I love New Year's Day! (the actual day and the U2 song)

I love New Year’s Day.

I don’t know why. I don’t have any particularly great memories of spectacular events that happened on any January 1 in my life. But it has always been a meaningful day to me.

I think it has to do with the sense of January 1st bringing to us the one thing we all long for: a chance to start over.

Every year marks triumph and tragedy. Wins and losses. New life and saying goodbye to loved ones. And New Year’s Day brings with it that sense of closing the chapter on the previous year while standing in anticipation of what will happen in the next year.

This is also one of the most alluring things about the Gospel of Jesus Christ: a chance to start over. No matter how badly we blew it, no matter how many times we insisted on our own way… God reaches out to us with forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

Is this the year? Is 2012 the year that you decide you are done trying to do things your way? Is this the year that things really change for you, as you allow Jesus Christ to have His rightful place as Lord of your life?

If you have said, “This is the year I am going to start going to church”, then I have great news: you can come to Harvest Bible Chapel Pittsburgh North! We are a brand new church, so this is a great time to get on board.

What kind of church are we? Come as you are and experience passionate contemporary worship and messages from Bible that will help you grow in your journey. You will be welcomed, accepted, and loved. We are conveniently located in Wexford, meeting at Marshall Middle School (5145 Wexford Run Road) every Sunday morning at 10:00 am.

Don’t let anything get in the way! And lose the notion that you have to be a “good person” to go to church. You only have to be a person who realizes you need the Lord. And He is ready to give you your chance to start over.

p.s. - just hold the sauerkraut

Prayer: the ultimate game-changer

John 16:33 - I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Life can be hard, amen? The Lord gave us, in John 13-16, some tremendous resources to get us through a hard world. So far we have seen:


He gave us even more, one that we don't use near enough: the PRIVILEGE OF PRAYER.

John 16:23-24 - In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. 

Many times Jesus told us to pray in His name. What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name? 

This means much more than tacking a phrase at the end of your prayer. It is praying in unity with Christ, that is, praying for what Jesus would want!

Prayer certainly changes things, no doubt about that. But when we pray, when we really pray, we find that prayer changes US! You find yourself becoing less concerned with what you want, and more concerned with what will glorify God. And when that becomes your agenda, it doesn’t matter what the world throws at you because you are in tune with God

In John 14:27, Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."

So enough with trying to find peace the worldly way - it's temporary and shallow.

So enough with expecting everything to be great here during our stay on the earth, it isn’t going to happen.

Are you using the resources that God has given you? We can experience the peace that Christ gives as we do life together, keeping our eyes on eternity, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, walking in obedience and communing with God in prayer.

Let's do it - but let's do it with the resources God has given us. 

p.s. - that is quite a toolbelt we have!

Home Sweet Home

John 16:33 - I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

The Lord gave us some tremendous resources to get us through a hard world. He talks a lot about these in John 13-18. The first one we looked at was PEOPLE TO COUNT ON. Secondly, we looked at THE PROSPECT OF THINGS TO COME. Third, He has given us A PERSON WITH PRESENCE AND POWER.

As the infomercials say, “But wait… there’s more!” Jesus has given us


Where do you abide? Home is where the heart is, right? Is your heart about America… all eagles, flags, and the Statue of Liberty? Do you love the state you are in? (That may just be a Texas thing. They still think there are people out there “messing with Texas“.) Maybe your thoughts about where you abide go to your town, or even your street, possibly down to your very house.

We may not feel we have a place we really belong. But Jesus gave us a place to abide. In fact, in John 15:1-11, you see the word over and over. Abide. Abide. Abide. Abide in Jesus, He abides in us. In fact, we can do nothing apart from abiding in Him! He said we are branches, attached to Him, the vine. The branches are dead off the vine, but alive and fruitful on the vine.

But what does He mean by abide? What does that look like? The answer is right in the passage:

John 15:10 - If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.

Following Jesus Christ means you are attached to Him and obedient to Him. It’s evidence that you are attached when your desire is to honor and serve Him your heart your whole heart.

Have you ever felt like a fish out of water? I think I do…most of my life. At a banquet, at the preachers’ meeting, at the senior citizens’ home, around teenagers, weddings, receptions, grad parties - so often I just feel like, “What the heck? Why don’t I feel like I should be here? I don’t think I belong here! Do I belong here?”

Jesus gave us a place to belong. We are in Him, and He is in us. That’s home.

Even before Christ, even before Pentecost, Moses had an idea about this concept. In Psalm 90, verse 1, he says, “Lord you have been our dwelling place, in all generations.”

Do you know God as your dwelling place? Are you abiding in Christ? Stop and look at your life right now - what evidence is there that you belong to God? Are you at home in Him?

It sure is a comfort to have a place to call home. 

p.s. - can't wait to finally be home with the Lord...in person...forever!

Another Helper

John 16:33 - I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

So Jesus said some things so that we have His peace. The Lord gave us some tremendous resources that He mentions in John 13-18. The first one we looked at was PEOPLE TO COUNT ON. Secondly, we looked at THE PROSPECT OF THINGS TO COME.

The third thing the Lord gives us to get us through a hard world is A PERSON WITH PRESENCE AND POWER.

John 14:16-17 - And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

If you were one of the 12 disciples, you would have asked: How could it possibly be a good thing for Jesus to leave the earth? Answer: it would usher in something very significant. No longer would the unique presence of God be represented on the earth in one Man, but the Holy Spirit would come to indwell all believers!

Notice Jesus said another Helper was coming. There are 2 primary Greek words for another: heteros and allos - and they both have slightly different meanings. Heteros meant another of a different kind, and allos meant another of the samekind.

Meaning, if you brought me a tray of cookies, and offered me a chocolate chip mayonnaise cookie, I would ask for another (heteros) cookie (meaning, “nah, give me different cookie“). And if you gave me an Eat N Park Smiley cookie, I would ask for another (allos) cookie (meaning, “I would like 1 more, just like that").

The point: Jesus said the Father is giving us allos Helper - another of the same kind. Meaning, the Holy Spirit would be like Jesus! Can we even begin to wrap our brain around this? The Holy Spirit, who is just like Jesus, comes and lives within you!

When I was a kid, I wasn’t scared of anything… as long as my big brother was around! I could say or do anything as long as he was there to protect me. But there were times he couldn’t be around, so I was a little more cautious about what was going on.

But when we are in Christ, the truth is Christ is in us, as the Holy Spirit resides to guide us and empower us. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, He is there.

In the face of temptation, there. 
In discouragement, there. 
In times of hurt, there. 
In the valley of the shadow of death, there.

In joy, there. 
In victory, there. 
In ministry, there. 
Always there. 
Always empowering. 
Always at work.

God has given us some amazing resources. But this, though listed third on our little study, is really the top of the list. Nothing is as awesome as God giving Himself to us! What are you facing today that is stronger and bigger than God Himself?

Bring it on, world. Have you seen that the God of the universe is with me?

p.s. - Whom, then, shall I fear?