Gospel Meeting 2014

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

GospelMtg2014artweb      Our gospel meeting time is here! We are excited about our meeting this year. We have a speaker that we believe will be a great blessing to the congregation and to our friends in the community. Keith Parker comes to us from the Nashville, Tennessee area, Hendersonville, to be exact. He preached for the church of Christ there for sixteen years, and for the last several years has been involved in full-time meeting work. He preaches on lectureship programs all around the country, and is a great voice for the cause of Christ.

         It is good for us to devote our time to thinking about the value of having such a meeting as this, and for the opportunities it presents to us as Christians.

Chords From The Harp

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

revelation artweb

         From week to week it is my privilege to write some words for the Family Focus magazine. Pam Newman does such an amazing job in producing this wonderful gift each week; I hope you see it as just that, a gift. It is our story, our scrapbook of sorts, that is preserving, week in and week out, our wonderful congregational history.

         With every coming issue I start my “Chords From The Harp” section with a clean document with no words on a page. Sometimes I have in mind where I am going to go with a subject. Most of the time, I begin with a verse in mind, a teaching of Scripture, or just a thought, and I let the subject take me where it wants to go. If you read my articles regularly, you may have even asked, “Where is he going with this?” Hopefully, not too often!

A Dreaded Subject

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

remember artweb

Death is so final! People are here—so here, so relevant in life. But, when they go—oh, how gone they are! Here one minute and gone the next; this is what life is. It happens so quickly—so instantly—that the shock of a loved-one’s departure is as much surrounding the speed of it as is the void forced upon us. Who is ever ready, truly ready, for a loved one to cross over into eternity? Sure, there are times when someone lingers with a debilitating sickness, leaving family members to think that their departure, whenever it happens, will be better, at least for the one suffering. But even in cases such as this, when death finally happens, the stability we daily feel receives tremendous shockwaves, leaving us at the very least with a feeling of awkwardness. For something so normal to life experience, there is nothing normal about death; so final—so life changing.

Just lately, several in our church family have lost loved ones in death. Some have lost fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and life-long friends. I have lost three friends in death over the last couple of weeks. I preached the funeral of a life-long friend and brother in Christ, James Rickard a week or so ago. I wish everybody knew “Rick!” He was an Alabama boy, and grew up within a few miles of my home in northwest Alabama. He was such a great Christian man. He was an elder in the congregation I left to come here several years ago. He was 94 years old when he died, and the picture of health right up until the end when he got sick with pneumonia, and just never pulled out of it.

I must tell this story about Rick. You know my love for Restoration History, and the plea for restoring New Testament Christianity in our present age. Rick had the same love. Our commonality was based on our mutual love for doing Bible things in Bible ways. Often we talking about the grand old preachers of yesteryear. Several years ago, in my research I came across a clipping out of the Birmingham News from 1926. The title of the article was, “Venerable Gentleman, 104, of Vina, Ala., Has Baptized 8,000.” The man’s name was John H. Dale (1822-1927), and the story went on to tell of how he was born in Ireland and moved to Illinois as a young lad, where he met, and was baptized by Barton W. Stone (1772-1844). Intriguing, right? Other than the obvious things like his age and the number of people he baptized, what hit me was that the article said this old fellow lived in Vina. After doing a little math, I realized that Rick was about six years old when this article was written, and he was from Vina. I called him immediately and asked if he had heard of this old gentleman. After a short pause on the phone, I heard him say, “Why, I have not heard that name in over 75 years!” He proceeded to tell me that as a little boy, “brother Dale,” as everyone called him, was an old, old man! He said that every time the doors were open brother Dale was at church, and that he remembered that he would always go and shake hands with that old preacher. After hearing this, I began telling folks at church that I shook the hand of a man who shook the hand of someone who was baptized by Barton W. Stone. Of course, I had to tell that story again at Rick’s funeral. My, how we will miss him!

A few days later, I received news that one of my childhood friends had died. His name was Barry Findlay. Barry was a Christian, and attended the Tara congregation where my father, Richard Harp, preaches. Barry was a few years older than me, but how fond are my memories of our youth, and the times we were very much in each other’s company. Sadly, I was unable to attend his funeral last Sunday, but I heard several of our friends were in attendance.

Then, Monday I received the news of another childhood friend who passed away suddenly on Sunday afternoon. Alan Nelson was supposed to be at the funeral for our friend Barry, but he was not there. People wondered why he was not there, since when news of Barry’s passing, Alan had called Barry’s mother to express his deep sympathy, and offered to do anything to help in her time of grief. He offered to cut her grass, get some groceries, or anything else she needed. Alan was like that—like all of the good-hearted kids who grew up together as members of the Forest Park church of Christ in the 1970s. Alan would have been at the funeral, but he was not. Later, we found out why. He was in the process of meeting his Maker while others were mourning the loss of another.

