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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: 

WE’RE PARTNERING WITH RALEIGH DREAM CENTER

  • 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.

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP 

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 serve@harvestraleigh.org

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 pray@harvestraleigh.org 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 

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. 

Apps:

  • 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! 

Baptisms

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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.