Harvest Raleigh Church

Loving God, One Another, & Others

Worship Devotional – May 1st, 2o22

150 150 Charles Su

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who make the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!

You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you!

I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.

God So Loved

Great Are You Lord

Worthy of Your Name

Reading Plan Reflections – Leviticus

150 150 Ronny Mannebonia

From CJ Davis:

Well Harvest, you did it! You successfully read through one of the more thoroughly ridiculed books in the Bible; Leviticus! I remember asking a professor, “What should I get out of Leviticus?” and his tongue-in-cheek response was, “Get out as quick as you can!”  Jokes aside, I’m betting a lot of us are breathing a sigh of relief to have this book behind us.

But I have a confession- it’s my favorite book in the Bible. That’s right. My favorite. I doubt I can convince you in a short blog post that it should be yours too, but I at least want to help offer some perspectives that might make the next read through a bit more exciting. So, let’s take a quick look!

First things first, Leviticus is the heart of the Torah. Moses’s 5-part masterpiece has as its literary and theological center the book we just finished reading. It looks like this:

                                Leviticus

                Exodus                    Numbers

Genesis                                                     Deuteronomy

This alone should warrant some attention from us! Moses was an artful composer of his work, and he intentionally chose to put Leviticus at the central point. Leviticus does something that might have gone unnoticed due to all the blood and lobes and whatnot. It resolves the tension created by Exodus. 40. If you remember, the Israelites had just completed building the tabernacle- the place where God was going to dwell with his people again just like in Genesis 1 and 2. But there’s a hiccup- in Exodus 40:33 it says after the tabernacle was completed, “the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.” Sounds good, right? Until you keep reading… the verse goes on to say, “.. but Moses could not enter into it.” THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM! God is now dwelling on earth again as he has always wanted to, but no one can go into his house! This is where Leviticus steps in. Check out the first line of Leviticus:

“God spoke to Moses from the tent of meeting.” Where is God? In the tabernacle. Where is Moses? Outside. How is man supposed to dwell with God? Now check out the first line of Numbers:

“God spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting.” Did you catch it? Moses is now IN God’s house speaking with him! What happened in between? Well, in short, Leviticus happened.

The book of Leviticus provides the answer to the problem presented at the end of Exodus- “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?”

To understand how Leviticus helps solve the problem of how man is to be in God’s presence like back in the good ol’ days of the garden, we need to spend a minute talking about sacrifice.

This is a big leap for us in our context because it’s so foreign to our everyday experience. But there are a couple of helpful truths that will hopefully clear up some confusion!

There are 5 sacrifices in Lev. 1-5 and they might not mean what you think they mean. The first 3 are the burnt offering, the grain offering, and the peace offering. Essentially 3 ways of saying “thank you.” The other 2 are the purification offering and the reparation offering. Essentially two ways of saying, “I’m sorry.”

Typically we think of animal sacrifice as the animal taking the punishment for sin on themselves and the blood of the animal purifying the offeror. The problem with this is it isn’t what the Bible says. As you read through, you might have noticed that the text never says the animal is punished for sin. There is no transference of sin onto the animal in any of these sacrifices. In fact, the only animal that does have the sins of the people placed on it is the “scapegoat” in Leviticus 16 and it’s the one animal that doesn’t die! The sins of the people being placed on an animal would actually make it unclean and not able to enter the presence of the Lord. So if the death and blood of the sacrifice don’t “take away sins” (Heb. 10:4), then what is it doing? In short, the blood of the animal is purifying the tabernacle to create a clean space for God to dwell. If you noticed, the blood of the animal is never sprinkled on the offeror, it is only ever applied to different elements in the tabernacle. Why is this? Because of verse 17:11, “the blood of the animal is its life.” Essentially, blood represents life and as such acts as a detergent to clean God’s house from the pollution of sin and death.

The next thing to notice about these sacrifices is that they result in God’s presence showing up in deeper and deeper places. When God shows up in the Bible to people, the nerd-word for it is “theophany.” And in Leviticus, we get 3 theophanies that help us move “from the tabernacle” to “in the tabernacle.”

The first one happens in Leviticus 9:23. After the priests have been ordained, God shows up in front of the tent of meeting. This is outside the holy place and all the people can see it! Then Aaron’s sons create a bit of a problem by offering “strange fire” and now God’s house is dirty again. So what is to happen?

Enter the laws about clean/unclean in Lev. 11-15. This culminates with Lev. 16 where we get the second theophany. After the sin of Aaron’s sons has been cleaned up, God shows up again in Leviticus 16:2 but this time it is in the holy of holies ! We have moved inside the holy place! Getting to the heart of things.

After the regulations for holy/common things, we get the 3rd and final theophany in Leviticus 24:1-9. This one is the coolest. It’s inside the holy place, and it is represented by the Menorah and the showbread. The Menorah was a lamp that looked like a tree (think Tree of Life in the garden) with 7 branches and the flames of the candles represented the flames of God’s presence. The showbread, or the bread of the presence, was twelves loaves of bread that represented all of Israel. This bread was to remain in front of the Menorah every day, 24×7, 365. The arrangement of the Menorah and the showbread is super intentional- it is meant to depict the presence of God shining on his people all the time. That’s why Aaron’s blessing in Numbers 6 says “Let his face shine upon you” – it’s a blessing that comes from God dwelling with his people in the most intimate way possible!

This is how the gap is bridged between the end of Exodus and the beginning of Numbers. Because the offerings and sacrifices have purified a place for God to dwell with sinful humanity, he now speaks to them and is present to them as he once did with Adam and Eve. This all points us to Jesus, whose blood (life) provides the necessary purification so that God can not only dwell with humanity, but IN them! As Paul says, we are the temple of God. His presence is able to dwell with and in us because the blood(life) of Jesus cleanses us from the pollution of sin and death.

Maybe you still don’t like Leviticus, and that’s ok. My hope is that by looking at what the sacrifices are really doing, and how they moved ancient Israel into closer proximity with the living God, we will see how the work of Jesus does the same for us!

Worship Devotional – April 24th, 2022

150 150 Charles Su

Psalm 31:14-18

But I trust in you O Lord; I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!

Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!

O Lord, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol.

Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt

Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!

In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.

Make your face shine on your servant (v. 16); In the cover of your presence you hide them (v. 20)

Open up the Heavens

Rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! (v. 15)

What A Beautiful Name

And worked for those who take refuge in you (v.19)

In Christ Alone

Worship Devotional – April 17th, 2022

150 150 Charles Su

He Has Risen

Luke 24:1-12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 
And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 
And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 
Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 
But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

How Great Thou Art

King of Kings

Man of Sorrows

Worship Devotional – April 10th, 2022

150 150 Charles Su

Psalm 107:23-32

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;

they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.

For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.

They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight;

they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

He mad the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!

Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Nothing but the Blood

Before the Throne of God Above

How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

Worship Devotional – April 3rd, 2022

150 150 Charles Su

Throwing Off the Weight of the World

Luke 21:34-36

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life,

and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these thing that are going to take place,

and stand before the Son of Man.”

Don’t be Weighed Down

In this world there are things that are going to attempt to weigh us down. Jesus warns us of dissipation, drunkenness, and the cares of this life. This passage is a warning, but it’s also a call to vigilant faith. If we’re not aware, the things of this world will try to ensnare us. So we pray that God will help us by giving us the strength to resist temptation.

Oh Our Lord

Yes I Will

Man of Sorrows

A Week of Prayer & Fasting For Family Church

150 150 Ronny Mannebonia

Let us pray fervently that God would help Family Church as they are about to launch on Apr 10th. Prayer combined with fasting declares our desperation for God more than the basic need for food. If you are physically able, you could abstain from food one meal a day or one meal for several days. Allow the hunger to remind you to seek God in prayer. Let this week of prayer and fasting serve you as a time of adoration and seek God’s help and guidance rather than impressing others or for self-serving purposes. 

If you want some practical tips on structuring your prayer time here’s a link to Pastor Mike’s Meeting with God Outline.

