What I Wish ALL Christians Knew

As I entered discussions with a pastor friend of mine from another fellowship, as is quite the same world-wide among leaders throughout the churches regardless of “form” or theology, the issue of discipleship came up. How to best encourage spiritual growth and in particular, training and mentoring lay leaders?

This morning over breakfast he asked what sort of emphasis I would think essential and as he is asking this of many others in leadership I will be super interested in what he will learn from them!

The context is traditional church but the ramifications are much deeper.

In that financial and time costs are often prohibitive,  other factors like marriage, raising children and such all often weigh on folks’ ability to attend seminary, Bible school or other typical training, distance learning via the Web has become a great option for some. Even then many simply cannot afford such depth of training or in reality don’t particularly care about a degree or even a credential. Then there is the issue of face-to-face and relational experience. How to link professors and active leaders with potential lay leaders- some of whom may sense God calling them to serve the Lord and the people at a much deeper level?

Pondering all this I mentioned 4 areas of concern I believe literally essential for such people and in fact, all the people of God. For what it’s worth (or not) here is what I emphasized:

1. WORSHIP

2. PASTORAL/CHURCH RELATIONS

3. CALLING/SPIRITUAL GIFTS

4. MISSION

By WORSHIP I mean the broader sense in which the Bible defines worship, not merely singing to God for X minutes on Sunday morning. Also if one divorces worship from loving one’s neighbor they do not worship “in spirit and in truth” as Jesus says the Father desires.

Regardless of church government or lack thereof, if we don’t know how to get along RELATIONALLY with others in our local gatherings, if we never hear real-life stories re. the built-in crosses of leading others, never learn to “play nice” with close friends and enemies in closer fellowship we will either run away from our gifts and callings like Jonah or we will seek to manipulate and control others- both of which are anathema to our personal as well as other’s spiritual growth and maturity. Conflict resolution is a massively important matter many believers have never learned or applied… and it’s one of the key reasons divorce and splits, acrimony and stress are so common. It’s also why stable, long term relationships of love and respect don’t happen.

Our spiritual GIFTS directly inform our CALL from God and our calling within local churches and beyond. Some work hard at manifesting gifts God has not given them while others try their hardest to ignore and bury the actual gift/s the Spirit has endowed them with for service. We must count the cost and be gracious but also honest with people about what those costs are!

Wrestling with God and losing is essential and people need to understand how to face up to and navigate in daily relationships regardless of actual areas of service. “By love serve one another”… with what and how?

Finally, regardless of gifts and calling, I am convinced with plenty of scripture stating as such, we are indeed ALL MISSIONaries wherever we may go (quoting Eric Liddell).

Regardless of “visible success”, numbers, whether known or unknown, largely celebrated or obscure, all followers of Jesus have reason and purpose on earth! I am audacious enough to claim (though I deeply love the Westminster Shorter Chatechism) that our first purpose [Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.] is not our only nor exclusive purpose.

Certainly we must provide our and our families’ basic needs, we each only have whatever energy and ability we have at any given moment, there are bills to pay and times of rest and recreation (yes, no issues from me on all these). Yet the lack of workers in the vineyard in my own opinion, largely comes down to lack of heart, intentionality, education and/or plain rebellion against God. Read that sentence again please. I believe this to be true.

I truly respect individual choice in all these matters. There is no possibility, no fail-safe method of forcing someone to truly love God and others, no set formula (though some teach otherwise!). Personal conviction is essential- and indeed patience as people choose and even walk away, all this is a core part of godly leadership.

It is the privilege as well as call of every professing follower of Jesus Christ to learn how to take up our cross daily and actually follow Him in love. It is likewise our call to love one another, our neighbor, even our enemies!

How we express that love in actual practice is what each of these four areas are all about.

Put another way, these as I see it, are the details that I deeply wish all Christians would intentionally, consciously study and apply throughout our time together on earth.

What a different church and world it would be if we each did!

Things to consider perhaps?

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

GK Blues June Shows- Details Added

SUN JUNE 3
Uptown Church Picnic @ Noon (1pm short blues set) 🙂
Chicago, Near Montrose Ave. Beach, Lakefront

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MON JUNE 4
Chicago
Cook Co. Jail

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SAT JUNE 16  7:30pm
Mission Viejo, CA
Upper Room Coffeehouse

24851 Chrisanta Drive

http://www.facebook.com/events/167094410627045/

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FRI JUNE 22  7pm
Torrance, CA
First Baptist Church

Come out and hear some of the best blues music your ears will ever know!

(Wow… I think these peeps must like me…!)

