Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Borrowed Hope

Borrowed Hope, by Sandy Egle

1 Peter 3:15
...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have...

In today’s world, there are many hopeless people. I have had the privilege of supporting many hopeless people in my counseling career, but one individual put me to the test regarding my faith. As I shared the reason for my hope, the love of God, this individual asked me if they could borrow some of my hope until they were able to find their own hope. Of course I happily shared some of my hope with them.

Do you have enough hope to share with someone who has none of their own? Scripture instructs us to be prepared to help others understand where our hope comes from. Be ready to help them know the source of your hope and make sure you have enough to share!

Sandy Egle
Executive Director
Heart to Heart Support Services

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Acorn Build Up: An Apt Reply

An Apt Reply

Proverbs 15:23
A man finds joy in giving an apt reply - and how good is a timely word!

Professor Pavlov had a dog. Each time he rang a bell he fed the dog. After time, he rang the bell but didn't feed the dog. The dog salivated anyway. To the dog the bell ringing meant food was coming, so it salivated. Steven Covey calls this a reactive response.

Stimulus ~ Response

Covey suggests that we (humans) have the ability to respond differently. He teaches that we can think before responding. When something acts as a stimulus we have the ability to think prior to reacting. He calls this a proactive response.

Stimulus ~ Think ~ Response

Frankly, I tend to respond to the stimuli of the world more like the animals. And O the pain I've caused from speaking my mind without first engaging it (my mind)! However, I'm learning to exercise my ability to think before I react. There really is joy when I respond with a fitting answer to the situation, but it takes thought and thought takes time!

Let's build up the people we meet today by engaging our minds before engaging our mouths.

I'm thinking...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Courage


Acts 4:13
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

The people that have made the largest impression on me about living a life of faith have been normal everyday people. Of course I've been impressed with learned church leaders, but it's the ordinary people that have profoundly moved me.

If you really want to impress the people in your neck of the woods, then live a courageous faithful life in Christ. People will take note of your behavior. They will take note of your character. They will even take note of your acquaintances, particularly when they know that you walk with Jesus.

Astonish someone!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Catch and Release

Catch and Release

2Corinthians 10:5
...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I'm thankful that people can't hear my thoughts! Unchecked, my thought life takes me places I wouldn't want my friends and family to know about. However, just because my thoughts aren't audible doesn't mean my thoughts go undetected.

The LORD knows the thoughts of man... (Psalm 94:11)

God knows our thoughts! He even knows what I'm going to say before I say it (Psalm 139:4). This is VERY sobering to me that even my thoughts are exposed before the Lord.

Granted, we can't control the impulsive thought that explodes on our consciousness, but we can control what happens next. We can learn to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. As thoughts race across our mind we must recognize or capture them, quickly evaluate them in the light of Christ, and then dismiss every thought that doesn't withstand the scrutiny of our Lord Jesus.

As we begin this week lets practice some catch and release with our thoughts:

Capture ~ Test ~ Release



Friday, January 26, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Peace


Matthew 5:9 (NRSV)
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

My heart is very heavy regarding the war in Iraq. God led me to this verse. Let us seek peace in every corner of our influence.

Pray for peace,

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Uncertainty


1Timothy 6:17
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Isn't it odd how uncertain life gets when we step out in faith? The irony is that the uncertainty of life doesn't change just because we stepped out into something new. No, the truth is that life is uncertain all the time. We just get lulled into a false sense of security because the pay check comes in on a regular basis.

Our habits, routines, and familiar habitat create a sense of certainty, but it isn't real. Life is uncertain. No matter how comfortable we get, one phone call can change our life.

However, the uncertainty of life need not leave us feeling hopeless. There is a source of hope that is trustworthy. That source of hope is God. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In God we can be certain. In God we can find our hope.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Door Knocking

Door Knocking

Matthew 7:7-8
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Several of my friends are seeking new ministries. God is calling, and in some cases, has called, them out of their former work. Their paths are often uncertain and regularly challenging. From my own experience the early steps in any new venture can be, at best, unsettling.

My friends, take comfort. Jesus promised that if we ask then it will be given. Jesus promised that if we seek we will find. Jesus promised that if we knock the door will be opened.

Keep asking!
Keep seeking!
Keep knocking!

A fellow pilgrim,

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Acceptable Sacrifice

Acceptable Sacrifice

Psalm 51:15-17 (NRSV)
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

We work so hard for the Lord. We fill our calendars with efforts to please Him. We pour our lives into our labor to earn His smile. Yet, these are not the sacrifices that please our God.

For that matter, I often get so involved in my service to the Lord that my service takes center stage. Our ministry is not the sacrifice that pleases our God.

No, the acceptable sacrifice is brokenness and contrition.

Contrition is defined as sorrow for and detestation of sin with a true purpose of amendment, arising from a love of God for his own perfections.

What pleases God is our genuine praise.

Praise the LORD, O my soul... (Psalm 103:1)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Conform?


Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will.

How do you do the work you do? Do you do it like everyone else? Or is there something different about the way you approach your labor?

We are called to do life differently; to conduct all aspects of life in a distinctively Christian manner. Living differently depends upon keeping our mind fresh. As we spend time studying God's word and praying, God molds our minds to think more and more as He thinks. As we think differently our lives are changed; transformed.

Transformed lives look different.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Unity


1Corinthians 12:12, 26-27
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it, if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.

I participated in the leadership of a Christian Unity Service this evening as part of the local Ministerial Association. There were 13 pastors from a wide variety of denominations. There were some very moving moments during the service, but the thought that captured my attention was the show of unity by these religious leaders from different denominational backgrounds.

For a moment or two this evening the body of Christ made sense to me as I looked down the rows of the assembled pastors. It was a genuine show of unity.

As we launch into this new week, let's find ways to connect the body of Christ. Let's find our common ground. Let's cheer on our brothers and sisters in the other churches. Let's reach across our denominational lines and assist our fellow parts of the body. After all...

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it, if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Accounting for Hope

Accounting for Hope

1Peter 3:15
...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

A friend asked me this week how she could support my ministry. I made a joke about sending thousands of dollars. The truth is I'm not good at telling this part of the Acorn Ministries story because it has been the most challenging aspect of pursuing this dream.

My greatest frustrations have been about money. From the beginning I knew that it was God that would provide for this ministry. But as the four years have marched past, I realize that it is through people that God does this providing.

So, what is the reason for my hope? The source of my hope is the living God who sustains me. Regarding the dream of Acorn Ministries, this too lies completely in the hands of God. My job is to trust and obey.

I've added a new link on this blog called:
Acorn Ministries HOPE List

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Guest Encourager - Part II

God Said It was Very Good, by Sandy Egle

Genesis 1:27-31
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them...God saw all that he had made, and it was very good...

Part II (read Part I)

In Genesis one, the Bible tells us that God created man in His own image and that God saw all that He made and it was very good. The rest of His creation God said was good, but His creation of man was very good.

When we understand that our value comes from God Himself, we will know that we have very high value because God said so himself. Nobody and nothing can change the fact that we are created by God and He sees us as very good. We can also stand on the fact that no matter what, our value will never change because God never changes.

We are all sinners and we sin against God, that is our nature, and sin is what we DO, not who we are. What we do, if sinful, does displease God, but what we do does not change our value to God, he still created us and he said “it was very good.”

Know that you are loved and VALUED by God. Your worth is priceless!

Contact Sandy at:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Guest Encourager - Part I

God Said It was Very Good, by Sandy Egle

Genesis 1:27-31

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them...God saw all that he had made, and it was very good...

In today's world, man continually searches for his own significance and value. Most often we look to our vocation, education, financial status/stability, and relationships to define our value. Unfortunately, these measurements can change very quickly and beyond our control; relationships break, we become dissatisfied with or lose our job, we experience financial difficulties, and the list goes on and on.

If we seek to find our value as a person in those ways, our value constantly changes. It's like trying to weigh yourself by using a scale that measures pounds one day, meters the next, inches the next, seconds the next, and so on. With each of those measuring scales, our weight would appear to change.

But, what if we used an unchanging scale to determine our personal value? Scripture tells us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. In Genesis one, the Bible tells us that God created man in His own image and that God saw all that He made and it was very good. The rest of His creation God said was good, but His creation of man was very good.

Check out tomorrow's Daily Build Up to read the conclusion to Sandy's insightful encouragement!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Witness


John 1:6-8
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

Wouldn't that passage make a great summary statement for the life of a Christian? John's focus was on preparing the way for people to come to Christ. He lived it, ate it, breathed it, preached it, and died for it. And because of his ministry many have come to believe.

It probably wouldn't work for us to run around in strange attire and eat bugs like John did. However, the more differently we live, the greater the possibility of witnessing to the light of Christ Jesus. If my life is no different than the way non-believers live, then how does an onlooker differentiate the Christian life?

God has sent us as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through us all people might believe. (see Matthew 28:19-20)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Acorn Build Up: God is good!

God is good!

Psalm 100:5
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever...

When I worked (and lived) at a Christian camp, I was in the habit of leading a cheer with the campers before they'd enter the dining hall for meals. It went like this:

Me: God is good!

Campers: All the time!

Me: All the time!

Campers: God is good!

I know it's a simple message, but it's a good one to keep in mind. No matter what the world throws at us this simple truth never changes: God is good all the time!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Stronghold


Psalm 18:1-2
I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

For most of my life I lived oblivious (ignorant) to the spiritual forces active in this world. Like a blindfolded man on a battlefield, I walked recklessly through life. As my faith matures, the Holy Spirit has begun to show me the REAL world; the spiritual world.

I have a growing awareness of the spiritual battle that is raging all around us. However, this war is not fought like earthly battles. Instead, the battlefield is in our mind and in our hearts. The enemy attacks the way we think and tempts our hearts.

We are not alone in this battle. With the strength of the Lord we can withstand the attacks. We can take refuge behind the shield of God. We can find safety in His stronghold.

I love you, O LORD, my strength.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Closed Doors

Closed Doors

Luke 9:3-5 (The Message)
[Jesus] said, "Don't load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple, you are the equipment. And no luxury inns - get a modest place and be content there until you leave. If you're not welcomed, leave town. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on."

When we follow Jesus, we will undoubtedly encounter closed doors now and then. It seems like it is an inherent part of the pilgrim way. But closed doors don't have to become a big deal.

Jesus taught His disciples to simply shrug their shoulders, move on, and try some other door. The important thing is to keep trying doors!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Fog Navigation

Fog Navigation

Proverbs 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.

I'm overwhelmed by the number of my friends that have stepped out in faith to begin new ministries. One thing we all have in common is that the first step, although it was a challenge, was only the beginning of the adventure.

When one steps out on faith it is expected that the going will be smooth. After all, we're following God's will for our life. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Remember Peter stepping out of the boat? His first step or two went pretty smoothly, and then he noticed the wind and the water!

Stepping out in faith requires undivided attention on the One who calls us. When we trust the Lord completely, acknowledge Him in everything we do, then He will guide us through the fog.

Trust ~ Acknowledge ~ Follow

Monday, January 08, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Simple Reminder

Simple Reminder

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Sometimes I need to be reminded of the simple truth of our faith. This is one of those days. When all is said and done, it is my belief in the Son of God that makes all the difference. And that difference is eternal.

Praise God for loving us so much!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Never Alone (1/7/07)

Never Alone

Matthew 28:20
...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

As you strap on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11) to begin another week of work, be encouraged because you are not alone in the battle. For that matter, you are never alone. Jesus promised that He would be with you always.

The Lord Jesus Christ is in your corner! He accompanies you in every battle. He comforts you in every storm. He provides for your every need. That's an amazing ally to have on your side. You are never alone!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Master's Touch (1/5/07)

The Master's Touch

Mark 1:40-42
A man with leprosy came to [Jesus] and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.

God's touch can bring immediate healing! However, it really is up to God. God's purposes are beyond our comprehension; therefore, it confuses us (regularly in my case) why He heals in one case and not in another.

I love how the man approached Jesus with the phrase "if you are willing". The man suggests by his request that Jesus is in control. And, it was God's will that was important. The man made his request, but submitted it to the authority of Jesus.

O how I long for the immediate healing for myself and others, but it is God's will to which I must submit. I must trust that God's ways are the right ways, even when they are beyond my comprehension.

Appeal ~ Submit ~ Trust

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Prayer Time (1/4/07)

Prayer Time

Mark 1:35
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Life gets so busy! It gets harder and harder to cut out the time to pray. Jesus found His quiet time with God early in the morning.

We pray not to change God; rather, we pray that we might be changed. (Thomas Aquinas) When we take time to pray we are the ones that get changed. Time with God is like that.

Let's strive to cut out a little time from our busy, earthly lives to be changed by the God of eternity.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Unlikely Heroes (1/3/07)

Unlikely Heroes

Romans 3:23
...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...

When I think of heroes I picture squeaky clean, mistake-free, super-human people. However, when I look through the history of our faith, I rarely (meaning only once) find God choosing that kind of person. Instead, God regularly (meaning almost always) chooses people that are anything but hero material.

These are just a few examples of the unlikely people God has chosen to be heroes of our faith.

Abraham and Sarah (parents of a nation who were childless in their old age)
Joseph (the one with the famous coat was a slave and convict)
Moses (murderer and shepherd)
Mary and Joseph (common, unmarried parents of the only perfect Hero)
The Disciples (rag tag common people)
Paul (who persecuted Christians)

And now He calls us! We are the next generation of unlikely heroes God is calling forth. Yes us, with our sinful nature and our human frailties. Paul wrote:

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

God's grace to you, hero!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Louder Than Words (1/2/07)

Louder Than Words

1Corinthians 2:4
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power.

As ministers, each of us has the opportunity to introduce people to the Gospel, regardless of the nature of our work. Granted, many work environments are not conducive to gathering our co-workers for a good old come to Jesus meeting.

On the other hand, there is more than one way to introduce the Gospel message. Many credit St. Francis of Assisi with these words:

Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.

The more modern phrase actions speak louder than words applies as well. We don't realize it, but people are watching us. They're checking out how we react to the conditions around us. They measure our responses. They know we are people of faith and wonder what difference following Jesus Christ makes, if any.

Let's show them what we are made of!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Back to Work (1/2/07)

Back to Work

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

I must admit that for most of my life I believed that people in pastoral ministry were the only people working directly for God. I even sought full-time ministry as a step away from just plain work toward really serving the Lord. I had it all wrong! We can, and should, serve the Lord in whatever work we do.

As many of us return to our work after a bit of a break over the holidays, this seems like the perfect opportunity to evaluate our attitude toward the work we do. God has placed us where we are. Let us honor God by undertaking the tasks of our work for Him. We are all in ministry when we serve Jesus Christ, no matter what work we do.

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