Follow? Leaders?

Jesus said it. Apostle Paul said it with the caveat “…as I follow Christ.” All of us follow leaders even when we think, believe and say we don’t.

Nobody can “follow the path” without a path being there. So we -made- each and every path we walk on?

Are there false leaders, lousy and rotten leaders? Abusive leaders? Of course. We see it in The Bible as well as “secular” human history again and again. What is Israel and Judah’s Old Testament record of good kings? Sense alone brings us to the reality God sent all the prophets (those HE truly sent in any case!) to teach the people of God to return to Him.

Therefore “No leaders and no teaching for me! The only way to be safe is to wrap my own arms around myself and close my mind to the risk of hurt and pain.”?

This is the path too many take and it’s not only without logic, it can eventually bring us to self-worship and actively create a sense of the individual as God who is self-sufficient without Him or others -heaping to ourselves only those who tell us what we want to hear (which means they are as the Word says, “teachers”). In essence we convince ourselves we are the only entity we can really trust. This is faith in ourselves full stop -and it creates a tragic mess in many a sad, tragic life.

You wouldn’t be reading this if nobody taught you to read or at least put you in a place with books you had to discover.

Are you reading this? You are being taught. You can disagree with some, a large percentage or all of it, but you are still being taught by someone. You’ve never read a book, a blog, a Facebook post or watched a movie without someone other than yourself passing on information, ideas and concepts for your consideration. They are by default influencers and teachers and you are being led or not led by them. Your faith and belief -even unbelief -is a matter of learning, acceptance or rejection of lessons taught. Fact.

Neither we nor our teachers create from nothing in the sense God did and does… we you learn via other things, other people, from God Himself, but we are not the original originator -therefore we follow/ed someone and/or something which is how all and any of us learn.

If this is true in all of life, why is it some say there is no such thing as a leader or leadership in groups -including assemblies of Christians? Why would the Holy Spirit’s biblical gifts given to and for people’s spiritual growth include teaching if there were no teachers? Paul asks “Do ALL…) and lists spiritual gifts, and no, not all are teachers or leaders in terms of God’s spiritual gifting, and yet in the large and real world of which I speak what I’ve said so far seems rather obvious.

Hard reality is that we’ve all been ripped off, hurt, some deeply -via leaders, teachers who themselves were “blind guides” to borrow a phrase from Jesus. And we ourselves -each one of us- as well as anyone we follow can of course become such. I’d say the negatives of ignorance, arrogance, a lack of humility and true iron-sharpening, unsettling community and the positives of willingness to study, to learn and grow in broad community are all core to discovering, actual learning and following as Jesus taught, even commanded His disciples.

Character and attitude, behavior of those who teach and lead is MAJORLY CORE, absolutely so!

Yet those positive growth elements I’ve just listed are also foundational and often left wanting regarding followers of Jesus. They are part of making careful choices as to which humans we follow, emulate and trust in. “…as I follow Christ” is a massively important clause!

Sometimes we choose our leaders based on personal comfort, a sense of safety and to escape the turbulence of change. Sometimes we think, talk and actually believe we’re our own source and we have been influenced by nobody but God the Holy Spirit (“You have no need of man to teach you”- though John was teaching even as he wrote… so consider sound interpretation before you teach on this verse!).

God indeed teaches and speaks through writings, sermons, articles and ideas we’ve gotten via OTHER PEOPLE so we cannot simply claim “God told me” as that’s not the whole truth though it may well be part of it.

“Professing themselves to be wise they became fools” applies in a broad context to the things I’ve said thus far.

I can point to Jesus, to The Bible and to a long list of personal friends, pastors, authors, speakers, screen writers (via film) and on and on from whom I have been taught, learned, began to grasp truth and likewise error.

The same is true of you dear reader -take care to embrace the responsibility of it:

“Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” -Luke 8.18

“He went on to say, “Pay attention to what you hear. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and even more will be added to you. For whoever has will be given more. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” -Mark 4.24, 25

Rather intense and conditional statements made by Jesus, no?

Our loving Father knows our needs before we ask Him. Humility is core to following, indeed, essential, for only then do we realize we can only follow behind someone who has learned a bit more than you and I and therefore leads.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

October Rain

Oct. Leaf

As a guitarist I do love sustain… like many I’ve used various effects boxes and chosen guitars and amps to hold notes out longer. Eternity’s pretty long the last I considered it!! 🙂 More on that in a moment here.

One of my longtime fave lyrics/songs, U2’s OCTOBER:

October
And the trees are stripped bare
From all they wear
What do I care?
October
And kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
But you go on
And on
And on…

Put on the rain jacket and spent a short time in the ever-changing garden yesterday morning. Loving the rain, even the increasing bit of cold, more of it coming so will come the layers as I seek out some hours outdoors this autumn.

Oct. Rain

As I took pics around the side yard garden I noticed the many birds zipping in and out to feed. “Consider the sparrows…”

There is plenty of food, water and shelter here and they will work at doing what they must to find nurture as all living in this world do.

You too. You too. See what I did there 🙂 ?

Matthew 7.7-11 is as true now as when Jesus first said it.

And I am also reminded- “Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.” -Ps. 54.4

Seasons change. Some songs last. SomeOne never changes and sustains like no other can. Beautiful.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Micah Nails It

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? NAS

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? ESV

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion), And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]? AMP

No, the LORD has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God. GNB

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what GOD is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously. MSG

Micah 6.8 is the plumbline… and it costs more to sidestep than to apply it.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

The Sweet Spot/s

Recognizing, being thankful for a place, no, not “knowing your place” but rather the “happy place” or placeS of comfort is the point of this short post.

All of us likely have one or more of these.

For many years in several U.S. states I had places (and still do) that brought me the deepest sense of peace, grace and blessing. In hunting or fishing trips I’d make my way to them due to reasons deeper than bringing something home for the table which I normally did and do.

A bit of blue sky, the sun at just the right angle lighting up autumn leaves, the small inlets or streams surrounded by gorgeously-clothed trees, the quiet but for animals or very rarely the occasional jet overhead and perhaps ebbing, flowing wind… yes indeed!

Now you can laugh or relate, but I’ve had the exact same sense seated in a number of places closer to home -an office chair/desk/computer, the lighting and atmosphere of the spot, perhaps a candle or incense lit, and yep, even a computer operating system I really like cooking along… I know, some of you don’t relate to the vibe, but hey 🙂

For me just add coffee or tea, iced in summer, hot in winter (mostly).

As I write I’m remembering a trip to a 1,900 acre Illinois property where I spent many days and hours tramping up hills and ridges, down into valleys, all along creek beds and spending prayer, stalking but also silent, near-motionless time seated while intensely observing God’s creation in the wonder and gratefulness for it all.

One day doing so I purposely sat on top of a hill alongside the woods until dark as the first snow flurries began to fly. It was quite cold but I didn’t want to move, just warmed by the Spirit and enjoying the show in that time and place, white flakes pipping my cheek.

Today I had that same sense of presence and peace while sitting at my desk. What can I say but “What have you been given that is not a gift?” and certainly easy to think that way when “the peace that is beyond understanding” happens inside?

I’ve experienced what I’m talking about alone on a train trip in Scotland, a walk in Wales, with my wife in Ireland, a forest in Germany, with her and solo all over the U.S. and Iceland, on and on in various places at various times.

I wish for you to recognize the graces of God, the places He meets you in and the peace that comes as you do!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Virtual Show, New Song

BIG Thanks to Grrr Records staff and all who viewed my Virtual Show last night (or later depending on when you are reading this)! You can replay and/or share it via the Grrr Records.Com site, Grrr’s YouTube or Facebook sites as well.

In Covid time I think about the emotional and other tolls so many are suffering. I also believe it essential we mask up, keep six feet apart and wash our hands consistently. Distance is a real pain but there are worse pains that have included virtual funeral/memorial services for more than 200,000 people, their families and friends here in the U.S. alone.

In light of all this, last night I popped a new song into the show, just a sung/blues-harp blowin’ number. If you watched or do, here are those lyrics.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

DYIN’ FOR A HAIRCUT -glenn kaiser

If you’re dyin’ for haircut – it might be time to change your style (2x)
Hair today gone tomorrow – ain’t no sense to live on guile

If distance drives you crazy – go ahead and get up close (2x)
Write a note to friends and family – at least it weren’t no overdose

If freedom for yourself – means you don’t get it as you like (2x)
A true miracle happened to ya – more and more you’re just like Christ

Vote -yes vote for mercy – ain’t no Savior in D.C. (2x)
None of us is saviors neither – we all need justice jus’ ta breathe

Here’s a link to the tune – Starts at 20.14 in YouTube

Deep Peace

If you’ve read my blog posts you’ll be aware I’ve long studied as well as been encouraged by Celtic Christian spirituality.

On occasion I use an evening Complines prayer from that heritage, and I’ve long loved several prayers including this rather famous and meaningful one a good friend so kindly gifted me with. Just to the left of my office desk, it’s a reminder and a famous blessing worth sharing -and praying.

I sometimes change it to “Lord, (or Father or Son or Spirit of God) Thank You for the deep peace of Your running waves to me…” and so on.

In pandemic and political upheaval time (among others), I thought it might be of help to share it with you.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Peace – A Celtic Prayer

Remembering

I’ve mentioned the biblical importance, really the importance to God that we remember His gracious hand working in our lives, but today I want to consider this from a slightly different angle based on my devotional time last night.

Ps. 78.11 “They forgot His works and the wonders that He had shown them.”

Not everyone experiences God in technicolor connection but I can tell you He apparently decided that was something some of us needed from the very first moments our faith was kindled. I can remember vividly a long list of moments I was clued into the reality that Someone other than myself communicating with me, and no, not in audible voice nor eye-catching vision form, no angels appearing or anything like that.

Neither am I mentally challenged (though some will beg to differ!) but for me those earliest and even outright shocking moments quickly unfolded as encounters far beyond my “seeking” for God, wishful thinking or even desperation due to my own stupid, self-destructive choices. The truth is I had rarely even considered His existence and didn’t particularly care nor want God or “a God-concept”.

“I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ To a nation which did not call on My name.” -Isaiah 65.1

He flat-out showed up.

Regardless of my struggles with sin, facing personal attacks, sometimes full-on lies, my own blunders in trying to accomplish this or that, any number of difficulties and upsets in my lifetime my encounters with God and lessons He has taught me in our relationship keep coming to mind. I’ve seen amazing things in my years and travels, but the greatest wonder by far is that He pursued and captured -me-.

In moments emotions run high, questions pile up beyond answers and clarity is somewhere in the next continent… He reminds me of the sheer number of “God-and-Glenn” moments I could not then and cannot now logically explain away.

Nobody else can explain my experiences with Him away either… and that’s the kicker when folks at times, work so very hard at neutralizing my faith. How could they remember –my– experiences with the Lord?!

This is also the kicker when life seems to kick me!

“Remember” and “Do not forget” are repeated countless times throughout The Bible.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” -Jesus in John 14.26

See, it’s not only Jesus’ words but His acts in.my.life. that the Spirit reminds me of. Note, He comes in Jesus’ Name -no other.

He has worked in ways no mere human nor group of them do or can, and He has shown -me- wonders I can’t simply pretend I’ve not experienced.

So you see, in my life, the powerful, positive changes of redemption run deeper than intellectual, theological, doctrinal or methodological information, dogma or possibility. I would say my experiences with Him, His acts of wonder are the “third rail” where perhaps the other two involve thought and passion.

By God’s grace, here I stand :)!

If and as there is true stability in my life, this is a peek into Who and how…

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

A Reply to Critics?

Truth, reality, certainly how God Himself defines these is one thing. Any defense to critics may be that or a mashup of that, personal perspective and indeed self-deception, mere defensiveness. I will certainly admit to falling into hyper-defense mode plenty in my lifetime and most often in disagreements with my wife… even, on occasion, with God!

Two friends of mine may now be thinking they inspired me to write this post but not so, I wrote it a week or more ago thinking about Covid, the election cycle and high emotions of folks, not any particular A vs. B conflict.

