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This episode kicks off the Relational Grace Podcast by telling listeners more about what to expect from the ongoing teachings of Pastor Nick Harris who we sadly lost in 2020 just short of his 80th birthday.  We also tell more about what to expect from Ariel Ministries, Pastor Nick and Crystal Harris's ministry, as we move forward without Pastor Harris.  We consider it a responsibility to continue to share his great teachings and foundational message of Relational Grace. Visit the RelationalGraceBlog.com for more supplemental details and visuals.We use the majority of this podcast to dive into a family conversation with Pastor Harris's wife Crystal, oldest son Deak Harris, daughter Amy Moffiet and youngest son Jamie Russell.  We start from the beginning with a story of abandonment in Tulsa, Oklahoma and move through his adoption, education, career, and ministry.  We wrap up with some key themes we have identified over the last several months that we feel tie our blended family unit together.
Many years ago Pastor Nick Harris wrote a book that introduced the idea of Relational Grace, hence the name of our podcast. This book features the story of Mepobisheth and touches on the blood covenant and the many types and shadows found in this story. Pastor Harris says it himself, this is the clearest picture of salvation that he could find in the Bible. We thought it would only be fitting to lead off our podcast efforts with this foundational Relational Grace message.  For context this message was recorded at Ariel Chapel in Norman Oklahoma ten years ago in 2011.On a lighter note, and for our listeners that are new to Pastor Harris’s teaching and personality, he loved detective and sleuth characters and narratives, at one point in his ministry evolution he coined himself the Great Herqu Puaro of all things Biblical. He was always very proud to brag of this self proclaimed title.
Pastor Harris kicks off a message series where he breaks down the six steps up to Solomon's throne and how they relate to everyone listening. Pastor Harris's goal in this series is to help everyone listen to live an exciting Christian life. A life that is victorious, a life that is overcoming and a life that is powerful.   Years ago Pastor Harris was honored to receive a gift of an incredible model, built true to scale, of the magnificent Temple of Solomon.Along with this model of the temple, he was also given a model of Solomon's Throne with it’s gorgeous six steps. This elaborate throne was known to have sat inside of Solomon’s amazing temple. In his teachings, Pastor Harris often uses the model of Solomon's throne as a teaching tool, and as he studied this throne, he discovered many types and shadows and spiritual truths. This throne and it’s six steps leading up to the seat, were the inspiration of this teaching, and as you will see, each step has a distinct meaning and still relates to the experiences of every person listening today.For your reference, we have created a blog post at RelationalGraceBlog.com for this series titled Six Steps to the Throne where we feature photography of this amazing model.  You will also hear in this teaching, Pastor Harris reference a diagram that features the Body, Soul and Spirit, we always called these his “circles”. For your reference we have also included one of these circle diagrams in that post. We look forward to sharing more of Pastor Harris's circles in many episodes to come.We hope that by taking one step per episode that everyone enjoys this six part series as we journey upward to the throne together. We will start with step 1’s message titled, “Crucified with Christ”.
In this episode Pastor Harris will be introducing the second step of six steps leading towards the great thrown of Solomon. In the last teaching of this series Pastor Harris made the point that before King Solomon could be seated on his throne, he was required to take 6 steps. Pastor Harris also demonstrated that by its very nature, every step has 2 parts, a riser and a tread. The riser always comes first. The risers represent Gods revelation to us and the treads represent the truths in which we stand. The last teaching described step one. The riser of the step was, Christ was crucified on the cross for our Sin. The tread is this; We were crucified on the cross with Him.Let's hear from Pastor Harris what the riser and the tread are as we continue our ascent to the Thrown on to step two of six in a message titled “Dead with Christ”.
In this series  Pastor Harris is attempting to demonstrate that the very highest place to which any believer can attain is to be seated together with Christ on His throne, as Revelation 3:20-21 clearly affirms. The issue is how?  The riser of step 2 was, Christ died on that cross. The tread of step 2 was you and I died with Him on the Cross.Now in this episode Pastor Harris gets pretty personal regarding what he calls “The old man” or “a steamer trunk”.  As you listen to this message, what is your so called, steamer trunk that you are carrying around? We hope this message helps you understand what you can do with that old steamer trunk.So today, we will move on to step 3. The message is entitled “Buried with Christ”
Let’s continue the climb today, step by step to the highest place any believer can attain, this is to be seated next to Christ on his throne?  How do we do this? We need to take six steps, and the requirements are outlined before us in these teachings. In this message we will learn what it means to be quickened or to be “made alive”. If you have been crucified, if you have died, and if you have been buried, you need to be made alive in order to step up to the very highest place.One small reminder… please visit RelationalGraceBlog.com and check out the Six Steps to the Throne blog post that features content referenced in this teaching.  This includes the model of Solomon’s throne as well as the circle diagrams referenced throughout this series.So today, we will move on to step 4. The message is entitled “Quickened with Christ”
Over the last 4 teachings Pastor Harris has been pointing to the fact that the goal of every Christian is to be seated with Christ on His throne. This is where He wants us to be, but what does that mean to be seated with Christ on His throne? How do we get to this place and what does His throne represent?Today we will examine step 5 in our journey to the throne, which is this: Christ was resurrected from the dead.  This leads us to today’s teaching entitled: Resurrected with Christ”.
In this series Pastor Harris has attempted to show us six steps which could lead us to the very highest place a Christian can reach in life, and that place is to be seated together with Christ on His throne according to Revelation 3;20-21. Of course, we all recognize the fact that we are not dealing with physical realities here.  When we ascend the six steps, we are not going to find Christ sitting in a great big chair, and He is not going to scoot over as far as He can so that we can slip in beside Him. In fact, when we talk about being seated with Christ we are not speaking of physical, visible, tangible experiences at all, we are speaking of spiritual realities; and invisible things.Pastor Harris used Solomon”s throne as a model. He wanted us to see that for Solomon to sit down on his throne, he had to ascend six steps. He has shared with us 5 steps, and today he will introduce the sixth which is this: to actually sit down with Christ on His throne. This final teaching in this series is entitled, Seated with Christ.
A fascinating take on the parable of the Good Samaritan and the types and shadows that accompany it. Get Pastor Harris’s take on where we fit into that story. Who is the Good Samaritan?
Pastor Harris walks us through the religion to relationship evolution of the lying, maming, torturing, murdering, Paul of Tarsus to Paul the follower of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:6-14). Salvation is not based on what we do or who we please. Religion says you missed the mark... relationship says you are unconditionally loved because of who you are, a child of God. The number one thing that Pastor Harris always taught was that Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship. This phrase represents the teaching legacy that he has left behind. It is so very important to what we are continuing to do with Pastor Harris’s teachings that we may very well remind our listeners of this every episode. So today I have found a message where he talks about this very topic through the story of Paul. Pastor Harris literally despised the idea of religion and in this message he has some, well i’ll just say it, some pretty strong things to say about religion.  However as much as he despised religion he was the foremost advocate of relationship. The Lord loves you because who you are not the things you do, we are his children, it is about what his son did for all of us on the cross.So with that said, here is a message originally recorded just short of 10 years ago about the lying, maming, torturing, murdering Paul of Tarsus and his evolution to become Paul the follower of Jesus.  This message is simply titled, “Religion vs. Relationship”.
Pastor Harris teaches from the story of David Ben Jesse and Goliath of Gath and how David was motivated by the Holy Spirit and uses positive words that align with God’s will to defeat the giant.  David uses the ABC’s of faith.  David takes ACTION, he BELIEVED because he had CONFIDENCE.In the story, David takes his rod in his hand and goes to the brooke and collects his five flat stones. There is an interesting fact pointed out in the introduction to this message that Rabbi’s believe that the staff of Moses was passed down to Joshua and then passed down to Samual; he gave it to David when he anointed him.We are in war, this life of ours is in a war, a spiritual war, and whether we win or whether we lose is in the power of our words.  Guard your words.
Pastor Harris juxtaposes grace to that of justice and mercy. With Justice you receive what you deserve, with Mercy you receive less then you deserve and with Grace someone else takes what you deserve. Pastor Harris also touches on the topics of free will and how it can make our lives hell on earth.  Also discussed are the two attitudes that can stop us from appropriating God’s grace.
Through comparing the diametrically opposed characters of King Saul and King David, Pastor Harris teaches us about the two selves that battle with us and how we can be our ideal selves.
Our lives consist of a series of choices.  Choices that lead to consequences. Consequences can lead to doubt and doubt can lead to fear.  How do we deal with fear? As fear sets in on the Children of Israel what do they do?
Pastor Harris identifies the wall that exists between God and Man and how Jesus came to knock that wall down.  He will discuss the topics of the disease of sin, substitutionary death, why God became a Man, redemption, justification, forgiveness and many more.
“The Essentials of the Faith” are the things that are absolutely necessary for us to understand about our faith. In these messages Pastor Harris identifies the wall that exists between God and Man and how Jesus came to knock that wall down.  He will discuss many topics including substitutionary death, why God became a Man, redemption, justification, forgiveness and many more. In this episode, Dad will discuss the disease of sin. 
You will witness Pastor Harris's passion for the Old Testament as he shares hidden secrets he has uncovered having to do with the sacrificial system.  This message also covers the development of substitutionary death we find in the Bible.  Pastor Harris takes us on a journey from the first sacrifice to the final sacrifice and their necessity for the forgiveness of sins. 
Pastor Harris continues discussing the Essentials of the Faith.  He will explain how God communicates with his people through his creation and ultimately by becoming one of us.  A foundation will be laid regarding why God had to become man. He will talk about the barrier between man and God and his plan to tear it down by the substitutionary death of Jesus.  Pastor Harris will explain the qualifications of the substitute to be able to take away our sins and how Jesus filled all these requirements for you and for me.
In this episode, Pastor Harris will examine the debt of sin that we owe. He will share some valuable stories that reflect his personal realization that he was a sinner and destined for death. He will compare the external vs the internal responses to our debt of sin.  He teaches us that this state of sin cannot be solved by doing something in our own effort.  We cannot pay the debt of sin for ourselves. Thanks to Jesus, we have hope, a new motivation, and a new heart. The work has already been done, the debt is paid.
In this episode Pastor Harris will illustrate the final stone of the wall that separates us from God-the state of death in which we can no longer commune with God. Pastor Harris will discuss three aspects of death: spiritual, physical and eternal. He will take us to the scene in the garden where God demonstrates the meaning of death.  Pastor will show us the rule of sin and death that God put into place for sin to be covered and ultimately forgiven. We are also introduced in this episode to a central teaching of Pastor Harris that he calls the circles. This is the representation of the human being as a triune being, like our creator.  The three circles represent our body, soul and spirit.Just a little production note, all of the content we have for this podcast are recordings of Pastor Harris teaching and preaching from his many years of ministry.  Sometimes the recordings are incomplete.  This recording begins in the middle of a story of Pastor Harris talking about the model train set he had as a child. The story is so good so we decided to allow it to play as we have it.
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