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Articles By Author - Jonathan E. Scharf


A death to redeem us

On Christmas Eve, we talked about a child who was born to save us. We talked about his purpose. Tonight, we see that baby, now grown, fulfill it. And I have to warn you - it's not pretty. No longer a cuddly little baby in swaddling clothes, this grown man had been beaten, stripped, mocked, whipped, and could barely physically drag his pulp of a body out to this hill for the climax of this cruelty. It is not pretty. Yet this Friday is Good, precisely because it is Him doing what He came for. In order to save us ...

April 17, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


In the Shadow of the Cross

I was blind for an hour. And that was enough. Granted, I paid for the privilege when that exhibit "Dialogue in the Dark" was in Atlantic Station. It gave you the chance to experience life blind for a short time. I'll just say it was an eye-opening experience. I don't know how truly blind people do it.

April 03, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


See sin for what it is —

Last week, we started looking at Genesis 3, that story of the first sin, to try to understand why we do some of the things we do. We compared it to the victims in a horror movie opening the door that we know so much danger is behind. Like helpless moviegoers, we watched Adam and Eve walk through that door. We saw how dangerous Satan's lies are to lead us to sin.

March 20, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: See sin for what it is

I just can't watch horror movies. I get too frustrated. You see, it bugs me that they always go through that door.

March 13, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: The Son shines proof

Last Wednesday, at about midnight, one guy shoved something up my dad's nose, another person shoved something down his throat, and then the kicker – this guy took a knife and cut my dad's midsection wide open. And we thanked him for it.

March 06, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Thoughts from the road

Dear readers: For the last 10 years, I have been the guy on call to be there for people when they're going through tragedy. I've tried to comfort them with God's Word as they mourn the loss of a loved one, face uncertain surgeries, and deal with pain in so many different ways.

February 27, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | RELIGION


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Archive By Author - Jonathan E. Scharf


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


Grace Notes: The price of freedom

You know the saying: "Freedom is not free." As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July this weekend, it's important to appreciate that. Think of how much so many have given so that you could be reading this in peace. Think of the lives given so that we can be so comfortable in our security that seeing things exploding in the sky this weekend will not be scary.

July 22, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Be built up

Here's a quandary for you. When you see a building going up - who gets the credit? Is it the contractor, the supplier, the fund-raiser? Or what about the architect, or the laborers? I know that a whole bunch of people will be at least partially taking credit for my church's new building. The contractor and the stone supplier and the stained glass guy have already asked for pictures to use in their advertising. I'm sure the architect will have our picture up in his office soon, and I'm sure that, before long, the foundation that gave ...

July 16, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Receive with believing hearts

"The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace." For 25 centuries, believers have been holding God to these promises that he gave us to use as we bless each other. But what exactly are these words saying?

July 09, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Hold the Lord to his promises

If you've been in church recently and made it until the end of the service, chances are you've heard the words of the section of Scripture we're looking at today - Numbers 6:22-27. I know - there are a ton of differences in worship styles between all sorts of different kinds of churches, but this is one place where there isn't all that much difference.

June 25, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Victory of Life

She was a lucky lady. Of all the funerals going on that day, it was her son's that Jesus happened to meet on the road. Talk about good fortune. But her good fortune had started even before Jesus showed up. This story is recorded in Luke 7:11-17. The widow was getting ready to bury her son when Jesus happened upon the funeral procession and raised the young man. She's the one I'm calling lucky. You see, her child had died.

Let me explain why I'm calling that good. If you've ever seen the fans ...

June 18, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: My faith looks up to thee

"My faith looks up to thee." That's a classic line from a great hymn, and it's a great sentiment. Too bad, all too often it's a lie. As much as we might say it and pretend like it is true - all too often, our sinful pride gets our faith to look in to me instead of up to thee.

June 11, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: The Cup of Victory

The World Cup is coming. It's possible you might not have noticed it here yet. The first games are still a week away and the US National Team doesn't play until next Saturday, but in some parts of the world... Wow! It is already consuming headlines. It's such a media buzz that, in those places, if you weren't aware of it, you were probably in a coma.

June 04, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: On love and laying down one’s life

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Jesus said that. He said it on a day we call Maundy Thursday. He said that the day he handed himself over to the Jewish and Roman authorities. He said that the day before he died on that cross… for us. "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
We'd have to agree, huh? There's nothing more one could give, right? I think of those soldiers willing to do just that, and I stop ...

May 28, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: The story of our stained glass

Our church, Abiding Grace, is in a building project. Last night, we had one of the coolest opportunities of the whole planning process. We got to meet with the artist who is creating our stained glass windows. That was fun - picturing how it will all look - anticipating how these windows will be communicating to all who see them something special - something about God and his grace for them.

Now, before you read on, ask yourself what image you would put in the front and center window. What would you consider to be the most important thing to communicate with those ...

May 21, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | RELIGION


Grace Notes: Live like the church

Last week, God's Word in First Peter 2 showed us that we are the Church, not a building, but a body of believers. But we only got part of the way through that text. Today, let's look at what that means. Today, let's look at how that changes your life. Peter writes this about you, the Church, the ones who see Jesus as the living Stone:

"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into ...

May 14, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: The members are the church

Over here at Abiding Grace, we are building our church. It's a pretty exciting time. The walls are up. The roof is just about up. The utilities are going in. Finally. After all this time planning, preparing and permitting, praying and paying, we are building our church. Are you excited? You know, when we got together to talk about building our building, we said we wanted something that "looks like a church," right? …Something that people wouldn't get confused with an office building or someone's house. It was supposed to "look like a church." Have you seen ...

May 07, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: The Lord is returned, part II

Last week, we looked at John 21:1-14 and marveled at what it meant for those disciples that Jesus appeared to them again after all their failures. Last week, we read in awe of how Jesus keeps coming to us in his word with his forgiveness even after all of our failures. Today, I want to explore that third appearance Jesus made to his disciples and see how all of the details of this appearance highlight just how awesome our Savior is. Let's look again at what it means that this guy in the text "is the Lord."

April 30, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


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