COMMANDED to SHARE?!

I thought this so gets at the guts of many arguments in social media and beyond that posting key bits of a Facebook convo w. a friend of mine this morning would be good. Here it is:

“Honz- And there’s Acts 2. The root of all this I’m seeing is we don’t want to be told to share. But we need to be told if we can’t realize this ourselves. The truly sad thing about all this is the fight the Christians are putting up against it. And yeah I get it we don’t want to be controlled. But if we ain’t coming up with the idea of sharing because God lives in us. It’s our fault and embarrassing it’s coming from those who don’t read the “instructions”.

GK- In a word- yes. Nailed it.

Honz- Deeper than that. Their sins don’t make mine feel better which finds me in the same boat which deepens the love of His grace and makes it all the more expensive which is the victory. But I don’t want it just for myself. There’s no other goal in all of theology to me than this.

GK- Understood. All the commands of God are based in and out of His love for people incl. “the least of these” (Mt. 25) and as commands, they are not options. Commands of God are ALL “tell me what to do’s”. We are all rebels and rebellion against God is still akin to witchcraft. Hmmm… I better write a blog… God help us, forgive us, daily Grace or sin, that’s what we choose.

Honz- The hook line and sinker for me is God’s definition of love through his grace. So when I talk to my friends about what I believe. I wouldn’t want them to have any other appeal. Grace is a really tough pill to swallow because you can’t just want it for yourself. If you’re getting it or asking for it. Ya better be willing to give it.”

GK- As true as true can be.”

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Ash Wednesday Service Prayer

So good, had to share! From tonight’s JPUSA Ev. Covenant service here in Chicago.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

All those days you felt like dust, like dirt,
as if all you had to do was turn your face toward the wind and
be scattered to the four corners or
swept away by the smallest breath as insubstantial–
did you not know what the Holy One can do with dust?
This is the day we freely say we are scorched.
This is the hour we are marked by what has made it through the burning.
This is the moment we ask for the blessing that lives
within the ancient ashes that makes its home inside the soil of this sacred earth.
So let us be marked not for sorrow.
And let us be marked not for shame.
Let us be marked not for false humility or for thinking we are less than we are.
but for claiming what God can do within the dust, within the dirt,
within the stuff of which the world is made and
the stars that blaze in our bones and the galaxies
that spiral inside the smudge we bear. -Jan Richardson

Surprising Moral Fails

I believe it was in the preface of Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis’s Latin dictum response to those who praised his obviously acute sense of sinful human nature leapt out at me long ago. In simple English, what he was saying was the reason he had a grasp of it was due to his own self-knowledge, his own capacity for wrongdoing, for what The Bible calls “sin”.

In the past two weeks I’ve heard yet again of two larger-than-life Christian leaders who horribly violated trust, in both cases their immoral choices deeply affecting a massive amount of people.

In this same time period an email came in from a person who had come to faith in the Jesus Movement days years ago (in another country), was won to Jesus by someone in a wonderful ministry… and within a couple years that ministry was gone. The person writing themselves fell away from the Lord, only coming back to Jesus years later. The individual who had so rightly influenced them to saving faith had themselves fallen away. The person writing me basically asked if “the good old days” would ever return.

When I read from both Testaments I see only glimpses of truly good old (and amazingly good-to-come in eternity, thankfully!) days.

I’m now thinking of a guy who trashed his own life, marriage and family due to a horrible experience with a lord-it-over pastor, an abusive man who eventually destroyed that church -it is no longer there. The point is not that the pastor was righteous, in the end neither was one of his right-hand-men as he eventually chose some of the same track as the pastor he would not forgive had. Sin is what they both had in common.

With zero embellishment or exaggeration I could tell dozens of true stories of my own sins and those of Christians, leaders and non-“leaders” alike in every sort of fellowship, traditional or very modern or contemporary church and ministry, on and on and on.

I’ve often said that one thing all humans have in common is sin- only the specifics and ramifications may differ.

