Doing God’s Service?? (Part 1)

In William Barclay’s John 16.1-4 commentary are words for all times including ours! While (as usual) I do not completely agree with all
of Barclay’s (or Smith’s or Henry’s also quoted here) positions he surely knew his biblical Greek and was a deep scholar of world, church and Jewish history. Sobering, accurate words:

“One of the tragedies of religion has been that men have so often
thought that they were serving God by persecuting those whom they
believed to be heretics. No man ever more truly thought that he was
serving God than Paul did, when he was trying to eliminate the name of
Jesus and to wipe out the Church (Acts 26:9-11). The torturers and
judges of the Spanish Inquisition have left a name which is loathed;
yet they were quite sure that they were serving God by torturing
heretics into accepting what they considered to be the true faith. As
they saw it, they were saving men from hell. “O Liberty.” said Madame
Roland, “what crimes are committed in thy name!” And that is also true
of religion. It happens, as Jesus said, because they do not recognize
God. The tragedy of the Church is that men have so often laboured to
propagate their idea of religion; they have so often believed that
they have a monopoly of God’s truth and grace.” -William Barclay

“The true church of Jesus Christ has suffered persecution through the years, and most of the persecution has come from religious zealots. Paul said concerning the Jews that they had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. ” -Chuck Smith

“Those that know Christ know that he came not into the world to destroy men’s lives, but to save them; that he rules by the power of truth and love, not of fire and sword. Never was such a persecuting church as that which makes ignorance the mother of devotion.” -Matthew Henry

I’ll post a follow-up to this (Part 2, already written) in a day or two. Sigh…

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Communists, Socialists, Oligarchy

So after reading plenty of thin and mega-freak-out arguments from folks (not addressed to nor about myself by the way) I thought it might be time to tell you what history told me some 40 years and more ago.

For all who want to discuss Marx, Engels, Soviet, Chinese, N. Korean, Cuban or other such styles of communism as well as socialism (not the same though not unrelated) consider:

A dictatorship under any “ism” is yet a dictatorship. The U.S. does not nor has ever had a King, Emperor or dictator. IF we care about the vote and voting processes being really true and fair, gerrymandering by ANY party and any form of blocking ANY vote by the people in federal, state or local elections will be fully outlawed and enforced as the crime it is. Dismantle the vote and welcome the fuhrer of your “choice”. So much for those forms of communism which as you must know only truly allowed one party and either you supported the honcho provided (one and only) you ended up in prison or worse.

Secondly the socialist movement did -to a degree- align with early communists in the U.S. while in the streets most “socialists” were merely poor workers. There were anarchists but as now, a very small number of them armed and dangerous.

As usual mega-corporation money kings controlled the system by bankrolling politicians and influencing labor practices, laws, health and safety (or NOT) of children, women and of course male adult workers including work hours and pay rates.

Socialist ideas, press and groups began to organize not to “overthrow America” but to ease suffering and unfair and often harsh business practices by the wealthy who owned them and dictated policy. They accomplished it via demonstrations, the media of that time and by essentially demanding and eventually gaining more fair labor practices, laws and law changes that most in the U.S enjoy and take for granted to this very day. Many were beaten, indeed shot and killed in the streets in the process.

Pin the tail on the correct donkey: pander to those with the most money therefore power and you have no unions. “”But corruption in the unions, the mob and so forth!”?? YES. So… dressed-up corporate and political corruption is clean and pristine? I don’t think so. You likely don’t think so either if you’re honest.

Unless you have the money and means, if you are dirt poor and cannot afford to move elsewhere you’re stuck living where you live. You may hate it and want out, but this is where both rural and urban poor are often entrapped in places they would never choose if not for lack of funds and means. ALL do -not- simply end up there due to their own sin, laziness or personal corruption.

Like DNA, some sickness is inherited and many of “the least of these” in our land have inherited diseases brought on by unjust laws and the corruption money and power of status-quo leaders have passed on to them much like the blankets infested with smallpox taken to Native Americans back in the day. Some love to chat the myth racism has nothing to do with it -and the vast majority of those singing that song are white.

