Sunday, November 09, 2008

Day 52: The place God has chosen for us

He shall choose our inheritance for us… (Psalm 47:4)

God has a vision for our future! His ancient worshippers knew that they were not a mere collection of individuals, but a people to whom He would give a common inheritance, specially selected and held aside for them.

In recent years we’ve felt the same sense of wonder and trust as they did as we’ve watched the Providence of God work on our behalf over and over. Whether it was preserving property for us, bringing us into important relationships, or miraculously supplying a need, the story of Harvest Time is a testament to God’s abundant faithfulness. Many times we’ve had the reassuring feeling that He is pulling us into something so wonderful that it could only have come from His hand.

At the Lord’s prompting we’ve worked and sacrificed, and He has been faithful to multiply the resources of time and finances we’ve entrusted to Him. Now we have the chance once more to prove – and demonstrate to the world – His faithfulness, and to partner with Him in what Nehemiah would have referred to as a “great work.” Let us arise and build!

Father, we thank You for the way You have led us over the past few years. Seeing the record of Your faithfulness strengthens our faith that You will lead us into the fullness of the inheritance You have for us – please continue to share with us Your vision for our future, and give us the grace to step into it with confidence and joy! As we sow, we rejoice at the opportunity to be Your instruments, Your partners, in bringing what will be nothing less than a new era of Christian witness and service to the region.

Let the hand of the Lord our God be upon us for good!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Day 51: Consecrated to the Lord

“Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glittering stones of different colors, and all kinds of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.

Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given of my substance, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house – three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, with which to overlay the walls of the houses; the gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for every kind of work to be made by the hands of craftsmen. And who is willing to consecrate his service this day to the LORD?”... Then the people rejoiced, because they offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they offered willingly to the LORD, and David the king also rejoiced with great joy. (Chr. 29:2-5, 9)

David had wisely marshaled the resources of the nation for the Temple project. But he knew that the hearts of the people would be unified by giving to the project together. And so, David deliberately provoked the leaders and all the people of Israel – provoked them to flow together in a spirit of “hilarious, cheerful giving.”

In verse 5, the Hebrew text tells us that David literally asked, “Who will fill his hand to the Lord?” In other words, he said, “I challenge you to do what I’ve done. Fill your hand to the Lord today!”

The nobles and the people responded with a great offering, and rejoiced over the fact that they had given willingly, not out of compulsion or pressure. They also knew that they had given “to the Lord,” and not to a project or to David.

Lord, let us give to You from pure and proper motives, so we will have joy in knowing that our giving is really to You!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Day 50: Above and beyond

And the rulers of the people dwelled at Jerusalem. The rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of every ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem. (Neh. 11:1-2)

Those who have a heart to partner with God sometimes have to go “above and beyond” to see the dreams he gives us become a reality. We might think that living in Jerusalem would be viewed as a great honor... but this wasn’t the case – the city was only one step removed from being a mess! In fact, they cast lots not to see who got to live there, but to see who had to live there!

So, while the leaders were certainly setting a good example by moving to Jerusalem, the people gave special praise and blessing to a certain corps of men who decided to uproot themselves from their normal comforts and voluntarily move to their dilapidated capital – a city over which God had spoken so much but which was still very much a “work in progress!”

Lord, give us hearts to partner with You even when it may mean going beyond what others might see as a sacrifice!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Day 49: A heart to work

So we built the wall, and the whole wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a heart to work. (Neh. 4:6)

Here Nehemiah tells us how the wall started going up and the sections were joined in record time. The reason for this stunning success is spelled out for us in plain language: the people had a heart to work.

Even in the business world people know that when you love what you’re doing it somehow doesn’t feel like work! The very real hardships and fatigue of the wallbuilders seemed like a small thing to them. They must have enjoyed the fact that they weren’t just talking and speculating about the project anymore – they had rolled up their sleeves and so were actually seeing it take shape before their eyes! This made their toil seem light. In fact, the more they saw it coming together, the more encouragement they must have taken. Nehemiah records for us the important step of their hitting the halfway point. And once they saw the sections of the wall join together, in their minds they must have felt there was no stopping them – they would certainly finish.

God, give us hearts to work – hearts that are enthusiastic about what You are doing and can see beyond plans and structures to the powerful results that will come from what we will build for Your glory.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Day 48: A people with willing hearts

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people (for he was above all the people) and when he opened it, all the people stood up. (Neh. 8:5)

These were a people made ready for the Lord, for He had changed their hearts. They had once been fearful, but now they were unafraid, having seen firsthand the power released when they served God in unity. Together they had prayed, worked, held swords, and stood guard over their improbable project.

A single gesture proved they had new hearts – when the Word was opened, they stood in unison, as one man. They were attentive to God, hanging on to His every word. Their hearts were willing to do whatever He might require of them.

God, fashion us into a people who have a heart to catch every drop of what You want to say to us. You have been shaping us for such a time as this! We are ready to do whatever you ask, just let us hear Your Word.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Day 47: A place in Your house

How lovely are Your tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD – my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Yes, the sparrow has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house, they will still be praising You. Selah…. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Psalm 84:1-4, 10)

There was something about the House of the Lord that inspired a sense of longing in the heart of the Psalmist. We don’t know the circumstances that gave rise to this particular psalm. Was it pure loneliness? Had he been traveling? Did he miss the fellowship of the people of God?

We don’t know, but no doubt he longed for what he knew he could find there: the presence of God in worship; the swell of many voices lifting their praise to heaven; the Word read, preached and taught; fellowship with the saints; and, constant reminders of the forgiveness of his sins. He felt like one of the birds he had seen nesting in the corners or on the tops of the columns – that there was safety and security there, that it was a “home for the soul.”

Father, we love Your house so much. Help us to create by Your help a place that can be a home for men’s souls: a place where Your Word and Your Spirit come forth to restore their hearts and summon them to do noble things for Your Kingdom!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Day 46: I’m beginning to think this could really happen!

Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me, and also the king's words that he had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for this good work. (Neh. 2:18)

How did their hands become strong for such a massive undertaking? They caught a vision for what was possible with God! There were sure signs that this was the time, signs that God had begin to move. Hearing of how God had moved on Nehemiah’s behalf and hearing how eager the king was to help – this gave them fresh courage.

Perhaps many had harbored a desire in their hearts to start working, but now there was an obvious shift in the wind, the sensing of what we would call a kairos moment that made them say, “Let’s get up and get busy!”

Father, we feel the stirring of Your wind blowing at our backs and we know this is the time You have appointed for us to rise up! Let nothing stay half-empty or half-finished!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Day 45: Pitch in!

Also we made commands for ourselves, to charge ourselves yearly with one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God… (Neh. 10:32)

This is thought to be the origin of the famous “Temple Tax” mentioned in the Gospels. As taxes go, this was a small one, comprising about 1/6 of an ounce of silver. The point of the temple tax was to emphasize that everyone was responsible to support the work of God, even if they were the poorest of the poor. This was an important concept: that everyone could and ought to do something. This ensured that everyone learned the blessings of giving, and also ensured that the house of God was properly cared for.

Lord, we may not all be able to give equally, but we can make an equal sacrifice. Increase our faith that as we sow to Your kingdom, You will multiply our seed!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Day 44: The glory of Lebanon

The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress tree, the pine tree, and the cedar together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. (Isa. 60:13)

The way we build, use, and maintain a house of worship speaks volumes about us and about who we think God is. When we create something beautiful for Him, we are raising a testimony to the world around us that we love Him and want to lavish our devotion upon Him. Our God is worthy of that devotion, worthy of sacrifice and worthy of acclaim, so let’s make His praise – and his place – glorious!

Father, we want to display Your glory and your worth to the people of our region. As we pray, labor, and talk about You to others, let us remember that You are calling us to build something that is meant to speak of Your holiness and Your goodness. Let this place be beautiful, and full of Your life and glory!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 43: God the Source

O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have prepared in order to build You a house for Your holy name comes from Your hand, and is all Your own. (1 Chron. 29:16)

But this I say: he who sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Let every man give as he purposes in his heart – so let him give, not grudgingly, or out of compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that you, always being completely sufficient in all things, may abound to every good work… (2 Cor. 9:6-8)

David realized the profound truth that the Lord enables us to build and to give out of what He Himself supplies. He is the Ultimate Giver, and He wants so much to teach us how to give that He will even put it in our hands so we’ll be able to give! This is an incredible thought in itself – but what is God really after? Why does He do this?

God lacks nothing and is complete and perfect in Himself; so we should not think that He needs anything from us. He derives no profit from our giving, only the sense of parental satisfaction that comes from knowing His children are becoming more like Him as they give. And giving is real partnership with God – ultimately He funds his own projects, but he chooses to do it through those who imitate Him in hilarious giving.

God, make me a cheerful and even hilarious giver, like You are. Thank-you for supplying my need and supplying my seed! May our seed abound, so that thanksgiving will also abound in our church!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 42: All hands on deck!

Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces. And next to him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters. (Neh. 3:11-12)

Few of the older Bible commentators seem to have believed that Shallum’s actual daughters worked on the site. Typical was the sentiment of the old writer who said these women were “rich widows or heiresses, and employed men to build at their own expense…” Ironically, the views of these commentators probably stemmed from the same mindsets that caused people to be shocked when they saw women working construction in 445 B. C. The text is clear: Shallum’s daughters worked on the wall.

Let’s be smart enough not to discourage anyone who has a willing heart from giving himself – or herself – to the work of the Lord. The person who seems to you to be an unlikely candidate may possess important, even critical skills and abilities!

Lord, let none of Your people think themselves unqualified or unable to contribute their help to Your cause or to your work! Let each one be inspired by Your Spirit to do whatever he or she can!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 41: The One Who Scatters (Part 2)

There is one who scatters, and yet increases; and there is one who withholds more than is proper, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul shall be made fat; and he who waters shall himself also be watered. (Prov. 11:24-25)

Author Jack Hayford has rightly described giving as “the key to everything.” This scripture passage and many others like it show that giving, paradoxically, is a way to abundance and blessing. It makes no natural sense that someone who is scattering his seed around could actually increase, nor that the one who is holding on to it will actually lose… but in God’s economy that’s exactly how it works!

Whenever we give, there is a supernatural dynamic at work: God causes the generous man to have more. In the Kingdom of God, living God’s way and giving God’s way brings a God-sized return.

Need to have some increase? Start sowing!

Need an outpouring? Start pouring out!

Almighty God, release the power of increase on our behalf as we begin to sow, scatter, give, water, distribute and disperse what You have given us! We refuse all natural thinking that would say it makes no sense; Your ways are higher than our ways. We choose to believe that as we give it will return to us, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over! In your hands, this will be a short work.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 40: The One Who Scatters (Part 1)

He hath scattered abroad, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn shall be exalted with honor. (Psalm 112:9)

Let’s look at what God says about the man who scatters. These are wonderful promises, given to anyone who has become generous in spirit and generous in deed. The man in this proverb has learned to sow his seed in a variety of places; he gives to every noble work he can that he senses God to be involved with. He also remembers the poor, the friends of God.

The result of this “life of scattering?” God says that that his righteousness endures forever. How can this be? How will giving cause our righteousness to endure? It probably happens because people who go around looking to sow are watching and waiting for opportunities to hear His voice and be His instrument. So, moving in the spirit of giving instead of the spirit of grasping keeps your heart tender and sensitive to the delicate and subtle promptings of the Holy Spirit. Becoming a giver will transform your entire character!

The Lord also promises that the man who scatters will be exalted with honor. The horn was a symbol of a person’s strength and his being promoted over others. So this verse indicates that those who give will receive supernatural grace and promotion from God – they will receive honor before others. Why does God do this? He wants the givers in society to be the people who are held in high regard. He wants others to learn from and imitate the lifestyle of the givers, not the graspers!

God, help me find delight in sowing here, there, and everywhere. You so loved the world that You gave… give me Your love for the things You love – it will make a giver like you are!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 39: For the glory of that Name

Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the LORD your God forever and ever; and blessed be Your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise!” (Neh. 9:5)

God has blessed us with many wonderful moments, days, and seasons of worship at Harvest Time. So we can certainly understand the excitement of these Levites. They knew, as we do, that the Name of the Lord is exalted above and beyond all of man’s ability or capacity to praise it or bless it.

How blessed we will be if we keep before us the glory of that Name, and labor that its splendor and renown may shine brighter in our land. For all of us who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, our highest delight should be to spread His fame to Connecticut, New York, and the regions beyond.

Father, let all we do be for the purpose of bringing more glory and honor to the Name of Jesus!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 38: The knocking kind of prayer

Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son asks bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him? (Matt. 7:7-11)

In this well-known passage, Jesus describes three kinds of prayer. In our times of asking, we go to Him with personal petitions. In seeking prayer, we look to Him for guidance, clarity, and more of His presence. When we knock, we’re hitting on something that needs to be opened for ourselves or for others – something that’s resisting us temporarily. Any large undertaking will need large doses of the knocking kind of prayer in order to remove obstacles and “prepare the way of the Lord.” Knocking prayer is prayer that will need to be constant and at times even fervent.

For anyone who sees a long road ahead of him, the good news is this: Jesus gave the same encouragement to knocking people as he did to the “askers and seekers” – to him who knocks it shall be opened!

Lord, build some “heavenly fortitude” into me. In too many things and in too many ways I have failed at prayer, for I have only asked or questioned when I ought to have knocked. Bring me and bring us as a people into the power of steadfast, determined and tenacious prayer that overcomes the resistance of the enemy and unleashes Your almightiness in our situations. I believe that You will give us good things – if we ask!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 37: Called to repair and restore

…you see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire; come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, so that we will no longer be a reproach. (Neh. 2:17)

If you take away from your midst the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall rise in obscurity, and your darkness be as the noonday. And the LORD shall guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and make your bones fat; and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And those who shall be from you shall build the old waste places: you shall raise up the foundations of many generations, and you shall be called “The Repairer of the Breach,” “The Restorer of Paths to Dwell In.” (Isa. 58:9b-12)

Anyone who joins his life to the Lord inherits a new name and a new destiny in God. Jesus said, “Behold, I make all things new,” and this applies to men and women, too. But whatever other callings they may receive, Christians share a common call to build up waste places, raise up fallen foundations, repair the walls and restore the paths.

Sometimes a call to repair and to build is literal and physical. This was certainly true of Nehemiah – and of us. But God’s people are always called to repair and restore what needs mending in the lives of men, women, and children. Imagine a community of servants who apply the healing balm of Christ to the wounded people and families of the region. Imagine that this community had the skills and the grace from Heaven to teach its region the old paths that can bring soundness and joy back to families and neighborhoods. God is asking you and me to become the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Paths to Dwell In.

God, I accept the call to restore what Your Word calls the good and pleasant paths. Use me to restore people, homes, neighborhoods, and even cities. Make me a Repairer of the Breach!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Enjoy new HT photos uploaded to Flickr!


We've posted on Flickr a collection of photos from bygone years - enjoy them here!

Special thanks to Rosanna Sangermano who helped make this collection a reality for our Reunion Brunch.

These photos may also be viewed on Facebook at our Harvest Time Church fans page.

Day 36: A place to grow

That from now on we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, and cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive… (Eph. 4:14)

What is church really “all about?” Any church will be deficient and even sickly without a vibrant community life in which people are challenged to change through the grace of Christ. Believers must have faith that God is able to take them from spiritual and emotional childhood into mature saints who reflect His life and character “in all things.” It will come as we hold on to “Him who is the Head.” With his help, let’s build a community in which each one helps his neighbor to do the works and the words of Jesus.

Jesus, we want to be about the Father’s business! Enable us to instruct Your people in the ways of God. Make us a community of love that will support and strengthen one another. Equip us and let us grow up into the height of the fullness of You; for we wish to fully display Who You are to the world.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 35: Those whom He brings

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16)

To build ever bigger barns to house one’s own wealth was called foolish by the Lord; to increase one’s capacity to gather in the harvest and make disciples is wise!

We live in the time when Jesus is determined to bring a multitude of sheep into his fold - sheep that may be new to us, but very well known and well loved by Him. We’ll find strength and grace to build if we keep in mind the goal of incorporating many precious souls into the sheepfold of the Lord. This is something worth laboring for!

Father, turn our eyes again toward the harvest fields! Give us a heart again for the lost sheep. Let the ministries of this house be anointed to gather the precious new lambs into Your fold. We are desperate to increase our capacity to gather and retain a harvest for You!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 34: Reminding Him

Remember, I beseech You, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, “If you transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations. But if you turn to Me, and keep My commandments, and do them, though some of you were cast out to the uttermost part of the heaven, yet I will gather them from there, and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to set My name.” (Neh. 1:8-9)

“I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem, who shall never hold their peace day or night. You who remind the LORD, do not keep silence, and give Him no rest, until He establishes, and until He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isa. 62:6-7)

Intercession is not about being clever in our words; it is more about reminding God of what He has already said.

What greater inspiration and fuel for our faith and our prayers could there be than all the wonderful promises He has made? Nehemiah understood that by appealing to God’s own words he was appealing to His integrity, compassion and faithfulness. Years before, the Holy Spirit had urged those who love Jerusalem to “bother” God by reminding Him of His promises toward the city.

Father, we have received an abundance of wonderful prophetic promises from You – words from the Holy Spirit and awesome declarations from Your written Word. Together, we remind You in faith of what You have promised to do in us and through us. Let nothing fail of all You have said! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 33: Zeal for the House of God

And before this, Eliashib the priest, being over the chamber of the house of our God, was allied with Tobiah. And he had prepared for him a large chamber, where they had formerly laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the offerings of the priests…. And I came to Jerusalem and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. And it grieved me greatly, so I cast all the household items of Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I gave commandment, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought there once more the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense. And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them; for the Levites and the singers who did the work had fled to their fields. (Neh. 13:4-5, 7-10)

God’s desire is for a pure church – that we would be a people who never grieve His Spirit in any way. Nehemiah was appalled that a room had been made for the conniving Tobiah the Ammonite. He knew that Ammonites were not allowed in the Temple of the Lord. Eliashib, as a priest, should have known better. Ironically, by accommodating Tobiah, Eliashib had made a mockery of his own name, which meant “God will restore.” He failed to live up to his priestly calling to restore the people and the city. He also allowed a personal enemy of Nehemiah and of the work to have access to the heart of the project itself. Eliashib had also deprived the Levites of their income. The ministry suffered as the Levites and singers felt forced to return to farming.

May God keep us a pure church, and a church that values those with ministry callings. May we be a place where all the people of God can develop their gifts and ministries and not become discouraged, going “back to the farm.” May we never be a church that substitute’s man’s wisdom, efficiency, or showmanship for the anointing.

Lord, help us to throw the Tobiahs out of our lives. All those things which come in to usurp the place of ministry in the Spirit and short-circuit the growth of people’s ministries – they must be expelled!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 32: With spiritual labor comes spiritual warfare

As for the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so they built. And he who sounded the trumpet was by me. And I said to the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, far from one another. Therefore wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, go there to us; our God shall fight for us.” So we labored in the work, and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. Likewise at the same time I said to the people, “Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard for us, and labor during the day.” (Neh. 4:18-22)

Every worker on Nehemiah’s project was also a warrior. They labored carrying weapons, and when their construction shift was finished, they became part of the standing armed guard. Nehemiah gives the additional detail that they didn’t even take their clothes off except to wash them.

Fortunately, in our society it’s not necessary to have a regiment of paratroopers on a construction site. Still, whenever God has his people engaged in some “great work,” we need to be active and vigilant in prayer. The one who labors must be ready for spiritual battle, even while working. Some who aren’t engaged in the active work of construction at the moment will form a special corps of warriors who will stand guard over the city of God in prayer. But all must pray without ceasing!

Keep us on our posts, O Lord. Make us faithful sentries – never asleep while on guard in prayer. Show us by the Spirit what needs to be covered in prayer. Raise up intercession; raise up intercessors. And even while we are in the midst of our labors, let us keep our sword of prayer, the sword of the Spirit, close at hand.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 31: Read it and run

And the LORD answered me, and said, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, that he who reads it may run.” (Hab. 2:2)

Here God explained to the prophet that the vision had to be made plain. It has to be understood. When people are well-informed, when they understand why a challenge has been set forth by the Lord, there will be success. A vision that no one can understand or explain is no useful vision at all.

Second, the person who reads the vision is expected to run with it. To receive vision and a plan from the Lord is exciting – but vision is passive. It needs hands and feet to become tangible. God will not be content to have His plans reside solely in his mind. He is looking for people who will see his plans birthed on Earth. When you see the visions of God, don’t just enjoy the view – run with it!

God, give us hearts like Paul, who when he was on trial explained to the king that he couldn’t be disobedient to the heavenly vision. Give us that heavenly vision and we will receive it and do more than simply marvel at it; we will arise and do, arise and build! We receive Your vision for our future and we commit ourselves to running with it!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 30: A glorious church, a glorious future

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the people, but the LORD shall arise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isa. 60:1-3)

Harvest Time is a church that has been uniquely positioned for its mission. First, we’ve been positioned by God in this pivotal moment in time. We have come, truly, to a place of influence for such a time as this – when people are coming to Christ by the tens of thousands across the world each day.

Second, we’ve been specially positioned by the Lord geographically. God preserved our land for decades, in His Providence turning away two dozen would-be developers. And now we sit within striking distance of the greatest metropolis on our continent, able to affect the entire planet.

Finally, we’re specially positioned in the Spirit. Our leadership, our experiences, and our hearts’ burdens have all pushed us into a place of expectancy – a place where we anticipate the coming glory of God upon our house. As Isaiah saw, that glory comes at a time of darkness and turmoil among the nations… but it brings a harvest! The Gentiles will indeed come to our light.

God of the Nations, let Your glory now arise upon us, Your people. This is the season for us to not only arise and build, but to see the nations and their kings streaming into the Kingdom! Let your glory fall!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 29: Favor!

… Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him….

“Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done diligently for the house of the God of heaven –for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons? Also we certify to you, that concerning any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinim, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them. And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, set magistrates and judges to judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them. And whoever will not do the law of your God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be death, or banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.”

Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem, and has extended mercy to me before the king, and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty princes! And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me. (Ezra 7:6, 23-28)

In this incredible decree from King Artaxerxes, the king authorizes Ezra to reestablish the religious life of Israel in their own land. The Spirit of the Lord had obviously moved upon the heart of the king – he even feared the wrath of heaven if he prohibited the people from doing anything their God required in their Law! In our land and in our time, the relationship between church and state is a little less cut-and-dry, a little trickier to navigate. Still, there are men and women everywhere in government who are people of peace. They are kindly disposed to the cause of God in the world. Let’s begin to pray now for good success in our endeavors and for favor with everyone in positions of authority and influence.

Lord, we know You are Lord of the heavens and the earth. Bring us into favorable relationships with all in authority. Let every aspect of our work be smiled upon, at every turn. [Think here of specific aspects of the project and various types of professionals who will work on it, and pray for them.]

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 28: A place to learn his ways once more

You came down also upon Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right judgments and true laws, good statutes and commandments… (Neh. 9:13)

And many people shall go and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth out of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isa. 2:3)

One of the main themes of the long prayer found in Nehemiah 9 is this: God has taught us how to live, how to relate to Him and to one another. Man has gone astray and been unwilling to live God’s way.

The Old Testament is a stunning record of people’s stubbornness in the face of God’s commands, which are “right and true.” Among its many purpose in society, a church is a teaching center where people learn the just and true ways of God. In our day, a teaching church is more important than ever, for family and societal breakdown has left us in a state of moral confusion, even chaos! How critical it is for there to be a lighthouse of truth in the community, a place where God can once again teach people His ways.

Father, do such a work through us that people in need and people who are hurting will know that they can come up to the mountain of the Lord and be healed as they walk in your ways.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 27: To Recover Everything – Part Two

See, we are servants this day, and as for the land that You gave to our fathers, to eat its fruit, and its good, see, we are servants in it. And it yields much increase to the kings whom You have set over us because of our sins; also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal to it. (Neh. 9:36-38)

This is one of the most touching pictures in the whole Book of Nehemiah. The people have confessed their sins before the Lord and are lamenting their condition. Still, they unite themselves together in a fresh covenant to forsake sin and serve God. Knowing the mercy of God, they reach out to Him for a change in their circumstances. They realized that for too long they had been living below the level of their inheritance.

The Church calls mankind to God and then helps people experience the fullness of the inheritance He has for them. Are people living shattered lives of servitude? The Church alone can show them the path of freedom, hope, and blessing.

Father, make us a church that teaches people how to enjoy the fruit and the good things of Your Kingdom.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our "Days of Glory" 25th Anniversary Celebration begins tomorrow!

Our 25th Anniversary Celebration - "Days Of Glory" - kicks off tomorrow night, Wednesday, October 15th!

Join us for anointed worship, preaching and prophetic impact!

Wednesday, October 15 7:00 pm - Jackson Senyonga
Thursday, October 16 10:00 am - Gary Kellner
Thursday, October 16 12:00 pm - Pastor's Lunch; Bishop Tommy Reid
Thursday, October 16 7:00 pm - Jan Nel
Friday, October 17 10:00 am - Judy Shaw
Friday, October 17 7:00 pm - Raymond Mooi

For details on these and other events, please call the church office at 203.531.7778

Day 26: To Recover Everything – Part One

And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses that the children of Israel should dwell in tabernacles in the feast of the seventh month, and that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go forth to the mountain, and get olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make tabernacles, as it is written.” So the people went out and brought them, and made themselves tabernacles, everyone on the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. And the whole congregation of those who had returned of the captivity made tabernacles and sat under the tabernacles; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness. (Neh. 8:14-17)

Christians (and churches) who pursue God intently and seek to obey his Word will find that He shows them new things all the time. Many times these are actually old things which they hadn’t noticed or understood before.

Nowadays Jews still celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, but here the Bible tells us it had once been “lost” and not observed for some 800 years. Why? Perhaps the people had failed to value the Word, failed to value preaching and teaching ministries. But once there was a new platform for the Word and a new commitment to transmit it to the people, they recovered something very precious and powerful – and the result was great gladness.

(Today is the 15th of Tishri, 5769 on the Jewish Calendar, the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles.)

Lord, give us a new platform for Your Word. We ask not for our own sakes, but for the sake of Your Name. Enable us to reach more and more of the people of this region, that they may learn more of You and recover the joys they have lost.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 25: A vision of His glory

Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us, yes, the work of our hands – establish it! (Psalm 90:16-17)

If anyone had seen God move in power, it was Moses. It takes pages just to make a list of all the amazing miracles he had seen; few people in history have been so used in signs and wonders. One might think that Moses, of all people, wouldn’t expect God to top himself one better.

But in his heart, somehow Moses knew there was a greater future for the people of God than they themselves had dared to imagine. He prays that the generation to come will not only see the works of God but see His glory. The goal of being in the promised land and having a Temple was not to eat the fruit of Canaan and have peace in the land. The goal was to have a place where God would appear and show His glory to His children. Moses prayed that the work would be established so that their experience of God could surpass theirs. So let it be with us!

God, we have seen You do so many amazing things for us – but we dare to believe that you have more to show us! Continue Your mighty works on our behalf, and let us and let the generations to follow see a manifestation of Your glory in our church and in our homes!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 24: When the Lord commands the blessing

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion, for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (Psalm 133)

The enemy of our souls probably fights harder to destroy the unity of Christ’s people than he fights anything else. Why is this?

It’s easy: where there is unity, there will be blessing, for God commands blessing when He sees His children walking together united in His purposes. In the Scripture we are called many times to walk together and to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:3) When we maintain the flow of our love one to another we can accomplish anything Christ calls us to do.

If God has commanded us to be blessed, then what curses, what limitations, what obstacles can prevent the work of God from flourishing? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Father, forgive us for the times and the ways we have fostered disunity in the Body instead of being at peace among ourselves and making peace. Let there be a new unity in our congregation. As we commit to walk together in love, let the blessings You command overtake us!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Harvest Time now has its own YouTube channel!

Hey Harvest Timers, you can now watch the best of Harvest Time on our brand spanking new You Tube Channel. (Thanks to Pastor Dan for setting this up!) You can watch Harvest Time videos old and new. Just to get you into the spirit of things, here's a clip from our Phase One construction, including our groundbreaking!

Use the link in the left-hand column in order to access all our videos, or visit:

Day 23: What Prayer Can Release, Part Three

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger, but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. (Psalm 34:10)

In verse 10, David lists a fourth benefit of seeking the Lord – supply in the time of famine and water in the time of drought. David knew that in times of scarcity, even the fearsome predators of the Judean hills might go without their meals, but people who seek God would never lack for what they need. In fact, they wouldn’t lack anything good at all!

How great is our God! Through the means of prayer and faith, He makes a way to brings us victory in every matter of the heart and every troubling circumstance.

Father, we ask You to meet our needs according to Your riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Let us lack no good thing as we seek to build for the honor of Your Name. Let Your people praise You as you give them abundance in place of scarcity and increase their ability to speed the work of God!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 22: What Prayer Can Release, Part Two

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles… (Psalm 34:6)

In the previous reading, we saw some “internal effects” of our prayers. But what about our outward circumstances? Has God committed Himself to be with us against our external enemies? Most definitely!

In verse 6 we see that when David cries out God delivers him out of all his troubles. Is it possible that King David got delivered from troubles more than we seem to at times because he cried out a bit more than we do? If we were to be completely honest with ourselves, we’d have to admit that our polite (and even at times timid) praying wouldn’t impress David, for whom prayer was not such a tame affair.

Lord, we commit ourselves to explore with You the power of prayer in a fresh way. We say that we will cry out to You for help for ourselves, for our families, and for our church. Begin to move now and let Your plans prosper and come to fruition in our hands! We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Day 21: What Prayer Can Release, Part One

I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him, and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles…. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger, but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. (Psalm 34:4-6, 10)

If only the people of God could re-learn the lesson of prayer – re-learn its power and its promise! The power of prayer depends on the power of the one to whom it is addressed. King David, writing these words, knew that those who sought the God of Israel were blessed above all.

David saw the hand of God unleashed in response to his prayers. The first thing God delivered him from was his fears. (Verse 4) In fact, David is emphatic and says, “…all my fears.” The second thing God did for David and the people was transform their inner life and character. “They looked to Him and were radiant…” Only when we seek the Lord and look to Him will we, in turn, radiate His glory out of our hearts.

Prayer was a mighty force in changing the fearful hearts of the people of God!

Father, we turn to You for transformation – as we work together, fill us with Your courage and let others see Your radiance in us!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Day 20: To be God’s co-workers

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, as the Lord appointed to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but God who gives the increase.
Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are laborers together with God: you are God's field, you are God's building. (1 Cor. 3:5-9)

If you live long enough you’ll have the experience of having one or two very, shall we say, interesting co-workers. But what could be more exciting than knowing that you’ve been given the privilege of working together with God?

God is the most fulfilling Person imaginable to partner with. First, He gives you a unique personality and gifts, making you the one-of-a-kind person you are. Then, He calls you to start doing a work which many times doesn’t match the gifts and abilities He gave you. You get tempted to ask, “Was He confused when He made me?”

Then, suddenly, somehow, He begins to use you to make a unique contribution to the life of others. A big project can seem like a soup – everyone has a particular vegetable to toss into it. You start to work with joy, and even start to appreciate each others’ vegetables! At the end of the day, just as Paul saw at Corinth, God can take the contribution of each of His servants and make something wonderful (and delicious, too).

God, it’s exciting to work together with you and with my brothers and sisters. Position me exactly where I need to be in this project and give each one of us a fruitful place of service as we labor together with Your strength.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Day 19: Happy are those people!

Rid me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouth speaks vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood, so that our sons may be like plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be like cornerstones, polished like a temple; that our storehouses may be full, furnishing every kind of supply; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and tens of thousands in our streets; that our oxen may be strong to labor; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no clamor in our streets! How happy are the people in that condition – happy are the people whose God is the LORD! (Psalm 144:11-15)

In the 144th Psalm, God implanted within King David’s heart the dream of a holy community, free from the threat of war or turmoil. It would be a place of prosperity and a place where children could grow strong and flourish. Our vision, too, is to create a place where our children will have room to grow – and not just grow physically but indeed have everything they will need to flourish and succeed in society, growing up in godliness!

Father, we ask Your blessing on our children! They represent Your plan for the future. Give us everything we need to equip them to bring Your light to the nations.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Day 18: Showing forth His praises

And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps. And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together… Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great choirs of thanksgiving… Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy. The wives also and the children rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off. (Neh. 12:27-28, 31, 43)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a people set apart to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light – you who in time past were not a people, but now are the people of God… who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Pet. 2:9-10)

The Church has been formed, among other reasons, to be the people who proclaim and show the greatness and the beauty of God to all the nations who haven’t yet seen His glory or heard of His fame.

Indeed, in all our worship, there is an element of missions. Having experienced the goodness of God ourselves, we can’t help thanking God, praising Him, and talking about Him before others. Our new Church sanctuary will be a place that will ring with the sounds of joyful worship: it will be heard afar off – a song that will be picked up and joined in by the nations!

Father, make us more than ever Your people of praise. May the nations see your glory in and through us as we rejoice in You!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Day 17: For your families and your homes

Do not be afraid of them – remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses! (Neh. 4:14)

Nehemiah inspired the people by giving them two antidotes for fear. The first antidote was to remember the Lord. After all, was He not the awesome God who had called them to the work?

Secondly, Nehemiah told them to think about their homes and their families. By thinking about the needs of their loved ones they could find it within themselves to put away narrow self-interest and work harder to ensure a good, godly future for those they cared about.

Heavenly Father, let us work and give with the spiritual needs and the spiritual future of our families constantly before our eyes. We will labor with confidence in You, reminding ourselves that You are powerful and awesome in Your might!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Day 16: Rome wasn’t built in a day… and neither was Jerusalem!

But it came to pass that when Sanballat heard we were building the wall, he was furious, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?” (Neh. 4:1-2)

If something seems hard to do, some will never try it. If a task seems long, many are tempted never to start it. If a project meets with opposition, many will quit rather than risk danger or even stress. Thank God, this was not Nehemiah’s response.

Admittedly, it must have looked ridiculous to the Jews as well as to their enemies to see the job after Day One: just a pile of stones here and there, just a few cartloads of trash that had been swept together. But after Sanballat and the others mocked them, we don’t hear anything about any slowdowns, or strategy sessions, or self-questioning… we only see Nehemiah praying and see the people pressing on.

The result? Nehemiah simply says, “So we built the wall.”

God, we want hearts that can persevere, hearts that cannot be discouraged. In the eyes of the world we may be feeble, but in You we are mighty. So give us a holy determination to see Your plan carried out to the fullest.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Day 15: Working Together

The God of Heaven, He will bless us, and we, His servants, will arise and build. (Neh. 2:20)

These were words of faith… and words of defiance. They were an announcement to a hostile world that Nehemiah, the people, and God were in business together. For Nehemiah, partnering with God meant giving to His cause and receiving His blessing.

It also meant moving out in faith for, while this is a miracle book, the miracles in this book are different from the miracles of Exodus. The earth never swallowed up Sanballat and his cronies; nor did angels descend to lay stone upon stone. The miracle of Nehemiah’s story was God building faith in his people. And that in turn enabled them to build something. Without many outward, miraculous signs, the people still knew that God was partnering with them.

God, today we simply affirm by faith that you are the God of Heaven, that You will bless us as You have promised and that therefore we as your servants and your children will arise and build!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Day 14: They Kept Going, And Going, And Going...

Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the valley gate; they built it and set up its doors, its lacks and its bars, and a thousand cubits on the wall as far as the dung gate. (Neh. 3:13)

You probably didn’t know that there was an Energizer Keep Going ® Hall Of Fame.3 Well, if anyone deserves to be in it besides that famous bunny, it’s probably Hanun and his friends from Zanoah. The village of Zanoah was about 10 miles away and so, for starters, these men had to either camp out at Jerusalem for this two month project (two months of camping – fun!) or else hike back and forth to the city from Zanoah, easily six or seven hours of walking a day.

Not only that, in just 52 days the men of Zanoah built up or repaired a thousand cubits of the wall. In our terms this is 1500 feet – over a quarter of a mile. Let’s break this down a little further: this was like repairing or building a wall from home plate to first base every three days – a wall which in some spots was 25 feet high and 25 feet thick!4 (Lunch breaks must have been brief!)

By the way, did you catch the reference to dung gate in there? That means exactly what you think it means. And because the dung gate was at the narrowest part of the city wall structure, people had to pass by these men constantly with garbage and waste of every kind. In fact, a huge percentage of Jerusalem’s garbage was probably carted past the men of Zanoah on a daily basis.

No matter how unpleasant, they kept going… and going…

Lord, give us the strength of commitment that the men of Zanoah had – unfazed by obstacles or conditions because we have the goal in sight!

3 See:, accessed August 28, 2008.
4 See:, accessed August 28, 2008.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Day 13: The Repair Of The Breach

But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up and that the breaches began to be filled, then they were furious… (Neh. 4:7)

People in ancient times understood that cities without walls were unsafe – anything or anyone could come in and wreak havoc on the life of the community. Using this same image, the Bible tells us that a person with no control over his own spirit is like a city with broken down walls. (Prov. 25:28) For these reasons, God is always interested in repairing the breaches in walls, whether they be the walls of cities or the walls of men’s souls.

The Hebrew text of verse 7 actually carries the idea that the walls had been bandaged. Sanballat and his evil crew hated to see Jerusalem get bandaged, just like the enemy of our souls hates to see your soul get “repaired.” Much less does the enemy want to see you become a “repairer of the breach!”

God, use me to help You “repair” people with Your love and grace. Use our church to bring wholeness to our neighborhoods and our community – we believe You are still bandaging the hearts of men!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 12: Starting Over, With Joy!

And Nehemiah the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people, said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, “Go your way: eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing has been prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord, neither be sorrowful, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh. 8:9-10)

It’s normal for us as human beings to look back and feel the pangs of regret. One day we will find ourselves in the splendor of God’s presence and even there we will lament what we might have done in this life. On that day, it tells us, God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.

The first day of the seventh month was the Jewish New Year. We know it as Rosh Hashanah. It’s a day of introspection which begins ten days of awe and repentance leading up to the Day of Atonement. The people wept when they heard the law and realized how they had missed the mark. But the exciting news was that God would have none of their mourning and told them to dry their tears.

He called them to rejoice at the fresh start he was giving them as a people. He told them to take care of each other and rejoice in Him – for that joy would strengthen them as they continued to work to make their city whole.

(Note: today is the 1st of Tishri, 5769 on the Jewish Calendar, Rosh Hashanah.)

Father, we determine with Your help to put behind us the regrets, doubts, and self-imposed limitations of the past. We want to work in the new things You have for us, with joy in our spirits. Help us to do it!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 11: A People Of Worship

And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. (Neh. 8:6)

In the first chapter of Nehemiah’s book, we see his concern for the people of the land, who were in “great distress.” But by the time we reach the eighth chapter we see that there has been a stunning transformation: they have become an army of worshippers.

God is in the reclamation business. His work in and through the people of Jerusalem had turned them away from self-pity and toward a God-centered confidence. What can He do with people like that? Well, what they and their children built would last for some five centuries.

Father, give us grace to yield to Your transforming power, that we, too, can become the kind of people who build things of lasting significance – people of enduring impact who can touch the generations who will follow us.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 10: Focused, Part Two

Then Sanballat sent his servant to me in the same way for the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; in which was written, “It is reported among the Gentiles and Gashmu says that you and the Jews are thinking of rebelling, and this is why you are building the wall, so that you may be their king, according to these words. And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim you at Jerusalem, saying, ‘There is a king in Judah,’ and now it shall be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.”

Then I sent to him, saying, “There are no such things done as you say, but you are inventing them out of your own heart.” For they all made us afraid, saying, “Their hands shall be weakened from the work, so that it shall not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. (Neh. 6:3-9)

Sometimes it seems like we overcome a temptation only to be rewarded with a full-fledged assault. When the devil failed to trap Nehemiah with craftiness he moved on to a more direct approach – causing panic among the Jews through outright lies about the project and about Nehemiah himself. Would Sanballat really spread lies as far as the king? What would the king do?

In any “great work” there can come moments of alarm. People may misunderstand what we are doing; they may think we are seeking to make a name for ourselves. They may be envious or even angry, as Nehemiah’s enemies were, when someone steps forward to promote the interests of Christ’s Church. All this can cause our faith to waver – we begin listen to our fears and our minds begin racing with frightful possibilities.

How did Nehemiah respond? Undoubtedly, he must have reminded people of how God had led them this far. They stayed focused on the goal despite their fears and instead of giving in to panic they asked God to “strengthen their hands.”

God, give me courage when things look tough. On those days when we are tempted to think You have forgotten about Your own project in this world, strengthen our hands instead!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 9: Focused, Part One

…Sanballat and Geshem sent word to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm. And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so I cannot come down. Why should the work cease, while I leave it, and come down to you?” (Neh. 6:2-3)

In Nehemiah’s case this was an outright attempt at assassination. Thankfully, most of the distractions we face aren’t quite so dangerous! Still, it’s worth looking at the reasons Nehemiah did not leave Jerusalem and the work site.

First, it was a waste of time. Nehemiah couldn’t afford the delay. The work would cease while he was gone, or at least his very important portion of that work.

Second, it was a waste of resources. Nehemiah was an important person whose life was at risk, and for him to travel to Ono, some 25 or 30 miles away, would mean diverting money, supplies, and pulling men off the job to form a military escort.

Finally, anything useful that could come of such a meeting was simply not as important as what he was already doing. He was already engaged in a “great work” and he had no time for lesser things which would sap his energy and split his focus.

Like Nehemiah, let’s learn to spot unnecessary distractions before they can “assassinate” our work and take us miles off course from where we need to be.

God, cause us to see that you have called us to a great work and like Nehemiah, we cannot come down. Give us the grace to not only commit to Your work, to not only begin well, but to finish well also. Thank-you for giving us fresh insight into those things which would rob our time through the power of distraction.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 8: Fasting and Prayer

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our possessions. For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but his power and his wrath is against all those who forsake Him.” So we fasted and sought our God for this, and He heard us….

Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and from those who were lying in wait by the way. And we came to Jerusalem… (Ezra 8:21-23, 31-32a)

Ezra and the people arrive at their goal through fasting and prayer. Of course there was planning, of course there was preparation, and of course labor. But – the ultimate success of the venture depended on prayer and fasting.

Ezra believed it was necessary for the people to humble themselves, acknowledging their total dependency on God. They were also seeking guidance and, to put it in our terms, preservation of capital. The result? God saved them from opposition and from surprise attacks, too! Let’s learn to cover our own “voyage” with prayer, too – and fasting.

Thank-you, Father, for this gracious reminder that prayer is more than haphazard thoughts strewn about in a few distracted moments. You encourage us by this example and many others, that when Your people unite to pray, humble themselves and fast, You will command deliverances and create a smooth path on which they can travel. We ask You as Ezra did, with fasting, for a right way for us and our little ones, and for all our possessions.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 7: Encouraged by the promise of a new beginning

So the wall was finished in the twenty-fifth day of the month Ellul… (Neh. 6:15)

(Note: today is the 25th of Ellul on the Jewish Calendar)

It’s been said that nothing in the Bible is there by accident, and this certainly applies to times and dates as much as anything else. In what is probably more than a coincidence, many significant events in Jewish history and in the history of salvation have occurred on the same dates of the Jewish calendar down through the centuries. Seeing the dates on which the events of Nehemiah’s project unfolded, the people would have been greatly encouraged to think that God was working with them. Nehemiah had arrived 55 days earlier, on the first day of the Jewish month of Av. This was a day that symbolized a coming change, that the time of judgment was beginning to end, for the First of Av was the day that Noah saw the tops of the mountains breaking through the waters of the Great Flood as they finally began to recede. After three days of reconnaissance by Nehemiah, there were 52 days of labor which resulted in the wall being finished on the 25th of Ellul. This was a day of even greater significance. According to Jewish tradition, Adam was created on the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah). But of course God had actually made the world five days earlier on – you guessed it – the 25th of Ellul! What better day to celebrate a new beginning than on the anniversary of the day the world itself was made? No doubt the religious leaders took this as a sign from God that just as He had done long ago, He was again creating something beautiful for his people.

God, help us to remember that, truly, there are no coincidences – there is only Your Hand, guiding and shaping the world and even the events of our lives. We, like the people of Jerusalem before us, ask You to use Your mighty power to create something of beauty that will display Your glory to the world.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 6: Starting on the right foot

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Listen to the voice of my cry, my King, and my God, for I will pray to You. You shall hear my voice in the morning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct my prayer to You, and will look up. (Psalm 5:1-3)

A heart that is intent on glorifying God must put Him first in all things. As we enter into a season of spiritual preparation, prayer, and even fasting, let's follow in the steps of the godly leaders of the past. They knew that all effective ministry and effective planning flows out of time spent with God. Of course, we can't always give God as much time in prayer as we would like, but we can all give Him the best of the time we do have. Let's be sure to begin each day with the Lord - after all, we only get one chance to start the day off right!

Lord, we determine in our hearts that we will begin each day, and each enterprise, with You. Help us to remember to invite Your grace and Your aid into every project and every undertaking.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 5: Refusing to accept the status quo

Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, so that we will no longer be a reproach!” (Neh. 2:17)

An old joke says that status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.”

Like any good leader, Nehemiah was honest about the situation the people faced. The broken-down wall and ruined gates meant the city could never be safe or prosperous. It also meant that they were in disgrace, and the laughingstock of their neighbors.

“Things will never be the same around here.”

“This place used to be beautiful; now it’s a ruin!”

“I know God has chosen Jerusalem but I just can’t picture how things will improve.”

We can imagine how the people, having lost hope, might have said things like these. They knew Jerusalem had a powerful call and destiny – but Nehemiah helped them see that they could seize it and live it out instead of living with reproach on a daily basis. He awakened something within them that would refuse to accept the way things were as the ways things had to be!

Lord, when you call your people to do a work, there may be great difficulties and testings along the way. Help us to remember the great call and the great destiny You have placed on this house; don’t let us be satisfied but keep us reaching out to You for what seems incredible and even impossible. Let us walk by faith and not by sight.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 4: Honey, you’ll never guess who I saw at the job site!

Next to him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. Next to him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the perfumers, and they fortified Jerusalem to the broad wall. (Neh. 3:8)

When people catch a vision for what God is doing they receive grace to rise above their fears and inhibitions and put their hands to the work however they can.

I think people were surprised to see two men with the background of Uzziel and Hananiah doing the hard physical labor of fortifying a city wall. In ancient times, perfumers and goldsmiths were artisans who catered to the rich and to noblemen. It’s probably a safe bet that Uzziel and Hananiah were raised in the lap of luxury, and had no calluses on their hands.

Nevertheless, something gripped them and caused them to rise up like the others. They had an urgency to participate that was stronger than their self-consciousness about being rookies on a construction site. In the same way, we can support God’s project even when:

  • it’s not our usual area of ministry
  • it doesn’t give me a chance to shine
  • it just isn’t “my thing”

Father, give me a servant’s heart that will want to be involved in what You are doing, even when it’s something new or unfamiliar to me, maybe even something that seems a little menial compared to what I’m trained to do or what I enjoy doing. Let me do whatever is required to see Your purposes become a reality.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 3: Prayer: The Foundation Of All

And it came to pass in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, that Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah, and I asked them concerning the Jews… And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. (Neh. 1:1-2; 2:1)

Nehemiah mourned for a number of days after hearing of the Jews’ plight. We are not told the number of days or the number of times he fasted, but we know that his total time of mourning before God was three or four months. How can we know this? Nehemiah first learned of the Jews’ condition in the month of Chislev. However, he does not discuss the matter with the king for the first time until the month of Nisan, which is several months later.2

The lesson? Too often we do things rashly or without thought or wisdom from God. Prayer (particularly when it’s sustained over time) will bring us into the wisdom and favor of God, softening people’s hearts and weakening the enemy’s grip. The miraculous favor Nehemiah enjoyed was being laid up in store for him and for the people of God every time he sought the Lord over those months of mourning for their condition.

God, give us grace to continually plead before You for the advancement of Your kingdom and the progress of this work. As we seek Your favor, let Your hand be upon us for good as it was upon Nehemiah.

2 For example, in 2008 Chislev begins in late November; Nisan begins in late March, 2009.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 2: For The Good Of Others

Then the king said to me, "What do you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you would send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' graves, that I may build it." And the king said unto me (the queen also sitting by him), “How long shall your journey be? And when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. (Neh. 2:4-6)

When Nehemiah mentioned his plan to the king, he received no guarantee that he would get to see things through to the end, or that he would get to enjoy the fruits of his labor in a rebuilt Jerusalem. He was a valuable member of the king’s court and the king wanted him to return to the palace. Nehemiah understood that his role in this fantastic project might be a very short-term one, maybe something that would only get the wheels rolling. There is no trace of disappointment or complaining, for his heart was content to serve the needs of others and make provision for their futures.

Lord, help us to keep the needs and the futures of others before our eyes as we labor
together to build what You are calling us to build!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 1: A Heart For The People

…I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant that is left of the captivity there in the province is in great affliction and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” And it came to pass that when I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven… (Neh. 1:1-4)

For 2400 years, we have associated the name of Nehemiah with a project, and justly so. A recent Jerusalem Post article trumpeted the news about the discovery of Nehemiah’s Wall1, strengthening the connection between the man and the wall in the minds of many. Ask even the casual Bible reader what Nehemiah is known for and… well, you know.

However, Nehemiah knew that any noble project is really about people. Projects unite people and call them to something bigger than themselves. Once completed, the finished work should serve their needs and continue to inspire.

Nehemiah’s Wall was a true people project, one that would serve many important purposes for the community. The wall was merely a means to an end; Nehemiah’s concern was for the welfare of the people. Their condition was what he asked about, and their beleaguered status made him weep. The wall was merely a way to restore them and propel them into God’s destiny. Only by building the wall could Nehemiah (and God) set them on the road to renewed prosperity, vision and hope. Nehemiah’s heart was never for the wall in and of itself; his heart was for God’s people and their welfare.

God, as we undertake to build help us to remember that this is a people project more than a building project. Use our hearts and our hands to build something that will bless and serve the people of God and the entire region for many generations to come.

1 Jerusalem Post article; accessed August 20, 2008.

52-day prayer devotional begins today!

Nehemiah tells the story of one of the most amazing building projects ever. God accelerated the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls so that more than a year's worth of work was finished in just 52 days!

Now Harvest Time is preparing to finish a journey that we began together almost 10 years ago. It is time to move forward with the construction of our Phase 2 building which was planned and approved when we bought our church property in 1999. Would you join us in prayer over the next 52 days?

We have prepared a 52-day devotional designed to help our congregation unite in prayer over:

  • our walk with Him
  • our faith
  • our finances
  • the ministries of our church
  • the harvest in our region
  • the Phase 2 building project
Please take a few minutes to read and pray along with us each day for the next 52 days. You can follow the devotional here or get a hard copy by calling the church at (203) 531-7778.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fall classes launching at Harvest Time this week!

Fall will be here before you know it and our Tuesday adult discipleship and Wednesday family courses have launched!

Among the popular returning course offerings are The Alpha Course, the Cleansing Stream Seminar, and Financial Peace University. New offerings this fall include a parenting class from Dr. Gary Smalley called Homes of Honor, and Stepping Up, which is a study in the Psalms with noted author Beth Moore.

To see more and sign up now, please visit our special easy registration page at:

For more complete information, please visit our main website at or call us at (203) 531-7778.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mission Convention 2008 coming this weekend

Nancy and some friends in Trinidad, 2006

This Weekend at Harvest Time: Missions Convention 2008!

Friday, June 20th 6:30pm: International Food Tasting
Vision Cast for Missions
Guest Speaker: Johan Boshoff
Children’s Program & Nursery

Saturday, June 21st: 8am Men’s Breakfast

Guest Speaker: Collins Isaidya

Saturday, June 21st: 10am Ladies Brunch
Guest Speaker: Dr. Sarah Gamble
Silent Auction: Coach Bag, Spa Treatments, Tickets to Sporting Events, and much, much more!

Sunday, June 22nd: 11:30am Annual Children’s Parade
Guest Speaker: Kevin Donaldson

Please RSVP to the Church for Food Events

Monday, June 16, 2008

Men's support group at Harvest Time

Harvest Time is now hosting a Men's 12 Step Purity Support Group. If you are struggling with issues of purity and desire support and accountability come join us on Monday evenings from 7:00-8:30PM.

For additional information, please contact Mike Morris at (845) 803-4415.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Harvest Time on Facebook?

Yes, that's right. You can never accuse us of being behind the times! To see and become a fan of Harvest Time's new Facebook page, just click on the icon at the left. Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Children’s Church Staff Meeting, May 10

Attention all Children’s Church teachers and those interested in joining the Children’s Church team, please join us on Saturday, May 10th for an important planning and curriculum meeting. We will meet in Room #106 from 9-11am. A light brunch will be included. Please RSVP to Brian & Sarah King or Pastors Steve & Caren. Thank you!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Easter Egg Hunt to be held on Saturday, March 22

Our annual Easter Egg Hunt is coming up Saturday, March 22 from 10 AM to Noon at the church. We need volunteers to help out with crafts and activities, and provide baked goods. If you can help out or provide cakes, muffins or other brunch treats, please contact Pastor Caren. Baked goods can be dropped off on Good Friday evening or on the morning of the Hunt.

Flickr photo by katrinket; some rights reserved.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Women's worship and prayer tomorrow night at 8 PM

The Harvest Time ladies will be meeting for worship and prayer on the last Friday of each month from 8 PM to midnight.

Come on out tomorrow night and join us in prayer!