From the Pastors' Desks

From the Pastors' Desks

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Living to Tell the Tale

In one of the most captivating stories in the Bible, a prophet is held up, not as an example of the faithful messenger and mouthpiece of God, but as one who opposed the mercy of God to sinful rebels. In Jonah 4:1-4, the prophet explains why he ran from God when told to preach to Nineveh and call them to repentance. “I knew you were a gracious God and merciful, slow to an...

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The Heart Wags the Tongue

Here’s inviting you to join me in assessing and redressing a small but important slice of daily life: the words we speak to the people around us. But first some context to orient you. Two weeks ago, I preached from Proverbs 9. In the preceding chapters, we overhear a father counseling his young, soon-to-be-launched-into-the-world son by means of a series of ten father...

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When Plans Fail

It was a great plan. As you know, I was scheduled to speak this past weekend, near Yosemite, for the Family Camp of the Presbytery of Northern California. I spoke there about 10 years ago and greatly enjoyed the people there and I was really looking forward to being with them again. The plan was to speak on the book of Job. It was hard work trying to capture the...

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From Grumbling to Gratitude for the the Great Commission

It’s striking that one important preparation for being a compelling witness to the world is gratitude. In Philippians 2, Paul connects putting away our grumbling with becoming a compelling, shining light of the Gospel to the world. Christians are contented people who joyfully thank God in all circumstances and, because of this, present a striking contrast against the lan...

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West Michigan Culture: A User’s Guide

A few weeks ago, in my sermon on Ephesians 5:1-2, I spent a little time talking about culture – specifically how Dutch West Michigan culture is defined by lots of good things – like family and apple pie, but also by some not-so-good-things, like a lack of humility and love. Cultures come with blind spots because we assume that “the-way-we-do-life” is normative and...

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From Community to Culture

In case you missed it, this previous Sunday we hosted four different outreach ministries during our Sunday School presentation. The vision driving this is simple -- a desire to connect Harvest members to outreach efforts that are already happening in our community and beyond. Paul explains to the Ephesians in chapter 4, verses 5-6, that there is only one Lord, and this 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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Proud People and Humble People

What kind of heart does God revive? “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite’’” (Isaiah 57:15)....

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Reflections on the Last T4G

After making a six-hour road trip down to Louisville, Kentucky, here is a sampling of the topics we heard: Kevin DeYoung urged and reminded us to cling to the reality that we are justified by faith, H.B. Charles called us to never forget to marvel at the beauty of our salvation, Greg Gilbert explained the reality that pride and division dies at the foot of the cross, ...

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Why the Cross?

There will be messages preached all over the country this week using the death of Christ to affirm the value of the listener. Those messages will fundamentally misrepresent the Scripture and miss the point of the cross. Good Friday and Easter did not happen to magnify the worth of fallen man. ...

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