Lo-Fi Christmas Blues and Traditional Tunes

Yeah well sometimes I can’t be stopped from havin’ a bit of fun.

My trusty acoustic-only (no pickup) 3 string license plate slide guitar was sittin’ in my lap, had the little bottle for a slide and credit-card pic in hand for the fresh blues song and the top of a plain metal spoon handle as a slide for the traditional number. My trusty old Samsung Galaxy 4 (yes, a big FOUR) was gaping at me! So these two songs will be added to this year’s annual Cigar Box Guitar Nation Christmas project album.

GlassSlideSpoonSlideCCpick

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR and an instrumental version of SILENT NIGHT are the tunes I recorded, so:

When all the submissions are in and the album’s complete you’ll find it as a free download via my friends at http://www.cigarboxnation.com Scroll down to the Christmas 2018 link: https://cigarboxnation.com/page/free-albums

GKlpGit

 

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR -glenn kaiser

Hey baby – it’s that time of year (2x)
Santa hats are out and the trees go up with a cheer

Snow and cold – but the hearts get warm (2x)
The reason for the season is the love that calms the storm

Little baby came – the whole world shook
The world’s still shakin’ when I take another look
Jesus came an’ went but He’s comin’ again
The wise still seek Him – He’s my very best Friend

Hey baby – it’s that time of year
The Gift of love is the gift that makes Christmas dear

Hope your holidays are filled with His love!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

 

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Greasetrap Churches

Any local church worth gathering -if they are healthy -are going to attract hurting, messed-up, fragile and vulnerable as well as mean-spirited, ornery people. Why?

Where else for sinners to be accepted with all the grease they’ve both collected and manufactured in this broken, sinful world? Unless we don’t allow them in at all.

I’ve said it plenty and will never stop saying God is endless in His wisdom and if you don’t have a fair number of hurting and therefore at times hurtful people in your local flock He apparently doesn’t trust you enough to serve them -in which case you are likely more a social club who appreciates anything from the style of music, the form of speaking, a few friends who show up on Sunday or the lack of agitation to grow up spiritually, or other such matters of FAR LESS importance than cooperating with the Holy Spirit in building HIS kingdom. Note, His kingdom, not some church-stream or local fellowship’s kingdom!

Ok, so what about that foul “grease trap” metaphor?!

See, one of my jobs on 2nd floor in our Christian community is routinely cleaning out the grease trap. The truth is, I don’t mind it much, but it does take a good 45 minutes or more to do it thoroughly. Because there are seven floors above us there are at times drain issues just past our outlet pipe that also can affect back-ups. Of sludge. I have a “snake” and “shop vac” and etc..

We all bring and carry and at times create sludge, spiritual, emotional and behavioral.

This is one overview as to why marriages fail, worship teams break up, the pastor runs off committing adultery with the keyboard player and so on. But of course all of this stuff also happens in other relationships outside the church. Plenty of workplaces, just about any profession is not immune to grease backups and lack of people willing to stick it out and work at un-sticking and getting the gunk out of the system.

It’s easier to split, to break the relationship, to disengage, to build your own little castle on a proverbial “island” where you let nobody… or only one or two people in.

Play your cards very “close to your vest” and keep a “healthy” distance. It’s “better that way”.

It can be. Boundaries are important and even excellent… but sometimes what you’re doing is simply adding more grease to your own trap and there’s a point at which if it doesn’t get attended to and flushed out you are going to have an overflow. It does indeed stink when that happens. We ALL need someone to help us de-grease our own individual traps in which we’re sometimes trapped.

Hence, churches are very much a resource. People such as pastors, mentors, discipleship leaders, small/cell group leaders, 12 Step sponsors and solid counsellors, spiritual directors are the sort of people who really can help you unclog.

No perfect people, so no perfect church or flawless people serving as per the list I just mentioned here, but often it indeed takes such to get our plumbing put right and flowing.

The sad reality is denial. Some have been hurt so much they just will not risk being hurt again. It’s always your choice of course.

Walking across the street is a risk. So is living alone, aloof and walled off from people whom God Himself has raised up to help us get the gunk out.

Why does all this come to mind?

I’ve begun noticing a certain odor from the sink…

Ahhh the life of a pastor is such a thrill 🙂

PostScript- so tonight I cleaned it. Wow… hose pulled out of the shop vac and slop went into 3 puddles all around the kitchen. It was a character building time indeed. But it’s clean and the drains are working again!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

PEACE- 2nd Sunday in Advent 2018

For those who truly follow and seek to love and obey (yes, “obey”) Jesus, just like He came, peace comes. Yes it does, but in His time and as the Lord so chooses.

He said “In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer- I have overcome the world.” We want to get there now don’t we? We want any sense of trial and suffering ENDED… pronto! Me too, trust me.

But in the end comes The. End. A lot of folks aren’t ready for that just yet and in His mercy, God calls us to Himself.

Advent is among other things, a time to sense His call to you and me and it’s a call to HIS peace. It’s not some sort of deal we can make -but on His terms.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” -Jesus in John 14.27

Does this sound like a mean, corrosive God Who cannot wait to crush you like a bug?!! Not at all.

The Prince of Peace is not only “The Door” (see John 10.7 for details) but (in John 6.37) He will never turn anyone away who comes to Him.

May you seek, find and trust in Him this Christmas and beyond!

As always, thanks for stopping by:) -Glenn

U.S. Lifespan Decreases- Article and My Thoughts

Several of you asked me specific questions and made comments re. the article I re-posted in Facebook (**see below).

I rarely take time to respond *in Facebook* to the following extent but think it good this time as I think you each raise important questions regarding it’s truthfulness/details/agenda. First a preface-

Most all of us, Christ-followers in particular -agree personal choice and responsibility for one’s actions cannot simply be wished, preached, politically agenda-ed out the window whether it comes to commitments to family, neighborhood, county, state, nation or world. Got that. Agreed?

Hope vs. hopelessness is core. My hope is in Jesus and the Good News, it’s an eternal hope that I never knew prior to following Him. My hope is not in a political position as such, and yet the reality is that all such reports as the one I cite are not merely propaganda nor a matter of who to blame for what is killing us. I was addicted in my youth, I attempted suicide, both core issues mentioned.

According to the Gospel, the devil quoted the scripture when tempting Jesus in the wilderness. He was speaking truth, but misquoting it seeking to use it for his own ends. The Scripture is no less truth REGARDLESS. The same goes for truth that is indeed truthful regardless of who’s communicating it.

If you are hardwired in belief that those of liberal bent bring zero truth to articles/conversations quit reading now because I’ve lived out what many would likely judge a “liberal agenda” for most of my life just as others would likely judge zero truth can come from Fox News addicts. I disagree with both extremes but there it is.

Thankfully, so far, there have only been a couple of those simplistic rants in response to this article, but in the end I believe fully that it’s less of an emotional/liberal pitch to sway minds and votes than simple reality that we either agree with or discount as propaganda due to several of the sources cited- universities (all liberal and brain-washed sheepies) and a liberal writer who cites liberal news sources all of which are often tossed as fake news with an agenda as if we’ve not seen anything like that from the conservative press?! Please.

The article itself indeed mentioned 7 and even 10 points by which people in the U.S. are dying earlier than any time in the past 100 years with the exception of WW1/Great Influenza epidemic. Note, the key source in it is the Center for Disease Control. If you don’t trust that group (i.e., they’re the liberal/”intelligentsia” elite and cannot be trusted?) nothing much else matters re. the article or its key points.

Your travels and interactions both rural and urban may be quite different from my own, but I’ve lived in, loved and love people in both. I regularly hear the same core issues of addiction and suicide raised over and over regardless of whether rural or urban. A growing portion of these deaths (quite at the core of another of the article’s points) are among young folks.

This is not a right or left political fantasy, it’s a reality. But again, trust is core.

If you think I or whomever, simply “drinks the koolaid” and not worthy of trust because someone thinks differently or lives in “the other” side of the country, state, county or rural vs. urban sort of thing, don’t bother reading what I write because I think in terms of both/and re. all of this.

I own firearms, hunt, shoot and support the military. I do not support the NRA, nor every single deployment of our military. I DO support the people who serve in our military and law enforcement but I do NOT agree with every decision nor action they take anymore than any reading this fully support EVERY decision and action each and every pastor or local church makes -understood? Nor do I fully agree with every position ANY administration be it federal, state, county or local that affects the American farmer. Most of you are more like me than you may think you are.

There is plenty of “koolaid” in both “camps” and I’d even say the rural vs. urban camp is more entrenched than the liberal-conservative camp, and have thought so for many, many years.

Some of us (absolutely myself) take issue with conspiracy theories because often either side of the aisle plays games using them to stir up votes. Why? Sway the mind, sway the vote and eventually swaying the pocketbook garners power and position.

I do not believe every and all corporations and directors, boards and stockholders are equally robber-barons and fully corrupt using politicians and clout to make ever more money regardless of the fallout to their workers and the nation… but I believe and have always believed this has been and is a common pattern as to why healthcare is not affordable to a huge swath of our nation. I further believe the same regarding most industries as well as the justice system and laws that affect their bottom line. I cannot but think so re. broad reading of history and personal experience.

In essence, I’ve said it just about forever: money equals power equals pols who do your/our/their bidding and often the team we support is corrupt. Knowledge of history and indeed, Scripture states as much! Self-interest itself corrupts or of course has a large part in such.

It truly does (like salvation) come down to who we trust. If we do not trust an article due to its sources, “Out the window!!!”, right? Don’t give an inch to what may actually be truth within it?

To believe nobody on “the other side” ever speaks actual truth, or conversely, speaks it to use for their own self-interest is simply ignorant. Note “rant” is the second half of that term.

As one who does chaplains work in jails and prisons, who reads and deeply appreciates the Koch brothers efforts via Prison Fellowship (anyone for Chuck Colson?) -and in some senses may be more about saving money and the national debt than love and compassion or actually dealing with an often compromised justice system- I find myself reading a ton of findings from both political sides. Meanwhile rural drug-related deaths are easily as high as in urban areas, ditto suicides. Go figure. Really, go figure.

I find the big box agriculture corporations and massively wealthy insurance companies (health care anyone?) in part, are part of the reason the American farmer is going the way of the dodo. Also why people snatch illicit drugs to help ease the pain because they cannot afford otherwise. This is not the spiritual but rather practical reality of many addicts in urban, suburban and rural areas.

I also find money is the root of all evil and the more money (to whom much is given much shall be required) the more political clout, therefore the laws are dumped, tweaked or written with the idea of “those with the most money get the most votes/perks/personal desires” fulfilled.

The article simply states a slew of facts we may discount, but meanwhile my continual question to you is what I ask myself nearly every day: what are YOU DOING for your neighbor re. these issues besides voting or on occasion, ranting.

Trust is the issue, always has been. I don’t fully trust either “side” because the corruption of individual hearts is all too easy to see throughout history including the history of the United States.

Finally, we all pay taxes for things (several, and a large chunk per) we fully disagree with.

The fellowship I serve with in inner-city Chicago (a mission field many of you are not called to, understood) has taxed and non-taxed entities. We indeed pay greater tax on gas and for it also have 6 free or nearly free city colleges, county health care and etc., much of which rural Illinois does not have access to.

I truly understand (remember, friends all over the place both rural and urban) ACA meant many areas took a serious hit re. insurance premiums (Big biz and money anyone? Want LESS regulation anyone? Do I sound like Bernie yet? To be blunt: I don’t care) and there you have it.

Scapegoats abound, but the poor do not write the laws.

If the Dems “use the poor to stay in office” so does the GOP “use the rich corporations” to do the same. I see a game all around the park. I do not believe they’re all liars nor all fully corrupt all the time. Likely, neither do you.

Meanwhile the increasing death rates and largely among a segment of people in their 20s and 30s are due to what? Overdoses and suicides? And a larger increase of such in rural areas? Fact is that depression due to whatever and having a firearm and ammo close by naturally and in the practical does offer a quick and immediate way to finish things. There is a ton of solid research re. rural homicides and suicides directly related to drug abuse and depression in rural America. Come on, this reality.

Yes, “slippery slope”, I get it. I’m 65 and have thought as I do in this bit of writing most of my life.

IF in my studies and travel, conversations with people all over the nation brought me to think otherwise I’d not be shy in saying so when I thought it would benefit people.

Last core issue: if and as we focus on these things only as they relate to ourselves directly we miss the very commands of Jesus to love our neighbor and (whew) love our enemies. How are we- you and I- DOING in that regard?

See, being a moderate who leans very left on some issues and fairly right on some issues makes me a pain to all and of course “neither fish nor foul”. A false balance is still “an abomination to the Lord”. Balance, sense, proportion and quitting the blame game one side toward the other is always easy… or is it?

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Fair warning- if you choose to comment in my Facebook and it seems to me a rather troll/emotional/knee-jerk bit, your post will be gone in short order. Rant elsewhere:)

**The Article and Facebook post re. This Post: https://tinyurl.com/ycsttmle

-Glenn

HOPE- 1st Sunday in Advent 2018

Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. These are the typical four focus points of Advent, the coming of Jesus Christ the Messiah, the Incarnation of God into our world, fully God, fully human appearing as a newborn, vulnerable child. His Name? “Emmanuel” which means “God with us”.

So each of the four Sundays in Advent we consider those four issues.

As I discovered so many years ago, hope came the moment I began to come alive spiritually, when faith sparked as the Lord made Himself so very real to me -hope began to flow up in my heart like a spring bursting out of dry ground.

When I consider hope I often recall sick and addicted days when what I believe to be a quite accurate scriptural text from Paul writing to the church at Ephesus produced a full-on snapshot of my life:

“…remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2.12) I do remember… all too well. What I also remember, experience now and have for most of my lifetime is that hope only came as I began to trust and obey the Risen Christ.

Peter wrote something I meditate on as well (the caps. are my accented points to ponder).

1 Peter chapter 1.

v3 PRAISE be to the God and Father

of our LORD Jesus Christ!
 
In his GREAT mercy
 
he HAS GIVEN us
 
NEW birth
 
into a LIVING HOPE
 
through THE RESURRECTION
 
of Jesus Christ from the dead,
 
v4 and into an INHERITANCE
 
that can NEVER PERISH,
 
SPOIL
 
OR FADE.
 
This INHERITANCE
 
is KEPT
 
in heaven
 
for YOU,
 
v5 who THROUGH FAITH
 
are SHIELDED
 
by GOD’S power
 
UNTIL the coming of the SALVATION
 
that is READY to be revealed
 
IN the last TIME.

 

May you trust and follow Jesus this Christmas and forever!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Early December Update

20181126_104736Wendi goes in tomorrow (Tues. Nov. 27) early for knee replacement, myself her main nurse the next couple of months (pray for us both plz!) and of course physical rehab for several months.

Hope (if you’re in the U.S.) your Thanksgiving was as sweet as ours!

Knowing we’d be doing her knee opp. right after Thanksgiving we decided to get our Christmas decorations up the day after, so yahoo, earliest ever! These are but a little taste of ’em. 20181126_093534

20181126_093601

My book project is moving along, the new solo blues project a bit on the back burner along with appearances until end of January re. my needing to help Wendi.

When I can I’ll update here and via my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I have a couple of blogs I’d written earlier in the past several months and can tweak them a bit and send ’em up when I have a spare moment. The real issue for me is sleep because in these times Wendi tends to need a lot of attention and neither of us gets much due to the pain she has to navigate.

Please know- we are both super grateful she can get relief on the other side of these operations as we’ve seen it re. the first three!

And here comes Advent! CHRISTmas! Yes! So we will enjoy Him and the holidays with family as she’s able.

I have a plan for 2019 involving more appearances within short driving distances of Illinois state prisons as I’m convinced I must do a lot more of those in this new year. I’ll put that post up later.

We’ve had our first serious snow (last night) and it’s quite beautiful outside at the moment 🙂20181126_104709

Many thanks for your prayers -and may you and yours know the peace of the Prince of Peace in this season!

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

THANKSGIVING 2018- St. Wendi

Yes, I indeed live with a saint.

At the time of this writing we’ve shared ups and downs, the highest heights and some of the lowest valleys of life together going on 47 years. We were both 19 years old when we married and are both 65 as I write.

Some of what I’m saying here will greatly relate to some of my readers, some not at all -and some will relate in your future. I put it out in love and testimony, for reflection and hopefully growth.

Wendi was sexually abused by her pastor grandfather, uncle (who became a pastor later) and pastor father. The first two (two-week episode) did this when she was very young, the second when in her teens.

As she came to saving faith in Jesus she forgave them and over the years only rarely has allowed the incredible pain and side-affects rob her, us, or others of her compassion, grace and servant heart of love.

Over a span of three years she (we) lost her incredible mother (Dawn- amazing Mom, Mom-in-law, friend, mentor, pastor, teacher, encourager, example) and father-in-law (Curt- see what I just said about her Mom!).

Wendi went from stages all over the world fronting (with me) Rez Band, recorded 16 records sharing love, grace, truth, deliverance into thousands of lives via song lyrics, after-show chats and prayers, countless interviews and articles as well as blog posts via now-defunct Cornerstone Magazine and online, teaching brilliant, honest biblical and practical seminars on relationships, dating and sexuality for years at the now defunct Cornerstone Festival. The woman is quite the theologian and more than scholar, example of her beliefs.

She has been and remains a giving, loving servant who can cook your shoes -and you will LOVE the flavor when she’s done!- creating memorable holidays and everyday meals, special occasion care, child-raising and baby-sitting for our family (several kids!) and grandchildren (a lot more kids!) time and again.

In our band years she traveled the world and hit the stage with rock ‘n roll passion and beauty like very few I’ve ever witnessed -and most nights doing so with little sleep due to itineraries.

During those years to the present she dealt with asthma and recurring muscle cramps, excruciating pain, vertebrae issues, a broken leg, and two high-risk pregnancies.

For the past twenty or so years she’s dealt with a form of crippling arthritis along with these other ailments and we are about to attend to her final major joint replacement, her having had both hips and one knee fully replaced due to extreme pain via arthritis, now comes her final full knee replacement.

Meanwhile she’s had to live with me through all of this…

For whatever love and grace and servanthood I can manage, the fact is that her main love language is Service. I’d be lying to say that’s mine, but I’m still learning and growing, hopefully, in these latter years of our journey towards heaven.

Now where did I read “By love serve one another”? I’m still working on this, believe me!

Here’s the deal:

Living with a gorgeous, loving woman of God with so much wisdom, so many talents and such a daily ready-to-help-and-nurture heart and practical service life is CONVICTING as well as stimulating to an often self-centered, sometimes complaining and on occasion deer-in-the-headlights-what-do-I-do-now?!! person… like me!

She has suffered (like many reading this and many who will in time) chronic pain like I’ve never thus far. She has done so with deep faith in a loving, gracious heavenly Father, an enduring trust in and love for the God Who IS Love, trusting in His compassion for her and family in a sinful, fallen, imperfect, pain-laced world.

Wendi is a constant reminder to me of what an authentic, loving, compassionate CHRIST-FOLLOWER can and should be.

Is it always easy, fun, a joy-ride living with such a saint?

Am I in every moment sufficient in expressing God’s love and practical help and grace to her in her needs?

Do we not share in the joys and beauties as well as deep disappointments and at times excruciating pains of this world sharing life together?

In order, sadly no and no -and gratefully YES. Thankfully yes 🙂

What… no WHO am I most thankful for this Thanksgiving (and always)?

-For Jesus Christ and the Very BEST gift He ever brought into my life: my Wendi.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn