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.

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.

Happy Graduation!

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

graduation

Invitations sent! Cap and Gown in hand! Graduation rehearsal just days away! And, then the big event! In your mind's ear, listen to the old familiar sound accompanying the marching seniors as they make their way to their seats. As the names are being called, the anticipation continues to grow until they call out your name over the loud speaker. As you make your way to the podium where the principal is about to shake your hand and give you that coveted trophy, your mind is saying, FINALLY! Finally, the end is HERE! It is going to be nothing short of awesome. Graduation provides much deserved recognition for a job well done. Enjoy the moment, rest on your laurels, and soak it in as long as you can, for you deserve it. Congratulations!

Some Words to Encourage

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

depressionDeath has such a hold on the hearts of individuals, especially those who are closest to it. It shocks the mind. Being that it is so severe, so final, and so life changing for those left behind, the loss of a loved one is going to take its toll on those closest to them. Get help! Having someone to talk with helps to endure the effect of the transition that has sharply blind-sided one's life.
The tendency often is that of refusing the help being offered. Some take the "matter-of-fact" approach, seeking to compartmentalize the hurt, and move on with life. However, not dealing with pain and suffering when it comes—and oh brother, does it come—will cause a residual effect over the years of one's life. This we sometimes refer to as baggage.

One Family's Search

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

familyCraig and Tara Jones were the typical American couple. They grew up in middle class families, met in college, and were married in their junior year. Neither of the two came from families who were, what one would call, churchgoers. Both had gone to the occasional holiday worship service with friends from school, and maybe a Vacation Bible School here and there. But, church was just not a big thing to them. Both were professional people, yet after a few years of marriage, they began a family, having a boy, and then a couple years later, a little girl. As the children grew to an age where they communicated pretty well, their parents began hearing how they picked up little words, very "adult" words, and would say them. At first it was a mixture between cute, and a little shocking, hearing such little ones saying words that they remembered their parents not letting them say. Before long they found themselves telling the little ones not to say words like that.

Who was Cain's wife?

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

familysilhouettebeachblueHave you ever “googled” the words, “Who was Cain’s wife?” There are literally hundreds of sites online debating in one form or other the authenticity and impact of the Biblical account of Cain’s family. In most cases, any discussion on the wife of Cain, as reported in Genesis 4:17, is questioned in order to discredit not only the historical marriage, but more importantly, God, who gave us the record of her life. Without doubt, people will go to great lengths rejecting the Bible to “excuse” their duty to obey it. So, who was Cain’s wife? There is much one can know about a person by their choices of companions. The apostle wrote, “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals,’” 1 Corinthians 15:33. As true as those words are today, the same can be said concerning folks who lived back at the beginning as well. As with all Bible characters, we know more about the event surrounding her life, than about her as a person. Though her name is not mentioned, to say we know very little about her is far from the truth. Here are some things we know about Cain’s wife.

Marriage through the eyes of Marshall Keeble

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

keeble12In our library is a book Willie Cato wrote entitled, His Hand And Heart: The Wit And Wisdom Of Marshall Keeble. In it Brother Cato, a great gospel preacher and a dearly departed family friend, reflected on his years of travel with Brother Keeble, and the interesting perspective he had on the Christian life. Concerning marriage Keeble encouraged young men to prepare themselves in view of being a good prospect for a young lady to marry. He said, “You’re looking for the best girl to marry, but what is she looking for? If you live a hog’s life—down in the mire all the time—what angel would want to lay down with hogs?” Brother Keeble had a witty way of making his points. As for the right person to marry he said, “Don’t marry one who is not a member of the church of Christ. You’ll have trouble! Just don’t marry—you’ll have enough trouble with them that are members of the church of Christ.” Marriage is not always easy. It takes work on the part of both people involved.

Hey, Thats not fair!

Written by Scott Harp on . Posted in Pulpit Minster

clouds1“A” comes before “Z” except for when it does not! Do you remember the times in school when the teacher told the students to get in line in alphabetical order to go to the lunchroom? The “A’s” were always in front of the line. If your name started with a “W” or a “Y,” it could be a tough position in which to be. However, once in a while the teacher would say, “Now everyone turn around.” Then, all the sudden the last one in line became the first. In those situations, when the “A’s” were expecting to be first, they generally were pretty disappointed to see that they were now last to go to the lunchroom. On one occasion Jesus drew what appears to be a “Z” before “A,” picture. It took place in the twentieth chapter of Matthew. Recall the story, “parable,” He related about the “master of the house” who went out early to hire laborers for his vineyard. He sent them to work. Then as the day progressed he hired more laborers at the third, the sixth, the ninth, and even at the eleventh hour, and sent more laborers into the field. He had agreed to pay each laborer a denarius, a day’s wage, if they would go work.