Posts by Chris Ritter

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An Unashamed Life

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Rob Maxey was a friend to as many people as he could meet. He was tireless in his service in God's Kingdom, relentless in his pursuit of teenagers for the sake of Jesus, and abounding in hope and joy and love that came from a heart captivated by the good news that Jesus forgives sinners and changes lives for eternity. He is and will be deeply missed. ...

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5 Things You Need to Know About The Shack

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There's no question about it: The Shack is beautiful. From the lush gardens bursting forth flowers and giving way to snowcapped peaks, to the rushing waterfalls and serene forests, your senses are on overload as you watch. Yet underneath all this beauty, an array of subtle (and not-so-subtle) lies are snuck in. There are many, and they are dangerous. The Shack is a &ldquo...

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Worship Q&A Continued

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So many questions, so little time! We had over 30 questions come in on Sunday morning during our services, and of course we couldn’t get to all of them from the front. But, we can provide some brief answers to the ones that didn’t get mentioned, and that’s what we are doing here. The goal is not an exhaustive answer, but helpful, direct, biblical answers. And, we...

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Walk: Following Jesus together

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At Harvest, "walking with Christ" is the process by which you consistently grow as a disciple in community, growing in your love for Jesus and other people. Being a disciple is never a one-person show....

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How to Meditate on God's Word

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"Meditation" is a popular practice for many people, yet also a confusing one for many Christians. Is it OK to meditate like other people do, seeking to cleanse or empty the mind of all distractions, worries, burdens, etc? Is meditation spoken of in the Bible similar to that, or altogether different?...

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Don't know how you should vote? Here are 3 things you need to know.

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Every presidential election season seems to create a feeling of "When will this be over?" by the time we are all actually voting. We've heard about candidates for years already in some cases, then we hear from their "camps" every day for months and months, then we hear from candidates themselves incessantly down the home stretch. This race feels, to me, to be more polarizi...

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3 Lessons, 3 Years

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How could I encapsulate the top 3 lessons learned in the past 3 years at Harvest? Answer: I can’t. So, I’m ditching the idea of “top” 3 lessons, and instead want to put forward the following 3 lessons that we’ve learned at Harvest. There have just been too many lessons to count, some more significant than others. But for your consideration…...

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Celebrate Valentine's Day better than the world.

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 Tis the season for all things pink or red, all things hearts and chocolate, and all things “Valentine’s Day makes me sick”. It’s the time when love is supposedly in the air and one or both of you are expected to do something original or spend more money than you have to put your love on display. Valentine’s Day is upon us, and I hav...

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Christmas Trees, gifts, and candy canes - is there any Christian meaning to Christmas symbols?

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You may be surprised to hear that not everything in Christmas is strictly commercialized. Although these days fake Christmas trees are being sold in October and billions of dollars are spent during the season, plenty cultural Christmas symbols have significant meaning in Christian tradition. Here are a few little known facts about popular Christmas staples. What does a Ch...

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What is Advent and should I celebrate it?

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Christmas can tend to be a mixed bag for many of us.  It's both the most wonderful and the busiest time of the year.  It's time for decorating your house inside and out, buying more presents than you probably want to, and losing all inhibitions regarding calorie counting and baking your brains out with all manner of ginger bread, snowman sugar cookies, and pepper...

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Coming To Harvest This Christmas

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We want you to be aware of what’s coming up from Harvest Bible Chapel in December so that you can make plans with your family and friends. Here’s 4 important things you need to know to prepare with us: Harvest Gives is happening again this December! We can’t wait to tell you about the 3 areas of emphasis for this season of giving through Harvest.We are g...

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Happy Reformation Day! What!?

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Some little known but very important facts you need to know about October 31st...

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What does a godly man look like?

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Everywhere you turn, there are sermons being preached about what a man is. These sermons are not just being preached in church. They are being preached through every outlet imaginable - magazines, websites, TV shows, movies, music, shops and malls. I say "sermons" intentionally because that's exactly what they are - messages from...

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15 Years Later: Reflecting on God’s Faithfulness after my mother’s death

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My mother died on August 14, 2000, after a long battle with Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I was 16 at the time, about to begin my junior year of high school, and suddenly without the strongest spiritual influence in my life to that point. My mother fought valiantly and was full of faith in the Lord, knowing both that he could heal her at any moment but also that his purposes w...

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What is man that you are mindful of him?

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?...

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Living For Jesus = Living For Joy

The men’s Bible Study I lead on Thursday mornings has been going through the book of John ever since we started about 9 months ago. It has been a very fruitful time together, with everything you can expect from a good men’s Bible Study in the morning… coffee, scones or cinnamon rolls, open Bibles, some banter and meandering, and a sincere desire to understand the Wor...

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Is Baptism About You… Or About Jesus?

At Harvest, we LOVE baptism. It’s a big celebration for our church family to see what God has been doing in people’s lives. Thus far, baptism celebrations are a mix of new Christians proclaiming their faith in Jesus but also folks who have been Christians for perhaps many years, but never really understood why it mattered so much that they get baptized. At our ...

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What Does an Associate Pastor Do?

“What do you do?” This question was posed to me by a teenager at Harvest last week. I had hired 2 students to help me move some things from my house to the dump in Lincoln, and while we were driving one of them asked me what my job was. When I told him I worked full time at Harvest as the Associate Pastor, he looked a little confused and then asked (politely), ...

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SALT Summer Camp Recap

By Brad Dawson, SALT Co-Leader Last week many of our Jr High/High school students embarked on Harvest Summer Camp “Uncommon15”. It was an unbelievable experience for all who went. 8 churches and a total of 300 Students/Leaders made the trip . There were ridiculous games, great food, ear shattering music, and everything else a student could want from camp. From...

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How should we respond to the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage?

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the ...

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Believing the Love of God for You

“God loves you” is a statement many of us have heard many times, whether in church or in books. The love of God has at certain times in my life following Christ made a profound impact on me… but at different times it has also meant very little to me. I’m reading a book called Communion with God by a Puritan Pastor named John Owen, who lived in the ...

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Why Are We Doing a Ministry Fair?

A few months ago, the idea was brought up to do a “ministry fair” for our church. After some discussion, we settled on late April as a great date to let people know about the ministries we have at Harvest and how people can get involved. The reasons for putting on a ministry fair are simple: 1. Harvest is growing. 2. Because we’re growing, our opportuni...

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The How and Why of Prayer, Recap part 2

After Jesus gives us the how of prayer by giving a model, or template, on mature prayer to aim for, he turns his attention to some of the “why” of prayer. To be sure, no single passage, book, or sermon says all there is to say about prayer, so I won’t pretend that this says it all. But it would help us if we press in to what Jesus presses upon our hearts....

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The How and Why of Prayer: Recap part 1

Prayer is something we all need help with. Whether we just want to get started praying, or need to believe God that he hears and responds to our prayers, or anything else related to prayer, there’s much growth to be had. Fortunately, Jesus gets it. His disciples ask him in Luke 11:1-13 to teach them to pray, and Jesus gets right to work. He gives a model prayer that ...

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Learning to Rejoice in the Gospel

What do you find yourself rejoicing in these days? A good dinner? A nice glass of wine? Perhaps a beautiful sunset, waves crashing on the beach, a glorious view of Lake Tahoe, or a baby being born. What are the sorts of things that make your heart full of joy, full of awe or inspiration? Those are things you rejoice in. We all rejoice in things; I would even argue we rejo...

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My Wife is My Best Friend

Tomorrow is my 8 year wedding anniversary to the love of my life, Noelle Marie Ritter. It’s hard to believe that 8 years ago we began a family of two. These days, with a family of 3 and so much attention going to our awesome son Colton, it’s all too easy to spend less time cultivating a great marriage. I am a man tremendously blessed to have a wife who is also ...

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What To Do With Your Feelings

I have at many times in my life following Jesus been frustrated by my feelings. It is sadly not an unusual thing to go a few days doing very well, and then for no apparent reason the next day is hard, unmotivated, and just lame. I’ve slogged through many days hoping to become more chipper merely as time passes, but to no avail. I try praying and even get very honest ...

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Explaining Online Giving at Harvest Bible Chapel

Harvest is changing its method of online giving. This is a move that will save the church money and make an already good accountability system into an even better one. Online Giving is a convenient way to give, and can be set up for recurring automatic donations so you do not need to worry about forgetting, particularly during busy summer months. That being said, it is imp...

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Introducing the HBCS Pastors Blog

Good news! Harvest Bible Chapel Sacramento is rolling out another way to stay connected and learn from God’s Word. We’re starting this blog in order to address more key issues and help folks become better disciples of Jesus Christ. Here’s some of the kind of content you can expect from the blog: – Pastoral updates about matters in the life of HBC S...

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