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...Keep Reading
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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. ...
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 provide links to reliable sources where possible because many of these questions already have good answers....
You were created to worship. There isn’t a single soul on this planet who isn’t wired this way. We are all worshipers. The question is simply who or what you worship. People can deny God exists all they want, but far from denying His existence, they prove his existence as they live out a life of worship. ...
"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?...
There’s no denying that we each come to the Bible with our own presuppositions, biases and assumptions, and there are a slew of contributing factors. So when you come to God’s word, your commitment must be to let the Bible say what it says and mean what it means even if it changes the way you’ve always thought about it......
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 polarizing than any I've seen in my relatively brief 32 years of life......
Anniversary celebrations bring perspective and expectation. Perspective of what’s God has done and expectation about what another year of walking with the Lord will produce in our hearts, in our church, and in our community. Our third anniversary has once again prompted both. People have asked me, “three years ago, is this where you expected to be?” And it’s difficult to answer that question. ...
I believe there is so much that God has in store for us, but were I to sum up all that the Lord has impressed upon my heart for this upcoming year of ministry, I could summarize the focus in two words: All in! This is our theme for the year. If we’re to be the type of church that I believe God is calling us to be, it’s going to start with each and every person committing to being “All in.” This year, we’re going to get off the fence of mediocrity. We’re going to stretch ourselves beyond our levels of comfortability. We’re going to establish a clear focus on the right priorities. And we’re going to be sold out for Jesus unreservedly. ...
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…...
Being an Oakland Fireman was an exciting, fun, and rewarding job. Seriously my friends, it was. I miss it so bad that it hurts. I have done everything in my power to get back to the job I love, but unfortunately the injury I sustained won’t let me. It’s taken me a while to accept it, but I know that God has me right where he wants me....
As I reflect back on 3 years of ministry at Harvest, my heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness. Were I to speak of every form of thankfulness that has welled up in my heart, I would likely never stop writing. So in light of three years of ministry, I wanted to speak of my thankfulness in 3 ways......
For the better part of a year, we will be studying the book of Mark together and the series title is Discipleship Defined. In light of the mission and the momentum God has been building in our church, I felt that it would be essential to define what our mission is again, which is glorifying God by making disciples. If you were to poll an assortment of Christians and ask them about discipleship, I believe......
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...Keep Reading
Every Sunday afternoon, as I get ready to drive away from Harvest Bible Chapel, I stop and thank God for the amazing grace and love He showers on us. I think back on the faces of my brothers and sisters in Christ who were lifted up and transformed by our time in worship. I think of the happy faces of little ones running eagerly to HisKids, our children’s ministry, wh...Keep Reading
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....Keep Reading
"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?...Keep Reading
Philippians 4:13 is so much more than a motivational line for a high school football victory. If anything, Paul’s word here has just as much or more to do with God’s strength in losing than it does in winning. Nor is this verse a mantra to achieving your dreams but a reminder that even when you don’t, God’s enough. And that’s a way better prom...Keep Reading
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...Keep Reading
When you really read the words of Jesus, he said some outright difficult, even offensive things. Allow me to provide a few examples. “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many&r...Keep Reading
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...Keep Reading
Pastor Scott’s New Year’s Resolution for You View/Print this as a PDF here! 12 Biblical reasons to be fired up about reading your Bible regularly in 2016: 1. January: I want to revitalize my spiritual life Psalm 19:7- The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. 1 Timothy 4:8-For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every w...Keep Reading
As a kid, I grew up enjoying the fun and friendly notion of Santa. One Christmas tradition brought us annually to the mall for a night of dinner, presents, and of course holiday pictures with Santa Claus. As the oldest of four boys, I was the one trying to convince my younger brothers that Santa was not nearly as scary as he looked. On Christmas Eve, I remember getting rea...Keep Reading
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...Keep Reading
Some little known but very important facts you need to know about October 31st...Keep Reading
How should Christians respond to Halloween? Do we engage or abstain... or is there really only one answer?...Keep Reading
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...Keep Reading
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?...Keep Reading
As we bring our series, Rest: Summer in the Psalms, to a close this weekend, I’m reminded of so many of the truths that came out of our study. Were I to rank them all, the one that stands out most prominent to me in my life is my need to talk to myself more than I listen to myself. ...Keep Reading
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...Keep Reading
I love my small group. And I’m not just saying that because I’m the pastor and I’m supposed to say that. Sure, I have the weeks where I barely get everything together in time to have small group in the first place. But within minutes of group starting, I’m overwhelmed. Not by the stress of another activity on the schedule but by the sheer blessing of redemptive rel...Keep Reading
In the early church, it used to be a lot simpler. You’d meet in the temple courts for corporate worship and house to house for small groups (Acts 2:46). Two ministries done with excellence that fueled their mission-minded emphasis as they scattered into their spheres of influence to proclaim the excellencies of him who called them out of darkness and into his marvelo...Keep Reading
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 ...Keep Reading
“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 ...Keep Reading
1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” This verse is the hub for almost every conversation I’ve ever heard on the subject of apologetics, or in other words, defending the Christian ...Keep Reading
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....Keep Reading
As we see our lives play out, we spend much of our time trying to make sense of what we watch unfold. But wouldn’t you agree that your perspective on the interpretation of your life is limited? Despite our limited understanding, we still tend to poorly interpret our circumstances and come to believe that God is not good or that somehow God is not for us. What’s...Keep Reading
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...Keep Reading
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 ...Keep Reading
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 ...Keep Reading
When you look at 2 Cor 8:1-7, the word grace appears 4 times in 7 verses. Grace is so connected to the context of giving that all acts of generosity should be viewed as an extension of God’s grace from you to others. Paul had spent several years organizing an offering among the Gentile churches for the poor saints in Jerusalem because the church was populated by pilg...Keep Reading