Here is our 2012 Christmas card:
Why is red the color of Christmas?
In this special video shot in New York City, I share from a number of biblical vignettes about some of the significance of this color—and what it should mean to us during this important holiday season.
I have been hanging out and just recharging a bit and getting ready for a trip to New Zealand! We are hoping to do a Harvest Crusades event there next year, so we are holding a pre-crusade event this weekend in Auckland.
The mayor of the city is going to be there, along with some leading pastors from the city. I will speak two times and meet with a lot of people, so please pray that God guides and blesses our steps as we seek to take the gospel to the whole world.
In fact, we have held a number of events in New Zealand over the last few years, and they were very well-received. The people there are wonderful.
Joining me will be the Katinas and Phil Joel, formerly of The Newsboys. Phil is a “Kiwi,” a New Zealand native, so we know he will connect well.
It’s a 14-hour flight across the ocean, so you won’t hear from me for a while. And after this trip, I am taking a vacation with my family!
Talk to you soon.
Did you know that you are in the Easter story?
Not by name, of course, unless your name is Mary, Thomas, or John. But you are in the greatest story ever told, the Easter story. You are there in one of the characters in the story you most resemble.
And then, there is a special word to all of us here today from Jesus Himself that is often missed.
We will explore that together on Easter Sunday at Harvest. I hope you can join us for one of our four Sunday morning services.
Bright and early Sunday morning, while it is still dark, we will gather for our first service of the day, the sunrise service.
You can find a comfortable seat in our Sanctuary. If you prefer the full effect of sitting in the elements, we have outdoor seating in the Courtyard, where you can shiver away with your coffee or hot chocolate, snuggling with your family as you listen to the powerful story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This service will start at 5:45 A.M.
Our outstanding Harvest Worship Band will lead us in worship, and we will also be joined by our very good friend Crystal Lewis at all four services.
Then we will have our normal service times of 7:45 A.M., 9:45 A.M., and 11:45 A.M. All of our overflow venues will be open, with ample parking. In short, there will be a seat for you at Harvest on Easter Sunday.
The second service will be broadcast in Southern California on KWVE (107.9 FM), starting at 8:00 A.M. And all four services will be webcast live, so you can watch this service from anywhere in the world.
Tell a friend
I urge you to bring a friend with you to church this Easter Sunday. At the very least, you can text or e-mail them a link to one of our services via the Web.
Remember all of us in prayer this weekend, that the Lord will give us spiritual and physical strength for this glorious day.
This Sunday at Harvest in Riverside, I will be speaking on the meaning of Easter. I hope you can join us for one of our four services—5:45 A.M., 7:45 A.M., 9:45 A.M., and 11:45 A.M.
They will also be webcast live at harvest.org.
It was June 18, 1815—the Battle of Waterloo, the decisive moment of the Napoleonic Wars. The French, under the command of Napoleon, were fighting the allied forces of the British, Dutch, and Germans, under the command of the Duke of Wellington.
The people of England depended on a system of signals to find out how the battle was going. One of these signals was on the tower of Winchester Cathedral.
Late in the day, it flashed the signal: “W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N—D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D . . . ” At that moment, a bank of fog rolled in, making it impossible to read the message.
The news of defeat quickly spread throughout the city. The people were devastated to hear that their nation had lost the battle.
Suddenly, the fog lifted and the rest of the message could be read. The message wasn’t just two words, but four.
The complete message was: “W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N—D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D—T-H-E—E-N-E-M-Y!”
It took only a few minutes for the good news to spread. Sorrow was turned into joy, defeat was turned into victory!
The same thing happened at the resurrection of Jesus.
When Jesus died on the cross, hope died in the hearts of His disciples. After the crucifixion, the fog of disappointment and misunderstanding crept in on the friends of Jesus.
But they had read only part of the message: “Christ Defeated . . . ”
On the third day, the fog of disappointment and misunderstanding lifted, and the world received the complete message: “Christ Defeated Death!!”
That really is the great message of the resurrection of Jesus, that death is not the end.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25 NKJV).
The Bible tells us, “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14 NIV).
Have you ever struggled with doubt when it comes to your faith? Maybe something has happened in your life that caused you to wonder if God really does keep His promises.
I have good news for you—Easter is for doubters!
No less than the apostle Thomas had his doubts about Jesus, but they gave way to belief and worship when he gathered with other believers in the presence of the risen Lord.
I believe the same can happen for you this year as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ in Orange County on Thursday and in Riverside on Easter Sunday.
So join me Thursday night in Orange County for our Pre-Easter celebration, as I give a message on turning your doubt into belief. We will have incredible worship led by our Harvest Worship Band and special musical guest Crystal Lewis.
For more info, click here.
Is it just me, or did it seem like the year 2009 just sped by? And not only that, but we have another decade under our belt!
It seems the older you get, the faster time goes. When I was in elementary school, time seemed to crawl at a snail’s pace. Now, not only years go by quickly, but so do entire decades!
I read an interesting thing about what time it is in your life.
- If your age is 15, the time is 10:25 A.M.
- If you are 20, the time is 11:34 A.M.
- If you are 25, the time is 12:42 P.M.
- If you are 30, the time is 1:51 P.M.
- If you are 35, the time is 3:00 P.M.
- If you are 40, the time is 4:08 P.M.
- If you are 45, the time is 5:15 P.M.
- If you are 50, the time is 6:25 P.M.
- If you are 55, the time is 7:34 P.M.
- If you are 60, the time is 8:42 P.M.
- If you are 65, the time is 9:51 P.M.
- If you are 70, the time is 11:00 P.M.
I dont know where that puts you, but for me it’s about 8:00 P.M. The sad thing is that I have been known to get sleepy at 8:00 P.M.
Now, believe it or not, getting older is not a depressing thought to me. I don’t wish that I was 21 or 31 years old again (though I would take my hair back).
That’s because each year has been an adventure, walking with Jesus Christ and watching His plan for my life unfold.
A time for change
The start of a new year is a great opportunity to make changes.
I heard about an interesting custom celebrated in Italy every New Year’s Eve. As the evening approaches, the streets are cleared. There is no traffic and no pedestrians. Even the policemen take cover.
Then, at the stroke of midnight, every house’s windows fly open to the sound of laughter, music, and fireworks. Each member of the family tosses out old dishes, detested ornaments, hated furniture and a whole catalog of personal possessions that remind them of something in the past year they are determined to wipe out of their minds.
Perhaps some of us need to do that as we say our final goodbye to 2009.
Some thoughts from the apostle Paul for 2009-2010
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. (Philippians 3:12-15)
Well, it’s finally over.
I don’t know about you, but once the celebration of Christmas is completed, I am done. Frankly, I don’t personally want to see any more twinkling lights or hear any more holiday songs, especially ones about Santa and reindeer. I am quite content to put Christmas in the rear view mirror.
Now I have to admit, I have an ulterior motive for that personally. Honestly, for anyone who is suffering, Christmas is especially hard. If you have a loved one who is no longer with you, the celebration of Christmas only accentuates that sense of loss.
Christmas marks the passing of time
I am not exactly sure why Christmas causes such emotions. Perhaps it’s because so many December memories that you did not even know you had are activated.
But it is also because each Christmas is a marker of time. It is an indication that another year has passed.
I don’t know how 2009 was for you. Maybe it was a banner year. Maybe it was a difficult year. Maybe it was the hardest year of your life. Or perhaps it was a combination of some of those. Whatever it was, this year is almost gone, and soon it will be time to venture into another year.
So I say goodbye to the sad memories, as well as the happy ones, and I put Christmas in the rear-view mirror.
Looking ahead to Christ
But at the same time, I also look forward to what God has ahead for us all this coming year.
Let’s not forget the message we heard so many times this Christmas: Immanuel, God with us. We are not alone. The Lord will guide us this year, just as He did the last.
Yes, Christmas is in my rear-view mirror, but Christ Himself is front and center. And He is the One I am looking to this coming year.
How ’bout you?
I am happy to announce that we will be having our first Christmas Eve service in Orange County, California, tonight at 7:00 P.M.!
This will be on the night when we have our normal O.C. Bible study, which has been going on for about eight months now. Did you know that more than 1,000 people have made professions of faith to follow Jesus Christ at this study? We thank God for that.
If you are in the Orange County area, let people know about our Christmas Eve service. For more information on the location and directions, click here.
We will also have Christmas Eve services at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside at 3:00 P.M., 5:00 P.M., and 7:00 P.M. For more information on those services, click here.
Here is a video preview for our Christmas Eve services: