Thursday, November 30, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Wait (11/30)


Psalm 27:14
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Wait. Now there's a tough command to follow! We live in a lightning fast world ready to satisfy most of our interests on demand, yet we serve a God that asks us to wait.

When life hands us a difficult patch, the world advises us to work harder, try something different, or go to battle. In other words, do something about it! God commands us to wait.

Exodus 14:13
Moses said, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today."

I have done a lot of challenging things in my life (U.S. Marines, wilderness backpacking, climbing/rappelling, college, raising children, etc.), but waiting for the LORD takes far more courage.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding...

Take courage and wait for the LORD!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Pruning (11/29)


John 15:2
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Do you ever feel spread too thin? Most of the people I know, myself included, are so busy with so many projects that we develop a thin quality to our life. We rush around from task to task and celebrate the quantity of our work. We wear our thinness like a badge. "You think you're busy, you should see my schedule to see what REAL busy is." The truth is that thinness rarely bears much fruit.

Prune ~ to rid or clear of anything superfluous or undesirable

As Christmas approaches our calendars get even fuller; our To Do Lists get even longer. Are there some traditions, meetings, tasks, or expectations that could stand to be pruned? Could we prune our calendars enough to truly appreciate and richly celebrate the birth of Jesus?

Joyous celebration will bear more fruit than thin busyness in every season of the year.

Happy pruning!

P.S. Please write me to share you pruning success stories! Thanks!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Strength (11/28)


Philippians 4:13
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Whose strength will you operate with today? Unfortunately, my default source of strength is me! If we strive to accomplish our work under our own strength, we will fail! Even if that work is ministry. Eventually our strength reaches its limits. Jesus said, "...apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:4)

In order to tap into the limitless power of the Almighty God, we have to intentionally plug into it. Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you..." (Matthew 7:7)

Lord, please give us your strength to face the challenges of this day.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Seek First" (11/27)

Seek First

Matthew 6:33-34
…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

This is a very challenging passage of scripture for me. As far back as I can remember I learned to plan and prepare for tomorrow. And with my planning came anxiety regarding the possibility that my plans might not succeed. It’s practically a cultural norm to fret about tomorrow.

But that’s not what Jesus teaches! Jesus teaches us to seek the LORD, first. Jesus didn’t say, “Work it out the best you can, and if it doesn’t work out, then seek me.” No, Jesus calls us to look to God first.

God knows what we need! (see Matthew 6:32) However, we need to recognize that our true needs may have little or nothing to do with our wants. When we trust God, we can count on our eternal needs being satisfied. And if our eternal, real needs are known to God, then there is no reason to worry about tomorrow.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Stay Thankful" (11/26)

Stay Thankful

1Thessolonians 5:18
...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

I have been experimenting with a gratitude technique suggested by Reverend Phillip Icenogle from the
First United Methodist Church in Pontiac. For the last five days I have substituted prayers of gratitude for negative thoughts. As a negative thought takes shape in my mind, I quickly praise God for something for which I am thankful.

The results of this experiment have been remarkable! First, I quickly lose track of the negative thought as my heart turns to God. Second, I've found that my thankfulness has kept me from habitually traveling down negative thought paths. Truly, I have felt MUCH better during these days of gratitude.

Give it a try!

I'd love to hear about your experience with this technique. Please consider emailing me with your testimony at:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Happy Thanksgiving!" (11/22)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 7:17
I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

I would like to build you up today by reminding you of the amazing God that we serve. Our God is Lord of lords and King of kings. Our God redeems us and provides for us. Our God leads us and teaches us. Our God is our comfort. Our God is, truly, an awesome God!

Praise be to God!

Happy Thanksgiving!


I apologize for not posting a "Build Up" on November 21st! I experienced some significant computer trouble on my home computer, which I haven't resolved, yet!

I am taking a break with my family for the next few days, so I will not be posting to this blog. I will resume the Daily Build Up on Sunday (11/26).

Monday, November 20, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Thanksgiving" (11/20)


1Thessalonians 5:18
...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Pastor Seth Kempf from Salem Church (Gridley, IL) led a Children's Message at the Thanksgiving service on Sunday evening in Graymont (IL). He taught the kids that we can be thankful in all circumstances because God is with us. No matter how difficult our life gets we can always count on God's presence. That really is worthy of our thanksgiving!

As Thanksgiving Day approaches please consider thanking God for His presence in the difficulties that you are facing. It's good to count your blessings, but we are encouraged to "give thanks in all circumstances". This includes the tough stuff.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Unity" (11/19)


Ephesians 4:13
...until we reach unity in the faith...

I've just returned from speaking at a Thanksgiving Service led by the Graymont-Flanagan Ministerial Alliance. The "Alliance" is made up of pastors from the churches in these two small towns. The pastors represent many different denominations. I was moved by the spirit of cooperation and genuine caring exhibited by the pastors.

During his testimonial, Pastor Doug King shared his dream of the day when all the congregations worked together as one body; the body of Christ. Now that's a great vision!

As you start your work week, please consider ways you can work toward unity of the body. Here are some suggestions:

* Avoid those issues that divide the body.
* Concentrate on those parts of our faith that we hold in common.
* Seek partnerships with other parts of the body.
* Praise God for the victories won by other parts of the body. Celebrate with them!
* Pray for other parts of the body that are suffering. Come alongside and help them!

Please send me your suggestions for attaining unity in the body.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Rest" (11/17)


Mark 6:31
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [Jesus] said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."

As this week winds down, I'm craving some rest! It is hard for me these days to cut out time for myself to recuperate from my labors. Frankly, I feel a twinge of guilt when I cool my heels, even for a little bit. There seems to be an unwritten cultural value placed on over-working, and, recently, I've bought into it!

Jesus was gaining popularity in the region. People were coming and going all the time. It seems to me that this was an odd time to take a break. Our culture would say "strike while the metal is hot", "ride the wave", or some other cliche' that drives people to over-work. But that's not how Jesus led His ministry. Jesus encouraged His disciples to step away from the hustle and bustle to get some rest.

As this weeks comes to an end, consider stepping away from all the busyness to a quiet place with Jesus and get some rest.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Neighbor Build Up" (11/16)

Neighbor Build Up

Romans 15:2-3
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself...

Paul encourages us to look to our neighbors and to "please" them. Not that we would receive credit for our kindness, but for the good of the neighbor. We are to please our neighbors so they get built up. This is a strange notion in our culture where we assess every initiative to determine our personal gain.

If you are blessed by these Daily Build Ups, please consider passing them on to your neighbors so they might be built up. It's pretty easy to do:

1. highlight and "copy" the following phrase:
Daily Build Up
2. "paste" the phrase into an email and encourage them to check it out!
3. then "send" the message to anyone you think might be built up by these devotions.

Acorn Ministries uses God's gifts to build up the body of Christ; the Church. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Plans" (11/15)


Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

Our Monday night Bible study group struggled through the doctrine of "providence" this week. It is certainly a mind bending concept. Our study guide defined "providence" as:

"God has specific purposes in our world and that God works in the events of our world to bring those purposes to pass."

I ran across the following quote on my good friend Jason Woolever's blog written by Bishop William Willimon from his book Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry:

God has called us. It all rests upon his summons. It is not our job to make the world turn out right or to see the church triumphant or even to make this congregation into an unmistakable outpost of the kingdom of God. Only God can do that. It is not my task to work in such a skillful, informed, and competent way that my ministry will ultimately count for something. Only God can do that. And while God is doing that, it is good for me to keep in mind that this God wins victories through suffering, through love that, from a cross, moves the sun and moon and stars. The suffering that faithful ministry sometimes entails is not a sign of failure, but of fidelity.

The LORD's purpose prevails.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Be Strong" (11/14)

Be Strong...

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Do you feel like you are under attack? You are NOT alone in facing your challenges. Remember the promise of the Almighty God:

"He will never leave you nor forsake you."

Knowing and trusting that God IS with us, gives us the strength and the courage to face today's challenges. The Lord of lords and the King of kings is, in fact, in your "corner".

"Be strong...for the LORD your God goes with you..."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Prayer Team" (11/13)

Prayer Team

Romans 15:30
I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.

When I struggle I feel all alone. However, I feel very different when I know that others are praying for me. Bill Allison of Cadre Ministries taught me to formalize a team of people committed to praying for me. I've gathered a "Knee-Mail Team" that lifts my requests in prayer. It's awesome having these people join me in my struggles.

In turn, I am a part of several prayer teams for others. When I pray for others I feel like, at some level, I have literally joined in their struggle. I have ached with people as I've sought the Lord for His provision. I have also felt the joy of seeing God's intervention in the circumstances for which I was praying.

I'd love to join you in your struggle by praying to God on your behalf. If you're interested, just email me your prayer request at:

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Grow where?" (11/12)

Grow where?

Genesis 39:1-2
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharoah's officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.

Joseph is sold into slavery by his own brothers. In slavery he becomes successful. Later, Joseph is thrown in jail for a crime he did not commit. He prospers there, too! At any point in this story Joseph had the right to feel REAL sorry for himself. He could have just resigned himself and given in to the awful circumstances in his life. But that's not what he did.

"The LORD was with Joseph" is a recurring phrase in the Joseph story. God is available to everyone and anywhere, so what distinguishes Joseph? Perhaps Joseph didn't look at his circumstances like we would. Perhaps Joseph's faith in God conquered betrayal, slavery and jail. Or, perhaps he trusted God no matter how tough things got, and he simply grew where he was planted.

Consider trusting God as you face the difficulties of this day. My guess is that soon people will recognize that the LORD is with you, too!

May the LORD be with you,

Friday, November 10, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Three Little Words" (11/10)

Three Little Words

John 13:1
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

I was first introduced to the simple children's song "Jesus Loves Me" when I was very young. In all the complexity of life I recommend that we return to these three little words often.

Jesus loves me.

Romans 5:8
...God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We have an awesome God!

Jesus loves you!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Guest Encourager (11/9)

Here's another excellent encouragement from Sandy Egle, Executive Director of Heart to Heart Support Services. If you'd like to encourage Sandy, please send her your thoughts through her contact information at the bottom of this post.

Where’s God?

Proverbs 8:17
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.”

When my kids were young, they used to love doing the “Where’s Waldo” activities. For those of you who may not be familiar with “Where’s Waldo”, they are pictures of town scenes that are very busy with details. Somewhere in the midst of the busy picture, the little guy Waldo is placed. Waldo isn’t really “hidden”, but is easily overlooked because of the busyness of the picture. The challenge is to look only for Waldo and when my kids did, they always found him.

Sometimes our lives become very busy, even chaotic and we lose sight of God in all the busyness of our lives. We wonder if He is even there at all because we just don’t see Him. God’s word assures us that God is always present; we just have to be intentional about looking for Him. When we look for God, we will find Him. Start looking; you may be surprised at all the places you find Him.

Sandy Egle, Executive Director
Heart to Heart Support Services, N.F.P.
101 West South Street
PO Box 237
Flanagan, IL 61740
Phone: 815.796.2207

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Direction" (11/8)


Proverb 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.

Walking by faith requires complete trust in God. It also calls for ignoring our own assessments of our circumstances. When we trust in God we follow a path that just doesn't make sense in the world. Our direction seems odd and often illogical.

If we recognize God in all we do, then He will lead us in the direction He desires. I can't think of a better logistical coordinator than the Creator of heaven and earth. After all, with God leading us we won't have to stop at a gas station for directions.

Trust ~ Acknowledge ~ Follow

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Travel Light" (11/7)

Travel Light

Luke 10:1, 3-4, 17
...the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go...Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals...The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."

Jesus sent His disciples without the normal supplies and equipment needed for such a journey. They returned to Jesus and proclaimed the great things that God had done. What an awesome outcome; a celebration!

I wonder how the outcome would change had they possessed the normal supplies for such a journey? Would the disciples have sensed the peril and sensed God's provision if they carried the "proper" equipment?

What are we carrying on our journey? How would our journey change if we left some stuff home? I believe that by simplifying our "supplies" we may be able to more clearly sense God's movement around and through us.

By traveling light, I believe God's provision is more clearly perceived.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Submit" (11/6)


Hebrews 12:9-11
"...we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

My three-year-old daughter wants to do EVERYTHING herself. She needs adult help in many of the activities or she will likely get hurt or break something. Often I have to discipline her because she's just not ready to perform the tasks safely. Over time she will be able to do it herself, but in the meantime she must submit to my teaching; my discipline.

In my relationship with God, I'm (far too) often just like my daughter. I want to do it myself! The hardest life lesson for me is to submit to God. I don't know if it is my Marine Corps background, fear of what might happen, or just plain old everyday pride. Regardless of the cause, submitting is difficult for me. However, if I don't submit to His training, I'll never learn what I need to learn. If I don't accept the training, then I'll never receive the "harvest of righteousness and peace".

God's discipline shapes and molds us into the people God intends us to be. Let us submit to His training!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Remember" (11/5)


1John 3:1 (The Message)
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it - we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he's up to.

At the start of this new week, I'd like to encourage you to remember who you are. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior then we become part of God's family. We are truly children of God! What an awesome and loving God we have!

The world doesn't get it! The world is ignorant regarding our God, so it cannot understand who we really are. Further, the world will try to tell you who it thinks we are. Don't listen!

Remember who you are!

Your brother in Christ,

Friday, November 03, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "My Race" (11/3)

My Race

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Let's begin by examining the last phrase of this passage. There is a specific "race" planned for us by God. The plan, created by our all-knowing God, considers everything! God considers our skills, experiences, flaws, relationships, passions, when/where we were born, and much, much more. The race is perfectly designed for each of us. In today's marketing language we would refer to it as "My Race".

We should not expect a wide, smooth-surfaced, slightly downhill, running lane as we embark on our race. First, the word "perseverance" should give us a clue that this race involves difficulty. Second, there are obstacles to navigate as each of us runs "My Race". We are encouraged to get rid of everything that hinders or entangles us. This may include leaping some "

"My Race" is marked out for each of us. Let's get running!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Fences" (11/2)


Matthew 14:28-29
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come." [Jesus] said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

Last night, I attended a Revival at my home church led by the Australian-born evangelist
Mike Rayson . He inspired this Acorn Build Up. Thanks for encouraging me, Mike!

Mike shared a really cool thought about Impalas. An Impala can jump 9 feet vertically while covering up to 30 feet horizontally. However, if you visit an Impala at the zoo you will find that the fence around them is only 3 feet high; a height easily cleared by these great leapers.

Mike taught us that they will only make these impressive leaps when they are intimately knowledgeable of the place upon which they will land. Therefore, a tiny fence can hold a critter that could easily leap it, because it's unsure of the landing.

Jesus called Peter out of the boat. Talk about uncertain landing places! Regardless, Peter gets out of the boat and walks on water! We have a powerful God!

Jesus is calling each of us! How often do we hesitate or refuse to follow because of our fear of the consequences. Even though we have the Creator of heaven and earth on our side, we ignore the call because we're not sure what might happen.

Mike asked us last night to identify our "3 foot fences". In other words, what's holding us back from responding to God's call. Jesus is calling!

Identify your fence ~ Trust God ~ Start leaping

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Acorn Build Up: "Celebrating 200 Hits!" (11/1)

Celebrating 200 Hits!

1Thessalonians 5:11
"...encourage one another and build each other up..."

Today I'm celebrating the first 200 "hits" on this blog! A "hit" is registered every time a person accesses this site. Specifically, I'm celebrating that people have clicked on the Daily Build Up over 200 times since October 13th! This is an awesome encouragement to me! Thank you!

There's more! Approximately 25-30 people subscribe to this post and receive it daily as an email. The cool thing is that subscribers don't count in the 200 hits! I'm thrilled that God is using this blog to encourage so many people.

Who could you encourage today? Please consider sharing this daily encouragement with people that you know. There are two easy methods:

1. Email this blog to a friend by clicking on the envelope icon (at the bottom of this post) and fill in the blanks.


2. Copy the following words and paste them in an email to your friends:
Daily Build Up

Thank you for encouraging one another and building each other up!