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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


Yes, he rose

Just a Thought: Did Jesus really rise from the dead? And does it really even matter? The answer to both questions is an emphatic YES!

April 17, 2014 | William Burnham | Columnists


God will have his way

Just a Thought: God will have His way; His will, will be accomplished. If this is so, why do we need to bother to do anything? Why don't we just sit back and "let God?"

April 03, 2014 | William Burnham | 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


Understanding death

Just a Thought: Have you ever contemplated death? No, I don't mean causing death, just "death." Where did it come from? Why does it come? What hope do we have in light of God's truth: "…you are dust, and to the dust you will return" (Gen.3:19) "What man can live and not see death?" (Ps. 89:48a) It is appointed for men to die…(Heb. 9:27; James 4:14).

March 20, 2014 | William Burnham | Columnists


Just a Thought: It begins with individuals

Just a Thought: Let the church rise up!

March 13, 2014 | William Burnham | 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


Just a Thought: Callous about sin?

Do you have any features that look like your mom's or dad's? Maybe you have his eyes, her nose or some other characteristic. Do you have any of your heavenly Father's features? "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God…" (Rev.4:8) But what about His children? We are told throughout scripture that we are to be as He is; (Lev. 11:44a; 19:2; 20:7,26; 1 Peter 1;15; 1 John 1:7).

March 06, 2014 | William Burnham | 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


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Archive By Section - 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


Parson to Person: Those who forget history are destined to repeat it

George Santayana is credited with saying, "Those who forget history are destined to repeat it."

February 05, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | 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


Parson to Person: Two misconceptions

I would like to use this week's column to dispel two misconceptions that prevail in Christianity.

January 29, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | 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


Parson to Person: God is not to blame

The devastating earthquake which hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, has dominated the news. Haiti, once considered the pearl of the Antilles because of its beauty was once one of Frances richest colonies. In our day however, Haiti has the distinction of being the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere. Even before this devastating earthquake, stories coming out of Haiti told of people making mud pies and eating them in an attempt to stave off the hunger and get at least some form of nourishment.

Since the earthquake I have both read and heard people's opinion on why ...

January 22, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | 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


Parson to Person: A pastor’s life from behind the scenes

"Minsters don't know anything about real life." "When are you going to get a real job?" "So, how does it feel to only have to work one day a week?" Comments and questions such as these are often directed at those of us in ministry. Yes, many times they are said "tongue in cheek," (at least the two questions), but even then they show the misconceptions that many have when it comes to the ministerial profession.

January 08, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | 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


Parson to Person: 2010 is here

2009 has come and gone. Many have high hopes for 2010. Perhaps we will experience a surge in the economy, the creation of new jobs to put people who lost their jobs in 2009 back to work, maybe 2010 will be the year my ship comes in.

Traditionally in preparation for the New Year people make themselves wonderful promises of how they will be different in the coming year. While perhaps sincere the vast majority of our New Year's Resolutions are quickly sacrificed on the altar of same old, same old. The truth of the matter is outward reform ...

January 01, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | 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


Parson to Person: Luke’s honest reporting

Luke 2:1-20, the account of Jesus' birth, is probably one of the most widely known passages of Scripture. During this time of year, one might hear it in the most unexpected places. Religious or not, it is nigh impossible to get through the Christmas season without at least a passing reference to this important passage.

December 18, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | 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


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