We Launched! … So Now What?

It’s in the record books! Harvest Bible Chapel Pittsburgh North launched October 2, 2011! The Lord showed up in a mighty way to prepare us for that day, and we are all so grateful to Him and this new work He has begun!

Despite all the hard work, the prayer, the giving… we did not reach a finish line. All of that was to get us to the starting blocks! The best days are ahead of us, as we make disciples of Jesus Christ!

The message launch Sunday was: Jesus’ Last Command is My First Priority. Jesus, Who has all authority, told us to go and make disciples. Look at your life right this minute and ask: “How am I making disciples right now?” If you aren’t making disciples right now, then you need to jump on board with us, right now. I mean right now. No need to wait. Call me, e-mail me, see me at worship service. Let’s get on it. Jesus calls us to this, it is a work that impacts eternity, and there is no greater joy than God at work through us. Do you really need another reason?!

So what is ahead for us? Here are a few things we want YOU to be praying about. How has the Lord equipped you to be a part of His work with Harvest Bible Chapel?

  1. Our Website - I have been updating it with news events, blogs, etc, but now that we have gone from Launch Team to Launched Church phase, we need to make an overhaul on our website. This is out of my area of expertise, so I am praying for someone to come and help get it updated. My e-mail is
  2. Our Worship Team - Sami and Laura Yacoub, our worship leaders, are working on assembling more musicians to be a part of our worship team. Has God blessed you with musical ability?
  3. Small Groups - November 6, we will be kicking off Small Groups. Harvest isn’t a church with small groups, it is a church of small groups. We want to see everyone involved in a small group. We want you to be pouring into others and allowing others to pour into you.
  4. Children’s Ministry - We want to assist all parents in the discipleship of their own children. While I am preaching, children can go to Higher Ground. That’s the name of the children’s ministry. I guess if you didn’t know that, that statement 2 sentences ago is pretty funny. While children receive age-appropriate Bible teaching, their parents can listen to the Word from me and not have to worry about distractions from kids (theirs or otherwise). We are calling on those of who have a gift to teach and a love for children to apply.
  5. Hospitality - Every service at Harvest ends with “You are loved!” We want to do everything we can to make sure people leave feeling that statement is true. Are you a “people person”?

We are anxious to hear from you as to how you are going to be a part of the work of the Lord!

What is coming up, sermon-wise? The next 4 weeks, we will be looking at the 4 Pillars of Harvest Bible Chapel: Proclaiming the Authority of God’s Word Without Apology, Lifting High the Name of Jesus Through Worship, Believing Firmly in the Power of Prayer, and Sharing the Good News of the Gospel with Boldness. Then we will dive into the book of Colossians in a verse by verse study.

Our theme this year: Jesus is First! With Jesus First in your life, come and be a part of a church where Jesus is First!

This is only the beginning!

p.s. - In all things, Jesus must have the preeminence! (Colossians 1:18)

The Greatest One Word Sermon I Ever Heard

Maybe it is the only one word sermon I ever heard. I’m not sure. But it was the best. It was convicting, encouraging, challenging, and crystal clear all at the same time. The speaker delivered it from his heart. It stirred my emotions while bringing me to a point of deep mediation and self-examination. It stuck with me. I have thought about it a lot since it was preached. I even memorized it!

And here was the sermon, preached so eloquently by Sam Yacoub, our Worship Leader: 


It was especially impacting because of when it was preached. Let me back up a step.

Church planting has been a battle. The enemy has come after us in every imaginable way. Name it, Satan has done it. He knows what we are about, and what we are about to do. He knows we are passionate about Jesus Christ and His Gospel, so the devil has been trying to derail this train before it gets out of the depot.

We have struggled financially. We have struggled with people leaving our group. We have struggled. And if you have ever struggled with anything (like, who hasn‘t? right?), you know it can become easy to put your eyes on the mountain before you and take your eyes off of the God who can move mountains.

And as we get closer to launch, it is also oh-so-easy to focus on what we need. We need this equipment, this leader, this much money. We need, we have to have, make sure we keep asking God for… It’s glaring us in the face, as the launch date of the church is bearing down on us. It’s pressure. And this is the first church I have ever planted, so it’s not like I have personal experience to draw on.

Anyways, at our Leader Team meeting a few weeks ago, we were discussing what was needed to get us to launch. After some discussion, I asked our Financial Assistant Michele what was in our account. She told the group. And Sam, still a relative newcomer to the group, blurted out a response. He said, “Sweet!”

Yeah, it is sweet! God forgive me for lamenting what we don’t have instead of celebrating what you have provided. How short sighted I can be!

I needed a brother who I knew would be committed no matter what happened, and God provided Dale.

We needed someone to handle the finances when we first got started, and what was the first thing God provided when we first got started? Take a guess. (You‘re right! It was Michele.)

We needed someone to handle facility and equipment issues, and God gave us Dave.

We needed people to head up Children’s Ministry, and God provided the best people in the Bloomingdales.

We needed someone who understands how Harvest works, and God provided Colleen.

We needed someone to work with our youth, and God provided a leader in Bob AND a whole youth group!

We needed a passionate worship leader, and God gave us TWO, in Sam and Laura Yacoub.

We needed contagious enthusiasm and joy, and God sent Dan and Alicia.

We needed someone to head up hospitality, and God brought Amanda and Ken to us.

We needed someone who can help design promotional things, and God loaned us Ryan and gave us Bob (a different Bob).

I needed a brother to come alongside and push me, and God brought me Neil Henretty.

I needed a wife who is supportive, confident and organized. God provided Erin quite a while ago, as if He knew what I needed!

There are so many others God has brought along at some point in this journey who have been such a blessing: Brookie, the Svestkas, the Waters, Iron Man, the Dunlaps, Cranmers, Ovenshines, Persics, Steigerwalds… I didn’t even want to start a list because I didn’t want to leave anyone out. If I did, I sincerely apologize. I love you and would not forget you intentionally. Just a lot on my mind lately. Trying to plant a church, you know? Leave a comment below if I forgot you and I will publicly apologize. :)

I think this is why Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6: do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Cry out to God for what you need. But do it with thanksgiving, a grateful heart acknowledging what He has already done.


p.s. - blessed with the greatest people anywhere ever, but none of them think I am going to start doing one word sermon