Monday, October 22, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Seeking God

Seeking God

Acts 17:24
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.

Seems to me there is some general confusion on this point. It appears that some people go to church on Sunday to find God there. Yes, I believe God is there, at the church. However, God is also at the grocery store, the football game, and in the living room of our home. Seeking God can, and probably should be, a full-time effort. No matter where we go, because God is everywhere.

We spend amazing amounts of money building and maintaining these "temples". Even though God doesn't live there, we pour precious resources into upkeeping "the Lord's house". Please don't misunderstand my point. I love churches! Often times I do encounter God in these meticulously built halls. After all, God is there, too! My point is that we can seek, and find God, anywhere and everywhere. The key to successfully connecting with God is that we, in fact, seek Him.

Seek the Lord!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Church Conflict II

Church Conflict II

Matthew 5:23-25
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary...

Since the church is made up of people it is completely understandable that we will have conflict in the church. It is in the resolution that the people in the church can distinguish themselves from the rest of the world.

I've noticed that the longer an issue remains unresolved the larger the gap grows between those involved in the conflict. Sides are chosen. Arguments are polished. Character is questioned. Faith is questioned. Jesus says, "Settle matters quickly..."

I've noticed that there is weight in carrying a grudge. It takes lots of energy to haul it around. Depleted, it is difficult to stand before the Lord. Jesus says, "...go and be reconciled to your brother..."

Jesus says, "...if...your brother has something against you..." Jesus doesn't mention who is "right" or who is "wrong" in the argument. Rather, if there is an issue, then resolve it, quickly!

If there is conflict in your life, resolve it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Church Conflict

Church Conflict

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

One of my most shocking discoveries about the church is that sometimes church people disagree! Sorry for the sarcasm. However, the truth is at first I really was shocked. Frankly, it wasn't the fact that church people disagree; rather, it was the way they disagreed.

Here are the facts.
* Every church is made up of people.
* People are flawed.
* Therefore, churches will have conflict.

The question isn't "if" there will be conflict, the question is "when" will it happen. To me the more important question is "how will conflict be resolved?"

God calls us to live life differently than the world lives it, to follow a distinctly Christian pattern. When our conflicts in the church look the same as the way the world fights, then we are conforming to the pattern of the world.

Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)

Conflict is a given. How we resolve it is the question. Jesus calls us to show the world we are His by loving one another.

Love one another!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

Psalm 9:11
Sing praises to the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.

I launched this blog on October 13, 2006. The Lord blessed this effort in a wonderfully surprising way by encouraging people all over the world! I praise God for the impact of the Daily Build Up experienced in the following countries:

United Kingdom
and others!

I estimate that just under 9500 posts (9479) have been read in this first year! Praise the Lord!

I want to express my gratitude to the "guest encouragers" that added their awesome voices to this effort of building up the body of Christ. Particularly, I want to publicly thank Rachel Smith and Sandy Egle for their contributions. I praise God for these great saints!

If this blog encourages you, please consider passing it along to your friends. It's easy! Simply copy the following address and paste it in an email to your friends. I'd love to have the opportunity to encourage them, too!

If you'd like to support this ministry, please prayerfully consider making a donation by clicking on the following PayPal link. You can use (or set up) a PayPal account or your credit card.

Make a Donation

Gifts can also be sent by check to:

Acorn Ministries
PO Box 237
101 West South Street
Flanagan, IL 61740

Thank you for helping us provide this ministry of encouragement for another year!

Sing praises to the LORD!


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Fanning the Flames

Fanning the Flames

2Timothy 1:6-7
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.

One of my favorite things about camping is the campfire. In order to keep the flames going, I must tend the fire. I add wood, rearrange the placement of the logs, and, if needed, I blow air onto the embers to keep the fire going. If I leave the fire alone too long, the flames will die out and eventually the fire will die.

Our faith, like a campfire, takes effort to keep it "burning". We have to tend our faith or, it too, will lose its flame and eventually die out. Here are a few of the many ways to fan the flames of our faith:

* prayer - there's no better way to build a relationship than to talk with the Lord throughout the day
* scripture - read the Bible every day
* study - sit with others and discover God through His Holy Word
* worship - join with others in the presence of the Lord to lift our praises

Fanning is intentional participation in activities that add fuel, heat, and air to our faith. God gave us this awesome gift, now it is our responsibility to care for and feed it.

Happy fanning!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Disappointment


Hebrews 13:5-6
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

I sent out an appeal letter recently asking people to support Acorn Ministries through prayer and financial gifts. Our ministry currently ends each month with an average deficit (i.e., the negative difference between income and expenses) of $500-$600. In response to the appeal we received a $10,000 check which would have covered most of the debt incurred over the last 18-months due to the monthly deficit. To say the least we were thrilled! Then came disappointment.

We discovered that the check was a mistake. The giver had meant to write a $1,000 check, not $10,000! In my disappointment God led me back to this passage in Hebrews. I'm not really dependent upon financial gifts; rather, I'm dependent upon the Lord! I don't really love money; rather, I love Jesus! And, there is no reason to be fearful of our monthly deficit and the growing debt it causes, because Christ is my helper!

Please join me in lifting up to the Lord that which causes you disappointment today. Let's give it, whatever "it" is, over to Jesus. Then let us find peace from knowing that God will never leave us and He will never forsake us!

Trusting God,

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Guest Encourager: Rachel Smith "Suffering"

Suffering - by Rachel Smith

Romans 5:2-4
Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Music has a profound impact on our health and mental well being. Often a song touches our hearts in a place we could not reach on our own. The power of words paired with rhythm is truly a gift. I had the blessing of attending The Uprising Festival in Colorado this summer. I was pleased to see great bands like Third Day, Mercy Me and Jars of Clay. But God brought me all the way to Colorado from my home state of Illinois to hear a song. To have some comfort. To understand the “why” for even a moment.

My hardships are probably no worse than yours. They may have a different title or different people involved, but at the core pain is pain. I desperately try not to wear my pain as a badge of honor. I try not to compare and “one up” my life circumstances with those of others. My pain and my joy are to bring Glory to God.

If through a brief and momentary suffering I can somehow bring encouragement to others, comfort to the hurting and Glory to the Lord. Then bring it on!


Monday, October 01, 2007

Guest Encourager: Rachel Smith "Morning Coffee"

Morning Coffee, by Rachel Smith

Hebrews 3:13
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

Often times we take for granted those people who always seem to look on the brighter side of life. You know the ones that can find that one positive thing in a pile of negatives. After a crazy morning of rushing kids to school and making a mad dash through the coffeehouse only to spill half of the steaming cup on your new white shirt, this friend smiles and says, “well at least it didn’t get on your pants too.”

Wow! What a way to look at life. Do you see the cup as always half full as the optimist does? Or do you see it half empty as the pessimist? Not being a perpetual optimist myself, I prefer to call the half empty cup, realistic. In fact, I slant towards the service orientation. This is a cup in need of being filled.

But what if that person who fills the cup for us awakes one morning to find their own cup empty? Every now and then even the optimist has a ‘cup is completely empty day’. This is why we are ALL to encourage each other DAILY. Some of us encourage with words, some with acts of service, and some with gifts or other methods. Find your way of encouraging and fill some ones cup today.