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September 2007

Posts from August 2007

It's Getting Closer!

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I'm hosting a Pastor's Book Fellowship on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. here at Harvest. if you are a pastor and live close enough I'd love for you to be a part of this group. Prayer, fellowship, discussions, and encouragement. That's all. The first book we'll read will be Breakout Churches by Thom Rainer.

Got my copy today! I told Pat Ziegler he couldn't start reading his copy until September 10th when we start our monthly Pastor's Book Fellowship. I want to start reading so bad but every time I open the cover I feel guilty. DANG!


Life Is An Adventure

Anniversary_card_coverIt is amazing how God can move us from one place to another each and every day. This week has been just crazy! Fun, but crazy. Salinas on Saturday, Turlock on Monday, Sacramento on Wednesday, then back to Salinas this Sunday. Keep me in your prayers.

Mike Smith, our New Beginnings Recovery Group leader, will be preaching for Harvest this Sunday. He is an awesome preacher and always does a great job. This Sunday is his wife Michelle's birthday so he better do a good job!

I will be preaching at our Salinas Spring Church this weekend. I'm looking forward to bringing a message of encouragement and hope to this small body of believers. This church has really struggled over the past several months but I know that God has a plan for them. This past week God put two passages from Philippians on my heart. It is important to remember that when we can't...He can! There is never a need that God cannot fill.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 KJV)

These passages have reignited a fire within my soul. It seems like we are always facing one thing or another in the ministry and sometimes we get discouraged. We need to stop and think about all that God has already done and remember that He hasn't changed.

I'd like to share a new webpage with you all. Golden State Pastor's Blog is a group blog with many pastors invited to contribute posts. I think it will become a great site as more and more pastors begin to post.


Golden Gate Fellowship Meeting

51vnbavafjl__aa240_November 16th and 17th 2007

I'm very excited to share with you that Dr. Robert Picirilli will be speaking for our Golden Gate Fellowship Meeting in November. We will be hosting this exciting meeting at Harvest here in American Canyon. I would encourage all pastors, preachers, and Christian workers to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity.

His recent book Grace, Faith, Free Will is a must read. Dr. Picirilli will teach four sessions during this weekend conference. This special meeting is open to all of our pastors throughout the state. If you would like more information please feel free to contact me by email. We would love to have you!


Looking Ahead...

Pastor Cliff Donoho from Nashville, Tennessee will be preaching a Wednesday through Friday night conference for Harvest in the early part of October. He will be here in California to lead men from Northern California on a motorcycle ride to Fresno.

In November Harvest will host the Golden Gate Association pastor's for a Friday night and Saturday morning. I'm working feverishly to have a program that will be encouraging and beneficial to our preachers and pastors. Hey Harvest family! I may need some help...don't start avoiding me now.

In January, Ron Hunter from Randall House Publishers will be conducting a Teachers Workshop for all of our teachers here at Harvest. If you are a teacher, a substitute, or are interested in getting involved in working with children here at Harvest this is a must do EQUIPPING event.


Don't Miss The Blessings

Haman_w4lsI was reading through the book of Esther in my devotions today. What a great passage of scripture. The part of this story that captivated me today was the conflict between Haman and Mordecai. Over the last few months I have preached several messages on the necessity of forgiveness in the believers life. Haman is a real life illustration of the danger of allowing hatred to fill our hearts.

Haman recounts his blessings to his wife and friends (Esther 5:11-12). The splendor of his riches, his family, and his career advances. Then he adds, "But all this is meaningless as long as I see Mordecai the Jew just sitting there at the palace gate." (Esther 5:13 NLT). Haman had every reason to be happy. He was living the 'Mede and Persian' Dream. He had it all, yet he could not enjoy any of it because he was so angry with Mordecai the Jew. Eventually, Haman's pride would lead to his own humiliation (Esther 6:6-11) and destruction (Esther 7:7-10).

While Haman's death is certainly a terrifying thing, I think his self-inflicted torture is equally frightening. God help us to never become so consumed with hatred that we cannot enjoy any of the blessings in our lives. It is so important that we keep our hearts pure and free from pride, jealousy, bitterness, and hatred. We all struggle with Haman's sins from time to time but the Holy Spirit enables us to overcome these sins.


Pastor's Book Fellowship

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I'm launching a Pastor's Book Fellowship on September 10th at 7:00 p.m. here at Harvest Church. This is a monthly time for pastors to get together for fellowship and prayer. We will meet on the second Monday night of each month to discuss a current book relevant to the life and ministry of pastors.

Our first book will be 'Breakout Churches' by Thom Rainer. I've heard great things about this book and am excited to read and share in some some meaningful discussions with other pastors here in the San Francisco bay area. I'm even more excited about developing closer relationships with my fellow pastors here in the area. I'll have the coffee ready and some munchies available. Call me or email me if you have any questions regarding this group.


Temporary Lab Rats

RatI'm working on a new sermon series for later this fall and I'm getting excited as I study for it. I was sharing some of my thoughts with someone from the church the other day and they said there needs to be a time when people say, "count me in". I responded with the idea that there also needs to be a time when they say, "the church can count on me". Here's a quick list of some commitments I want to challenge harvest with this fall. Of course all of these commitments come from the first commitment required from a church member, A Commitment To Christ.

  • A Commitment To Sundays (Worship)
  • A Commitment To Small Groups (Discipleship)
  • A Commitment To Stewardship (Giving)
  • A Commitment To Sharing (Evangelism)
  • A Commitment To Serving (Ministry)

Just a little preview! It helps me collect and arrange my thoughts when I can share them with others. Feel free to give me some input. I would love to hear your ideas. Thanks for being my lab rats today.  :)


The Cost Of Being Fruitful

1141711502_9b71d37201Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. (Proverbs 14:4 ESV)

I recently came across a message by Mark Driscol, probably my favorite preacher, about Biblical manhood. In typical Driscol style he opens with the above scripture and tells us that as men we will be shoveling 'crap' our entire lives. His words not mine. That's certainly a line that gets your attention. It got mine.

The goal of our lives should be to be fruitful! In order to be fruitful there are certain things you just have to deal with. Solomon, tells us that one of the things we just have to deal with in order to have abundant crops is a messy barn. Great parts of our lives are spent shoveling in the barn. We could eliminate the mess and therefore the shoveling by getting rid of the oxen in our barns, but we must not forget that abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

What are the oxen in your barns? The responsibilities? A wife is a huge responsibility but life can be pretty fruitless without a wife. Children can make huge messes and are indeed a great responsibility but I cannot imagine a life without my children. A ministry in the local church brings a lot of responsibility into our lives but the blessings far outweigh the burdens. All of these are like oxen in our barns, they come with responsibilities and they keep us busy shoveling our barns, but they are ultimately what allows us to be fruitful in this life.

Anyway, this verse has been on my mind all week and I thought I'd share it with you all. I'm swamped this week taking care of one of my oxen (ACCA our Christian School) it can be lots of work at times but it is also a great part of producing abundant crops at Harvest.


Quick Tip!

Barnes_nobelCoffee200If you have AT&T High Speed Internet (DSL) at home...you get free WiFi at McDonald's and Barns & Noble.  Awesome, when you consider Starbucks and T-Mobile charge a fortune for WiFi access. Crazy!

Now if we can just get McDonald's to bring back the HUGO for .69 cents then we'll be set! Better yet! Hugo Latte's! Yeah Baby!


The Right Word At The Right Time

The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, (Proverbs 25:11 MSG)

Ist2_558378_apples_of_goldThis past week I was sick with an upper respiratory infection. I hate being sick! On top of this I was feeling a little beat up by the ministry, if that makes sense. There are times when a pastor just can't please anyone. I was pretty discouraged. I was singing in Tennessee Ernie Ford style 'Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen, Nobody Knows But Jesus'. It was just pathetic! Don't laugh, you've been there too! Besides, if you know who Tennessee Ernie Ford is then you're too old to laugh.

I received a letter Saturday afternoon that just amazed me. I was amazed first by God's timing. His timing is always perfect! I was also amazed at how God uses people! Two people praying for their adult children felt led by the Holy Spirit to send a note to their children's pastor, and they did what the Spirit told them to do! Finally, I was amazed at how easy it is to become discouraged and blinded to the 'big picture'. Why do our critics always seem so much louder than our supporters when they are almost always fewer?

I want to share the note with you, but please don't think of this as boasting. It really is more about humility than pride. It's humbling to realize that God is willing to use ordinary men to accomplish extraordinary things in the lives of His people. We only have to surrender our hearts and lives to Him. At times, it feels like we're just spinning our wheels and accomplishing nothing, but that is not the case! God always makes good use of those who trust and obey!

Dear Pastor Mike,

You were on my heart last night as I was praying for my children. you have been such a blessing in the lives of Scott and Lisa, Mikey and Noah. I know they have gone through tough times and struggles (as we all do) and you have been there for them.

As our children grow up and we allow them to stretch their wings and fly. I'm glad that God brings people like you in their lives to help them on their flight.

Both Kathy and you are a blessing to Bruce and I, too.

Love, Your brother and sister in Him,

Bruce and Char

It is such a blessing to be a pastor! I wouldn't trade my life for anything! Ministry can take it's toll on you, no doubt, but the rewards are beyond compare. Young men considering the ministry need to understand that it is not an easy path, but it is an awesome journey! You will see and experience so many wonderful things in the ministry! It is very satisfying to know that when you invest your life with God you just can't lose. There is always a return! Keep serving Him no matter how difficult things become and when you need it most He opens your eyes for a moment and says, "Look what I'm doing with your life". So cool!