Thursday, August 30, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Change


Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Imagine visiting a factory that produces high-heeled shoes. As you tour the facility you find that everything about the place is designed to make high-heeled shoes. The whole assembly line is planned in a specific way so that each person plays a role in putting together these shoes. Not surprisingly, at the end of the line we find beautifully constructed high-heeled shoes.

After all, wouldn’t it be silly to stand at the end of the line and expect a tennis shoe to come rolling out? No, the organization is designed perfectly to achieve the outcome, the product, of a high-heeled shoe.

Yet that’s how we tend to look at change. We stand at the end of the line and expect something different to come rolling out. Remember, every organization is perfectly designed to get the outcome it produces.

Now, if you like the results you are getting then leave the system alone. On the other hand, if you want something different, then something needs to change. After all, no matter how much we want a tennis shoe to roll of the assembly line, if the line is designed to produce high-heeled shoes, then that’s what we will get; high-heeled shoes.

What would you like to change? What needs to change?


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Struggling


James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Have you noticed the inconsistency and the sporadic way in which I'm posting these Build Ups? There's a reason. The reason is that I've been struggling. Namely, I am struggling financially and I've allowed that struggle to throw me off my game.

I've allowed the challenges of this world to distract me from my purpose. It's sad when I profess a ministry of "using God's gifts to build up the body of Christ; the Church" and yet I stop building up as soon as the times get tough. There's no doubt in my mind that these are, in fact, tough times. However, the difficulty of the path doesn't give me an excuse to quit the journey and go home.

According to Oswald Chambers, "Faith must be tested, because it can only become your intimate possession through conflict." If our faith was never tested, then it would remain in a weakened, infant state. On the other hand, when we rely on God through the tough stuff our faith matures and grows strong.

Norman Vincent Peale
Through persistence, self-knowledge, prayer, commitment, optimism, a resolute trust in God and the building of your own personal moral strength, you can enjoy the blessings of a deeper faith and face the difficulties of life with courage and confidence.

Consider it pure joy!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Guest Encourager: Rachel Smith "Words"

Words by Rachel Smith

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.

My brother taught me something when my father died. I'm sure my brother doesn't even know it, but our actions often speak louder than our words. My father's mother, was never a grandmother to us. In fact she was very mean to both of us and to my mother. I've never cared for her and my father always had us call her by her first name, because she didn't want to claim us as her grandchildren. She now has Alzheimer's and it's in latter stages. She came to my father's memorial service and said some inappropriate and hurtful things. I fumed. How could she continue this meanness even after his death! But my brother went up to her and hugged her and said, "Hi grandma, I'm so sorry"

His kindness was a great lesson on what our words are for. A lesson I will never forget.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Fix Your Eyes

Fix Your Eyes

Hebrews 12:2-3
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

When we think of Jesus and what He did for us, it seems that the sorrows and struggles of this world lose their intensity. When we concentrate on Jesus we take the focus off of ourselves. When we consider Jesus everything is different.

I love the old hymn, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" by Helen H. Lemmel (1922)

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.

Fix your eyes on Jesus.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Get set, Go!

Get set, Go!

Hebrews 12:1
...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.

God marks out for each of us a race to run. Our unique course is designed by God with our individual gifts and graces in mind. Our path is planned to bring glory to God as we participate in the building of God's kingdom.

Sadly, I fall so short of my potential. I allow myself to be hindered and entangled by things of this world. The more I become ensnared the slower I move. Often I consider taking what looks like an easier path.

This passage reminds us to remove anything that hinders us or impedes our progress. It reminds us to keep moving forward despite the difficulty. It calls for us to find our marks, to get set, and to GO!

Have a great run!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Busy Summer!

Busy Summer!

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."

This summer is proving to be a busy one! What ever happened to lazy summer days when boredom was the biggest challenge of the day? Sigh.

Two things are suffering due to my busy-ness: 1) my Daily Build Ups have been sporadic at best - perhaps I should change the name to Occasional Build Ups, and 2) time with my family. I'm going to attack the latter by investing the next eight days in some intensive family time, commonly referred to as "vacation".

Unfortunately, the "Daily" Build Ups will remain on hold until I return. If you need encouragement, please stop by the Daily Build Up site and read through a few of the 180+ postings that are always available.

God is good!