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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.

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.

The kindness of God has been made manifest in so many ways these last two years. We’ve come back to West Michigan, for a brief time, to be of service to the saints at Harvest.

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.

Scripture memory, however, whether it be for adults or kids, is not something we do just for kicks or to gain some religious points. Scripture memory is about worship, holiness, ministry, and mission. L

The month of June is upon us and, with it, the celebration of America’s true public religion – Pride. Our nation, with much of the western world, has committed itself wholesale to the worship of unlimited sexual license and the aggressive evangelizing of the LGTBQ+ agenda. This is not about politics, or social policy, or human rights. At its core, this is purely about worship. It is demonically driven rebellion against the Living God and His good creation. This is man “exchanging the truth of God for a lie” and God, in judicial response, giving our society “over to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28). Pride Month is man shaking his fist in the face of God – and God revealing His just and awful response to that wicked pride.

This coming week we welcome Eddie Mercado as Harvest’s full-time, summer pastoral intern. Eddie and his wife Hilary have 4 children: Calvin (9), Ezekiel (7), David (5) and Amelia (3). He was raised in a Christian home in the greater Chicago area, but did not become convicted of his sin and trust in Christ until he was 12-13 years old. In 2016, he and his family began attending Harvest’s evening service while Eddie studied at Kuiper College. The Mercados officially joined Harvest as members in 2020.

We are people who worry. We worry about our health, about the kids, about our job, about our relationships, the economy, the country, the world. I, for one, am an expert worrier. I can find something to worry about in just about any situation, no matter how good it might be.

Spring is nearly too much for me. The sheer thrill of warm sunshine, the wonder of growing things, the glory of flowering trees and the smell of warm earth; I can barely contain myself. I feel like a 5-year-old boy on my birthday about to open the presents with cake and ice cream waiting. It’s too good and too much, an overload of the joy-capacitor. The weight of the glory strains what this mortal can handle. I can’t help but think that this experience is a small foretaste of the first day in heaven.

Why are we taking on this new task of offering English as a Second Language classes? The purpose of ESL ministry is to share the Good News of Christ in word and deed. In Matthew 25, Jesus describes some of the characteristics of his people. These good deeds are not the basis of their salvation, but the evidence or demonstration of it: “The King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…”