In terms of leaders, to whom much is given much shall be required -rightly so-. Some sin wreaks greater havoc and effects a greater number of people -all whom are “the apple of God’s eye.”

After best practices are discussed, agreed upon and established day in and day out by individuals, groups and etc., we still hear of accusations, true, partly true or false, but horrid and plenty true moral fails then are also discussed trying to make sense out of why and how things went so far off any rails of decency, mutual respect and outside of reverence for God.

The Bible itself is loaded with stories (whether allegorical, Jesus’s parables or historical commentary) of leaders and non-leaders sin, breaking of covenants, of trust and of anything close to a Christian standard of morality.

Within this reality right through history comes a simple but profound truth: in marriage, family, name-the-group, workplace or social connections whether or not someone claims to follow and apply the teachings of biblical morality -we sin. All of us.

The differences are often less or at least less horrifically damaging to others, but in the end any sort of counseling practice or human gathering (Christian or otherwise) to help others also includes and in fact draws broken, hurting and also sinful (like those providing the services) people. There is just no end or full-on fix for this though there are best practices and healthy boundaries.

As for myself and my views- one thing about moral fails is that I’m just never surprised- because I know my own propensity to seek MY way, MY desire/s fulfillment and am only as honest, truly in the practical accountable as I CHOOSE to be with others. I am only a self-centered choice away from any sin and so is everyone reading this.

Having said all this, the two decisions I believe all face as we live life -and now I mean re. those seeking to know, love, follow and apply Jesus’ teachings in all relationships and behavior are:

Will we seek God and trust the compass of He Himself as LIVING and PRESENT GOD in our life regardless of what He obviously allows re. sinful actions of others… or conversely will we live in such fear, and/or anger that we essentially shut people out (leaders or not), ourselves going beyond healthy boundaries, refusing to trust anyone -because how can we?

To clarify- how can I trust God when He allows horrific things to happen even among His people?!” –on the one hand- along with “How can I trust people regardless of how kind and real they seem because this may be an evil Jack the Ripper, an angel of light in disguise?!”.

Certainly after some bit of time a believer comes to wonder if they can either believe God AND/OR that their fellow humans are worthy of any real trust.

My deepest punchline to all this? It starts with me.

It begins with you dear reader. If you do not learn to genuinely trust in and surrender to God even though horrible things did, are or may happen in your life, and add to that if you rather full-on will not trust in other humans due to the possibility their sin may bring hurt and misery to you and those you love… I suggest that a foundational issue in this is you have not yet faced your own ability and propensity to sin.

I’m not blaming either you nor myself for other’s sinful choices, but until and unless you learn your sins nailed Jesus to the cross as much as theirs did, the turmoil itself will be (and yes, I believe in a devil and demons as did Jesus) nothing but a despairing pain in your life. Why?

Faith is both a gift of God and a fruit of the Holy Spirit. While we need to pay attention to danger and potentially dangerous people it seems clear from a full read of Scripture that constant doubting the Lord as well as judging/misjudging people around us is something other than faith, hope and love.

I’m not at all meaning individuals are not (nor will not be before God’s throne) accountable for their sins. Quite the opposite. What I am saying is the more your faith in God, His Word and taking careful, thoughtful risks in following Jesus are jettisoned the more you are living for yourself rather than for the Lord and others. Satan, demons and plenty of people on this planet would love to see you take such a path.

This is the very sort of thing that takes people fully out of Christian service, away from any local church or ministry, establishes ever more fear, anger and self-righteousness a hyper-critical posture and in the end, may -at times- be as if not even more destructive than the specific sin that prompted such a breach in spiritual faithfulness in the first place.

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” -James 1.13,14

There is little mystery involved folks. The particular “lust” may and does differ, but sexual, financial, to be “king/queen of the hill” among one’s peers (control-freak power trips), a hard and then harsh doctrinal/non-loving/non-Christlike attitude towards others, on it goes. We’re all guilty. There IS no other Savior but Jesus.

Meanwhile, we must and shall grieve over sin in and outside our Christian fellowships as right through history we repeatedly see moral failure of all sorts. It seems to me ALL sin is moral failure. That we will not admit and confess each of our own sins and deal with them appropriately (I mean in the broad sense of Scriptural directives on faith, repentance, accountability/confession and where needed restitution and when possible reconciliation), this is the core and sadly, deepest foundation in such fails.

God offers us daily grace! God help us choose Him, His Word, His ways and will above our own. When we do not there is still mercy IF we will take His Word and commands seriously and apply them. Beyond this, I find little more than despair and chains regardless of who you are.

As for just a few of the Scriptures that speak to this- some are extremely uplifting and others deeply sobering. So be it, God is God and the sooner we take our relationship to Him and others more seriously than our personal fulfillment, the better!

Matthew 18.7,15-35
1 John 1.5-2.6
Lamentations 3.21-26
Revelations 20.12
Galatians 6.7
Hebrews 4.13
2 Peter 3.18

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

20 Feb. 2020 Update

First, soooo glad to finally finish up a cold and coughing that went on for a bit over 2 weeks! Whew. Allelulia!

Many dates on the calendar as as always, we will post details and all a month or two ahead of time here, at GrrrRecords.Com/Shows as well as via my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

My new record (protest album, Americana/bluesy/rocky) is in process but not sure about when final work and mixing will bring us to release due to a studio space change needed. Just unsure on release schedule but we will post everywhere when ready.

Several fresh cigarbox guitar building ideas nearly to the table, and you’ll likely see me doing a couple electric uke blues tunes per show in this year along with normal guitar, cbg’s and harmonica work as usual.

Curious if any of you would care to see me do a Facebook Live solo show? Something I’ve thought about doing for some time now…

Super excited about a lot of jail and prison sets being booked, a number of opportunities waiting on me re. various calendar and other concerns, so it’s sweet to have the opps before us.

Had a great tour of headquarters/brick and mortar store w. friends at Sweetwater (Sweetwater.Com) yesterday, all sorts of elements that connect to what myself and many co-workers and friends do in music, ministry, business and w. core concerns for relationships and community linking friendships and services. Amazing campus and gear but their philanthropic focus is very, very cool! The founder/owner and staff were to a person, super gracious and transparent re. their culture and business approach. An inspiring day!

Chatting w. a friend who asked me about telling the extended story of how Rez (Resurrection) Band was formed. I told him it wouldn’t take a book but maybe a booklet. Maybe it’s time to write all that up, who knows? Deeply spiritual on one end and quite practical on the other really. We’ll see.

Well Wendi is making breakfast for supper (low-carb yahoo-ness!) so I better help get things set up.

Looking to be quite a rocking year and excited about all God is doing 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

$ + Power Wins!

This is the way the world has long done dirty, and on the most rare of occasions, perhaps some practical good.

Christ honoring? Not in any universe. So here it is:

Control outcomes by wielding money and political power (which are rather hand-in-hand) against your opponent/s for the “win”.

In banana republics or larger (say, Russia) you can also quickly understand oligarchs and often the military are part of der leader’s arsenal. Fire people who don’t kiss up to you and your position on any matter of interest.

But in general, use the stick far more than the carrot to bowl over enemies to you and your position. The hammer is loot, political cronies who know full well you can dump them or fully pardon them at your pleasure… so how do we even begin to refer to such conduct as “democratic”, “constitutional” or anything but a dictatorship propped up by… money, political clout (it’s your job on the line Congressional bubba. Tow the line “or else”) and do we actually believe such is a Christ-like model of how to treat people with whom we disagree?

In places where the military willingly do the bidding of such people in power we have quite the muck soup, hmmmm?

Just cut the deal with a hammer in hand and watch power triumph over love in the real world.

No. “Overcome evil with good.”

Threats, force via money, political power, firing and the demand for loyalty above honesty and a 360 rule of law are somehow good for society? Koolaide by the gallon, that.

Things to consider for the journey.

As always, thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

MAR., APRIL 2020 GK Appearances

And a note on upcoming GK Solo tour: England…

So the calendar is moving along. Today I’ll just give an overview of appearances, but as usual, I mostly publish details a month or two in advance re. bookings for myself solo, sometimes w. Wendi and sometimes GKB shows.

Note also, I won’t always list every jail or prison set as the truth is there are many -and you really don’t want to be there.

Making progress on the next record, slowly also on the book. More info. on these when available.

MARCH 2020
SUN 8th Great Lakes Naval Training Center, IL
SAT 14th private house show
FRI 20th Nitelight Arts Center Berwyn, IL w. Todd Anthony Joos and The Revelators
SAT 21st Josiah’s Place Beloit, WI w. Todd Anthony Joos and The Revelators
TUE 31st Joliet (IL) Treatment Center (prison) w. Todd Anthony Joos and The Revelators

APRIL 2020
SAT 4th Lincoln (IL) Correctional Center w. Todd Anthony Joos and The Revelators
TEN. Weekend of the 18th Detroit, MI area

A heads-up if you’re in the UK- I’ll be doing a *solo* blues/plus tour with stops in Northampton, Coventry and Stoke on FRI, SAT, SUN June 5, 6 and 7.

Pic by Tony Taylor, Ascendent Instruments, Potomac, IL (named this one “Midnight”) !

Again, I’ll post all details on all these shows soon.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Today’s Thanks

-it’s personal-

“Thank You for a warm, quiet office, Linux Peppermint operating system. For a cough that at least isn’t non-stop. A good brunch w. my lovely wife and family. Laundry today though a day late. That I can see, hear, walk, am not in constant pain. For these record and book projects, websites and so very many kind friends. Thank You for grace with trolls and for the ability to not respond in kind. For spiritual gifts and fruit. For dear friends with accountability involved. Thank You for hot showers, the gift of sleep. Thank you for the gift of being awake. For the deliverance from paranoia, basic fear, the Spirit of power, love and self control. For dreams fulfilled beyond my imagination. For grace to flow, change, adapt, love regardless of agreement. Most of all for YOU Father, Son, Spirit! I have no doubt You are the source of all good and certainly all good in my life.”

To those listening in, as always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Emotional Intelligence?

Yep. One of the many stressors of relationships everywhere, be it marriage, family, neighborhood, workplace, church or rock band, sometimes our ability to navigate both others’ and our own emotions will make or break… well… anything and sometimes everything.

If you read or hear me over the years you’ll know it’s about as rare as “hen’s teeth” to cite business information/how-to stuff as though it were some sort of perfect overlay for a Christian’s approach to life, church or ministry. This is one extremely rare exception, and I’ll explain why in a bit though I think it’s fairly obvious re. the truths unfolded within the article.

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/7-reasons-why-emotional-intelligence-is-one-of-the-fastest-growing-job-skills?utm_source=pocket-newtab

In Bible plain-speak, the fruit which the Holy Spirit grows in the life of a follower of Jesus is, should be, can be, will be if we’ll cooperate with Him and seek Him in such, things like self-control, patience, kindness and gentleness. Sounds like what we might need to engage regularly with anyone doesn’t it? How much more are these attitudes/attributes/virtues of God Himself essentials in living, working alongside “difficult” people? And in humility, sometimes -we- are difficult people folks, humility and integrity calls us to admit that also.

Being the extrovert I am, listening is an on-going work of art I’m engaged in. The article’s accent on listening is core- and I would say one of the most amazing gifts God gives us. Consider His un-changing effort and lovingkindness via His listening to us, 24 x 7 x 365?!

In many Christian circles these days there is regular teaching on “spiritual listening”. I concur and have personally benefitted from various input as well as exercises in actually listening at a deeper level than I had in years past. Practice!

Love, peace, patience, kindness, (see Galatians chapter 5 for the full list) are all needed in solid relationships and flourishing engagement whether in family, work, socially or mission. To simply defend yourself by blowing all this off as mere emotionalism or pandering to folk’s feelings may well mean your feelings about it are ruling you. Hmmm? Ouch?

Perhaps worth considering along the path.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

 

A Fresh List For My Heart

“5 …applying all diligence, in your FAITH supply MORAL EXCELLENCE, and in your moral excellence, KNOWLEDGE, 6 and in your knowledge, SELF-CONTROL, and in your self-control, PERSEVERANCE, and in your perseverance, GODLINESS, 7 and in your godliness, BROTHERLY KINDNESS, and in your brotherly kindness, LOVE. 8 for if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 1.5-8]

Solid counsel from Peter, an apostle who had learned a few things (!) in his life in the literal presence of Jesus. Consider him after his blunders in those days and much later during Jesus’ clear call -and calling him out- on the beach after Jesus had been raised from the dead.

More lessons still considering his later blunders re. Paul’s rebuke pertaining to Jewish-Gentile believer’s issues.

Finally consider what tradition tells us was Peter’s own martyrdom due to his deep love for Jesus and the people of God.

The wise apostle accents these eight essential areas which a true disciple of Jesus must cultivate continually throughout one’s life in order to be truly fruitful regarding a “TRUE [my emphasis] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

FAITH

MORAL EXCELLENCE

KNOWLEDGE

SELF-CONTROL

PERSEVERANCE

GODLINESS

BROTHERLY KINDNESS

LOVE

Note the English “effort” or “diligence” shows up here and elsewhere in the wider text.

The Greek re. that term means: “speed, haste, diligence, earnestness, enthusiasm”

So are we really going for it, getting after these virtues in our daily walk with God?

Are these eight what I, you, your closest friends, our heroes, people we respect most are making effort to grow in?

God help me and us!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

A Tragedy Regarding The Holy Spirit

Mystery, in fact mysteries exist aplenty for those who claim to follow Jesus. But in my time serious Bible knowledge of God the Holy Spirit may be more lacking than even the subject of angels which one rarely hears mentioned among Christ followers.

It is tragic that due to lack of concern, time given to study, faith in so many (at times good and beneficial) things including various teachings via books, podcasts, blogs and seminars all “float our boat” and bring excitement when rank ignorance of the Holy Spirit is so typical among us.

Frankly, mean, controlling, self-proclaimed “kings”, “queens” and political, positioning, gains-minded professing Christians who “claim” to hear from Him are in my view, largely suspect for part of why ignorance, distrust and even fear of being around the subject exists. What we (rightly or wrongly) consider “just WEIRD” if not false doctrine keeps us often in a rather dull mindset- as in, He does “automatic” stuff, or at least sits far in the background of our conscious concern for life, spiritual growth, even ministry. Just Who gives spiritual gifts to serve? Who produces the character of Jesus in us? Perhaps we’re so intelligent we have no real need of Him?

“Enlightened and educated” people are not only needed, they are at times certainly as ignorant and un-lightened (yes, I left the “e” off on purpose) about Who He IS and what He DOES and seeks to DO in and through the Christian individually and churches/CHURCH corporately that it’s truly a tragic shame.

Right at the opening I confess to be pentecostal or you might say charismatic in my personal theology, doctrine and worship- but what I’m going to say here is not about such an “experience” nor series of them. This post is not about specific gifts nor even fruit of the Spirit but more nuts-and-bolts, issues that many seem to forget, pass over or glibly accept like “Sure, His Spirit works in us and unseen [and as I mentioned a moment ago] near-automatically does His work in us, full stop, thanks, see ya.” Not so fast.

When is the last time you heard a message on Acts 5.32? In fact add verse 33 and then let’s talk.

Acts 5.32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
33 But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them.

The power of the Apostles’ witness of the risen Jesus absolutely hinged on the Holy Spirit working through them with boldness and passion knowing full well it may cost them their very lives -and it did for many martyrs of the Church through the ages.

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom” indeed, but there is also persecution, rejection and chaos. People get flat-out angry when prophets speak in His power. He’s the Spirit of Truth according to Jesus! I am getting ahead of myself here, please read on.

“WHO OBEY HIM.” Sounds like legalism, like salvation by our “good works”? Not even close. The vast majority of Bible scholars and preachers agree we cannot BE Christ followers, receive saving faith, daily grace to believe and live out a genuine walk with God, with our Lord Jesus except BY the Holy Spirit. That much is rather clear. And yet…

A blog post about the Trinity (Triune God) cannot possibly cover either Father, Son or Spirit with any sufficiency, but here, in extreme brief fashion I accent at least some Bible (and related church) truths as to how absolutely ESSENTIAL the Holy Spirit is -as well as is our cooperation with Him.

Many of you may know I’m an ordained pastor in The Ev. Covenant Church. We have a list of Affirmations. In particular you might benefit from reading through the full version of one of those, “A Conscious Dependence on the Holy Spirit” -a free pdf download that includes it is here: https://covchurch.org/who-we-are/beliefs/affirmations/

Paul states “16. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness 17. so that the man or woman of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy chapter 3

Without directly quoting large bits of John’s Gospel, chapters 14, 15, 16, nor Apostle Paul’s Galatians 5, 1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14, Romans 12 neither Luke’s writings from the Book of Acts (all, but especially chapters 2, 4, 5) and other texts in both Testaments, consider the following.

According to John (chapter 14) Jesus teaches:

The Holy Spirit will advocate for us

The world cannot receive Him

We will know Him, He will be in us

We need the Spirit in order to obey God’s commands

We need the Spirit to guide us into all truth that is truly true

He will remind us what Jesus taught, commanded

(chapter 15):

He will testify about Jesus (to and via God’s people, see Acts 2, etc.)

(chapter 16):

Jesus refers to Him as He and Him, a Person, not mere theory, force or concept

Jesus sent Him

He will convict (Greek = to confute, admonish:—convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove) the world about true sin, righteous, judgment

Here I must quote more fully, then will finish with two more statements from Paul.

John chap. 16 “13. However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. 14. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you. 15. Everything that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said that the Spirit will take from what is Mine and disclose it to you.” -Jesus

Paul writes- “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4.30 -“Grieve” Greek = to distress; reflexively or passively, to be sad:—cause grief, grieve, be in heaviness, (be) sorrow(-ful), be (make) sorry

“Do not quench the Spirit” 1 Thessalonians 5.19 –“Quench” Greek = to extinguish (literally or figuratively):—go out, quench

God moved and moves FIRST, always! We respond to Him in faith, hope, love and obedience or we do not. He IS “Authority” in all things, but He clearly has given us the ability to disregard, deny, grieve and quench our relationship to Him, the reception of His calling/s, gifts and even fruit of the Spirit (the very nature, character of God) to be grown in our life.

THAT dear ones, is a tragedy we can only prevent by loving surrender in seeking, interacting and following Jesus Christ by the power and with the help of “The Helper”- the Spirit of our heavenly Father.

God is sovereign, the church is not. But how deeply tragic if we will not in love and relationship to Him, obey Him.

We need sound doctrine, teaching, information, wisdom on Who He is and what He does, often via us. We also need relationship which is something other than mere information. It is a tragedy when we have one without the other. It is worse if the practical fact is we have neither.

You who profess to follow Jesus, I encourage you to thoroughly, carefully meditate on the many passages of Scripture that speak about the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. The gifts He gives for service and the fruit He produces in us -the character traits of our Father and our Lord Jesus are in great demand as there is deep need for all both within and beyond the churches. The world may not know it, but that’s another tragedy the love and power of the Holy Spirit can fix.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn