Tag Archives: mjharvell

What Difference Does Jesus Make?

I occupy a lot of different roles. When I was born, I became the son of David and Martha Jo Harvell. Eventually I became know as Michael Joe to most folks, that is until I got married and then I became Joy’s Husband. I have been known as the chubby blond headed guy with blue eyes, a pretty good cook, a decent teacher, a not bad writer and a host of others things. When I went to Pastor my first church, I became known as Pastor, Preacher or Rev. After Joy and I were married for several years, we had our daughters Gracie and eventually Hope and I became Gracie & Hope’s Dad. To some folks I am a friend, to some an encourager and to some, just a goofy guy that loves Jesus. I’ve actually have more roles and titles than I have time to write about. I remember when I was younger hearing a Preacher preach a message and he asked the question: “Do you want a title or a testimony?” As a young kid, I thought: “Why not both???”

I hear people all the time say: “I love Jesus” or “I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior.” And that sounds really good, but I can’t help but wonder: “DO WE REALLY KNOW WHO JESUS IS AND IF WE DO, SHOULDN’T THAT MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE?”

What Do You Think Of When You Think of Jesus?

There Are Many Different Pictures of Jesus! A lot of different beliefs, many of them in conflict with one another. For us to be so sure that we know Jesus and have a relationship with him, we should be able to articulate from personal experience who he is and what he has done in our lives, but often, we just repeat what we have heard or been taught, because the truth is: We know about Jesus, but we don’t really know Jesus.

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” -I John 4:15

Some people don’t see Jesus at all. Out of all the ones that do see Jesus, many only see him as a good man or an interesting teacher. When we see Jesus, we need to see him as he really is, in all of his glory and splendor. We need to see him as the humble, loving and faithful teacher that taught and teaches us a better way to do this thing called life. We need to not just say we believe, but prove we believe with the way we live our life, in the things we say and do. When we accept Jesus as God’s son and the perfect sacrifice for our sin, the evidence that it (he) is real is that our relationship with Jesus begins to change, develop and grow us into something more magnificent than we could ever dream or imagine.

We Know That We Know Jesus When:

We see Jesus as God’s Son! Jesus is not just a man. Jesus is the God/Man. Jesus is God come to earth, to live in the flesh, to show us through a living, breathing, physical example how to live, grow and be blessed in this life and for all eternity. And Jesus gives us the way and will to reclaim our rightful place as God’s special creation, made in God’s image and all that comes with that amazing truth. We know that Jesus is God’s son, but we have to do more than know it, we have to believe it and believe it in such a way that it changes our life from the inside-out.

We see Jesus as our Savior! The realization that I can open up my life to God and know Him in a real and personal way is amazing. The belief that I can have my very own personal connection with the supernatural power of the Almighty is incredible. And to think that all of this blessing is found in and through God’s Son Jesus, who made a way for us where there was no way is the icing on the cake. There is nothing we can do to make our messed up selves right with our God, but if we will accept and believe in the gift of His son, Jesus will become our Savior, cleanse us from all unrighteousness and restore us to a real and right relationship with Him that allows His blessing of forgiveness and power to flow to and through our lives.

We see Jesus as… Who or what do you need to see Jesus as today? Stop playing pretend games, get dissatisfied with just barely getting by and get to know Jesus and all the roles He can fulfill in your life by helping you to fulfill all the roles you were created for. Jesus is everything we need him to be and so much more, we just simply have to receive and believe…

Take It Easy!

We know what it is like for life to become toss and tumble. We can find ourselves in a very uncomfortable spot, before we even realize what it really going on. And often times, we are the very ones that put ourself in these challenging and frustrating places.

There is a favorite song by the Eagles that sums up how we can be our own worst enemy and then with the chorus reminds us of what really matters by encouraging us to ’take it easy!”

“Take It Easy” By The Eagles!

“Well, I’m running down the road tryin’ to loosen my load.I’ve got seven women on my mind. Four that wanna own me, two that wanna stone me. One says she’s a friend of mine.”

“Take It easy, take it easy. Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy. Lighten up while you still can. Don’t even try to understand. Just find a place to make your stand and take it easy…”

The Scriptures teach us that we have the power and the control, if we are willing to use it. And when we use it, we are on our way to living our best life.

“5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.” -Philippians 4:5

You have to know your gentleness, before others can! You cannot give to anyone else what you do not posses for yourself. Before you can give any good gift to others that you love and care about, you must first obtain that gift for yourself. Our Creator is gentle with us and when we open our heart and life to receive gentleness/taking it easy from Him, then we have a great gift to share with others.

The gentle life doesn’t force anything, it simply allows, learns and grows… The things I can’t change will either change me for the better or the worse – it really is my choice!

Here Are A Few Keys To Living Gently:

1.) Allow! Let be whatever is going to be. Don’t fight it, instead embrace it and get from it whatever it is coming into your life to teach you. We waste so much every fighting fights that are a complete waste of energy and time. Stop wasting and learn to simply let life unfold like the beautiful flower that it is.

2.) Learn! I really believe that this human experience is all about learning who and what we are, so that we can enjoy and get the most out of eternity. The ups, downs and sideways come into my life to teach me, grow me and help me to become an even better version of myself, so that I can benefit from all the amazing blessings that God wants to flow to and through my life and living.

3.) Grow! If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: The longer I live this thing called life, the more I realize that every moment of every day is about becoming and growing into the amazing and beautiful creation of God that gives Him glory and everyone blessing. I know that I am getting this life right, when this life is causing God and others to smile.

We don’t have to have everything figured out, we just need to learn to take it easy and enjoy the journey, because God will get us to where we need to be. Our challenge is to not get in the way.

Take it easy friends!

What In The World Happened To You?

Some of you know what has been going on with some of my health challenges and some of you may have missed part of the story”, so I thought I would try to clear things up and let you know “the rest of the story as one of my favorites Paul Harvey would say.

The first part of the story, I do not remember and I will have to tell you based on what I have been told by those that were standing by. I want to thank everyone for your prayers, love, support, encouragement, patience and understanding. It has been and continues to be a learning journey and has grown and is growing me in so many different ways. 

On Monday May 30th after suffering with a three day headache, I discovered that I had sinus infection that was making my ability to swallow difficult and my talking sound funny because of a swollen tongue. I of course started my home remedies, because even though I am not a doctor, I could play one on TV. On Wednesday evening, I preached, recorded and uploaded my Wednesday evening message and it sounded like I had a button or piece of candy in my mouth the whole time, I promise I didn’t, so on Friday, I decided after everyone’s coaxing to do a virtual visit with the Doctor. The Doctor prescribed Mucinex D and a nasal spray, which I started late Friday evening. Friday was a pretty normal day, other than sore throat, drainage and swelled tongue. I went to bed Friday evening just wanting to feel normal again.

This next part, I don’t remember, so I am going from Joy’s telling of the story. On Saturday morning June 4, 2022, I woke up, came into the living room and ask Joy what was going on? I told her that something was not right, that something was off. She got worried and started asking me all kinds of questions to see if I knew who I was, where I was, what our Granddaughters name was and when I couldn’t answer that, she got on the phone with my sister and My Brother In Law told her to call 911. During this time I was wide awake, talking, shaking hands and supposedly just trying to get my bearings. I am thankful for my Brother In Law Bill Cantrell showing up Johnny on the spot and Joy’s Mom Nancy Jo being here for Joy and the girls. There is a lot more to the story, and I was there, but I wasn’t there, so I’m not going into all of that, except to say: Praise the Lord, I did not say or do anything too embarrassing.

The rescue squad showed up and rushed me to the hospital with stroke like symptoms, where they did a CT Scan upon my arrival. Our good friend Julia Ellison Nicols made sure that I was well taken care of and was my Guardian Angel. The Doctors felt like my short term memory loss was due to the extremely high blood pressure and started me on a drip of medicine to try to start bringing it down and continued a barrage of tests, poking and sampling whatever they could get from me.

I can remember bits and pieces of the Emergency Room. I recognized Dr. Lutz from previous meetings when visiting parishioners, but it all just seems like a dream and I thank the Lord for that, because I have never been afraid to die, but I have never wanted it to hurt.

In the afternoon/evening they moved me into ICU and for the first time that I can remember, Joy and I talked and she filled me in on what all had happened, what was going on and what the plan of operation was. She informed me that I would not be able to preach the next day and that she had already sent messages and taken care of all of that and so I laid there and we talked and I slept and we talked and I slept They eventually brought me supper and I was trying to come up with a plan to get someone to break me out of there and take us to the Peddler, my treat. I told Joy to go home and get some good rest in a good bed. I actually rested pretty decent, although I am not a back sleeper and I was all wired up.

Sunday morning June 5, 2022 found me still in ICU, trying my best to come up with an escape plan. They were monitoring my blood pressure levels and decided to get rid of my drip and try me with a pill and see if they would stay stable, this was the key to my getting into a regular room and going home. I honestly was in pretty good spirits the whole time and kept thinking about how grateful I was that things were not much worse. Supposedly the meds that I took for the sinus infection cause my blood pressure to jump into the danger zone and I honestly was very blessed that things were not a whole lot worse. On the agenda for this day would be more test, particularly a MRI of my head, throat and chest. You will be pleased to know that I do have a brain and a heart.

Sunday afternoon they moved me to a regular room and we waited for results of the MRI. The MRI revealed that I had a small stroke on the back left side of my brain. It also revealed that totally unrelated, I had an aneurysm on the right side of my brain, but not that they were overly worried about. They also noticed that the arteries going up my neck were a little twisted, which they called Fibromuscular Displaysia, but they should be okay, because it did not seem to impact the flow of things. My heart looked good, other than some thickening of the heart wall, which was probably a result of the high blood pressure.

All I could think about was holding my Granddaughter Addi Jo, walking around our yard in Cheddar, seeing our family/friends and getting back to my Pastor/Preacher work and ministry, especially with my dear Eureka Baptist Church.

The good news so far is that there does not seem to be any permanent damage. I should not require any surgery, but I do have a slew of specialist that I now have to see, a few medications that I have to take and Joy thinking she has been promoted to General. (Haha)

On Monday June 6, 2022, I spent most of the day just waiting. We had to do an echo on my heart, just to make sure things were clear and my nurse assured me that no matter what time they gave me the clear that she could and would get me out of there within 20 minutes. Later in the late afternoon, we finally got the news that we could split and split we did.

God and everyone has been so good to us. The major thing I am learning is that I am not going to bounce back from this like I would anything else. I have good days, where I feel like I am back to normal and then challenging days where I feel like a very old man, who can’t do anything for himself. I believe this is just my body adapting, adjusting and getting used to a different way of living. I have prayed about it and I am trusting God to bring me back better than ever.

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” -Isaiah 41:13

Today as I was preaching, I felt more back to my normal self. I am still having some sinus challenges that is impacting my throat, tongue and speech, but I trust that in God’s time, God will take care of it, because I know without doubt that He is taking care of me!