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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


Scharf: Love speaks sacrificially

He was one of my childhood heroes. He had won just about any award baseball could give. I didn't see it myself and don't really want to believe it, so I won't use the guy's name, but I'm told that when this Hall of Famer moved out of his home in my friend's subdivision, he left it all behind. Boxes of trophies, including an MVP award, out by the curb. Why? His life had taken some turns, and suddenly, those things didn't matter to him anymore. He gave it all up because to ...

September 13, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Scharf: Love speaks precisely

With today's column, I'm starting a series of columns that play off of our church body's theme this year: "Christ's Love, Our Calling." It's all about how Christ's love for you gives you purpose - a calling. And this series looks at what God said about our calling to speak his truth in love. In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes: "It is written: 'I believed; therefore I have spoken.' With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak."

September 06, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Scharf: The Door of Humility

In Luke 13, Jesus said that the door to heaven is narrow. At another place Jesus said, "I am the Gate" (John 10:9). The Greek word is the same. And the picture is the same, isn't it? The only way to heaven is through Jesus.

Now, as we are in this series discussing how love speaks, last week we learned from Jesus how important it is to speak precisely because the door is narrow and easy to miss. This week, we'll see how it stands wide open for all, so we have every reason to speak freely ...

August 30, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Love speaks confidently

Reading my cousin's emails was sometimes kind of like cracking a code. It was pretty straightforward when she spoke of side trips she was taking and different sites she was seeing. But you had to pay attention to when she spoke of "friends" that she got to talk about "her Best Friend" with.

August 23, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


More than just a meal ticket

"Alright, let's eat!" When you hear those words, what thoughts come to your mind?

August 16, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Scharf: Knowing God’s word

A couple months ago, I got a phone call at 2:23 a.m. in the morning. A call at that time is seldom good news. This one couldn't have been better.

August 09, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Scharf: The Right Way to Say Goodbye

They say you can learn a lot about a relationship by the way you say goodbye. Watch a married couple as they separate to go about their day. Watch the children being put on the bus by mom on the first day of school. Watch the scene on hundreds of college campuses in a few weeks as parents set their children free. You can learn a lot about a relationship by the way they say goodbye.

Today, I want to look at God's word, at how the apostle Paul said goodbye to the leaders of the church in Corinth ...

August 02, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Scharf: Go for the Gold

"Go for the gold!" That was the motto of our soccer camp this past week. I'm sure you've heard it before, especially this year. It's a phrase that has been used to motivate so many Olympians. Why? Well, it keeps the goal in front of them. Have you ever read any of the descriptions of what Olympic athletes have to go through to actually hope to win a gold? Think of some of the world's famous gymnasts who leave home as early as 7 or 8 years old to train full time. Their parents give them ...

July 26, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Scharf: The power to be ‘all in’

Not too long ago, my son taught me how to play Texas Hold'em. We don't play for money, just chips. And that is good. First, because I wouldn't want to let gambling lead to greed and second, because I would lose. It turns out, in poker, if you keep trying to go "all in," you lose your chips pretty quickly. To quote a popular song, a wise player "knows when to hold 'em, knows when to fold 'em, knows when to walk away, knows when to run..." In poker, apparently, you have to be a little conservative ...

July 19, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Scharf: Going all in with God

I was so disappointed. There was so much buildup and hype. So much buzz. So much publicity. Do you remember? About a month ago, for the first time in 116 years, a man was going to walk a tightrope across the Niagara Falls. Sure, over a century ago, a bunch of people had done it...before it was forbidden. But then, it was banned because not everybody that tried made it across.

July 12, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Scharf: Seeing faithfulness in action

"Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life."

July 05, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Life from death

A father loses his 9-year-old daughter in a car accident; other families grieve the killings of two at a funeral; a woman watches her man die of cancer; a man backs out of the driveway and over his nephew, killing him. How do you handle things like that?

June 28, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | News Columnists


Scharf: An Amazing Desert Journey

I'm guessing that most of you have been camping at one time or another in your life. As I write this, I'm getting ready to pack up my family and head to the woods. We'll be in an area famous for no cell phone coverage, with the closest town being nearly a half hour away. But I can't really call what we'll be doing camping. We rent a cabin and flip a switch to get some light, sleep on beds, and everything else. And you RV-ers out there can't really call that "camping" either ...

June 21, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


To whom shall we go?

"Can you believe it? He thinks he's the only one who has a connection to God." "He says only through him can you have heaven!"

June 14, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Scharf: Remain in My Love

There is something about sitting in mom's lap listening to a story. You just don't want to leave, even if she's read the book 5 times. You don't want to leave that place of safety and warmth and those kisses on the top of the head. It feels good to be somewhere you know you are loved.

As we celebrate Mother's Day this week and next (I hope your celebration didn't end Sunday!), I want you to use the picture of your mom's love for you to try to give you a glimpse ...

June 07, 2012 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


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