They Did WHAT?!!

I have a good many friends whom I love and respect -and in several areas DEEPLY disagree with across spiritual, political and other dimensions. I say this because I wish for us to consider core implications of what early Christians did in the face of sometimes life-threatening or massively divisive attitudes about how to “be” a true lover of God and people.

Have any of us been hurt by others? Welcome to real life in the real world and indeed, sometimes authentic (yes!) marriage, family, social club, church, choir, indy band, sports team or motorcycle club…

So this is my response to several issues that I am convinced are core to loving our God and our neighbor as Jesus commanded. It’s about maturity, balance and indeed correction for a number of my longtime as well as newer friends who are FULLY CONVINCED they are on solid ground. In my view, many of us are at best out of balance if not dead wrong in our personal convictions and choices.

Some beat a very hard drum and make judgments on others who do not share our particular beat.

I often ask myself (and am convinced the Holy Spirit asks me) if I love my enemies as Jesus commands? You know, the really nasty, the “not like US”, the neighbor from hell, the “other”, those who hold and are entrenched in beliefs and practices that in my view fully counter what Jesus said, lived and how He loves.

Fact is, if you are truly “walking in the Spirit” you may fully disagree with people, even to the point of hating (Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Letter of Jude vs. 22,23) Note he begins and ends with “mercy” -also note -not- hating the person as such.

We know that God loves full-on sinners, nasties, idiots and jerks because He “so loved the world that He gave” Jesus FOR ALL OF US.

I know, I know, some will say Jesus only died for those who will be saved… so He doesn’t yet LOVE them? Too much scripture answers that, I won’t do so here.

If every single day God patiently, graciously loves you and I (perfectly, always, all people) REGARDLESS of hating our sins… both “church” Christians and those who never “do” church in a traditional way, why don’t we?

Often our preferences out-weigh our wisdom and willingness to die to self when it comes to even being around “THOSE KIND OF PEOPLE”. Because affirmation to our selves and our preferences are more important to us (and sure, they may think the very same from their end of the spectrum). Ahhh but WE have the “deeper truth”, the “higher light”. Always. WE have received THE SPIRIT and ALL HE DESIRES. Not.

Not not not no way folks… which is why we NEED one another, which is why we NEED to listen, hear, read, consider, weigh, rightly judge (discern) in the light of The Bible and larger church, other local churches and not “by private interpretation” nor simply amongst groupies who think like us.

I am convinced the twin-headed monster of fear and hate figure in deeply here. “I have been horribly mis-treated and ain’t gonna TAKE IT NO MORE and must defend myself or they’ll get me again” on the one end and on the other, “God Himself is disgusted with those people and I have every right to vent about their sick, less-than-my-way-of-doing-things nonsense!”

So to those who claim to follow Jesus Christ:

“Love is patient, love is kind”. ‘Eh? Are we?

God loves all sinners (which includes every one of us) and is compassionate to each of us EVERY SINGLE DAY, those in and out of whatever you care to refer to as a “right” church or any other group of people.

Ok, to the two verses that sparked this blog and a few issues in relation to them:

KJV:
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart

AMP:
42 And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord’s Supper] and prayers.
46 And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke bread [including the Lord’s Supper]. They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous hearts

NASB:
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart

They CONTINUED. SO easy to just separate, split, bunker in, wall-off, talk Over others and eventually demonize them.

They were CONSTANT in what they did and it was all relational at core. So what did they do?

Their core focuses are right in the text:

APOSTLE’S TEACHING -yep, the Holy Spirit speaks to and through all -yet they heard teachers teaching who had walked with Jesus and were repeating how He loved/loves via what He said and did. So can all of us, but certainly there are plenty of folks who can bring spiritual truth and beneficial info. via The Bible, their own relationship with God and via years of experience that we just do not have as of yet. Humility and relationships with those UNLIKE US is crucial to spiritual growth.

FELLOWSHIP. This ain’t “you’re like me so I like you and we’ll hang out together… not like THOSE people over there” rubbish. That’s child stuff and if you only play that card regardless of your age, subculture or preferences I guarantee spiritual malnourishment and likely error over time. Fellowship doesn’t simply mean we all dig the same music, color and ice cream.

EATING TOGETHER. Simply doing what you have to do to survive (eat food) and doing it together will include talk. It can be spiritually up-building and closer-to-Jesus stuff or just negative rants. We all need to vent, but what uplifts and what is a drip-drip-drip of “THEY are ROTTEN or the WAY they DO it is DISGUSTING and must be DESTROYED” chatter is likely swimming in muck more than truly edifying anyone at table. The Lord’s Supper means we (you and I) repent and forgive others as well as ask forgiveness when we truly must, not mere food and drink. Hmmm… what sort of walk do we really have with Him and others? Fellowship ‘eh?

PRAYER. Not only individual (needed!) but shared prayers. Confessing weakness, temptation, sin. Commonly praying w. one another about deep needs, giving thanks, praising, worshiping the Lord in unity. What a concept!

DAILY. Wow. Not an hour or two per week or simply Sunday morning or on the weekend. Daily WHAT?? Read on please:

IN ONE ACCORD. Wow-wow. Same attitude (love, grace, meeting needs), same Spirit (Holy, not merely human), unity -what the Spirit works among those sheep who “hear My voice and they follow Me” as Jesus said in the Book of John.

IN THE TEMPLE. Another wow. Among the (other) Jewish people, many who considered these Christ-followers THE Cult, The newest Error-filled rubbish in their neighborhood, this is where the new Christians meet -wait for it- daily. Uhhh. What do you do with that regarding your own distaste for people, perhaps even other Christ-followers in your area? They did not stop placing themselves among others who most certainly would disagree with them on several intense levels.

Again, EATING and FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE. House churches, home fellowships, cell groups, small groups hanging out over food, fellowship, teaching and relating as friends rather than in organizational structure alone, this was a -daily- occurence as was gathering in the Jewish Temple. Yes. Notice the “both-and” here.

Lastly, not only with GLADNESS but also SINCERITY OF HEART (singleness, generosity). No feeding on nor feeding others guile, bad attitudes, political pettiness nor jockeying for position. Genuine, authentic, real, not posing as loving disciples of Jesus but truly sharing His love with others in the power of God the Holy Spirit. Not all about “comfort” among “birds of a feather” nor culture, organized nor dis-organized forms… but by “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” which has nearly nothing to do with same-same cultural perspectives or tastes.

The rest of the text in context is amazing in its scope as to the things the Lord did among them apparently with some regularity.

Perhaps the next time you are tempted to simply cut yourself off (or other’s off) from a credible witness of what a follower of Jesus ought to be like, share and live out daily, you might remember some of the amazing truths of how the Holy Spirit DOES work through those who indeed love God and neighbors -even through us towards those we don’t want as neighbors.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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In/Out of The Woods

NearBuffRock

Ok, I KNOW the Cubs might win tonight and so go to the World Series… and I’d dig that! I KNOW the presidential election is just around the corner and how important that is. I’ll be doing a 35th anniversary set for friends tomorrow, then off to a day trip fishing w. my father-in-law… and then to Phoenix, Arizona for a Celebrate Recovery set and two worship services at Calvary Chapel North. But most of you know I live a full life. So:

Several times per year I try to get out in the country with my father-in-law. He loves the woods as do I.

We spent 3 days camping a few weeks ago and it was one cool moment after the next for us both.

Checking out the Illinois and Michigan Canal (much overgrown but water in some places) we found a primitive campsite (walk or bike in) right next to a lake. Sweet.

Birds, squirrels, flocks of geese flying over, the stars overhead at night and about 100 yards across the overgrown canal and field train tracks -we both enjoyed hearing trains through the night from our tents.

His old, cool bike and a loaner from my bro-in-law made the half-mile trek to and from the campsite pretty painless. We only packed in what we needed.

I spent half a day hunting (tree-bacon in the bag) and he looking around as well as at the local town historical society including purchase of a book on the history of the canal. Very cool.

The last day we poked around another state park and yet another I&M Canal area closer to Chicago taking pics and enjoying the bit of “right in front of you” history still left to see.

On the way back to Chicago I mentioned several aspects of our days in the woods.

Heard a beautiful owl sounding out the last night, first a screech and then the whoooo-whoooo most of us have heard. Loud, clear, cool.

Thought about the huge catfish he caught,CurtCat the wildflowers we saw, the long and beautiful trails I took on my hunt,BelowMatthiessenTrail MatthBerriesthe simple joy of a couple fires I was able to cook some truly great tea over.CampfireTea I remembered several light rains that came through, the cool air that tells us autumn is upon us. Grateful for the major surprise of a near-double rainbow after one rain.RainbowAtIandM

Hey, even our tents stayed 98 percent dry through it all!

Yet as we walked and took pics along the Canal (water, ducks and old locks)BridgeRuinsQuackersIandMCanalLock closer to home, a couple younger guys looking very much like they were trying to score dope walked by. That used to be me.

I sometimes wear a head scarf and had a camo kerchief on… some dealers/gang-bangers use ’em. So they were checking me out. I really don’t know for certain of course, only God knows for sure what they were/weren’t up to but this came to mind:

When I was living in addiction simple pleasures like I just mentioned weren’t even on my radar. It was all about the next high, the next sexual encounter with a chick, the next musical “buzz”. Simple joys and basic accomplishments meant zip. Noticing, much less being thankful for them wasn’t part of my personal m.o..

I thank God (as a lyric I once wrote and sang goes) I’m not the man I used to be.

Hope you can get outdoors this fall. The joys of all God has done and does makes life truly life. The gifts He gives and/makes possible are the best.CanalLockFlowers

Being clean and sober and at least somewhat sane (!) is one of His finest gifts. Eyes to see and ears to hear what’s real as opposed to all the gravel we swallow in order to deal with an otherwise empty life.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

New/Old Drug- New November Benefit Show in Ohio

In my addiction days I saw little meth as in my area at the time it was expensive and scarce. Heroin was around but for me just dusted in joints (marijuana) on occasion. I was right at the point of needles and shooting H when I encountered the risen Christ. That’s how I planned to finish my life actually, just running heroin until it was over. His love was right on time.

Fast-forward to 2016 where entire small rural towns are pretty well doing an industry, first with meth labs and now surpassing that, heroin. Often a little blue pill around $2.50 a pop. No needles, tracks on arms, simple. Local cops often avoid these places preferring to not get shot in the back. Lacking jobs, going for quick money -and can America face this fact (remember, RURAL and not merely big cities…) ?? : if there were not a market of white folk with money ready to purchase, the “industry” wouldn’t exist anywhere near what it is.

In the past couple months I learned about two such towns in Illinois. There are plenty more across the U.S.. Hey, it’s “just business”. Money. Food on the table. A “living” before it becomes a dying. Plenty poor folks also get handouts from local dealers ala Al Capone back in early 20th century Chicago. What’s to not understand about all this?

So- I have been invited to play a set in Bucyrus, Ohio where the misery exacted by such addiction is also acute. One of the bros. doing this event works at a solid rehab in Florida but lived and graduated high school in this part of Ohio. They are seeing great results, especially re. addicted kids. If you can help with money or other support, please do so, and hope to see some of you at this event!!

bucyrusshow

I am SOOOO thankful God delivered me when He did.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Champaign,IL & Hudson,WI Report

As usual Phil Keaggy was A-MA-ZING. He’s as sweet a bro as he is talented and that’s saying something. Blessed to call him a friend.

The audience response to my set was frankly astonishing, so very kind. Then Phil and truly gifted bandmates popped up on stage hugging me as myself and local crew cleared it so I could get off to Chicago for early morning trip up near Twin Cities (Sat-Sun gigs), the audience goes nuts as I turn around and Phil is onstage smiling, hugs me and is wearing: markhootmanphilkeaggy

Mark Hootman (on the left here w. Phil) is a longtime friend who is himself a guitarist and -genius- photographer.

Wow.

So Roy (GKB bass, brilliant sound-tech, driver and most of all longtime friend), Aracely and Adri (“Hallel”) and I headed up nort’.

If you ever wondered, the people are/were SO sweet, the brats and cheese killer good and yes, da Kaiz LOVES autumn: NearHudsonWI

AtTimAndDebbies1

AtTimAndDebbies2

Kudos to Tim and Debbie Briggs, gifts to us and the Hudson area!

My dear friends Hallel (https://www.facebook.com/Hallelspanish/) were excellent, their set and working together Sun. a.m.. Really had a great and safe trip.

Now off for 2 days with my Wendi after a bit of work at home today.

Sunday we drive down to Metamora, Illinois area for a 35th anniversary celebration/gig for friends. I’m rehearsing some love songs this week…

So if you’re in the U.S., especially in the north, get out and enjoy the autumn colors and cool weather if you can!

As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

GK Prisons Tour, Dulcitar, Solo Blues Update

Several things…

Next up (snipped from their website at Faith UMC) Thurs. Oct. 13:
“Phil Keaggy is Returning to Faith!!

https://static.wixstatic.com/media/9ad9bf_11854b6b7c3d447ba3cae3dca0cf6f30~mv2_d_5100_3300_s_4_2.jpg/v1/fill/w_215,h_141,al_c,q_80,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/9ad9bf_11854b6b7c3d447ba3cae3dca0cf6f30~mv2_d_5100_3300_s_4_2.jpg

http://www.philkeaggy.com/home
Phil and his band will be performing in concert on October 14th at 7pm

Special guest will be outstanding Chicago blues musician and community servant, Glenn Kaiser . https://gkaiser.wordpress.com/

This concert will benefit Champaign’s Daily Bread Soup Kitchen http://dailybreadsoupkitchen.com/.”

Then Sat. & Sun. Oct. 15 & 16:

Glenn Kaiser Solo
Saturday, October 15 @ 6:00 PMSat, Oct 15 @ 6:00 PM
Heartland Festival @ Christ Center AoG, 810 Northview Dr. , Hudson, WI 54016

Glenn will perform solo blues at the Harvest Festival at Christ Center in Hudson, WI (810 Northview Dr.) on Sat. Oct. 15 at 6:00 PM. “Featuring: carnival games, musicians: Glenn Kaiser, Aracely (Hallel), & Joshue Bock, a mini farmer’s market, a cake walk, ministry booths, vendors and much more. Fun for the whole family!” For more information:  Web: https://ccaghudson.radiantwebtools.com/
Phone: 715.386.5441

So I just returned from two amazing coffeehouse shows at Joe’s Java and Brumby’s (Wilmington and Bellville, Ohio), then did several prison sets including death row in Ohio.

I can tell you I am always moved deeply by chaplains work, my own and others- such as by my friend John McClure who has served in that capacity for years all over Ohio. My friend “Rev. Blues” (Kirk Stamper) also shares the calling -and blew sweet harp as usual. What a tour!

Now looking very forward to this weekend’s shows in Champaign, IL, and Sat-Sun up in Hudson in the state I was born and raised (Wisconsin).

Monday I go to Division 2 at Cook County Jail again.

Let me tell you I have long had a strong sense of calling and care for people who end up in jail or prison and one of the joys in my life is bringing music and message to people behind bars. They end up there for a -lot- of reasons and in the end, the worst prison is the one we are each capable of building. The one’s others help us create aren’t any better, but I do know far too many people are locked up and need the ever-illusive freedom that makes life worth living.

I do what I can to help them find it- and not only in the spiritual sense but in practical terms. I love working with others who also “get it” and also have heart to care for the incarcerated. They are often the most forgotten people in our nation.

On a much lighter note, it’s been a loooong time since I spent loot at a music gear store but I found one of these and immediately began writing songs on it. Really inspired me. I have long played dulcimer and have access to both 4 and 6 string dulcimers -but this dulcitar by Canada’s (I love Canada!) Seagull. It’s a Merlin or now, M4, it’s pristine and seriously inspiring to play and write with! “Dulcitar” is what most folks call a dulcimer-fretted patterned instrument you play holding upright as per a normal guitar. Mine’s the one you see here, they also have a spruce top model but I liked the mahogany best.

Sure, I could have built one with a cigarbox and perhaps will someday, but to get the frets correct and intonation perfect, let’s just say Seagull did it for me. Very impressed!

http://www.seagullguitars.com/en/products/m4

Seagull Merlin M4 Travel Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany, Full Straight ...

Ok, off to do laundry 🙂 !

Hope to see some of you on tour.

Oh, I should mention I’ve several articles ready to publish here and will drop them in along and along over the next few weeks along with tour updates.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

GK Solo Ohio Tour- Belleville Added!

Next up:

Fri-Tue October 7-11 (Wilmington, Belleville and several Ohio prisons)

FRI Oct. 7 GK Solo Blues Wilmington, OH @7:30pm
Joe’s Java 180 East Main
Wilmington, Ohio 45177
Www.sugartree.org
937.382.8359

SAT Oct. 8 GK Solo Blues Belleville, OH @7pm
The show is on- but they decided the benefit for Jake Becker will be at a later date!
Brumby’s Coffee & Pizza 96 Main. St.
http://brumbyscoffeehouse.com/index.html
419.886.3700

Hope to see some of you in Ohio. As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn