Looking Back and Looking Forward
Anniversary celebrations bring perspective and expectation. Perspective of what’s God has done and expectation about what another year of walking with the Lord will produce in our hearts, in our church, and in our community. Our third anniversary has once again prompted both. People have asked me, “three years ago, is this where you expected to be?” And it’s difficult to answer that question. A.W. Tozer is famous for saying, “It’s doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” He wasn’t suggesting you go looking for suffering, but rather that suffering will find you in God’s providence and He’ll use it to make you fit for use for His kingdom. In my early 20s, I felt like I imagine Moses felt in his early years. He seemed convinced that he could accomplish things in His own power and strength. Years later, life’s circumstances had humbled Moses and God was ready to use Him to demonstrate His might and strength through a weak vessel. That’s how I feel about Harvest. God used previous church planting experience to greatly humble me and created such a unique perspective or lens through which I see the work that’s been done here. I’m not saying God removed my motivation and expectation. What I am saying is that He reshaped it to so that I’m only content with what He’s producing in us and in the church. So when I look at the last three years, I stand amazed, in awe, and so very thankful for God’s clear, undeniable presence and working amongst us at Harvest Sacramento. And as I look toward the future, I’m eager for more!
From the beginning, we said Harvest was going to be a church where God shows up. A vertical church committed to the things, which God blesses. And when God shows up at church that changes everything. Lives are changed, marriages are restored, people are saved, relationships are reconciled, and souls are satisfied. And I will continue to settle for nothing less. Moses was the same way. In Exodus 33, Moses was so worked up by the thought of moving even an inch forward without God’s presence that he fails to recognize that God answered His prayer already. He was so convinced that he could not do what God had called him to do in his own strength, ingenuity, or performance. I want us to be that convinced! These days, we can make church function so well that God isn’t even needed. But there’s no power there. Sure, you can fill seats but you can’t change hearts. Harvest has only ever been a place where we seek the face of God to accomplish the work of God in the people of God for the glory of God.
And after 3 years, we are still solely, completely, unswervingly, and unhesitatingly committed to what only God can do at Harvest. Moses knew there was one thing that made God’s people unique. God going with them. We have seen God’s going before us in countless ways over the last 3 years, but I’m reminded of how Moses responded to seeing a glimpse of God’s manifest presence. He wanted more! And he prays to God, “Please show me your glory.” The man making this request had already seen God speak to him in a burning bush, split a sea in half, lead his people by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, strike a rock and water came out, pray for food and bread fell from the sky. When everyone was told to stay away from the mountain, Moses was invited up with God. If anyone had seen the glory of God, it was Moses. But here’s the thing: there’s something so insatiable about the glory of God that once you taste it you want more. Church, this is how we should be. We’ve seen His glory and the only thing that does in us is prompt us to seek Him for more of His glory on display.
So that’s what I’m looking forward to! More of God’s glory. More glory for God through Harvest Bible Chapel means more joy for us. So we’re going to get after God with everything in us. We’re going to be all-in, holding nothing back, leaving it all out on the court per se for the sake of Jesus and His mission. We are going to work to see more disciples made and better disciples made. We are going to work to see more churches planted and better churches planted. We are going to ask the Lord to increase our faith and help us dream even bigger dreams. I truly believe that one day the vision of Rooted will seem small in comparison to all that God will do here. Certainly, we will experience our fair amount of setbacks and regrets, but one regret I never want to have is that I didn’t believe God to do “far more abundantly that all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Eph 3:20-21). If it’s for His glory, then let’s dream it. Let’s dream about reaching 1% of the 320,000 in our area. Let’s dream about planting other campuses and churches. Let’s dream about training pastors and worship leaders. Let’s dream about creating our own Christ-exalting music. Let’s dream about having a camp site for spiritual retreats and camps. Let’s dream about Him doing a work so disproportionately greater than all of us put together that only He can get the glory. Surely, He can do it!