NEW GROUP COMING UP! Financial Stewardship

Coming soon, in January, we will be launching our second round of our Financial Stewardship Class. This was a great experience for those of us who participated in 2017 and we're excited to see the fruit it can bring to new participants in 2018. Please contact Zoe Reyes or Ray Whitney if you are interested in joining this 6 week class.

 

  • *UPCOMING* Financial Stewardship Class
    • Leaders: Ray and Hannah Whitney [email: ray.whitney127 {at} gmail.com]
    • When: Thursday evenings, 7:30pm, January 11-February 15,
    • Where: Whitney Household
    • Plan: Learn from our Pastor and a Financial Management professional about how to serve God rather than money with your resources

North Harbor Bookstore! Christmas Shopping for the Triple Win!

Looking for some good books to gift at Christmas? 

Check out our brand new North Harbor online bookstore through Amazon! Books on this site are recommended by leaders at North Harbor. Get your shopping done and benefit North Harbor at the same time! 

Double-benefit North Harbor by shopping through Amazon Smile, designating North Harbor as your nonprofit beneficiary. 

https://smile.amazon.com/shop/northharborcommunity

Please share this opportunity with your North Harbor friends and others looking for some good spirit-provoking literature!

You get great books, and North Harbor benefits twice over - Christmas Shopping for the Triple Win!

Sermon Prep: Two Lives to Live

This week Pastor John Andrade will be preaching on Philippians 3:17-21.

First off, pray to God for His light to see and understand what He would have your heart and mind come to know. 

Secondly, spend some time reading and meditating on the passage. 

What strikes you? 

What challenges you?

What encourages you?

What peeks your curiosity?

What motivates you towards transformation? 

Re-Read verse 21. Now read Genesis 1:28. What type of power do you see in common between these two verses? What does this say to you about fully living out our humanity here and now as God intended, and as is instructed in both these passages? 

 

Lastly, return to God in prayer. How has God spoken to your heart through this time and His word? Who in your life lives their life like an example worthy of being followed? How does your own way of walking through life need to be filled with the power of Christ to better fulfill His commands and desires for you? 

Close in prayer that God would help draw you closer to Him, His Way, and His love.  

 

Other passages for further reflection:

Matthew 6:19-21

1st John 3:1-3

John 14:1-3

Revelation 21:1-4

Revelation 22:1-5

Eastertide Parties!

Let's Celebrate the Risen Christ!!

We have an amazing time at our Eastertide parties, celebrating this beautiful season together. Please join us! It's also a great opportunity to get to know each other better.  

Please bring your own lunch and blanket or chair.  

(In case of foul weather, we will move our party to a house. We'll announce this change at church and also will post an update in the comments here. This picture is pinned to the top of the page through Eastertide so you can find it fast.)

SELF-CONTROL (3): Sermon Prep Guide

READ Matthew 12:43-45

What strikes you? What challenges you? What encourages you? 

How do you see these verses as being related to self-control? 

If, as Dan's been preaching, self-control is more about relying on God's strength rather than exerting our own will-power, how does this parable support this message? 

APPLY YOURSELF TO THIS MESSAGE

In the last sentence of these verses, Jesus points the parable directly at the generation before Him, one that is hearing His teachings but not choosing to enter into His Kingdom. In what areas of Jesus' teaching through His scriptures, through the teaching of the church, or through the Spirit's message to your own heart is a lesson being preached that you are not letting in to your "house"?

Are there areas of your life where you have obediently repented of sin, cleansed your life of sinful habits, but not replaced those behaviors with positive full life of the Spirit of God? Put another way, in emptying your life of the bad, where might you be also closing off the power of the Spirit to flow in and through you to re-fill your emptiness with the Spirit's goodness?  

CLOSE BY READING OVER PSALM 23

What does God desire to fill your house with? 

SELF-CONTROL (2): Sermon Prep Guide

READ Isaiah 55:1-3

What strikes you? What challenges you? What encourages you? 

When one hears "self-control" our first instinct might be to think about self-denial, refraining from that which is enjoyable. How is that NOT the picture in these verses? 

When you experience pain, especially emotional, what is your very first-instant instinct? If you're like me, you grasp at what you can to escape the pain, distract yourself from it. Many of my own struggles with self-control stem from moments like this - shove a chocolate in my mouth, get lost in a Facebook rabbit hole, bark at someone in anger - all to distract or defend myself from the pain. But none of these go-to's are about my true desires. What do these verses say about our true desires and needs and what God desires to do with them? How might this shift our perspective about a God who desires us to live with self-control? 

What guides those obedient to these verses in how they "delight in rich food?" What does this tell us about the growing of the fruit of self-control in our lives?

SELF-CONTROL (1): SERMON PREP GUIDE

Where do you see healthy self-control exhibited around you? What effect does that have on you, others? What effect does lack of self-control have? 

READ Ecclesiastes 3.1-14

How does this passage support a picture where self-control has an important role to play? 

How does this passage paint a picture that contrasts ways of life like asceticism (severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons)? 

How does this passage support living in a rhythm of sabbaths and sabbaticals? 

READ John 5.16-24

If anyone should be free to be self-directed, shouldn't it have been Jesus? How does this passage illustrate something different? 

What rubric or authority should determine how we behave?

How do we lean into a life that exudes self-control? 

 

Sabbatical Q & A 

This past Sunday, we hosted a panel discussion to learn more about the theology and experience of Sabbatical. You can hear that dialogue under the top menu "What to Expect" and then selecting "Recent Sermons" and choosing the panel dated 2.26.17. Following the panel we held a Question and Answer session in case anyone wanted to follow up with the panel participants and learn more about Sabbatical. The Q&A Session is transcribed below:

2.26.17

Question: How important do you think it is for Dan to connect with other pastors, peers, or others who have walked in his shoes during his Sabbatical? 

Brent: I think it’s very important. I think its important for him to hear the feelings people have as they go, and especially to hear about the feelings that have come up as people re-enter. He should talk to several people who have experienced it.

Manny/Will: yeah, it’s easier for me as peers are built in. It’s healthy to connect with them.

Question: What about a spiritual advisor? How does that process work, to find the right person?

Will: I had a spiritual director I met with every month, and 3 times in 6 months, I met with a supervisor. Both were really helpful. It was part of the pre-planning. 

Brent: That’s part of my role. To make sure as Dan goes, we’re walking through what his plan is, how he can find the best fulfillment through that. I think it is important not to legislate what you want him to do, but to allow him to do what God is calling him to do. Some guys really find rest in deeper study, something specific that is going to benefit the church that is part of their work, but is a whole different feeling. I think as a leadership team, you know clearly what he’s doing, but also meet with him when he gets back to hear what God has taught him before he shares back with the whole congregation. 

Manny: certainly in academia, that’s the standard, a written plan and a follow up story.

Amy: What I love in your story is that it wasn’t what you thought it was going to be. We can lay out any plan we want in the world, but we need to hold it with an open hand. It may look very different from what he even thinks once he gets into it. God might have something very different in store for him than Dan knows even now. It might be hard for him to even see what God might have in store for the time because he’s still mired in the daily tasks.

Brent: Is Lisa still going to work? 

Board: Yes. Setting those boundaries will be tricky.

Question: I thought y’all did a fine job up there. Brent, you’ve been through this before, did people leave the church?

Brent: Not in my situation. There are times people don’t like anything the church does and they’ll use any excuse to leave. But my church thrived while I was gone. My staff was young and chomping at the bit, excited to lead, and they did great while I was gone.

Will: My experience made room for my successor, because God changed my vocational direction during my sabbatical. Going into it, I would have freaked out about that, but God used that time to change my heart and raise him up. It was wonderful to watch. My current role is clearly what God wanted to use and if I had stayed in my old role longer, it would not have been as good. 

Question: Can you press more into your transition experience? A lot of us feel like North Harbor is on the verge of a significant promotion through the growth that has been taking place in depth and numbers of folks, NH is about to “level up” and this sabbatical may be an opportunity to facilitate that shift in the way God wants it to happen. 

Will: We often ask a pastor, “I wonder where the church is going to go next?” And with the pastor taken away, we have to ask, “I wonder where we’re going to go next and what’s my role in it?” And I think that’s a critical question we’re wrestling with now and don’t know how to deal with it. Dan is a strong leader even if he doesn’t look like it, and yet he’s tired and his vision is somewhat cloudy. So we’re all in that. So i think it could be significant to see what happens with this sabbatical time.

Question: I totally get the idea of trust, but from a financial perspective, in planning for the future, should we expect less giving? We can trust God, but how should we plan?

Brent: Theology: Pray for a good harvest, but keep on hoeing. You need to tell the congregation how important that is. Help us pray that God leads this church where it needs to go in Dan’s absence, serve and give in ways God leads in this time. We believe that God has lead us in these paths, but its only going to work if we do this together. Don’t isolate finances out of it - but emphasize that it is part of the whole Body Life.

Amy: My experience on the board is that you probably can’t plan for this one. Whatever most statistics suggest, it’s never the case at North Harbor. We go down when we should go up and up when we should go down. We’re a unique being. We’re going to step up into Jesus in ways we never have, so giving could go through the roof. Our history lets us know that God is still in control, it’s going to go the way its going to go. Our rhythms as a church are going to change as much as Dan’s will as a result of this Sabbatical. 

Zoe: I think people are chomping at the bit. I’ve seen the Spirit moving, people’s hearts enlarge and burst and they’re dying for an outlet for their love. 

Brent (praying to conclude): Father, I thank you so much for all that You are and all You’re doing at North Harbor. I thank you for the love for Jesus and the love for other people are the book ends of ministry here. I pray that you would increase both. I pray that the leaders and partners in ministry might experience the deep love of Jesus. As we love Him, we might love others and they might see Him through us. I trust you that for this church, for Dan and Lisa, for the concern that has lead to this day, and in Dan and Lisa’s absence, that they might sense Your love and presence right now. Amen. 

GENTLENESS (2): Sermon Prep Guide

For an overview of the book of Jeremiah, check out this video:

You can also use this poster as a reference/overview: CLICK HERE FOR POSTER

[OPTIONAL BONUS QUESTION:] A few weeks ago, Dan preached on the story of Jonah [if you missed it, the whole book of Jonah in the bible is a short one and a great read, so check it out!]. How would you compare and contrast these two, Jeremiah and Jonah, prophets' stories? Which guy would you rather be? 

READ Jeremiah 1:4-10

What was Jeremiah's call? Would hearing Jeremiah's message feel gentle to you? 

READ Jeremiah 11:18-20

How did the Israelite's receive Jeremiah's message?

Definition: Gentleness

  • Humility, yielding, submissive, enduring injury with patience and without resentment
  • Opposites: prideful, self reliant, violent, avoidant

What is the picture of Gentleness in this passage? Is it attractive, desirable? 

Who is Jeremiah Gentle toward? 

Jeremiah's warnings fell on deaf [and hostile] ears. Israel was led off into exile. But with their former covenant wasted, God, in His grace, established a new covenant.

Check out the new covenant, READ Jeremiah 31:33-34

What strikes you? Do you see any Gentleness in God through the announcement of this new covenant? 

How is this new covenant fulfilled? [short cut hint: see Hebrews 10:14-17]

How is it possible for Gentleness to flow through us? [for a hint, see Acts 2]

How is Jeremiah's Gentleness related to our own Gentleness? 

 

Sabbatical: Sermon Prep Guide

In our last annual church meeting, the board presented the policy they developed around providing Sabbatical leave for our full time staff. In lieu of a sermon this week, we will be hearing from a panel of folks about what a Sabbatical is. 

READ Leviticus 25:1-7 What strikes you about this passage? What makes you wonder? 

 

What is a Sabbath? [hint: see Exodus 20:8-11]

 

Why might the instructions in this passage be agriculturally important, a healthy way to develop the land? Why might they be spiritually important, a healthy way to develop the people? 

 

READ EZEKIEL 20:12  How might Sabbath be related to sanctification (that means to free from sin; purify)? 

 

In the context of a year of attention on the Fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-25), how might you think about the symbolism that this passage could provide? [hint: how dependent is the harvest of fruit on the work of human hands?]

 

How might Sabbath be related to trust? How does your own practice of Sabbath give a sign of your dependence on God? 

 

GENTLENESS (1): Sermon Prep Guide

Begin by considering one person or thing that you cherish the most. How does your cherishing influence your behavior? 

REVIEW Galatians 5:13-26

After immersing ourselves in the Fruit of the Spirit for the past several months as a congregation, what strikes you about this passage today? What might God be trying to reveal to you through these studies and scriptures?

READ Matthew 9:35-36

How did Jesus feel about the people he encountered? How did that influence His behavior? 

READ John 4:1-30

What in this story would make you say, "Come and see! Could this be?"

How does Jesus handle this sinful woman? What does that reveal about how He feels about her or what He desires for her?

Where do you see Gentleness in these passages? 

What is the result of gentleness in this passage for the woman? For people besides the woman?

In whom do you see the Fruit of Gentleness pouring forth?

BONUS: Can you find other stories in scripture that reveal God's Gentleness? [comment here on this blog post if you do!] 

 

 

GOODNESS (2): Sermon Prep Guide

READ Luke 19:1-10 

What do you most resonate with in this passage? What do you most resist in this passage?

 

How does Jesus define his purpose in coming to Earth in this story? Earlier in the book of Luke, how is Jesus' mission is defined? (see Luke 4:18) How does the story illustrate that Jesus is "on mission" in both of these respects? 

 

This and last week, we've been looking at the spiritual Fruit of Goodness, as "setting things to right." Last week we saw Jesus set things to right for the demoniac. Where do we see things set to right in this story (hint: this is slightly a trick question)?

 

What do you learn about Goodness through this story? Where do you see this type of Goodness flowing forth from the Body of Christ as members dwell in the Spirit? 
 

 

What do you learn about God through the process of reading and reflecting on your reaction to these verses? What do you learn about yourself?

 

What do you learn about your role in community through reflecting on this story as it may intersect with your own life?

GOODNESS: Sermon Prep Guide

READ Mark 5:1-20

Describe the condition of the man who approaches Jesus in this passage.

In your assessment, is the condition of this man right or wrong? 

What does Jesus do in reaction to this encounter? 

At the end of the story, is the man's condition right or wrong?  

What do we learn about who Jesus is through this story? 

Re-read verse 4. Now re-read verse 19. What might it have meant for him to re-enter his community, now set free by the Most High God, as Legion called him, and tamed by Jesus' compassion?  

With regards to the Fruit of the Spirit, Goodness is righteousness in action. Goodness boldly does what’s right, and encourages others to do good as well. An act of goodness might be seen as "setting things right." How do you see Jesus demonstrating Goodness in this story? 

Where do you see the Fruit of Goodness flowing forth from people who dwell in the Spirit? [other stories in scripture are great, AND also try to come up with examples of people you interact with directly in person too]

What is it like to taste the Fruit of Goodness [be on the receiving end of the Spirit's outpouring through another] like that? What does it mean to encounter the type of God who would aim to indwell those who love Him AND flow through them to bless others in that way? 

KINDNESS: Sermon Prep Guide

Most Sunday School storytelling of the story of Jonah ends with chapter 2, but this week, we're going to look at the real ending. It's a short book overall, so if you have the time, it wouldn't hurt to read it in its entirety. If nothing else . . . 

READ Jonah 4

What do you most resonate with in this passage? What do you most resist in this passage?

 

How would you compare and contrast Jonah's and God's feelings towards Nineveh? 


Have you ever witnessed a bad person seeming to get off too easy? Can you think of any person or group of people you would rather see face the consequences of their own actions rather than the mercy of God? 

 

What do you learn about God through the process of reading and reflecting on your reaction to these verses?

 

One might argue that it would be difficult to describe God's treatment of Jonah throughout this book as "nice." And yet, how might it still be considered an illustration of kindness? 

 

What do you learn about yourself through this reflection? What do you learn about your relationship to others and/or your role in community in reflecting on this passage? 

 

After spending time with God and reading through this passage, consider, are there any ways that God is calling you to turn away from evil and towards Him right now? After seeing him walk with the Ninevites through such a process, how does it feel to have such a call on your life? How do you respond with your heart, mind, and soul to this call?

 

 

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT: Sermon Prep Guide

This week, Dan will both be giving us a State of the Church address as well as revisiting the overarching theme of the Fruit of the Spirit. In preparation for this sermon, I invite the congregation into communal prayer. 

Let us pray for the health and well-being of North Harbor, that it might exist to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and to ultimately bring God glory. As you pray, listen for what God might have you know about your place in His Body, your place in the Harbor, or what He would have you pray for on North Harbor's behalf. What are you thankful for with regards to the North Harbor Community?

READ Galatians 5.16-23

As you continue to pray over North Harbor, as God to show you where, in whom, the Fruit of His Spirit is being born. Who exhibits love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Goodness? Gentleness? Faithfulness? Self-control? How is the Spirit working His transformation in your own life? How are you blessed by this fruit? How is God glorified by these people who live by the Spirit? 

READ Isaiah 55 [especially verses 8-12; super especially verse 11]

Considering the Fruit of the Spirit being born in North Harbor, how do you see the life of the Spirit accomplishing God's purposes among and around our congregation? 

Like the trees of the field in the Isaiah passage, let us go out and clap our hands! Let us worship God for He is alive and active at North Harbor. He is alive and active in our midst!

Amen. 

 

EPIPHANY: Sermon Prep Guide

Epiphany Defined: 


a (1)  :  a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something  (2)  :  an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking  (3)  :  an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b  :  a revealing scene or moment

READ: Matthew 3:13-17

What strikes you? What confuses you? What troubles you? What encourages you? 

Based on the above definition of Epiphany, what is revealing about this scene and moment? 

John's was a baptism of repentance. Check out this quote from CS Lewis about repentance. How does this contribute to the epiphany of this scene in Matthew?

"Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here's the catch. Only a bad person needs to depend: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person - and he would not need it." ~ C. S. Lewis

Read Galatians 3:27. If being a Christian means "putting on Christ," what does this mean about the Christian's capacity to repent? What does this mean about the pleasure with which God views the Christian? 

How does this scene transform our understanding of reality? What do we learn about God? How does this make you feel? How does this move you to act differently? 

Financial Stewardship

Is your checkbook hurting from a holiday hangover? Or is your heart bursting with all the year end giving you wish you could be doing? Or are you simply interested in growing in the spiritual discipline of financial stewardship?

You can do it, and we can help. Dan is partnering up with a Financial Planner to teach a 6 week course that will help us better understand the Bible's perspective and assistance for on our resources at the same time as getting tools for 2017 in managing our finances in a healthy way.

We have a handful of participants already signed up, and room for more to join. Pleas let Dan or Zoe know if you plan on attending: dan@northharbor.org and zoefaithreyes@gmail.com.

PATIENCE Week 4: Sermon Prep Guide

Hiddy Folks. I know Christmas is fast approaching, so schedules and brains are probably getting increasingly frazzled. AND I don't want folks to stop preparing for our worship together on Sunday mornings - because that would just give into the cultural communication that anything-but-Jesus is the reason for the season. So let's keep spending time with God, in His word, and loving on each other! With that said . . . 

READ Matthew 1:18-25

If this passage is familiar, try reading it in a fresh way - try a different translation of the Bible, read it outloud, write it out, or read it with someone who is all together UNfamiliar with it (like a child or a non-Christian). 

What strikes you? Why?

Joseph is told to name Mary's son, "Jesus" . . . or in his language, "Yeshua" [our "Joshua"]. He wasn't the first or last Yeshua in history by any means. Yeshua means "to rescue." Who does the passage say that this Yeshua was going to rescue, and from what? 

The passage goes on to give us a different name for Jesus. What is it? What does it mean? Why would Yeshua be a fulfillment of a prophecy for a son by that name? [What do the two meanings teach us when held together?]

As is often the case when an angel first begins speaking to a human, this one tells Joseph, "Do not fear." What would Joseph have been fearing? What is the comfort provided instead? How effective is this comfort in transforming Joseph's behavior? 

As the Christmas song, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen says, this story brings "tidings of comfort and joy." Does that ring true or false to you? Why? If it does ring true, and you find comfort in this story, how effectively are you able to allow it to transform your behavior? How readily can it compel you to obey God's commands?

 

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy