Well, it was bound to happen
Friends, I’m excited to think about what the Lord might do, by His power and for His glory, among and through us, as we continue to grow in intentional discipleship, missional outreach, and church planting. I believe that Harvest’s best days are yet to come – and that’s very exciting.Keep Reading
We want to be faithful stewards of the gifts and opportunities that God has given to us. We want to be faithfully carrying out the Great Commission together. We want to be united in purpose as we look to Jesus together and act to see Jesus exalted in our own lives, in our families, in our church, and in our community.Keep Reading
Well, we’re back! For those of you we haven’t met yet, my name is Brennen Winter, and I am going to be Harvest’s full-time intern for the coming year. I am joined by my extraordinary wife, Tiffany, and our timid but lovable dog, Winchester (“Winnie”). We have many interests (just ask) and are so excited to be back in West Michigan and at Harvest in particular.Keep Reading
Being in loving and committed Christian community creates opportunities for people to give verbal recognition to the work that God has done in us. We are putting ourselves in positions where God can speak through his people to remind us: God is slowly and surely making us to look more like Christ. And hopefully we can do the same for others.Keep Reading
As you consider this triad of biblical categories—“saint, sufferer, and sinner”—which of these lenses tends to control the way you see and speak to God’s people around you? Each of these perspectives on our Christian experience is obviously important, but my sense is that—dare I say it?—our conversations with one another often suffer from a grave imbalance: “sinner” gets the most airtime, “sufferer” runs a distant second, and “saint” gets little to no mention at all.Keep Reading
This past Monday my family (brothers and sisters) got together for Mom’s 83rd birthday. It was a perfect summer night for a back yard buffet – and one more chance to be with my brother Randy. A highlight of the evening was sharing stories and memories of Randy; things we particularly loved about him. It was a blessing to be able to do that with him there, to listen and join in. It was evident that Randy is a unique blessing to our family. Always has been.Keep Reading
Many people experience PVB because they hate their job or their ‘normal’ life. That’s not the case for me at all. I love my work and I feel incredibly blessed in my normal life. It’s just not home – not in that deep sense. Normal life, in this present evil age with a not-yet-perfected self, is a life filled with stress, conflict, loss, fear, weariness, anxiety, etc. Normal work is filled with thorns and thistles – and something deep within me longs for beauty and for deep body and soul rest. That’s why I cry a little when I must leave the place where I experience a taste of it. It feels like leaving what I was made for.Keep Reading
Well, it was bound to happen
As I was taking my walk in the park this gorgeous morning, I was reflecting on the influence reading has had in my life. I remember being transfixed by the high drama of Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch as Mrs. Vander Wall read to us first graders. LOVED that story! I was instantly hooked on Zane Grey novels as a 10-year-old when I stumbled across Union Pacific. I wept like a baby over the death of Old Dan and Little Ann (Where the Red Fern Grows) and was stunned by the profound beauty of Cry the Beloved Country. Stories are powerful tools for molding the contours of our emotional landscape. They mold our loves and dreams and desires
This past Sunday evening I on Psalm 60. I was surprised to be reminded of what a great Psalm that is; how incredibly encouraging a message it brings
There are three things we must have clearly in our minds when it comes to discipling our children. The Value of our Children. We believe, by conviction, that our children are God’s children
The Bible continually encourages us to live our few days with eternity in view, to build a life that has weight and worth in the eyes of holy angels and our Lord Jesus (1 Tim 5:21). What is at the heart of such a life? What is the essential ingredient that creates something of noble value and beauty in the eyes of God?
Cemeteries are good for the soul. As we walked through the quiet forest of gravestones, the brevity of life, the certainty of death, and the hope of resurrection were as real as the earth and as true as the quiet beauty surrounding us. Each stone represents a life, just like mine - a life filled with family and summer mornings and work and love and sin. And every stone marks the inexorable reality of death. We all must die. And then they put the dates of your short existence on a stone and place it over where your body lies
Well, this is an absolutely Pure-Michigan postcard August morning. Simply can’t be better. The beauty of a quiet summer morning is a precious gift from the Lord. I took my walk pre-sunrise this morning. It’s wonderful to watch the natural world waking up. I caught three does still in bed (the fawns, of course, were already up and at ‘em!)
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 hope that the newly-formed Church Plant Committee for a South Church Plant will help find a facility in the Wayland-Dorr-Moline area that would allow a satellite location to continue to exist south of Grand Rapids.
August anxiety is only a few days away. I’ve experienced this for as long as I can remember but have only recently identified it. It’s the anxiety that comes from the sense that summer is slipping by, far too quickly. I feel the need to be ‘out there’ taking in as much sunshine and summer smells as I possibly can. There are the aromas of fresh hay and verdant woods and cornfields and lake water and rain falling on dry ground
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 sense in which I, as a pastor, can call myself a beautician: my job, in the Spirit’s power, is to help make the church beautiful for her groom.