HC Staff and Council

Good morning everyone!  

I pray all is well with you and yours. This week I want to ask you if you can spend some time covering the Pastoral staff and the church council in prayer. These leaders work hard for Harvest and carry a heavy burden on our community. I am beyond grateful for the way God is using each one of these leaders, and I know they could use your prayers.   

Below I included a great prayer “tool” from Dan Reiland, on how you can pray for your pastors. Would you please take a few minutes and read it? 

From Dan Reiland: 

Prayer is the most powerful force in the world. It is truly life-changing. 

Nothing shapes the outcomes of your church more than prayer, and the longer I lead, the more I understand and appreciate the prayers of faithful intercessors. Your pastor, (and the staff), are prime targets for spiritual attack. Your prayers help win the battle. 

Satan doesn’t have to chase your entire congregation, just the leaders. And especially your pastor. If the Enemy can get to your pastor and church leaders, even take them out, he can hurt the whole church. The Enemy uses a lot of schemes to ensure everything from temptation to discouragement. He’s on the prowl and would be delighted to see your pastor anything from a little off his or her game to down for the count. 

Your prayers can and will make a difference. You can pray for your pastor daily, once a week, or every time the Holy Spirit prompts you. All prayer rhythms are good. 

A practical plan to pray for your pastor: 

1) Pray for God’s favor on your pastor. 

God has given your pastor gifts, ability, energy, and passion to accomplish the work of ministry. However, without God’s power, there are no eternal results. It’s possible to build a church by human effort, but it won’t last. 

Ministry has always been a divine partnership, your pastor does his or her part, and God does His part. Pray for that partnership. Ask God for an anointing on your pastor. Pray for favor, the power of the Holy Spirit, and specifically for the salvation of many people! 

2) Pray for your pastor’s spiritual vitality. 

Your pastor is not superhuman, in fact, he is just as human as you are. He needs to tend to his spiritual growth on a consistent basis. If you think about a good campfire, no matter how big the fire was, in time it goes out. Pray for your pastor’s love of God, for her genuine and daily relationship with Jesus, and that it would remain close, real and fresh. Pray that your pastor’s heart for lost people is white hot. Ask God to give your pastor timely biblical insights. Pray that the Holy Spirit would stir your pastor’s passion for prayer and that your pastor would regularly hear God’s voice. 

3) Pray for your pastor’s leadership. 

A great pastor loves his people and is a good shepherd to those people. He is also, however, a good leader. Both are needed for a growing and healthy church. I truly believe that next to the favor of God, everything rises and falls on leadership. Pray that your pastor is not only open to growing as a leader but passionate and committed to that growth. Ask God to give your pastor strength of character, wisdom in decision-making, and passion in preaching. Pray that God would grant your pastor great vision that is clear and inspiring, along with the needed direction and strategy to achieve that vision. 

4) Pray for your pastor’s family. 

I’ve learned that when things are not going well at home, it’s very difficult to lead at church. If Patti and I have argued, I can barely think straight until we have it resolved, and we are good again! We’ve been married 37 years and we have learned much through experience and maturity, but the commitment required to maintain a good home life is still significant. Pray for your pastor’s spouse and children. Ask God to help them experience a deep and abiding love for each other. Pray for peace in their home and protection from spiritual attack. Pray that the fruit of the Spirit would permeate their home: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And finally, pray that their home is filled with laughter.

5) Pray for your pastor’s physical health. 

Your pastor’s life and leadership are limited without good health. Far too many of my good pastor friends don’t exercise, eat well, or see a doctor unless their arm falls off! I’m not a fitness nut, in fact, I love a nice piece of chocolate cake every once in a while. But I do care about the physical well-being of spiritual leaders. Your pastor may feel like he or she doesn’t have time to exercise or practice preventative medicine. I do understand. But you can pray! God can intervene for good health and the Holy Spirit can speak to your pastor about taking care of their physical health. Ask God specifically for stamina and energy, clear thinking and strength. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for partnering with me and the staff in prayer! 

Onward,  

Pastor Wes  

 

 

 

Prayer Resources

Good morning!

I hope this email finds you doing well. Every Summer I try to compile a list of “must read” books. This year my main focus will be on topic prayer. I’m shooting to read a handful of books on the topic of prayer from a variety of different authors who all have different and unique perspectives to bring to the Body of Christ. My heart behind this, is simply to continue to grow in my understanding and practice of prayer. I have experienced first hand the power of prayer in my life and I want to continue to grow and strengthen my prayer life. So, in this week’s email,  I wanted to include some of the books I will be reading and see if you wanted to join me in on this journey. These books are not listed in any specific order.

1.     Praying with Paul by D.A. Carson

2.     A Praying Life by Paul Miller

3.     Talking with God by Adam Webber

4.      Whisper by Mark Batterson

5.     Prayer by Tim Keller

All of these books can be purchased at our Resource Center or from Amazon in a variety of different formats.

Thanks again for all of your prayer support and your love for Jesus.  Let’s keep pursuing Jesus together!

Onward,

Pastor Wes

The Importance of Waiting

Good morning, 

Early in my relationship with Christ, I learn some valuable lessons about prayer. First, that it works. Second, that sometimes God tells us to wait. To this day “waiting” is not easy for me. I have learned the value of it, and I have come to really appreciate that God doesn’t give me everything I ask for as soon as I ask for it.  The question then becomes what are we to do when God tells us to wait?  What do we do when we feel the tension that results in maybe what we could call a faith challenge? 

Here is some great advice, from Chuck Lawless:

  1. Forget about the calendar. We get stressed with God’s timing because we think He operates according to our calendar. That assumption leads to frustration. 
  2. Embrace the truth that God has a reason. He really does, even if He doesn’t give us the details. That means that whatever He has on the other side of the wait is better than what we might get through our impatience. 
  3. Remember that God’s not worried. His timing is always, always, always right. He knows that. You know that, too, actually. Trust what you know. 
  4. Be faithful today. Trusting God for tomorrow means being obedient today. We should not expect God to respond to our prayers about tomorrow if we’re ignoring His leading today. In my opinion, our unfaithfulness today is one of the primary reasons we wrestle with waiting on tomorrow’s stuff. 
  5. Spend some time studying God’s Word about waiting.Check out, for example, Psalm 40:1, 130:5-6; Isaiah 40:31; Lamentations 3:25; James 5:7-8. Let the Bible give you hope in waiting. 
  6. Invite somebody else into your wait. Waiting alone only magnifies the loneliness of the wait. Simply knowing that someone’s sharing your burden can be hopeful. 
  7. Tell somebody your testimony. This one may sound like a strange suggestion, but here’s my point: when you tell your story, you’ll remember that God has always taken care of you in the past. He’s still taking care of you now, even if His timing is different than yours. 
  8. Keep praying. The waiting time is not the time to stop talking to God about this issue. Keep praying, doing so in faith that God will provide His answer in His timing, in His way, for your good, and for His glory.  

I have worked hard at implementing these principles, and here is what I discovered — there is much to learn about the heart of God, and my need for him while I am waiting. God is faithful. Keep praying, and if necessary keep positive in the meantime.

 

Onward, 

Pastor Wes

Puerto Rico Missions Team

Hey everyone!

As you read this email I will be somewhere between Chicago and San Juan, Puerto Rico. I will be on a trip with Convoy of Hope with a handful of pastors from all over the nation touring Convoy’s effort to bring hope and help to those affected by last years hurricane.

We also will have a team of nearly twenty already in Puerto Rico working hard and bringing the love and hope of Jesus in a variety of ways. Lord willing, I will get to join them towards the end of the week. 

With all that said, please take a second this week and pray for us. Pray that we can bring Jesus in a real and tangible way to those who need Him. Pray that God’s favor will rest on everything we do and that this trip will help advance the Kingdom.

Know that you are appreciated and thank you for partnering with me in prayer.

Onward,

Pastor Wes

Be Still

Good Morning!

I hope this email finds you doing well. Check out this devotional on quiet time, sometimes an overlooked essential part of our prayer time:

Make some time to be quiet.....

In a lab in South Minneapolis, there's a room that's 99.99% sound proof. It holds the Guinness World's Record for being the quietest place. It has three-foot thick fiberglass acoustic wedges, double walls of insulated steel and concrete that's over a foot thick.

NASA rents out the room to train astronauts. Whirlpool used it to test washing machines. The Harley Davidson Company used it to make their motorcycles quieter. Steven Orfield, the President of the Company that created the soundproof lab, said that when he goes inside, he can hear the artificial valve in his heart tick. He said,"The quieter the room, the more things you will hear." The sounds of silence actually become quite unnerving for most people, as the record for the longest stay in the room is just 45 minutes.

Psalm 46:10 says "Be still and know that I am God."  

For me, it's hard to listen to God through all the noise of life. We need to be intentional about setting aside time from the noise in order to give God the space to speak. We need to sit still long enough for God to speak to us. Life moves fast, but we need to slow down.  

As the school year comes to a close and we are making plans for the Summer, be sure to carve out ample time to sit, soak, and enjoy the presence of God.  Praying that this season will be a great time of growth and blessing for you and yours.

Have a great week!

Wes