Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Wait for the Lord

Wait for the Lord

Psalm 27:14
Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

There is such hope in this verse. That hope can only spring from a heart that trusts fully in the Lord. For what else upon this earth could possibly give us real hope in the face of adversity?

When we trust God, we can patiently wait for His perfect timing. However, waiting patiently upon the Lord is not a passive thing. Henri Nouwen describes waiting as anticipating that each moment may be the moment. He suggests an up-on-the-balls-of-our-feet posture ready to seize on the next cool thing God is going to do in our lives.

Be strong and take courage!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Strength and Peace

Strength and Peace

Psalm 29:11
The Lord gives strength to his people; The Lord blesses his people with peace.

Several regular readers of the Daily Build Up are currently fighting through significant illnesses. This verse jumped out at me as an encouragement to them and to the rest of us.

When illness comes our human strength is tested and our human peace is shaken. It is in these times we reach our limits as humans. Standing at the end of our human self we recognize how much we need God. Embrace God's strength! Drink in His peace!

God's strength and peace will amaze those close to us. In this way, even our illness can bring glory to God.

Praying for your healing,

Monday, February 26, 2007

Acorn Build Up: The Purpose of Gifts

The Purpose of Gifts

1Peter 4:10-11
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit gives us gifts. These gifts include the ability to teach, the ability to lead, and the ability to speak. Some have the gift of making money. Others are given the ability to comfort others in need. And there are many other gifts of the Spirit.

We are called to serve others with the gifts that we've been given. We use these gifts to build each other up in the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12). Everything we do with our gifts must serve the purpose for which they were given. That purpose is to bring glory to God.

Do all that we can with all we've been given and give all the glory to God.

For God's glory,

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Center Stage

Center Stage

Philippians 4:5-7 (The Message)
Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Worry can take hold of our life. It sneaks in as a passing thought, a fleeting image. Instead of resisting worry, we re-visit it. The visits become more regular until our worries occupy more and more of our thinking. Before long, our worries can take center stage in our life. There is no peace when our worries take over.

The way to send our worries packing begins with recognizing their residency. We can detect these squatters by paying attention to our thinking (see Catch and Release). Once recognized, express our worries to God, place them before God's throne. Soon those former worries will be replaced by Someone much more satisfying. As we return our attention to Christ, His peace will return, too!

Let's put Jesus as the main event on the center stage of our life as we begin this new week.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Sight Setting

Sight Setting

1Timothy 6:6-8
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

In the Marines I learned to set the sights on my weapon depending upon the distance between the target and me. The farther the target the higher I needed to adjust my sights.

Our culture teaches us to desire great wealth. In other words, it teaches us to aim very high. In our attempt to hit these ridiculous targets we work too much, we accumulate too much stuff, and we spend beyond our means. What would our lives look like if we re-set our sights?

The truth is that we can never gain enough wealth and stuff to reach contentment. This is played out every day in the news. People that appear to "have it all" in terms of wealth and fame with completely wrecked lives. Let's set our sights a little lower. Let's look around and realize that we already have more than we need!

Hebrews 13:5 content with what you have...

Be content!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Acorn Build Up: 100th Post!

100th Post

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

It's hard to believe that this is the 100th posting for the Daily Build Up!

People regularly express how God has blessed them through the Daily Build Up. It is so cool to be a part of the lives of so many people around the world. Here's a list of countries where we have Daily Build Up readers:

620 United States
5 Canada
4 United Kingdom
4 China
3 Brazil
3 Spain
2 Singapore
2 Germany
1 Philippines
1 Mexico
1 Malaysia
1 Italy
1 France
1 Chile

I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to share the Daily Build Up with your friends and family. It's very simple to pass this gift on to others. All you have to do is copy the following words into an email, then send it to anyone that you would like to encourage:

Daily Build Up

If you'd like each Daily Build Up sent to you as an email, simply type your email address in the "subscribe" box on the right and follow the easy directions. IT'S FREE!

NOTE: If you would like to support this ministry, please click on the "Make a Donation" button on the right.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Acorn Build Up: God's Assurance

God's Assurance

Hebrews 13:5b-6 (The Message)
Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you," we can boldly quote, "God is there, ready to help; I'm fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?"

When we go through the difficult times in life, it seems as if we are all alone. But this simply isn't true! God is always at our side. No matter what, God is with us!

And, He is ready and willing to help. Granted, our idea of helping might not be what is best for us. With that in mind, God will help us through the tough stuff in a way that will help us become the people He designed us to be.

And, God won't let us down. God is trustworthy! We can count on Him. With God on our side, let us be fearless in the face of the difficulties we face this day.

Take courage!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Scattering Seeds

Scattering Seeds

Mark 4:26-27
[Jesus] also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.

Like seeds, we really don't understand how the kingdom of God grows. However, we do know that our scattering of the seeds is an important part, but scattering the seed doesn't make the seed grow. It is God that makes the kingdom and the seed grow.

How we spread the seeds is important. There are lots of seed scattering methods. I've seen people load seed into a straw and, like a blow gun, shoot the seed in the direction of the targeted non-believer. Nor should we horde the seed; holding back from telling people about Jesus. Also, our scattering should be done with integrity, that is, our testimony should be in agreement with our life.

Scattering the seed of the Good News should be like handing a precious gift to a cherished loved one. Gently and patiently presenting that which God alone can grow.

Happy scattering!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Set His Face

Set His Face

Luke 9:51 KJV
And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.

Jesus knew the duty that was before Him in Jerusalem. He knew the outcome. Yet, He responded with great resolve.

God is calling each of us into His service. Sometimes the thought of the tasks we are called to causes us to hesitate. In my case, I think about the possible negative outcomes or the costs of the effort. Next, I find myself engaging in other tasks in order to avoid that which I'm really called to do.

Again, Jesus knew the personal danger that awaited Him in Jerusalem. Nonetheless, Jesus steadfastly set his face to go...

Facing it with you,

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Feeding Sheep

Feeding Sheep

John 21:17
The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

As we step into this new work week, let us remember for whom we work. If we really love Jesus, then our work is for Him. And, the work He calls us to is to feed His sheep. The sheep we have the opportunity to feed include every person with whom we come in contact.

The grumpy boss and the tardy employee, the cranky customer and the sad passerby, the peer in the next cubicle and the guy who cleans up after us, ALL need to be fed. Let's grab a bag of sheep feed and get to feeding. Sprinkle a little lovingkindness here and a little grace there. Pour out a gentle word here and a caring shoulder there. Absorb a cutting remark here and offer a leg up there.

The sheep are hungry!

A fellow feeder,

Friday, February 16, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Itching Ears

Itching Ears

2Timothy 4:2-4
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

One thing that is troubling about the digital age is that one can find "an expert" on any and all crackpot theories. It's weird. If someone posts something on a blog or places something on their website, then the general digital public accepts the statement as fact. As followers of Jesus Christ we must be diligent and careful as we digest the piles of information available to us. For their are many myths, but only one Truth.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me..."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Scripture Time

Scripture Time

2Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Believe me when I say that I am not a Bible scholar. I love the Bible, but I am not very knowledgeable about it. Even though I can't name the books of the Bible in order, scripture is the primary medium through which God speaks to me. I want to encourage you to spend some time this weekend reading the Bible.

The task of reading the Bible is quite daunting when viewed as a 1000+ page book. Instead, approach the Bible as a bunch of books in one big Book. Now, try to attack one of those books by reading one chapter each day. Before you know it you've read a whole book. Now choose another one...

One of the awesome things about the electronic age that we live in is that we can access the Bible digitally. In a digital format one can search for key words or phrases throughout the Bible. This has opened my eyes to awesome passages of scripture that don't seem to be in the mainstream.

How do you fit reading scripture into your busy life? Email me your suggestions or leave a comment on this blog.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Listening in the Dark

Listening in the Dark

Matthew 10:27
Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.

One of the scariest moments in my life was on a wilderness canoe trip in northern Minnesota. I was in my tent and had just about fallen to sleep when I heard it. It sounded like a human body had been dropped into the lake about 20 feet away! For what seemed like hours I listened for every breaking twig, every passing breeze, and every rustle in the leaves. My hearing was so cranked up that my beard on my sleeping bag sounded like a canoe on a gravel bar!

I think that's the kind of listening God wants from us when we are in the dark. You know, those times when spiritually we're out of sorts; nothing seems to be going according to our plans. Unfortunately, our temptation is to close our ears and open our mouth. Oswald Chambers wrote: attention when God puts you into darkness, and keep your mouth closed while you are there...if you open your mouth in the dark, you will speak while in the wrong mood - darkness is the time to listen...just listen and obey...God will give you a very precious message for someone else once you are back in the light. (Excerpt from My Utmost for His Highest)

Currently in the light,

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Calm in the Storm

Calm in the Storm

Matthew 8:24-26
Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

We are hunkered down waiting out a pretty significant winter storm here in central-Illinois. Schools and businesses are closed. Not much is moving outside except the gusting wind and the snow that it is moving into large drifts.

I am not afraid. I place my faith in the God that created all that exists. I place my trust in the God that can part waters, heal the sick, and walk on water. My faith is in the Jesus that was so unimpressed by the storm that he could find sleep in the midst of it. I trust the Jesus that with a word could calm the storm.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Shield of Faith

Shield of Faith

Ephesians 6:16
...take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Do you ever feel under attack? It's likely that you are. There is evil in this world and we are often its target. Its strategies are covert and its weapons are subtle. Our enemy speaks doubt into our lives. It tempts us with things of this world. It confuses our priorities.

However, we have an awesome tool to fend off these attacks. We have our faith. Our faith in the living God serves as a shield to expose and dismiss the attacks of the enemy. Our faith in Jesus the Christ will defend us from every attack.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Prioritize


Acts 6:2
So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables."

The apostles were not making a value judgement on the relative importance of feeding the needy. Rather, they realized that they needed to prioritize that which they were particularly equipped to do; ministry of the word of God.

We are surrounded by responsibilities which cry out for our attention. As leaders we must prioritize those tasks that we are uniquely gifted/situated to do. Then identify competent people to carry the responsibility of the remaining important tasks.

Identify Needs ~ Prioritize ~ Delegate

Encouraging you is one of my top priorities!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Breaking with Tradition

Breaking with Tradition

Exodus 18:21-23 capable men from all the people...Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you...If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.

Moses had a challenge on his hands. He was the arbitrator, or judge, for every dispute. People lined up all day and night to have Moses judge the disputes. Moses was getting tired, and the people were spending all day waiting in line. Can you imagine waiting in line all day with the very person with whom you have a dispute?

Moses' father-in-law saw the problem and suggested a solution. In order to solve this problem he would have to change the way things were done; break with tradition. Even though the tradition was wearing Moses out and frustrating the people, it still took courage to change the way they always did things.

Where are the traditions in your life? Are there activities that you take part in out of habit even though they no longer serve their initial purpose? Can you identify tasks that you currently manage that could be delegated to someone trained with the skills to handle them?

In Christ,

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Meeting Challenges

Meeting Challenges

James 1:12 (The Message)
Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

Given the opportunity every person reading this post could likely describe a testing-challenge in their life right now. Challenges seem as common to humans as breathing. The uncommon aspect of challenges for the Christian is our loyalty to God.

The Christian, despite the present challenge, loyally remains in love with God. No matter how bad the testing becomes we should always strive to maintain our relationship with Jesus. As the challenges pass, the relationship, strengthened through weathering the testing, grows and deepens.

A deep loving relationship with God is life, and what a life it is!

Head-on into the fray!

Again, I've upgraded this blog. Please let me know if you have any difficulty receiving it. Email me at:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Renewed Strength

Renewed Strength

Isaiah 40:30-31
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Despite my best efforts to avoid the various illnesses that have followed my family home, I'm starting to come down with something. I thought about skipping the Daily Build Up for today and cuddle up on the couch, but then I opened my Bible.

I did a word search on the word hope and found this verse in Isaiah. As I read this passage I actually began to feel my strength return. It make sense. When I approached the task of writing, which I really love, I was thinking of a writing it out of my human strength, which was pretty much gone tonight.

...but for those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength...

Shifting my hope to the Lord, He renewed my strength. I had ample energy to tackle this Build Up! Where's your hope? Is it in your skills and aptitudes, your experience, or your position? Or, is your hope in the eternal, living, creating God that can lift us up and make us soar?


P.S. I will be upgrading this blog soon. Please contact me if you have any difficulty accessing these posts over the next couple of days.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Listen to the Spirit

Listen to the Spirit

Luke 12:11-12
When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.

I regularly play out conversations in my head as to how I will respond to challenges about my faith. OK, I worry about what I will say in the heat of the moment. Yet, when those moments come I have always found an answer to the questions. Most of the time I think, "Where did that come from?"

Jesus taught His disciples to trust the Holy Spirit in these moments. The Holy Spirit still teaches us today in those important critical moments. However, we have to listen. If our heads get too full of our own thoughts, it is pretty difficult to hear the lessons the Holy Spirit has prepared for us.

Trust ~ Listen ~ Respond


Monday, February 05, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Post-Game Reflection

Post-Game Reflection

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...

Well, the Super Bowl is in the books. I won't take up your time bemoaning the outcome. However, I will share that while reflecting on the big game, I went from deep disappointment, to anger, to joy, and ended up in praise. I praise God for the thousands of ways that He advanced His kingdom through this event.

In the passage above, God reflected on the creative effort of the day. Let's take time at the end of this day to reflect on the goodness of God. Let us look at the blessings which we've received. Let us see in the tough stuff the training that God has provided. Let us look at our mistakes of this day with objective clarity. Let us look lovingly upon Jesus for His sacrificial act that cleanses us of our sins.

God is good!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Pre-Game Build Up

Pre-Game Build Up

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.

There is an awful lot of hype that precedes a sporting event like the Super Bowl! It seems that every angle is observed and reported upon. I have seen some very interesting, and sometimes bizarre, stories of the pre-game rituals that the athletes go through.

As spectators we all go through pre-game rituals, too. I start by reserving the use of the TV on my family's calendar of programs to watch. Next, I get my menu planned for during the game. I always sit in the same chair with the same blanket.

Each day in the life of a Christian is filled with real spiritual challenges. As a Christian facing today's big game, what is your pre-game ritual? Do you spend time huddling with our heavenly coach, Jesus? Do you prepare for the competition by reviewing the game plan, the Bible? Do you stretch out spiritually by spending time in prayer with the God that made us?

Let's prepare for today's contest!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Royal Position

Royal Position

Esther 4:14b
And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?

I just watched two of the coolest video clips I have ever seen. The clips feature the Bear's Head Coach, Lovie Smith, and the coach of the Colts, Tony Dungy, telling about their faith in God. These two Christian men obviously understand the purpose for which they have come to royal position! They are on the world's brightest stage, and they are bringing glory to God!

I want to give credit to Bill Allison, Founder of
Cadre Ministries, for sharing these clips with me. If you would like to see them yourself, please check out Bill's blog at:

I don't know about you, but I don't coach a professional football team. For that matter, I don't lead anything that receives any media attention at all. However, that does not mean that I am exempt from the expectations and opportunities of my royal position. Everyone of us has an audience. God placed each of us exactly where He wants us.

Let's take advantage of the spotlight that shows upon us.

Glory to God!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Acorn Build Up: A Kind Word

A Kind Word

Proverbs 12:25
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.

Have you noticed your added weight? No, I'm not talking about the extra pounds that we collected over the holidays. Rather, have you noticed the heaviness that comes with worry?

For me worry starts out innocent enough with a fleeting thought regarding a possible negative consequence of some action. The problem begins when I don't immediately
capture that thought and hold it in the light of Jesus. Unchecked, that thought grows and grows and grows. Before long what began as a fleeting thought now occupies most of my thinking. It weighs me down.

One way to lighten someone else's load is to offer them a kind word. I know that sounds pretty simplistic, but think back to the last time you heard a kind word. Do you remember how it made you feel? How it lifted your spirits?

Unfortunately, kind words, which cost nothing to give, are in surprisingly short supply. Let's each cheer up one person today by offering them a kind word. Who knows, the act of cheering up someone else just might lighten our load while we're at it!