Oh, the transitory nature of life. My prayers are before the Father of lights, who is the giver of all good gifts, for those of our church family who have suffered loss over the last several days. Carmen Hodnett lost her father last week. Charlie and Janis Ruhl had a niece suffer death. Jeanette Woodall, Kay Baker and Helen Conolty all suffered the loss of a sister. Charlie Boyd had a brother-in-law die. Shelley Thomson experienced the loss of her mother. Shelby Horn had two cousins die within days of each other. Last Tuesday evening, Charbeth Mills experienced the sad loss of her father. Then, Thursday our world was turned upside down with the accidental death of our Canon Callender.

Why is it that the mention of the word “death” is so frightening to us? Is it the separation? The finality? Is it the fear of the unknown? Certainly, all of these play a role in promoting fear of death. But, death is a part of life. For the Christian, it holds a magnetic allure of anticipation. Knowing what will happen after, the opportunity to have a new body, an immortal one that will never need medical assistance. Never will there be decay. Knowing all that, Paul said, “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54–55 ESV) These verses tell us that when the day comes of our departure, with all the dread we may have incurred about it throughout our lives, once it happens, the first thing we will think is, “Why, that was no big deal! There was no sting like everybody said it would be, only victory!!”

Death can hold promise of greater things. While it is not ours to determine who will or will not be there, heaven holds much attraction to us due to the earnest belief that obedience to God’s Word will bring about that end. Thus, we ascribe ourselves to this eventuality with anticipation of being forever more with God.

Challenges to the Christian Mission Part 1

Written by Jeremy Pate on . Posted in Youth Minister

RocksJeremyBlogI have been doing my daily Bible reading from the book of Acts lately, and one of the things I have noticed is that the apostle Paul faced a number of challenges in his mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This week, I’d like to focus on the challenge of PERSECUTION. We are given a fuller list of Paul’s persecutions in 2 Corinthians 11, but for the purposes of this brief article, I’d like to focus on just one account from Acts: Paul was stoned. We are told about this stoning in Acts 14:19-20 and we are told that the Jews “stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.” (vs. 19)

Will You Please?

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Minister Articles

Jesus sin art         Pain relief is something this writer has been considering somewhat excessively of late. A severe inflammation in my foot reminded me of a couple things I do not feel too much about considering often. One, I am getting older, and things are a little harder than ever to overcome. The second, is that no matter how small an area of one’s body is suffering from pain—I mean real pain—the rest of the body is going to fall in line and join in the ranks behind it until healing takes place.

         As far back as I can remember, we were never people who went to a doctor unless you were—well—dying! Yes, that is where I was last week. And life has been so much better since.

 

Thankful For Our Mothers

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

motherphotoweb         “He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!” Psalm 113:9. God is good! His kindnesses toward mankind have been plentiful and enduring. Women have continued down through time to adorn history with its greatest leaders, its cruelest abusers, and everything in between. While time’s earliest mother failed miserably on several levels, its greatest mother delivered humanity’s Savior in a cattle barn. Good women have sought desperately down through the ages to have children and failed, while evil women who had no business whatsoever in bringing a child into the world have seemed to be able to pop children out like flies. While the poor choices of the first woman initiated intensity in pain to bring children into the world, countless millions have gladly endured such intense struggles that took them to the door of death, only to be able to sit and hold that precious child after it was born.

   

Perspective

Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

GodOver the past few years I have had the opportunity to travel most of the globe. Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America, North America, and the Austral Realm.

Its hard for me to believe all that I've been able to see and hear. Languages with clicking. The first foreigner in a mountainous remote village in central Asia. Underground churches in China and Cambodia. Churches thriving in Sicily and the USA. Hit men, mafia, thugs, murderers. Mothers, daughters, sons, fathers. Friends and enemies.

All Things

Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

study2I sat around the other day thinking about the concept of becoming "all things to all men" and I came to an odd conclusion. That this simple "bumper-sticker" like statement requires a deep understanding of who we are and what we are here for in this life. I’m amazed at the simplicity of this statement and astounded by its depth if it is truly lived by a person.

Crucifixion

Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

cross“And as they led Him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed Him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for Him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

He Wants To Ask You For A Favor!

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

options art         Think for a few moments about favors. People ask for favors all the time. It is a part of life. So, why do people ask favors, and what causes those being asked to fulfill them? Now, before you answer this apparently simple question, think first of all about why people ask favors. The reasons are varied, but generally people ask favors when there is a need or lacking somewhere. For instance, if your neighbor calls and asks you for a ride to the grocery store because his car is being worked on, generally your response is to do the neighborly thing and take him to the store.