Inspired

Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

inspiredchurchI remember the first time I truly felt inspired. I was watching the movie Independence Day and the President of the United States jumped up on top of a military truck and grabbed a microphone. He began to speak one of the greatest speeches in movie history. I was floored! I wanted to jump up from my seat in the movie theatre, grab a fighter jet, and help stop the alien invasion. I was ready to take on the world whatever the cost!
Now, the reality is that it was just a movie. It was a speech written to motivate men and women alike into action. It was meant to spur us all out of our seat to fight, cheer on, encourage, and exhort our fellow soldiers in the battle that lay ahead. But, it was just a movie. A good movie...but still a movie.
Today, I sit in my office feeling the same way. I feel inspired. I feel called into action. I feel ready to stand and fight the good fight. I feel ready and willing to charge into the breach of darkness and to vanquish the one who stands against us all. I truly feel inspired.

Redefining Education

Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

readingwebWhat is a teacher? I’ve asked myself that a lot over the past couple of years and I’m amazed by how many answers there really are to the question. And I’ve spent so much time on what makes a good teacher that I sometimes forget that the content is just as important as the teacher.

In the church we have struggled for years to find good, qualified, passionate teachers. It seems like every quarter there is a plea for people to step forward and accept the challenge of teaching the kids, the teens, and the babies. We beg and beg for people to step forward into these roles knowing that most will do it reluctantly.

Now, I know exactly why people struggle to step into these positions.

Landmines

Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

cambodiaI remember waking up on the floor of the church building in downtown Bangkok, Thailand and wondering to myself, “Why did I choose to sleep on this hard floor?” My back hurt badly and I could barely sit up without a lot of pain. I rubbed my back as best I could and then realized my neck hurt even more than my back.

This was going to be a long day. A very, very long day.
But the day before was even longer.

I awoke the day before in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and boarded a bus…well, lets call it a bus. It wasn’t really a bus inasmuch as it was a large vehicle that we shoved 40 people into. Kyle and I sat with our massive travel bags under our feet and I had my knees against my chest. There was no air conditioning and it was close to 95 degrees on the bus. I began to pray because I knew that the journey we were about to make was going to be a rough one. In fact, it was going to be an incredibly dangerous one.

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.

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.

Father

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.

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!

Praying with my Daughter

Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

prayingI don't remember the exact first time that my father or mother prayed with me, but I do remember it being as a young child. From my very youth I remember praying at meals, at bedtime, and many other times with my parents. Even when they didn't pray with me personally, I know that my parents prayed for me consistently since even before I was born!

But there is something to praying with your child that is simply amazing. As an adult, the memories flood back to me every time I stop to pray at a meal with my daughter. They flood back like wonderful waves of comfort that I never knew encompassed me. These memories cling to my soul as I teach my child about God and communicating with Him.

A Momentous Moment

Written by Brandon Edwards on . Posted in Youth Minister

childrenIt was a truly momentous moment. A life changing moment that changed me forever.

I remember the moment when I realized I could influence my parents. I was a small child and I realized I could turn mom against dad or dad against mom. It was an eye opening moment of awesomeness.
I suddenly wielded a power that was truly incredible.
And I wanted to use it.

Oh, we have all used this power as children. We learned to ask mom if we could jump off the roof. She would say, "no" and we would go and ask dad. But we wouldn't ask dad just at any point in time. He needed to be doing something so that he was distracted. From behind his paper, or while he was watching sports, he would answer, "Sure, sweetie."

Suddenly, we are on the roof getting ready to jump and mom is screaming and waving her hands from the kitchen window. She may have said, "no" but dad said, "Yes." And we all know that the last answer is always the one that counts.