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October 03, 2005

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Fawn Lee

During my growing up there were some things that were rarely heard: a properly pronounced “r”, and a person referring to himself as a “Christian”, could have tied for first place.
Phrases like “I’m Roman Catholic” or “I’m a Baptist” were common. These monikers were not only useful to distinguish between God’s people, they also explained why so & so was SO messed up… “Poor Lisa – her family’s Greek Orthodox you know. She was bound to have trouble”.
From my teen years on I fell under the impression that by and large “Church” was a masquerade – full of people afraid to be honest. It seemed no one was at liberty to admit his or her faults or struggles. It was the unspoken rule known to everyone: “Good Christians” don’t have problems. Therefore, there simply was no room in which “good Christians” could overcome their hang-ups. Unable to admit they had struggles they remained caught in their own traps. After all, how can you get past something you are unable to take ownership of?

The first time I came to Harvest we were meeting in the Silver Screen Theater. Jacob Head was greeting that day and he was sharp on his game. Between his warm welcome and the all too familiar scent of beer emanating from the carpet, I found myself thinking… maybe this is home after all.
Pastor Bobby approached me that day & asked what I thought of the service. I told him the worship wasn’t quite what I was used to (Fred Hammond to Will Pufall in a day is a bit drastic); I was still skeptical but after 9 long months of searching for a church I could “belong to”, the word had been like cool water to a parched wanderer.
Bobby smiled warmly and said that while we were welcome at Harvest, if we were looking for something different, he’d be happy to help us find a safe, sane place to grow in God.
He won my respect in that moment.
I came to harvest with a need to be gut wrenchingly honest, and as I peeled back my “church-face” I anticipated rejection for all I truly was and my many misdeeds and failings. To be unconditionally accepted was a shock to my system. While mentally preparing for the day when one of the pastors would call to tell me I was no longer welcome at Harvest; God was using their unfailing acceptance of me, to heal places that had long been broken.
From the days when I smoked 2+ packs of Marlboro a day, to the times when my hemline was too high and my neckline was too low. God has used the people at harvest to show me His unfailing love, walking me through anger, bitterness and every fleshly struggle imaginable.
Harvest is a safe place to be precisely the person you are today – scars and all, and by the grace of God, it is also a healthy place in which to grow into the man or woman God has ultimately designed you to be.
There is freedom to be HONEST with God and others. No false fronts, no pretenses or spiritual superiority trips. Even our pastors are brutally honest about themselves – from the pulpit no less.
Here we are encouraged to face head on all that this world throws at us – with no pressure to pretend to be anything other than who God has thus far, shaped us to be.
What do we offer Pensacola?
1) Harvest is a church without denominational bias, with a heart that seeks after unity within the body of Christ.
2) Harvest offers a healthy dose of realistic honesty and a safe environment in which to become even more – the holy body of Christ. We’re free to be flawed people, following after a flawless God – offering each other an encouraging hand along the way.

Betty Bryant

Harvest...from the first service I attended in the Silver Screen Theater, I knew that God was going to do an awesome work in me through Harvest. I attended from sometime in 1999 until I moved to Georgia in 2004, and although I have a new church home that I have grown to love, it's not like Harvest. God has given you guys a very special purpose in Pensacola, and I feel confident in saying that anyone who ever walks through the doors to a service there will most definitely have an encounter with Christ.

I guess the two main things I think of when I think of Harvest are the "REAL" and the passion for Christ that is evident in the daily lives of the people.

And I miss you guys!

Vicky

Harvest not about a building... Funny though I miss different aspects of out building (like the lack of flowery wall paper in the Ladies room) Since we've been gone a year I don't really think about it much. We've been busy just getting about God's business. So I'd have to totally agree its not about a building! I suppose not having a building has really showed us all what Harvest is really made of. The house that was built on a rock.

Jacob Head

In late January, 1997, I walked into Harvest for the first time. Scared to death of being rejected, I pulled up in the parking lot of Silver Screen theatre with my heart pounding in my chest. With a mixture of anxiety and expectation I walked inside. . . I had been living an "alternative lifestyle" for the previous 9 to 10 years but God was loving me back to him, and he used Harvest as a tool to win me over.
I left that Sunday morning knowing I found a place where I could fit. No one put on their "church face", they were just real, imperfect people, following hard after a loving God. . . . .and I had to be apart of that.
Eight years later ,I'm now the Creative/Programming Director serving at Harvest with my wife of 5 years. . .she's the Office Manager.
2004/2005 has taught us many valuble lessons that have gone from head knowledge to heart knowledge. 1. Harvest isn't about a building, 2. We can be about our mission regardless of facilities, 3. It's about being real, honest, and loving each other regardless of church background ( our lack of ), and regardless of the style we are used to. It's about you and me and all of us welcoming whoever comes through our doors.
If you haven't been our guest before, please join us.. . If it's been awhile since you've been, there's still a seat for you.. .Don't let a pounding heart keep you from coming inside.

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