Coffee With A Stranger

Written by Pam Newman on . Posted in Youth Minister

woodentablecoffeecupI sat quietly in a café in downtown Catania. This was my normal stop on my morning commute to work. Each and every day I would walk the ten blocks from my eleventh floor apartment to the church building and, on the way, I would always stop at the “bar,” or coffee café, for my morning breakfast.

As I sat quietly this morning drinking my coffee, the waiter, whom I’d never met before, came out and asked me if I needed anything else. His Italian was pretty good, but I could tell he was from the Middle East. I told him that I was fine and thanked him for asking.

As he walked away from me, I heard another patron at the café speak.

Face to Face

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

conversationThink of all the things people can do when they are facing one another. They can smile, frown, make funny faces, and make their imaginations run in many different directions. Add in the mouth and ears and two can ponder a million points of thought, explore feelings, and express differences. Through communications face to face people are able to make judgments of the state of their relationships, whether it is strong or weak, existent or non-existent. One can tell the truth or tell a lie, and make judgments on the validity of what the other says when you peer into their eyes. One thing is for sure; people who love one another never seem to tire of the constant gaze.

         Reading letters, texts, emails, tweets, and other forms of communication are familiar substitutes we use these days to express our feelings. However, these and even phone calls lack the genuineness, the authenticity, and the purity of a face to face meeting.

Where Can I Go From His Presence?

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

shutterstock 129381665 web  Hide and Seek can be a fun game for kids. Backyards, churchyards, and parks have long provided perfect places for youngsters to find that one person who will count to twenty-five while everyone runs and hides. The scurry as they hear the numbers “ . . . 10,11,12 . . . 24, 25! Ready or not, here I come,” is the resounding cry. Child’s games are fun!
       Do you remember the first game of Hide and Seek? Sure you do! It was the occasion when God was “It!” and Adam and Eve were hiding. They had just eaten the fruit God and told them not to eat. When they realized they were naked, the Bible said they sewed fig leaves together and hid themselves. “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden,” Genesis 3:8. That passage has always been a little odd. Think about it! Knowledge of good and evil was the prize they sought and found as a result of the serpent’s temptation, but something they had not quite learned was the foolishness of their naiveté. What “games” were God’s children playing that day?  You cannot hide from God! For certain it was not long before they realized that this was no game at all. Read the rest of Genesis 3.

BYG at UPLIFT 2013

Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

UPLIFT2013UPLIFT 2013 was an incredible journey of faith. Twenty-six teens and adults headed out for Searcy, Arkansas and the Harding University campus for a week of spiritual growth, fun, and encouragement and boy, what a week!

The week’s theme was  “Follow Me” and we dived into the lives of the apostles, disciples, and the early church in our search for what it truly means to “follow” Christ. The classes focused on answering four main questions surrounding “following” Jesus – “What are you passionate about?”, “Where does your money go?”, “Where do you go for comfort?,” and “What disappoints and frustrates you?”

China Mission Trip Recap

Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

OrphanageView logoWell, we are back. We just finished an incredible two weeks in Southwest China and we couldn’t be happier with how it went. So, here is a little recap of all that happened over the two weeks!

First of all, traveling is never as fun as it sounds. We had a few issues on the way over with some of our plane tickets. Some of our tickets had the wrong names on them (Jenny instead of Virginia – couch, cough) and this caused a few headaches along the way. We basically had to beg our way onto every flight….or leave Jenny Burnette behind! We managed to get everybody on EVERY flight and we thank God for that.

The Longest Day

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

shutterstock 89951416 webThe longest day in the year was last Friday. The sun rose around 6:30am and set just before 9:00pm. That gave us about fourteen and a half hours of sunlight that day. With the passing of Summer Solstice every passing day of sunlight will begin to get shorter and shorter. Longer days and more outdoor activity is one of the reasons why summer is one of the best parts of any year.

What was the longest day in history? The longest day we have recorded in Bible history is the day when the “sun stood still” for about a whole day. Yes, the sun stood still when Israel was in battle with the Canaanite nation of Amalek. The Bible says, “At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, ‘Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.’ And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel,” Joshua 10:12-14.

Days can often be measured, not in the time the sun shines in the sky, but by how circumstances and events of life distress us. Struggles can often turn nights into sleepless days of worry, often of things over which we have little control. Obsessions not only lengthen days, but can shorten lives because of stress.

A Mission Completed

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

scottIt is greatly hoped that by the time you read this article, the Harps will have safely returned from New Zealand, perhaps a little jet lagged and weather-worn. Being south of the equator during this trip away, the temperatures have been much cooler with the highs each day in the upper 50's and low 60's. While the warmer temperatures of home will be a welcome change, departing the warmth of family and friends in this South Pacific nation is most difficult.
Starting the Pacific Islands Bible College has been a real challenge and blessing on this trip. To make it happen, we were willing and able to be away for about two and a half weeks of hard travel of over 16,000 miles, of which 56 hours were spent in transit, including 34 hours in flight and about 22 hours in layovers. This was the biggest hurdle. Adding to this, there were also the many hours of preparation for classes and preaching. While in New Zealand I was presented with the opportunity to do about 18 hours of teaching and preaching. Several meetings were held during the two weeks with key church leaders in the country to discuss the potential of carrying on this work, and PIBC's potential of helping educate the New Zealand people for years to come. Please be praying for this effort as it is still in its early stages of development.


Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

fatherThere have been many men and women in my life that have had a big impact on me. I have stood at the feet of many great, wonderful, Godly people, but none come even close to the impression my father has had on me.

I am his son and I am proud of it.

My father isn't the perfect man...he simply imitates with his very being the One who is perfect, Jesus.

My father wasn't the perfect dad....he just never stopped trying to imitate our Father in Heaven.

My father wasn't the best at everything...he simply did his best through the abilities given to him by God.

When it all comes down to it, my father is a man, a fallible man. He is a man who will readily admit his sins and failings to the world.

But – He is a man after God's own heart.

A Long-Awaited Trip

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Minister Articles

PIBCIt has been a long-time in the coming. Returning to Aotearoa (Maori for Land of the Long White Cloud), otherwise called New Zealand, is something we have long desired to do. It is Jenny’s homeland, and for over eight years my home. Two of our children, Rebecca and Richard were born there. All of our children are duel citizens of both the U.S.A. and New Zealand.

For many years the Pacific Rim has been the center of mission focus for the Harp family. My parents spent over twelve years in New Zealand. My father, Richard T. Harp, has traveled to that region of the world annually since their return to the U.S. in 1990. In the last several years I, too, have made missionary trips to the island nations of the Pacific to teach in the Pacific Island Bible College, PIBC, and to preach the gospel of Christ. It has been my privilege to baptize many people in the waters of earth’s largest body of water.

For many years the Buford congregation has been involved in evangelizing in the Pacific region. We have been long supporters of the Robert Martin and Stacey Ferguson families who are dedicated fully to this work. PIBC is the brain-child of brother Robert Martin. He and his family have served the Lord in the island nations since the early 1970s.

Heading to China!

Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

chinaWell, here we go!

As many of you know, nineteen of us are heading out to China this afternoon. We will be in Nanning, China for close to two weeks working with China Agape and two of their orphanages. It is going to be a long trip! Awaiting us is a four-hour flight, a sixteen-hour flight, a three-hour flight, and then a two-hour bus ride. And that it just to get there! Should be fun!

I wanted to let you all know a neat story about this trip. Last fall I challenged the teens to push themselves beyond the low expectations that many have for teenagers in our modern world. Everybody expects nothing more than trouble and problems from teens and I wanted them to see themselves as different. Well, little did I know what that would mean!