First Snow and 2nd Sunday in Advent ’17

Joy -and sadness. yesterday for me was full indeed.

Another amazing night with friends and new faces at my last Christmas show of the year in Berwyn, IL. SUCH good folks at Nitelight Arts Center! Old friends, new friends, PUSH worship band cooked. Thank you all!

But I am also reminded of friends and loved ones battling cancer, others in hospital with other diseases, etc., yet also brilliant art by another friend -who recently fell and hurt himself.

A birthday of one of my best friends -who is now in heaven with the Lord.

First real snowfall in Chicago -beautiful, birds flocking up more and 26 degrees with a Northwest wind at 10mph. FirstSnow2ndAdent2017

The beauty of our house decorated, Christmas cookie-making by a sweet baby-sitter and her little friend.  ChristmasCookies

Homeless people who are facing their first (or perhaps 20th) holiday in confusion, sometimes addiction, businessmen who could care less as long as their personal wealth can accumulate.

The joy of remembering a little Child born poor who stayed poor and was executed over power, hate and position.

A time of hope and joy as well as stark truth at Cook County Jail this Monday evening when I bring another music set and share amongst staff and incarcerated people, some quite guilty, some innocent, all locked away except in heart.

All this brings to mind:

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt it’s worth

The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees…”

That’s a hard place to be but exactly where we must all go inbetween the joys and pleasures we do enjoy.

I will begin the Monday set with a 1 string “diddley bow” slide guitar I recently built. The first song prior to the Christmas tunes including some I wrote, will be an old African-American spiritual. I so love my friend One String Willie’s (see You Tube

 

or his website for more) “Soon I Will Be Done With the Troubles of The World” I decided to open the set with it- even in the midst of a lot of encouraging Christmas songs.

The reality of sadness, people lying in hospitals, shelters, the horrible California fires, political upheaval and service personnel off in harm’s way in the world, far from loved ones or themselves living in the streets all conspire to the extent I cannot merely rejoice in every moment.

Yes, Paul writes “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice” but the Book also reminds us to “Remember those in prison as though you were there with them”, to “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”

Those who simply want to forget cannot love as God calls us to love. He not only never forgot His promises but entered in to the suffering of those who could not “fix” themselves nor their loved ones.

Another amazing black gospel song goes “He came down… DOWN… to take away the sins of the world!”

Our house is beautiful and the reminders of His first Advent are everywhere. Noel! New birth, new life offered to us!  ChristmasATJPUSA2017

 

I am, we are SO very thankful to Jesus for His coming 🙂 But for now, we watch and wait.

God give us grace to “see what HE sees”!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

 

Advertisements

GK Music Plus Before Christmas

KaizCBGpicOk… I -may- find time to record a diddley-bow (primitive 1 string slide guitar) version of Go Tell It On the Mountain as a Grrr freebie release… if so we’ll publicize the download link. If not, please know we tried to get it done 🙂

MAYbe even more bluesy cigar box guitar type music w. new songs before Christmas… but not sure of that just yet. Busy time around here!

So the Christmas shows have been truly sweet, and here’s the rest of the year’s outings as planned. Yesterday I had a great shopping expedition with Wendi, and little by little getting guitars built to be shipped too. Essentially just layin’ around… not!! :)! Blessings of Advent to all- and as always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

————————————–

SATURDAY DECEMBER 9:

GK Christmas Show -With Special Guests PUSH Worship Band opening

The Nite Light Cafe and Arts Center
7009 Ogden – Berwyn, IL

with 2 options:
Dinner buffet & show @ 6pm – $25 per person
Show only – Doors open at 7pm – $10 per person
Limited seating – reservations required ASAP

708.788.7009

——————————————————————————–

MONDAY DECEMBER 11 -GK @ Cook Co. Jail Chicago

———————————————————————————

SUNDAY DECEMBER 17- 3rd Sunday in Advent

Worship at Wilson Abbey 10:30 a.m. (they asked me  to join the team… and bring an electric guitar and amp…:)! 935 W. Wilson Ave. Chicago, IL 60640      773.273.6865

https://www.facebook.com/wilsonabbeychicago

Tasks and Agitation

My personal preference and I suppose dna is FINISH what I start… before picking up a new task.

Thankfully, over time I have learned to cut others a great deal more slack when it seems to me (who of course always judges righteously… not!) they are not doing so.

Easy to judge others for what you are messing up with, no?

But that is rarely my problem. I beat myself up or simply get into frustration mode when “interrupted” and have to quit working on X due to Y being the more immediate and often truly more important need. I get more ticked at me than others in this because I just really want to get the first thing finished before another thing has to be attended to.

Arrrgggghhh

The truth is I often find the journey, the creative stuff, the endorphin rush to my brain. The feel-good is in the doing rather than the finishing. But this being so, why fuss with myself over having to create space for another or more immediately important task?

Self raises it’s head (as in selfish, “Not NOW!”) and this is the truth of it.

Love is not about accomplishments being worked through and finished. I mean, I KNOW this intellectually as true.

Well for those out there who can relate- NONE of us will be “the finished product” while on this earth, not if we are super-spiritual, mega-moral, deeply giving and sweet as cream, not if we lived past one-hundred years!

Therefore not only will we have to have patience with ourselves and others, but there will be things left undone.

Now, facing this means there will be plenty of time, at least minutes if not hours, days, weeks, months and years to actually love those around you or those contacting you for help. You know- “those [arrrrggggghhhhh!] Interrupters” whom you share space, share the planet with.

People before tasks.

My natural bent is about starting a project and getting through it, completing it and then going on to another. The problem (and it seems most men and some women fall into this as well) is that if we are not careful and open to change and unexpected voices calling for our patience, time and effort, it will be “another” task of our own design rather than perhaps another person whom God Himself may well be calling us to care for at that moment.

But perhaps I am the only one who struggles with such things. 🙂

Part of the practical is DO what you CAN in the brief time you have for the project and get back to it when you are rightly able to do so. One foot in front of the other… and others before self.

Wow, that was just sooo easy to just sit here and type 🙂 🙂 🙂 And now I just hit “post”!

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Issues Anyone?

There are very few people who don’t have issues. Well ok, ALL people have them at times. And one way or another, for good or ill they “share the wealth” of those particular issues. “Good”? From rotten stuff? How does that work? Compost comes to mind, but heh, read on if you please.

Some call them “hang ups”. Some refer to them as “life-dominating sins”. Some call them “my demons”.

I’m convinced all of those can be accurate descriptions but however you try to ignore, downplay, defend or wrestle with them as sure as the earth revolves around the sun these “gravitational pulls” show up.

Some surface daily, some maybe weekly or less but like holidays on the calendar you can pretend are not there, people around you notice what time it is.

Many years ago I had come to hate me. In a song lyric I wrote “Hating who you are and what you’ve made of yourself, not forgiving yourself for you. What was I trying to prove, running from You.”

A much older song, in my view one of the most honest ever sung in any church congregation states “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love”. Those lines appear in the 18th century “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” -but this humble confessional admission doesn’t show up until halfway through the fourth verse. It often takes we proud, distracted, even tunnel-visioned humans a long time to confront our unfaithfulness.

Yet “There is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother.” There is a “Hound of heaven” Who pursues us, like it or not, believe it or not. There is a Father who searches the horizon with love for the prodigal.

I find my issues are a very real part of what propels me toward Him.

Sad and sick, sometimes even disgusting how it takes issues we can no longer avoid to bring us to our knees but there it is.

But there’s good news, even in the practical:

The back door will still get you inside the house!

Today, if you like me and the rest of humans on the planet are sick and tired, have had enough of yourself and are ready to surrender I suggest surrendering to the One and Only risen Savior Who alone conquers issues, the first and most monumental being that we are loved and desired whether or not we believe it.

I know “it’s impossible to please God without faith” as the writer of Hebrews says, and I also know Paul tells us “every person has the measure of faith” and elsewhere that even faith itself is a gift from God. Yet there is a sense in which whether or not you have faith you are loved and valued by God, HE STILL LOVES AND VALUES YOU.

I fully get giving up, throwing in the towel, just deciding “I just cannot change” and that for example, “My addiction/s, my nature, personality, dna is killing me and self-destruction is my true and inescapable destiny”. Believe me, I’ve been there, done that.

So what’s the second most amazing reality in this thread?

There is no issue God is incapable of helping us overcome. One day at a time. One choice at a time. Each new day, fresh mercies- and therefore I have hope.

For all the messes I made prior to my walk with Jesus right to this moment I continue to face sin and temptation and at times stray. Thoughts at the very least, words next, behavior and relational blunders, what the Book of God calls “sin”, wrong-doing. Certainly non-positive stuff, issues that I like everyone reading this faces are part of our life journey. But they don’t have to be (nor determine) our destination!

He calls us to “Follow” HIM. As we do, the issues become stepping stones on our path to God.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Giving, Hoarding, Valuing

My wife recently read through something and sent this comment to myself and some of our friends:

Some of their results were surprising. Some 60 percent of the people they surveyed who live below the poverty line gave something, versus 32 percent of those above that line. A humbling finding by the authors was thus the radical giving of those who have very little in terms of money, time, or other resources to the immediate needs of those around them.

From the book: “We heard in the interviews where people who were really financially struggling, when they were not at work, they were babysitting for their friends so they could go to work,” Price says. “That’s precious work time that’s being given to others.

And while women as a whole tend to give more, married women give the most.”

From: “American Generosity: Who Gives and Why” by Patricia Herzog and Heather price

I recently re-tweeted a comment about where public funds go (re. ferris wheels, ice rinks and such) vs. caring for the least of these, the poor in our streets. I agreed. Most of the responses were quite positive and felt the same. One was about taxes and the involuntary “forced” giving demanded from government and the bro said he had a problem with that and also re. hard work to produce and build being incentive and reward for labor, all of which certainly holds elements of merit in my view. He had other positive statements re. the church and others voluntarily helping the poor as well. My response was:

“I’m the one with the problem: from prior to my own trusting in the Risen Jesus I find things in most every culture that seem better in line with (after my salvation and having studied) Jesus’ own example, as well as self-centered and destructive me-me-me attitudes and lifestyle choices.

My problem is that having found many indigenous societies with a view to stewardship of what God has given as opposed to ownership, control and domination… I would love a world where land and the wealth, flora and fauna were seen as gifts from God to be stewarded and indeed shared as opposed to effectively, weapons of dominion and indeed “I got mine, go get your own”. The good Samaritan.

I’m well aware of both Testaments proof texts, manifest destiny and colonization concepts none of which in my view, hold as closely to Jesus’ example nor for that matter, words in Matthew 25.

Control of land and the wealth of property therein has long been the political wealth-”might-makes-right” tool of despots right through human history. Frankly, I would have said all this 30 years ago if asked about it. Again, the problem is mine- we live in a world that doesn’t operate in humility, grateful thanks for the gifts of God and too often hearts that create borders for power and wealth hoarders. The world we live in now isn’t going there, and that’s indeed the reality of it.”

Castle

Having said this, working for justice, praying, demonstrating, marching, writing congresspersons and personally choosing a lifestyle (as Ron Sider so well said) at “the need level, not the greed level”, creative ideas to help meet real needs are viable and needed solutions. AND WHEN WE AS INDIVIDUALS AND CHURCHES DON’T MEET THE TRUE NEEDS THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD. That’s my position, has been from day 1 and isn’t changing because folks are mad or full of fear.

So how does my wife’s quoted book info. link to my Facebook response re. land and such?

I am never surprised that those with little are often the most likely to share what they have with those in need. Why? They understand the depth of need, loss, illness, pain and struggle of every day life, sometimes right to the very survival level having themselves faced or even at present, facing it. Empathy is natural to them. The same applies to Mom’s with kids. They -get- the issues, the needs, and the practical acting in love to help meet other Mom’s with children.

Empathy, kindness? Consider rural areas where complete strangers wave as they pass, where someone who seems to have car trouble is asked by a passing motorist “Hey, are you o.k., can I help you? Got a mobile phone?” They do it in part by culture… but in part knowing it could be them or someone they love with engine trouble or who slid in a ditch after a snow storm… next time it could be them, perhaps WAS them last season. I get it.

I wonder when more of our “That’s MINE!!!” people will figure out sharing is quite a link to the very heart of Jesus Christ? He gave for those completely UNworthy -I include myself as the often shocked recipient of His gift and gifts! HIS value was not in land, possessions, nor power (all this and more He has without limit!). He VALUES PEOPLE.

Things to think about as we go about our Christmas giving?

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn