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Does Faith Permeate my Prayers?

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As I was reading in Hebrews today, specifically chapter 11, I noticed some important truths that can radically change the way that we pray. This whole chapter is filled with tons of examples of men and women who pleased the Lord through faith-driven actions. Let’s look specifically at verse 1, verse 2 and verse 6. (verses 3-5 speaks about faith in Jesus creating the universe and how Abel and Enoch pleased God through their faith.) I want you to walk with me through these verses. Be sure to take notice of all the detailed truths as we read together.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation… And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

– Hebrews 11:1-2,6

How can this passage change our prayer life? It doesn’t seem to even mention prayer in this passage. Or does it? Look in verse 6. Take a look at the phrases “whoever would draw near to God” and “those who seek him”. Is this not what prayer is? Yes, and rightly so. Take some time and read the passage above once more through the lens of how faith can effect your prayers.

Verse 1 tells us what faith is. Take a second to examine the faith in your life after reading these questions. When you praise the Lord in prayer, are you talking to him with ASSURANCE in your voice? I know that I can easily tell if someone says something unconfidently to me that they don’t truly believe. We all have instances where we truly don’t believe the words that we say to others. Let’s choose today to be a people of confidence and assurance. When you ask the Lord to provide for you or others, do you expect Him to provide with the CONVICTION in your heart that He will do it? We wouldn’t ask our close friends and family for something and not believe that they will come through for us. So why wouldn’t we take a stand of conviction that the Lord, who has proven Himself faithful to us time and time again, will hear answer us?

Verse 2 speaks about the benefits of faith. Do you desire COMMENDATION from the Lord by praying in faith? I am utterly convinced that God not only will be pleased by a faith-filled prayer life, but will bless us as we obediently seek him in prayer. I’m not talking necessarily a blessing that will fill your purse or wallet, but I am confident that you will take on more and more of the character of God. Just as Moses’ face shone brightly coming down the mountain after spending time with his maker, so shall we shine brighter in Christlikeness by His grace as we seek him diligently in faith.

Verse 6 warns of faithless prayers. Do you take seriously the consequences of a faithless prayer life? James 1:22 clearly communicates that knowing the right thing to do and choosing not to do it is sin. Faithlessness in God is not just hateful and arrogant towards God, it is sin. Faith in God and His promises shows the utmost confidence in Him. To be in right standing before our Creator means having and acting on faith in all that we do, including prayer. He desires to meet every need that we have for His glory and our good. I can personally brag on Him that he has always given me more and better than I have asked for.

I desire our church to truly be a house of prayer. Not in our own eyes, but in His, who see all the hearts of men. How exciting would it be to hear stories abundant in our fellowship of the faithfulness of God to our faith filled prayers? How wonderful it would be to see these testimonies spur others on to pray in faith! But this can only happen if you lead out by praying this way. Let’s be a people that pray to put our great God on display. He is a God that hears and answers. Let’s do this faithfully.

-Pastor Kyle

Redeeming Time

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Coming up on March 13th is Daylight Savings Time. It’s that time each year when you spring forward and lose an hour of sleep. Beware though, if you forget to set your clocks forward one hour at 2 a.m. then you will show up for church late. Now in the Fall you fall back and get one more hour of sleep which is much better! But, are we really gaining or losing any time? No, over the 365 day year we are just adjusting our clocks to make the best use of sunlight. I guess this is so in the summer we can stay out later in the evening and mow the grass in our yard.

But, as I am writing this, yesterday was Leap Day. Every 4 years we add a Leap Day, February 29th, to a Leap Year. It is a special day, a magical day, a bonus day if you will. Anything at all is possible on this day! What did you do with your extra day? Did you travel to exotic places, create a work of art, write a novel, compete in a marathon? Or, were you like me and just did your normal routine like any other day? I am pretty sure most of us just continued with our life as a normal day. Again, it is just a day added to keep our calendars on track with the seasons and the movement of our planet around the sun.

It would be great if there were a bonus type program for life. For each 10 years you live, you get 1 bonus month. Or maybe even if we were given a baker’s dozen of time; for every 12 months you get a free month of time. That would be great, but we all know that is not how this life works. In the book of Job, it states “A man’s days are numbered. You know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set.” (Job 14:5) God has set our time and knows the number, just like he knows the number of hairs on our head. We should never take anything for granted. James 4:13-15, says “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, say ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’”

Now, even though we can’t add a day, an hour, or even a minute for that matter to our time here on this Earth, we can redeem the time. Ephesians 5, verse 16 says “making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”   Doing God’s will and ministering and witnessing to those God places in our path each day makes the most of our time. We also can know that our time is in our Lord’s hands. The Psalmist of David sings in 31:14-15 “But as for me, I trust in You, Oh Lord, I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 says “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

… He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in (our) heart…”

How are you spending the time God has given you?

~Brian Moody

Agreeing to Disagree

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Why in the world can’t I get along with everyone? Well, the short answer is there’s no reason why I can’t get along with everyone. The problem with my getting along is I often get my feathers ruffled resulting in anger and suspicion. The focus of a situation becomes me and my feelings instead of the betterment of someone else or a positive outcome.
I’m amazed that Paul and Barnabas were able to disagree and still launch the missions movement we are experiencing today. “Yeah, I disagree with you about John Mark and his ability to go with me on my next journey. But, I’ll tell you what…you take him with you and I’ll go to plan B and see what God has in mind.” (obviously a pb paraphrase…check out the story in Acts 15)
You know, I’m never going to completely agree with other believers about people, places, and things. However, if I can learn to take my feelings out of a situation, maybe I can sense by the leading of the Spirit that His plan is the very best and my plan…well, maybe He will choose to use it, too! Just some thoughts.
~Pastor Brett

Double Protection

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We have had a lot of excitement around our home lately. Our son, Colson, recently asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior! What an amazing experience we have had as his parents to walk him through that! The other day Colson had to get tubes in his ears. As we were leaving our vehicle to walk into the clinic, Colson very confidently said, “Mommy and daddy, I have double protection because I am a follower of Jesus!” Immediately, peace flooded my being. My son reminded me of a powerful truth in that moment: Jesus makes all the difference! When we have Jesus in our lives, He gives peace, comfort, joy, provision, grace and life! Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

I am so thankful for the abundant life that Jesus gives me, His child. He truly makes all of the difference in my life. Because of Jesus, I can walk through life with peace and assurance because He knows what is best for me. He comforts me in times of trial, He rejoices over me, sings over me and gives me eternal life! When I face a difficult situation, I am going to try my best to face it with the confidence of my six year old! After all, I am a follower of Jesus, I have double protection!!

~Brittni

Peace & Quiet

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“I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Job‬ ‭3‬:‭26‬ 

“It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭26
“Rather, it [your beauty] should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”1 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭4‬
A book I am reading reminded me this morning the we live in a noisy world and sometime a quiet and peaceful spirit are what we need the most. The fact that school is out and I am a teacher means that I am able to take extra time to get quiet before the Lord each morning. The pay off is huge when I am still and quiet and hear from Him. We are most troubled and anxious when the noise of life overwhelms the whispers of our most trusted advisor. Job had no peace because his circumstances and problems screamed loudly. Those around him offered much advice. The salvation he sought would come only in his waiting quietly for God. We must pursue quietness and peace in order to navigate this life according to the words and will of Jesus Christ. Say “no” today to the noise of the world and its  circumstances and say, “yes” to a quiet spirit that only the presence of Jesus can give.
Jesus, help us to find peace and a quiet place of rest in you. Amen
In His Grace,
Tammy Barrett

Summertime Slumps

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Top 10 List of ways to avoid the “Summertime Slumps”

Pastor Brett’s summer sermon series on the New Testament book of James kicked off in June, and he mentioned avoiding the “Summertime Slumps” by staying engaged. So, in keeping with that theme, and in tribute to David Letterman leaving The Late Show recently…Here is my Top 10 List of ways to avoid the “Summertime Slumps”.

#10 – Keep connected to Harbor Church through our website services. Even though you may be out of town, out of state, or even out of the country this summer; stay connected to HC through the website. You can listen to past sermons, keep up to date with upcoming events and ministry opportunities, read the newsletter, and even worship through online giving.

#9 – Worship while away from home on vacation or family trips. When you travel, look for a local Church to go visit, or you can even hold your own “family worship service”. Have each family member read their favorite verse, sing their favorite song, pray for specific people or things, and pick a topic in the Bible to discuss that relates to your trip (the sea, a location, a mountain, nature, etc.). Remember, Jesus said that He would always be with us, even unto the ends of the Earth, so be sure and include Him.

#8 – Get involved with Vacation Bible School. VBS is July 13-17th, and the theme this year is “Everest: Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power.” VBS is a great experience for both kids and adults!

#7 – Get involved with Falls Creek or Kid’s Camp. Church camps for kids and teens can be life-changing experiences, both for the campers and for adult sponsors. See how you can participate!

#6 – Get involved in kids and student ministries.   HC has several ministries just for kids and students, including Kid Connection, Preschool Ministries, Code 9, and Overflow. Help is always needed and appreciated in these important areas of ministry at our church.

#5 – Seek out Mission opportunities. HC has Mission opportunities in Mexico, Ecuador, and even every month in Downtown Tulsa to the homeless through our Be A Friend Ministry. Bless others, and yourself, by getting involved in Missions with HC.

#4 – Get connected to Men’s/Women’s Ministry. HC has a Men’s and Women’s Ministry which meet regularly throughout the year. The Ladies Ministry is starting Summer Bible Study at the end of June, and having a retreat in late July. See how you can get involved with either of these groups.

#3 – Get connected to a Small Group. At Harbor Church, Small Groups are the key to us being the Church God wants, and needs, us to be. Fellowship, Discipleship, Prayer, Worship, Ministry…it all happens at Small Group. Visit several of the Small Groups, find the one you fit into best, and get connected!

#2 – Get engaged in a personal Bible Study time. HC offers “SOAP” Daily Bible Reading Plan to assist with developing a personal Bible Study. Also, choosing a popular study book, or simply choosing a book of the Bible to read can be a good way to develop a personal Bible Study time too. Just do it!

And the #1 way to avoid the “Summertime Slumps” is….

Attend Harbor Church Worship Services each week! Services are offered at both 9:30am and 11:00 am Sunday mornings. Come join us and stay engaged with others who love God and love you!

~Brian Moody

Resting in His Refuge

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“But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.”
Psalm‬ ‭5‬:‭11‬ AMP

The refuge that God offers is refuge from striving, from schedules, from worry, from doubt, and from the lies that the enemy whispers in our ears. He offers to be the one who is worthy of our trust. He promises to give us reasons to rejoice and to place a joy- that the world can’t provide- in our hearts. He makes a covering of protection to rest over us and is our mighty defender. These are promises we can cling to and have faith in. If the battles weren’t real and pain weren’t present then we wouldn’t need this promise of refuge – a safe place. If the enemy wasn’t going to attack, we wouldn’t need a defender. What if we saw each new challenge as a reminder of His constant presence and His promise to cover us, defend us, and give us a joy that the world cannot take away?
“…let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.”

Resting in His Refuge,

~Tammy Barrett

Increase the Love and Joy

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The Christian life is a joyous life but in many ways it is a difficult life.  I have observed many wonderful things happen in the life of a church, such as baptisms and salvations.  I have also seen heartbreaking things happen to churches.  One of the most painful experiences in the life of a church is to watch families destroyed by the breakup of a marriage.  The apostle Paul gave clear guidelines for Christian marriage in Ephesians chapter 5:22-25.  Husbands are instructed to love their wives and wives are instructed to submit to their husbands.  This is the pattern of living we were given, and if we are able to make Godly love and Godly submission the heart of our marriages they thrive.

The problem is most of us have other patterns we are using instead, these patterns we most likely learned when we were very young and we are unaware they are at work.  One of the most destructive patterns is the disengaged husband/overly involved wife.  This pattern of behavior is often created when a husband driven to succeed, slowly begins to invest more and more of his emotional energy into work, or hobbies.  The wife slowly becomes less connected to him and more and more involved in the children’s lives, church activities, and community activities.  The result can be two very lonely people.

The genesis story gives us God’s intention for marriage in that we were instructed to increase and multiply.  We are instructed to grow a family but more over I think God’s intention was for men and women to grow in their love.  We are instructed by Jesus to seek the “Kingdom of God and in so doing all these things will be added to you.”  I think when Jesus made this statement he was speaking of more then worldly goods he was also speaking of love within the family.  If a husband and wife will place first things first – such as their relationship with God, then each other, then children, then work.  The result will be intimacy with God and each other.

What pattern of behavior rules your home, a pattern that will lead to loneliness and loss or a pattern that will lead to an increase of love and joy?

 

My hearts prayer for you is that God may increase the love and joy of your home.

~Mark Bright

Spring Has Sprung

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I love Springtime! It seems during Spring, new life pops up all around me! I see it everywhere! Green grass begins poking through the desolate brown ground, flowers bloom, trees regrow their leaves. I hear it everywhere! The birds begin chirping, bugs buzzing, frogs croaking. I love that there is more daylight. It means more time to enjoy playing outside in the warm sunshine! It is truly a glorious season that I am very thankful for! Spring also reminds me of new life through Christ. Just as life springs forth from a previously dead looking tree, Jesus gave me new life! I was lost, but now I am found! I am so thankful that Jesus makes me new. I love the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” This verse is so exciting! It reminds me that I am new – a new person, a new life!

New life in Christ is something that should stir a passion in each of us. I want my excitement for my new life In Christ to overflow out of me and into others. I want to share Jesus and the new life He offers. Do you know someone who needs new life in Christ? Maybe someone you know needs a church home. Invite them to join you at church this Sunday, March 29, for Friend Day. The following Sunday, April 5, we get to celebrate my absolute favorite day of Spring – EASTER! He is risen! These truly are exciting days! Hope to see you Sunday with some “spring” in your step!

~Brittni

I See Spots Everywhere

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I’m seeing spots everywhere. To be more specific, blue dots with the letters “HC.” They are on the back of vehicles, on t-shirts, hoodies, and even on the sides of vans. What’s the deal with all these HC Dots? I guess you could say it is a form of “Logo Branding.” The blue dot with the “HC” represents Harbor Church. The early Christian Church used something similar, a symbol of a fish. In Greek, the word for fish is “Ichthus,” an acronym for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”  Christians fearing persecution would place the symbol at the entrance to meeting places to signify it was a safe place. The Christian fish symbol is still used today on business cards and advertisements, clothing, jewelry, and even the back of vehicles to announce that person as a Christian.

It’s been really neat seeing HC Dots everywhere I go. You expect to see them at church, in the church parking lot, and here and there in and around Oologah. But, it is been an unexpected joy to see the HC Dots in places like Collinsville, Claremore, Owasso, and even Tulsa. Whenever I see a vehicle or person with the HC Dot logo I think “Hey! There’s a fellow church-member and believer.” I’ll be honest too, whenever I see an advertisement for a business with a fish included, I tend to patronize them. Whenever I see a person with a fish on their t-shirt or piece of jewelry, I automatically think “Here is a fellow Christ-Follower that thinks like me.” Seeing the HC Dot or the fish immediately brings a sense of community and belonging.

But, those HC dots and Christian fish on our vehicles and clothes should not be the only evidence that we are different. Our words, our actions, even our demeanor should betray the fact that we are Christ Followers. A Christian thinker once said “One act of obedience is better than 100 sermons.” Similarly, I have heard it said that we preach a sermon of a thousand words through our everyday wordless acts in our community.  Jesus told His followers “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Everyday, when we go into our “Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria” – which for us would be Oologah, Rogers County, and Tulsa County – we are to be on mission just as if we were in Ecuador, Matamoros, or even India. We need to be the salt and light as we go, wherever we go.

~Brian Moody