As I’ve stated publicly for decades it’s not so much truth but rather winning and that typically by whoever has the most money (long list of reasons that’s true in the U.S. system) as such persons typically though not -always- get their way. This is sadly standard fare in legal fights, the U.S. bail-bond atrocity and more. Years in studying and actual volunteer chaplain’s work does nothing but confirm what I’ve written here.

Back in the day Resurrection Band’s critics gave many times over more flack to our fans and friends than they ever did to us directly. It never ceased to sadden me that the few who did approach me had spent little real time with what The Bible says about music and musicians though that was the context of the critique.

If one has zero belief in God, little or no commitment to Scripture yet on personal, cultural or mere guilt-by-association “logic” and bias you are judged guilty, what response is worth giving?

If we are willing to communicate with words whether one-on-one, in a group or in public certainly we must recognize critique will come our way. Further, re. our our own sins, mistakes, imperfections and those of those disagreeing with us, how is it we are at all surprised at pushback and at times gaslighting, even (in social media, etc.) propaganda memes, video clips and the like?

This is the road for those who communicate beyond their own private thoughts. Another option is to stay tight like epoxy within one’s immediate tribe and bubble, the echo-chamber of near full agreement. Beyond these we may and must expect sticks and stones if not worse -and yes, emotionally at very least -words can and do wound.

I do not write this due to any recent personal or tribal attacks, simply by way of listening, reading and reflecting on other’s journeys in our time and remembering some of mine in the past.

So when to reply to dead wrong, mostly untrue and/or hurtful critique? And perhaps more important morally, how?

I can’t offer a one-size-fits-all response to either of these but God’s Word speaks of loving our neighbors and enemies, that there will be times they are the members of our own household, that we must forgive others from the heart, that when Jesus was attacked He didn’t speak, kept His focus on the Father and His calling and task, embraced the cross despising the shame and entrusted Himself “to One Who judges righteously.”

Always we must search our own heart and soul, confess and repent when convinced of our true sin or embrace the cross that silence and/or setting our face like flint and making straight paths for our feet in the truth and light of Jesus re. our calling. And yes, there is a time to answer in a direct way, I do it plenty, but there are times I’m convinced dropping the convo makes more sense and is what the Lord would have me do.

Lastly, there is ONE to fear under the sun and His perfect judgment is as much gift as horror to us all if we are willing to face that reality. Come to think of it even that is debatable -until Judgment Day.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Update- Early October, 2020

Quite the year! I’ve been about as busy as I can handle, and usually I can handle a fair bit! 🙂 God’s grace throughout, that’s for sure.

Amazing photo shoot a few days ago, dear friend and colleague Juan Carlos Garzón is so gifted he can even make me look good… that’s saying something. So here you see just one of his as my new header pic.

So SWAMP GAS MESSIAHS is now out on cd and digital download outlets (if you missed that info, head to http://www.GrrrRecords.Com for details or scroll down to a post here published last week for details on where to get it.

We’ve some video work to do on a couple of those songs, I’m about to re-publish THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHRISTIAN MUSICIAN as an online freebie and will publicize that the moment it’s ready.

Wendi and I and family are buzzing along well and I have a fresh 2 string cigarbox slide guitar on the bench to when I can give it some time.

Some promoters are asking for live concerts (as in travel) for next year and at this point I’ve not booked anything except online interviews, also have a live (online) solo show ready and when that’s set to publicize we’ll let you know when and where.

I’ve been so thankful for The Evangelical Covenant Church’s stand on racism and the criminal justice system which are very much connected. In my continuing studies I’m taking a course from the ECC dealing with all that, and just cannot say enough how educational and solid it is.

Solidarity with hurting people is quite the example Jesus set for us and calls us to and there it is in Isaiah 6.8: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

There are many ways to communicate and link in solidarity and encouragement for those in deep need. Imagine yourself locked away in Covid 19 time. I’ve sent 4 set dvds out to a number of prisons in the sincere hope they’re a lift for inmates.

Ok, on to other work today, but here’s a quick update- and as always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn