Friday, December 12, 2008

Time Part II, by Rachel Smith

My youngest son's best friend lives across the street. Every time he has even 5 minutes free he wants to run and see him. My practical mind says you really need at least a free hour to make a real play date. But the boys don't seem to care. Even a few minutes here and there help solidify their relationship.

Maybe I should learn from his example. God doesn't seem to care if my time with Him is a solid hour or five minutes here and there. Just that I run to see Him with full enthusiasm and commitment.

Matthew 19:14
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Time Part I, by Rachel Smith

Do you have a minute?

I mean really, just one?

If you are like 90% of Americans the answer is no. In our fast paced culture we rarely find time to squeeze in an extra trip to the bathroom or a coffee break.

We cringe at those words, "Do you have a minute" We focus on the predicted outcome. We have already decided this other person is going to request something that will take much more than a minute to accomplish. And in our over booked lives we feel exhausted to fit in one more persons "do you have a minute" request. So in your head you scream, "NO! I DO NOT HAVE A MINUTE AND IF I DID, I WOULD ______" But you smile, tilt your head and reluctantly say “sure" all the while formulating a way out of the request that has yet to be uttered.

Do we respond the same when God calls? Or are we coming up with a reason for not having the time?

Matthew 11:28
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Believe II, by Rachel Smith

God believes in the power of one.

In an earlier post I asked you if you believe in the ability of one person to make a difference in this world.

Jesus makes the biggest impact in the world and calls us to partner with Him in this work.

We are to be his disciples, his students. We are to learn from his teachings. If Jesus, being fully man and fully God, took the time as one person to touch the lives of those around Him, shouldn’t we do the same?

The impact to the kingdom is huge. And it all starts with one person. You.

Whose life will you impact today?

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Matthew 28:19
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Do you believe?, by Rachel Smith

Do you believe?

It's getting to be that time of year where people ask this question. Do you believe? In what? In whom?

My question is similar, do you believe in the power of one?

Well do you?

Does one person make a difference? In a world where things sometimes seem so large and overwhelming can one person have an impact? I have read wonderful stories of that one person who voted and turned the election. Or the one person who took the time with a child to nurture and care. But, can you actually affirm your life in the power of one?

God does. He believes in the power of one.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Breaking Out - Leadership, by Lon Alderman

Acts 10:27-29
Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection...

Peter took the message of Jesus to the Gentiles. This act, which defied Jewish law, breached the "siege-wall" surrounding the Hebrews. Previously, the early Christ-followers held the Gospel of Jesus within the Jewish community. Peter went where no Jew had gone. He took the message of Christ outside the faith community. He led!

Acts 13:46-47
Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
" 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'"

The breach in the siege-wall created by Peter's leadership became a pathway for Paul. Paul stepped through the breach and took the message of Christ to the Gentiles with tremendous zeal. Paul led, too!

Breaking out of the self-siege requires sustained, courageous, and zealous leadership.

Break out!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Give Thanks!, by Rachel Smith

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.

Our music minister gave our youngest son a wonderful gift this Sunday. We have been in the market for a student size guitar and out of the blue, he gave one to our son. While this is an answer to prayer in helping us give our child something he wants in such tight economic times, it was also a lesson in thanks.

Upon hearing the news of the gift, our child literally leapt in the air. His face lit up. He ran to tell his brother. He could not believe his good fortune and wanted to share the news. He was excited and I was happy for him. He then ran for the sanctuary to thank the one who gave him this present. He had to. He just couldn't keep his feet still. He couldn't find the young man at first and started asking everyone, anyone, until he was directed to his benefactor.

This week, as we reflect on Thanksgiving and on the gift-giving season, I hope we all leap for joy, share the good news and run to the one that gives us all good things praising Him for all.

Thanks be to Jesus!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Breaking Out - Vision, by Lon Alderman

Acts 10:9-16
About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."

"Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."

The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."

This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

Peter receives a vision reversing previously held rules regarding what Jews could eat. God made it clear that what was once seen as unclean is now to be regarded as clean. Next, the Lord provides Peter the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus with a bunch of Gentiles (i.e., non-Jews). Peter's vision encourages him to step out into this new territory, that is, to go to the home of a Gentile (which was illegal for Jews).

I was told this morning that the pastor of a church in my state spent years preaching about the vision of the church once every month. The result was that everyone even loosely affiliated with that church knew the purpose and hoped for future of it. I'm confident that it is not a coincidence that that church today is the fastest growing church in its denomination in our region!

Who are we? What do we do? Where are we going? How do we get there? The answers to these questions must be answered regularly and communicated clearly. If the church doesn't answer these questions, then there is confusion of purpose! Without a clear purpose, churches default to trying to keep the church exactly as it is, which leads to siege!

A clear and shared vision is required to break out of a siege.

Seek the Lord!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Breaking Out - Defiance, by Lon Alderman

Acts 10:9-16
About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."

"Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."

The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."

This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

Even the early apostles faced a siege of their own making! They believed that the only people "clean" enough to hear the Gospel of Jesus were those already in the Jewish faith. God expands Peter's understanding through this vision of clean and unclean food. [I'll try to come back the role of "vision" in breaking out.]

Immediately thereafter, God presents Peter with a perfect opportunity to break out of the siege.

Acts 10:19-20

While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."

Peter went with them. Peter went where he wasn't supposed to go! Peter went to the house of someone outside the faith! Peter defied Jewish law. Peter broke out!

Acts 10:44-48

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Peter defied the rules that maintained the siege. The Holy Spirit moved. And, the siege was broken.

What's maintaining your siege?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oswald Chambers on Siege

I read from Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest", almost every day. I couldn't help but notice the "siege" theme in what I read this morning. Instead of relating it to you, I've decided to simply share it. Surrender!

. . . fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ . . . —1 Thessalonians 3:2

After sanctification, it is difficult to state what your purpose in life is, because God has moved you into His purpose through the Holy Spirit. He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation. If you seek great things for yourself, thinking, "God has called me for this and for that," you barricade God from using you. As long as you maintain your own personal interests and ambitions, you cannot be completely aligned or identified with God’s interests. This can only be accomplished by giving up all of your personal plans once and for all, and by allowing God to take you directly into His purpose for the world. Your understanding of your ways must also be surrendered, because they are now the ways of the Lord.

I must learn that the purpose of my life belongs to God, not me. God is using me from His great personal perspective, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him. I should never say, "Lord, this causes me such heartache." To talk that way makes me a stumbling block. When I stop telling God what I want, He can freely work His will in me without any hindrance. He can crush me, exalt me, or do anything else He chooses. He simply asks me to have absolute faith in Him and His goodness. Self-pity is of the devil, and if I wallow in it I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. Doing this creates for me my own cozy "world within the world," and God will not be allowed to move me from it because of my fear of being "frost-bitten."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Breaking the Siege, by Lon Alderman

Pheaney commented on yesterday's post:
Let's say hypothetically we see the self-siege happening to our church. How do we change it?

First, if I had the answer to this question, I would be a VERY popular guy! The problem is complicated and somewhat peculiar to the individual church; however, I believe that there is a general principle that may apply in every case. It is the application of the principle that would take on unique characteristics.

Mark 8:34-35
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

Letting go or surrendering our life to Christ is the way that we gain real life, eternal life. Is it possible that for a church to "save [its] life" it must "lose" or surrender its "life"? In other words, what if the church would put its very "life" on the line; risk every gift?

I know of a church that determined to save the money that had been given them. They said someday a rainy day will come and then we'll need this money to survive, so they "buried it". In the current year those "safe investments" lost over $250,000! Think of the ministry that could have been "risked". Think of the money that could have been "thrown away" on feeding or clothing the poor.

The "gifts" a church may possess might not always be money. However, if the church is still open then I'm confident there are gifts there. Every church needs to take those gifts and completely surrender them to Jesus and see how He directs. I'm confident that the directions in which Jesus guides us to invest our gifts will be contrary to the ways, or patterns, of the world (Romans 12:2)!

William Barclay
If a man has a talent and exercises it, he is progressively able to do more with it. But, if he has a talent and fails to exercise it, he will inevitably lose it. If we have some proficiency at a game or an art, if we have some gift for doing something, the more we exercise that proficiency and that gift, the harder the work and the bigger the task we will be able to tackle. Whereas, if we fail to use it, we lose it. That is equally true of playing golf or playing the piano, or singing songs or writing sermons, of carving wood or thinking out ideas. It is the lesson of life that the only way to keep a gift is to use it in the service of God and in the service of our fellow-men.

Break the siege!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Self-Siege, by Lon Alderman

Matthew 25:18
But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

William Barclay wrote, "the useless servant buried his talent in the ground, in order that he might hand it back to his master exactly as it was. The whole aim of the Scribes and Pharisees was to keep the Law exactly as it was. In their own phrase, they sought 'to build a fence around the Law.'”

Back in the days of knights and fiefdoms attackers would often "lay siege" to an enemy's castle. A siege is "a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside". By cutting off the flow of supplies, the enemy would starve out those in the castle.

I have spent a lot of time around churches that are in the process of dying. One sad fact is that many don't realize that they are in the process. They perceive their sacred duty as keeping the church alive by keeping it just like it was. As time moves forward and the world around the church changes, the very fence they construct to preserve the church becomes in essence a siege wall. Eventually, those in the church are starved out.

Jesus teaches us to take risks with the "talents" that He's given to us! After all, religion is nothing without a little adventure!

Have a great adventure!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Pastor Appreciation, by Lon Alderman

1Thessalonians 5:12-13 (The Message)
And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!

October was “Clergy Appreciation Month”! This is the time of year that we are reminded to pray for and appreciate our pastors.