FRI, JUN 22 AT 7 PM PDT

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SAT JUNE 23
Oceanside, CA
Rushing Wind Church
(W. Full Throttle Band)

GLENN KAISER - FLYER 777

GK solo and a lot of tunes w. Full Throttle Band backing me… YES SIR! 🙂


SAT JUNE 30, 7pm
Mears, MI
(near Silver Lake)
Blues and Brats
2520 N. 48th Ave.
Mears, MI 49436
Sat. night afterparty/campfire also
Up and Out Ministries
GK Solo and jammin’ w. local musicians

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SUN JULY 1, 9:30am
Cornerstone Community Church
7640 Taylor Rd.
Mears, MI 49436
GK sharing some music, etc..

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

 

Newest in my Personal Cigarbox Guitar Stable!

Now I’m not out to promote envy or jealousy… but to say I was graciously blind-sided by a friend would truly be an understatement.Jack1

What you see above is one of many you can see over here:

http://www.facebook.com/scrapgrinderguitars

Jack is an amazing cigarbox guitar luthier in the Aurora, Illinois area who recently handed me this amazing instrument. What can I say?!! Just over the moon by the kindness… and you’ll be hearing it in my live shows as well as via recordings.

Three string dog/cat dish resonator, piezo pickup under that as well as the 3 string cbg pickup in the neck position, pre-amp and killer acoustic as well as electric tone. Variable between the 2 pickups so dial-yer-sound! Maple neck, walnut fretboard, excellent frets and intonation… sweet played either fingerstyle or with metal or glass slide… a DREAM axe for this ol’ dude!!

So my Trimmed and Burnin’, Percolater and Pignose amps have found a new friend 🙂

Jack5

And she sounds cool as she looks 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Memorial Day 2018

I thank and give thanks for our service men and women, veterans, first responders and law enforcement officers who serve with integrity and courage. I further thank their spouses and families who sacrifice daily. We remember the fallen, pray for those serving. -Glenn Kaiser

 

CigarBox Guitar Workshop Aurora

20180526_103313Another wow time w. Warehouse Church and a lot of long-time as well as new friends due to pastor Randy, Mike and the rest of the staff and as usual, GREAT fun w. the builders young and old!20180526_103306

It was truly wall-to-wall, nice and cool in their large basement workshop, the cigarbox guitar kits with pre-soldered pickups and jacks all laid out and ready to build with. I offered building tips, modification ideas, creative possibilities and later in the morning also a bit of cbg/blues history during the biscuits and gravy coffee break with a mini concert on my GrrrRecords box (and a diddley bow I’d thrown together from a discarded spoon rack -ugy but cool)!

My friend and bro Cigarbox Skinny and new friend Dan came by with one of his “blues sticks…” sweet and sounded nice!20180526_103511

Another friend named Jack completely blew me out of the water at the end of the day. He brought some amazing gits he has built-

20180526_103340

-and handed me one at the end of the day. Wow… anniversary gift early (Wendi and I are about to head out for 3 days… it’s our 46th anni. June 1!). But really, I was so surprised… wow. I am truly done building 3 stringers for myself… but diddley bows are another matter, heh!

There were a lot of smiles and all the kits were used on Saturday -and big thanks to all who came out to make it a really special day.20180526_103348

So blessed w. Warehouse and all they do in the Fox Valley to spread love and yep, fun!

As always, thanks for stopping by:) -Glenn

My 1st & 2nd Cigarbox/Found-Object Guitar Builds

These pics

gk1stBuildgk2ndGitBuild

are of the very first two instruments I ever attempted to build from scratch. Blame me as I had no plans, nobody around who knew anything about helping me do such monstrosities 🙂 Ok, likely a few who would have laughed at me wondering why I’d even bother with amazing Fenders, Gibsons, Taylors, several super-talented luthier friends  who’d gifted me with brilliant gits- and other high-quality electric and acoustic guitars already in our gear collection!?

Here’s the explanation after a little background.

My earliest days somehow launched me into studying history. Histories of people groups, cultures, ancient and more recent, all sorts of interesting people from all over the planet and in various time periods. I think God set me up as a missionary long before I believed and then walked that path.

As an amateur history freak first, and eventually (age 12) a musician I naturally took to the origins of music in the U.S.A. which brought me early on to the blues. That took me to the issues of slavery, racism and as I had studied American Civil War history from about the 3rd grade on I found a lot of connections re. dirt-poor African-Americans as well as poor whites making do by building “folk instruments” with whatever was available in their “neck of the woods”. Many sang as they worked and when possible with little means, they made their own music-making tools to accompany the clap, stomp, dance and of course, singing. They both learned and created songs and music from such d.i.y. instruments which they also created! To me this was seriously cool, romantic, even mysterious. It’s also what poor folks do when that’s the main thought-of option, sometimes the only one open to them.

