Harvest Church has been pastored by its founders, Pastors Paul & Carolyn Tebbano, since it first began as a home Bible study in 1985. Pastor Paul Tebbano is a graduate of Valley Forge Christian College and has been in full-time ministry for fifty years in various churches, both in the Bronx and the upstate New York area. Because God has miraculously intervened countless times in Pastor Paul's life, he feels a special call to minister a dynamic word of encouragement as well as a challenging word to "press on" to pastors and congregations alike. Pastor Paul preaches and teaches under a strong anointing that changes lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.
A Message from the Pastors:
Church in the Wilderness - How God Started Harvest Church
Are you in a wilderness right now? Do you feel as though you have been deserted by people and maybe even by God? My wife and I found ourselves feeling just like that during one of the most "faith building" times of our lives. Up to this point things had been running along smoothly and we were "comfortable" in our relationship and in our calling. After I graduated from Bible College, we entered the ministry as Youth Pastors and were excited about the work of the Lord. The youth were experiencing revival, and we were truly blessed to be a part of this outpouring. After ministering for five years like this and seeing many young people transformed by the power of God, my wife and I were led by the Holy Spirit to resign our position. Little did we know that we were being "led" into the "wilderness". Because we knew the Lord had spoken to us, we were sure that immediately all the doors would "swing" open and that a new ministry would open up for us. God had other plans! We were now in the "school of the Holy Spirit" waiting upon the Lord daily for direction. The telephone never rang, the resumes we sent out were not acknowledged, and no jobs opened up for me to even be able to support my family. Where was God? Had He spoken to us or not? Was it His voice we had heard? These questions seemed to "scream" at us from every direction. Had we made a mistake? Did God know where we were and did He care?
We knew that our walk with God was a walk of faith, not a walk of feeling. We continued to remind ourselves of that. One day the Lord spoke to us through a scripture in Acts 7:38 that said (referring to Moses), "he was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spoke to him..." We knew then that God did see us and that we were in His perfect will and that He was in this wilderness with us. As we look back on that time in our lives (it lasted for one year), we can see how the hand of God moved sovereignly on our behalf. It was a time of training and faith building. It was a chance to see God move in supernatural ways as He took care of all our needs. God was teaching us to live by faith and walk in love. Every expense we had was met by His divine intervention. Every bill we had was paid...mortgage, car, groceries, doctor bills and all the needs of our household and our two children, Paul and James. One day, that I can still remember so vividly, was when I opened my front door to go out to get the mail. As I opened the door, an envelope dropped to the floor and in it was the exact amount that we needed to pay our mortgage! Glory to God! Who knew that...we had told no one...but God knew! God confirmed to us over and over again that we were being obedient to Him by following His leading because He continually supplied every need!
In 1985, my wife, Carolyn, and I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to begin to hold a weekly bible study in our home. God was doing so much in us and for us that we wanted to share the goodness of the Lord with anyone who wanted to listen. The Holy Spirit anointed the bible study and before long, too many people were attending for us to continue holding it in our home. What started with only seven people now was overflowing with twenty-five to thirty hungry believers! We began seeking God for direction and committed the need for more space to Him in prayer. One evening while having dinner with my family at Mama's Restaurant, a local pizza parlor, the owner approached our table and asked, "Would you like to have a bible study here on Sunday mornings?" We knew this was God's provision and naturally a "perfect setting" since we are Italian! Without any advertising or fanfare, that Spring we began to have a bible study in Mama's pizza parlor every Sunday morning. The Holy Spirit drew people from all around the city and before we knew what was happening, over ninety people were packed into the dining room. It was amazing how fast news spread about this "pizza parlor bible study"! The Holy Ghost's anointing was upon this and we knew that soon we would need a larger facility. Once again, we began seeking the Lord's face for His direction. He spoke to our hearts that this group of believers that was gathering had become a New Testament Church. We prayed and asked the Lord for His plan and He led us to rent a local movie theater not far from the pizza parlor. It was in this movie theater that we saw the birthing of Harvest Church. People began to come from all over the area. Sensing the Lord's glorious presence, many received Jesus as Savior and stayed to become a part of the congregation.
The Lord's favor and anointing was evident in every service. God proved to be so faithful in every way. After meeting in the theater for nearly two years, we outgrew it. We had expanded to two services every Sunday morning and it was obvious that we would once again need to find a larger place to meet. God reminded us about His Word concerning the "wilderness" and we trusted Him to lead us as He led His people by the cloud and the fire (Exodus 40:38). Harvest Church now began looking for land on which to build our own house of worship. One day as I was driving through town, I noticed a plot of land for sale that I had never noticed before. I called and found out that the price for the land was $165,000. Our building fund had $20,000 in it at the time. During our time in the wilderness, one thing that we had learned was that "fear looks, but faith leaps". We leaped! Believing that this was the land for us, Harvest Church unanimously decided to purchase this plot of ground knowing that God would supply. Just as the Israelites didn't know that a dry pathway was under the Red Sea, Harvest Church didn't know what God had planned for us! Through a Christian realtor we approached the land owner all the while believing God for favor. By the grace of God, the landowner reduced the price of the land from $165,000 to $150,000 and agreed to take only $5,000 cash as a down payment. Hallelujah!
At the time that we purchased the land, the Lord spoke to my heart that the land would be paid off in less than one year. After buying the land and believing by faith to pay off the mortgage as God had said, we were amazed to find out how God planned to do it. The land we had purchased, unbeknown to us, was overflowing with rich topsoil and very valuable "construction sand" that could be sold by the truckload! We watched God provide. Every day as trucks took sand out, God brought money in - $130,000 worth! In ten months and twenty-eight days, the land was paid for, just as the Lord had promised! Today this land houses a 28,000 square-foot, multi-purpose church facility. God is so faithful.
Today Harvest Church remains committed to fulfilling the great commission of Matthew 28, by reaching out through our Prison Ministry, Children's, and Youth Ministry, Men's and Women's Ministries, and other family ministries. Our weekly radio broadcast, Sold out For Jesus is heard locally across New York State and Canada and globally via short-wave radio over the LeSEA network.
Be encouraged wherever you may find yourself right now in your walk with the Lord, whether in a wilderness or not. He does see you and has a divine plan for your life as you continue to see Him and wait upon Him for direction. Remember that the Lord knows you, has a purpose for you, and is a miracle worker. Don't quit or give up or become discouraged. Continue to trust in the Lord knowing that the Word promises that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him! (Hebrews 11:6)