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Posts from June 2009

Open Wide

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10

What are you hungry for? What are you looking for in life at the moment? Do you know? Do you know what it would take to satisfy your hunger? God speaks to us in this passage and says that if we'll open our mouth, and open it wide, He will fill it. He'll satisfy the deepest longing of our soul.

  • Open your mouth to worship (Psalm 81:1-3, James 3, Ephesians 4:29)
  • Open your life to inspection (Psalm 139:23-24)
  • Open your eyes to opportunity (John 4:35)
  • Open your hands to give (Luke 6:38)
  • Open your heart to Christ (Revelation 3:20)

God is ready to fill us if we are ready to open ourselves up to Him and be ready to receive all that He has for us.


Leftovers

I'm perfectly alright with eating leftovers. In fact, most of the meals that we fix are things that are usually better on the second day. Beans, stews, soups, etc. I even took some garlic sausages that I BBQ'd on Father's Day and sliced them up and cooked them into an awesome omelette the following evening. You can do some pretty amazing things with leftovers.

 I ran across a short devotional thought by Dr. John Piper that involved leftovers. I thought I'd share it here today...

After Jesus had fed both the 5,000 and the 4,000 with only a few loaves and fish, the disciples got in a boat without enough bread for themselves.

When they began to discuss their plight, Jesus said, "Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand?" (Mark 8:17). What didn't they understand?

They did not understand the meaning of the leftovers, namely, that Jesus will take care of them when they take care of others. Jesus said:

"When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They said to him, "Twelve." "And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" And they said to him, "Seven." And he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"

Understand what? The leftovers.

The leftovers were for the servers. In fact the first time there were twelve servers and twelve basketfuls left over (Mark 6:43). The second time there seven basketfuls left over—the number of abundant completeness.

What didn't they understand? That Jesus would take care of them. You can't outgive Jesus. When you spend your life for others, your needs will be met.


I love that! When we spend our lives for others, our needs will be met!


Taking God's Side

I have recently run across three different individuals that have fallen out of church after going through a divorce. All three spoke of feeling like people in their churches took sides in their divorces and made attending church a very uncomfortable thing. Tragic. Rather than listening to one side or the other, maybe the church should shed tears, offer up prayers, and take God's side. He has made His side very clear.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?" He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."  Matthew 19:3-9

This year we did something different for Mother's Day and Father's Day. I asked people in the church to write letters, essays, or poems to honor their moms and dads. Here is a letter submitted by a precious little girl that really drives home why we should promote God's side.

To My One And Only Daddy; Benny
I wish you were here with me right now. I wonder where you are and if you'll ever come back. I ask these questions to myself, mommy, and God every day hoping that somebody will answer saying, he's coming home, don't worry. I miss you so much. I want you to come home. I miss the times we used to go on bike rides through Richardson Park. I miss our camping trips we used to go on and bring the paddle boat. I miss when we used to lay on the couch and watch movies together. I also miss us playing with Tuxedo and how we can't do those things because you aren't here. I really miss you daddy and I hope you will come home soon. You've been there for me when I was sick, you got up in the middle of the night and you held my hair back when I got sick and was throwing up, you would always tell me you're there for me and you promised me and mommy you would never leave again. I really hope you come home soon, I miss you daddy.
Love,
Your Step-Daughter, Your Little Girl, Your Squirrel,
Kathryn

Divorce is not something to take lightly. It's not just an "Oh well, we tried" situation. Marriage is for life and there is no room for selfishness in a marriage. The church should not be OK with a dad running away and leaving his "little girl" to write a letter like this. The church should not be choosing sides and making couples feel justified in breaking their vows. We should be encouraging couples to work through their difficulties and honor the commitments they have made.

She’s got her daddy’s eyes, her momma’s hair,
A small piece of both of them.
But she’s the only thing, the two now share,
Only reason they’re still friends.

She spends the weekends here, the weekdays there
But she’s never really home,
‘Cause when she’s with her mom, she’s missing dad
So her sadness never ends.

Help them see through this child’s eyes,
Help them see the way,
Help them love like Jesus loves,
Help them both to stay!

You know it’s not the life they dreamed about,
‘Fore He blessed them with this child.
But they chased those dreams, gave it all they had,
There’s no reason now to stay.

“It’s complicated”, Yeah, that’s what they say,
As they look into her eyes.
If they could see things, through her tear-stained eyes,
Maybe then, they’d find the way

Help them see through this child’s eyes,
Help them see the way,
Help them love like Jesus loves,
Help them both to stay!

She loves them both, no matter what they’ve done,
Her love’s greater than their sins.
She kneels beside her bed, and prays each night,
“Jesus, Help them both to see”

Help them see through this child’s eyes,
Help them see the way,
Help them love like Jesus loves,
Help them both to stay!


Guard your marriage! Encourage others to do the same! Offer prayer and love to those having difficulties without condoning selfish willful sin. Always choose God's side!

Well now, I guess you know what's on my heart...


Congratulations Alyssa!!!

Alyssa-9My second daughter, Alyssa, has finished high school and will be receiving her diploma during our services at Harvest this Father's Day. We are very proud of her for so many reasons!

Alyssa has already taken classes at Napa Community College for the past 3 semesters. She wants to get her teaching credentials and feels called to missions. Her plans are to spend one more semester at Napa and then transfer to California Christian College in January. 


Most Importantly...

The Crowded Center

"Hear, O Israel:The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. Deuteronomy 6:4-6

I get frustrated at times when people in our congregation don't do certain things they should or do certain things they should not. I'm sure my frustration is not even close to God's disappointment. Why don't they read their Bibles? Why don't they pray? Why don't they witness and invite friends to church? Why do they fall into sin so easily? Why do they talk the way they do? The list of questions could go on I'm sure.

This past week I've been contemplating Deuteronomy 6:4-6 and the effect loving God has on His people. Maybe the answer to all of the issues we face is as simple as preaching in such a way that people will know God and love God. If we love God there will be things we just naturally do and don't do. Just a thought.


"And When I Wake Up, You Are Still With Me"

Tenderly Concealed

Psalm 139:17-18
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

I can remember as a child not wanting to go to sleep at night. The night seemed like an eternity that I would fight off as long as possible. The night was mysterious. What happens when you sleep? As adults, sometimes we want to go to sleep but can't. There is always something left over from the day that needs to get done. Something from the day that troubles the soul and keeps us from resting. There are things that we must face tomorrow that cause us to lay awake and ponder.

How amazing that the God of the universe, with thoughts that cannot be numbered is with me all the time. He never leaves my side. I lay down in the evening and He is there. He watches over me while I sleep and He is right there beside me when I wake up. Don't forget that God never sleeps, He never slumbers. God is always watching over us. In the evening, turn everything over to Him. He can handle it! Don't worry about a thing and know that when you wake up in the morning, He'll be right there with you.

He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent!


Quick Announcements For Harvest

Golden Gate From Baker BeachThe Baby Shower for Kahlie Currier has been moved to 2555 Flosden Rd. #124 in American Canyon. The time will remain at 7:00 p.m. Chris and Kahlie have been a blessing to Harvest since they started attending and we want to celebrate with them tonight.

If you have ny questions please feel free to call Kathy or Beth Trimble

This is Jasmin Staup's last Sunday at Harvest for a while. She has enlisted in the Air Force and is headed for Basic Training on Monday. We are so very proud of her! What an amazing young lady with a sweet sweet spirit. We will be honoring her in the service tomorrow and having a special time of prayer for her and her family. Don't miss out on this special time.

Next Sunday will be a great Sunday at Harvest! We will be celebrating Dads and Grads during our 10:00 a.m. worship service. Alyssa Trimble will be receiving her Diploma from American Canyon Christian Academy during the service. We've got some fun stuff planned for the Dads!

(I have a hard time posting without a photo so here you go... A shot of the Golden Gate from Baker Beach I took on Friday's adventure with Alyssa, Kayla, and niece Madisyn)

Have a GREAT Saturday!!! See you in church tomorrow!!!


The Volunteer Rose

Volunteers


Our church is located on a hillside. The north windows of our chapel look out at a hill that we have covered with ground cover. The past two years this amazingly beautiful little rose bush has emerged from the midst of the Ice Plant to show off these lovely flowers. There are usually only three or four flowers at a time.

Today, I took a break from study and business to take a few photographs. I have found that when I take a break to do something creative it helps me with everything else I have left to do for the day. If we are made in the image of God then the fact that he is the creator must mean that creativity is a part of our nature. For me, photography is my creative outlet.

While taking this picture I began to think about how beautiful this 'volunteer' rose was. Nobody planted it there, nobody has really given it a lot of attention, it just popped up and started making the place look better. On second thought, somebody did plant it there... God put it there. God has placed a lot of wonderful 'volunteers' in our church too! Sometimes they don't get a lot of attention, God just plants them in our fellowship and they just start making the place look better. 

Take some time to notice the people God has planted in and around your life and appreciate how beautiful they are. Tell them thanks! Also, think about where God has planted you and get busy!

Follow Me

2752250135_e943c66e58 Matthew 4:18-22 "While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him."

Here's the deal. Christianity doesn't have to be so complicated. Jesus found the disciples and simply called them to "follow" Him. Just "follow" Him, that's it! Not that following Jesus won't lead us into all sorts of places and circumstances, but all we really need to do is "follow" Him. We don't have to worry about charting the course or even knowing where we're going. We just need to follow Him. If we get a hold of this it really helps settle us down and remove so much stress from our life. How do I follow Him?

  • Keep My Eyes On Him (Hebrews 12:1-3)
  • Stay As Close To Him As Possible
  • Do Whatever He Does: Go When And Where He Goes

Not only do we just "follow" Him, we don't need to worry about "being" anything in particular. He told His disciples that He would "Make" them to be fishers of men. When we quit trying to "be" someone or something and just simply "follow" Him and let Him "Make" us what He wants us to "be", then we will be on the right track.

Just a few thoughts from my time with the Lord Wednesday night...