Various books, encyclopedias, magazine articles and such brought me the core knowledge of dulcimers, fiddles, banjos and of course cigarbox guitars.

When you think about it, a diddley bow (1 string slide guitar) is comprised of very, very few parts: body, neck, string/s, some sort of string-holder/stopper toward both body-end and toward the neck end, and a bridge (where the string is lifted up from the body end) and nut (where said string/s get lifted up just prior to the top of neck end/stopper/tuner/s). Bailing or other smooth wire or cat-gut, intestines, maybe even horse-hair, or nylon later on (even fishing line) served for strings.

If you’re counting, total parts may be as few as a total of 6 including string. Or add one or two more if more strings are added. Simple!

Played by running a “slide”, be it bone, glass, a smooth stone or backside of a knife, plucked with fingers or beating the string/s with a stick and now music is possible.

So a lot of us crazy Jesus freaks started a festival in Illinois called Cornerstone. What became Cornerstone Farm had an old metal building and around it stuff the former owner had left along with other bits of our own work on the property.

I kept walking or riding by one side of that building and often noticed a hunk of weathered wood about 3 feet long lying there. Snow, rain, sun, it just lay there for years until the day I thought “that could be a simple guitar neck”.

At a yard sale or somewhere I ended up with a metal cookie (biscuit if you’re in the U.K., Oz or NZ, etc.) tin. I thought “Cool, pretty lady in gold on a small, squared black tin… that’s a great fake dobro body there!” Yep.

I honestly don’t recall what year this was but it was long ago at this point.

My family stewarded a mobile home there with a deck, and in late spring or early summer that year I snatched that wood, grabbed the little tin and began cutting, drilling and simply throwing together my first found-object guitar together on our deck picnic table, only knowing it would sound something like an actual dobro (this is a dobro if you’re not aware).

I had been blessed with a Dobro Duolian gkDobro through an endoresment deal via friends at Gibson/Epiphone/Dobro, and she still comes out to play from time to time as well… but I found a sense of inspiration with what I made as a 4 string slide guitar, in very short time frame taken down to a 3 stringer. I mean seriously inspiring. Why?

I had turned typical 6 string electrics into slide guitars, converting my single pickup Harmony solid body into slide-only axe when I was about 16 or 17 fronting a 3 piece band called Willow in the Milwaukee area. A cool open E, open D or G tuning is, I believe, easy as pie to make sound good, especially through a cookin’ amp and maybe with a distortion or another foot pedal or two. Big deal. Been there, done that, and will do so again. BUT… what can I play on only 3 strings? Or even just on 1 string?

Add either a cheap piezo pickup and 1/4 inch jack (I did) and there you go, sort of like doing the high wire act with no net!! It challenged me to write deeper blues as well as perform in a different way, with a different feel than I would with a typical 6 string. Perhaps a little more authentic to my ear and taste. And so it went and continues as I do gigs these days 🙂

Your mileage may vary but I must say this has been SOOOOOOO fun for me and plenty of folks focus on my songs and approach who would have not likely done so if all I did was use typical store-bought instruments.

When I build for myself it’s quick, crude and I’d rather them look like it, that’s just how I think about ’em -as you can see:1stBuildTailpiece

 

My second piece came about as we rehabbed a building here in Chicago and a couple old and out-of-use wooden filers, the sort you stack up on a desk for papers, was about to be tossed.

My brain switched to “Woah… I could turn one on top of the other, stick a neck and tuners, couple screws and bolts in there with 3 strings and see what it sounds like!” Indeed. So “For a Change” was written and recorded on one of my cd’s with this very guitar. It’s so whupped up an’ ugly it’s purty… at least to me. Sounds cool!

I never put a permanent pickup in/on this one but who knows…

Now I admit, I used 3 old electric guitar tuners on each of these and often build them like that but also often create ’em using an eyebolt with a wingnut as tuners. They work, honest!

I did not build these with the initial thought of playing them in concert or recording, just to play, practice and write on them to see what I might learn and accomplish with the challenge. Yet I continue to still being amazed at how others get inspired by them too, to learn basic music, song structure and of course simple slide playing, etc..

As said earlier, I own many, many quality guitars but even as I write tonight I’m about to throw together yet another git, likely 1 stringer… w. a pickup added too… made from this: WallyGit

I won’t explain my plans for this one but just say it’s simple, fun and if you are very careful (about things like bedbugs!!!) you can even dumpster dive some cool stuff to create a simple slide guitar yourself. Guess where I got that little shelf… errr, guitar body?

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Amazing Weekend!

Well, Sunday and today (Monday) in any case!

I was sad to miss the Uptown Church preview yesterday but all in my family said it was excellent and wall-to-wall packed… major kudos to all and GREAT to hear!

My youngest daughter Ami and fam did a quick birthday supper which I was able to get to just in time after my bike gig show… very cool indeed because I didn’t think I’d make it at first due to the schedule, weather and all… but so fun to hang out together.

So Sunday I had fine time w. biker friends in Channahon, IL at The Christian Brotherhood of Blood Brothers MM bike blessing. Blues players once again doing a great job on my tunes and songs we all know after working together a few times. The cold and rain came early, left the area in a hurry!

Sweet folks, some pretty Harley’s, and other bikes (one won at their rafffle!) great grillin’, fun blues set and good Word early and in the afternoon. So cool to be a part of it!

Today the rain truly poured on my way to Joliet Treatment and Detention Center so it was a slosh going down in between large semis and thick rain/fog conditions but I was so blessed by both the kind service of the officers as well as the response and interaction with the residents for my near-two hour solo set.

The Joliet Treatment Center serves as a multi-disciplinary treatment facility for convicted adult male felons with severe mental illness. It’s also multi- (including maximum) security.

Two full but very good days indeed.

Don’t recall if I’d mentioned this in my blog prior but I’ve some 45 appearances  between now and late October, have others looking for confirmation and will likely do several around Christmas. Prayers appreciated!

So very glad to be home on this rainy night,with my Wendi. Gonna read and zzzz early perhaps!

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

GK Solo Shows Update

Tonight I’m gonna cheat and send you to our Grrr Records site below, just check the Glenn Kaiser links, click to see details for Channahon, IL this coming Sunday.

You don’t need details for my Joliet prison show on the Monday…

gkCBGlTrainStopSepiaPic

For the Aurora Warehouse Cigarbox Guitar building workshop the following Saturday:

“30 complete guitar kits are prepared. The kits are still just $15 including all parts, pickup, strings and slide for a 3 string cigarbox slide guitar!
To reserve a kit for this event please send an email to office@warehousechurch.org and  your name will be on the list .
8:00 — Doors open
9:30 — “Coffee Break” – and time for a 20 minute “or so” musical set by Glenn w. a bit of cbg history
 
Ron Regnis is bringing in his famous, peppery biscuits and gravy recipe and Steve Sherril is the biscuit baking meister.  Just seems appropriate to have biscuits and gravy with blues on found-things guitars!
10:15 — 11:00 (or so) Return to the shop to finish the gits.
 
Glenn will be sharing building tips throughout the process, help tune and test each one as people finish. An amplifier will be standing by :)”
A change has happened in the California GK Solo Tour- the Sat. dates in Mission Veijo and Oceanside are solidly on. Idyllwild Arts on the Mon-Fri inbetween is cancelled. We expect some shows/services and who knows, a house concert (?!) may be added here and there in S. Cali. so we’ll post that info. if/when firm.
Meanwhile I can sure use some time to finish my first draft of a book I’ve been chipping away at for many months… this may be part of His plan.
Lastly in this edition of an update, Mears, MI (details coming soon) and following that, my AudioFeed GK Solo set and also Glenn Kaiser Band sets are set over the Fourth of July Weekend. Looking very forward to A-Feed again!
NOTE: any info. NOT yet on the GrrrRecords.Com/Shows site will be added soon.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Lyrical Confession, Concerns

As usual longtime friend John J. Thompson sent yet another thoughtful piece into cyberspace, ripe for contemplation. See the link below please.

My own reality over decades is that personally, I do enjoy reading, hearing and wrestling and losing with God via strong messages. I don’t mean dumbed-down, purely shouting-in-your-face delivery but actual truth-of-God’s-Word-let-us-apply-it-in-His-love-GLENN! stuff. Note, I did not say “Tell me off and I’ll happily agree with you that I robbed a bank on Venus”. We all agree and disagree on a host of things, all humans do, got that.

What I’m saying is that sometimes lyrics are so flippin’ vague, fuzzy, nebulous that although the conviction of truth is in this way at times gutted, the “d.i.y.” of “truth” leaks like a sieve over not-much-more than wordplay and commerce.

I suppose you can at times make more loot by purposeful ambiguity, but I doubt the integrity, even morality of such an approach to lyricism, certainly if done intentionally.

John comments on Alan Light’s recent book including a discussion of  L. Cohen’s song “Hallelujah”, stating “‘Hallelujah’ as the book describes it, functions as a sort of spiritual Rorschach test. Listeners tend to hear the theology they bring to it more than what is, or isn’t, really there.”

Of course that’s often the case… but the issue brings to light (pun intended) this: pop acceptance of such as a common thing.

At some point the juxtaposition in lyricism which can at core, rightly include anything may indeed say nothing much at all -and yet performed brilliantly ala Jeff Buckley make major impact in both culture and one’s bank balance.

This is where artists -musicians in particular, and various songs may foster more  pulp than life REGARDLESS how brilliantly the song is constructed, performed and/or emotionally moving.

It’s like comparing prostitution to authentic life-long marriage commitment. Do we ascribe almost god-like soul to sound waves and on occasion, wrongly toward those who serve them up to us?

In a word, that old Bible word rarely quoted, “idolatry” comes to mind. Have you considered idolatry is a prime ingredient in any cement walling us off from God? I’m convinced this is largely why He speaks against it in His Word.

Full disclosure, like all of us I can also easily love the echo chamber of “He/she AGREES WITH ME!!” and therefore revel in comments which share a view I’ve already maintained for years. Still, John stirs deep thought in me in phrases such as:

“…with elements of faith serving the role of dim lighting in a dark room.”

That in context is his assessment re. Light’s writing on music culture and lyrics that indeed connect everyday life, pain and desire with… “elements of faith”… but notice what role faith is given!

When spirituality is relegated to one of any possible backdrops I’d posit gaining the world while losing one’s soul is in progress.

And- “We can sing the tune, feel something emotional and then move along our own path as if there is no God and no instructions for living and loving in His world.”

Thank you John, point-blank-range, this shot.

Jesus said “Take heed how you hear”…

And worse, Jesus continued “For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” Yow! Pay attention Glenn… and all reading Jesus’ statement here!!

John J. Thompson’s Article: http://www.thinkchristian.reframemedia.com/the-generic-genius-of-leonard-cohens-hallelujah

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

What God REALLY Thinks About You?!

One of the most simple yet deeply profound things I’ve heard was recently verbalized by a friend of mine at Cook County Jail.

Looking at the men before us, some likely facing a prison term, others release, some not guilty and some fully guilty of their alleged crime/s, Gaius said:

“God doesn’t hate you. He LOVES you!” He repeated that just once and said a very few more words.

Plenty of these men have never heard anyone say such a thing. Lots of them have been told from their earliest days what worthless fools they were and are, that they’d never amount to anything and always be about as without value as they apparently are today behind bars. THAT is the “faith” many have been handed.

We live in a time when it’s not only difficult to believe the truth Gaius proclaimed but when professing followers of Jesus talk and behave toward others as though what he said isn’t true at all.

For many of us it’s far more easy to point out sin and offense than to accent God’s actual heart toward a sinful broken person. I’m not even talking about shying away from calling sin what it is in clear biblical terms, not saying we ought never to confront people about those things that are taking their life and those they influence further away from the love and grace of God… but the fact is plenty of us are better at “shooting” rather than embracing people, quick to trash, not so much express God’s grace.

As painful as it is to admit, I cannot remember the last time I heard anyone speak those exact words in a gathering and certainly not to incarcerated people. And that includes me.

God indeed will judge people by His own perfect, just standard and yes, we have in His Word clarity on that. Jesus’ Own words in the Gospels speak about separation from the kingdom of God due to sin. Argue as you may re. biblical Greek, context, careful interpretation methodology -and I still don’t buy universalism (all will be saved in the end) but as a cultural, personal, familial (not difficult to understand why) concern and concept. Jesus simply didn’t teach it.

Yet and still, the mind and heart of Father, Son and Spirit are “Whosoever will, let them COME”, and “Come, take of the water of life freely”. This is not the mean, nasty, “I love to cause sinners to suffer” God some present Him as. The true God I find in The Bible and have experienced in my lifetime of walking with Him is “Slow to anger… rich in mercy”. Too many of us Christians are not.

Agree or disagree my friend or enemy, I will echo my bro’s. sage and true statement: God does NOT hate you – and I’ll add: Regardless what you or others think or say about you!!! God LOVES you! Learning to trust, follow and love Him back is core to life, eternal life that Jesus Christ offers. He has given every one of us a measure of faith. What we must learn is that faith in Him and not ourselves puts us on the road to grace and LIFE.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn