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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 25, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


In doubt

What a prison self consciousness can be. When I think of those "would be" Christians if they could just find someone to express the love of God and acceptance to them. In Luke 7, we read the story of a self-righteous Pharisee who invites Jesus to dinner and an encounter with a prostitute. (Odd mix I know) but it is kind of like Christians in the world with judgmental spirits or worse how sinners are made to feel (if) or when they walk into the church building. You have heard people say, "Well if I went to church the ceiling ...

September 25, 2014 | William Burnham | Columnists


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


In doubt

Doubt happens to the best of us. I know we sometimes put people on a pedestal like famous preachers, authors or even mature Christians we know and then criticize ourselves with comparisons like "I bet they are too spiritually mature to doubt like me. I wish I was more like them." But the truth is, they do have times of doubt because we all do. We have times of doubt when tragedies strike for no reason or prayers go unanswered or we get mistreated for trying to do the right thing, etc. We wonder if anyone else struggles with the ...

September 11, 2014 | William Burnham | 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


Just a thought: The Golden Rule

Is the "Golden Rule" biblical? Yes, but not because it is a "golden rule" but rather because it is a "Kingdom principle." Many people miss the point here. They want to live by the golden rule (and that's fine), but not really according to the Kingdom rule. Ah yes, we are talking about the pickers and the choosers. Jesus asked it this way: "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Lk. 6:46) In other words; "Why do you call me Lord when in reality I am not your Lord?" or, "Why ...

August 28, 2014 | William Burnham | Columnists


Get your hands dirty

The church is failing in a big way! Yes I am aware God has, and continues to use, the church to reach the lost and minister to the world in mighty ways. However, one of the greatest and most foundational tasks given to the church by Christ is one of the things the church is neglecting the most - "discipleship." I have often said, "We are outraged at the idea of someone abandoning a newborn and we should be, but yet the church does this everyday to those who are newly born again."

August 21, 2014 | William Burnham | Columnists


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Archive By Section - Columnists


About Faith: Answers and questions

In this information age, almost anything you want to know can be gleaned from the internet or some other source. The recent "Wiki Leak" of tens of thousands of war diary entries from Afghanistan is only the most recent in the flood of data made available to us. The problem with data, though, is that it is up to the user to analyze it and draw conclusions. While our knowledge has grown exponentially in one generation, it would be hard to say that wisdom has gained much ground. I'm afraid the raw data from 91,000 pages of journal ...

July 30, 2010 | Brian Dale | 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


About Faith: A Meaningful Life

If you asked 50 people what they wanted in life, you would probably get 50 answers. But at the heart of each answer would run a common theme: meaning. We all want meaning in our lives. We all want a sense of purpose and gravity around something bigger than ourselves. This is part of what John Wesley called Prevenient Grace. It is God's gift to us which includes our innate awareness of the need for God. It is not taught but is a universal characteristic of all cultures. Without it, we wander through life with an empty feeling of ...

July 23, 2010 | Brian Dale | 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


About Faith: Roots and Branches

Current events can sometimes take a toll on my spirit. Recently, the news outlets have bombarded us with this hot news flash: More Of The Same. More economic stagnation, more sweltering heat, more closures and foreclosures, more oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. Even a new field general in Afghanistan does not mask the fact that it is the same old war. Politicians campaigning for office are giving us the same old message: "If you send me to Washington, I'll be different. And this time I really mean it!"

July 16, 2010 | By Brian Dale | 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


About Faith: The church’s one foundation

The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord. Or so the song goes. We sing it often, and its theme is reflected in many places throughout the New Testament. So why must we be reminded of church unity so frequently? Are we such disparate people, so inclined to fragmentation, that unity goes against our very nature? Would the Church universal spin off into a thousand shards without our constant efforts to hold it together? Is church unity even a realistic hope, or just a lofty ideal that is ultimately unattainable?

July 09, 2010 | Brian Dale Columnist | Columnists


Parson to Person: Keep the message straight

In the Old Testament book of Haggai there is an interesting account of extremely troubled economic times. Some of the children of Israel had returned home after 70 years in captivity. They were trying to re-establish themselves in their homeland, but everything they touched seemed to turn to dust. They couldn't understand why.

July 02, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


About Faith: Choosing a summer adventure

Life is often a series of routines that keeps us going. We have our morning routines for getting ready to meet the day. We have our weekly and monthly routines to get work done and meet family obligations. Good habits are good for us. Routine is good.

June 25, 2010 | Brian Dale Columnist | 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


Parson to Person: Foundations in Apologetics

At Gateway we have been in a series on Sunday nights entitled "Foundations in Apologetics" and produced by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Apologetics does not mean we are apologize for what we believe, but rather that we are defending what we believe. The Bible says, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect," (1 Peter 3:15, NIV). That is what apologetics is.

How does one defend faith? Isn't ...

June 18, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | 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


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