ROOTED is a 10-week small group experience that will CONNECT you with others, help you EXPERIENCE God in new ways, and give you the opportunity to GROW in your relationship with Jesus, you can learn more about this meeting at www.worldmeeting2015.org. Childcare is provided. Cost is $35.00 per person (includes study book, childcare, refreshments, and celebration meal). Want to know more? Keep reading!
What is Rooted?
“Beyond a program, seminar, or small group, Rooted is a catalyst for life change. Rooted provokes questions, conversations, and beyond-what-is-comfortable group experiences that are designed to help you find yourself in God’s story. You will begin to see God in new ways and hear his voice in surprising places. In a world that can be fragmented, isolated, and empty, Rooted allows you to experience a different way of life: community, intimacy, and generosity. Through this experience we hope you will be emboldened to live out you calling as a radical follower of Jesus.” – Mariners Church, Creator of Rooted
Great question! Rooted consists of various elements that work together: a small group discussion once a week, half-hour personal Bible study time 5 times a week, and a few other experiences here and there during the ten weeks of Rooted that will be planned once we start. There is also a Celebration that takes place after the final week of Rooted in which all groups meet together, worship, share a meal, and celebrate what we have experienced.
When and Where is Rooted?
Every Sunday night from 5 to 7 PM, starting January 6th and ending March 10th. Meeting at Harvest. The Rooted celebration will be Friday, March 15th, also at Harvest. Your personal Bible study time can be done anywhere!
Are regular small groups still happening during Rooted?
No, we will be suspending our normal small groups for the duration of Rooted, except for our Men’s and Women’s groups that meet on Wednesday nights. We want to give Rooted as much room as possible to thrive, and we are encourage our current small groups to take part!
Does it cost anything?
$35 per participant. If that may be a barrier for you taking part in Rooted, please let us know, we may have financial assistance available.
What about my kids?
Childcare will be available for kids up to 12 years old, at no additional cost, also at the church.
What about my other questions I have?
Go ahead and contact Kyle through text or call: (480) 452-7950 or email: [email protected] for any other info that you may need!
Fresh Water: The Course of your Life
Pastor Mike Halstead
In his epistle, James takes time to pay special attention to the potential dangers of how we use our speech.
1.What kind of situations may be present in James audience that he takes time to discuss the dangers of the tongue in such great detail?
2.Which of the metaphors that James uses sticks out to you?
3.Why does it seem like James is placing such an emphasis on the tongue as a dangerous part of
1.What kind of consequences can an uncontrolled tongue have on a church body?
2.Have you ever had a time when your speech has had a lasting impact on your life? Share that with the group.
3.Read James 1:19. How would this approach have helped the situation from the previous question? If you didn’t have an example, when is it the most difficult for you to be “slow to speak and quick to listen?”
4.Why is it that we often find it so difficult to apologize?
Praise God for giving us the ability to overcome our tendency to use poisonous words with others. Ask for courage to apologize to those with whom you may need to rebuild bridges that have been burned.
Here at Harvest, every small group we start has 5 tasks to accomplish throughout its life: fellowship, study, provision, worship, and evangelism. All five of these are taken from the last few verses of Acts 2, but I want to take some time to expound on each one of these tasks. Today, we’re going to continue the series by exploring the idea of studying the Bible.
This one is a little weird to discuss, because it seems a little unnecessary to talk about how important it is to read and study scripture. But I believe there is a risk within the small group atmosphere, and sometimes even the temptation, to veer into the realm of simply becoming a social club. Friends meeting together to eat and talk for a couple of hours and then go their separate ways. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, there is so much potential growth to be had by incorporating Bible study as a core element of the small group routine. We often talk about the benefits of corporate worship, that is, worshiping our God in unison with others, but can we apply the same idea to the inspection of God’s Word?
“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
The give-and-take nature of a small group is absolutely necessary to the process of Biblical study. When we read it on our own, while an admirable thing to do, we cannot help but apply our own presuppositions to the text. I am not saying we should refrain from individual study, but if we, at the same time, neglect to present the results of that study to others, we risk running into the issue of twisting scripture into simply the most personally pleasing form we can imagine. We should be doing all we can to avoid becoming one of the “scheming swindlers” that Kierkegaard discusses. We need to have others hold our understanding if scripture accountable, and provide motivation to act in accordance with that correct understanding.
Having a group Bible study helps us to expand the realm of our insight into the subtleties and possible interpretations of scriptures. It is inevitable that the people in your small group will open your eyes to different ways to read a particular passage, or make a connection between two seemingly unaffiliated verses that changes the way you read both of them.
Take, for example, God is often given the description of being a father. While it is a pretty simple title, our experiences with earthly fathers can differ wildly. He who never knew his father may find comfort in the fact that God is there to guide and take care of him, while the woman whose father was abusive may shirk from having to contend with another father figure in her life. Simple ideas like this can cause our interpretation of such a complicated and intricate work of literature like the Bible to begin to take a different path from our neighbor’s. We should seek to understand how others come away from the text and, in turn, see how we are applying our own experience to what we have read.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
The Bible does not easily lend itself to a quick and easy understanding. It is not a book we can simply read through once, take the main point it is trying to make, and then move on with our lives. No, investigating God’s word is a lifetime-endeavor, filling our days with a desire to gain an ever-deepening understanding of the history of God’s people, the life, death, and life of Jesus Christ, and what it truly looks like to live a life reflecting His word.
We should be investigating the Bible on our own, with our families, and even when in social situations. In the small group setting, we not only have the chance to read and understand the words of scripture better, but will have opportunities to live out what we have learned when chances to support and provide for others arise. The impact of scripture needs to extend beyond the simple consumption of the text. It should cause us to go and turn it’s words into actions.
I have been involved in lots of different youth groups for about 10 years now, and something I have tried to convince students of, time after time, is that their faith and Biblical knowledge is nobody’s responsibility but theirs. This extends into adulthood as well. If you are a relying on a Sunday sermon every week to feed you the entirety of your knowledge and understanding of scripture, then you are missing out on the true depth to which scripture reaches into the human experience, and the change in world view that a personal and well-traveled interrogation of God’s Word can bring.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Interested in getting involved in a small group? Email Kyle Fox for more information.
“Friendship is a lot like food. We need it to survive. What is more, we seem to have a basic drive for it. Psychologists find that human beings have fundamental need for inclusion in group life and for close relationships. We are truly social animals.” Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today
Here at Harvest, every small group we start has 5 tasks to accomplish throughout its life: fellowship, study, provision, worship, and evangelism. All five of these are taken from the last few verses of Acts 2, but I want to take some time to expound on each one of these tasks, and talk about why it is included, Biblical examples of what they each look like, and how we can incorporate them into the small group atmosphere. Today, let’s start with “fellowship.”
It’s hard to imagine that anybody would disagree that spending quality time with others is a necessary part of the human experience. Whether they are part of the church or not, people inevitably seek out others for friendship and support. Isolation has been shown to Of course, the followers of Christ are no different, we may simply have a grander reason for doing so; that is, to mimic the desire of unification that God is shown to have in scripture.
Indeed, the concept of “fellowship,” through the lens of the church, is far more than simply spending time with each other. Friendship is only the beginning. So let’s take a look at some passages of scripture that discuss fellowship, and see if we can glean wisdom from them.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
From nearly the very beginning of human history, it has been decreed by the Creator itself that it is not good for us to be alone. Now, it is important to mention the specific context here: God then created Eve, who was a very specific kind of counterpart to Adam. But we cannot remove the fact that God did not say “it is not good for man to not have a wife,” or “it is not good for man to not have to do all the work by himself.” God simply says that it would be detrimental if the man that was created to remain by himself. As created beings of God ourselves, it is probably safe to say that the same concept applies to us: we should not be alone.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
The book of Proverbs is an interesting section of the Bible. Nothing else is quite like it, in that it is simply a book of wise advice from Solomon, handed down to his sons. It is full of pithy statements, that, give us some kind of wise truth. It is important to note that any given idea from Proverbs will not always be true, for we all know that sometimes we can find that we are not sharpened by other people. Not every friendship has a positive effect on our life. But we can, without a doubt, say that, in general, if we have good intentions and reflect the love of Christ, the fellowship we have with others will result in stronger relationships and stronger faith.
Have you ever thought about what it actually means to sharpen something? When you sharpen a pencil, you are removing pieces of that pencil until you have left a refined point with which you can produce a finer line when you write.
I believe that it is also true with us. As we seek to refine our faith, we remove the sin that entangles us. We leave behind our misconceptions about scripture. We even often discontinue relationships that do not have a positive effect on us.
Strong fellowship is a part of this. When we regularly meet together and grow more intimate relationships with one another, we have an opportunity to provide accountability to each other, to teach and learn from each other, and to provide emotional support and prayer for one another.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
God, in an utterly gracious and often perplexing act of charity, has given us permission to share in the task of bringing the earth and its inhabitants to a place of reconciliation with Him. The author of Hebrews claims, in the tenth chapter, that fellowship is a part of this process. We have the opportunity to encourage each other in carrying out the work of love that Jesus modeled for us in his ministry. We should continue to meet together on a regular basis, in order to carry this burden of evangelism as one.
Additionally, Hebrews’ author gives us what, in literary terms, would be called “the ticking clock.” He reminds us that we don’t have the rest of eternity to bring all of God’s creation back into the fold, as we sometimes want to believe. The author refers to the “Day,” the day when Jesus will return and His righteous judgment will come to pass. With such a large task to accomplish, it is imperative that we not cease to meet together and encourage each other on in our faith.
So, in this brief cruise through scripture, we have learned that fellowship was deemed necessary for humans by the very being that created them, that fellowship helps us to improve ourselves and those we are spending our lives with, and that meeting together regularly for encouragement is absolutely necessary if we are to make progress in the task that our Creator has given us.
This week, take time to consider the concept of fellowship. Take time to ask yourself if the time you spend in the company of others is going beyond just simple companionship or if you could be doing more to continue the example of close and intimate relationships that we see in the lives of Jesus and his disciples. There are many more words of wisdom regarding fellowship that can be found in scripture. Below, there is a space for comments. Add to the conversation by telling us about some of your favorite moments of unity and relationships in scripture!
I think it is a safe thing to say that a well-cultivated church atmosphere would be a comfortable and inviting place for people to relax and be open with what they are feeling and the things with which they are struggling. A core component of Christian community is recognizing that we are all different, with differing backgrounds, preconceptions, and opinions. And if we keep our Christian life to just a Sunday morning service, this isn’t much of a hurdle to overcome. To be frank, these are things that are easy to avoid for an hour and a half on the weekend. We can come in, greet each other, ask about how things are going, get a coffee, worship, enjoy the sermon, and leave without ever needing to express our views on scripture or have in-depth conversations on how we interpret the Word of God.
But I believe that the free exchange of ideas, theories, and opinions is extremely important to the process of discipleship. The disciples of Jesus lived in a time when their cultural homeland was ruled by Rome. The first century church was spread across a world teeming with alternative viewpoints, other religions, varying political systems, and all other manner of voices at odds with both their own personal beliefs, and the teachings of scripture. Acts 2 tells us that three thousand people were added to the church after a single sermon from Peter! It is hard to believe that the early church wasn’t full of people who help a wide range of opinions. Sure, they all accepted the gospel, and were baptized into the Christian faith, but we all know that their are still a multitude of ideas that can differ from one person to the next, even in the same congregation.
A great opportunity to create this forum of discussion is within a small group. An intimate setting in which the members can feel free to present their ideas and opinions without feeling as though they need to align to a certain thought process. A place where simple and honest conversation can happen between people with different backgrounds and worldviews. A place where one person may be able to impart wisdom to another.
Because that is the companion thought to this whole idea. Not only should we be allowing others to present their ideas and opinions, but we also have a responsibility to accept teaching, correction, or advice from others. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Christian should be the one with the humility to accept that their interpretation of a Biblical passage or opinions on a certain topic may not always measure up to the truth of scripture. Not only should we allow others to teach us, we should crave that correction! For then we will be that much closer to the “thoroughly equipped servant of God” that 2 Timothy claims we have the opportunity to be.
The truth is, the church should be a place where viewpoints, opinions, and ideas should be able to be shared freely and without fear of ridicule or belittlement. If we want to change how we are viewed by the outside world, then we should probably make sure that we are being truly accepting and accommodating within our community. Allow others the opportunity to share their interpretation of scripture or their viewpoint on how we should respond to a certain political situation.
So here is my blog-post-challenge (I’m making it a thing.) to you: don’t shy away from honest and open discussions about things with which others may disagree, and don’t hesitate to allow others to impart wisdom to you. After all,
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Hey, everybody! Kyle here. I just wanted to introduce some of the greatest people of all time: Harvest’s team of small group leaders!
When I began looking for people to take the lead in the effort to create an atmosphere of fellowship and community within the Harvest family, I did not have to search very long. The call was (and continues to be) answered by those who have caught the vision of creating a church that lives life together, and we wanted to give everybody the chance to be able to see exactly who they are.
If you haven’t taken the step of joining a small group yet, get in touch with me, or any one of our leaders and we would be happy to talk to you about how to make that happen!
Most of our small groups start this coming week (week of March 12th)! We are adding new groups all the time. If any of these groups work well with your schedule, location, and childcare needs, be sure to send me (Kyle) an email or give the office a phone call at 503-492-9800 and I will give you more details on how to connect with that group. If you haven’t signed up yet to participate in a small group, click this link to fill out the form!
As Christians, we understand and believe that the Bible is important. The Bible is scripture, it is God’s word to man, and it is central to the understanding of our faith and our relationship to God. The Bible offers us comfort and encouragement; it give us assurance and guidance; and it provides us with discipline, admonishment, and conviction. It is through Scripture that God reveals himself and his character to the world, and speaks into our lives.
The apostle Paul writes that:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Bible is an important book, dealing with all the major issues we face in our lives: God, eternal life, death, love, sin, relationships, morality and ethics, etc. The Bible lifts our spirits, build us up, gives us hope, and brings us close to God. Knowing God’s Word is one of the primary ways that we grow in our knowledge of who God is. As Christians we are followers of Christ, the adopted children of God – we should desire to know God, and do so to the best of our abilities.
As believers, we recognize on an intellectual level that knowing God and knowing God’s Word go hand-in-hand. However, as important as the Bible is to our discipleship to Christ, we often do not know how to approach reading the bible, let alone how to study it. The bible is intimidating. It is an ancient book, written over the course of 1600 years in different countries, cultures, and languages with over 40 different authors contributing to its 66 books. The Bible is a book, but it is also an entire library. It can be hard to read, and sometimes even harder to understand.
In general, as Americans we do not read much of anything anymore. An article posted by Christianity Today revealed that for nearly 1 in 4 of us it had been over a year since we last read a book, any book. Let alone a collection of ancient religious writings. Study after study in the last quarter-century has shown us that American Christians increasingly do not read, engage, or even know their Bibles. We live in a world of increasing biblical illiteracy. A recent LifeWay Research study found that only 11% of regular church attending believers read the bible every day, and only 3% study it.
If we, as Christians, claim that the Bible is central to our relationship with God then our actions must line up with those assertions. We need to be spending time (on a daily basis) with God, His people, and His Word. If we claim to follow Jesus then we must follow him every day of every week and every hour of every day. I believe that learning how to study Scripture is a key step in furthering our spiritual maturity and deepening our relationships with both Christ and His Church.
When the Pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment in the Law was, Jesus answered:
“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
Learning how to study God’s Word is one way that we can Love God with our minds. Starting March 10th we will be offering a free 8-week class called “Grasping God’s Word.” Throughout those 8 weeks we will be looking at how to read, interpret, and apply the Bible. You can think of it as a crash course in Biblical Studies. It is my belief that as a Christian I am to be continuously seeking to grow in faith and maturity, and allow the Holy Spirit to shape me into the image of Christ daily.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
So, if you’re ready to challenge your mind and learn how to dig deeper into God’s Word I encourage you to sign up for our “Grasping God’s Word” class. I firmly believe that the entirety of Scripture holds value for all believers. Loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind does not require a degree from a Bible college or a seminary, but it does require our readiness to live our entire lives for Christ and to open ourselves up to be stretched and refined by the Holy Spirit. We do not have to know everything, that is impossible for all but God, but we do need to be willing to learn. To sign up for the class, email Rachel Johnson at [email protected].
It often feels like creating an authentic community is a little bit like going to the gym: we see the need, we see the benefit, and it really isn’t difficult to get there and workout. However, when we consider the amount of time and dedication required to see those results and benefits come to fruition, and understand the amount of times we will have to get in the car and go to the gym to workout, the task can become a little daunting.
Whether we realize it or not, we all crave authentic and intimate relationships that can come with a tight knit community of believers, but the long-term Communal life can often be difficult to maintain. That is why, for the small group network here at Harvest, we have come up with a basic structure within which we will frame everything we do.
To the left is a visual representation of how we are approaching the creation of a small group network that sustains itself. At the top is the small group itself, (kind of like an upper room, heh heh heh), supported by what we are calling the 5 Pillars of Community. These principles come straight from the example of Christian community we see in Acts 2:
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47
- Fellowship (v. 42-47)
To create a communal life together.
- Study (v. 42)
To gain a greater understanding of scripture and how we are to live out the teachings of Jesus Christ.
- Provision (v. 44-45)
To provide for the needs of one another and live sacrificial lives.
- Worship (v. 47)
To give all glory to God and recognize that Jesus’ ways are superior to our own.
- Evangelism (v. 47)
To invite others to share in the communal life of the small group and the church as a whole.
Within our small groups, everything we do has to fall under one of the 5 Pillars, and we need to make sure that all 5 Pillars are a part of what we do. If we are having a great time of fellowship, but not spending time studying the Word, then our discipleship can suffer. If we invite anyone and everyone to our group, but our fellowship is only skin deep, then those new people may not want to stay.
So, when you join one of our small groups, be on the lookout for how you can contribute to supporting the communal life of Christian fellowship. The truth is, what you put into the group is what you will get out of it. If you want to be a part of the personal, intimate, and authentic community of believers that we see in scripture, this is how we start!
Small Groups Pastor
My name is Kyle Fox, and I have recently come on board at Harvest as the Pastor of Small Groups. If you don’t know who I am, let me give you some info about myself. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and moved to Joplin Missouri at 18 to begin school at Ozark Christian College (OCC). During my time completing my degree, I came up to Troutdale and was an intern at Harvest for about 18 months, mostly working with the youth ministry. I graduated from OCC with a Bachelor’s degree in Youth Ministry, and spent a few more years in Missouri. In May of 2016, my wife, Faith, and I were married. We moved to Gresham a month later, and we love living here.
When I have visited Oregon after finishing my internship, and since my wife and I moved back, I have often had conversations with people about the state of Harvest and what steps they felt could be taken to create a stronger congregation and ministry to the community. The answer I received on several occasions was something in the realm of the small group ministry. While there was a great base level of groups that met, it seemed as though the church had the opportunity to expand the network of small groups and to give more people the opportunity to dive into the communal life displayed to us by Jesus and the early church. This was only compounded after the move to the new building and the rapid growth of the congregation.
That is where I come in. My job is to get into the nitty-gritty of forming a network of small groups. To find those interested in the fellowship, study, provision, worship, and evangelism (more on those next time) that are central to living in communion with other believers, and providing the resources to be able to do so. I’ve been in contact with pastors from around the area to gain their insight into the topic and have been reading a few books to learn about some of the most successful small group ministries have accomplished what they have. I am extremely excited to begin this next step in the story of Harvest and the members of the church that gather here.
However, all the planning and resources in the world wouldn’t do us any good if you are not on board and willing to be a part of what is happening. So here is my blog post challenge (that’s a thing, right?) to you: Become a part of a small group. To decide whether or not this is something you want to do, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Are you living a life that reflects the community that Jesus modeled and the apostles carried on in the book of Acts?
- Are you striving to see your Christianity go beyond a Sunday morning service each week?
- Are you doing enough to fulfill the basic human need for connection and authenticity that we all have?
If your answers to these questions left you wanting more, I strongly encourage you to become part of what we are starting here at Harvest. I firmly believe that this is the start of something big.