continue to grow in His grace and learn to love others as we ought to. Sadly, sometimes, we merely vomit and hit “send”. God help us!

I believe these are things worth considering.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Not Getting Lost in the Woods

MatthiessenCreekBottomsThe old phrase “lost in the woods” applies to all of us at various times.

But for me yesterday it didn’t, thanks to the sun, a good compass and paying attention.

Knowing and walking with Jesus can sometimes be a lot like moving through the woods, even unfamiliar places at times.VermilionRiver

The same 3 points apply: keeping your eyes on the Son, careful attention to Him, His Word (a surer compass I know not of!) and attentiveness to His desires even beyond our perceived needs. I spend some of these trips just sitting, praying, watching and listening.

So my dear Father-in-law Curt and I have taken these day trips every so often. Restful, fun and we both enjoy taking and exchanging pics from different areas in each forest we visit. I sometimes get a little hunting in, he is just about ready to do some fishing again and I may join him in that. Regardless, nature’s beauty is a tonic to us both.BerryPurty

Both of us were raised in Wisconsin, boys who love the woods, new sights and sounds, a bit of adventure.

Here are just a few shots from my phone taken yesterday in central Illinois in Matthiessen State Park on/near the Vermilion River.

Tell you what, I walked up and down a lot of  steep ridges, in and out of valleys, about 4-5 miles… so exercise was also had 🙂

And sometimes you see really strange stuff in the woods. Somebody reading this will know, but on a trail out to meet Curt I walked up on this. Errr…StrangeWood

Living in inner-city Chicago is a gift to me, but so is nature and times like these.RareGKselfie

Climbing up and down with a pack was at times a bit warm, but most of the day I was under the trees, a cool breeze blew through and really it was quite nice. About a ten minute cool rain fell just as I left the woods which I enjoyed it sort of half-sitting beneath one of the few trees near the road. Its leaves had already turned mostly red with a bit of yellow. Beautiful.

And my fave season- Autumn -is just around the corner… yahoo!

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Street Encounters

Uptown LoveAs I walked to a local pharmacy to pick up my wife’s prescriptions yesterday I met a group of three of a different sort of “pharmacy workers” in the street.

There are all kinds of street culture in our inner-city Chicago neighborhood and while I don’t do it one-hundred percent of the time I often say something when someone might be open to a kind “Hello” and even a bit of a witness for the One I love.

Often interesting little chats happen like that.

So as I was about to walk past and somewhat through the little group I noticed they were checking me out.

In our neighborhood and in this particular context, they may have seen me do a street concert or the church I work with (Jesus People Ev. Covenant) may have provided them or a family member or friend some service of some sort. We help people with housing needs (a large shelter) food, clothing and other support services (senior’s living facility) and so on.

This to say they may have either recognized me as part of JP or as “an old hippie” may have figured I might be a potential client.

So the obvious leader met eyes with me as I was moving along the sidewalk and when I got right up to him I simply said with a smile “You do know Jesus loves you?” which is of course a bit unusual to hear anywhere.

So the other two chuckled a bit and the apparent leader said with a slight smirk “Where IS he, I ain’t seen Him around here?”

I smiled and immediately heard myself respond with “He’s anywhere you want Him to be… but He ain’t you and He ain’t me.” And that was that.

No more chatter, I walked on and got my wife’s legal medical drugs and they continued to traffic the other sort in the street.

Now, understand, I fully understand the risk of contact. I also understand the risk of having none- with God, that is.

I also understand that people have to make “a living” and that sometimes due to a -lot- of personal, family and societal issues making a living ain’t much of a living and can contribute to plenty of pain and misery, even death.

Sin is the gift that keeps on giving, so to speak.

But as I walked into the pharmacy I thought about what I’d said a bit more.

See, being a musician who writes songs, therefore a lyricist, and also interacting in the street brings one to exchanges like “Where is HE, HE ain’t you and HE ain’t ME”.

But the truth of my statement is core and I always consider my lyrics from many angles before deciding to change or publish them.

Is is true that He IS even when we don’t recognize Him being around or near us? Is God for real?

Jesus is more for real than any of us, more immediate “in the moment” than I think we would often like Him to be.

Further, I asked myself if my reply was just a quick come-back or what??

It’s true- Jesus is risen, real and omnipresent whether we believe He is or not.

It is also true that we may not WANT Him to be, but our faith, lack of faith, obedience or disobedience doesn’t cancel out the truth of His immediate presence.

Lots of scripture is clear on this fact. Even something such as “The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good”. Yep.

And then I thought “He’s WHEREVER you WANT Him to be”. Really?

There is a very true sense in which He even stands “at the door” and knocks. IF we open the door He enters. Or not.

From my earliest days of faith I heard it taught “The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman. He came upon Jesus as a dove. He will not kick the door down”.

It is written “Whosoever WILL, let him come, take the water of life freely”. What about whosoever won’t?

We resist God the Holy Spirit every single time we sin.

Indeed, if you don’t want Jesus to be in your life, there is an actual sense in which He will respect that and you then live with the consequences. Well… if you call that living. I don’t, but this is a point where you and I might just plain ol’ disagree.

There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent.

I find myself in situations like this where I am nearly certain God wants to remind people of His love and the fact that HE IS whether they want to wish Him or explain Him away or not.

I think I read somewhere His followers are to be “salt and light”.

Things to consider as you walk.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn