Ancient? For WHAT and Who Cares?!

If you know much about me you’ll know I’ve never been one to “park and lock it” on many spots unless there is truly good reason. Most of my life has been about taking risks in creativity and stepping out of boxes that seem to have no real biblical basis for a serious disciple/follower of Jesus.

In short, change doesn’t scare me.

On the other hand there are indeed those things which matter and I am thoroughly convinced will matter in eternity. These are not about to shift due to personal desire, cultural or subcultural changes, styles, fads nor due to anything else.

Some of these for which I stake my life and which never shift are: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever, and the love, grace and will of God (and that last one can get real difficult at times in this fallen, sinful, self-worshipping world of humans) which doesn’t change because He says “I am the Lord and I change not.”

So several things have been kicking around what’s left of my brain cells the past week or so, those being “ancient paths” and the fact in the earliest years of our marriage my wife Wendi said “You were born old!”. HA! Yep. And then I thought about the phrase “ol’ skool”.

Unless our grey matter ceases to function in terms of thought, assessment and making value judgments, as long as we live on this earth we’re students. We’re effectively ALWAYS “in school” and for the believer “in HIM [Jesus] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

I often quote “At present I have in part” and “Presently we have in part” (both in the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13) meaning nobody has all the mysteries about God and the universe down folks!

All this to say I found myself connecting solid information from older people (from my youth until this very moment) along with God’s -eternal- Word (The Bible) together in “the school of the Spirit”, day-to-day lessons the Counsellor, the Teacher, the Spirit of TRUTH (as Jesus calls Him) brings our way. That is, IF we’re paying attention, IF we’re listening.

So in this context, old school is not only an old way of thinking and/or doing things, but some things just don’t change and in fact they will change -us- if we’re willing to grow and mature. Of course, some just quit. Some bail on the humility and willingness to learn. I don’t want to be one of ’em.

So two key texts kept popping up in my head this past week. These:

Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ -Jeremiah 6.16

Isaiah 58.11 “And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. (12.) “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.

It’s important to understand Jeremiah was the weeping prophet whom God had called to call out a backslidden, self-seeking Israel. Like old Israel, you and I at times “will not walk” in His ways regardless…

It’s equally important to know the context of the Isaiah passage is about God’s view and call for fasting and prayer, the kind that moves us to caring for widows, orphans and foreigners with justice.

It’s not “thoughts and prayers” full stop w/o action.

It’s about self-denial and servanthood, humility and God-seeking even to the point of taking time out for Sabbath, that is, focus on our relationship to Him and indeed, rest. Ancient for sure -and in the rear-view mirror of most Western “civilization” including that of most professing Christians.

Prior to verse 12 (above) comes this:

(9) Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, (10) and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (11) The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Does this sound like you, me, our church, our relationship to the Lord, to those around us?

What could be brighter than “noonday”?! How clear are God’s words to us here?

This sort of spiritual and practical relationship to God and those around us in need doesn’t just happen. It’s ancient. Too ancient and often quite removed from current practice in many of our lives. But it doesn’t have to be!

God have mercy on us -and through us!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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Venting for Grace?

A wise person taught us “Hurting people hurt others” and in this world -certainly the world of instant and global communication at the click of a mouse or the feed one sends via video from one’s phone, there seems to be a great deal of hurt indeed.

Venting is healthy until it’s not. Throwing up bile and blood in public is sometimes simply a self-serving exercise in rage. Productive and life-changing, life-GIVING? Sometimes I think it is. Sometimes it isn’t. It’s better than suicide or self-loathing. Sometimes it promotes others-loathing. I’m so glad God doesn’t hate people like we sometimes do!!

Mean vs. mean equals everyone’s mad as H. and simply spewing more anger.

I’ve done it, most of us have, but if unchecked, at what personal cost?

How did Paul understand all this, and do you think he may have had the sort of temperament to have dealt with it himself?

He wrote to the believers in Ephesus: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” -Eph. 4.31
Of course you might expect Peter got a little bit intense at times also? How would he know anything about it?

1 Peter 2.1-3: 1 “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”

The “pure milk of the word” refers to scripture -in which Jesus commands us to love our enemies, to forgive one another, to pray for one another.
In that grace means UNmerited favor, my heart attitude toward people who have wronged me and those I love must be considered and when necessary, surrendered to the Lord.

“Let ALL you do be done in love: Paul advises those Christ-followers in Corinth. (1 Cor. 16.14).
What I am not saying is that we can never rightly be angry, advocate for change, support the victim, work and indeed speak/write/demonstrate/vote for justice! Rather: “Be angry but sin not.”
There is a time to vent, a person or two to vent to and with… and then there is a time to repent, indeed times and ways to bring positive change, to encourage it for and/or in others’ lives. There IS a time to protest and do so LOUDLY… but sometimes I think we are only scorching ourselves and those around us by spewing a similar disease our enemies (past and present?) have. Sin is like that. Adding more sin to sin isn’t a cure for us or those we love -and in fact can land us in the very same heart-space as those we oppose.
Things to consider perhaps?

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

GK September Appearances, Misc Update

Update first- Wendi’s last major non-replaced joint (right knee) seems to be near the place she may get it done in late October or early November. Prayers appreciated!

As per my last post, the Ohio and W. Virginia shows and prison dates were truly amazing, thanks again to all involved. To say this past weekend’s worship seminars and Sun. service at Elim Ev. Cov. in Moline were a blessing to me would be an understatement. Such good-hearted people really seeking to grow and express the grace God has poured on on them- Big Thanks to pastor Steve and all involved!

So- here is my basic tour schedule for September, 2018. Hope to see some of you on the road. The Alaska Tour details are still coming in, I will post them the moment I get the details. As always, thanks for stopping by my site here 🙂 -Glenn

***GK APPEARANCES- SEPTEMBER, 2018***

MON. SEPT. 3 – Cook. Co. Jail

FRI. SEPT. 7 – Calvary Chapel Modesto, CA
(6pm doors) 7pm Concert
4300 American Ave., Modesto, CA 95356
209.545.5530
http://www.ccmodesto.com/concert

SUN. SEPT. 9 – Modesto, CA for a super good cause:

SAT. SEPT. 15 – SUN. SEPT. 23 GK ALASKA TOUR Confirmed – ALL AK venues and details TBA, stay tuned 🙂 -Glenn

Ohio, W. Virginia, Illinois Appearances Update

The Akron Shows, prison sets (4 so far) and Medina, OH Sun. service were truly amazing! Thanks to all involved. My bro. John McClure rocked harmonica on some tunes w. me, and his work and kindness of heart of folks at each stop has been a blessing to myself and a lot of peeps here!

Two prisons and Weds. blues w. my bro. Eddie Day in WV to go- but we just got news the field for the concerts and cookout for folks the BFC bikers are doing Tues. and Weds. is underwater due to rain so if you’re coming note the new location below.

Also quite excited for the QCA area worship seminars I get to share this coming weekend in Moline. Hope to see some of you on tour!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

WEDS AUG 22:

Now indoors at 305 Haywood rd Shinnston WV 26431 —-Higher Rock Church

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And FRI-SAT-SUN AUG 24, 25, 26th speaking in Sun. Service-

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A “Quiet” Revolution? Yes and No.

I began my trek in relational 24×7 intentional community within a group called Jesus People U.S.A. when I was 18 years old. At the time of this writing JPUSA continues to serve a wide range of people young and older from varied subcultures, the poor, outcasts, elderly low-income folks, often quite broken people of broad racial and ethnic heritage. We live and serve in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. So here I remain 47 years later! It has been an amazing, fulfilling, sometimes difficult and for me, never boring life.

We do this with God’s prevailing daily grace.

Having to choose again if I could, I’d still have done this. Why? With little elaboration or detail, 3 reasons:

*God’s clear calling on my life

*Relationships of nurture and challenge that have helped me grow and learn to serve daily regardless of -anything- or -anyone- whether I feel loved or not (though typically I feel very loved indeed)

*Because we are either active in loving and serving others or we are not

The actual fruit of our labor is God’s business. It’s our business to by love, serve one another.

What I’ve learned in community is that there’s a time to speak and a time to hush.

Now, you don’t have live as I have and do to learn such lessons or build such relationships, but as an early Jesus People leader (Jim Palosaari) often said, “Community is like a hothouse. It can really heat up but that’s where things grow!”

My friend Colleen passed a recent Plough article on to us and in that they often have great things to say about close community living, and in that Dr. John Perkins is a longtime friend, mentor and African American founder of an amazing multi-racial community in Georgia (not to mention the key person who helped JPUSA link and become members of the Ev. Covenant Church!) I read John’s recent piece with interest.

He made excellent, solid points worth our time and consideration.

Yet in his quote which I cite here, two issues leapt out that I wish to comment on now. (The entire article is linked below)

John wrote:

“We need a quiet revolution.

But for me, hope and fear dwell together as I look out at the church today and see how what could be revolutionary might be just some more religious jive. Pope Paul VI said it for me. He was hosting a conference in the Vatican on church spiritual renewal and in one address he said something like, ‘This movement for our church is like opening up the windows in an old house. The joy! The life! But I admonish you, there are those in the world who make up the majority – they are hungry, thirsty, naked, without shelter. They will demand more than your joy.'”

I agree with John as well as the obvious truth of his quoting the Pope here.

It’s  absolutely true that at times we need to be quiet. Pray. “Selah”, pause, stop and think about things before blurting out whateveritiswethinkweknowsomethingabout.

I am a big-mouth, a man of FAR too many words. The issue is whether or not I live what I believe, act upon the words and life of Jesus Christ in my daily relationships, in my unseen “private”, “personal” life as well as in public service in and beyond local or larger church. That’s THE DEAL my friends, for me, for you, for all who claim to seek and demonstrate true “Christian community”.

I have never preached COMMUNITY. Deeper still, Paul says “We do not preach ourselves but CHRIST and Him crucified”. Right. There. Boom.

But like marriage, as in any really close and closer relationship we either engage, interact and walk in a posture of humility and learning or we do not.

Community is about what we and others locally have in common, our willingness to engage, struggle, fuss together.

It will not last nor flourish unless we forgive one another, continue walking together when plenty of people will take you as an affront and enemy simply because they do not seek to do likewise, or truly don’t have the same sense of calling or just need time away from a crowd (large or small) due to hurts. It’s about faith, hope and love, it’s all about the appx. 111 New Testament “one anothers” that those of us who claim Christian faith so often royally fail in!

All this said, I cannot speak for John but expect his theology is grounded solidly in scripture re. elements such as living a quiet life, a godly life so that we are able to function in peace regardless of government, systems and so forth. It’s a more gracious confronting of the issue in neighborhoods and even rural areas that he is looking to encourage and has indeed created with others over his lifetime. His 3 R’s are in my view, totally sound and not only understandable for anyone but fully doable!

The next issue which must be considered is yet his overall sense of “we cannot sit by and watch the parade”. I’m stating this sharply, he did not use such tone, but it begs to be stated point-blank. As such, -all- believers have opportunity to get up close and personal with people in need nearby our geographical location if not immediate neighborhood.

John is indeed calling for us to live AMONGST the poor, the disenfranchised, the “least of these” and this is a major rub for plenty of white Christians -can we not face the truth of this? The revolution just got un-quiet. Why?

Such a call involves crosses, at times rejection by family and friends, even possibly via some in the local church who may consider you an idiot for putting yourself in potential troubles, harms way and so forth.

I can hear (and not without some measure of sense) people saying “THIS goes TOO FAR!”

NOTE: The same folks who will call “the other”, the minority people, the poor to individual responsibility are often the last ones to pick up on Jesus call (or here, John’s) to actually do such difficult displacing of their lives for the sake of His kingdom work -which means working alongside people you and I would rarely if ever choose to actually live and serve among. I mean, short-term missions is one thing but…

And this also is a major rub.

Likewise is the fact that the Bible doesn’t lay out a specific budget for us as singles, families, local churches re. missions, etc. does it? Therefore WE make our choices on the sort of stuff we need to have, the ammount of loot to live on, WE choose our own individual, marital and family comfort and safety quotients. WE steward our money, lives and time as WE see fit. Is it possible that runs hard up against and counter-intuitively to doing as John suggests?

Let me be fully clear: I am under zero delusion that all Christ followers must live as I do or serve as I do much less manifest the same precise gifts and calling God has placed on my life. Got that!! At the same time, if one applies John’s 3 R’s (carefully think through his article please) I think it’s tough to not recognize what I’m saying here.

This said, the revolution becomes noisy. People who may get displaced politically or find their financial speculation taking a hit often become one’s enemies right at such a juncture. Noisy. Even nasty. When someone else’s vision disagree with yours -and their plan for ever more money, economic and social standing and power looks to be going in the negative due to your involvement with the poor, people can get very, very nasty indeed. Loud, even!

There is a time when love and even truth needs to be silent -but true love also speaks! Consider God’s WORD, Jesus’ WORDS.

Does anyone really believe He didn’t speak out of deep love for us with the objective that we would ACT UPON HIS WORDS?!

When we actively love, serve, respect, apologize, forgive, stay close and open, honest in our commitments to Jesus and those we do life with, community is precious and a gift. When we do not, it can be a genuine misery!

What is mostly true in any deeper human relationship is also mostly true in close community living.

If prayer were only about listening… but it isn’t. If relationships were only about modeling and never speaking/writing and such… but they are not.

So any revolution that truly brings needed change re. poverty, racism and the like is not something to brag about, to focus on our own greatness or part be it large or small… no… and thus silence yet action is essential. Got that. That’s the truth and wisdom of a “quiet revolution”.

Yet there is an activism that cries out loud and clear. No prophet of God in either Testament simply sat in silence and as such fulfilled the will (and Word) of God.

Most of the prophets had hard lives and were widely persecuted. John the Baptist lost his head BECAUSE the revolution he was part of meant speaking truth to power. He was not quiet. Count the cost indeed.

The issue is when to speak, how to speak and not glorifying one’s self or accomplishments but (on the silent side of things-) “answering the foolish talk of evil people by doing good” as the scripture admonishes us. I expect that was what John Perkins was getting at.

He as I and many believers are tired of the vitriol across political party lines and via social media, again, making “a quiet revolution” a sensible phrase.

The joy- regardless of how genuine the gift of koinonia and fruitful service to others (and personal growth in the fruit of the Spirit) is only one side of the issue. Weeping with those who weep is the other, and this is where plenty of us fail.

Finally, I personally think his last R (Redistribution) is The Potential Answer as well as most difficult. I’d love to see John unpack what this looks like and in specific, the practical crosses to those involved. When that bridge is crossed we’ll see the real fruit of justice, love and mercy where there has been deep need and misery for far too long.

I created this short link to John’s full article via The Plough: https://tinyurl.com/yc67orzd

Thanks to Dr. John Perkins and The Plough for the fine work!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Sturgis Bike Rally, Projects, 2019 Update

First the update for Autumn and 2019:

Lotsa gigs this month and next-

GK SEPTEMBER APPEARANCES

Monday 3rd Cook County Jail

Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th Modesto, CA area (all info., details tba)

Friday 14th – Sunday 23rd Alaska Tour (all info., details tba)

Still more during October and just a couple in November.

I must do more work on my book project (very small snippet of my lifespan) as well as fresh record which I’ve worked on over the past several months when time permitted between touring. Those two projects need finishing. Another recording project (solo) and yet another are in the works after these.

Next year (2019) will likely see me accepting a few shows here and there in the U.S. and a possible European Tour w. GKB as well as some solo blues shows across the pond… and the rest of the year focusing on Illinois (and nearby) venues within a couple hour drive of Illinois prisons where I’m able to combine appearances that will cover my expenses to do more for inmates. This means more time at home where I can get all the book -and- new record into far more hands than if I were out touring. It also means more time at home with my Wendi and family, and Cook Co. Jail appearances.

GKB may be recording some tunes if not a full record… I’ll post as we get clarity on that as well.

Ok, “Man plans his way but God directs his steps” says Proverbs, so we shall see, but that’s a heads-up re the coming year as it seems now. There are several other “at home” but via the Web opportunities for me as well… I’ll let you know when I’m clear on those as well.

STURGIS was as usual, amazing!

You can get a quick overview from the pics I’ve included, but it was so very good. So many friends and getting closer to those I’ve done blues gigs with in Sturgis and elsewhere in the past… just a treat for me! Don and Rhea Overbey and crew were as always, so sweet. Harley, Biscuit, Mark and Susan, Jimmie, Mark and Denise, Stephen and the rest of the musicians were so much fun to hear, jam with! Sorry I didn’t get pics of everybody… so much going on, but all so good.

 

The Ohio Tour I’m about to do over the next 10 days will include but a few pics as only 3 or 4 are public, the rest inside prison walls around the state. I’ll try to get a few pics up at the end of the tour.

Then blessed to bring to Quad Cities (IL/IA) and Elim Ev. Covenant in Moline a Fri.-Sun. worship seminar/teaching/Sun. message. Looking forward to that as well!

Details on shows are here in the Updated August Tour post.

Hope you’re enjoying a peaceful summer.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

FRAMED!

Can’t help it when inspiration hits -and I’m forever messing around with little slide guitar building ideas, in particular something that I can play live shows with and yet fly w/o paying excess baggage fees.

So based somewhat on a Shetland gue (ancient bowed 2 stringer) I created this 3 string slide guitar with a foil pickup from CB Gitty. Super light and crankin’ through an amp. Strings are (low to high) .052, .032 and .025 tuned to an open chord, that being E (low to high) E  B  E.

Tip to tip she measures 18 3/4 inches

The scale bridge to tuners is 16 1/4 inches

What’s also cool is I can play it upright as per normal guitar or in my lap as a lap steel. Three strings are plenty for the blues! Heck, one string for that matter…

Now THIS I’m certain I can fly at no extra cost 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn