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Articles By Author - Jonathan E. Scharf


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: What makes this

We call this Good Friday. Think about that - "good." We call it good when we see a man die - and not just die, die brutally. "Good." On this day we contemplate the most famous six hours in the history of the world. We witness through the record in scripture the most talked about execution that has ever happened. On Good Friday, we remember the blood and the brutality of scourge and nail and thorn. And we call it "Good."

April 02, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Live your Hosanna!

March Madness! You know what I'm talking about. Our country goes crazy over this basketball tournament. If you've ever found yourself yelling your cheers at a television set watching a game, you get it. If you've ever seen the fans who are actually at those games - you understand why we call it March Madness. Can you explain the urge to wave signs, scream yourself horse and high-five complete strangers? Madness.

Well, this Sunday in the church year is what I like to think of as March Madness - God style. It's Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode ...

March 26, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s grace to make big decisions

Do you like to make big decisions? There are so many factors to weigh, so many pros and cons to sift through, so many variables to consider. Wouldn't it be nice if God just made all the decisions for us?

Well, he loves us too much for that - so, after making us his own, he gives us the ability to make some decisions. Realize, this is not something to take lightly. The decisions we make have a pretty profound impact on who we become. Thankfully, God gives us some guidance.

March 19, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Why good things happen

Last week, we saw Jesus teaching us why bad things happen. If you missed that one, check online at www.covnews.com or the full sermon at www.abidinggrace.com. But this week, I want to look at the flipside of that - why good things happen. We got a preview of that when last week Jesus told us to repent when we saw bad things because we are really the ones that deserve them. Repentance is turning around. So now the reason for good things happening is pretty clear.

March 12, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s grace to deal with bad things

As if it wasn't bad enough that an earthquake devastated Haiti, now Chile too. What's going on? Why did so many people have to lose their homes, their stuff, their lives? Or I suppose we could make it more personal: Why did my loved one have to die? Why did I have to get sick? Have you ever asked questions like that? How you ever lamented that things just weren't fair?

March 05, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s grace will keep you under his wings

Ahh Lent. It's here. Last week was Ash Wednesday, and now we find ourselves in this season of repentance, these 40 days to focus our attention on the suffering of our Savior and our sins that caused it. And that's good. You see, in order to appreciate the victory of Easter - we have to deal with the honesty of Lent. Christianity is not some pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. It's so truthful and factual it hurts. It hurts when we realize what we deserve. It hurts when we realize what Jesus had to go through for us. But the ...

February 26, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s true love unveiled

I'll admit it. I married up. If you meet my wife, I can easily see you asking "What did she see in him?" Have you ever wondered that about a couple? What do they see in each other?

February 19, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Go for God

Do you want a job? In this economy, that introduction should catch some attention. If you're looking for one, after a while, just about any job sounds good. So you want this one? Here are the details: nothing to speak of for pay; it won't earn you any respect or appreciation, either. Sound good?

February 12, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God's grace to go to God

Do you want to be with God? That sounds good, doesn't it? Think about it for a minute. You see, before God gave Isaiah his job of representing him, he wanted to make sure Isaiah knew the One he'd be working for. So God let Isaiah see him. This is how Isaiah records it: "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple." Isaiah saw God, and the only thing he could find words to describe was that his robe ...

February 05, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Wedding gifts of grace

For all of the drama that goes into planning and pulling off a wedding, what really lasts from that day? Really, two things: The vows and the gifts, right?

January 29, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s Grace to help us wait

Do you like waiting? I don't. It was hard enough waiting a few months for all the permits and permissions on our building project. I can't imagine having to wait years for something you wanted to happen that much. You see, waiting brings with it some problems.

In our text from Luke 3, we see some of those problems, and they all stem from the first word of verse 15 in the original Greek: "Waiting expectantly." You see the Jewish people had been waiting for more than a few months. They had been given promises of an amazing ...

January 22, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s Grace to give you hope

I like funerals. I know, that might sound a bit odd. Sure there are some bad parts: the tears, the pain, the loss that caused the funeral. But the good far outweighs the bad. For one, it seems that funerals are times people who don't listen too often are really listening - listening to what God has to say. So, yes, I like funerals, because what God has to say at the funeral of a believer is pretty amazing.

January 15, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Wise Men bow down before Christ

You might not have noticed it, but this Wednesday was Epiphany, the day after the 12th day of Christmas, the day the church has decided to celebrate the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem, and really the "Revealing" (that's what Epiphany means) of Jesus as true God and Lord to all nations.

January 08, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: The New Year

Happy New Year! As you're reading this, chances are the streamers of celebration are still on the ground, the decorations still up, and the resolutions still resolute. New Year's Day. It's a great day, isn't it? It's a day of hope and confidence, a day of optimism and potential. It's a great day. All those promises you made last night to change your life for the better are still within the realm of possibility.

But let's be real. Sure there's a lot of potential with this fresh start, but that means there ...

January 01, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Get Real with Christmas

You know the artists have it wrong, don't you? I'm talking about Christmas. When you think of Christmas, do you see a cherubic baby on bed of sparkling clean hay, parents peacefully looking on - halos shining over everyone in the scene, shepherds, wise men, everyone awash in starlight, maybe even a few angels hovering over the manger? Is that what you think of when you think of Christmas?

December 25, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


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