If you really want to know what I think about all this, history -and I mean layers of it written spanning more than a century underscores what I have written here. So here I stand.

In my and a long list of others views, Marx’s positions though in some measure inspired based on his theological studies in the Book of Acts and other Bible texts, were flawed from the onset as all human systems of government are. Note, “are“, not “might be”.

The current state of “all or nothing” and “no quarter nor admission of anything negative about OUR way of governing” in the U.S. is a horrible climate for liberty, peace or prosperity -unless you’re already in the driver’s seat.

Lastly- for all who claim the horrors of Russian interference which to this day stinks of neo-communist oligarchy and worse (Crimea anyone?), all who decry “leftist liberals” as the commie-socialist boogie-men/women: I ask you who is it who continually publicly states he accepts what Putin says as truth when intelligence expert after intelligence agency says he’s flat-wrong about Putin?! And you’re worried about liberals selling our country out to communism?

A word worth learning in our time is “oligarchy”: “government by the few, a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes, such people may be distinguished by nobility, wealth, education, corporate, religious, political, or military control, especially by a small faction of persons or families, those making up such a government.”

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Early August 2020 Update

My Wendi and I and fam. are well, I hope that’s true of you and yours!

This has truly been one of the most busy, productive seasons in my life even in lock-down. Been doing some shows, teaching sessions and jail/prison work all online. I’ve gotten a ton of interview requests and have done all I have had time to do.

I’d only had some 10-12 dates set for the year when Covid-19 hit and all of those can be re-scheduled so no worries. I purposely didn’t book more due to finishing a new record which is about to drop, and I finished all my parts for a 2nd record that will likely come out next year. Details and info. will be posted here and in all my social media sites and at GrrrRecords.Com

About to send 4 mini-concert dvds out to each of 7 prisons, possibly more, and a huge jail as well. These took forever to finish up due to lock-down and a key individual in quarantine (he’s fine!) etc.. Been doing a lot of little video’ed teaching clips and how-to stuff on building found-object/cigarbox slide guitars and diddley bows which are up on my -personal- YouTube channel where you can subscribe if you like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUvKm9kOqB0

And I’ve posted some public clips public via Facebook.

The response to all of this has been truly encouraging!

I’ve four books in the slowwww-boat editing process, have also done a ton of writing via my social media sites as well as producing and interviewing a slew of various friends in leadership whom I know well as I launch a new podcast series, likely online sometime this month. When it’s up and ready I’ll publish the link.

Here on my WordPress site you can find links on the right and down a bit, to my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I also have separate ARTS site: https://gkarts.wordpress.com/ and WORSHIP site: https://glennkaiseronworship.wordpress.com/

I’ve recently re-published two booklets as well: https://interviewingicons.wordpress.com and also https://musicmusiciansandministry.wordpress.com

Several nights per week I’ve spent some time playing music on the street here in Chicago sharing in convos w. folks passing by, various friends, very fun to do!

So I truly hope you and yours are well, that you know love -and that Jesus indeed loves YOU:)

As always, thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

Build a Primitive Guitar!

Making the most simple guitar -ever- only takes a few tools, thought and perhaps I can offer a recipe with a little how-to that gives lockdown more freedom, melody, song and joy. Here goes 🙂

Canjo made in the woods
A quick, simple “nut” at top of neck
Using hard cardboard shoebox, stiff thicker dowel for neck

 

When you think about it a diddley bow (1 string slide guitar) is comprised of very, very few parts: body, neck, string/s, some sort of string-holder/stopper toward both body-end and toward the neck end, and a bridge (where the string is lifted up from the body end) and nut (where said string/s get lifted up just prior to the top of neck end/stopper/tuner/s). Bailing or other smooth wire or cat-gut, intestines, maybe even horse-hair, or nylon later on (even fishing line) served for strings.

If you’re counting, total parts may be as few as 4 (side of a house or wooden door, 2 nails, wire) or perhaps a total of 6 including a bridge and a nut, standard guitar parts where the string lifts up at the bottom and top. Add a slide of some sort (more on that further down) and you’re nearly there for an ACOUSTIC diddley bow or canjo.

