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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


Postmodern contradictions

Philosopher and Statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) is credited with saying, "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results."

May 01, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Discerning the essence of Christianity

"My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world," (1 John 4:1, The Message).

April 24, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


The brother of the Prodigal Son

Before we broke for my Easter article, we had been in a series looking at Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son. We've seen the prodigal leave home in a hunt for hedonistic pleasures. We walked with him as his dreams turned to ashes. We traveled with him as he took the long journey home. We marveled at the father's reception and restoration of this wayward son. We explored various applications of this parable and God's love and acceptance of us - no matter how far away from him we may have roamed. But there is one more character ...

April 17, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


The Prodigal Son heads home

We've been exploring the parable of the Prodigal Son in our last few articles. We've walked with this boy as his dreams drove him from home, and we stayed with him when those dreams turned to dust. Friendless, penniless and hungry, the prodigal finally "came to his senses" and headed home.

In our last column we saw that his motives for heading home were not all that noble. His heart didn't lead him home, his stomach did. One of the biggest hindrances to people coming to Christ is they feel that somehow they must either have noble ...

March 27, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Coming to your senses

Over these last few weeks my articles have centered on the parable of the prodigal son. The Biblical reference for that parable is Luke 15:11-32. As we've looked at and sought application to this account in this series of columns so far, we have seen the boy reject everything in hopes of gaining everything with the result that he lost everything. That's pretty much where we left him.

March 20, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Handling the economic crisis

News commentator, author, columnist, adviser to three presidents (Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan), and one-time Presidential candidate (Reform Party, 2000), Pat Buchanan is a person of strong and often controversial views. Recently, like the ground hog, Buchanan has predicted a gray future; but, instead of six weeks of winter, Buchanan sees at least six more months of recession. In his March 3, 2009, column, titled, "Pitchfork Time," Buchanan wrote, "Markets are not infallible. But the stock market has long been a "lead indicator" of where the economy will be six months from now."

March 20, 2009 | John Donaldson | Columnists


Rejecting everything, gaining nothing

In our last few articles we have been looking at the story of the lost son, more commonly referred to as the parable of the prodigal son. We have followed this boy as he made one disastrous decision after another. Those decisions it seems were fueled by resentment over the restrictions of home and a glorification in his imagination of the pleasures of what he thought would be the good life.

March 13, 2009 | By John Pearrell | Columnists


Journey away from home begins in the mind

In our last column, we began exploring the parable of the Prodigal Son. Last week we left the prodigal son as he headed away into a far country with his cash and dreams. No more rules, no more regulations, he was going to live the good life, and like many today he was too short-sighted to consider the ultimate cost.

March 06, 2009 | By John Pearrell | Columnists


The Prodigal Son defaults

One of the most loved of Jesus' parables is the parable of the lost son. Generally we refer to it as the story of the Prodigal Son. Trying to do the story justice in one column is nearly impossible, but we will try. This may end up being a short series of articles so check your paper each week (and, no, I don't get royalties for paper sales.)

February 27, 2009 | By John Pearrell | Columnists


Let worries become prayers

Philippians 4:6-7 in The Message translation reads, "Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."

February 20, 2009 | By John Pearrell | Columnists


Loading up the iPod

"The music that really turns me on is either running toward God or away from God. Both recognize the pivot - that God is at the center of the jaunt" (Bono).

February 06, 2009 | John Donaldson | Columnists


Real change

Recently Matthew Parris wrote in the "London Times," "Missionaries, not aid money are the solution to Africa's biggest problem - the crushing passivity of the people's mindset." He says he has "become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa." Wherever missionaries lived, he wrote, "something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to. They see themselves as individuals who stand in direct relationship to God - not as subservient subordinates who must kowtow to tyrants." He concludes, "In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real ...

January 29, 2009 | John Pearrell | Columnists


Church News Round Up

Here are some of the interesting stories related to Christianity that were in the news last week.

January 19, 2009 | John Donaldson | Columnists


Parson to Person

"O Lord, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow." (Psalm 144:3-4, NIV).

I fear that we mortals often think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We seem to persist with the mistaken notion that God somehow needs us; that He craves our attention. We live with the quite childish notion that God was lonely (and somehow incomplete) without us.

January 19, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Some advice

As I write this column, our nation is preparing to inaugurate the 44th President of the United States. The inauguration of Barak Obama is indeed an historic occasion. Many men of stature will be participating in the event offering prayers and blessings and, in the process, a little advice.

While it is doubtful that our new president will ever see this column, I, too, want to remind him of some vital principles as he takes office. Consider this column an open letter to our new president.

January 12, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


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