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Posts from February 2007

Sunday Thoughts

Today was awesome! Our early service was the fullest it's ever been. I have grown to love having two Sunday morning services. I always intend to preach the same message but somehow it comes out different each service. Here's some of the things I'm thanking God for tonight...

  • Visitors keep returning! It's so great to see folks come back week after week and see them getting more and more comfortable at Harvest.
  • Outreach results! I've been busy visiting folks during the week and God is blessing us with immediate results.
  • Teenagers! We had over 20 teenagers in this morning's service. That's awesome! It is extremely exciting to watch young people grow and serve the Lord.
  • Young Adults Bible Study! It's coming soon! I'm so excited about getting this much needed group up and running. I believe God has given us our leader for this new group. Pray hard for the success of this group!
  • Our "Fitness Support Group"! Liz really enjoys this whole exercise/torture thing just a little too much! It is nice having a group like this to encourage each other to keep working on improving our fitness levels.
  • Financial Peace University! What an amazing journey we are on! Financial peace is very achievable if you have a plan. Dave Ramsey has been awesome! It is great to make this journey with a group of friends. I'm loving this class.
  • New Beginnings! Our drug and alcohol recovery group is back into full swing on Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m. It was great to stop in and see Mike and Michelle working together to help folks find victory over the sins that have defeated them for so long.

I'm looking forward to a few things too...

  • Man Night: Macho Nachos is Tuesday night at 6:45 here at Harvest! Remember ladies are invited to this month's get together! Jim and Helen McAllister will be our guest speakers for the evening. Call everyone you can think of and remind them.
  • Teacher Appreciation Night is February 28th! This will be an exciting evening. We will enjoy a great dinner and three special presentations to better EQUIP our teachers for the ministry God has trusted them with.

Check out Perry Noble's newest post! What an awesome report on what God is doing at  NewSpring Church! This is such an inspiring church to follow.

It's Official...I'm Nuts

Cimg0031_2We had a blast this week at our Sweetheart Dinner! Dinner was an awesome time of fellowship. THANK YOU GLENDA for setting this all up! It was great to spend an evening with some old friends and a bunch of new ones. God is blessing Harvest with some wonderful families.

We had a dessert buffet after dinner that was UNBELIEVABLE! I've never seen so many calories all in one place! THANK YOU SO MUCH TERRY!

I had been promising a special appearance by a celebrity couple and it has been fun keeping a few of our members guessing these past few weeks. Someone even tried to make a bet with me, Sunday while I was behind the pulpit, that they knew who the celebs were. I thought I would post a quick picture for those of you who missed it, our guests were Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash singing 'Jackson'. It's official...I'm nuts!

It's so great to have FUN at church! Christians should be the happiest people on earth. Man Night: MACHO NACHOS is Tuesday night! The ladies are joining us for dinner! We have special guest speakers for the men and the women. Don't miss it!

JUST SO YOU KNOW...I started growing my beard back today. :)

Lovers (of self)

Heartclrweb I'm stuck behind a desk today. Substitute teaching on a rainy day is sooooo fun! Consequently, I have too much time to write so this post is probably too long. I have been reading 1st and 2nd Timothy and the idea that men would be lovers of self more than lovers of God has captured my attention. I believe we live in an age where many would fit this description. What are the characteristics of someone who loves themself more than they love God? I have come up with a few. I'm sure their are more, but these come to my mind first.

1.) Toot Their Own Horns (in case nobody else does)

Don't forget we are servants of the Lord, not men! If you are bent on being recognized by people then you will get exactly what you want, but you might miss heaven's recognition. You will drive yourself nuts trying to live like this because you can never please everyone. Why not focus on pleasing ONE? The ONE that really matters! Poeple with a Lovers-of Self problem live for the praise of others and when it doesn't come they are more than willing to offer up their own praise.

2.) Refuse To NEED Others

God made Adam perfect and then He said, "It is not good that the man should be alone'. The fact that Adam needed a helper was not an imperfection! By design we need people. There is no shame in needing people. In fact, to refuse to acknowledge this fact is simply arrogance. This arrogance is counterproductive to us doing our very best for the Lord!

3.) Critical Of Others (who might steal their attention)

John the Baptist had a pretty good following. He was preaching and baptizing folks from all over the country. Then this new preacher, JESUS, came around. If John had a lover-of-self problem he would have been very critical of JESUS, but he didn't. He instead lifted JESUS up and promoted what JESUS was doing. How many times have we seen this in the church? Someone does something really good and then is immediately criticized for it. A lot of times the criticism comes from people who are doing NOTHING, but sometimes it comes from fellow servants who happen to have a lover-of-self problem.

4.) Need To Be In The Middle Of Everything

I love conspiracy theories. I don't believe most of them, but I do enjoy reading and thinking about them. I got news for you. If you don't happen to be invited to everyone's birthday, anniversary, graduation, wedding, or funeral it doesn't mean that the whole world has conspired against you. Get over it! Maybe God knew you needed some time alone.

5.) Afraid To Fail

How many great victories have been missed because fear of failure kept someone from trying? Those who have a lovers-of-self problem would never allow themselves to look like a fool. They have an image to uphold. Let someone else take the risks. The greatest achievements however, are usually preceded by the greatest risks. I believe God is more interested in using humble people to do great things so that He gets the glory for what is accomplished.

Here are some scriptures for each of the above points...

1.) Proverbs 27:2, Matthew 6:2

2.) Ecclesiates 4:9

3.) John 3:26-30, Romans 14:4

5.) 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, 1 Corinthians 1:21

Tonight is our Sweetheart Dinner at Harvest! I'm getting jazzed up just thinking about the evening. See ya! 

Lord of the Harvest

Ap004_hat_us_cavalryOur goal at Harvest is to make disciples! We want to share the Good News with everyone we meet, baptize them, then teach them to get involved in repeating this process with everyone they meet. Church growth will be the outcome of our obedience to this Great Commission.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

We have a great ministry team here at Harvest that have labored faithfully over the years. Our journey has brought us from a small livingroom Bible study, to an old pizza parlor, to an Arts Center, to an old beauty college, to our current property which is aboslutely awesome! It has not always been easy, but it has been such a blessing to work side by side with some of the greatest people. There is still so much for us to do. God has placed us in such a wonderful place full of opportunity.

And he said to them, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)

It has been a tremendous blessing these past few months watching so many new members become actively involved in ministry at Harvest. God has truly answered our prayers! It feels like the bugle has sounded and the Lord of the Harvest has sent in the Cavalry! This infusion of new workers will enable us to go farther and do greater things for the Lord. It is exciting to think about where God will lead us in the years to come.

We must stay focused on introducing people to Christ, teaching them about the responsibility to the Great Commission, and then providing them with the opportunity to get involved! This may seem risky at times! Can we really trust new believers with such an awesome responsibility? Don't forget that God called a young 24 year old preacher to start this church. He used a few wounded souls to form our core group. He sent in 18 and 19 year olds to lead our children's church and youth groups. He transformed ex-convicts and drug addicts and has used them pretty effectively in ministry. I think God has done a pretty good job sending laborers into this field over the years and we have no reason to doubt that He will continue to send the right people at the right times.

My thoughts for all of us at Harvest? Keep fighting the enemy! Keep working hard where God has placed you! Hold fast! God is sending in re-enforcements! 

Go Colts!

F020219a Great Super Bowl this year. I would have been happy for either team to win but my heart was pulling for Coach Dungy and the Colts. Both coaches are African-American but more importantly both coaches are believers. I loved what Coach Dungy had to say...

“I’m very proud to be the first African American head coach in the Super Bowl along with my friend Lovie Smith, but more than that the fact you have two Christian coaches who show you can do things a different way. You have coaches who have firm Christian values, and the country and the world need to see that this week, I’m more proud of that than anything else.”

Here's a link to a great story at Baptist Press 

Is Dave Keeping You Busy?

Debtsettlement4I heard a lot of talk this weekend about Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. Sounds like everyone is busy doing their homework, setting up a Zero Balance Budget.

I ran across this great Excel spreadsheet that is very helpful when setting up your Debt Snowball plan.

Our class is off tonight to recover from working on their budgets (actually we're off to watch the Super Bowl: Go Colts!) but we will be back next Sunday night.

Love Is In The Air!

1_dozenrosesValentine's Day is just a few weeks away! What a great day! A day set apart from all the rest to focus on romancing the one you love. WooHoo! I am so thankful for my lovely wife Kathy! I really don't know why God chose to bless me with such a wonderful mate...BUT HE DID! Twenty-one years later she is still the hottest lady I know! (I'm not just saying that because she reads this...I MEAN IT!)

When people say 'I Do' they are in love with each other. The love they share is so intense that they march down the church aisle and there at an alter recite vows to one another in the presence of God and family. They run out of the church, dodging rice and birdseed, smash some cake in each other's face, and then hustle off to the Honeymoon. Ah! The honeymoon. Life is good! They are married.

I was thinking today about what it takes to have a great marriage. I can assure you that great marriages just don't 'happen'. They are the result of intentional effort by both husband and wife. Here's some thoughts that come to mind about marriage.

  • Marriage is Work - I see couples all the time who think other couples don't ever fuss or fight. WAKE UP! Your dreaming! You have to work at your marriage. It's very easy to look at other people and think that it is so easy for them but what you are seeing is the result of a lot of behind the scenes work that they have put into their relationship. Don't give up! The joy of marriage is far greater than the sorrow of a broken home.
  • Marriage is Forever - This is the way God designed it. We do not have the right to step in and make modifications to his design. When you truly understand and accept that marriage is forever and that divorce is not an option it will provide you with great joy and great frustration. It is a joy to know that no matter what you will always be together, it is also frustrating when you realize in the midst of a fight that there is no escape clause.
  • Marriage is NOT Rocket Science - Let me give you two very simple things to improve your marriage right now. TALK...Take the time to talk to your mate. The Bible says that we are to be slow to speak, swift to hear, and slow to wrath. Most problems in marriages are a result of a lack of communication. Don't talk ABOUT your mate, don't talk AT your mate, talk WITH your mate!  TOUCH...(Not that way guys) Take the time to hold hands, hug when you see each other, kiss goodbye and hello, sit close, massage shoulders. We are designed by our creator with a need to be touched. There have been studies done that show our health, emotional and physical, are better when we are touched like this. Touch each other in ways that show you care (not just want). Guys, when you touch your wife like this...well...other things will just naturally follow.

I'm starting a new series of messages this Sunday on Finding True Love. Hope to see you all there! We also have some really great (different) music scheduled for the month. Don't miss a service. Our Sweetheart Dinner is this Thursday night...It's not too late to sign up!

Man Night: Macho-Nachos

NachosI'm looking forward to Man Night at 6:30 p.m. on February 13th! We have invited the ladies to join us for this month's fellowship. This month we will be serving up Macho-Nachos so be sure to have your Tums and Rolaids stocked and available for later that night.

Our guest speakers will be Jim and Helen McAllister from Fresno, California. Brother Jim is the Senior Pastor at Harmony Church which is a vibrant, growing, multicultural church in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. I consider Brother Jim a great friend and mentor and I'm sure he will be a tremendous blessing to our men. Jim's wife, Helen, will be speaking to the ladies and I have heard that she does a great job speaking and encouraging women's groups.

There will be childcare available for this month's fellowship. Don't miss this exciting night and be sure to bring a friend or two!