“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, a light upon my path.” That’s how I memorized Psalm 119:105 as a young boy at Lamont Christian School. It’s hard to describe how much more precious that truth has become 50-some years later. I say that because I feel increasingly disoriented in today’s society. So much has changed.
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Why I Am Excited about Harvest Church
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
A Little Bit More on the Ministry Planning Retreat
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
A Parable From the Front Lawn
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
Catch Them Doing Something Good
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
Let Me Tell You About My Brother
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
Home and Post-Vacation Blues
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
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Conspiracy theories have a way of grabbing our attention. Joe Carter defines a conspiracy as something that “…explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot, usually by powerful conspirators.” Whether it’s a fake moon landing, flat-earthers, the illuminati, or the reptilian elite (yes, you read that correctly), there is something simultaneously sensational, humorous, and pathetic about these claims.
Like yours, my heart has been heavy with grief this week in the wake of the evil suffered by Christians in Nashville. And, perhaps like yours, my heart has struggled to find words to speak to God in prayer.
Have you ever dialed 9-1-1? I will always remember, in vivid detail, the night our middle daughter had a febrile seizure. She had a spiking fever, convulsions shook her little body, and her eyes went blank as she dribbled saliva and vomit out of her mouth. Our world fell apart. We thought for sure we were losing our baby girl.
I read a book on my most recent study break that has really gotten my attention. I’ve begun sharing it with the staff here, and hope to do the same with the Session. It’s not a “Christian” book – but it applies directly and powerfully to how we live together, as followers of Christ, in our families and our church.
By now you know that Harvest Church is hosting a special conference this spring called “Caring for One Another” (Friday-Saturday, April 21-22), featuring Dr. Ed Welch. Perhaps you’ve wondered, “Why should I attend this conference?” Great question! Here’s offering several reasons for your prayerful consideration:
Spring training tells us that baseball has arrived, but not yet in full. We get a delicious foretaste of what is coming as the sounds and sights of summer break into our winter. Similarly, for Christians, we come to experience the new age we’ve been rescued into as the Holy Spirit resides in us (Eph. 1:13-14).
Three beautiful truths from Ephesians 3:14-21 enable us to rekindle lost love. First, love flows from all three persons of the trinity. Second, we lack power, in ourselves, to see and enjoy the majesty of God’s love. Third, when we cry out in desperation to to see God’s love for us in Christ again, we are asking the one who is actually able to answer our prayers “abundantly more than we ask or think.”
As Christians, we are often uncertain how to grieve. Oftentimes, when death or other tragedy strikes, we often feel we are going “off the map” into unrecognized territory. Part of this is the way it should be. Death and sin are against the way God created the world. Grief disorients us because we are perceiving a tear in God’s good created design. But as a child, I remember being very undone by a young boy who was a member of our church who suddenly died. I was used to my world being predictable and death didn’t make any sense.
At the heart of biblical change is a relational transaction: the real you engages the real God in the midst of real trouble. When someone seeks my pastoral counsel, this is one key principle that I try to help the person understand in the early stages of the counseling process. Of course, grasping this concept is one thing; putting it into practice is another. Inevitably, a counselee will ask me, “How do I do this?” Great question! I think the answer is more easily “caught” than “taught,” which is why I love taking people to the Book of Psalms to eavesdrop on the prayers of God’s troubled people. When we slow down and watch closely, we see this relational, heart-to-heart transaction happening before our eyes.