The.Best.Plan. FOREVER FAMILY.

a) In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny—we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand)

b) …according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will” Eph. 1.11a,b -AMP

“My children are not my children because of what they do for me.” -Carol Hubing

She brought a solid Word to Uptown Church this past Sunday. And she is SO correct! Each of my children were adopted or born out of my love, my choice and my commitment to them.

Our performance for God does not equal daughter/sonship. Our works of service to and for Him are a maturing response to His love NOT A MATTER OF EARNING IT.

There are at least three reasons we have serious difficulty trusting in God’s sovereignty in our life:

Sin -what God in His Word the Bible defines as sin

Unbelief -sometimes due to Him apparently allowing pain and tragedy in our lives perhaps answering our deepest prayer-desires with “No”

Because WE are not sovereign and though we may pretend and wish to be we are clearly, historically not

“Inheritance” on the basis of family rather than earning is God’s prerogative -in a word, grace. Using yet another, relationship, His choice, and our choice to trust and follow Him regardless of feelings, personal crosses, the mistakes and even painful abuse we suffer in or outside of the church, at work, etc..

Faith itself is a gift from Him! Acted upon, it is the reasonable response for “those with ears, let them hear” and follow the Good Shepherd as sheep Whom He purchased with His Own blood.

The issues of life do not simply vanish like smoke in the wind, The struggles of what the early Lutheran’s said (“Faith is a perturbing thing”) are real. So is the Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Believe or disbelieve, God is and has a plan for you (and me). That we don’t always get it or get it as we’d like, in that we have the capacity to reject and run from it, yet He indeed does have The.Best.Plan.

I have found over most of my lifetime (I did not always follow Jesus… that’s an understatement!!) He is FAITHFUL to me. He doesn’t love you any less than He loves me!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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Fresh Woods, Fresh CANJO

I’ve always thought taking a spiritual “time out” is more of an advance than a “retreat” but the latter is what they call ’em. I get the link to that term, it’s just that in taking the time, we change gears, not put it in “park”. It’s not so much a stop as a slow-down.

No matter, Wendi went north for a retreat with a group she is receiving good input from and in that my tour schedule is so full, I just couldn’t do the many-months commitment. But it’s a rich time for her and she shares the teaching with me- very good indeed!

I went south, about an hour from Chicago to the woods and a nearby reservoir. The pics give you an idea of what I saw and then did- be sure to click on them to enlarge.

Well, I didn’t take any of the campfire or my seating arrangement but anyhow… 🙂

I had a tin can in my camp kit, brought along a guitar string and mostly used found-object stuff to create another little 1 string slide guitar otherwise known as a diddley bow. OK- update… working off my last brain cell… technically one built with a can is a canjo or canjoe. We usually call all other such little one stringers (using another sort of box or such as a resonator) a diddley bow. Sounds pretty good too.

There is something about a bright sunny day, a slightly cool wind, campfire smoke and a quiet place to walk, explore, think, pray and just slow down. Life is often fast paced and we all need such breaks. I find most weekends I’m on tour somewhere so mid-week or on this rare Friday off, I try to schedule these short trips.

Peaceful nature and time out is a gift.

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And of course- the sunset.

I encourage you to make time for such breaks- they are restorative!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

GK JUNE Tour Schedule

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From CigarBox Skinny Guitars

I usually post appearances about a month prior and have my May tour post up here already… so figured as summer often changes folk’s plans perhaps I should also pub June shows now. A few more details on these will be added when details are set. Several of these dates include other great musicians-friends of mine with jamming part of the gig! Hope to see some of you on the road:)

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

GK SOLO JUNE 2019 TOUR DATES:

SUN JUNE 2 LANCASTER, PA

OneBigRoar

GKdimsEpi

FRI JUNE 7 – WED JUNE 12  OHIO PRISONS and MORE TOUR

FRI JUNE 7, 7PM GK w. Rex Carroll and Eddie Day @ Akron Bible Church
783 Brown Street Akron, OH 44311

Many of these dates with my friend and guitar slinger Rex Carroll (another non-prison date and details may be announced soon!). Eddie Day another amazingly gifted guitarist/singer and longtime friend will appear at Akron BC and the jams shall commence! For more info.: Chaplain John McClure (Cleveland area) 440.342.0448

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FRI JUNE 21 – SUN JUNE 23 KANSAS CITY AREA

A dear pastor friend and his daughter have asked me to play at her wedding! So… as I am an Ev. Covenant pastor/musician, there will be other services/concert opportunities I’ll be involved with while in KC:

FRI JUNE 21 – KEARNEY, MO – GK Solo in Concert @ Community Covenant Church -exact set time tba! CCC is located at the intersection of 19th St. and 33 HWY; 1820 S. Jefferson St., Kearney, MO 64060
http://www.kearneycovenant.com/index.php
816-628-6974

SUN JUNE 23 – KANSAS CITY, MO – GK Solo @ Freedom Covenant Church 9am and 11am (two places, phone for details plz) -Freedom Covenant meets every Sunday at HopeFaith Ministries
705 Virginia Avenue, KC, MO
From their website -GK says I LOVE THIS:
“Our church consists of about 50% homeless population, 30% from the inner-city, and 20% from the suburbs of Kansas City.”
http://www.freedomcovenantkc.org/
816-241-7070

There -may- be another KC area appearance added Sun. night -if so we will post it when confirmed.

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I may add one or two other Cook County Jail gigs (but you don’t want to be there…) July appearance dates will be posted in about a week -and as always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

God The “Fun Cop”?

I have always loved the artist’s work depicting Jesus with a smile, laughing, obviously joyous while on earth. I’ve also realized the seriousness of interacting with The One Who alone has every right to be called Master, Lord as well as Savior and Best Friend.

He Who IS and best DEMONSTRATED Love is not simply our buddy, a “Whatever!” sort of person we can blow off when we think Him unworthy of our illustrious, amazing self.

Yet He is actually mentioned in The Bible as the happiest person ever. More on that in a moment.

The last half of Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer is well known. Here’s the second half less quoted:

“Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.”

Lots to ponder and much I could discuss but to shorten and focus this post please note:

“So that I may be reasonably happy in this life”

Which means exactly what? What did he or should we consider to be reasonably happy in the here and now?

See, as many have wisely said, either rejecting any faith that God exists, that He is a good and trustworthy God Who has walked the earth as “a man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief” who fully understands (far beyond us) the pain, horrors and miseries on this planet, we so often judge Him as vindictive, harsh, if not the celestial bully “who ought to come down and make things right, fix things as WE want them to be”, all this is not uncommon judgement towards God. Many do think of Him as the supreme “fun cop”. And we get ticked that we don’t get to command Him cuz it’s the other way around. Further, He either set things up as the often terrible, tragic mess they are or at least allowed/allows them to be such. So…

Why would anyone want to trust much less follow Him?

Nobody else qualifies whether in our minds, emotions and stresses, obvious injustices visited upon us in this life, nobody else qualifies as GOD, not anywhere close to Him, that’s one reason.

Who have you known for a lifetime who is flawless, perfect, truly loves you and yet calls you out on your own nonsense on any regular basis? Brutal honesty is that we often consider the consistently loyal (and non-challenging) “wing-man/woman” our Best friend/s because in large part they don’t tell us much of what we don’t want to hear. That’s not the sort of God Who IS Love and Who demonstrates love and Who calls us to love Him as well as our neighbor as our self. Note, “as yourself”, so self-love is part of His core command. Now how does that work out in our everyday, some of which can be truly awful?

Honeymoons are regularly AMAZING and SWEET! And they end. That’s true of any place you live, work, serve, any job, church, social club, fill-in-the-blanks and the honeymoon will end. Then what?

Nobody is fully protected from every/all sorts of temptation, harm, even natural disasters. Some people on some occasions have clearly been delivered from the worst (we often use the term “miracle’ for that) but study the martyrs and you’ll see that God apparently allowed “fun” to take a hike in the most profound sense. No denying this will change historical, biblical facts.

Hebrews chapter eleven lists a number of faithful believers who suffered some of the worst torture and ultimate murder. Was God at fault, deficient, mean because sinful, selfish, demonized people who carried out such atrocities did so, were allowed such power? He is sovereign but human free will is as apparent as can be. Deny that if you wish but either the theological logic is shot full of holes, your perspective on God includes a judgment that He is the ultimate dualist -condemning sin as well as sinners who had nothing to do with their sinfulness.

These are the deep matters of life. So when the honeymoon is over, the fun ceases, now what? Old age, illness, accidents, devastating acts of nature happen -where is God?

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” “Because I live you shall live also.”

The fact is that we love our own lives more than Him. We wish to write our own script and suffering isn’t part of the story. We may indeed create fiction but it’s the story we like best.

Fun isn’t always within our ability to grasp nor keep, at least not every moment or immediately when we want it. That’s a fact.

Until and unless we learn to give thanks to Him for all the truly good things, the beneficial stuff, the provision, the daily “we don’t really pay attention to” blessings, we are in the practical, not seeking nor honoring Him but rather little false deities sitting on paper-thin thrones that are sure to disintegrate at some point during our life time on earth.

“For God has given us all things richly to enjoy”. Sound like He’s a “fun cop” in that?

“In Him we live, and move and have our being”. In my experience of faith, that is a fact whether we give Him glory, seek His face, through our trust on Him or simply “curse God and die” when the spigot on the joy-rides seems quite shut.

That Niebuhr line about “pie in the sky” coming “in the next” life may be tossed by some of my readers as a useless cop out. Understood. I have another response: might the truth be that we are the “God cops”? What about that cop-out? And our qualifications for the position are…??! “If God exists He’ll do things my way!” eats us alive. Believe me, I’ve been there.

About Jesus being the happiest ever? Hebrews 1.9 “”YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS.”

The longer I live the more I give thanks, praise and worship by my thoughts, words, actions and in relationships. When the sun shines and the rain falls I give thanks because I am convinced the One Who holds the world in His hands is faithful and true… and the reality is that nobody on earth is as faithful and true as Jesus.

Oh the fun comes and it comes in many ways at both expected and unexpected moments! I give Him thanks for a LOT of fun in my own life! The pain, rain, stain of a broken, fallen, often estranged-from-Him world is not always fun. The finest honeymoons give way to the everyday work, the commonplace, even at times very difficult and yep, boring (I cannot much relate to that but I get that others do) life we experience in this world.

He is above it all and beyond it all but has absolutely lived it with us in the Son of God.

His Spirit is my daily Source. Fun? Yes! Non-stop or “fun on demand”? Nah. I know that’s a fiction and the Lord and His Word is Truth. I live in relationship to Him and others by that Truth. The rest will all pass as it should.

I know The Designer’s design beats mine every time- fun or not.

Take slow thought on every point raised in that quote from the Serenity Prayer above and you’ll face the “why” of fun being transient but God, His will, peace and real serenity attainable even in this broken and often tragic world.

Things to consider along the journey!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn who ain’t nearly as stoic as some might think:)

Joliet TC Report

Wow. Another WOW day for me.

I woke up checking an email from a bro in the UK. Part of his story is doing time in prison, both for what he’d done and one time for what he had not, and was eventually released. While there he realized that being a reflection of His Savior was important.

Ok, I’m a musician- and you may realize musicians don’t really become lucid until about 8pm or so and after a long life of being one, that pretty well describes me.

So it was early up, bring breakfast to my sleeping wife who also had a phys. rehab appointment this morning, and then load the gear and out I went into a light rain and a little over an hour commute.

I never thought the day would come when walking into most any facility with brick, officers in uniform, high fences, razor wire and big locks on huge, heavy doors would feel so welcoming to me but I noticed feeling that way sometime last year in one of my prison tours. I’ll likely feel it again top of next week during another evening visit to Cook County Jail, Chicago. Yesterday I renewed my annual CCJ ID so am good for another year on that as well.

Today, the kind Chief Chaplain for the facility Fr Louie met me with a smile and hug, the gatehouse officers were polite and professional and all systems were “Go” for the set.

The Lord mercifully stopped the rain just as I arrived and the short walk to the gym was (unlike last year in a pouring rain) puddle-free.

It seemed I could do no wrong during the set and was graced with nearly two hours to bring music, segments of my life story and hopefully for the men, both challenge and encouragement to grow regardless of circumstances. In a word, HOPE. If I could change anyone could and can!

At the end of our time together I asked if I would be allowed to greet the men, was approved and each one were super encouraging to me.

Then, one bro. named Bill, smiling, handed me something he’d created during my set. Wow.

Art is a great therapy and I meet a lot of talented artists behind bars, but something unexpected and personal like this in a moment like today was soooo cool. And he even gave me a bit of hair on top 🙂

My plan is to visit several of the Illinois Dept. of Corrections facilities (including JTC) quarterly.

Such a good day!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Motorcycle Sunday Aurora, IL

Sweet sweet time with old and some new friends today!

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Weather was the best ever, bands cookin’ and plenty of wonderful chats with friends, our GKB set went well, a LOT of great bikes and as always Pastor Randy and crew rocked the blessing on riders for the season.

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Here are a few pics

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-and now a week’s laundry finally done this ol’ dude gotta catch some zzzzzz’s. Oil change in a car tomorrow, picking up my annual Cook County Jail chaplain’s i.d. and a few other errands in the mix.

Thanks to the entire MC Sunday crew, y’all are gifts to us!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

North Carolina

Two wonderful days at Lees-McRae College!

It had been a few years since I’d been in NC, but as always, seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains where I am and interacting w. sweet people is a gift to me!

Here are a few pics from Wednesday’s cigar box building workshop. So cool to see folks faces as they begin to join me in a journey of the history, building and then finding the notes on their guitars at the end of the session!

The school here is in an amazingly beautiful place, and the solo blues set I brought Thursday night was well received too, so grateful to do this trip. AND, the organization for which the concert benefited does such good work- sweet director and I’m so pleased I could be part of this on the evening: Catalyst Sports (www.teamcatalyst.org/boone.html), an organization dedicated to providing the highest quality of adaptive sports to individuals with physical disabilities.

New friends and some longtime fans turned up in both appearances, and I have to say thanks to all who came out on two week nights for these.

Wendi stayed home this time doing baby sitting Grandma duty but I know she was blessed to do so as well 🙂

Banner Elk is a little and very cool town and the college and therefore village is diverse, right up my alley. Getting to know H.D. Steward and his sweet wife Amy was a key gift… such good peeps!

Tomorrow (Sunday) is a GKB set in Aurora, Illinois at the 19th edition of Motorcycle Sunday. Please see my earlier post w. all May Appearances for details.

A bit of rain but the weekend should be sunny so that will be great too.

Ok, hope to see some of you on the road. Meanwhile get outside if you can and enjoy the Spring flowers!

As always, thanks for stopping by, -Glenn