From the Pastors' Desks

Posts by Wayne Veenstra

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Discipleship Forum

The One:Ten Team exists to develop a culture of discipleship at Harvest Church. We are defining discipleship as the process of learning Christ in faith and repentance so that we are growing like Christ in our actions, attitudes, and life’s agenda. When we say that we want to see a culture of discipleship at Harvest, we mean that we want to see the way we act and talk to ...

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Catholicity of the Church

We believe in the catholic church. This is what we confess on a regular basis in our worship services when we read together the historic creeds, such as the Nicene and Apostolic. Perhaps you’ve never thought that much about those words; or, maybe, you’ve recited the words but with a bewilderment or confusion, “…but aren’t we presbyterian? Shouldn’t it be, ‘...

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Sabbatical Report

There is a time for everything. These were the verses from Ecclesiastes 3 that we read together as a family our last night in Providence, Rhode Island. They seemed fitting for together we sensed that this was both a sad moment but also a happy one. ...

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Why We Make Disciples

The work of making disciples of Jesus is not easy. Sharing the good news of Jesus with those who are not Christian is hard for many reasons. We aren’t sure what to say, how to say it, or when to say it. We are afraid of what speaking up will do to relationships we care about. The world despises what we have to say and Satan will do all that he can to thwart and discourag...

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Opening Day

The first pitch of the regular season tells me that spring, with sunshine and warmer weather, is on the way… yes, even for Michiganders! I look forward to the sounds of the game—the crack of the ball hitting the bat, the hecklers in the stands, the roar of the crowd, the sound of cleats in the dirt. ...

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Finding Delight in Predestination?

How can I find comfort in the doctrine of predestination? By predestination we mean the teaching which says that before time began God chose some to be saved and he passed over others unto eternal condemnation. But here’s what we need to understand. The Bible tells us that we are sinners by birth and by choice. What all of us deserve as willful rebels against God is ...

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A Prayer for Ukraine

O God of the Nations, You are the all-powerful God, who appoints our times... Yet knowing that you are compassionate and merciful, and that you have instructed us to lift up prayers for all who are in high position that we might live peaceful and quiet lives, we pray for Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus and their governing authorities....

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A Memorable Meal

There are some meals you remember. Some are memorable for their location or quality: I remember eating my first steak and ale pie in a restaurant outside Aberdeen, and the pork schnitzel that I had in a beer garden outside the city limits of Vienna may have been the best meal I’ve ever had. Others are memorable for their uniqueness, like when I tried calamari or pic...

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Devotional Resources for Families and Individuals

When elders engage in household visitation, one of the most common clusters of questions that are asked is about personal devotions and family worship: where do I start? Do you have any recommended resources for family devotions? What can I use if I’m looking to grow in my personal devotional life? What could I read with my girlfriend or boyfriend? As we’re closing out...

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The Value of a Study Break

I think the congregation is making a great investment—and I want to congratulate you for it! The investment I’m talking about is pastoral study breaks; and, at the risk of sounding self-serving, on behalf of my fellow pastors, I want to express how helpful it is that the congregation give their pastors regular study breaks. ...

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Elders and Deacons

We’re a presbyterian church. Central to being presbyterian is our conviction that Christ, who is the head of the church, exercises his rule over his church through ordained elders. Christ has also established the office of deacon in the church. Deacons are to lead the congregation in demonstrating the mercy and compassion of Christ to those inside the church and outside ...

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Small Groups

The apostle Paul was always talking about Jesus. Since Jesus had graciously turned Paul into one of his disciples, Paul made it his aim to speak about Jesus with everyone he met—those who followed Jesus and those who did not—so that he might see people trust in Christ and grow mature in Him (Colossians 1:28)....

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Postlude to Holy Sexuality

On Sunday morning, Pastor Dale preached a sermon on Leviticus 18 entitled "Holy Sexuality". In modern Western culture, there are all kinds of questions that this text provokes. Among the topics that this text addresses, and the one that probably elicits the strongest reactions, is how we should think about homosexuality....

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A Day of Prayer & Fasting

Like many of you, I have watched with horror, anger, and grief over the chaotic and panic-stricken scenes being broadcast from Afghanistan as the Taliban resumed power. I’m sickened by images of people falling from airplanes, young women pleading to escape expected sexual violence, and reports of parents passing their children over barbed wire fences in hopes that at lea...

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The Power of a Warm Welcome

What a difference a welcome makes! I recently had a very enjoyable conversation with a family that had attended Harvest and Living Hope. They shared how they were encouraged by the welcome that they had received at both churches. They said people were friendly and took the initiative in engaging them as guests. They even shared how much it meant to them that some memb...

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A Life Worth Living

If you knew my Uncle Bill, who died last month at 52 years old, you would have liked him. Everyone did. He was a charmer. Uncle Bill loved going to weddings. He always found a way to fill up his dance card with the pretty girls at a wedding. He would sneak over to the DJ to play his favorite hits and then proceed to command the dance floor. We also had to keep a watch o...

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Psalm 139

This summer the Walk Ministry Team and Sunday School Committee are inviting Harvest members to join us for another memorization challenge. This summer we will be memorizing Psalm 139. Whether you are young or old, please join us in committing this part of God’s Word to memory. ...

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Thanking Andrew Bekkering

This past week concluded Andrew Bekkering’s full-time internship at Harvest. On behalf of the session, the pastors wanted to thank Andrew for his service at Harvest and to share with you some of the ways he has been a blessing to the congregation as a part-time intern (2019-20) and then as a full-time intern (June 2020-May 2021). ...

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Roses

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I invested a lot in those roses. I built them a home. I watered and fed them. I pruned them. As they slowly grew, I would stop to actually smell the roses and examine their progress as I came home from work each day. To see them grow and blossom was a source of joy for this novice rosarian. As autumn wound to a close, I researched how to winterize my roses. ...

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Joyful Anticipation

Recently our family took a trip to Chicago to visit the Shedd Aquarium. As parents, we’ve come to learn that we need to be intentional about when we reveal surprises to our kids. If we do it too early, we’re going to get asked the same question endlessly for weeks on end. This time we didn’t tell the kids until we had them safely strapped in the van. Suzanne an...

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Stones for Bread

She is an evangelist… and a really successful one at that. People are drawn to her, especially those outside the church. The so-called religious “nones”...

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Resources for Discipling Your Kids in Bible Reading

At the ENGAGE:Bible Reading seminar, Pastor Wayne mentioned a number of resources that may be of interest to parents as they seek to read the Bible with their children. They are listed here: ...

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The Chief End of Catechism

The primary purpose of catechesis is to help men and women, boys and girls, know and delight in God more deeply. When we study the catechisms, individually or as a group, we are doing so in the pursuit of finding greater satisfaction and joy in God. ...

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Heavenly Citizenship

On Sunday evening, we’ll be looking at what it means to live as a worthy citizen of Christ’s kingdom from Philippians 1:27...

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Circular Saws and iPhones

My two-year-old son loves to work with me in the garage. It’s not something I’ve taught him or encouraged, but he just likes being with his Dad and working away with tools.   He enjoys banging away at scrap pieces of wood with his plastic hammer or drill. Sometimes though I’ll let him use my tools with me. We’ll sand a piece of wood together or drill a hole. He ...

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Pastor Wayne's Top 5 Books of 2020

Pastor Wayne shares his top 5 books of 2020. Can you tell he loves reading and talking about books?...

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The Book of Philippians

Over the past year, I’ve had the great pleasure of studying the book of Philippians with different men in the church. I’ve found it to be a book filled with timely encouragements and so I’d like to share those with you in a new sermon series starting this Sunday. I’m excited to study this part of God’s Word with you for three reasons:...

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Responding to Covid-19

As we look ahead, I did want to give you a peek into what Sundays at Harvest will look like in the Fall. At our Session meeting this past Tuesday, the Session decided that starting on Sunday, October 4, we would begin holding two morning services and one evening service each week. We would also discontinue the outdoor sites at Harvest and the Vanderwey farm. It is also our...

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The Bride

We can liken the work of pastors to those attendants who help a bride look radiant on her wedding day. In Ephesians 4, Paul uses the metaphor of growing up and maturing. The idea is that faithful shepherds and teachers are a key means by which God prepares the bride (the church) for her groom (Christ). Though I’ve never given a pedicure to anyone in my life, there is a ...

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Family Devotions

The primary responsibility for disciplining children rests with their parents (Deuteronomy 6:7) and no interruption to church programs will change that. But where is a family to start? ...

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You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet

Over the past weeks, there have been a number of things that have stretched the Church; but, viewed historically and globally, it would be embarrassing to refer to the American church’s present situation as persecution (but to quote the 70s rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”). ...

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Completing Work

Last night I was reading through Philippians 1 as part of my devotions. I began my approach to this chapter with a simple question: what in this passage causes me to want to worship God more? One of the things that I fixed on was the assertion...

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Babies and Books for Kids

Last week in this space I mentioned that I hoped to pass along some helpful tools that Suzanne and I have discovered as we seek to teach our kids about Christ. This week I wanted to share several storybooks for young readers that we’ve enjoyed reading together and which are theological in nature. ...

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Family Worship . . . with Children!

God has given Suzanne and me the great privilege and duty of teaching two beautiful children who God is, how serious their sin is, and their need for a Savior. It’s a big deal! It’s a responsibility that is both delightful and daunting. My suspicion is that most parents of small children more readily sense the daunting part of the duty than the delight! Leading our fam...

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Elijah's Showdown

John Calvin was offering a very biblical diagnosis when he described the human heart as a perpetual factory of idols. He was describing you and me. It’s for that very personal reason that I’m so excited to study 1 Kings 18 with you on Sunday morning. Besides being a story packed with drama and sprinkled with humor (just look up v. 27!), Elijah’s dramatic showdown wit...

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