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Articles By Author - Jonathan E. Scharf


Beloved, Be Loving

"Dearly Beloved…" That's the way I started out my last wedding sermon. I know it's a little bit of a throwback. We don't call too many people "beloved" anymore, but I hope you know what I mean. Today, I want to think about why that's a perfect way to greet one another…"beloved."

September 11, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Blessed to serve

You call yourself a Christian, right? You do realize that just by doing that, you are taking on a very specific job description. You are now "His witnesses". You are the "light of the world" and the "salt of the earth". You are "Christ's ambassadors", a "holy priesthood" you are to be "Declaring the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light". Do I have to go on? Realize it - you have a job, whether you like it or not, you are blessed to serve. There is no such thing as a part ...

August 28, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Scharf: What good are words?

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." You've heard that, right? How about, "The pen is mightier than the sword"? I'm sure you've heard both. But both can't be true. Which is it? Do words have no power or are they more powerful than armies and tanks?

August 14, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | RELIGION


He's got plans

"I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." God said that (Jeremiah 29:11). Have you ever felt like saying, "Yeah, right" when you hear it? Intellectually, we can say that we agree. We know God is in control and he knows what he's doing and he's working for our good. We can say that with our mouths….but do our hearts always buy it? Do we always live like it?

August 07, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | RELIGION


Do not be afraid — you are valuable

Last week, we saw how intimidating it is to see what God expects of us as Christians. If you missed it, check out the 7/13/14 sermon at www.abidinggrace.com. For now, let's just say that Jesus made it pretty clear that we'd suffer for following him. Only once we realize what God expects of us and how far we fall short, and the punishment we should have for that, only then are we ready to read the rest of this section of Scripture where Jesus sends out his disciples as workers in his harvest field.

July 31, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | RELIGION


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Archive By Author - Jonathan E. Scharf


Grace Notes: Trick or Treat

"Trick or Treat." Are you ready to hear it? Chances are, you'll hear it a few times this weekend. This is the one time a year that when someone asks a child, "What do you say?" the correct answer is not "Please" or "Thank you!"

October 29, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Let faith decide

Why do you do what you do? Has it ever happened where you do something even though every rational thought and logical sense would tell you not to? Maybe you give the person a second chance. Maybe you do without so that someone else doesn't have to. Why do yo do those things that don't really seem to benefit you in any way?

October 24, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: A Bold Future

It's always an emotional time when you leave someplace: when the child goes away to college, when the family leaves its home because they're moving to a new one, when the baby of the family moves out on her own. It's emotional, even when you know the move is what you wanted and for your good.

October 15, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Pray persistently

We're getting down to the wire here. The final inspections on our building should be taking place next week, and, God-willing, we'll be able to move in on Oct. 17 with a service that starts at the school we've been using and ends at the new place. Just about everything is done, or well on its way. You can probably guess the last item on the to-do list. It's the same as the first item was: Pray.

October 08, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: The comfort of Revelation

What do you think of when you think of the book of Revelation? Try describing it in one word. I asked that question to begin our new Bible study series on that last book of the Bible last week. And you can probably guess some of the answers I got: "Scary"... "Confusing"... "Destruction"... "Difficult." Then one person said - "Comforting."

That answer is almost shocking compared to all the other ones, but when you think about why the book was written, why God gave us this record of this vision, "comforting" is right on the money.

October 01, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: The story of the lost lamb

The recognition of Sept. 11 has come and gone - and all those images of violence and hatred were revived in our minds…again.

September 24, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Let the gospel fly

Are you familiar with North Carolina's vehicle license plates? There's a sketch of an antique airplane in the background and this slogan on top: "First in Flight." That's a pretty bold claim, isn't it? Sure, I'm familiar with the Wright brothers and Kitty Hawk and Dec. 17, 1903, but that wasn't the first thing ever to fly.

September 17, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Be a hero

Nine years ago tomorrow, one of the most significant events in United States history occurred. "9/11" is now much more than a date on the calendar between 9/10 and 9/12. Just hearing that string of digits now fills us with emotion.

September 10, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Does he know you?

If you've ever been asked the question "Do I know you?" You know how devastating that can be. Whether it's someone you've had several conversations with that you thought you had made a connection to or someone you haven't seen in a while, it is tough when you find out your relationship isn't what you thought it was.

September 03, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Put on the full armor of God

You are at war. I know, you probably didn't have to swerve to miss any IED's on the road today, and I'm sure you weren't dodging any heat-seeking missiles when you went to get the paper. Nevertheless, you are at war. That's the way God's Word describes your life here on this earth: War.

August 27, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Your treasure, your heart

Have you ever had that feeling like you're spinning your wheels? Does it ever seem like you work work and work and don't seem to get anywhere? You know you make as much as a bunch of people, but it just doesn't seem like you can ever get ahead? God's Word for us today in Haggai 1 explains why that happens.

August 20, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Be joyful always

"Be joyful always." That's what the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to tell us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16. Now, if you're looking for a verse of the Bible to memorize, that is one of the easiest, right alongside the classic "Jesus wept." Actually, did you know there is a shorter verse in the NIV translation? Job 3:2 is just "He said." But I digress. I was saying that "Be joyful always" is a real easy thing to say, and almost as easy to memorize… but how hard is it to do?

August 13, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Lord, teach us to pray

Our church's construction project has hit a little delay. We're still waiting for approval from the Department of Transportation. So, I asked the contractor who's trying to work through all this what I could do to help. I was thinking he might tell me to make a phone call or supply some documents. His answer? Pray.

August 06, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: One thing needful

Are you busy? You know that question precedes someone asking for a moment of your time, right? You know that it might come off as rude to say "yes" and then walk away, even if you are busy. But you are busy, aren't you? Doesn't it always seem that there are more things to do than time, money, and energy to do them? Are there things you don't get to because your life is so hectic? My guess is "yes."

July 30, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Trust in the Lord

Tomorrow, I'll be conducting a funeral of a man not yet 50 years old. So, needless to say, there are a bunch of people asking a bunch of questions. Have you ever been in that situation? Have you ever asked God "Why?" And maybe it isn't even about a death. Maybe you've tried to figure out why you lost a job, or why your child rebelled, or why your health failed, or why whatever else happened in your life that you would not have picked for yourself.

July 23, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


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