So, my -personal- vid clip channel where my simple phone-done stuff is loaded up for those who wish to subscribe to see all of ’em.
As per my recent post, 7 (not 6) clips entitled “Musician’s Growth Tools” dealing w. 7 diff. elements of playing, recording and spirituality in each clip, from appx. 6 to 12 mins. per episode.
Best way to find ’em due to a zillion other Glenn Kaiser related YT sites is to do a YouTube search for gkaisersoze and at this time (April 30, 2020) you’ll find my -personal channel- by using the search filter “this week”. Cyberhugs -now go wash yer hands 🙂
In our family during our recent Easter Sunday morning celebration both gathered and online, Wendi read verse 2 (linked below and in context, twice). I had not read nor heard these verses for some time and it reminded me of the power of God, the seriousness of sin which separates us from Him and the deep love and grace of Jesus through Whom He calls us home. In two excellent English translations, have a close look.
This is only one of many, many Messianic prophecies that Jesus Christ fulfilled not only for Israel but I am convinced with you and I in mind.
We are all in flux – and all created in God’s image and rebels at heart. Israel was and is, you and I are likewise.
The remedy for the virus mentioned in these texts is faith, repentance, trust in the love of God and indeed, loving and obedient surrender to a heavenly Father Who knows far beyond us what we need most.
Consider Father/Son/Spirit. Look at nature, many forms of animals, fish, forests. Mountains, valleys, plains. God is indeed a God of variety.
People often pigeon-hole themselves in a place and position of comfort and reject The Comforter for the sake of inner peace. Then a pandemic or other tremor shakes such and… then what?whichA kind friend sent out a devotional message to our fellowship this morning from Henri Nouwen. “Openness to God” begins “To pray means to open your hands before God. It means slowly relaxing the tension that squeezes your hands together and accepting your existence with an increasing readiness, not as a possession to defend, but as a gift to receive.”
He continues to discuss the hope that comes from God, and I’d add “which comes from God alone”.
To state it clearly, salvation, eternal life, grace are gifts that do not come at core from a variety of sources. According to Jesus Christ in the Gospels they come from the Father through the Son by the Spirit, full stop. Study those texts and you’ll find Jesus’s truth-claims are rather exclusive. According to Him and the rest of the New Testament writers (including Luke- Acts 4.12) “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among humankind by which we must be saved.”
Yet in the wide world- vast, ocean and continent-sized spaces -and lives- there are nearly inexhaustible varietieS that either delight or upset us – sometimes both!
What are you holding on to so tightly that you’re not open to God? Some love the sun, some the rain. Jesus says each shine and then fall on the righteous and unrighteous, the just and the unjust. If He is source of both?? Variety.
I fully admit praying in times of stress (lots of ’em) “Count it all JOY??!” and immediately asking forgiveness for my attitude of defiance, rejection and basic anger at what I was having to deal with in the moment. Pretty clear to me and you neither I nor you are God, no?!
Frustration when we planed a picnic and the weather changed, “Ruined EVERYTHING!” is not abnormal but rather common in the human experience. Of course everything was NOT ruined, the circumstances had changed and we didn’t like how they affected us and perhaps our family.
Hmmm, getting close to home now? How open are we to accept with God’s help (Helper)… and pray for His will to be done. Uhhh, well here you go:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen -Reinhold Niebuhr
Note I’ve just here cited the whole prayer, not just the oft-quoted first piece of it.
We may love or hate variety, but it’s everywhere and indeed even amongst professing Christians, in the churches, even in the loose fellowship of people who do and will disagree on any number of things including the weather. I LOVE the rain. I also enjoy warm sunshine.
These days it’s ever more popular to drop-kick apostle Paul in his New Testament letters and elsewhere. Here’s a statement of his on variety that has helped change my life for the -far- better:
“…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Philippians 4.11b
That key word “content” in biblical Greek? “Sufficient for one’s self, strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support, independent of external circumstances, contented with one’s lot, with one’s means, though the slenderest.”
Make no mistake, this same Paul did not mean he was his own God, for he also wrote “oursufficiencyisofGod“! (2 Corinthians 3.5)
May God grant us the patience, wisdom and grace to roll with the variety God gives as well as allows. “In all things, by prayer…”
Ok, so it just seemed time to change up my blog/website look. But for musicians (and non) I woke up early today with the following in my head.
Perhaps 3 or 4 online places containing (free for you) a *series* from me in written, video and audio formats (no more than 10 minutes each in v. or a. form) beginning with 6 things super helpful for all musos yet also offer killer analogies for musicians to better grasp spiritual growth.
GK’s “MUSICIAN’S GROWTH TOOLS”
–Recording to Learn
I’ll publicize launch-time w. site links when ready!
Let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t really want unity, we want our way or that of the group we are comfortably part of. Until we disagree and often, part!
The Bible speaks of unity a great deal but it likewise speaks of disagreements -some of those on what the given pundit contends is “solid ground”. Then again, how solid is your/our/my personal (then, shared with others in our group) faith in the particular person, group, or viewpoint? Whether spiritual, generally theological, doctrinal or methodological there are varied and sometimes extremely varied viewpoints.
In both world and church history the separations have been rather common and at times, bloody and horrific. Even after the terror and misery recede there are all sorts of justifications as to why people aligned or even stayed with what may have been a position, leaders or gathered people who produced far more harm and hurt than love and good on earth.
Another q. -Are we seeking and promoting genuine unity or merely tribalism? When loyalty butts up against integrity which do we choose?
Some of course call for unity overlooking mistakes or outright sin-laden attitudes and positions with their chosen segment of society -or in themselves… which brings me to the next term.
For most of my life I’ve been friends, often very close friends with folks who had been burned on any number of levels (true, imagined or both) by institution X, Y and/or Z where they had at one time planted themselves.
Repeatedly I’ve questioned whether or not it is “the institution” itself or what I’ll call that first and most instinctive and prone-to-sin-and-false-judgment “institution”: the kingdom of self. BOTH are or should be suspect over years of experience but oh how we seem to have great faith in our individual self assessment while disdaining faith in a gathered group- “the evil empire of the institution”.
No group of people exists without individuals gathering together in time and space. The Institution is after all, a group of human beings. People.
The first and often most avoided solution to institutional sin, systemic injustice and for that matter, our desire -if we actually do desire peace and unity- is personal inventory, personal repentance, personal choice to love, respect and consider “the others” view and experience- but this does not mean any two or more gathered will agree on any particular matter!
What the Lord literally commands is that we love one another, forgive one another, serve one another, and of course repentance is not just a requirement of the other person or group, it’s on me as an individual as well.
In some cases the only things Christians agree on is the Person of Jesus and even in that there are varied ideas and accents.
Long ago I came to a core desire for realism, best (flawed, imperfect as I am!) as I can study, listen, discern it. Party affiliation on any level is and can reasonably be suspect- but first we must begin with… uhhh… ummm… the party of self.
Jesus Christ alone is First and Last, the Beginning and Ending, the Alpha and Omega. Would people sense that if looking deeply at your life, my life, the life of institution X, Y, Z? Maybe I ask too many questions?
The breaking of swords into plowshares starts with you and I dear reader.
Can you “weep with those who weep” and “rejoice with those who rejoice”? You can. Will you work at learning and doing these?
If you are prone to emotional extremes, perhaps in these isolation times confronting the boogie-men of mental mirrors, loops, difficulty in reaching beyond yourself, aside from professional care and kind friendships which are not always so easy to navigate -there is hope. And yes, medication and professional help are often the answer. Ok, please read on as I’m taking you on a winding-road journey today.
I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about what I have long found is in my view, THE therapy on all levels spiritual -and- practical but here are some simple foundations for it.
Fruitfulness. Yes. Not just mine, YOUR fruitfulness.
God grows fruit. Oh we can say atoms, nature, sun, rain, good soil, pollination and so forth and that’d be correct. But as Jesus says in John 15 to His followers “I am the true vine, you are the branches.” Read the rest of that chapter for details.
From the sheer numbers of views of the recent online concert to a door opening in Nova Scotia (I LOVE Canada) prior to the horrific shootings yesterday, then an invitation to share via Zoom in discipleship courses and now to hear from chaplains that I can begin sending videos of shows specifically for prison inmates and that they have both permission and means to project them… whew. I am SO grateful.
This morning as I fetched coffee for Wendi and myself this, among the many cups in our communal living coffee place leapt out at me-
Now, unless one faces one’s own lean toward addiction, “the kingdom of self”, the creativity of caring, serving others, reaching out and knocking on doors while being willing to hear “NO, don’t want ya or what you’re offering!” can really hurt. Does hurt. Felt it plenty in my lifetime. But get this: my/your motive and core sense of God’s call to do X, Y or Z are the recurring issues.
This is NOT to say everything is handed to us and we don’t need to do all the hard work (and that’s the term) of choosing the field, removing rocks and tree roots, getting a plow, tilling the ground, planting good and productive/lasting seed, praying for rain and sunlight, tending the weeds and pulling ’em, and doing the labor of harvest. But there are times we’re sowing in the wrong field. Heck, there are times our timing is just off because we aren’t doing the often hard, or for some maybe “boring” or even “frightening” work of healthy self-CARE, and that is not best done fully in silence or alone though we indeed need these also!
All this is best done in balance of isolation yet also community.
I do appx. 6 devotionals per day, several in my email inbox (wide, varied sources) and not every day but often this one by Paul F. Keller. Wow.
Now, as has often been rightly said, it really ISNT about you or me. Really. This doesn’t mean you don’t matter or that you or what you offer are not of value!!! The work of finding the field, discovering your true, actual, God-given spiritual gifts (The Bible lays them out) and –with others– seeking, finding, in starts, stops, stalls, what may seem a looooong bit of time and emotional ups and downs (remember IF you bring your own mood swings to the table it’s not always about those people who don’t seem to like what you offer…) IF IF IF IF IF (ACCENTING ENOUGH HERE?:) your deepest, truest motive links with God’s calling you will find a way, your place to serve.
It may not feel or look like your personal choice of method.
I have not each and every day enjoyed doing dishes, cleaning grease traps, running errands, garbage and recyclables and there have been a zillion times when as part of leadership I was tagged (trust me, I rarely volunteered!) to interact with some pretty nasty, ornery and mean folks who I knew were 98% going to be disgusted at what I had to tell them. You’d be crazy to CHOOSE your own cross. But Jesus knows precisely which crosses HE calls you to carry.
So today I wake up with all this blessing, all of these doors wide open, for me major and massive doors. Fruitful service. Some I’d choose, some I never would. Ok- three verses that come to mind in all this:
“…and when a doorwasopened for me in the Lord…” (2 Cor. 2.12)
“Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.” (Ps. 32.9)
“When he opens no one will shut, When he shuts no one will open.” (Isa. 22.22)
If we will seek Him, His Word, pray, reach out to others for our own needed help, and bring what we have to offer for the sake of others there will be those times we walk away with the greatest sense of His care for us in the process.
I’ve experienced this with regularity in my own life, and I cannot say cross-bearing is a joy ride but it’s part of the way of Jesus, part of His calling to all who profess to love and know Him. Seeking how to best love and serve one’s neighbor is interestingly enough, a major part of the solution of how to love yourself -and both are part of His second “greatest commandment” to us all.
You are loved. The embrace of the Lord doesn’t always feel like an embrace, but it’s as real as the sun and the rain -both are essential for growth.