Lord willing I will eventually do an entire Christmas cd project. When it happens we’ll let y’all know as it will certainly be on Grrr Records (see the link on the right side of this site).Meanwhile, here is a very short (on purpose) tune I wrote last year. It’s not a blues, but a worship song, a basic demo in Mp3 format, my voice and high-strung acoustic guitar recorded live on a small digital recorder, one mic, no frills. Happy birthday to Jesus, Merry Christmas to all reading this! -GlennTHE GIFT I BRINGwords & music by Glenn KaiserCopyright © 2010 Grrr Music/RecordsI give you all I am
The past 2 years our family has been invited to do a concert at this excellent venue in Frankfort, Illinois. We do 99% Christmas songs in newer and some in more traditional fashion, read hrough the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible, share poems and a bit about the orgins of Christian Christmas traditions.Ami, Brach and Joby (“The Unfortunate”) do a set, and two of Wendi and my daughters (Ami and Rebecca) join as well as two of my grandsons, singing along with Wendi and I.Curt, brilliant family poet, reads through the Christmas story as well as a couple of his own wonderful holiday poems. All in all, it’s a special evening focused on our Lord’s birth.The staff and audience are always amazing and sweet, the coffee is great… and we have a lot of fun.Last night God put the first snow of the season on the ground and the beauty of it all was quite nice.How blessed I am by my Lord,, my family and the family of God… whew!I posted a few pics as well as a demo of a Christmas song I wrote here: http://gkaiser.posterous.com/“Grace upon grace” indeed. -Glenn
Trusting all reading this had a great Thanksgiving (here in the U.S.). What follows comes from my own morning devotions today. I hope you find it worthwhile. Thanks for stopping by! -GlennThe Sermon on The Mount -Glenn’s Overview”The restoration of the church will surely come from a new kind of monasticism, which will have nothing in common with the old but a life of uncompromising adherence to the Sermon on the Mount in imitation of Christ. I believe the time has come to rally people together for this.”-Dietrich BonhoefferWithout question, others have done a far more masterful job than I will here. What follows are simple, blanket thoughts regarding one of Jesus’ most-quoted and important messages given to a large crowd on a mountainside:Mt. 5.1-16 (World English Bible Translation)5:1 Seeing the multitudes, he went up onto the mountain. When he had sat down, his disciples came to him.GK- Jesus actually sees people. Sadly, I and we do not always notice. He sat when He taught. The focus is on the Father and on the people. And His disciples came to Him. Sadly, at times we don’t and therefore do not hear His heart, His mind, His view on things.5:2 He opened his mouth and taught them, saying,GK- Jesus is rabbi, the Teacher, and not a mere academic nor orator/preacher/writer, but One Who truly communicates the very nature of God to His listeners. This is not about “wow-ing” the crowd, but about deep and needed information pertaining to spiritual, emotional and yes, physical health and of course, for the glorification of Our Father as we shall see.5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.GK- “Blessed” means to be envied, happy, truly satisfied. As we shall notice, all of the points Jesus makes are related to all people at various times in our lives. There are those times we are poor, empty, impovrished right down to our very breath (spirit). But there is a kingdom -coming-… and it is the kingdom of God where all who have loved and served Him in Christ will one day be!5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.GK- Early, middle or later in life mourning happens. Whether loss of loved ones in death, injustice, personal illness, job loss or any number of pains all of us face mourning. Jesus tells us comfort WILL happen in us.5:5 Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.GK- The gentle, the meek (which I have sadly often -not- been…) indeed have an inheritance, and that inheritance is promised by Jesus Himself. One cannot but think of those hearing this message, many who had zero power in terms of education, land ownership/rights, inheritance or any sort, political authority and on and on… and He is telling them all this -will- change not due to their own ability or strength but due to the Father’s will and in the Father’s timing.5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.GK- I have sometimes asked myself if I truly HUNGER… THIRST… for what God considers righteousness? Sadly, I often fail in this. And yet -being filled- with these things comes to us as we learn where our truest need really is! We-shall- be filled!5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.GK- True confession: for years I have prayed for the spiritual gift of mercy. Merciful is not how I would describe myself and it is a shame and deep need for others to receive a sense of the mercy of Jesus via me. And so I pray. Of course I want to receive mercy, who doesn’t?! But the point is to -be- merciful and I pray for growth and the Spirit Who gives gifts and produces such fruit in our lives to do His work in me for this.Again, Jesus tell us such will receive mercy…5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.GK- Wow. He gets deeper still! Pure in heart. One heart, one mind, focused on Him, His will, His Word, His way, His plan, His desires, His love for others. Pure. Holy. Genuine. Unsullied. Such -shall- see God!!5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.GK- Making peace brings blessings to the person who helps bring it about as well as to those who were either fighting