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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


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


Just a Thought: What is your life?

Psalms 139 is the strongest, most undeniable argument for when "life" begins in the womb. This passage makes it very clear all life is divinely ordained by God, formed by God, and designed by and developed by God. Having said that, let's talk about our own life.

February 27, 2014 | William Burnham | Columnists


If I only had a year to live ...

Ecclesiastes 3:9-14 (Contemporary English Version): "What do we gain by all of our hard work? I have seen what difficult things God demands of us. God makes everything happen at the right time.

February 27, 2014 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


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


A lesson in real love

OK guys, we've got a problem, it's Valentine's Day. If there was ever a day the pressure is on to prove your love, this is it. And there are countless ideas out there, but every one of them could just as easily backfire, since one woman might love what another would not. And if you ask your special someone how you can show your love, well, then you run the risk of her saying that if you really loved her you'd know.

February 13, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Just a Thought: God hates sins, not sinners

God hates sin, not sinners. He hates sin because of what it does to the sinner (redeemed and unredeemed). For the redeemed, yielding themselves to sin can lead them back into the dominant control and slavery they have been set free from. For the unredeemed, sin piled upon sin takes them deeper into sin and farther from a sensitivity to God and need for salvation. Sin at its most basic form means to "miss the mark" Romans 2:23 tells us we have all done this. So in essence sin is sin is sin. But there are some sins God ...

February 13, 2014 | William Burnham | Columnists


Give thanks for your salvation

Aren't you thankful today for the wonderful saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who through His salvation, our spiritual identity and eternal destiny were changed? (2 Cor. 5:17; Romans 6:23b).

February 06, 2014 | William Burnham | Columnists


Everything looks different in the light

I have so many great memories of my grandma, especially when all the cousins would be together, playing in the basement while all the grown-ups were upstairs. Sometimes, we even all got to stay overnight down there. It was awesome, except for one thing: the coatrack. It was one of those things that was always there but you didn't always notice it, unless it was the middle of the night and you woke up and looked toward the one ray of light. That's when I saw what I was sure was a person or a monster - whatever it ...

February 06, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Righteousness that's on the record

Last week, we saw the righteousness that Jesus "filled up" for us – and put on our record in our baptism. We saw him doing everything that was "fitting" for that righteousness, living a perfect life, more perfect than even the most polished celebrity at the most posh event could ever be.

January 30, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Righteousness that fits

Some things are just fitting, aren't they? They are just supposed to be a certain way. Take the Golden Globes. Did you see the show? Everyone who is anyone in Hollywood was there. And everything was just right.

January 23, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Focus as you walk through the day

"How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders!" (Daniel 4:3) These words spoken by a king of the King of kings and Lord of lords are to be the focus of every Christian in today's world.

January 23, 2014 | William Burnham | Columnists


An answer for your doubt

Do you ever feel that being a child of God isn't paying out like you thought it should? The childlike confidence that Jesus will make everything better doesn't always seem to play out - when the wound doesn't heal, the need isn't met, the hurt doesn't go away. For us grown-ups, reality tends to set in and tarnishes some of that unbridled optimism.

January 16, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


God is the chief 'book' keeper

If you are a bookkeeper, you understand the importance of organized filing and record-keeping. You are the ones we turn to in order to find a proof of a check, an important document or policy, etc.

January 16, 2014 | William Burnham | Columnists


God lays out his plans

With precision and accuracy God lays out his plans and works toward the accomplishment of his purpose.

January 09, 2014 | William Burnham | Columnists


Just a Thought: Use Daniel's prayer as a model

Can one person's prayer make a difference? Yes!

December 12, 2013 | William Burnham | Columnists


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