About The Author

My photo
Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
I currently serve as Senior Pastor of Harvest Church in Knoxville, Tn. I was sent out from Trinity Chapel of Knoxville in 1993 accompanied by my wife Sheila our four children Sarah, Hannah, Josiah & Isaac and a handful of bold, brave and committed believers determined to plant our first church. Pioneering is hard work but well worth the journey. That is why we desire to make disciples of Christ who will, like us, also embrace the call to plant churches.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Challenge to Church Musicians and Worship Leaders

When Solomon was setting up the temple and arranging the kingdom according to his father David's admonishment he was to establish the following:

1Chronicles 23:5 four thousand were gatekeepers, and four thousand praised the LORD with musical instruments, "which I made," said David, "for giving praise."
These instruments David made; why did he make them?

Notice what the musicians were charged with.
I have heard many worship conference instructors talk of how the glory of God overwhelmed the priests of Solomon's Temple during its dedication.  Somehow I have never heard one of them hit on this very specific purpose identified in Chronicles. Praise is the purpose, praise matters!

Praise takes our spiritual eyes off of us and places them upon God who is able and willing!
God has used praise throughout human history to ignite faith in the hearts of those who belong to Him.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Introduction to Partnering with Harvest Church part three

We began focusing our attention on the concept of:

 Fellowship in the Gospel (Philippians 1:5)

The first area (as well as the most important) that our fellowship must be based on is that of believing, understanding, and trusting in the biblical Gospel, both as the means of initially saving us, as well as keeping us and empowering us to live the Christian life. Paul calls it a matter of first importance (I Corinthians 15:3).

The reason this is of first importance is that the Gospel is not a religion—(one of many ways that men have created to approach God). The gospel is a revelation of God and comes from God Himself—God created it! It actually existed in eternity past before the world was created.

Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

No one could ever have come up with the Gospel for it is contrary to everything religion teaches. Therefore, being instructed continually in the Gospel is essential for both individual Christian growth as well as our fruitfulness as a church. This is how Paul communicated its importance to Philippians.

Philippians 1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

These were a people already born again through the power of the gospel and recognized as the church at Philippi. But here they are told to strive together with one mind and stand fast in one spirit for the faith of the gospel.
Many religious people today treat the Gospel as if it is good advice instead of good news. Think about what passes for the Gospel today; a better life, health and wealth, a means of dealing with our loneliness and hurt and rejection. But the gospel is not good advice but good news—the grand, great, merry news that God in Christ has done all that will ever need to be done to deliver sinners from the power of sin, death, and eternal separation from God. And only the Gospel has delivering and saving power because all human beings are hopelessly bound to the power of sin.

So we should ask ourselves this question. Have we been treating the gospel as good advice or as good news?

If it is good news it permeates our lives and transforms the way we think about everyday things. It delivers us from the power of sin and places us in the kingdom of God’s dear Son Jesus Christ. In other words it places us under the dominion and rule of Christ.

Some hear the term dominion and rule and may wince at the thought of it. If, all the gospel is to you is good advice sprinkled with moral objectives, then it is understandable that you would wince.

Tim Atchley

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Introduction to Partnering with Harvest Part two

As we go forward as a fellowship, we have considered what we believe being a partner in the gospel is and how it will be our means for knowing who is looking to be disciple and trained here at Harvest Church. We believe that if this commitment to the gospel is in each of us it will inevitably produce believers who love their Savior, are committed to loving one another, and have a deep longing to reach their generation with the good news of Jesus Christ. It will impact the way we raise families, engage the market place and will dramatically impact the way we view our local communities, our nation and our world.

The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives through the gospel will transform us into the very image of Christ and His desires and purpose will more and more become our own. This involves soul work. What we believe about our relationship with Christ and one another is vital.

3John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

The work of soul prosperity starts and ends with the gospel. But it is not merely hearing it preached that produces this soul prosperity so vital to our joy and journey with God. It involves receiving it, agreeing with it, and walking in it.

So it is our desire that those who feel that God is joining them to this body of believers become active partners with us in four areas:

1. Fellowship in and around the Gospel
2. Fellowship of participating in the life of the community through the power of the Spirit
3. Fellowship of living fruitful lives of service by sharing in his sufferings
4. Fellowship of sharing in the mission of extending the Gospel in our city, region, and throughout the world

To sum up what it is we are about, “Harvest is a Gospel-driven (centered) community of fully devoted followers of Jesus on mission together.”

Simply stated, we are:

Message centered
People centered
Discipleship centered
Mission centered

Tim Atchley

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Part One

The purpose of this “Partnership” instruction is to bring an understanding of the vision and values that guide us as a local church as well as to clarify what we, as a pastoral team, expect of all those who become committed and actively involved at Harvest as Partners. It will also help you know what to expect from our pastoral team. Hopefully it will inspire you and build your faith regarding the opportunity and privilege it can be to be joined to a fellowship of believers centered in the gospel of Christ.
As an eldership Team here at Harvest Church we are deeply committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been our primary goal to make certain we are all well established in the gospel, and as a result, are enabled through our faith in the gospel to enjoy fellowship with one another on a much deeper level and accomplish the purpose we are all called to in the gospel.
A fellowship not driven by the gospel is destined to disruption and chaos due to being tossed to and fro. It will be swept up in whatever is popular in the culture or on the Christian book shelf at a given moment. Being committed to the gospel rescues us from chasing after fads that tax the time, energy, and resources of the saints and usually end up alienating anyone who isn’t on board with the latest greatest thing. For this reason we are looking for those who want to partner with us in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This teaching material is loosely based on Paul's letter to the Philippians. We have chosen Philippians for the simple reason that it was a model church for all the other churches that Paul had founded. In fact, our calling “members” Partners is based on a statement of Paul regarding the Philippians in Philippians 1:5 “because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
What is interesting about the word partner in Philippians 1:5 is the Greek word Koinonia and it is found three other times in this letter (Philippians 2:1, 3:10, 4:14). In a sense, most of the material in this letter is gathered around the four uses of this word (translated by the English words, partner, participation, fellowship, and share). These are all very active words and help us to understand what was expected of those who were part of the local church in Philippi.
So you will hear us promoting the idea of believers partnering with us as opposed to using the term membership. We use the term partner purposely because we believe the term member, while biblical, has passive connotations in our culture.
For instance: I have a Sam's Club Member card in my wallet, even though I have not used it in a great while. My visits there were to get in and get out with no one getting hurt and to get what I went after. In like fashion, many today regard themselves as members of a local church, but are only passively involved on the basis of what is in it for them. Their involvement may begin and end with an occasional Sunday attendance. That defines a church attender but not a partner.
In the first church they too enjoyed the preaching of the apostles and took advantage of the instruction it gave them for living. But they also participated in other areas of Christian community and purpose. Their being a part was not about choosing a favorite preacher, worship team or style of service. They had a purpose greater than themselves! They were, loving God, loving each other, and loving their neighbors!
Tim Atchley
Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, October 8, 2012

Knowing God's Glory Part Four

He has showered us with His love and forgiveness through Christ and we need to thank Him for His faithfulness and His grace!

Someone might say, I do not feel like I know it well enough, or perhaps they would say my emotions are not in it so it would not be genuine to speak anything to God concerning this.

Remember faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Making a declaration involves mere agreement with the truth revealed in Scripture, it does not require that our emotions are all caught up in it. Emotions will catch up in their own good time, sometimes we do obedience simply because it is right to do so.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:15-23 NKJV)

So let's lift up our voices together to close this morning. Let's render unto God the thanksgiving and praise He is justly due!

Thank You Lord God, and all glory and honor be Yours for including us in the company of who You wish to show Yourself to be good, gracious and merciful to.

Through the face of Christ we behold Your glory! Truly there is no God like You! You alone are God and You alone are good!

We humbly acknowledge Father that we are Yours only by the working of Your mighty power which You released through Jesus on the cross and by raising Him from the dead.

We declare today that all praise belongs to You the Creator of all things and the to Jesus the Author and the Finisher of our salvation.

We praise You for the miracle that our salvation is and the mercy we have received from You because You chose to love us.Tim Atchley

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Knowing God's Glory Part Three

Many have imagined that by turning to the Law of God they might somehow affect acceptance through an adherence to it. But to the credit of God’s glory we read further and discover,

Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

As far as I can tell here we are not going to get connected to His glory through the means of the Law. What we will come to see is just how sinful we are. We become knowledgeable of our own sin through the Law.

But remember the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

So if the Law cannot help us realize the glory of God that righteousness is applied to what shall we do?

Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

This is where the whole expression of God’s glory in the face of Christ is revealed! It is revealed through Jesus perfect obedience being imputed through faith as He perfects those who through faith come to Him. Jesus reveals the glory of God to us by enabling us to become the very righteousness of God through faith in Him.

2Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

That is a perfect example of the glory of God being revealed in the face of Jesus Christ! But for us to see it we must come to grips with the working of His grace in us.

The Scripture describes this work of glory further,

Romans 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

It is to God’s glory when it is all of Him and not of us. It is to His glory when we realize we brought nothing to the table!

When we get all worked up about miracles it is because something had become impossible humanly speaking and God did something supernatural to remedy the situation. We have no problem giving praise to God for such acts on His part on our behalf. In fact we love to have as many miracle stories as we can. But the greatest glory is realized in the work of salvation when it is understood that it is purely the work of God and not our work.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

God declared to Moses, I will be good, gracious and merciful to whom I wish. This means we are His because of His desire for us and His calling us to Himself.

It is to His great glory that He determines these things in His Sovereignty and makes this possible through Jesus Christ.

In the face of Christ we see His Glory!

So how do we apply this?

Tim Atchley

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Knowing God's Glory Part Two

Exodus 34:5 Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 "keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation."

Now here is where the concept of understanding His glory gets really good!

Notice this statement from God concerning Himself involves both descriptions of His person and His activity. Revealed for us here is both His motivation that flows out of who He is and the behavior that results from it. Because He is a God who is merciful, gracious and long suffering, abounding in goodness and truth and keeping mercy for thousands, He forgives iniquity, transgression and sin but refuses to clear the guilty!

There is a ton of tremendously deep and rich theology in this and we will not have the time to explore all of it today. But I hope to whet your appetite for it today.

In the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology it speaks of how the word glory as it appears in the New Testament is the Greek word doxa.

In general terms it is used to describe giving honor, recognition or acclaim in vocalized reverence from the creature to the Creator and Judge. In other words giving glory involves lifting up our voices in recognition of who God is with holy reverence for Him. This giving Him glory in this manner is seen in Revelation as practiced by the angels of heaven.

Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

But when this word doxa is applied to God it denotes His majesty as seen in Romans 1:23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.

This application addresses His majesty in that it reveals that God is far superior to anything created and therefore there is nothing on earth His equal. Thus the making of these false images is completely against His glory seeing that He is far greater than anything created! So doxa when applied to God is the recognition of majesty and greatness.

The word doxa also deals with God’s perfection, especially in relation to His righteousness.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

We might ask, what does sin have to do with the glory of God? Sin is anti-righteousness.

In this sense God’s glory is attached to righteousness. It is this part of His glory I want to finish out our time reflecting on. Remember we read how His glory is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ?

James refers to Jesus as the Lord of Glory in James 2:1

That means that Jesus governs the very glory of God! That makes Jesus the governor of the very righteousness of God!

Now in consideration of righteousness and the condition of men and women without Christ the Bible goes on to say,

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none who understands; there’s none who seek after God. 12 They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

As we can see this is a condition that no man can save himself from. If the God of heaven declares you unrighteous and says this is the truth about your condition to whom can you turn to nullify His testimony?

God is both the Creator and the Judge there is not another. The verdict is already in on mankind, they are guilty before God.

Tim Atchley

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Knowing God's Glory Part One

A Kindergarten teacher told all her class to draw a picture of what was important to them. In the back of the room Johnny began to labor over his drawing. He was really into it too. Everybody else after a short while had finished their pictures and handed them in, but not Johnny. He was still working feverishly on it. The teacher graciously walked to where Johnny was and put her arm around his shoulder and said, “Johnny what are you drawing?” Johnny never looked up he just kept intensely working at his picture. He said, “God.” “But Johnny,” the teacher said gently, “no one knows what God looks like.” Johnny answered, “They will when I’m done.”

Little Johnny was convinced he knew what God would look like?

Revival preacher Leonard Ravenhill tells of a humorous experience that occurred years ago as he walked by a Sunday school classroom filled with little children, five or six years of age. They were sitting on chairs of such a height that their feet dangled above the floor. Just as the preacher passed they began to sing the words of the much-loved hymn entitled At Calvary. They sang the words, "Years I spent in vanity and pride!"

Like Ravenhill many of us are likely humored at the thought of small kids singing about spending years in vanity and pride. What can such inexperience know about years of vanity and pride?

When it comes to knowing God personal experiences can leave us mistaken about His nature and character. It is not that difficult to misread God based on circumstances and consequences etc.

The kindergarten teacher was only partially right in a sense, but she left out the man who lived who knew what God looked like. Her statement was more in keeping with what God said to Moses on Mount Sinai when Moses asked to see His glory.

Exodus 33:20 But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." 21 And the LORD said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 "So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 "Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."

God knew how difficult it would be for us as human beings to capture an accurate glimpse of Him and understand it so He offered a solution.

John 1 tells us,
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me. And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. (John 1:14-18 NKJV)

We also read in,

2Corinthians 4:6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

In this one passage alone we discover that God, in His great mercy, put the light of the knowledge of His glory in our hearts.

He revealed this glory in the face of Jesus Christ. So now we find that when it comes to the very glory of God we must look unto Jesus to truly understand it and appreciate it correctly. John testified that we they beheld His glory when they encountered Jesus.

What is glory? Moses asked God in Exodus 33:18 "Please, show me Your glory."

How did God respond?

Exodus 33:19 Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

In response to the glory question God makes a declaration about Himself. Now the question we should ask is, “Do we see this declaration at work when Jesus shows up on the scene?” After all it says we beheld His glory in the face of Christ.

The answer would be yes!

Jesus demonstrated the goodness of God towards those who were humble of heart and needy, and the willingness of God to meet them where they were at. Jesus would say things such as, “if you have seen me you have already seen the Father.”

Jesus showed compassion to people that caused the merely religious of his day to cringe. He demonstrated the very nature of God that is gracious to whomever He wishes to be gracious to and showing compassion on whoever He wishes as well.

A great example is the woman caught in adultery, the thief on the cross, the prostitute who washed His feet with her tears, Zaccheus a tax collector, ten lepers needing healing, a man born blind from birth and on and on we could tell of this nature of God on display through Jesus Christ.

Jesus also proclaimed the Father to His generation. To proclaim the name is not merely speaking a name out loud, it also involves a demonstration of the nature of the one being proclaimed. There is generally a specific aspect of that person’s nature and character declared and demonstrated as a result of the proclamation.

Jesus would often say, “I speak what I hear the Father speak and I do what I see the Father doing.”

So what was the specific proclamation made to Moses regarding the glory of God?

Tim Atchley

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad