News

God at Work!

We are half-way through the Training Center at Harvest Bible Fellowship. It is hard to believe how quickly things are moving. We are nine weeks into the training program but in some ways it feels like only a couple of weeks. Things have moved very quickly and our time has been very full.

Harvest closes every worship service by saying, “You are loved.” But we’ve found that it isn’t just a theologically good way to close a service (what are you supposed to say?) or something that they aspire toward. It truly is something that is practiced. We’ve felt so much love from everyone from the leadership of Harvest Bible Fellowship, the pastors and staff of the church, and the congregants. They truly love one another. This love for one another flows from their love for God.

Four Pillars

Harvest builds their ministry on four pillars which are…

  • Unapologetic Preaching
  • Unashamed Adoration
  • Unceasing Prayer
  • Unafraid Witness

Each of these pillars are all about experiencing the manifest presence of God. We believe that as we practice these four things we will experience God’s presence and power because he has promised to be present in these things. And as we go forward to plant our church we will practice these four things in faith that God will show up and do what he promised to do, build his church. This is really his work, we are just his hopeful instruments.

I’d like to walk through each of the four pillars to explain them further. First I’ll take Unapologetic Preaching.

Paul wrote the young church planter Timothy and told him, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Tim 4:2, ESV). In the previous chapter he gives Timothy an extremely important statement on the power of the word: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17, ESV).

So what is the result when God’s word is boldly preached into the church? Transformation. Repentance. Lives are changed. God’s word is the most powerful tool in the toolbox of the pastor. It is the most relevant thing to anyone’s life. So it should not surprise us that Paul exhorts Timothy to preach and to be ready to do it at the normal time and as opportunities present themselves.

The point is that God shows up when we preach God’s word. Not good ideas, human tradition, my wisdom, or anything else that might be just good. God’s word is God’s truth and when preached I believe that God shows up in a special way. Preachers call this expository preaching and it has three components:

  1. It clearly comes from the Bible. The preacher didn’t make it up.
  2. It clearly explains what the Bible is saying. We hope for the listeners to grow in their love of the Bible. It isn’t mysterious sourcebook for the highly educated only. Any Holy Spirit indwelled believer can feed from it.
  3. It leads to the change that God intends for it to effect.

Preach the word, Timothy, it will transform lives!

My prayer is that we can start a new church that will bolding preach God’s word to transform lives to the glory of God. Here at the training center we’ve been working a lot on improving the art and science of preaching. I’ve got a lot still to learn so please pray that I can continue to learn and develop in this area.

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Update in our training with Harvest

Just a quick update for you all…

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers! We are certainly feeling God’s goodness and love. He is providing in every way which is building our faith for the steps ahead.
  2. The Training Center has been phenomenal. Two quick things I would say: 1) I am learning a ton and am really being equipped for the task of church planting. 2) God is confirming that I am in the right place constantly. My heart and passions are exactly aligned with Harvest. The more I learn about the way they do church, the theology and the philosophy behind it, the more inspired I am in God’s hand in leading me here. God knew what he was doing. I’ll break out some of the specifics more in the future.

Pray:

How can you pray specifically? Pray that God would lead in a big way in showing us where we should plant. Right now we are fervently seeking him on that question. We will need a team of people who are committed to the big task of starting a church that will glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission. We don’t know who those people are but God does! Pray that he brings those divine appointments to show us where he is working. We really can’t lead God on this one, we want to follow him to where he is working.

Opportunity:

Every fall Harvest Bible Chapel does a conference they call Harvest University. It is designed for any and all church leaders. Anyone from pastors or children’s ministry volunteers. If you fit that category you should consider coming. You’ll benefit a great deal and be re-energized in your ministry at Blue Ridge. Everything they do is excellent and very well thought through.

Dates are October 23-26. Details and registration is here.

Side benefit? We’d love to see you!

Giving Update:

God has been showing up here in a huge way! Harvest has told us that it is one of the biggest indicators of God’s call to plant. We are thankful that we’ve hit our minimum for the training center. Praise God for that! But we have a long way to go to get to the total we’ll need for the plant. So keep giving as you feel led! Remember that God blesses us as we are generous.

Harvest is managing our giving page and bank accounts right now but 100% of your gift will go toward our plant.

Online giving page

If you prefer to give by check, make it out to Harvest Bible Fellowship and put my name on the memo line. Mail it to our apartment address which is:

1035 Canterfield Pkwy W
West Dundee, IL, 60118

Training Launch!

Last night was the kick-off of our training time at Harvest Training Center. We were prayed for in the Saturday evening service and then we had a dinner together where everyone introduced themselves.

It is amazing to see God working! This group includes:
40 Families, 99 Kids, 11 Internationals from 7 Countries, 179 people

Classes start Tuesday!

Prayer for 40

 

Our Next Steps: Calendar of Major Dates

We successfully got out of our house and closed this past Friday (July 15).

Here is our schedule for the next few weeks:

  • This week: Emma and I are in town to work. Christy and the other kids are at Deep Creek Lake.
  • July 23: Christy and kids come back to town.
  • July 24: I’m preaching for the last time at Blue Ridge. :(
  • July 25 and following: We’ll be at Christy’s parents’ house until we move to Chicago.
  • July 30: Send-off party at the church. Commissioning and a time of prayer. I hope you can come! More details here.
  • July 31-August 5: Emma, Rachel, and Allie volunteering at Joni and Friends Family Camp.
  • August 7: Our last Sunday at Blue Ridge.
  • August 10: Christy and the boys and one of the girls head to Chicago. The boys have a school meeting on August 12 to attend.
  • August 14: Myself and the two other girls load the truck (we could use 2-3 extra hands for this) and head to Chicago.
  • August 15: Move into our apartment.
  • August 16: School starts for the boys.
  • August 28: Training Center starts for Rich.
  • October or November: Decision on where to plant.
  • Week of December 18: Back for Christmas.
  • Month of January 2017: One month residency with mentoring church in Harvest Fellowship
  • February 2017: Move to wherever God is calling us to plant and begin the process of forming the core group.
  • September 2017: Lord willing, first worship services begin of new church plant!

Remember that we need your help to make it happen! Donations can be made on this page: harvestbiblefellowship.org/richshipe

Thank you everyone! You guys have been incredibly supportive. We are loved! You are loved!