Harvest Raleigh Church

Loving God, One Another, & Others

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 

Develop Your Meeting with God Plan for 2020

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Here are some ideas toward strategically developing your Meeting With God plan as we enter 2020. See also the previous post “Seek and Set in 2020” for the heart behind why. 

The 5/5/5 Plan

This plan is simple. Pray for 5 minutes. Read the Bible for 5 minutes. Pick one more 5 minute investment such as journaling, Scripture memory, deeper study, further prayer or reading a Christian book. I like this plan because I can adjust the third one according to what I’m reading, praying, facing or whatever mood I’m in! At just 15 minutes a day, this plan will get you going. Maybe you are ready for 10/10/10 or 15/15/15. 

Print Bible Reading Plans

Book at a Time – Bible in a year, read from 2 Bible books each day. Great variety. Includes one reflection day per week or you can use that day to catch up.

Bible Reading Chart – Check off what you’ve read as you go. For reading the Bible in a year, simply read 2.5 or so chapters per day or divide the number of pages in your Bible by 365. Great for the reader whose interests shift throughout the year. Allows you to take as long or as little time as you need (doesn’t have to be a year!)

How to pray. Luke 11:1-4 Jesus gives this outline for prayer:

  1. God’s Name Praised
  2. God’s Will Advanced
  3. Ask for your/our daily needs
  4. Confess your/our sins while forgiving others
  5. Seek your/our protection from temptation and evil

In “Yellow Notes” on my phone, I have a personal prayer list and a church (or work) prayer list. I update it whenever I need to. It’s great to check off items as God answers and it’s great to reword them or add verses to them as God reveals related truths, wisdom or promises from what I’m reading in God’s Word. 


  • YouVersion: pick from thousands of reading plans and devotionals, set up reminders, store your highlights and notes. Also, Harvest Raleigh sermon outlines can interface with YouVersion to store notes you take.
  • The Dwell App: no one has described the utility of this app quite like this clip from Matt Chandler
  • Fighter verses: A Scripture memory app created by Desiring God 

Free commentaries on the entire Bible

Great resources for study

Infographic: Do I have enough time for this? Meeting with God each day is more realistic than you think! 


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Jesus changes lives! Watch Adrian, Ellen and Jackie tell their stories of how Jesus has saved them and is changing their lives. 

"Seek and Set in 2020"

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Your 2020 will include innumerable interactions, tasks, opportunities and endeavors. What is God’s counsel about when and how to approach them? 

“Seek the things that are above, where Christ is” Colossians 3:1

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” Colossians 3:2

This month, make a plan toward the following seeking and setting in 2020:

  • Receive God’s voice in your life via a daily Bible reading plan.
  • Seek God using a daily/weekly prayer list + when/where you will pray. 
  • Benefit from intentional fellowship through church, small group, hang-outs.
  • Make some goals toward good news sharing and good deeds doing. 
  • Take a step of faith toward fanning into flame how Jesus has gifted you. 

We don’t know yet what our 2020 interactions, tasks, opportunities and endeavors will be, but we can walk with the God we do know through all of what He already knows is coming. That’s amazing. 

Let there be light in 2020! 

"Walking Blind"

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Hebrews 11:8 says, “And Abraham went out not knowing where he was going.” 

This was not vocational uncertainty… “What job Lord?” nor was this relational uncertainty… “What spouse Lord?” 

This was faith to go out and completely upend his entire livelihood that Abraham had already built and profoundly, that with which God was pleased, so why the change? Something better ahead. But it wouldn’t look better, feel better, taste better or work better. 

Walking by faith is trusting God in your immaterial self – heart, mind and soul – and not with your material self – eyes, ears and feet. 

All along, God knew exactly where Abraham was going. Is that enough? 

Sometimes God leaves you in the dark so you know that He is the light. 

3-5 Year Vision

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This past Sunday I shared our 3-5 year vision with the church. You can listen to the entire sermon here from Acts 2:42-47. Here is the outline:

Our vision is to be loving God, loving one another and loving others. 

Loving God

  1. Worship: People of increasingly sincere worship. God-exalting because we are not god, He is God. 
  2. Word: Beholding God through His Word. God-beholding because He’s the subject of the book, not us. 
  3. Prayer: Growing belief (and practice) in the power of prayer. God-relying because we are weak and God is near! 

Loving one another targets for next three years

  1. Students: Building up Harvest Students with broad church involvement.
  2. Community: Building community beyond our first 10 year means.
  3. Classes: Commit to regular content-driven discipleship opportunities.
  4. Coaching: Deepening equipping and coaching for new and existing leaders.

Loving others targets for next 3 years

  1. Good news: More people sharing the gospel regularly. 
  2. Good deeds: Participate in local outreach. Being good deeds people all the time.
  3. Good trips: Participating in international church planting. We’re going overseas again! 

Several important nuances. 

  • Hit the bullseyes, GODone another and others by focusing on the WHO.
  • LovING meaning ongoing and cultural versus once or twice a week. 
  • It’s “3-5” years because we make our plan and the Lord directs our steps. 

Approved Emotions

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Recently I shared during a sermon that we project an approval of just one emotion for the typical Christian. Can you guess it? 


Joy is awesome. It comes from Jesus and seriously there is no greater joy than the joy of forgiveness of all our sins and heaven ahead. So what are we to think when joy is not emoting? 

Think we are like Jesus: 

  • Jesus wept when he met Martha and Mary after Lazarus had died. 
  • Jesus was righteously angry when He flipped extortioners money tables in the Temple. 
  • Jesus was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. 
  • Psalmists were full of raw emotion that is uncomfortable to read at times. 

God created emotion. Embrace it. Let him into it. Why? Because often God delivers us in our raw emotion.

  • Tell the Lord you are angry and let Him help you get to the heart of why. 
  • Tell the Lord you are downcast and let Him care for you and lift your eyes. 
  • Tell the Lord you are hurt and let Him bind up your wounds.

Don’t go around your emotions, go thru them, with God. 

What the Armor is Made Of

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Modern armor is made of kevlar. Ancient armor was made of heavy metals. The armor God described in Ephesians 6 is made of something altogether different. Christian, the armor of God that he tells us to put on is made of your identity in Jesus Christ.

The belt of truth. Hey! there’s an actual TRUTH in our world of pick your truth. Like a belt, the truth that Jesus is your Savior and Lord holds you together and keeps you from coming undone. 

The breastplate of righteousness. The righteousness of Jesus applied to you covering your new heart and keeping it pure). 

Shoes sending you with the gospel of peace. A message of peace in the midst of a war is always welcome and must be heralded. 

The shield of faith. Faith allows you to move forward knowing heaven is ahead no matter what might get slung at you here. Faith knows the future even when the smoke is thick. 

The helmet of salvation. You’d think it would be the helmet of truth. After all, our minds would be under our helmets. So what is the emphasis here? The truth of your salvation fights the lies in your head. 

The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. The only offensive weapon – the Bible. Know it to know God and fight the enemy often in the close combat of his clever truths. 

Therefore, take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13.