Harvest Raleigh Church

Loving God, One Another, & Others

Leading from Weakness

150 150 admin

Who wants to be led by a weak person, right? So, we project strength … even when we are weak. 

This is dumb. It will collapse. The people you are leading will surprise you when you confess you are weak. They will relate. You will have opportunity to point them to the strength of Jesus instead of your strength. How much better is that?!

A danger in our Christian culture is to take strong leadership principles from the world and apply them without a stronger understanding of leadership in the Bible.

Leaders in the Bible are:

Meek = strength under control, non tyrant. God called Moses the meekest on earth. 

Weak = aware of your real strength. 2 Corinthians is Paul telling the church how it’s Jesus who is strong, not him).

Psalm 18 is David sharing how God is his strength and how much David loves Him for His strength. David was a strong man – killed large animals and a giant no problem with his hands or a sling. But he knew his strength was the Lord. Do you?

A New Bridge in Raleigh

150 150 admin

Bridges connect one side to another. They make destinations accessible and a straighter path to them. 

This past Sunday, April 7th, Bridge Fellowship Church launched!  Their mission? Bridging people back to God through the gospel. The Bridge is all about bridging you back to God through Jesus. 

How’d the launch go? The team God assembled did a fantastic job setting up and serving all who are beginning to make Bridge their church home. You’re invited! Pastor Douglas preached a powerful sermon about Who they are all about and what Bridge will do (listen here). Worship leader Taylor Pritchard ensured we gave all the credit to God. Bridge Kids ministry was a hit (my kids had a total blast!).

If you live in Southeast Raleigh and want to learn about Jesus, find a great church home and serve the community, make your first trip to Raleigh’s newest Bridge!

The Bridge is Launching!

150 150 admin

God has been building a team to plant a new church in Southeast Raleigh. Bridge Fellowship Church will launch on April 7th at 10am at 2600 Timber Dr. Get connected here

On March 17th, we got to “tell of God’s wondrous deeds” (Psalm 105:1-2) by retelling the story of how we met the pastor-to-be Douglas Humphrey and were convinced by the Lord quickly that this was an opportunity to steward for His glory.

Sunday we ordained Douglas. Ordination is a public recognition by elders of a church affirming Jesus’ calling on a man to Pastor, including affirming his conversion, character and competency. Our elders gave Douglas some charges from God’s Word and prayed over him. Pray for Douglas. 

Then we commissioned the launch team, a group of diverse but eternally united-by-Jesus individuals. These Jesus-followers are so excited about what God is already doing in Bridge and will do as Bridge is launched. Pray for them.

In the lead-up to their launch, we will be helping Bridge with multiple community outreaches and having a week of prayer April 1-7. 

All of this flows directly from the living God, whose Plan A is the church. We love you Lord!

Energizing Marriage

150 150 admin

Author Emerson Eggerichs in his book, Love and Respect, outlines three major cycles that a typical marriage faces: The Crazy Cycle, the Energizing Cycle and the Rewarding Cycle. 

The Crazy Cycle is when he won’t love and she won’t respect. Both are unwilling to make a move until the other does. Crazy. The Rewarded Cycle is when he is loving his wife well and she is respecting her husband. This is based on Ephesians 5:33 “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” The Energizing is how to get to The Rewarded Cycle and how to stay out of The Crazy Cycle.

In recent sermons on marriage from Ephesians 5:22-33 I have shared the outlines of The Energizing Cycles for both the wife and the husband as practical examples to help your marriage via God’s design for your good.

Here they are: 


The energizing cycle: CHAIRS 

  • Conquest: Appreciate his desire to work and achieve
  • Hierarchy: Appreciate his desire to protect and provide
  • Authority: Appreciate his desire to serve and lead
  • Insight: Appreciate his desire to analyze and counsel
  • Relationship: Appreciate his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship
  • Sexuality: Appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy

The rewarding cycle: Love and Respect


The energizing cycle: COUPLE 

  • Closeness: She wants you to be close 
  • Openness: She wants you to open up to her 
  • Understanding: Don’t try to “fix” her, just listen. 
  • Peacemaking: She wants you to say: “I’m sorry” 
  • Loyalty: She needs to know you’re committed
  • Esteem: She wants you to honor and cherish her

These were just 3 minutes from each sermon and there is more life-giving help from God’s Word for the wife and the husband for the good of your marriage. We’re all learning. Thankful that God gives direction. His Word is a lamp for our path. 


“Healthy Marriages – Wives” – Ephesians 5:22-24

“Healthy Marriages – Husbands” – Ephesians 5:25-33

Woman of God

150 150 admin

Ladies, the world is in your ear. Dangerous. Your own voice is in your ear. Regularly dangerous. This image represents God’s voice in your ear (awesome and life-giving!) versus the world’s slander. The goal is here is you knowing who you are in Jesus Christ.

(I do not know the source. Whoever drew this, thank you and amen!). 

If you read these and are enamored that God would actually, truly say these to you … He will. God is your Creator. God is not a bully. God speaks truth in love. If you are facing your insecurities or your weaknesses or your sin and the mountain they are to overcome, especially in your own strength, ask our helping God to help you. Ask Him to speak truth in love to you. Ask Him to help you put on the identity you have in Jesus. If you recognize you do not have identity in Jesus Christ because you do not know Him, you can. Confess your need for God and your sin before Him, thank God for creating and loving you and sending a savior to pay for your sin: Jesus. Worship God that while you are yet a sinner, Jesus died for you. Exalt God who speaks these phrases to you. Be certain of them because you are certain of God and make Jesus #1 in your life.

I recognize also there are empty “good things” the world says about you or suggests you to do or say to yourself for transformation. You may wisely recognize they do little to transform. They are not rooted in God and rather rooted in fleeting identities or feelings. Phrases like “be happy” and “do something good for yourself today” aren’t bad but they fail to be a solid foundation and can regularly be shifting sand … why? They change, are temporary and subjective. Root who you are in God who is unchanging, eternal and true. He made you, saves you and loves you. It’s the ultimate “YOU ARE LOVED”!

From sermon: Healthy Marriage: The Wife, Ephesians 5:22-24

Additional Elders!

150 150 admin

On February 17th we installed two more elders to our elder team! 

Seth Apple and Kenny Perry are both godly men who Jesus has been raising up to be elders. They have served for years in as small group coaches as well as many other roles in the church. More importantly, these men exude the Christian character qualities listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 2:5-9 and 1 Peter 5:1-5.

Be praying for Seth and Kenny and for the now five member elder team who loves you and seeks your health in the Lord Jesus.

Jesus is head of the church. 

Jesus builds His church.

Jesus is kind to give more elders to Harvest Raleigh to serve by leading.

The GCC Senior Pastor and Wife Retreat

150 150 admin

Here’s a snap shot of hundreds of GCC Pastors and Wives belting our praise and prayer to Jesus during this week’s annual Senior Pastor and Wife Retreat. The Great Commission Collective is our church network.

Paul wrote to Timothy, “I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy” (2 Timothy 1:4). Vanessa and I were filled with joy this week as we reconnected face-to-face with friends who are leading great GCC churches all over North America and the world. I even got to attempt my very bad Scottish accent with the Pastor of Harvest Glasgow, Scott Hamilton, as he attempted his even worse =) southern accent with me! 

Something new happened this year. We didn’t go alone! Douglas and Shiela Humphrey who are  planting another GCC church in Raleigh, Bridge Fellowship Church, were with us. It was a blast watching them benefit from this fellowship and see others in the Collective get fired-up about what God is doing in Southeast Raleigh. 

Our sessions were focused around the GCC aim of healthy pastors, strong churches and multiplying ministry. A line from Doug Helmer’s message on pastoral health stuck out to me: healthy pastors must abide in Jesus and not activity. I need to hear this every day. The power for all ministry comes from abiding in Jesus. 

We’re grateful to be a part of this Collective. It is so meaningful to Vanessa and me. God’s works of grace during retreats like this flow directly into Jesus’ church here. Like Ecclesiastes 4 reminds us, we’re better together. 

GCC, you are loved!

Fire Pit

150 150 admin

Several weekends ago, we enjoyed some time around my neighbor’s epic fire pit. When it comes to fire pits, humans all over the planet do the exact same thing … drop what they were doing, pull up a chair, gather around the fire pit, stare at the fire, enjoy conversation and stare some more. It’s one of my favorite ways to relax. 

There is one fire that Christians gather around. One fire that unites us. We drop what makes us different and unite around the God-man, Jesus Christ. 
As Christians, we ARE unified by Jesus in the following ways (from Ephesians 4:1-6). Are we living these out? 

  • #1 by far, we share the same calling from God to salvation through Jesus. 
  • We are each urged to walk in Christlikeness (living like Jesus did: humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the Spirit of UNITY in the bond of peace). When you desire to do the opposite of these, resist the urge and walk in Christlikeness instead. It will not only bless you but help to unify the church family around you! 
  • Common Christian Confession: ONE body, ONE Spirit, ONE hope, ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. 

When a church’s focus is sincerely about Jesus, unity abounds. Pull up a chair! 

Captain Planet

150 150 admin

When I was a kid, I used to love watching Captain Planet. “Earth! Fire! Wind! Water! Heart! … By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!” As five kid heroes combined their environment-saving powers, Captain Planet would manifest and help them save the planet. I still have the theme song in my head. You? 

When Jesus ascended back to heaven, He gave us Christians even more. He gave us gifts, not toys or tech, Jesus gave us His gifts, His giftings. His superpowers. We call them spiritual gifts. 

What are your spiritual gifts? How do you determine them? 

1) Ask Jesus. When determining anything, always start here. Prayer and the Bible. The passages in the Bible about gifts are Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:27-31a, 1 Peter 4:7-11 and Ephesians 4:7-12. 

2) Ask your anointed moments. What are those? The times when you have really sensed God using you in significant ways. When you “felt the pleasure of God” like Olympian Eric Liddel would say. Did those moments flow from a particular gifting in use? 

3) Ask your faith family. What do you Brothers and Sisters in Christ say about your gifting? What does your serving team at church say? What does your Christian bestie say? 

This week, our small group enjoyed a tremendous discussion about one another’s gifts, affirming them together and encouraging one another onward with some brainstorming of how to fan them into flame in the church. 

Captain Planet was fictional. Spiritual gifts from Jesus are not. You have a gift from Jesus. Deploy your Jesus gift and combine it with the gifts of others in the church family toward the glory of God and the health of the church. 

Hear the full sermon on Ephesians 4:7-12. 

Maturity in Church

Worship Leader Transition

150 150 admin

Sunday, January 6th, I had the joy of sharing with the congregation God’s unfolded story of bringing on a new worship leader to Harvest Raleigh as well as the next seat on the bus for our seven year worship leader CJ Davis. 

We celebrated CJ a lot, including videos of how easily CJ scares and testimonies from worship team members about his exemplary faith, leadership and friendship. We also gave him a gift he’s been drooling over for months! It God’s goodness, CJ shared that being the worship leader at Harvest has been the single-most powerful means God has used to grow him up in the Lord. At that point, CJ caught a tissue box thrown to him as others in the congregation also wiped their eyes. CJ’s mark on Harvest is indelible. CJ will continue to play with the worship team and will be teaching some discipleship classes later this year, fanning into flame the teaching gift Jesus has given him. 

Charles Su is a godly and gifted man, about to graduate from NC State in May with a communication media degree. He has been leading worship at Cru for several years and is now training up the next gen of worship leaders for Cru at NC State before he graduates. He plays guitar and keys, has a thorough knowledge of music and enjoys making God-glorifying videos. His first impression of Harvest in May of 2018 was that people really worship. Amen! His desire is that Jesus be worshipped and to help the congregation worship God all the more. Charles is enjoying being in a great Harvest small group and co-encouraging one another in the faith. Welcome to the team Charles!