Sunday: Pray for a healthy launch of the Family Church.
Monday: Pray for the spiritual health of the core team. 
Tuesday: Pray that God would provide the necessary finances for ministry needs.
Wednesday: Pray that God would bring more co-laborers.
Thursday: Praise God for answered prayers.
Friday: Pray for God’s protection from the enemy’s attacks.
Saturday: Pray for Unity

Meeting With God Using Jesus’ Outline

150 150 Charles Su

Meeting with God outline

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’” Luke 11:1-4 (also reference Matthew 6:9-13).

Meeting with God Outline

Jesus’ disciples observed Him meeting with God regularly. Naturally, their question was “Teach us how to pray!”
Jesus did not offer them some smug answer like, “Well, that’s impossible, I’m God the Son and you’re not so you can’t meet with God like I do.” Profoundly, Jesus answered, “When you pray, say…” This means you/we can meet with God!

The word for prayer used in these passages carries the meaning, “an exchange of wishes”. In other words, toward God we pray and He responds back! We look up and He looks down. The disciples thought this was too good to be true, too. Thankfully, one of the disciples was bold enough to ask, “Teach us how to pray!”

Before the outline Jesus gives, notice in the first verse of Luke 11:1 that Jesus prayed in a certain place and finished. Where and when will you meet with God on most days? What about the other days when your routine is a little different?

How do we hear God’s voice in prayer? Primarily, it is through God’s Word, the Bible. The Bible is God’s voice written down for us to know Him as well as to know ourselves as He sees us. Make or choose a Bible reading plan like the two year plan our church uses or another plan offered on the Holy Bible app, “youversion”. God also directs our minds and hearts according to His will, not through questionable feelings but through faith while focused on Him. This outline helps us do just that, be exceedingly focused on God, so we can pray… well!

Now, to the outline. The outline Jesus gives is powerful…

Meeting with God outline

GOD’S NAME PRAISED: Father, hallowed be Your Name.
Start with praising God for what you have noticed about Him in the Scripture you are reading. Praise God for His faithfulness to you in the last day and hours. Give Him the glory He deserves. Set Him apart from the rest – hallow Him.

GOD’S PURPOSES ADVANCED: Your kingdom come.
Set your day and your plans before the Lord. Ask for wisdom in what you have ahead. Seek God for what to say or who

He’d like you to help out each day. The Lord knows you. He has purpose for you. Learn about it from Him.

OUR NEEDS MET: Give us each day our daily bread.
Here is where we ask God for supply – strength needed to do His will and for daily provisions. And notice the pronoun is

“our” … so pray also for your loved ones and others, the supply they need. Ask the God who owns it all for His supply.

OUR SINS FORGIVEN: And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. Our hearts are now set on the Lord so we now desire for Him to not only forgive us but help us repent from sin. Confess

sin knowing the penalty was paid by Jesus on the cross. Confess for others, too. Forgive as you have been forgiven.

OUR PATHS PROTECTED: And lead us not into temptation.
We have the same enemy that God has, the devil, and his tempting ways, but Jesus has disarmed him. Pray God would

deliver us and others from temptation. Pray for overall protection from temptation in your life and others lives.

Some practical ideas:

  • Jot down these headings in a journal and every day write a sentence or two under each.
  • Use the outline throughout the day, praying through it during a trip to the restroom or at a stop light.
  • When you are in decision paralysis or in a dry spell spiritually, get away with the Lord for a few hours and use this outline but spend more time on each section with the Lord.
  • I know one person who draws a cross beside, ‘our sins forgiven’. You could draw a shield beside or instead of, ‘our paths protected’. What might be your mark for ‘God’s Name praised,’ ‘God’s purposes advanced’ and ‘our need met’? Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

Worship Devotional – March 27th, 2022

150 150 Charles Su

Life and Love in Jesus

John 14:18-21

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me.

Because I live, you also will live.

In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.

And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

I See The Lord

In Christ Alone

Man of Sorrows

Worship Devotional – March 20th, 2022

150 150 Charles Su

The Will of the Father

John 6:35-40

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger,

and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me,

but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes

in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Exalted Over All

Great Are You Lord

Cornerstone