Played by running a “slide” (I love hot sauce bottles) to change the pitch as you move the slide up and down on the string, then plucking the string with fingers, a pick or beating the string with a stick makes music IF you practice and find out where the notes are!

A super-simple primitive “slide” guitar can be made from ONE guitar string of your choice, thick enough wire (or a guitar string), 2 nails (or screws) a “bridge” and a “nut” and two-by-four piece of wood or some such thick enough wood -a minimum of say, 20 inches long, 1 inch wide, 2 inches thick. Wood with those measurements needs to be hard and stiff enough to not bend when a string and the bridge and nut material are added. The bridge and nut could be any number of things, pieces of wood, tough plastic pvc, metal conduit, even an old battery, a pencil or small bottle. The bridge is at the bottom and the nut is at the top, both where the string comes through the neck and these elements lift the string up off of the body and neck. For slide playing 1/2 to 1 inch clearance works, you just need the string to not touch the body or neck when laying whatever slide you use on the string, otherwise the string will not sound out.

“Diddley Bow” refers to the early broom or other wire wrapped around both ends of a stiff stick, hickory branch or whatever was available, and then a little “bowing” of the wood so the string could vibrate when being plucked.

A “slide” can be anything rubbed just hard enough up and down the string that makes your melody. I’ve used everything from old 9 volt batteries (hard to hold but they can work, especially when the paint wears off on the side you lay on the string) to the handle of a butter knife, back of a jack knife. Picks can be made of old plastic gas or credit cards or you can use a pencil, sharpie or stick to beat on the string. Now note, how to hold a simple stick (from a tree) and both pluck as well as slide is a problem. Not a problem with a 1×2 piece of solid wood for a neck.

How basic can this get? See these two I made and have used in live shows:

BackScratcher And Towel Rack Diddley Bows

The back-scratcher has an eyebolt with a wingnut used as a crude tuner. If you look close you’ll see tape on it where I attached a portable piezo pickup, plug into an amp and mic the amp into the p.a. for live shows. Same for the towel rack diddley but on that I used a small turnbuckle for a tuner. Both each sport a guitar string.

If one would add a “body” as a “resonator” the volume increases, the tone improves and it’s easier to hear for yourself and anyone listening. There are so many such bodies (cigar boxes, cookie tins, upside-down pie tin, build your own little box w. at least four sides (or 3 if you like a triangle shape) and at very least a top (plywood, whatever… thinner top from which the string can resonate off of) or adding a bottom piece as well, and you have a body for the neck.

At that point you have to think about how to either insert the neck or simply screw or glue it -tightly- for the sake of vibration/resonating, on the top.

If we use a tin can as a resonator the little git would be called a “canjo” or “canjoe”. If some other body is used it’s usually referred to as a “diddley bow”.

Among poor folks using what they had, they’d “diddle around” and if stick bowing as in an archery bow, and there you have the diddley bow moniker.

There’s TON more history if you web-search, go to YouTube and especially cigarboxnation.com -more than you’ll likely ever know, but useful info., video clips and endless how-to’s via these three.

So here’s a link to my GK Solo Facebook page w. a 25 minute video clip, more info. and a see-hear for you re. this “Postal” Diddley Bow (pic below). You can make one if you try!

https://www.facebook.com/pg/glennkaisersolo/posts/

Simple 1 string slide diddley… easy to add a stick-on piezo pickup which can rock via an amp, even add stomp box guitar pedals

Have fun learning to build and make music on the most simple guitar I know of 🙂 Now if you at all relate to the blues…. ohhhhh yeah baby…

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Chairman Self

Here’s a little ditty I wrote years ago. Yep. God help us! And as always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

SAYINGS OF CHAIRMAN SELF -glenn kaiser

Well the kingdom of self
Is the one I can trust
No matter the clatter
Addiction and lust
I paint it and guard it
So jealously well
Oh the kingdom of self
Is a mighty fine cell!

Chorus:
The kingdom of self
Is the speck in your eye
The log roll in mine
Me, myself and I

I march up an’ down
Like a mighty toy soldier
An’ the fire stays lit
Though the wall’s gotten colder
I didn’t foresee what would be growing older
Where the ashes pile higher
Integrity smoulders

Yes the kingdom of self
It surrounds me with rust
Corruption and guilt
No hope love or trust
But the kingdom of self
Only bows to one king
In the end not one friend
No summer or spring

Stephen: ACTS Beyond Belief

Well, not beyond faith, but this amazing bro was so serious about loving the Messiah Jesus and so loved the nation- that is, the people of Israel that in the face of death he still spoke “truth to power”. As I’ve often said, Stephen as per another more modern prophet-martyr, “We love to talk about the great Dietrich Bonhoeffer but nobody wants to be a Bonhoeffer.”

If you lose your life for the sake of Christ and HIS Good News you’ll find it. Choosing to hang on to our own power and control, one’s own privileged life is a sure path to the deepest loss, that of right relationship to our Savior. Love, God’s agape love is either active or it is mere theory. In this letter of witness (entitled “The Book of Acts”) we find massively clear demonstrations that God the Holy Spirit was alive and moving through His people. In that sense nothing’s changed an iota.

Here’s a question for us to ponder: What Old Testament king in Israel and Judah never heard the Word of God from a prophet (or two) whom God had sent to call them out with regard to their sin and it’s affect on His people as well as their witness to the wide world? Such is incredibly rare. Sadly so is discipleship, self-denial at times among those of us professing a Christian commitment.

Stephen’s martyrdom due to his original and a soon-to-come encounter with the Risen Christ as they stoned Stephen to death ultimately –created– Paul the apostle -through whom most of the New Testament was written. Saul became Paul but it didn’t happen until later.

The last thing Stephen saw in this world was his first glimpse of his Lord and Savior, Jesus.

Jesus said “And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” (Matthew 10.36) How true that was in Stephen’s murder by the hands of his fellow countrymen?

If you, dear reader, think this all this is about politics, culture or taxation you have truly and fully missed the point and likely missed what the Spirit is saying to us in these days.

We, like those among God’s chosen people who murdered the young deacon/prophet are slow to learn what so many are when one studies the depth and width of church history:

The wisdom of Gamaliel (Acts 5.33-42) given to the Sanhedrin was sound. Nobody fights God and wins, not now, not ever.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

GK Social Media Heads-Up!

Heads-up time for those perusing my various online sites:

“Two things you never want to talk about: religion and politics!” That’s been a common piece of advice for as long as I’ve lived and longer. Then again those two items affect people for good or ill around the world and have from Adam and Eve’s creation.

I’m about to begin cleaning up my “friends list” in social media. I’ve done it before but not very thoroughly. I do it in my Twitter account from time to time and on occasion in FB too. Here’s why-

Some did or didn’t read a post I put up a while ago that pertains to this: https://gkaiser.wordpress.com/2020/06/27/fans-and-friends/

What I’ve noticed from the first I had personal FB and Twitter pages (prior to that in my old Blogger and other accounts such as MySpace) there are true friends and then there are fans. They don’t agree with one another on stacks of issues and the same re. each of them and myself. That’s obvious from day one and will never change, not while we’re all on this earth. No problemo until it gets ugly and as anyone reading this knows, what used to be done in letters and the mail or email is now done on “social” media sites.

We have entered a phase in our nation and world where deep disagreement, raw emotion and often slacking, massive propaganda bias that feeds our own extreme fear or extreme anger mixes in with what we believe “true religion” (as Rev. Gary Davis sang) and civil political is-disagreement has ratcheted up the vitriol about a zillion percent.

Historically it’s all happened before and plenty, but the Web and immediate world-wide venting in-your-face demand that others see things our way (yours, mine, whomever) in a quick write, meme, video re-post or audio format sent with a simple click has become another version of shoot-em first, shoot ’em hard and congratulate yourself on your genius because you think you’ve “won”.

Several longtime true friends and godly mentors have been stating the realities of all this for some time. Many have also added things like, “My page, my rules, I’m done with trolls, keep disrespecting this and you’ll be blocked, keep on and I will unfriend you, end of discussion.” I agree. It’s your right on your sites, my right on mine.

Like an increasing number of folks I’ve come to the sad conclusion as we approach the upcoming November election it’s simply wisdom to separate friends who disagree with those who troll, spit, change the subject continuously, toss up endless memes and vid clips largely off-topic and what -I- believe are propaganda rather than anything like thinking in a Bible-based mindset as well as allowing at times historically inaccurate, damning and mere venting content to load up on my page. You get to determine if that what do or have done on your sites, ditto me on mine.

Have I regularly come to your site and loaded it up like that?

Don’t do it on mine.

Disagree with me all you like, but if we are going to call one another friends in a “Friends List”: “The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin, But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother.” Pro. 18.24 AMP

Certainly Jesus is a true friend and Allelulia! -more than a fan as nice as it is to have fans.

My heart is to wish you God’s grace, wisdom and courage in this time of societal upheaval. I am fully of the mind (as in any generation) that some things need to change and I’ll continue to say so until I’m with my Lord and His people in His kingdom come.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Gather Together and Do WHAT 002

So people are talking about “the new normal” and what our post or semi-post Covid-19 world might look like.

Same people, different attitudes? More angry or full of fear than before? Wary of gathering? Desperate for hugs, face-to-face?

Regarding church experiences- enjoyed bedside coffee and turned sound down due to worship songs/team/leader they didn’t like… or love so much they can’t wait to hear ’em again?

Dressed in your jammies, relaxed in a comfy chair and singing like nobody heard you because nobody could -“so let’s keep meeting online!”? “Heck, I can get ya’ll on my phone in the woods or at the beach and do the weekly Zoom small group as long as I got wifi!”

Sleep in late, eat breakfast right through the sermon, watch from the bathroom, on it goes… or could, or might or half might?

I don’t know but I do know that introverts often like fewer folks, control of volume and quiet spaces. Extroverts will hit the “chat” button online or in person. The more options offered the more options to choose from and most individuals, certainly Americans LOVE options, choices, freedom to do what suits THEM best whatever that looks like to them.

Now… what’s best for the rest in one’s family or housemate/s, the local fellowship of believers, the neighborhood, etc., that’s what often gets the toss if we’re not prayerful, thoughtful, careful and seeking God the Holy Spirit in accord with His Word.

So in super-brief, I DON’T KNOW what it’s going to look like but most all I’m reading and hearing is expectation toward elements of change and so the certainty of “always been this way and ain’t never gonna change” may be believed by Luddite-like folks living waaaaay out in the rural places, many who either never stopped doing the same stuff or aren’t going to now because that’s their preference. Some prefer distance, I truly understand that and it’s not flat-out sinful -at least to a point it isn’t.

Meanwhile younger folks do as all generations -explore, experiment, discover excellent or lousy things and ways to experience them. Some will flow with the tide of wise older peeps and some will blow “norms” off including typical “church stuff” because they don’t see much reason not to.

Faith, hope, God’s genuine love, the joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. gentleness and self control they see (or don’t) with at least some measure of consistency from professing Christ-followers may be the only enduring “road map”. The character and nature of Father/Son/Spirit in His people as always, serves like an open door rather than an imposing sledgehammer which forces and demands rather than invites.

As to verbally sharing the Good News, when it’s a gracious conversation springing out of practical care for others we may think “unworthy” (see Mt. 25 and Jesus’ six sheep-goat details) I’d say the churches’ form isn’t anywhere close to the most essential thing.

Recently, John Wenrich, president of The Evangelical Covenant Church (our denomination) quoted someone and searching the Web I found this is an often-used phrase. I’ve believed it for decades but had never heard nor read it prior:

“The church doesn’t have a mission, the mission has a church.”

Rather than our individual, personal comfort, it seems to me followers of Jesus must actually follow Him. Think, speak, do as He did. Treat folks as He did.

Learning fresh approaches to live out His stated mission-call to us is so foundational but often forgotten, set aside, neglected, ignored or rebelled against because our self-built/maintained kingdoms are not synonymous with the kingdom of God nor do they always reflect our professed King.

As always some people and groups will flex like a willow tree, others will dry and harden up with waning sap much like an old hickory which exists only until it fully dies.

It’s interesting to me that the English translation of the original Swedish name for the ECC which I just mentioned is “Mission Friends”.

I suggest that our denomination as well as the larger church on earth -regardless of methodology, etc., best ponder, think again, remember what godly, Christ-centered friendship and Bible-defined mission look like. Is that my/our true focus and genuine concern?

If that’s our “new” normal? It should have been our normal all along.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

GATHER Together With Whom and Do WHAT?! 001

For many years I have heard vague and on occasion detailed and thoughtful reasons for not regularly gathering with other Christ followers in a local church. People (those who seek, love and follow Jesus) ARE the church, this is absolutely true! No building is synonymous for “church” as the very word means “an assembly of called-out ones.” But don’t pass over that term “assembly”.

Sure, there is a famous verse in Hebrews about not forsaking the assembling ourselves together in the local body of Christ- but with whom to do what?

How often to gather, what form/s, traditions old or new, etc. must be considered -and not without good reason.

Good OR bad reasons may include merely trying to escape a person or group of people, or defend one’s self. Perhaps various issues of theology, doctrine or methodology are both points of fellowship and let’s be honest, reasons we dis-fellowship and/or why others may send us packing. To repeat, this can be good or bad, it’s not an automatic deal regardless.

Removing oneself from actual abuse, continual neglect, a sense of forced doing X, Y or Z that is not sourced in Jesus Himself nor solid and clear truths from His Gospel, the Word of God do make sense. Equally let’s also face that one can be as deceived by one’s self as by any gathering of professing Christians.

To link with friends on occasion when we feel like it, a coffee shop or fellowship more to our personal taste and liking may in itself not be sin but does it replicate what the early church shared together? Can it?

Years ago I was invited to a meal with five or six other believers in a local restaurant. One was a person who stated they had stopped reading The Bible for a year at that point in time because of a lousy home and church experience to the extent “every time” they “opened the Bible, all [they felt] was condemnation”.

Getting tired of being mentally/emotionally “beat up”, then experiencing the freedom and feeling of an antidote to the pain made sense to them. I get it. I also fully disagree with their chosen self-medication though I can understand that all of us should and can seek healing from such traumas and I can validate the journey.

People do at times get horrid medical help so quit going to hospitals. A marriage turned out to be bitter and combative so after a miserable divorce “I’ll NEVER marry again!” is the chosen stance. I’ve met countless former pastors, former never-in-leadership attendees who not only disdain brick-and-mortar assemblies but think most people who link in them are full-on Babylon- “it’s ALL of the devil!” As if the devil and demons don’t know where they live and whom they -do- hang out with?

How often do we hear “They’re ALL like that!” Of course in truth “they’re” NOT.

Empathy for hurting people may even convince us to stop offering to drive someone to a hospital. Yes, there are excellent and lousy hospitals, great and terrible doctors, truly loving, nurturing marriages, churches and etc.. There may come a time all you -should- do is pray and stop talking or trying to convince someone.

The dilemma is often that we –need– to accept the pain we’ll experience at the decisions and hands of physicians to relieve and sometimes actually solve a much greater pain, perhaps even death if we don’t allow someone to help us take that journey.

It IS our choice as to any path we do or do not take.

Literally millions of people can say they suffered and loved ones died in hospitals who were maltreated, who were hoodwinked into allowing doctors and nurses to “treat” their illness. Therefore dump, ban, reject ALL medicine, physicians, reject ALL science because of harm done?

There are many illustrations we could easily find in life to clarify the foolishness and self-destruction such an attitude and mindset creates.

It is in my view and experience exactly like this re. gathering together on a regular basis with God -and His people-.

