Happy New Year- 2017

gkcbgelbridgeBut first ,a look back at 2016 for me.

Now don’t expect commentary on world events in this post. My LIFE and songs continue to be a response to those.

In my personal life it was quite the year, first off in that my Wendi and family are doing pretty well re. health after a lot of struggles prior. Two new grand daughters were born as well, we are really blessed at JPUSA here in Chicago, all that is happening v Wilson Abbey, Cornerstone Community Outreach, etc..

Touring both locally, in the U.S. and overseas was great and often really inspiring to me. So many kind people, old friends and new, and young peeps showing up at shows, etc.. Lots of blues and also cigarbox guitar interest, workshops, gigs.

Tons of jail and prison sets as well. Very near to my heart as so many people sit behind bars.

I may have mentioned this in an earlier post- numbers have never been the point to me, but I did notice I’d done 70 appearances last year, and in 2016 it hit 90. Wow. Old coot like me yet!!?

There are a number of shows booked and a few tours in the making for 2017, and as usual we will post via the Grrr Records site, via my Facebook and Twitter sites all in due time.

I’ve a new music project (blues) in the works, some more electrified, some more cigarbox/acoustic-type tunes. Hope to record that this winter and we’ll post updates as we move along through the project.

In the end I must say happiness is in relationships, not in accomplishments outside of them. In this I’m SO grateful for people who love me and whom I am able to love and continue to walk with and grow in relationship with, the first being my amazing Wendi.

I wish you the same happiness I have found in Jesus Christ. Everything else is a moving target, flawed and changeable, this I both believe and know from experience.

I SO thank GOD for His blessings of relationship to Him, my wife, family and friends, and for sobriety and sanity -though some would question the latter in my case 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Advertisements

What Shame and Guilt Does for Me!

Last night a kind friend posted his story of faith. It seems I was part of how it all came about. Very humbling, a lot of grace for us both!!

Funny how God’s Word (The Bible, which so many reject in daily thought, certainly practice) is crystal-clear: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. “All we like sheep have gone astray”, on and on. But if one cannot wish away “sin”, wrong-doing, bad choices/decisions/actions and behavior towards God and others- what then?

Christ-followers will say it’s about Jesus Who came, lived and died for us- and forgiveness HE brings. Declaration of “not guilty” to those (me, you, all humans) who ARE guilty of “falling short”… because who but God Himself doesn’t fall short?!!

Even then people think and say “there is no God”, or  “prove it” or “my mileage varied” and so forth -I get it and have heard it all my life, trust me.

For clarity, I’m not talking about shame or guilt others put on you, nor lies you believe about yourself nor actual mental illness or depression where you hang out with condemnation. I’m talking about authentic, actual shame and guilt you feel because you did or did not do X, Y or Z. Real, not imagined nor someone else coating you with their perspective and judgment.

Yes, I’m old school but also in my own understanding, my own sense of shame and guilt, God USED these to bring me to Himself which has transformed my life for the better. By “better” I really do not mean habitual, continual condemnation nor beating myself up over either conscious selfish sin (what the Bible calls sin, not what others may…) rather, a genuine sense of conviction of what I did wrong, or what I should have done. It’s a rare day in my life I’m not thinking about these. Yet: I’m truly at peace with God and utterly thankful for His forgiveness and grace.

ShareTheGraceYouAreGiven

Without those I could never shake either shame or guilt because there was not and is not a single day in my life I’m not guilty of something or other. Reality.

Nobody “guilt-tripped” me, nor really preached at me prior to my own surprising (to me!!) initial faith experience. I knew what I had done and not done that naturally earned me shame and guilt. Society didn’t make the many choices I made which about killed me and messed up those around me, I did. But there was and IS an antidote.

Loving vs. full-on rejection of a person. Forgiveness vs. grudge-holding. Jesus commands us to live these toward others… and knows what He’s talking about because it’s exactly how He treats me.

It’s about knowing and in faith believing HIS righteousness and not mine (talk about a lousy comparison!!) is what brings me peace. Not perfection (literal sinlessness) but seeking Him and spiritual growth yet knowing full well I am so often in the “wretched man that I am” state as apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter seven.

So do I sometimes visit shame and guilt? Yes. And at times I’ve indeed earned it and know it. Nobody has to convince me because nobody knows my own thoughts besides myself and God -and He and I both know I’m often guilty so why pretend otherwise?

I do not here mean that anyone who labels you guilty is correct or righteous in their judgment. What I’m saying is that shame and guilt are not merely words, feelings or something “others always wrongly put on you”. If you’re honest, you don’t need others to tell you you’re less than perfect and sometimes a jerk!!

See I think shame and guilt are worthwhile when you know where and to Whom to take them. We either do that or basically do one of two other things: deny they exist or blame someone else for our feeling them.

Ok, if you’re this far into this blog post, I’ll finish with this- if you believe all are guilty and all will/should face real and earned shame for blowing it in whatever areas or ways, how ought you think of/treat them now that you profess God’s forgiveness for your own wrongs?

Grace in terms of maturity not only means not getting what you deserve… but not giving others what you think THEY deserve! Accepting -and- sharing His mercy. “Father, forgive them…” is so core to authentic faith in Jesus.

Ok, the true story is that I was largely confronted with the mess I’d made of my life via dope, booze, sex and SELF 101 in my own head and heart. As I’ve written and said for years, a massive reason I finally surrendered to God was in a deep acknowledgment of how many people’s lives I had messed up by sharing my own messed-up, addictions with them.

Shame and guilt were partly what brought me to saving faith in Him knowing I could NEVER BE my own Savior much less Redeemer. I knew full well working to earn salvation was impossible. I couldn’t even work myself out of addiction or sharing those addictions with others.

The upshot of all this is that most of my life has been spent trying to encourage others out of their addictions and to hopefully live such a life of love and service myself that they might see and realize God surely loves them as much as He does me!

Been consistent my entire life- I had been an evangelist for sin, death and hell and now am one for relationship with the God Who made us, loves us and has a plan incredibly better than our own for our life. Shame and guilt bring me to Jesus every time. “ALL things work together for the good… (of whom??) to those who love God (and don’t miss this last bit:) and are called according to HIS purpose.” Paul got it exactly right.

It’s not about taking. It’s about what we can give others. I cannot force faith, active trust nor love and surrender to Him, but by the strength He gives I can model it.

That is my plan for 2017. The rest is just details 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

A Day in the Life, Death, Pre-Christmas Eve!

My day (so far) consisted of:

Coffee, eggs, plain yoghurt

Email and news check, read long amazing interview/story of Louisiana politics and poverty

Receiving my father-in-law’s ashes

Had a great chat with young girl in our church about how she got into reading/writing poetry and encouraged her re. how great she is in presenting it

Writing/praying for a friend who has been given 6 months or so -due to cancer

Picking up 2 sizes of freezer bag ziplocks for my wife and daughter

Made appointment to get my eyes checked

Purchasing 2 sets of guitar strings as a Christmas gift

Checking out 35 buck cigarbox guitar kit at Guitar Center (not my fave git at all… but glad I played/heard it for myself)

Stopping by cigar store to collect boxes for upcoming cbg building workshop at a Chicago school (gotta come back later after Christmas for ’em)

Collected pallet wood to saw up as necks for the above-mentioned cigarbox git workshop

Got an update on the metal shop where I volunteer off and on, great staff and good report

Shopped 2 stores to find (got it!) a felt-tipped calligraphy pen set for a Christmas gift

Helping my wife in the kitchen (and eating her wonderful low-carb cookin’!)

Taking massive garbage can load out to the dumpster and doing a thorough washing-out job on it

Most (not all) of gifts I’m giving are wrapped… more of that after dinner

Here you see the deep, the sublime, the mundane and all the rest

But one more thing:

One of my stops today was at Zeppelin Design Labs http://www.zeppelindesignlabs.com who make cool amps and other music-related stuff, some of which is in process and several items being tweaked pre-market

I walked in and immediately noticed 2 prototypes of music gear that got me EXcited. What many of you don’t know is, blues guy that I am, I actually DIG hardcore electronica and often exercise to it and thought about buying one of these gadgets a couple of years ago:

ZepDLMiniSynthProto

They were kind enough to fire one up and demoed it for me… COOLness

I just -may-… and don’t hold your breath… may do a project of songs using such items to record with. No promises but if I ever do it’ll be slammin’ songs with a few breaks for dynamics within. .. Yahoo cuz ZepDL is making these for a near-future release

All this before supper!

Enjoy the holidays and keep looking up -a Baby like no other is what this is about

As always, thanks for stopping by -Glenn

Suomi Christmas Stick

My little Suomi Christmas canjo…SuomiStickDiddleyCanjo

I’ve had the pleasure to tour Finland a number of times but it’s been too long! Started thinking about a quick build I’d been wanting to try for fun… and of course about the cold and snow.

So I had two 1 Finmark coins and a Finnish 50 piece as well -decided due to an empty “International Coffee” tin, an extra piezo el-cheapo pickup and extra input layin’ around, WHY NOT make myself a Christmas canjo? I mean, simple 1 string slide guitar with a pickup, string tuned to a D and a 50 cent copper fitting as a slide, with my usual credit-card picks. YES!CanBodyFinnFiftyCoin

Think “snow in beautiful Finland”, reindeer and such. Or at least the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where so many Finns settled and saunas abound -PLENTY OF ICE AND SNOW up dere too ya know??!

Now to record a song with it. This little git is likely to appear somewhere when I do a live show regardless of the weather 🙂

So she is 22 1/2 inches tip to tip, has no nut up topTunerAndNoNutNeeded cuz no need when you string a one-stringer high like this one is… and from bridge to wingnut/eyebolt tuner has a 20 1/2 inch scale. Acoustic and electric she sounds sweet!

Hope you’re keeping warm in Nort’ America.

Here’s a pic from a friend up in Wisconsin. Ain’t Finland but this was a week ago in the country outside Platteville, WI. Thanks Loran, SO reminds me of Christmas in Wisconsin as a boy. Beautiful! LoransDrive

Enjoy these holidays everyone and as always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

What About Gloria?!

The band rocked that old Christmas tune out nicely yesterday at Wilson Abbey’s 4th Advent service! Funny, I keep thinking about Van Morrison’s “Gloria” song… well anyhow, I’ve also been thinking about Handel’s “Messiah” -“Glory to God in the highest”, etc.. So…

What does -that- word “glory” mean… especially re. what my wife likes to call the First and Second Testaments?

Of course especially in enthusiastic local church gatherings, revival meetings, among pentecostals and such you hear somebody say “Glory!”, but what’s it about?

OT Hebrew scholars tell us the term we translate “glory” has to do with weight and heaviness. Think “as in the weight of gold”, so a sense of worth, value and such. It has to do with the very Person of God, His honor and therefore bringing us to a heart-attitude of awe, recognizing Who it is we are encountering.

Some have rightly said no other person can add even one thing to Him, certainly not to His nature, character, attributes, virtues. He is perfect, complete within Himself, He is unchanging and therefore we are at best simply realizing/recognizing and in our minds, sometimes with our mouths, behaviors/actions -glorifying- Him for the value, worth and intrinsic honor forever DUE Him for WHO HE IS.

Magnificent. Perfect. Holy. Loving. Gracious.

It’s about Who He is, what He is like, what He does… and being awestruck, thankful, offering praise, honor coming to Him in humility as we consider, ponder, meditate on: Him.

Further, in a Cook County Jail moment a couple months ago I mentioned to the men that the reason worship/praise/thanksgiving truly happening and directed toward God Himself can be difficult and often is left undone by many, even many professing Christians is because the focus in authentic worship extolls HIS value, worth, honor and of course, glory. Our focus is UP, on HIM, not ourselves.

When most of us walk around each day thinking about ourselves and zeroing in on our desires, feelings, needs, etc., it is quite out of our habit to fully focus on Father, Son, Spirit. So OF COURSE we will find it outside the norm, unusual, even difficult to keep our thoughts and attention on Him in personal or corporate worship times. Focus must shift and it takes effort. Some of us are pretty lazy, rather undisciplined in our thought-life.

This is yet another reason Jesus’ words about the fact the Father seeks those who should and do worship Him “in spirit and in truth” are profound words. Put another way, God is looking for people to glorify HIM, not themselves. To recognize how great HE is and…

not how either great -or- miserable and non-great we are.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”(Psalm 91.1) Indeed.

PeopleDoNotMakeThisHappen

When the focus is on Him, we begin to find life, healing, grace to get on with our daily relationships and situations regardless of the circumstances. Yet we do not rightly come to focus on His glory and worship Him to “get” but rather to “realize” WHO HE IS and Who He is in our life. It really -is- about Him.

The residual blessings of our relationship are massive, but like a young child at Christmas, some of us blow right past our parents, brothers and sisters looking for OUR presents. It’s about us, not Him, nor the family. Then comes (hopefully, in time but not always… sigh…) maturity where God and others are our real and normal concern, not merely ourselves and our gifts or supposedly “deserved” blessings.

Certainly there is no sin in seeking, asking, knocking that He might meet our needs. But if this is the crux of our pursuit it is not God we are pursuing. He WILL grant us the desires of our hearts… as we reverence (honor, fear, respect) Him. Note, even that puts focus on Him in terms of our affections. To worship merely to “get X, Y or Z” for ourselves is something less than what I’m talking about here.

Genuine worship is not about feelings, grocery lists, not even “deeper life” experiences with God those all those come (and go) or do not come as the case may be for you or myself.

As we grow spiritually, acts of worship bring us a communion with God the Holy Spirit to the extent our thoughts move from provision to vision -that is, we seek and recognize more Who Father, Son, Spirit truly are -and HIS glory becomes a natural part of our focus.

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

Christmas CBG and- FREE Music Downloads :)

So happy to get this one made and shipped for a friend. I do -very- few like this, all by hand.

ChristmasCBG1

Rockin’, both acoustic and electric sound is sweet.

ChristmasCBG2

Hope all of you are enjoying Advent and gettin’ ready for the big day under da tree 🙂

And from our record label, freebies! : http://grrrrecords.com/mp3s

grrrleperglennexegesis

Merry Christmas everybody!

As always, thanks for stopping by, -Glenn