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Good Friday: Fasting Guide

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Good Friday Fasting 

In Mark 2:18-20, some people asked Jesus why others fasted but His disciples were not fasting. Jesus said it was because He was with His disciples and that His disciples would fast when He is no longer physically here. That time is now. We fast because He is not here, but He is risen! Jesus is not here but He hears. We lose our way, Jesus lights it. We cry for help, God is our help. 

Fasting is a temporary time of not-eating in order to, 1) Commit typical meal prep, eating and clean up time to prayer and to, 2) Illustrate our dependence on God as our provider and sustainer. Jesus said, “When you fast” not “If” then taught us not to fast as some do, to be seen and to impress people, but in order to draw near to our Father in heaven (Matthew 6:16-18). Fast a meal or more today. Fasting creates space to pray and reflect, worship and love God. The goal is drawing near to God and God drawing near to us. If you fast the entire day, we will break the fast tonight with communion during our Good Friday worship service. 

Reflection personally

Read Matthew 26-27. Observe our Lord, His love and His Sacrifice. 

Pray for 5-10 minutes starting all sentences with “Thank You Jesus for…”. Finish all of those sentences with who He is, what He has done, what He has said, what He is going to do, the things He has provided for you by His grace. 

Pray for 5-10 minutes confessing your sin, really allowing the Spirit to reveal any unclean way within you. 

Pray for 5-10 minutes being grateful that you have been washed clean by Jesus and your standing before God is all because of Jesus and not you. 

Pray for 5-10 minutes about what God is showing you personally during this season of coronavirus. Let the Lord use this trial to produce in you steadfastness in your faith in Jesus Christ. 

Pray for 5-10 minutes for your loved ones. 

Pray for 5-10 minutes for our church family. 

During the remainder of the day, pray for the following: 

Revival worldwide

This pandemic is opening people’s eyes about many things. We feel them too. What is really precious in life? What is most important? Who is most important? What is most enduring? Who is most enduring? What is actually worthy of my worship and attention? Pray that people all over the world will recognize that Jesus Christ is the only rock and all else is shifting sand (Matthew 7:24-27). Pray that people would recognize that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow while all else is constantly changing (Hebrews 13:8). Pray that people would ask Jesus, who came to us, for forgiveness of their sins and new life rather than trying to work their way to God (Romans 10:9). Pray for specific countries you have heard about in the news. Pray for friends you have who are from other countries. 

Recovery worldwide

Tens of thousands have died from coronavirus. Many more than that are sick. Their loved ones are devastated and scared. Pray the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-5) will be near to them and make Himself known as their Comforter. Pray they would feel that God is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). Pray for economic recovery for nations and neighborhoods. Pray that eyes would be opened to needs in our communities to be addressed with our loving effort now and for years to come. 

Wisdom for our Leaders

World leaders are faced with very difficult decisions about lives versus livelihood, both of which have terrible consequences if the leaders shift too much in one direction. Medical professionals and scientists are racing to create testing, treatments and vaccines while needing to yield to the wise timelines of safety. Pray that God, who appointed and gifted these leaders for such a time as this, will direct them (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Pray these leaders will pray. Pray these leaders will lead as servants.

Maundy Thursday: Love One Another

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Today is “Maundy Thursday”. As a kid, I used to think, “Who got confused and called ‘Thursday’ ‘Maundy’ and what accent is that anyway?!” “Maundy” is the shortened Latin word “mandatum” which means command. So… “Commandment Thursday.” 

There are three great commandments that Jesus gives and they form our culture as a church: Love God, Love One Another, Love Others.  Love God and Love others comes from Matthew 22:37-39, “The greatest commandment is you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.” Love one another is from John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give you to love one another … they will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.”

Jesus commanded us to love one another during His last night with His disciples, during the last supper on Thursday night in the upper room. The big line he delivered was, love one another. 

Our love for one another has really been on display during this Covid-19 season as we interact in virtual small groups, comments during the livestream plus the countless texts and calls and meme-sharing. Distance makes the heart grow fonder! So today…

  • Thank God for one another
  • Love one another using some encouraging texts
  • Pray for one another, all day long, and let us know when you do
  • Call a friend in the church and pray together for one another 



Serving Our City

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Church, here’s how we can help our City right now…

Our friends at Raleigh Dream Center have been asked by Wake County Public School System and Wake County Human Services to coordinate meal give-aways at many local communities. RDC does the coordinating, WCPSS makes the meals, packages the meals and delivers the meals to the site. They need us to receive the packaged meals, put a meal on a table, step back and allow someone under 18 years old to take the meal. It is very simple but very helpful right now. 

Heather, Erik, Courtney and Jamie have served in this way in the last 3 weeks at Casa de Luna where we have handed groceries, played soccer with the kids and shared the gospel over the years. This opportunity is just as easy as Jeremy with RDC says it is: bless our neighbors who need food, it’s social distancing compliant and is a bullseye for serving our community right now. 

Here is what you need to know: It’s Monday – Friday, 11-1. Check out the sites where you can serve (closer to home or work than you might think!) Look over the schedule for when volunteers are needed and sign up. 

Here is a video explanation from our friend Jeremy with RDC. 

Raleigh, You Are Loved!

Quaint Worship this Easter

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Easter is usually high time for the church. There are outreach events to love the community, special musical arrangements, higher attendance, family visiting from out of town, deviled eggs (ironic) and too cute four-year-old girls in their Easter dresses. I’ve heard Easter called, “The Superbowl for Churches”. 

This Easter, church will be different. The church will be home on our couches or at our kitchen tables watching the livestream or pre-recorded service or email devotional walk-through from our pastor and worship leader. This Good Friday and Easter, the simple truths of the gospel will be communicated through simple means, without the volume and the environment, the refreshments and extras. Easter will feel quite different. 

The word “quaint” means “attractively unusual or old-fashioned”. Synonyms for quaint are “charming” and “sweet”. 

Good Friday and Easter this year will be attractively unusual and old-fashioned. The gospel alone will stand alone. And it will be enough. It always has been, always will be and the gospel is enough today. That God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life. That God’s love is demonstrated for us in this that while yet sinners, Christ died for us. That we can say, “O Hell, where is your victory?! Oh death, where is your sting?!” because Jesus rose from the grave and through faith in Jesus, we will one day also rise to be with Him for eternity. 

What quaint Truths about the Lord Jesus are rising in you this Easter? 

Hope beyond heartaches here #thankYouJesus
You will wipe away every tear #thankYouJesus
My sins are forgiven #thankYouJesus
You made a way for me #thankYouJesus
I have new life, eternal life #thankYouJesus
You love with everlasting love #thankYouJesus


These gospel Truths are not quaint, not at all. They are enormous. They will stand alone this year, which will be unusual, but attractive and old-fashioned.

Easter is usually high time for the church. It will be this year too … because everything about Jesus is exactly the same. 

Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Serving Raleigh during Covid-19

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During the closures and cancellations related to Covid-19, our heart is to serve the Raleigh community in any way we can. Of primary concern are kids and families who rely on the two meals a day the Wake County Public School System provides. Also, adults in industries which are lowering work hours or temporarily laying off workers will have financial burdens eased through the availability of meals and food. Below are opportunities to love like Jesus: 


  • Serve lunch. Hot meals will be provided by the Wake County Public School System and a limited number of volunteers are needed every school day between 11am-1pm to assist in the five communities RDC currently serves throughout Raleigh & Wake Forest. Meals will be served in keeping with social distancing measures. Two Harvest people have already served and said this is simple and easy with joyful impact.  Sign up here.
  • Drop off food. Approved food items can be dropped off weekdays 9am-4pm at Harvest Raleigh, 2817 Spring Forest Rd. between now and March 29th. Place items  in the labeled container by the front door. These food items will go directly to the Raleigh Dream Center food pantry. 
  • Donate. Make a donation directly to RDC to help them purchase additional food. 

For additional information from RDC, watch this video from Executive Director, Jeremy Porras. The information and needs are changing daily; the most up to date volunteer information will be found on the RDC web page.


Pray. Pray for healing around the world; for wisdom for government agencies. Pray for prevention of debilitating spread in Raleigh. Trust in God as Provider. Pray for our light to shine about Jesus’ love and power. Harvest members, we will be sending out daily prayer topics starting Wednesday, March 18th. 

Local. WRAL compiled this list of local efforts to help those in most need. Note that the Food Bank is matching donations and that Interfaith Food Shuttle is working with schools and helps the elder as well. Thanks to one of our members who considered these on our behalf! 

Neighbors. Reach out to and do something encouraging for your neighbors and coworkers. One of our neighbors owns a wholesale flower company. She brought flowers to each home. What are resources or skills you have that can bless people? Who do you know who is high-risk who might be helped by you doing a grocery run for them? 

Questions or ideas? Email

Livestream only this Sunday – Loving our Neighbors

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Harvest family, our leadership has made the decision to only do a livestream worship service this Sunday and not gather in person. The Center for Disease Control is recommending the cancellation or postponement of gatherings and we want to love our neighbors and do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

The worship service will start on our Harvest Raleigh facebook page at 10am on Sunday. Charles will lead a song, I will do some announcements, pray, then preach Genesis 24 as we continue our series Genesis: Let There be Light, and we will close with a final song. 

As I shared yesterday, God is Almighty! We are not given to a spirit of fear but live by faith. We also must walk in the wisdom God generously gives when we ask. As His image-bearers, we want to respond with wisdom regarding our response to this virus. Part of that wisdom is laying low, pointing ourselves and others to the Almighty God and praying for those affected by the virus locally, nationally and internationally. 

Looking forward to our virtual gathering this Sunday! 

You are loved! 
Pastor Mike 

Coronavirus: Precautions and Perspective

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UPDATED 3.13.20 – Click Here

As the Coronavirus spreads in our country and in Raleigh, I want to share with you some precautions we are taking as well as some perspective. 

First, the precautions. The building is cleaned each week and additional cleanings are occurring. Kids toys are being sanitized plus door knobs and surfaces will be wiped down before, during and after worship services. For the next few Sundays, let’s greet one another warmly as always but without physical contact. A Kids Director will be running check-in so not everyone is touching the tablets. Remember, each of these are precautions. The biggest prevention is you: if you or someone in your immediate family is sick, please do not come to church on Sunday morning (a year round request). 

  • Livestream will be available (Facebook: Harvest Raleigh)
  • Online giving always available (website or Church Center app) 
  • Prayer requests to always available. 
  • Utilize white box on welcome table for paper giving, welcome and prayer cards – always available.

Some data: 80% of people infected recover at home. The 20% who require medical attention require fluids and oxygen and recover. The most at risk are the elderly, persons already sick or those who have high-risk medical conditions. 

Now, the perspective. God is Almighty! If he can give and take away plagues, He can handle Coronavirus, amen? Amen?! This does not, however, mean we can be irresponsible in our response. The Lord is Almighty and He gave us wisdom toward taking precautions. Let’s love others well: Point worried people toward our Almighty God. Pray for healing for those who have the virus and for countries highly affected: China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan. Pray for those whose jobs or incomes are temporarily jeopardized. Pray we can be a light and people will respond to the Light. 

Root to Fruit

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Recently during a sermon about Abraham committing the same enormous sin… AGAIN, I shared this Biblical Counseling diagram*. The left side represents your soul planted in the soil of unbelief and pride. The right side represents your soul planted in humility and belief. We so often work to change our fruit. Instead, sit down with God and let him work on the roots. That will change your fruit. This is how you can really change. 

If you want to follow the explanation, start the sermon video or audio at minute 19:43. 

*Cred to Garrett Higbee for the core of this illustration. 

Meeting with God using Jesus' Outline

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Here is a resource I’ve developed to help you have great meetings with God in 2020. It includes Jesus’ outline for prayer plus how to set up a daily rhythm of meeting with God. Hope it serves you! 

Pastor Mike