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Posts from December 2009

Pastor's Goals For 2010

2010-camaroI'm finalizing some goals for 2010 and I'm sad to say the 2010 Convertible Camaro is probably not going to make the list of important goals this year. Bummer!

One goal that will make the list is improving my Thursday Night Bible Study at Harvest. A new teacher might be the easiest way to reach that goal but I'm going the tougher route and will just try to be a better teacher myself.

I've got hooked on The Sevens on Wednesday nights and found myself getting convicted about doing a better job on Thursday nights. So... More effort in 2010. I'll announce our new study in a couple weeks.


The God Of Second Chances

I'm looking forward to a great Sunday! We're off to minister to the homeless in the community. We've got testaments, socks, gloves, blankets, toiletries, and stuff to share. After spend a couple hours reaching out to show the love of Jesus there we'll be heading over to a local nursing home to sing carols and love some precious people who are too often forgotten.

Here's an awesome video I ran across today from Carlos Whittaker's blog Ragamuffin Soul. Los was filming a worship song when a homeless man came up and began worshiping with  him. Listen carefully to the conversation at the end of the song. Very interesting.


Wonderful Counselor

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I'm truly enjoying this Christmas Season! The house is decorated because Christmas is a celebration! The ugliness of sin was outdone by the beauty Jesus.

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:18-21

One of my favorite passages regarding Jesus is from the prophecy book of Isaiah.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~ Isaiah 9:6

This Christmas, why not make a commitment to allow Jesus to be your 'Wonderful Counselor' in all things?

"Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in a multitude of counselors they are established" ~ Proverbs 11:24

Some thoughts running through my head today regarding counsel...

  • We need to get counsel from qualified people. If we need financial advice we should get it from someone who is financially sound. If we need marriage advice we should look to those who have good marriages. If we need advice about raising our children we should ask folks whose children are a testimony to their parenting. If we want career advice we should seek out others who are successful in their careers.
  • We must not keep seeking counsel until we get the answers we want. The truth is what we should be looking for. It's foolish to keep looking for those who will only endorse our current path in order to make us happy, rather than be honest with us. Remember, 'Misery loves company' and so it's probably not good to take advise from miserable people.
  • We must be careful who we get our counsel from (Psalm 1). Seek out 'Godly' people. Seek out those who live 'Godly' lifestyles. Seek out those who are not 'Mockers' or antagonistic towards God, His Word, or His Church. Remember, God said, "Be not deceived, God is not mocked..." in Galatians 6:7. And again in Proverbs 14:9, "Fools make a mock at sin; but among the righteous there is favor" Look for 'Righteous' people to get counsel from because "among the righteous there is favor".
  • We must never forget that JESUS is 'WONDERFUL COUNSELOR'. Once we have received counsel from those around us we must weigh everything in light of what JESUS, 'WONDERFUL COUNSELOR' has told us in His Word! Too often, I've heard people say something like this, "I know the Bible says...BUT...". If we are to make wise decisions we must HEAR and DO what the Word tell us. James 1:22 reads, "But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.".

One of my favorite carols is, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel... Read these words from song and ponder the 'Wonderful Counselor' this year at Christmas...

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.


Friends Don't Let Friends Leave Their Cell Phones On In Church

PhotoMy good friend, Pastor Cliff Donoho, teaches me something new all the time. Today's lesson? Always turn your cell phone off before church starts. Notice the timing of his thoughtful text... 10:41 a.m. That's right about the time I've finished reading my text and starting into my Sunday message.

Truth is, phone was on vibrate and in my coat pocket on the back pew so I didn't see text message until 12:02. So no harm, but I will probably still seize the opportunity for payback! :)


Socks, Gloves, and The Word

I'm really looking forward to Sunday the 20th. We're passing out socks, gloves, and gospels to the homeless. Afterward we're heading across town to sing carols and visit the residents of our local nursing home. What better way to celebrate God giving us his son than by us giving of our time, talent, and treasure!

Sent from my iPhone


Next Stop... Shafter

I'm getting ready to head to beautiful Shafter, Ca. for our State Mission Board meeting. I gave my life to Christ at the Shafter Church on May 3, 1973. The church was not in the same location, back then it was in a little part of town called Smith's Corner.

I'm really looking forward to driving in the "freezing fog" a nice little fog that freezes upon contact with anything. Sounds fun!

Sent from my iPhone


Six Reasons I Like To Tailgate and Blog

Jaiden Just a little over a year ago I posted our upcoming Tailgate Sunday at Harvest Church on my blog. We have since added Tailgate Sundays to our annual calendar and we always have visitors. It's really a blast! Families start showing up at 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning to get a good parking spot. How often does that happen at church? The BBQ's start firing up around 8:30 that morning and the smell of food begins to fill our neighborhood. The Jalapeno Poppers, Bacon Wrapped Dates, and Homemade Salsa show up a little later. Our praise team is busy setting up the outdoor stage for an eleven o'clock worship service. Everybody's wearing jersey's, kids are tossing the football around the parking lot, and I just kick back in my lawn chair and enjoy watching God's people interact. Then around eleven we gather for a full outdoor service. It's kind of fun to watch the neighbors listen in and see the cars slow down to see what's happening. It really is a great Sunday!

Last year, Chris and Khalie showed up out of the blue! They showed up with Raiders jerseys, lawn chairs, and an ice chest, ready to have a good time! That was their very first Sunday at Harvest and we are so glad they came that day and have become a part of the family. Not too long after that first Sunday we started a Sunday night fellowship group for couples. Each week we would meet in a different couple's home for a potluck dinner and then watch a video from Mark Driscoll's series on Song Of Solomon. We would discuss the lesson and close in prayer each week. Chris and Khalie came to these fellowships and also invited Khalie's mom and dad, Rick and Brenda.

Rick and Brenda have become a part of the Harvest family too! And they have brought their son R.J. to Harvest. The whole family has been a blessing! And this past week, Chris and Khalie dedicated their new son, Jaiden, to the Lord during our morning worship service. How wonderful to see three generations of a family coming to church together!

I was reflecting yesterday afternoon about this wonderful family and remembered how Chris and Khalie found Harvest Church. Somehow, they found my blog, The Journey, and decided a Tailgate Party at church sounded like something fun to check out! So, there you have it! Six reasons I like to tailgate and blog... Chris, Khalie, Jaiden, Rick, Brenda, and R.J.!


Five Things I Pray For Our Men At Harvest

2009-10-prayer We have a great group of men at Harvest! I started a men's Bible study on Wednesday nights called The Sevens. The idea is to study a relevant topic each week and provide seven passages for the guys to study during the coming week and share with their families. The Sevens has quickly become one of my favorite meeting each week. I was thinking today about our guys and my prayers for them.

  • That they would fall in love with Jesus and God's Word.
  • That they would grow and become leaders at home and in the church.
  • That they would come to know God's will for their lives and pursue it with passion.
  • That they would become so excited about their relationship to Jesus that they share it with everyone they know
  • That they would stay the course no matter how difficult things are!

An Early Christmas?

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Prayer and Praise!

December 1st has our Executive Pastor, Scott Hanes, on his way to UC Davis in Sacramento for a long awaited kidney transplant. Please keep Scott in your prayers today and for the coming weeks!

Almost a year ago, he made it to the operating room only to be turned away due to some unresolved health issues. He has gracefully cleared those hurdles. It's been a crazy long year for Scott and Glenda and all systems are now 'Go'.

An early Christmas? Let's pray!