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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


Grace notes: What's the point

We go through a lot to do "church". Think of the time and money and effort and energy put into making sure we've got a place to meet on Sundays, all the work that goes into the various events and traditions. People give up so much in the name of church, so today I ask you, "Why?" What's the point?"

February 20, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


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Archive By Author - Jonathan E. Scharf


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


Grace Notes: Joy to the World

It's amazing what a song can do, isn't it? Not that it's stopped me, but it's not politically correct anymore to say "Merry Christmas" in some places, you know. I have to admit a smile crossed my face at the store as the cashier told me to have a "Happy Holiday" even as my kids were singing along to the words of a very "Christ"mas song playing in the background of that same store.

December 18, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Savior of the Nations, Come

I'm surprised you're taking time to read this, what with all the things you've got on your "to do" list. I'm just glad you know how important it is to take time out of the busy-ness of this month to remember what it is all about.

December 04, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Thanks for nothing, God

Blah blah blah... You've heard it a thousand times: "We have so much to thank God for." But it's hard to argue with that. God has protected us from so much we don't want and given us so much we do. Our standard of living, even for the poorest among us, is light years beyond the standard of living for the majority of our world's population. And now just try comparing it to the standard of living even in our country 200 years ago. We have plenty to thank God for. Even King Solomon, richest man ...

November 27, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God's Grace to give you confidence

This Sunday is the last Sunday in the Church Year. In a few days we celebrate Thanksgiving (Check out next Friday's column for that). After that comes the season of Advent, the season of preparation for the coming of our Savior. Really it's a two-fold preparation. We prepare to witness again and celebrate his birth in that manger. And we prepare to see him when he comes back at the end of time to take us to be with him. But as we prepare, there's the question I heard still hanging in the air for some - maybe ...

November 20, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Grace to face Judgment Day

Have you ever noticed how one person's big moment of absolute joy is another's worst nightmare?

November 13, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s grace for you to reform

Quick quiz: What was last weekend? Hint: Oct. 31. My guess is that most of you were thinking of ghosts and goblins and trick-or-treat. Everyone knows that Oct. 31 is Halloween, right? What not everyone knows is that something else is celebrated that day too - Reformation.

On Oct. 31, 1517, on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany, Martin Luther posted 95 theses, 95 statements for debate and discussion among the scholars and churchmen. He wanted his church to start evaluating some of its practices in light of Scripture and not just do things because "that's what ...

November 06, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


God’s Grace in making a helper suitable

Last week, millions of people had birthdays, but when my son turned 3 and my daughter turned 6, those were special days. Why? Family. The wall at my daughter's school is full of pictures of "Students of the Month." But one is more heart-warming to me than any other. Why? Family.

October 30, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Our God does the impossible through us

Remember that story of the Feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:30-44)? It shows Jesus to be true God, right? Absolutely. It shows Jesus' inexplicable and self-sacrificing love, right? Absolutely, as he puts his own needs for rest and relaxation aside and helps those people. It shows so much about our Savior. But it also shows us something about ourselves.

October 23, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Our God does the impossible

Busy, busy, busy - too many things to do. One thing gets done and five more are waiting. Some things are going well. Some are going terribly wrong, but they all just seem to be going, going, going all the time. They try to take a break and get away from it, but that just adds more things to do. And then, they get asked to do the impossible.

Sure, that describes the disciples in our Bible reading on the Feeding of the 5,000 today, but it also describes you, doesn't it? Have you ever felt like that? Overwhelmed ...

October 16, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s Grace to find you when you are lost

Have you ever tried to get lost? I'm guessing "no." Have you ever been lost? I'm pretty sure "yes" would be the answer to that one. On some trip, some time, somewhere - you've been lost. And, truth be told, on this journey of life - it's probably happened to you a time or two that spiritually, you've been lost. In fact, the Bible says, that's how we come into this world - lost.

But here are your directions: Read Luke 15. In this chapter, Jesus demonstrates for us what he meant when he said that he ...

October 09, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s Grace for you to carry your cross

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Jesus said that. And remember, in his day, when you heard the word "cross" you weren't thinking jewelry or art. You were thinking torture and blood and suffocation and death. All that considered, his recruitment pitch seems to leave something to be desired, doesn't it? But that's what he said.

In fact, in the words we're looking at from I Peter, Peter even goes a step beyond that and tells us to rejoice in our sufferings, rejoice as we ...

October 02, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Choose ye this Day!

You wrote "friends forever" in her high school yearbook, and you meant it. But you haven't spoken to or heard from her in years. You vowed to love your spouse forever, but somehow wound up in divorce court. How did it happen?

So many things in life seem to "just happen," even though we never would have chosen them. They just sneak up on you. Little by little they grow on or away from you. No addict chose to be addicted. No buddy chooses to disappear from the life of their friend. It just sort of happens. Why? It ...

September 18, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace notes: Don’t ask what, ask why

"What is it?"

September 04, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | RELIGION


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