Harvest Raleigh Church

Loving God, One Another, & Others

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

Worship Devotional – March 13th, 2022

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Servant Leadership

Luke 22:27

For who is greater, the one who reclines at table or one who serves?

Is it not the one who reclines at table?

But I am among you as the one who serves.

Humility in Leadership

In this passage, Jesus flips the preconceived notion of what make someone great. Instead of one’s power or stature, the defining factor is one’s willingness to serve. This points out one of Jesus’ great character traits; his humility. Jesus humbled himself to the point of death on a cross so, that our sins would be forgiven. It’s because of his great love for us and through his leadership. That’s why we’re called to be disciples of him and to follow him.

Here For You

Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery

Living Hope

Worship Devotional – March 6th, 2022

150 150 Charles Su

In the Sight of God

Luke 16:15

And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts.

For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”

Eyes to See

The part of this verse that really stood out to me is when it says, “For What is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” How do we know as men and women that we aren’t exalting things that are an abomination to God? It seems to be addressing our sinful nature. We have a propensity to exalt things that aren’t worth exalting. Our response to this is to turn to Jesus. Ask for help, in order that, we might exalt what is worth exalting. Our God has brought us into new life! Surely, he can give us eyes to see what is good and deserving of exaltation.

Here For You

Be Thou My Vision

Great Are You Lord

Worship Devotional – Feb. 27th, 2022

150 150 Charles Su

The Great Joy Of Salvation

Luke 10:17-20

When the 72 follower came back from their trip, they were very happy.

They said, “Lord, even the demons obeyed us when we used your name!”

Jesus said to them, “I saw Satan falling like lightning from the sky.

He is the enemy, but know that I have given you more power than he has.

I have given you power to crush his snakes and scorpions under your feet. Nothing will hurt you.

Yes, even the spirits obey you. And you can be happy not because you have this power, but because your names are written in heaven.

Power Over Satan

Jesus says something that blows my mind in this passage. He says, “Know that I have given you more power than he (Satan) has.” (v. 19). Often, it doesn’t feel like I have more power than Satan. It feels like I’m trying to hold on to the edge of the door frame so, Satan doesn’t drag me away. But, Jesus says it in this passage. Through him, we have been given the power to crush Satan’s snakes and scorpions under our feet.

I find that, when I know something is true but, I don’t feel like it’s true, it’s because I’m not believing that it’s true. Do we believe by faith that Jesus has given us power over Satan? We have power through the holy spirit to overcome our sin!

The Joy of Salvation

The other thing that stands out to me in this passage is the instruction from Jesus in what to rejoice in. We’re not supposed to be happy in the power over Satan but instead, we are to rejoice because our name are written in heaven. Rejoice in the joy of our salvation! Jesus died on the cross and gives us the Holy Spirit so, we would be reconciled to him. Not to have dominion over this world but, to not be of this world.

Open Up The Heavens

Over All I Know

Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me

Worship Devotional – Feb. 20th, 2022

150 150 Charles Su

Celebrate! Jesus Has Come To The Earth!

Luke 3:4-6

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight,

and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'”

All The Earth

Come Thou Fount

King of Kings

Reading Plan Reflections: Mark 10:35-45

150 150 Ronny Mannebonia

Mark 10: 35-45

Oswald Sanders says, “Because we children of Adam want to become great, Jesus became small. Because we will not stop, He humbled himself. Because we want to rule, He came to serve.” 

The greatest contrast I have noticed in my Christian journey is the contrast between the humility of my Lord and my sinful pride. In the last week’s Bible reading from Mark 10:35-45, Jesus for the third time predicts his death. Without any respect or concern towards the Lord, the disciples argue over who will be the greatest after Jesus’s death. James and John decide to settle this issue with a blatant request for seats, one at His right hand and one at his left hand. To sit on his right hand and his left in the Kingdom would not only be an honor, but it would give authority. They wanted the status, honor, recognition to be the best in the Kingdom, right after Jesus. This request is interesting because they are not asking this to be closer to the Lord and have a deeper relationship. How easy it is to blend worship with self-interest, or worse, disguising self-interest as worship. They sought praise marked by self-interest (v. 35-37). 

One of the greatest losses to usefulness for God’s Kingdom is pride, thinking highly of ourselves than we ought. For this is the man whom I will look, says the Lord, he who is humble and contrite in spirit and tremble at my word. Christian fellowship ought to be one of the chief blessings in this life, and because of our pride, we cause disunity. It caused disunity then among the disciples (v. 41). It still causes disunity today among the believers. John Stott says, “the church is full of Jameses and Johns, go-getters and status-seekers, hungry for honor and prestige, measuring life by achievements, and everlastingly dreaming of success.” We want to do well for sure (and be recognized for it). The issue here is not, am I pursuing greatness? The issue here is, am I pursuing things that Jesus says are great? In the next verses, what’s fascinating is that Lord never rebuked his disciples for their ambition to be great. He patiently clarifies and redefines their ambition. 

His patience towards them/us should humble us and give us hope. Jesus says you know how the world’s rulers are; for them, greatness is about exercising authority and exaltation and status. When people get a little power, how quickly it may go to their heads. But, He says, it shall not be so among you. Instead, you must be a servant of all and a slave of all. According to Roman standards, the word servant (diakonos), the Greek word for waiting tables, prevalent and humble task, nothing you would associate greatness with, and the slave (doulos) had been forced into service. These were two of the lowest positions on society’s scale. Jesus was speaking of being a faithful servant, not a fake. In the eyes of God, Genuine greatness means serving others. The ideal servant lived to care for, protect, and make better the lives of those over them. He spoke of an entirely different kind of greatness pleasing to God because it is humble and self-giving rather than proud and self-serving.

True humility doesn’t kill our dreams; it provides a safe zone based on the Word of God to navigate in the direction to bring God Glory. As we grow in the Lord, we will be less shaped by our culture, and we will not value the same things that our culture values. 

Worship Devotional – Feb. 13th, 2022

150 150 Charles Su

Things That Will Not Pass Away

Mark 13:30-31

Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Hope In Things That Will Not Pass Away

Our confidence and hope in Jesus comes from the knowledge that his word won’t pass away. Everything he promises us will hold true even when the world passes away. We can hold on to that hope through plenty and through suffering because it remains constant.

All The Earth

Before The Throne Of God Above

Yes I Will

Reading Plan Reflections: Mark 1

150 150 Ronny Mannebonia

Last night I received an email from the Islamic Association of Raleigh’s chairman inviting me to their annual open house to learn about Islam and observe their prayer, which reminded me that a faithful Muslim prays five times every day. A habit they developed whether they feel like praying or not. Is there any habit you have developed that you do religiously every day? Is prayer a part of that habit?

In this week’s church reading plan, Mark records, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35. It may not sound like a big deal that Jesus prayed, but when we read from verse 21, Mark describes what Jesus did the day before. The first task, Jesus taught with authority (v. 22). The second, Jesus casts out demons (v. 25). The third, starting from sundown, He healed many sick (v. 34). We know that Jesus doesn’t perform a miracle without a cost to Him (Mark 4:30). After all this, Mark doesn’t say, Jesus took the next day off. But, He rose early in the morning to pray.

If that ever happens to us, we serve or even work all day until late at night. It is easy to feel like we did a lot for the Lord, and the last thing we are worried about the following day is to pray. We like busyness, and we like people needing us and giving us attention. But our Lord prays early in the morning because He knows that there is no substitute for our time with the Father.

We know that prayer offers unique strength to our walk with the Lord. Prayer gave Jesus direction and purpose and helped Him prioritize His yes and no. He said no to something good and prioritized His mission even when everyone was looking for Him (v. 37-38). Though we could articulate the importance of prayer yet, many of us are dissatisfied with our prayer life if we are honest. And one of the common excuses I noticed in my life and often heard from others is, “I am busy,” or taking Paul’s expression of “prayer without ceasing” too far by multitasking our prayer time with other essential things, like driving, working out, cooking, etc.”

It is not about waking up early in the morning. The point is about sacrificial and undistracted prayer. Jesus sacrificed His sleep and went into a lonely place to pray. If anyone could be busy or be in constant commune with God, it was Jesus. Yet He took time off from His schedule to pray. The busyness will not disappear, but we will need to learn to control our time. We just don’t drift into disciplined prayer unless we plan to pray. If you struggle with your prayer time, start slowly, but maintain the discipline of prayer. Ask God’s help, practice, and grow upon it. Is there anything in your life that you could set aside (sacrifice) so you could commit to the discipline of prayer? What we do echos our highest priorities. 

Reading Plan Reflections: Genesis & Matthew

150 150 Ronny Mannebonia

Genesis 1-5, Matthew 1-5

By CJ Davis

Happy New Year, Harvest! So excited for those of you who are following along in our Reading Plan – these next two years, by God’s grace, are really going to be a blessing and even on day five, I’m already experiencing that!

I wanted to share some reflections on these opening chapters of Genesis and Matthew as we begin our journey together. Instead of focusing on one interesting thing in one particular chapter, I’d like to try and highlight how all of Scripture is in communication with itself. The New Testament writers were steeped in the Hebrew Scriptures and it really shows! So let’s look at a couple of the ways that Matthew’s Gospel parallels the opening chapters of Genesis.

For starters, Matthew’s genealogy begins with the word “genesis” twice! Once in verse 1, “the genesis of the genealogy of Jesus…” and again in verse 18, “Now the genesis of Jesus Christ was as follows…”. There are six sets of seven generations, culminating in the life of Jesus and his people, just like there are six days of creation culminating in a seventh day where God dwells with his creation. Genealogies are peppered all throughout Genesis and Matthew roots his presentation of Jesus in a genesis, a beginning – but this time it is a new beginning in Jesus!

There are similarities as well as differences in these chapters too. Take Genesis 2 and Matthew 2 for example. One is a picture of pristine abundance, safety, security, and the presence of God with his children. Matthew 2 however, seems like the world of Genesis 2 is a distant memory – a faraway dream. Fear, deceit, anger, fleeing a homeland, and the murder of children dominate the narrative. Matthew 2 is the world of Genesis 2 gone wrong – but the promise is still protected!

Genesis 3 promises that the descendants of the serpent would war with the descendants of the woman and in Matthew 3, John calls the religious leaders the descendants of serpents! The great irony here is that the leaders of God’s chosen people have themselves become the seed of the serpent instead of the image-bearers they were called to be.

Genesis 4 is the first story told outside the protection of the garden where sin and the serpent can run wild. This wilderness is the same place Jesus is led out to in Matthew 4 and confronts the one who tempted the first humans – but this time the New Adam does what the first didn’t – he trusts totally in God’s provision. Cain and Abel are two brothers offering sacrifices and one becomes a killer of man, but in Matthew 4 Jesus calls two sets of brothers to be sacrifices and become fishers of man!

Lastly, the Sermon on the Mount maps on to the beginning chapters of Genesis: Jesus references the light of the world, salt of the earth, fulfilling commandments, what it looks like to be an image-bearer, and what it looks like to be fruitful and multiply. It’s no surprise then that after a description of what the blessed person looks like, we get a story about brothers in the context of offering sacrifices and the command to not murder in 5:21-26. Lamech in Genesis 5 brags to his two wives about avenging his enemies, and the rest of Matthew 5 is focused on adultery, swearing vows, forgiving, and loving enemies.

These are just a few examples of the ways in which the texts of Scripture “talk to each other”! As you read through the Bible these next two years, think and reflect on how the entire Old Testament is a story that culminates in Jesus and how the New Testament writers try to show us this! Let the journey genesis (begin).

Worship Devotional – Feb 6th, 2022

150 150 Charles Su

Faith Over Fear

Mark 5:36

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue,

“Do not fear, only believe”

Faith through the Chaos

In the passage that proceeds this verse there is a lot of chaos. A man asks Jesus to heal he daughter because she is very sick. He’s concerned that his daughter is dying so he gets Jesus to come to his home. On the way to his house, a woman who has a discharge of blood touches his garment and is healed. Immediately, Jesus asks who touched his garment and has an interaction with the woman. Imagine being the father of the sick girl. These precious moments could be the difference between life and death. Then someone comes up to you and tells you that you daughter has died.

I think anyone would be stressed or anxious in this situation. What if that woman hadn’t stopped Jesus? What if Jesus had gotten to the house a bit sooner? All these questions would undoubtedly be running through your head. But, Jesus replies saying, “Do not fear, only believe”.

Giving it to the Light

What are 2 to 3 things that give you anxiety or fear?

Give those things to the Lord. Share them with your family or small group.

Nothing But The Blood

What A Beautiful Name It Is

Worthy of Your Name