or on the edge of warring. In our marriages, families, churches, workplaces and world there are just too many fighters and not enough peacemakers. I am personally convicted to pray and work in my own prayer life, mind and inserting myself into discussions and writing that -making- peace is part of Jesus’ call to His people! I think in my own country (U.S.A.) that peace-making is not all that near the top of our list of priorities. It’s more about personal gain (see the book of James about why fighting and war exists) than peace between people. God help us find this blessing by working for peace! Help -me- be part of peace-making rather than another round of fighting and resultant pain! The true children of God are at core, about peace. How quickly we forget this!5:10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.GK- What strikes me here is how often we as individuals and groups, consider ourselves righteous/holy/correct simply because we are persecuted. Not so! But alas, this is how we are at times tempted to interpret this verse. It is about Jesus, about the righteousness of God, not our own righteous behavior. It seems to me the core of the persecution Jesus is talking about has to do with living out His love in relationships and societies where others seek something or someone other than God’s love and will.5:11 “Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake.GK- What always leaps out at me here is “my sake”. It’s all about Jesus. For HIS sake we at times may get blamed for this or that. False stuff, hard knocks due to our allegience to Christ are simply part of our road. He’s worth it.5:12 Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.GK- I suppose a root point here is “prophets”. People don’t like being told to repent, to change, to get their relationship with God in order and often neither do I! So if and when we are speaking truth (even in the real and super love of God) there are going to be detractors, angry people. Consider John the Baptist’s end and face the reality of this if you are going to be salt and light in a pagan society.5:13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.GK- In the most basic sense, of what value are you and I? To God, we are fully, totally, always valuable regardless of what we do or don’t do, regardless of whether or not we “produce”! Having said this, it is also true that in terms of humankind, our works speak louder than our thoughts, words or intentions. Salt indeed gives flavor, seasons, preserves, burns away germs and infection (think “gargling with salt” when one has a sore throat, etc.) and is important for life. Light is essential for good health as well (the good stuff from the sun’s rays) as the simple ability to not stumble in darkness- literally and spiritually. God is light and the entrance of His Words bring light. The New Testament calls Christ’s followers “children of light” and “children of the day”.5:14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden.GK- See my above comments. Salt and light must be genuine, authentic and present for a real life. And there is the “shine”, the reflective properties of light. We are like the moon- we have no light of our own but relfect the sun… or literally, The Son. Trying to hide or bury the salt and light, always and forever remaining silent, refusing our various prophetic callings (the varied ways we reflect Jesus Christ in our daily life) is not only a cop-out and irresponsible, it reveals a lack of the very love of God within us. The more we are filled with Him the more we will sense ways to bless others around us -regardless of personal cost.5:15 Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house.GK- Jesus continues with His “light” metaphor. Here again we don’t see “secret service” Christians but Christ-followers who stand out in bringing God’s love, light, truth to those around them. It is NOT “the pastor’s… or other professional’s job”… it is the daily, supernaturally natural life of all believers to relfect Jesus where we are to those around us. I don’t hear Jesus saying we should be obnoxious, rude or jumping up on a stage every chance we get. What I hear Him saying here is something along the lines of “Of COURSE you are going to reflect Me as you daily follow”! But do we? Today, am I? God help us!5:16 Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.GK- This is -not- about salvation by works, nothing anywhere near it! Jesus is saying that humankind NEEDS to recognize our life in Him. A genuine salvation experience with Christ will ultimately result in our living out the Good News which means (Jesus’ words, not mine) your and my “good works” will be seen. They will be noticed. In the end, the question is “what motivates these people to live like this, to sacrifice, share, give and love like they do?” And of course the answer is our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Therefore, a witness is offered through you and I… and the true end to all this is the glory of God! Jesus always and always points to God the Father, always teaches and acts in order to turn hearts, minds and actions towards the Father. ALL of what He has been teaching them and therefore you and I about thoughts, beliefs, difficult circumstances, actions and even the painful trials coming to His followers while we witness to Him on this earth, such a calling, such a lifestyle and even through the pains of “Jesus is coming, these blessings ARE COMING” but are not always each moment ours yet. They are wrapped in need, want, desire, wrapped in the “coming but not yet!” All of this boils down to glorifying God. This IS our life, LIFE. “For Christ IS our life” (Col. 3.4)and the glory of God our goal as it was/is His!
I read with joy and interest a longtime friend’s comments on his walk with the Lord today. God has graced him with a wonderful heart, wife, kids, local church and some fruitful ministry to quite a large group of people both locally and beyond.What he did mention was that at times he finds the work of ministry investment in family, church and other mission as well as plain old survival in such a difficult economy as we now face, truly exhausting. I’ve heard much the same from a lot of people and have experienced it myself over the years in different time periods.There is dragged-out tired and there is the end of the day tiredness of good and right service to God and others where you are drained but really Good Tired, not just burnt-out tired! I can recall many situations where I really needed sleep, but it was with a great feeling of God’s blessing on my life with a secure knowledge I had done what I needed to do, in loving obedience on the day. Such bedtimes are really sweet. Sleep comes with a smile rather than fretting over getting up the next morning.BUT- there is a rest for the people of God and we all need to learn such Sabbath rest… even on a Wednesday 🙂 It only took me about fifteen years (!) but at some point I realized the true importance and indeed, necessity of actual REST.No matter your heart, calling and sacrifice, a handful of people may mis-judge you for being lazy or “why isn’t he/she working?!”, but blow it off and enjoy God, peace and quiet, a garden, a good book, music, a movie or just a coffee or tea and the sun and wind in your face for twenty or thirty minutes every now and then.I try to make/take and enjoy such times each week, perhaps twice or three times per week really. Alone with God, sitting on a park bench or somewhere you can just take a breath, turning off the cell phone and laptop, just cooling out a bit is SERIOUSLY NEEDED for busy, working people.Stress is what it is- and often even very short breaks like these can help you “come up for air”, bring a fresh perspective on current events in your life or that of your family and others who you care and perhaps fret over.Years ago our entire Christian community moved several blocks into our current buildings. There was so much work to do, all of us were so maxed out in expending energy, and the new place needed extensive work. One night I ended up at dinner alone after a long day. Well, not totally alone but my wife and kids were packing a little bit up left at our old building, and so I sat alone at one of a few tables in our new dining room. Seeing one of our pastors across the room I pleaded “Tom- don’t leave after supper bro., I gotta talk and get some prayer!” He stuck around and we had a short chat and prayer together. I just said “Dude, I’m fried and don’t want to be on edge with Wendi and the kids tonight… you better pray for me please”.He laughed and said “We’re all fried. But I have some advice: take a few bucks, ask for someone to listen out for the kids and you and Wendi go out and see a movie together.” We did. He was right- we just needed to chill for a bit. And I still do from time to time. And so do you.If you’re reading me right- and you are… it’s not only about a scheduled quiet time with the Lord. That too, But any sort of break, rest, just slowing down, quiet time of reflection, watching the birds in the trees, fishing, whatever, we ALL need to learn to take short breaks throughout our week.It’s not always the extended vacation. Re-fueling with God, sometimes with a hobby, sometimes a cup of tea and quiet chair with our shoes off. A long, hot bath.By the way, I don’t know how many Christ-followers really “get” that rest is part of rather than excluded from our worship of the Lord… but it truly -is-. Rest is literally a command of God, and part of worship is loving obedience to Him, is it not?Trust me- you’ll find recovery time from your energy-burn a very important and helpful thing!Grace!-Glenn
TOWARD A GREATER INTIMACY WITH GODSeveral Definitions of the word “Intimate” include:close personal relations, an intimate friend characterized by or involving warm friendship or a personally close or familiar association or feeling, warmly cozy, knowledge, understanding arising from close personal connection or familiar experience, detailed, deep, a close union, relating to or indicative of one’s deepest nature, essential, innermost, very personal relationship, a close friend or confidant.Mt. 1.23 they will call him Emmanuel,” which means “God WITH us”Mt. 28.20 I am WITH you alwaysJames 4.8 Draw NEAR to God and he will draw NEAR to youJohn 6.37 the one who COMES TO ME I will NEVER send awayMay we have more than a form of religion denying the power, shrinking away from God’s presence! Prayer- both listening and speaking, sharing thanks, fears, desires, concerns, Study of the Word of God, readingdevotionals and great spiritual books new and old, sensing the Holy Spirit among us even in our fellowship with brothers and sisters- recognizing His love, His touch, His blessings, His nearness is all part of the process.It’s a life-long pursuit WITH a loving Father Who is “a friend that sticks closer than a brother”!May we make forward progress in a genuine, spiritual intimacy with God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord this year! Amen.
A good bro. with an .edu email address just wrote me an encouraging note about music we’ve done and so forth. Very kind words.He also asked about another bro. who had taken a “no contemporary music” stance re. his Christian walk, and asked me what I thought about the individual’s writings whom the other bro. had been influenced by (there are more writers than the one he mentioned but I’m not going to name names as it’s largely irrelevant). Here is my response to him via email today, Christmas Day in fact 🙂 Blessings All!”Thanks so much (name withheld) for your kind words here.My most basic reply to the speaker/writer you mention and the sort of views that he voices is that if one truly reads the whole of Scripture, focuses on the 380 verses in context (exegesis, not eisegesis) that speak directly to the issue of music (340 OT, 40 NT) you will find little support or rejection for any specific, particular style of music.Lyrics are a different matter, one’s own character and lifestyle are a different matter- and these are both HUGE and spoken about all over The Bible. But if the issue is music, as in anything else for the Christian disciple- one must go to The Word of God for a solid foundation re. any given music style being spoken of as sinful or holy. The text is fully silent on this particular point, and it is THE point people seem to often focus on and pontificate about in such speaking and writing.Sadly, though the Word is often quoted in these discussions, it is rarely if ever quoted in context regarding music itself, and that is -the- issue!I truly doubt those who have led people to saving faith in Jesus Christ will have to apologize in heaven regardless of the music style they may have played in the process of either evangelism, worship or discipleship.As a seasoned old saint once said, “It’s incredible how much light the Scriptures shed on the commentaries!”Ps. 101.1Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year of service to Jesus,-Glenn”