Watch Weekend Sermon - Entries written by Greg McFarlane
Thankful for 2010!
This past Monday we gathered as a staff along with the Deacons and Elders for our annual Christmas Party. In preparation for the event I was thinking about how to open the evening. I started to write down things that I saw the Lord accomplish in 2010. Before long I was overwhelmed and amazed at all the things that were coming to mind. His faithfulness to us as a church and His undeserved grace upon us is truly worth recalling. I hope that as you read just a few of the things God was up to at Harvest Oakville in 2010 you will be filled with gratitude and worship.
Some of the many blessings that immediately come to mind are:
New staff additions...
In Oakville - Jon Miller, Darren Vaithilingam, Rony Mikhael, Maureen Kelly, Milda Romanoff and John McMullin who stepped into a much needed role
In Brampton - Jameson Evenden and Debra Springer
In Brampton, we have seen the Lord’s favour on a church plant in her first year as evidenced by salvation, baptisms, and growth (averaged 300 people per weekend in November)
As elders we have seen a great year of unity among us, and the Lord raised up Brian McGrath as our newest elder
The Lord gave us clarity and vision regarding a church plant in Niagara, along with directing us to Daryl Molyneaux who is currently wrapping up his time at the Harvest Training Centre in Chicago
George Schuurman and Stu Jones who are leading fruitful ministries have transitioned from “Directors” to “Pastors” this year
Significantly improved health of ministries such as Higher Ground and Young Adults
We have seen record numbers at the Seniors Bible Studies and Agape, Women’s Ministry, Harvest Recovery, Youth, Blakelock lunches and Awana
We have seen fruitful new ministries start up such as Discipleship 101 and 201, where we have seen salvation, as well as Single Moms, and a Spanish Small Group
Growing attendance leading to a 4th service so that more and more people can come under the unapologetic preaching of God’s Word and have their lives changed
After years as a dream, we launched our Harvest House Compassion Centre and are anticipating all that the Lord will do there for His glory
As closing on our new property is imminent, and while we were delayed and waiting to close, we did save $275,000 in mortgage interest costs
Joshua Seller made a pretty sweet record!
Another year of maxed out attendance at Party With The Pastors
Another year of missions spending of over $700,000
We had the privilege to send a missionary family to central Asia to translate the Bible
Strong giving from our faithful people keeping us on track with our budget
New flock leaders and small group leaders in our Small Groups Ministry
New Section Heads in Higher Ground Ministry
A growing number of Deaf folks coming out on Saturday nights, with one of them now looking to be baptized
We have seen the Lord draw big numbers to the monthly prayer meetings, which is one of the best, true signs of health and growth
So as 2010 draws to an end, I am truly thankful to God whose name is to be praised for all He is doing in this place. We can rejoice together at this Christmastime and praise The One to whom we desire to give the glory; “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.” Isaiah 9: 6-7
God's Grace in the Staff and Leadership of Harvest Oakville
One of the reasons I love baptism weekends is hearing the great stories of life transformation by the power of the Gospel. Something I've heard a few times from the people at Harvest Oakville is something like... "I just assumed all the staff were born into Christian homes and grew up loving Jesus from their earliest memories...".
Well, that's not entirely true... So just recently, the majority of the staff (and soon all the staff and elders and deacons) have posted their stories of coming to Christ as well as their answer to the question "My hope for Harvest is?". My hope in writing this blog is that you would know the stories of God's grace in the lives of the staff of Harvest Oakville and be encouraged by it.
You can start here and work your way through the different groups of staff...
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)
Great Quote on Godliness!
From the book "For the Love of God" D.A. Carson says...
“People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven
effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, and obedience
to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise
and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it
freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the
indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch
toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped
legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have
I appreciated this word and have been sitting on it as the Lord convicts me of both apathy and self-effort as opposed to consistent diligent discipline and grace-driven effort.
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Time to re-listen to 1 Timothy?
WHAT'S UP WITH HARVEST HOUSE?
..let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:18 ESV
It’s with this verse that we seek to move forward and show the love of Christ practically and make disciples in our community.
When it was first announced that we had found a location for our Compassion Centre, there was an overwhelming enthusiasm from the congregation. That enthusiasm translated into many hands and feet engaging in the renovation of our new space in preparation for ministry. Following the renovation, we had a standing room only prayer meeting at Harvest House, as we collectively sought the Lord for His clear leading and guiding in the ministry of Harvest House - that was an awesome night!
Our first priority from the beginning was to see our Compassion Centre situated in a local place of need and to conduct ministry that will meet those needs and do it in such a way that God gets the glory... after all it’s all about Him!
As we transition some existing ministries to Harvest House and prepare to launch new ones in the coming months, please be in prayer that these ministries would be fruitful as God empowers them. Would you prayerfully consider how you could play a role at Harvest House?
Here’s a brief summary of ministries that have either begun or will start shortly at Harvest House...
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
With this as the theme verse, the ministry of Harvest Recovery has been used by the Lord to bring many struggling with various addictions to places of victory. We have re-located this ministry to Harvest House and are now looking to advertise this ministry in local media to see who the Lord would bring to our door. We are trusting that the Lord would bring those that are in despair and suffering from addiction, to a place of freedom and victory, as they encounter the living God.
Christianity Explored - We’ll be launching this class in another month or so and we’re seeking to engage unbelievers with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have run this in previous years at the church and are now looking to take this beyond the church to engage those that may never enter a church.
Discipleship 101 - This class is geared towards those new in Christ or “almost” new. By God’s grace we have already seen salvation through these classes. This class focuses on the basics of Christianity and our Assurance in Him.
Discipleship 201 - This will start in October and pick up where D101 finishes. With a focus on Christian Living it’s our prayer that the Lord will use these classes to build conviction into those new in Christ to live wholeheartedly for Him!
Check out our website for more details on these classes and more.
Look for a future blog detailing our discipleship model for 2010-2011 at Harvest Oakville and why we’re excited about it!
Spanish Small Groups
As we see a growing population of Spanish speaking believers come to our church the need for intentional discipleship has also grown. This group allows those whose first language is Spanish to engage in Bible Study, Accountability, and Fellowship in their native language, to encourage deeper discussion and to spur greater growth. We’re also seeking unbelievers to engage in this group as we pray for salvation.
Food and Clothing distribution
We’re looking to launch a program soon that would see food and clothing go to those in need in the Bronte community. This is in the preliminary stages as we look to determine the best way to combine community awareness, distribution process, true ministry and engage the people of Harvest to serve in this ministry. If you’d like to get involved in these early stages, please email us. Also, you can donate food and clothing into the large cardboard bins in the church foyer.
Here’s a practical way to equip our church body with skills in evangelizing. Please click here for more details and to sign up for these classes.
Both our Biblical Counseling ministry and lay counseling ministry have been relocated to Harvest House.
We’re just getting started and excited to see what the Lord will do.
We’re exploring the possibility of a Pregnancy Ministry at Harvest House which could include:
If you have a passion and heart or skill that could be used in this ministry please let us
- Pregnancy Crisis Counseling
- Prenatal Classes
- Post Delivery Support
- Baby Clothing
ESL is also on our hearts to engage those new to the area with the practical skill of language development coupled with the love of Christ.
Thanks for taking the time to read this... where will you serve?