Friday, December 22, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Word and Deed (12/22)

Word and Deed

Proverbs 21:3
To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

I spend most of my time around religious people, and happen to be one. We (religious people) must be some of the most sacrificing groups of people in existence. We sacrifice for our various ministries constantly. Granted, much of the work we do is good stuff, but at what cost?

I am going take a break from my sacrificing work for the next week and do what is right. I plan to invest this time in my family, who, by the way, tends to sacrifice a lot for my work. My hope and expectation is that this will be acceptable to the LORD.

I intend to start posting the Daily Build Up on January 1st (subscribers will receive this by email on January 2nd).

Merry Christmas! May God bless you richly in the coming year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Guilt and Rest (12/21)

Guilt and Rest

Matthew 14:23
After [Jesus] had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.

What is it about our culture that causes us to feel guilty when we even think about taking a moment to rest? It boggles my mind how I can feel bad when I sit down for a short nap even at the conclusion of days of endless working. Nonetheless, when my seat hits the chair the guilt alarms go off!

I understand the role of guilt and shame as they help me understand my sin. But taking a well needed rest is not, in and of itself, a sin. Perhaps it's our deep set concern about being seen by others as slothful. Or, perhaps it's our desire to impress others by our tireless work ethic. Or, perhaps, more simply, our guilt comes from our concern about other people.

Jesus, the perfect Son of God, took time to rest and pray. Jesus, who had unlimited power at His disposal, stepped out of the limelight for respite. Can you think of a better role model?

Get some rest. Again, it's OK!

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Quiet Place (12/20)

Quiet Place

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

Most of us can relate to the busyness experienced by the disciples. People were coming and going so much they couldn't even find time to eat. Sound familiar?

Jesus tells the disciples to go somewhere quiet and get some rest. It seems to me that it is OK to take a respite from the busyness now and then. Please consider taking Jesus' command in a personal way. Find a quiet place where you can go sit with Jesus and get some rest. It's OK!

Peace be with you!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Guest Encourager (12/19)

God the Great Gift Giver

Proverbs 18: 16
A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great.

So often we hear comments being made about materialism during the holiday season. As I have been in the final throws of buying and making gifts for my loved ones, I have been intentionally mindful of the precious gift that God gave each of us. I have remembered that God spared no expense in His gift of Jesus Christ to us and of the fact that He gave us this gift because He wants to, NOT because He is obligated or has to give us anything. So, as I am making my last minute purchases, I am following the example of the Great Gift Giver and choosing gifts that are meaningful and an expression of my love for those I am remembering this Christmas.

May you too be mindful of that precious Gift that was given by God Himself to all of us. Merry Christmas and may you experience God’s blessings throughout this holiday season.

Sandy Egle

Monday, December 18, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Encourage (12/18)


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

Have you noticed the stress of the people around you? I have. People are overwhelmed by tasks associated with the end of the year, which are further complicated by the holidays. I hear people say, "I have something every night this week!" I've gotten caught up in it, too!

But what if we thought differently...

What an awesome mission field! What if we considered these stressed out neighbors as opportunities to do some very cool ministry. You've heard of the random acts of kindness. Wouldn't this be a particularly effective time to brighten someone's day? Wouldn't it speak volumes about the God we serve if we built up the people around us?

By the way, the more we encourage others, the more we will be encouraged ourselves. It is like spreading a virus; encouragement is contagious!

I hope you catch it!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Grace III (12/17)

According to my records this is the 50th post to this blog! Praise God for His wisdom and guidance which determines these encouragements!

Grace III

Romans 1:14-16
I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish; so I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel: It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.

I'm borrowing heavily from a book by John Piper titled, Desiring God. Piper writes:

Apart from the special, saving grace of God, people are dead in sin, darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God and hardened in heart (Ephesians 2:1, 4:18). And the means God has ordained to administer that special saving grace is the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Saving grace is available to everyone through hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we have an opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone, let us boldly share it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Grace II (12/15)

Grace II

John 1:17
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

For me this is a sweeping passage of scripture. Sweeping because it seems to sum up the entire Bible. God gave the law so that us humans would learn of our sin. The law of Moses reveals our sinful nature. Our sin disrupts our relationship with God. Therefore, we need reconciliation with God. The law does not offer us a way to return to relationship with God.

God gave us grace and truth so that we might be reconciled with God. Without grace we cannot be reconciled to God. That is, we can't work hard enough, or live cleanly enough, or buy our way back to God. Through Jesus we find the grace needed to be reconciled to God. Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

God is good!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Endurance (12/14)


James 1:2-4 (NRSV)
My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

These are busy days around our house! On top of the normal chores of life we add the many year end and holiday tasks. There seems to be an endless stream of concerts to attend, parties to plan, shopping to do, and services to lead. It can be overwhelming to the point of feeling like trials.

Isn't it ironic? In our zeal to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ, the Prince of Peace, we wear ourselves to a frazzle. Instead of fighting it, this year I'm trying to embrace it and consider it nothing but joy.

Have faith my friends! Endure the challenges that this season presents. As endurance has its full effect we will grow and mature into the people God has designed us to be.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Acorn Build Up: The Courier (12/13)

The Courier

Luke 3:4-6
...A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God's salvation.'

In ancient times the king of the land occasionally toured parts of his dominion. A courier would be sent along the king's intended route with the message to repair the road because the king is coming.

Like the couriers of old, John the Baptist announced the coming of Jesus the Christ. However, John's message to "make straight" had nothing to do with roadways. Instead, John called for people to make their lives fit for the coming King.

William Barclay wrote, There is laid on everyone of us the duty to make life fit for the King to see.

As we approach the celebration of the birth of Jesus, let us reconsider John's call. Let us make our lives fit for the King of God's world to see.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Late Night Encouragement (12/11)

Late Night Encouragement

2Corinthians 12:9
...My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

My day got away from me before writing today's encouragement. Frankly, the night got away from me, too! So I'll keep this simple.

I am nothing without God's grace. In my weakness God's power is made perfect.

The Avowal, by Denise Levertov, 1923-1997
As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit's deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Stakes (12/10)


Matthew 21:19-22
Seeing a fig tree by the road, [Jesus] went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked. Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea.' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

Baby elephants at the circus are held in place by tying them to stakes pounded into the ground. The stakes are strong and placed deep enough to hold the babies. As the elephant grows into adulthood they are held in place by the same stake. Even though an adult elephant could easily rip the stake out of the ground, they never do because they are convinced that they can't. All through their childhood they were unsuccessful, so they give up trying.

Us humans could learn a lesson from the elephants. We also get convinced that we can't do certain things. When faced with challenges we remember our past failures. Remembering our failures diminishes our confidence and DOUBT enters in. Doubt is the faith killer!

Jesus said that if we have faith and do not doubt, then we can move mountains. Where are the stakes of doubt in your life? With faith in Christ you can overcome doubt and rip those stakes right out of the ground!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Short Absence (12/6)

I will be unable to post Daily Build Ups for the remainder of this week. I am traveling to Pennsylvania for the next few days and will not have access to the internet. I look forward to continuing these daily encouragements at the beginning of next week.

Please pray that my travels will be safe and that my work will be fruitful.

Yours in Christ,

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Guest Encourager (12/5)

Today's encouragement is submitted by Sandy Egle, Executive Director of Heart to Heart Support Services, N.F.P.

James 4:17
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.

As we near the end of the year, we may be starting to gather ideas about New Years resolutions that will help us get the new year started out on the right foot. We vow to slow down and rest and maybe even start exercise programs, diets, not work so hard, and the list goes on and on. We promise ourselves that “starting on January 1st, I will begin . . . “ and you fill your own blank.

My question has been, “why wait until January 1st?” If this resolution is important enough to start at the beginning of the year, is it not important enough to start right now? Why wait? When I put something off until that perfect time, that perfect time never seems to arrive or there is some “good” reason why I can’t start on the appointed day.

As Christmas approaches, we face one of the busiest times of the year. Many of us are already feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done in preparation for our holiday celebrations. My challenge to myself, and to everyone is to start our New Years resolutions today. We will experience those anticipated benefits immediately. My guess is that we could all use those benefits right now, and we may even find out that we will be able to enjoy this holiday season much more because of it.

God Bless, and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Masters (12/4)


Ephesians 6:9
And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

For those of you who have the responsibility of leading people, Paul has something to say to you, too! As a worker is called to serve as if he is working for God, managers are called to “treat your slaves in the same way”. That is, bosses are called to manage people as if they are doing that work for the Lord.

Our management title does not give us license to mistreat our subordinates. On the contrary, management carries with it the responsibility to lead people in a way that is pleasing to God. After all, manager and subordinate serve the same real Master. Our heavenly Master will judge managers and subordinate without favoritism; both will be assessed on how well they served the Lord!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Serve (12/3)


Ephesians 6:5-8 (Message)
Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ's servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave of free.

I ran across this passage in a study called
The Truth Project, which I attend weekly at the home of my good friend, Jamie Fitzsimmons. As a new work week dawns it seems timely to remember for Whom it is that we are working.

No matter what work we find ourselves in, we are called to do that work as if we are doing it for Christ. Believe me, I know this is a difficult challenge when our job stinks and our boss is similarly scented, but that's not the point. The point is that we serve a higher Master. We serve God!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Acorn Build Up: Logs (12/1)

This Build Up was inspired by my good friend Marty Mogk. Marty is one of my personal encouragers. Hardly a week goes by that I don't receive some kind of thoughtful support from him. For information about Marty's encouragement ministry, please email me at:


Matthew 7:3
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

If I could gather up all of the lumber that has resided in my eye, I could build a 4-bedroom home! I seem to have 20/20 vision for other people's specks, but I'm almost blind to my planks.

For me the trouble starts when I am uncomfortable with the other person, you know, the one with the huge speck in his eye! The more uncomfortable I get, the more I start speck hunting. I'll admit it, I get downright judgmental. I'm learning that the concentration it takes to do microscopic surgery on his eye temporarily distracts me from my own 4-bedroom eye discomfort.

Discomfort is a great warning light that we are spiritually off center. As the urge to speckhunt emerges that's the time to check out a mirror. Ask God the question, "What is it that's really bothering me about this?" Then ask Him to help extract the plank. As the plank is removed, it is amazing how much clearer we will see the other person!

Thank you Marty for the inspiration for this Build Up and for your years of encouragement!