Monday, November 26, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Joy


1Thessalonians 5:16
Be joyful always...

I thought I might spread some joy by relating to you a new job interview technique with which I'm experimenting. This is a true story that happened on November 16, 2007.

I was well into the interview when the interviewer accepted a phone call. Sitting across the desk from the interviewer I decided that this was a perfect opportunity to grab another breath mint. In order to access my front pocket I leaned back on the two back legs of the chair in which I was sitting. I couldn't quite reach the mints, so I leaned back a little farther. Just as I reached the point where I could access the mints I simultaneously reached a point in my lean where I was balanced, not falling forward or backward. I balanced there for what seemed like hours not knowing if I would return to my normal upright position or fall over backwards. Unfortunately, the latter transpired!

I fell straight back with my feet up in the air! The interviewer looked up from her phone call and all she could see was the souls of my feet. She shrieked, thinking I needed medical attention and her shriek caused me to think that she may need medical help, too! So I unceremoniously rolled from my flat on my back position to a very funny looking crawling position, stood up, righted the chair, and tried to look like I'd planned the whole thing.

When she concluded her phone call she said, "Well, I thought I had seen it all, but I have never seen this before in an interview!"

I would recommend that you wait to try out this technique until we find out if I get the job. Until then, have a great day and keep all four legs of your chair on the floor!

Be joyful always!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Gratitude


1Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

I want to take this opportunity on the eve of Thanksgiving to express my gratitude to the Lord for His amazing provision.

I thank God for:

* Jesus who said, I "have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life..." (John 6:38,40)

* my beautiful wife and partner in Acorn Ministries, Julie

* my amazing daughters (Gina, Kassidy, and Katie) who bring joy to my life every day

* my friends and family that support Acorn Ministries with their prayers and their finances

* the privilege of encouraging and equipping church leaders

What are you thankful for?

Please send me your thoughts of gratitude so I can post them on this blog. You can send your thanksgiving thoughts to me at: or you can post a comment on this blog. Subscribers can post comments by clicking on the "Daily Build Up: Gratitude" link above and then click "comments".

God is good! ~ All the time!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Acorn Build Up: God Box - Suffering

God Box - Suffering

Romans 5:3-5
...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Suffering is a part of the human condition. I haven't met a person yet that couldn't describe in some detail a time of suffering. Actually, most people can tell you about an area of their life in which they are currently suffering. Suffering is natural. What we do with it makes all the difference.

The temptation when we suffer is to let it overwhelm our entire life. We focus on the suffering so much that we block out everything else, including God. When my suffering occupies all of my thinking, then I have effectively placed God in a box and then sealed it and put it on a shelf.

Suffering provides an opportunity to seek God like no other human experience. Seeking Him, we find strength in His power. As we learn to depend on the Lord our character changes. Ultimately, we find the only real, sustainable, and perfect source of hope; God.

Unbox God - seek Him in suffering!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Acorn Build Up: God Box - Logic

God Box - Logic

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.

Have you heard the expression "putting God in a box"? The concept is that any time we place limitations on God - we put God in a box. Once we box up God we are, in effect, removing Him from the throne of our life. With the throne vacant, we very naturally assume the role as lord of our life. As cool as that sounds, the consequences are severe and eternal!

The logic of our mind often does the work of placing God in the box. We study the world around us and begin to draw our own conclusions. We see the consequential nature of events and determine our own strategies. We recognize the activity needed for our prosperity and we act. We look to the future and figure out how it ought to look and then we invest our resources in attaining it. We think, therefore we box.

2Timothy 4:3-4
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.

Renew your mind - unbox God!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Submit (encore from 11/06/06)

Submit (Encore from 11/06/06)

Hebrews 12:9-11
...we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

My three-year-old daughter wants to do EVERYTHING herself. She needs adult help in many of the activities or she will likely get hurt or break something. Often I have to discipline her because she's just not ready to perform the tasks safely. Over time she will be able to do it herself, but in the meantime she must submit to my teaching; my discipline.

In my relationship with God, I'm (far too) often just like my daughter. I want to do it myself! The hardest life lesson for me is to submit to God. I don't know if it is my Marine Corps background, fear of what might happen, or just plain old everyday pride. Regardless of the cause, submitting is difficult for me. However, if I don't submit to His training, I'll never learn what I need to learn. If I don't accept the training, then I'll never receive the "harvest of righteousness and peace".

God's discipline shapes and molds us into the people God intends us to be.

Submit to His discipline!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Submit


Luke 22:42
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.

Every act of Jesus' life is worthy of study. Jesus placed God's will above His own. In a world that elevates self, it is particularly important to study the Lord's submission.

Our culture screams at us every moment of every day a message of "you deserve..." and "it's all about you". Product names reflect this focus on "me", too! When we accept this message we put ourselves in the seat of the lord of our life. We then evaluate every aspect of life on how it serves the lord of our life, a.k.a. me.

That's not how Jesus lived. Think about it. Jesus had unlimited power on earth. He could have used that power to topple the governments of the day and then set Himself up as the ruler of the world. He could have. The devil tempted Christ with this very thing (see Matthew 4:8-10).

The world tempts us every day with the same promise of power and wealth. Jesus says, "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only." (Matthew 4:10b)

Submit to His will.