Unless one decides nothing of the following is edifying or educational as to how we in 2020 and beyond could best live our Christian life and fellowship with others, I suggest close, careful and likely UNcomfortable comparison to what you and I (not the church down the street) live out today:

ACTS 2 AMP (with my italics added for emphasis)

42 They were continually and faithfully devoting themselves to the instruction of the apostles, and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread -eating meals together and to prayers.

44 And all those who had believed [in Jesus as Savior] were together and had all things in common [considering their possessions to belong to the group as a whole]. 45 And they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing the proceeds with all [the other believers], as anyone had need. 46 Day after day they met IN THE TEMPLE [area] continuing with one mind, and breaking bread IN VARIOUS PRIVATE HOMES. They were eating their meals together with joy and generous hearts, 47 praising God continually, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved.

ACTS 5.12b And by common consent they all met together [at the temple] in [the covered porch called] Solomon’s portico.

In conclusion, here are a few questions to consider:

When you gather together with other professing Christ-followers, do you:

Pray together

And/or read or quote Jesus’ words, other words of scripture?

Do you sing, lyrically share “vertical worship of Father/Son/Spirit” together?

Do you in your gathering of friends –serve– those society and at times even the church deems “the least of these” (Mt. 25)?

Does your gathering of professing Christian friends discuss how to actually do and then act out practical service reflecting the Words of Jesus

Sharing verbally the Good News of Christ?

Does koinonia (Bible term: “fellowship”) for you and those you link up with who seek to follow Jesus include any or all of these?

If that’s your personal (shared) “norm” I’d say you are being and doing church locally. I personally could care less about the form because form never automatically equals substance.

Jesus calls all of us to deny self, pick -our- cross daily -not merely Sunday though that day is as much a part of our life and week as the other six days. He calls us to follow HIM. He continually in the four Gospels as do other of His disciples via Old and New Testaments call us to do so -together-.

Those who choose to not link with other imperfect and at times maddening Christ-followers unless and until they find the perfect (by their own reasoning) church are not healthy. All lose spiritually including those in who NEED their very gifts and presence to grow in Christ and in carrying out HIS call to our shared mission. It is not only for ourselves but for others God calls us to gather together.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Doormat, Control Freak, Team Player

Seems to me most of us have all 3 of these inside of us depending on the issue, situation, person or people, or risks involved.

Doormats tend toward timidity, freak out at conflict to the extent they tend to kowtow to whomever over most anything. That’s a recipe for being abused and discarded like you’re without value or worth respect and dignity. Jesus didn’t die for worthless people and in that scripture says (Hebrews) He “died once for all” you apparently are of great value regardless of any other trait you do or do not bring to the table. Doormats have few genuine friends or don’t believe they have them due to their own horrible self-judgment, that is, they often don’t believe themselves worthy of friendship.

Control freaks of course must win, have the upper hand, get their way in most if not all matters and tend to also micro-manage people and events as much as possible toward that outcome. Suspicious of all but themselves they may smile and offer “treats” to curry favor but in the end it’s their way or the highway.

Team players do not tend toward either of these two extremes but have learned to “play well with friends” and the more mature of them even with possible/literal “enemies”. They tend to be peace-makers but do not simply smile, hush and “take it” when bullied nor are they hair-trigger assassins when dealing with people in authority regarding disagreement.

Team players learn and apply the arts of grace, patience, self-control and even love for both hurting wallflowers as well as truly abrasive big shots. They understand and focus on “us” rather than “me” or “vs. them” as core values in relationships. To truly move together in positive collaboration toward shared goals and healthy outcomes is their desire and great gift to any tribe.

Through my lifetime I’ve lived and served with folks who exhibit a strong lean to all three of these approaches to living and doing things together.

At home and travelling the world I’ve witnessed plenty of division, church and other tribal splits and blood spilled due to them. Until we learn to love God supremely and genuinely “love our neighbor as our self” we will continue to either be needless curators of conflict or slink off in self-pity and despair rather than showing up when it’s time to get on the field and work as a healthy team can. It’s either that or there’s no real team, is there?

Things to consider as we journey along in life.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn