June 16, 2013
Anyone familiar with James MacDonald and Walk In the Word out of Chicago, IL?
I happen to enjoy his teaching very much and listen to him on the radio every chance I get. He started Harvest Bible Chapel in September of 1988 and has since added five more campuses, one of which just happens to be their Southern campus right here in Chattanooga. The church came to our city in September of 2011. According to their website, www.HarvestChattanooga.org, the mission of the church started with the people’s “vision for proclaiming the authority of the Word of God without apology, for lifting high the name of Jesus through worship, for believing firmly in powerful prayer, and for sharing Jesus with boldness.”
So, we decided to visit to see if in fact the vision was being carried out. As we drove up, we encountered two greeters at the entrance.
Friendly, friendly, friendly…I don’t think there was one person who didn’t welcome us, speak to us, or smile at us as we entered Harvest Bible Chapel. We immediately made our way back to check Zoey, our 3 year old granddaughter into Children’s Church. We loved the sign-in process – computerized and quick. A ticket printed out – part of which was placed on her back and the other part which was given to me to be able to pick her up afterwards. She took to the teacher immediately and had no qualms with us leaving her with people she’d never met before (which is unusual because normally she shies away at least a little bit at first).
We found seats near the back of the gymnasium-converted-worship-center. Worship focused on the glory of God and it seemed everyone was fully engaged, worshipping in whatever manner that seemed fitting to them. Most stood, some raised their hands, others had heads bowed. Music was led by a standard worship band most will find in contemporary worship settings.
Pastor Mike DuBard spoke about Kingdom Opposition from Matthew 12:15-21.
The main question he answered was “why” Jesus was so greatly opposed. He explained that Jesus was an unlikely Messiah during His generation because He was described as a servant. The Jews were expecting a physical political king to deliver them from the Romans.
Four main points were presented:
1. Jesus was focused on the mission of God.
The book of Matthew focuses on the differences between the Pharisees and Jesus. Some questions for us to think about are:
- What is it that distracts us from our mission?
- Has the mission of making disciples, showing God’s glory to the world, etc become secondary?
- How do we view money?
- How do we view marriage? Jobs? Family? Relationships?
We were created for HIS glory.
2. An unlikely servant is called by God.…embraced by faith (Eph 1:5)…embraced by sharing with others (I Peter 2:9)
3. An unlikely servant is cherished by God (I Peter 2:4)
4. An unlikely servant is empowered by God to…
- Proclaim the message of the Gospel
- Encourage the weak
- Endure to the end
- Bring hope to the world
The morning ended with communion. Before the bread and cup were passed, the Pastor explained salvation and invited people to come to Christ by placing their faith in His death, burial, and resurrection. He explained taking communion without knowing Christ would place a person at risk of judgment according to I Corinthians 11.
As we ended the Lord’s Supper with the praise song “Beautiful Savior,” I couldn’t help but look around me and see young and old from all walks of life thankful and free as we all were reminded just how beautiful our Savior really is. He saved us from hell and eternal separation from Him. He saved us for His glory so we could pass from death unto life.
Upon leaving the gym to go pick up Zoey, the pickup process was a bit different. Parents and/or guardians are not allowed into the children’s room once they’ve dropped the kids off. You must present your child’s name along with the sticker and someone will go get your child for you. It’s obvious Harvest Bible Chapel is working hard to create a safe environment for our children.
We would definitely consider another visit to this church as they teach the word in proper context and are focused on helping you plug in to serve God. Currently they have ministries which focus on small groups, students, children, and worship. Are you going to miss a Sunday? No worries, log onto their website to either watch or listen to the sermon. You can also check out the pastor’s blog site here: http://www.harvestchattanooga.org/10564/blog/blog_id/223798/Pastors-Blog.
Currently Harvest Bible Chapel meets every Sunday morning at 10:30am at the David Brainerd Gym off Igou Gap Rd. They will be moving on August 4, 2013 to East Brainerd Elementary. Their phone number is (423) 763-7095 and their website is www.harvestchattanooga.org.