Frankly, I don't know why we have to set aside a time for something we should do every day! It's the same with Mother's Day, Secretaries Day, and Veterans Day. We should appreciate mothers, secretaries, and veterans every day!

My passion is the encouragement and equipment of church leaders. Church leadership is challenging and regularly thankless.

If you really want to “overwhelm [your pastor] with appreciation and love”, try some of these:
• Provide a meal for your pastor and the pastor’s family
• Put together a work crew to winterize the pastor’s yard
• Send your pastor a note of encouragement
• Volunteer to assist your pastor with a project around the church
• Commit to praying for your pastor
• Send the pastor and his family on a week-long vacation

How do you encourage your pastor? Send me your good ideas at: or comment on this blog!

Overwhelm your church leaders this week!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Work, by Lon Alderman

Hebrew 13:17
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

This passage has challenged me deeply over the years! After all, I've worked for some very, how should I say it, interesting bosses. Scripture teaches submission. Man, that can be a tough lesson!

Christ submitted to the authorities. His submission, even to death, allowed the turning point for all humankind to happen. His submission led to the cross and to our salvation! Christ's submission had purpose!

In Matthew 16:24, we are called to "pick up [our] cross and follow [Him]". There is a purpose in God's decision to place us where we find ourselves. Our responsibility is to submit and allow God's purposes to be fulfilled.

Bring your boss some joy!

The Rich Life, by Lon Alderman

Luke 11:15-21
Then [Jesus] said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'

"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '

"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'

"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

The world screams at us to store up our treasures so we can live a life of leisure later in life. We place our hope of the rich life upon those retirement years. To make this happen, we expend every ounce of our life working. Sadly, how often do we hear of people that don't live to see their retirement? What then has all their effort gained them?

Jesus suggests an alternative. He teaches that we should be "rich toward God", instead of "stor[-ing] up things for himself". Living a life rich in God gives us the real rich life! We don't have to wait for retirement to enjoy His rich life. We can have this real rich life now!

Matthew 6:19-21
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Invest your life in a rich life found in Jesus Christ!

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Son Tanned, By Lon Alderman

During the pursuit of my bachelors degree (which took seven years and five schools) I recall noticing certain people as we returned from Christmas breaks. I could clearly see from their freshly tanned faces that they had spent their break somewhere warm. They stuck out in the crowd because the winter weather had caused most of the rest of us to become pretty pasty!

I deduced from their tans that they had the necessary wealth to spend their break in a warm and exotic location. I remember thinking, "Wouldn't it be great to have enough money to spend my vacations on the beach?" I wanted to be like them; to have what they had!

We make assumptions about people by the way they look. What are we telling people about Jesus by the way we look?

The town I live in is currently in turmoil as the local state prison is slated to close. As I scan the crowd I see here and there a face that sticks out. These faces aren't panicked. They aren't downcast and gloomy. Instead, I see in their faces a peace and confidence that is remarkable.

One shining example is my friend Troy. He works at the prison and will be directly affected by this closure. However, his response to this circumstance is strikingly different than the crowd. Troy's response, "God is in this situation, so He will get me through it."

That's what I call Son-tanned! I want to be like him, and have what he has!

Thanks, Troy!

Matthew 5:15-16
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Anniversary Post, by Lon Alderman

I began this blog in October 2006. During these two years I've posted 300 messages! In that time we have encouraged people from more than 25 foreign countries! It has been a great and blessed journey! I want to thank all of you who have contributed, including the following guest contributors: Rachel Smith, Jarvis, and Sandy Egle.

To celebrate our two year anniversary, I decided to re-post the very first Build UP (below). Please be encouraged!
- Lon

For most of my life I have looked for joy around the next corner. I'd think,
"If I could just get through high school, then I'd be happy."

Later in life I continued that same kind of thinking, "If I only had a bigger house, a better job, or a newer car, then I'd be happy."

Then I read what Jesus said:

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:9-11 NIV)

Christ's joy is available to me here and now, not around the next corner! If I obey Christ's commands, I will remain in Christ's love. If I remain in Christ's love, then complete joy is available to me RIGHT NOW!

I pray that you will experience the joy of Christ, today!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ministry and Numbers, by Lon Alderman

Mark 4:14-20
The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.

The world teaches us to measure our success. Efforts that demonstrate an increase in numerical strength are deemed worthy/successful. Declining numbers are viewed as failure. Somehow this mentality has slithered into the church. Those churches that are growing are viewed as good ministries. All the rest are bad ministries.

When I read this passage from Mark I get the impression that the sower is not evaluated as good or bad based on the success of the seed. Yes, some of those seeds produce, but some also die. Regardless of the production, or lack there of, the sower is not seen as having succeeded or failed. His job appears to be sowing, not productivity.

I understand that there really are unhealthy churches, but to determine health based on numbers alone is misguided.

Oswald Chambers spells it out this way: I cannot save and sanctify myself; I cannot make atonement for sin; I cannot redeem the world; I cannot right what is wrong, purify what is impure, or make holy what is unholy. That is all the sovereign work of God.

Let's count less and throw more seed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Distracted-Again, by Lon Alderman

Luke 10:41-42
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

As I'm sure you've noticed I have not been posting to this blog much. I've been distracted with a project that has exacted a great deal of time. I'm in the process of developing a "page" on facebook where I can post information about Acorn Ministries.

My thought has been that if I get this page up and running then more people will hear about and come to understand my ministry. In the process, I got distracted from the ministry of encouraging people through the Build UP!

This happens spiritually, too! We get all balled up in serving God and forget to relate to Him. We get entangled in the issues within the church and forget to be the church. We get distracted with trying to preserve the church and forget the God it serves.

Stay focused!

By the way, you can check out my work on facebook by clicking on this link: Acorn on facebook

Monday, October 13, 2008

What's your attitude?, by Rachel Smith

Today a friend of mine called to get a jump for her van that decided to stop working. I must admit I always find these random events intriguing. I think about God and often wonder what He has planned with this one. So I got into my van and headed to the local Dairy Queen to help her out.

Now I have to say, if you are going to get stranded Dairy Queen is a great place to do it. I pulled in and from the angle I was noticed I would have to wait for a car to move to get to my friends van. So I waited. And in this very ordinary, very boring everyday occurrence God moved. Right there in the Dairy Queen parking lot. Right in plain sight. Well, plain to anyone looking for God.

I waited for this car to back out and noticed the two people in it bickering.
They grumped and grumbled. I couldn't really tell what was being said, but I know angry when I see it. Then I realized it was me they were mad at. They gestured my way and grumped some more. I smiled.

The car had plenty of room to back out and I was in no hurry (my friend certainly wasn't going anywhere) but these two women were not happy. That's when the irony hit me.

Really shouldn't my friend be grumpy? After all her van broke down! Or me- I was inconvenienced by a needy friend. But nope, the ice cream women were not happy over having to move. I grinned as I saw their WWJD bumper sticker pull out of the parking lot.

Philippians 2:5
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

How will we respond?, by Donnie Case

Matthew 6:19-24

These indeed are troubling times for our country. We find ourselves in the middle of a Presidential election year, a time when campaigners are eager to promote themselves and their agendas above the needs of the people they are called to serve.

As Americans we have definitely encountered times like these in the past and will more than likely encounter them in the future.

As Christians, however, God has assured us that this life is not the most important, but that there is a life to come that matters so much more. Though in times when gas is sky rocketing and grocery bills make it seem as though it is impossible to feed a family of four, we, Christ-followers are to remain faithful and put our hope and trust in God alone.

These are times to truly examine the really important things in life. It appears that our insatiable appetite for materialism has finally consumed us as the main course and the country’s that we have been offering aid to will more than likely be the dessert.

What shall we do? Pray! Prayer is what God desires of his children. Lean not on our own understanding but on the understanding of God who is the giver and sustainer of life.

God’s people have been through hardships much worse than the one we find ourselves in today and how we respond to this “crisis” situation could be an opportunity to either affirm the Christ-followers believe in the Word of God or give ammunition to those who do not consider God the creator, sustainer, and sovereign ruler of the universe.

How will we respond? Please pray and continue to pray.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Courage, by Lon Alderman

Philippians 1:20
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

Paul understood his purpose in life, and that purpose was to "exalt" Jesus. No matter whether Paul lived or died, his role was to point people to Christ. If you knew Paul, then you knew his Jesus.

I don't know about where you live, but around here there is a great deal of fear. It seems that "everyone" is afraid about the current "financial crisis" in this country. Church people don't seem to be exempt from this fear!

What church people don't understand is that we are always pointing people to Jesus. Whether we behave well or behave badly we reflect on our Lord. This current "crisis" gives us an extraordinary stage upon which to tell people about our Jesus.

What will our message of Jesus sound like?

Take courage!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Character, by Rachel Smith

Romans 5:3-5 (New International Version)
Not only so, but 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.

I am not defined by the situations I am given, but how I react to the situations I am given. This reaction shows my character. Reacting consistently in line with God's will shows perseverance. I have been given some pretty character building situations and must admit I do not always react in a way pleasing to God. But the last line of this verse caught my attention today.

God has poured out His love into our hearts. It is His love that gives us hope. That hope is our salvation. And for that I can rejoice in sufferings.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jarvis responds to: Where is your faith?, by Lon Alderman

I hope you enjoy Jarvis' response to: Where is your faith?, by Lon Alderman

I have found that many people's faith is in direct proportion to the intensity of the storms they have previously weathered. This may not sound like faith at all, but a sailor’s experiential confidence based upon what he now feels he can withstand. Or is it?

If we consider faith being "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" from Hebrews 11:1, my assurance and convictions will fall or stand on one of two premises. Either in the integrity of the One I have trusted my life to, or in my perceived ability (or others) to rescue me. At the heart of faith truly is an expectancy of something or someone to deliver.

There's a revised version of Luke 8 in my head where Jesus says instead of "Where's you faith?", but rather "In whom or what do you place your confidence?" I know it's semantics, but for me that more clearly articulates the core of the issue. Something over the years that has helped me to truly determine where my faith or confidence lies is in my reactions. The disciple's reaction to the storm was very telling. My reactions to life's storms have also been telling. I am endeavoring to purposefully change those responses. I do not steal or lie because I know it would break my Father's heart. But what about fear? Jesus also commanded us not to fear, but how remorseful (and repentant) have I been about that?

My daughter has often had more faith in me as a father, than I have in my Father. If her routine response to the storms over the last 17 years had been fear for lack of belief that I would take care of her, I would have been broken hearted, I can tell you that, knowing how much I love her. What motivates the children of the Living-Loving God to make the irrational decision to fear? My only conclusion is that what we really fear, for the believer and non-believer alike, is loss, and the pain it will cause either us, and/or someone we love. Loss or the possibility of loss can obviously be very difficult. What has proved to be more difficult for me is to remember is that what is truly of eternal value I shall never lose...

So who commands your winds and waves today? And what will be your response?


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Where is your faith?, by Lon Alderman

Luke 8:23-25
As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

I don't know about where you live, but people around here are starting to get a little skittish. Fear about the economy, jobs, retirement, and the general affordability of life has gripped this portion of the world. People look forward and only see trouble!

The disciples must have felt the same way. Looking around them they saw only bad news! They thought, "Surely this is the end!"

Jesus asks a simple, but profound question, "Where is your faith?"

Is our faith in our portfolio? Is our faith in our job? Is our faith in our government? If so, then our faith is set upon things of this world. Nothing of this world will last. It will all fail in the end. However, Jesus, who controls the wind and waters, is the same for eternity. Jesus will never fail!

Where is your faith?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Plans and Steps, by Lon Alderman

Proverbs 16:9
In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.

Plan, yes, but be prepared to take the steps that God determines. The problem arises when we get so caught up in our plan that we forget to consult with the very God that we're trying to serve. Our plan, conceived with God in mind and for His glory, can in this way become a god.

One of the not so shiny examples of this happens in our churches. We seek God and plan and carry out a very cool ministry and God is glorified, but then something happens. It was such a great success that we decide to do it again, and off we run. Years down the road this ministry that started so purely turns out to be a tradition that no longer gives God glory. We undertake these programs because we've always done it, not because of the benefit that it provides God.

Yes, make plans, but be willing to follow God's leading even if that means abandoning a program that, once upon a time, was a great success. The practical test to apply is to determine the eternal purpose found in every ministry in which we're involved. If a ministry no longer serves to glorify God, then it may be time to abandon, or redirect, it.

Plan and seek God for the placement of your steps.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Response to "Intentionality", by Jarvis

Jarvis posted this great comment in response to yesterday's post (Intentionality). I hope you are encouraged by his thoughts. - Lon

We are told the Holy Spirit is our Counselor. What need is there for a counselor, if we have nothing to consider, nothing to plan, if we don't need wisdom for direction.

The first chapters of Genesis make the act of creation sound like the beginning of God's activity. However, He would have had eternity to plan every detail about our lives, the layout of the earth, what animals to create, etc., and how all of these details would co-exist, within man's free-will, and even once sin has entered the world. I believe if you look around you will realize there must have been some extensive planning involved. The bible also tells us that during all of this, Wisdom was there.

Having said all of that I know how you feel, Lon. Honestly at times I have thought, "What's the point? He's going to have His way anyway, right?" Yes, but, I believe the creation story also teaches us something else here. God wants us to [participate] in not just the process, but the experience. Too many people are just going through the process; that sounds so cold, and lifeless. "Life," someone said, "is not a problem to be figured out, but an experience to be lived" (loosely translated). Are there things to be figured out? Absolutely! But, that's not the point. You don't get a prize for figuring it all out. I don't have to be MacGuyver and rescue myself from this life with a piece of duct tape, some chewing gum, a ball point pen, and my Swiss Army knife.

I believe the opportunity (I didn't say 'task') we have been given to plan is part of this life experience God wants to share with us, and be a part of, because it is also something He Himself does and wants to share that wonder, that creativity, and joy in creating something. The next time you have to plan something out, remember that is an opportunity and ability given to you by God, for your enjoyment. I think we fail to understand all of the experiences available to us when we sit back and don't exercise our ability to plan and create. God certainly would like to be a part of this experience with you, but I fail to see in scripture where He has declared our plans to be a joke, or not worth conceiving. At least that's not the Father I have come know. My experience has been and still is of a father who loves to be with and encourage his children when they play on the floor with their building blocks. As a natural father I derived so much joy doing that with my daughter. In some small way that helps me understand how mu joy God takes in doing the same with us throughout my life.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Intentionality, by Lon Alderman

Luke 9:51
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.

Jesus had only recently come down from the mountain upon which He was "transfigured". There Jesus spoke with Elijah and Moses about His "departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem" (Luke 9:31). It appears to me that Jesus knew what would happen to Him when He went to Jerusalem, and Jesus went anyway.

I've been struggling lately with the appropriateness of planning, particularly making plans in ministry. I've asked, "Isn't it arrogant to make plans when God is sovereign?" You know the old joke: "If you want to make God laugh, then tell Him your plans!"

Then I reread this passage. I'm struck by the intentionality with which Jesus approached Jerusalem. It seems clear that Jesus had a plan (to enter Jerusalem at which time He would be lifted up). And, that Jesus carried out that plan "resolutely"!

This puts planning in a new and positive light for me. I hope it encourages you to seek God and make good plans. And, to carry them out resolutely.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Eight Percent, by Lon Alderman

Matthew 19:23-24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

This will come across as a strange encouragement, but please see it through to the end. This thought was inspired during a conversation with my friend Jason Woolever. Actually, Jason, thanks for messing up my week!

I've always dismissed this passage, because I didn't think it pertained to me. After all, I'm not rich! Then Jason shared this statistic with me: "only 8% of the world owns cars". Even if that statistic is off, I mean WAY off, like 50% off, then only 16% of the world owns cars! By my math, that makes me, who owns two cars, in a word; RICH! Just because I don't measure up to the Jones family (nothing personal, Dale!) doesn't mean that I'm poor.

I've spent the last five days recognizing the amazing blessings that God has provided for me! I praise God for clean water, a safe neighborhood, schools for my children, a home to live in, safe food to eat, electricity, indoor plumbing, etc., etc., etc.

Friends, if we can access the internet and read this blog, then we are rich. Let's recognize our prosperity and the challenge that comes with riches. Let us sing God's praises for the wealth He has lovingly given us. Let's take our minds off of what we don't have and focus on what we already possess.

The result will be encouraging!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Living in the Clouds, by Rachel Smith

Some days I feel like a cloud has settled over me. Actually, in hindsight, some YEARS I feel like I was living in a cloud. Just kinda going through the motions of life and doing life but not actually living life. In tragedy or great stress our bodies begin to shut down as a coping mechanism. We often go through the routine of life without much thought or feeling as to why.

I spent most of last year in this cloud due to so many losses and tragedies in our family. It's only now that the clouds have cleared out of my head and I feel normal that I realize what a dazed state I was in. It sounds sad, I'm sure, to think I was in such a haze for so long

But I rejoice because I know this cloud was God's protection around me. He kept me safely close to home to give me time to heal and now that the cloud has lifted, it's time for me to obey and pick up my tent and follow. Perhaps you too are in God's protective cloud.

Take comfort in your rest, but be watchful for when He tells you to set out. Obedience is our expression of love to God. Obedience is a way to thank God for His protection and guidance.

Numbers 9:17-23 (New International Version)
Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the LORD's command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD's order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD's command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the LORD's command they encamped, and at the LORD's command they set out. They obeyed the LORD's order, in accordance with his command through Moses.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Numbers, by Rachel Smith

Have you ever seen that tv show? Basically all these mysteries can be solved by following some numeric pattern or equation. Well, I have been a little stuck in Numbers myself. Not mathematics, but the book of Numbers.

Admittedly, I tend to skim this book rather than read it word for word. But lately I find it fascinating. There is so much detail and care given by God to the people of Israel about how to organize the work of the people! God truly cares what everyone's job is. He sets apart specific families for specific tasks and determines exactly where they are to live.

He does this with you and me as well. You are placed exactly where you are for a purpose! Try to find out why- maybe look in Numbers.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Story Telling, by Lon Alderman

Matthew 11:1-3
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables...

I have two ways of telling my story about life as a missionary. One way is full of self-pity. This telling involves the specters of future financial obligations and our inadequacy (translated "fear") to meet those demands. It includes hand wringing and a droopy countenance.

The other telling is full of God's glory. In this story I focus on God's amazing provision today and the sufficiency of His grace (2Corinthians 12:9) for today. It includes uplifted hands and a joyful countenance.

How are you telling your story?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

House on the Rock, by Lon Alderman

Matthew 7:24-25
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

We are emerging from yet another storm! This one was a whopper! The wind howled and the rain battered!
The storm grew from our anxiety about future things. Stuff that hasn't gotten here, yet! Oh, but what a storm we brewed up!

We, my wife and I, headed for the basement.
We finally found real shelter by returning our trust to God. As soon as we changed our focus to trusting God today, then the storm subsided. Even more, the blessings started flowing!

Where's your foundation?

Matthew 7:26-27
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

In the Dark, by Lon Alderman

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.

"Don't keep me in the dark!" That's a plea to be included; kept in the loop. Sometimes in our relationship with Jesus it feels like He's keeping us in the dark. During these times our attempts to communicate with God seem fruitless.

I find Oswald Chamber's ideas regarding this passage very interesting:

"Sometimes God puts us through the experience and discipline of darkness to teach us to hear and obey Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and God puts us into "the shadow of His hand" until we learn to hear Him (Isaiah 49:2)...darkness is the time to listen. Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason for the darkness; just listen and obey. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else once you are back in the light." [View the entire article: Chambers]

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Habit Forming, by Lon Alderman

Psalm 85:7-9

Show us your unfailing love, O LORD,
and grant us your salvation.

I will listen to what God the LORD will say;
he promises peace to his people, his saints—
but let them not return to folly.

Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

I'm currently taking a 40-Day virtual journey with 9 other men from around the country. We are investing time, energy, and prayer (for 40 days) in the development of healthy habits in the area of our spiritual and physical life. A theme is emerging related to our efforts to hear God speak.

One of the men presented the following passage. I am taking the liberty of passing it on as today's Build UP. This comes from a book entitled, "The Practice of the Presence of God"


Brother Lawrence insisted that, to be constantly aware of God’s presence, it is necessary to form the habit of continually talking with Him throughout each day. To think that we must abandon conversation with Him in order to deal with the world is erroneous. Instead, as we nourish our souls by seeing God in His exaltation, we will derive a great joy at being His.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Details, by Rachel Smith

Are you a crisis prayer-er? You know when things are going bad we throw a prayer up for some help. I did this for many years. Part of it was because I felt God was really too busy to hear about every little detail of every persons life and I know I was too busy when things were going good to stop and chat with God.

Then I reread Exodus. There are all these very detailed directions on how to do things. God is most certainly concerned with the details of our lives. He cares so much about how we do every little thing.

My prayers have turned more into daily worship. Praise to God.

Exodus 25:10-16
“And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around. You shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in its four corners; two rings shall be on one side, and two rings on the other side. And you shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, that the ark may be carried by them. The poles shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Listen, by Lon Alderman

1Kings 19:12-13 (NKJV)
and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Have you ever watched children when one child doesn't want to hear what another child is saying. The non-listener sticks his fingers in his ears and shouts, "I can't hear you!"

Take away the sing-song chorus and the fingers in the ears and you'll be left with a very common adult phenomenon. Us grown up adults spend a great deal of our lives pretending not to be able to hear God. We spend too much time talking and plugging our ears. Then, we wonder why we haven't heard from Jesus lately.

God is always with us! If we're not hearing Him, it may be because we've got our fingers in our ears and we're talking too much!

Listen for "the still small voice".

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Intersections, by Jarvis

Acts 17:26-27
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Lon said "Developing the habit of looking for God," (Presence, by Lon Alderman) and recognizing God, I might add, in every situation, that He is close. I have had a similar week to yours. Too many things flying at me, yet I was calmed and awed at the same time as well. One evening I'm out in the proverbial sticks and my cell phone stops working, conflicting meeting schedules, vehicle making concerning sounds, and last night I snapped my $100 fishing rod in the tailgate, and that was all just yesterday.

All opportunities that tempt you to think you're about to be stranded, alone, or financially drained. This time though I found myself calmly turning and smiling at God, as it were, and without having to speak a word, I handed my dilemma over, and went back to the task at hand.

I am coming to learn that these disconcerting "opportunities" that present themselves are actually intersections, not roadblocks, avalanches, or dead ends. Opportunities to acknowledge God, and his supremacy over your situations.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Presence, by Lon Alderman

Acts 17:26-27
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Thanks to Jamie for pointing me to this passage! I love these verses (particularly verse 27) because it speaks about the closeness of God. This week I have felt the presence of the God in a new and fresh way. The experience has been awesome!

As I've traveled through some VERY busy and challenging times over the last few days, I have regularly experienced a quiet, yet powerful, presence. The experience has simultaneously calmed and awed me! I have recognized this presence in a variety of settings - some quite stressful! This presence has to be the Holy Spirit!

Now I'm working on developing the habit of looking for God as I navigate my day. I'm learning that no matter where I am or what I'm doing, "He is not far from" me!

Seek Him!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I will help you, by Rachel Smith

Writing is a funny thing. Sometimes I think I have something great to say and then it comes out all gibberish. Other times I have nothing to say and then I get all this great feedback that it helped someone.

I think that's how I know if I have prayed enough before I write. Come to think of it, that's how I know if I have prayed enough before any decision or action in my life. If it goes well (not necessarily easy mind you) and I feel at peace, then to me this is a sign God is in it.

Ironically, I tend to fight this. I want to rush in and decide, move, get it done. In my defense I am a leader and normally these qualities are seen as positive. But God is the ultimate leader. And when I lead under His guidance things go so much better. Today I will learn to follow and trust in the one that created me.

Moses had these same troubles.

Exodus 4:10-12
Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Reflections, by Jarvis

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

My head is spinning! I couldn't get past the scripture verse. "...for this is God's will for you..." How many times have I asked (more like demanded) to know God's will in a given situation? What does He want me [to do] in this situation? Be joyful, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. Honestly, most of time I just wanted to know that I was doing what I should be doing, while waiting on a prayer to be answered. Or at the very least that I was not producing the very barrier(s) I was seeking to get over or around. So now I know...again. Yes, I continually need reminded!

My second revelation here is "joy". "Be joyful always." I have prayed for joy to return to my life for years, but this verse indicates that joy is my choice; an act of the will. It would seem my revelation has become an indictment. I over-think too many things. I suppose my comments on this Blog may attest to that, but knowledge is no substitute for joy. After all,
Adam and Eve gained knowledge after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and what joy did that bring them?

Third thing that has rattled my cage this morning: Compartmentalizing God. Lon said (Immediacy of God), "The vast, and I mean VAST, majority of my time is not focused on Jesus!" We cannot escape from God's presence, so if I know this, why don't I at least acknowledge his presence, like I would if my best earthly friend were to follow us throughout the day? In my mind, that would be praying (communicating) continually. Of course, there are ways of communicating without speaking, but that's for another time...


Friday, August 22, 2008

Immediacy of God, by Lon Alderman

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

It might be an attempt to manage the overflow of information that swamps my mind. It might be the inability to handle more than five or six thoughts at one time. Or, it might just be laziness. Regardless of the reason, I tend to compartmentalize my life.

There is family time, work time, time to eat, and time to relax. There is time to be serious, time to have fun, and time to zone out. Oh ya, and there is time for God. I "give" Him 30-45 minutes each morning and a couple of hours on Sunday. I give Him a short nod before eating and, depending on the meeting, I give Him 90 seconds before we start.

Do you see the problem? The vast, and I mean VAST, majority of my time is not focused on Jesus! God is always with us - He promised! (Hebrews 13:5) As a matter of fact, we can't escape His presence even if we tried! (Psalm 139:7-12)

Today, let's be aware of the immediacy of God. Then in each moment we can prayerfully, joyously, and thankfully experience His presence.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Free-Care, by Rachel Smith

I'm a member of this Freecycle group online. Basically if you have something that you want to give away you post it and your trash may just be some one else's treasurer. In turn you can accept free items from others. It's a pretty neat way to recycle. I've seen just about everything from 1/2 used bottles of shampoo to old bicycles and guitars. I have also seen people post a "wanted" item and end up being able to fulfill some needs.

Sometimes people's needs go beyond a twin bed frame. I wish there was a "Freecycle" to meet emotional needs as well.

Offer: unconditional love and encouragement, pick up anytime.

I guess we would call that Christianity.

Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

300th Post - Celebrate!, by Lon Alderman

Psalm 145:3-7

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.

One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.

They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.

They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

This is the 300th Daily Build Up posting! I celebrate the Lord's goodness for it His hand that has accomplished this milestone. Sing praises to the Lord!

Through God's awesome work in this blog, God has encouraged hundreds of people around the world! Praise the Lord!

God is abundantly good!


PP (ie., post-post) Please send your praises for how God is moving in your life. You can make a comment on this post or email your thoughts to:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reversed Flow, by Lon Alderman

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

My ministry is to lift the hands of church leaders like Aaron and Hur lifted the hands of Moses. I come alongside pastors and lay leaders to "lift" them through one-on-one coaching, training workshops, or any other way I can encourage them. It's a wonderful honor to be used by God in this way.

And, it can be taxing.

Over the last two weeks God has awesomely reversed the flow! Different people have come alongside and lifted my hands! I have been encouraged in a wide variety of ways. I received kind words, slaps on the back, unexpected donations, compliments, and some very challenging questions.

Thank you to Tim, Jim, Dale, Andrew, Martha, Mary Ellen, Ed, and Ray for your encouragement.

You lifted me!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Step By Step, by Lon Alderman

John 14:1
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

I am confident that through God's grace my life's journey will end in heaven. It is the daily steps of life that trip me up.

I allow the challenges and disappointments of the day to distract me. Instead of trusting God moment by moment as I travel through the day, I most often go on auto pilot. I take my eyes off of Jesus and get to work. It is then that the tripping begins.

Here's the fourth stanza to a great old hymn, "God Will Take Care of You":

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
when dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.

Every step of the way!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Success, by Rachel Smith

How do you know when you have become successful? By what measurement do you gauge your accomplishments?

We often get wrapped up in the expected cycle of our culture. Go to school to the highest grade, graduate. Go to another school to the highest grade, graduate. Get a job to the highest level, promote. Get another job to the highest level, promote. And on and on we go. So do you ever wonder when you're done? Is it retirement? Death? Are we busy doing life rather than living it?

And if so what do you miss out on by trying to get to the top level of every circumstance? or rather, who do you miss?

I'm not saying that success is a bad thing. But moving up the ladder blindly to the next ladder without checking out those around you can be dangerous.
In the book of 2 Peter 1:5-7 we are given a ladder to help us in progress in God's kingdom.

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Start climbing