The Fields Are White

In April of 2011, Carol and I began a new part of our journey with the Lord.  We were certain the Lord had spoken to us about the task of the revitalization of Royal Haven, and our experience of planting churches gave us some confidence in our approach.  It wasn’t long before we understood that the challenges we faced were similar to church growth principles.  However, these new challenges had some kinks and twists in them that brought me to a place of total dependence on the Lord.  We were facing things that seemed immovable.

There were two particular scriptures that held solid truth for me during those early days, and they are still bedrock of my faith in the Lord, today.

  • “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  Jeremiah 33:3
  • “Surely the Sovereign Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”  Amos 3:7 NKJV·

His message was clear; there were things I needed to know that only God could provide, and the revitalization of Royal Haven would not be accomplished unless there was a clear vision.  God was very straightforward about that.

“Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint, or they perish.”  Proverbs 29:18

We have quoted this portion of scripture nearly every time we want to help people look into the future.  You see, vision is a picture of the future that produces passion in people.  It’s the vision to accomplish something, and the dream to open our eyes to what could be.

Vision compels us to press into the unknown by faith, and through faith, keeps us going when things that are done exactly as planned, go the way we hoped.

Since 2011, Royal Haven has experienced several approaches to growth, along with some setbacks.  But with every faith venture that we have approached, God has been faithful to carry us into a new phase of our vision.  This was abundantly clear when God orchestrated the sale of the building on Royal Haven Lane, along with the purchase and remodel of our current facility.  What an amazing work of the Lord, to bring together a remnant group from Brookhaven Church, to team us up for the common good.

God intervened again to bring people, resources, and additional property when Valley View Church partnered with Royal Haven in May, 2014.

In the Fall of 2014, we entered into a vision plan called Vision 333.  Vision 333 was based on the scripture Jeremiah 33.3, “Call to me and I will show you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  The goal was to increase attendance to 333 by March of 2018, as well as raise $333,000 for various projects, and programs.  Some of these projects/programs included:

  • Begin ESL program – done
  • 3-year marketing strategy to increase community awareness – done
  • Upgrade media including, begin live stream of services – done
  • Expand staff and internships – done
  • Start Apartment Life Ministry – done
  • Pay off church bus – not done
  • Expand V.V.M.C. to accommodate the growth of I 58 – not done·

Of the $333,000 goal, the actual amount raised in commitments is $109,000.  As of last Sunday, $69,244.00 of those commitments have been received, and approximately $38,000.00 is left in the Vision 333 Fund.  Some would say we have failed but, I do not see it that way at all.

  • Last Sunday we had the highest attendance we have had since Carol and I came to Royal Haven in 2011.
  • The Oikos fellowship has joined Royal Haven and is growing.  They are seeing the salvation of many.
  • We have a contemporary service that offers a different style of music, and have added new members to the church in that service as well.
  • We launched I-58 Food Distribution and now serve 66 families, or approximately 275 individuals, and God has provided every dollar spent over and above our budget needs.
  • We have a Youth ministry
  • We have a Children’s ministry
  • We took a 55-passenger bus to mission camp and had several kids receive salvation.
  • We had 150 in attendance at VBS.

So where does it show that we failed?  I don’t think so.

A large part of my calling is to maintain focus on the future, and the Pastoral Advisory Team has approved a new vision plan.

I have shared where we have come from, and where we are now.  But, where do we need to go, and why do we need to do this?  The main reason is that we have a missional mandate from our Lord and Savior.  Jesus commanded us to do one thing – make disciples.  Everything we do – our programs, bible studies, outreach ministries, services – is to have a primary focus on making disciples; influencing people to join the kingdom of God.

John 4 tells us the heart of Jesus Christ; He knew how to cross barriers.  Scripture tells us that the Pharisees were upset that Jesus’s followers were growing in number, so Jesus decided to go back to Galilee.  He traveled through Samaria and sat down at a well, where he met a woman – a Samaritan woman, and asked her to give him a drink.  She said I can’t do that.  I am a woman, I am a Samaritan.

Then during their dialog, she admitted that she was a sinner – an adulterer.  But the heart of Jesus is revealed… He crossed all three of these barriers:  racial inequality, sexual bigotry, sin barrier to bring her new life.

This Samaritan woman left that encounter and went back into the town declaring, “Come and see a man that told me everything I ever did.”  She had a story.  

New Christians bring new life.  People with Vision have a story.

Then Jesus opened the eyes of his disciples.  He gave them a new focus, a new vision.  He said this to them, “Do not say four months and then the harvest…Open your eyes, look to the fields, they are white, ready for harvest…”

My new passion, the vision for my life – and, I hope the vision for Royal Haven – is to open our eyes and see that the fields are white.  I have spoken to the pastoral staff and challenged them to join me in this harvest outreach plan to reach as many as we can, as soon as we can.  We are living in the last days and we need to break through every barrier, just as Jesus did, and reboot Vision 333.  We need to reactivate our faith to believe Royal Haven can and will grow, and will become a lighthouse on this corner, and every corner that God leads us to.  We are beginning to put in place all that is needed to accomplish this.

We now have a service for everybody – Contemporary, Traditional, Spanish-speaking – and, we will add whatever we need to reach the community around us.  The fields are white.

Along with our outreach plan I want to challenge you to reach our original Vision 333 commitment goal of $109,000.  However, we have added things into this Harvest Offering.  From what we receive for the next four months, November 5th – March 1st, we will distribute these amounts:

  • Lottie Moon Christmas Offering – $2,500
  • Good Samaritan Fund – $2,500
  • Congregational Care Fund – $2,500
  • I58 Food Ministry, Ed Bolding Fund – $2,500
  • Adult Life Center seating – $4,700
  • Vision 333/ Overflow – balance of what is raised·

All we need to do is, Open our Eyes, Look to the fields, they are ready for Harvest.



God Is Doing a New Thing

New Thing

Behold I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up! Do you not perceive it? – Isaiah 43:19

The imperative of following God’s leadership is Experiencing God.

It is important for us to recognize how the lord is working.

Because in the last days we will see the evidence of his spirit guiding us into His perfect will.

It is important for us to stay grounded in the word of God.

I believe in the rhema word of God. That is where God will speak to us at just the right time and in just the right place for “such a time as this.”

But I also believe that any rhema word of God, that we receive, will be grounded in the written word of God, the supreme revelation from God himself that he gave by inspiration to the writers of the bible….

One of the most popular teachings to come to us in several decades is Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God. It got the Christian community’s

attention with a well thought out God given message for our time.

I have actually lived by the principles he taught, since I heard him teach it while attending seminary over 30 years ago.

The realities he spoke of are:
  • God is always at work….He never stops working.
  • Find out where god is working, and join him is his work.
  • God works through his followers… He still chooses to use humans.
  • To get the job done… there is always a crisis of belief.
  • To really join God in what He is doing means we have to make djustments.

 

Now let me read how the dictionary defines, “Experience”.

As a noun: Practical contact with and observation of facts or events.

As a verb: To encounter, participate in, be emotionally moved, learn by.

So when we say experience God, we must ask:

  • Are we having practical contact?
  • Are we observing the facts?
  • Are we encountering, participating in, being emotionally moved by, and learning by…

 GOD?

We have lots of commands in the bible regarding how we are to relate to God.

  • We are commanded to love him….with all our heart….
  • We are commanded to obey him….
  • We are commanded to trust him….

In 1 Peter 2:17 we are told to fear God. This is a reverent fear.

But the bible really does not instruct us to experience him.

Our feelings really should not be the deciding factor on whether God is at work or not, because if His timing is different than ours and we dont get a “feel good ” experience about what we are involved in, that does not mean that we are not right in the middle of God’s plan. We could very well be at the very junction of that crisis of belief that is actually necessary to….OBEY what God is saying, so that the thing that God is doing, takes place.

So I have changed my way of thinking….

When I speak of “experiencing God” I really mean participating with God.

This makes me focus on my obedience.

See there is a possibility that people can do things for God and not even have God as a part of their life.

We see something that needs to be done… we work at it… we get a good feeling that we have accomplished something… and not one time have we said or even thought to ask God about what HE thinks.

The things we do should be based on participating with God, not on working for God.

Some the greatest things that God ever allowed me learn came from a crisis of belief:

  • Salvation
  • Redemption
  • Grace
  • Mercy

These things literally set me free from the bondage of guilt, and shame and made me realize that even in my disobedience God wasn’t finished with me yet.

God says “There is no reason to be discouraged, or to be cautious, or to wonder, I’ve got all it takes to accomplish everything I want done.”

There’s no way we can out dream God.

We don’t stop working or dreaming, because what is happening doesn’t look like it did before.

We must stop looking in the past, for our future.

Old preachers say, “Oh for the days of D.L. Moody!”, “Oh could we just long for the revivals we had in the past?”, “Could we just do what we did before, and ask God to bless?”

Not really having any faith that what He is really trying to do is a new thing.

Whoever has ears to hear; let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:22
~ Pastor Rick


RHBC is Going Live!

Webutton live streamll , Exciting things are happening. As part of the Vision 333 plan, we will be testing out a “live stream” of the Worship Service starting this Sunday March 1st. This doesn’t mean that you can just stay home now and watch it alongside NASCAR (read: Rich Bruckhoff). Read more…


Nuff Said…

Explore God / Vision 333 initiative is here. I have looked forward to this time for several months.  Many hours of planning and preparation have gone into this special journey that God has us on.We have looked closely at our core values—the DNA of Royal Haven—who we are and who God wants us to be:· Read more…