Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Band Camp - Absence

I thought I could keep up with my Daily Build Ups and serve as an instructor at Pontiac (IL) Township High School's marching band camp, but I was wrong. Temperatures in the 90s and an aging body have proved a little too much for me.

I will try to get going again before too long. Thank you for your patience!

God is good!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Prosperity


Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I'm hearing a lot these days about prosperity. I've heard this passage from Jeremiah offered as a indication that following God will lead to prosperity. I agree, but with a deep concern for how we define prosperity.

One definition of prosperity is worldly wealth. One could deduce from that definition that if one follows God, then he will become wealthy by the worlds standards.

I happen to adhere to a different definition. I believe God's definition of prosperity is becoming the person that God designed me to be. In God's economy wealth is measured by spiritual maturity, not by the car one drives. I believe God's plans are to help me to be spiritually mature.

James 1:4
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Prosper in the Lord!

If you have time and interest, check out this video by John Piper about the "Prosperity Gospel":

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Wet Toes

Wet Toes

Joshua 3:15-16
Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away...So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.

God didn't "pile up" the water in the Jordan until the priests got their feet wet. That appears to be a standard operating procedure for God, that is, He waits until we make a commitment.

My dear friend Jason Woolever put this great John Maxwell quote on his post-methodist blog:

Commitment is the Key
“Until I am committed there is a hesitancy, the chance to draw back. But the moment I definitely commit myself then God moves also and a whole stream of events begin to erupt. All manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, persons and material assistance that I could have never dreamed would come my way begin to flow toward me… the moment I make a commitment.”

God is calling each of us into action, to cross our Jordan.

Let's get our feet wet!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Guest Encourager: Rachel Smith "Be Still"

Be Still, by Rachel Smith

My father died at the end of May and I have searched for sometime now on how to convey this unique and confusing kind of pain that comes with loosing a parent. My father and I were not close the years immediately before his death and I wonder in my finite mind, will I see him in heaven? Will he know me? Will he love me? Will he miss me? Will he forgive my wrongs?

I can’t think about my own flawed earthly father without thinking of our perfect heavenly father. You see, the earthly parents we all have were chosen for us (good or bad) by the Lord himself. I have had times in my life where I have felt separated from God. Where I have strayed from what is right. In fact almost every day I make choices that would not please my God. I wonder in my finite mind, will I see him in heaven? Will he know me? Will he love me? Will he miss me? Will he forgive my wrongs?

And then, He answers me softly “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

Monday, July 23, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Trust


John 14:1
Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me."

Trusting is tough for most of us. We've been burned by people that should have been worthy of our trust, so we learn not to trust others. Plus, our culture screams at us to be independent and self-reliant. Pride, which we are so susceptible to, doesn't make trusting any easier. I can still hear the toddler in me screaming, "I can do it myself!"

Then we wonder why life is so difficult. We fret and we worry.

Jesus calls us to trust Him. Trusting God allows us to stop worrying. After all, if we trust that God is in charge, and He loves us, and His plan is to prosper us, then why waste time and energy worrying?

Trust God ~ Don't Worry


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Another Absence

Another Absence

Sorry for the extremely late notice, but I'm away from my computer this week. I'm serving as the "speaker" for a High School Camp being held at Camp Menno Haven.

Here's the brochure blurb:

~High School Camp . . . July 15-20. . . Grades 10-12* . . . from the hyper worship to the exciting full-camp games to the coffee house banquet, this week is what your looking for to complete your summer! C'mon, seriously though, just ask your parents to assume your car payments for a week and come on down. Camp runs from Sunday at 6 PM to Friday at 6:30 PM.

I will rest up this weekend and start posting Build Ups next week. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Stand Your Ground

Stand Your Ground

1 Corinthians 15:58 (The Message)
With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.

I saw a great sign in front of the Faith Christian Church (Washington, IL). It read:

The mighty oak tree was once a tiny nut that stood its ground.

God calls us to participate in gaining ground for His Kingdom. The challenge is that God ways are not the same as the ways of man. God's ways often look unreasonable to the world.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world...

Against the pressure to conform to the world we are called to stand our ground. Further, we are to throw ourselves into the work for which God has called us. Keep in mind that no effort made for God will be wasted.

Stand your ground.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Guest Encourager - Woolever

Are you a lifter or a leaner? – Submitted by Pastor Jason Woolever

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

Check out this old poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox:

There are two kinds of people on earth today,
Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.
Not the good and the bad, for 'tis well understood
That the good are half-bad and the bad are half-good.
No! The two kinds of people on earth I mean
Are the people who lift and the people who lean.

Are you a person who lifts the loads of others with your attitude, words, and actions? Or are you the type who makes people's loads feel heavier than they were before you entered the room? What would your family/co-workers say?

To read more from Pastor Jason, check out his blog at:

Monday, July 09, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Watch your mouth!

Watch your mouth!

Ephesians 4:29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

"Watch your mouth!" is a phrase I remember from my youth. My memory of these words is pretty clear because I think I heard them often. The words that come out of our mouths can be terribly hurtful! The old "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me" is less than accurate in my experience. Words can hurt!

I was a freshman at a Big 10 university when I heard, "You can't write." He was a graduate assistant and I was his student in an English 101 class. The shame is that I believed him. It took me 11 English classes to break the hold those words had on me.

I was a junior at a different university when I heard, "You write well, but you just need some work on your grammar." She was a part-time teacher and I was her student in a special 099 English class for people that needed help to function at the college level. Those words had power. Three years later the faculty members overseeing my graduate work suggested that I needed to publish my writings!

Change a life, encourage someone with your words today.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Neighbor Build

Neighbor Build

Romans 15:2
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

The world teaches us to stand on top of your neighbor in order to get ahead. According to the prevailing culture, neighbors are people to out-run, not build up. After all, building up someone else doesn't do anything for the "bottom line", that is, pleasing my neighbor doesn't help me.

Talk about counter-cultural! Our faith teaches us to to reach out to our neighbors for their good. We are to encourage them and build them up. We do this for their good, not for our own personal benefit.

Reach out and build up a neighbor.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Absence


I will be away from my computer for a few days. I hope to get a Build Up sent your way later in the week. Until then, try to find ways to build up the people God places in your path. Lifting people builds spiritual muscles.

In Christ,