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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 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


Scharf: See the Light

Happy Epiphany!

January 07, 2011 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


A great new year ahead

I learned recently that Tanzania is proceeding to cut a highway through the Serengeti National Park, endangering one of the last pristine wildlife refuges in the world. Add this to other worrisome topics, like the economy, the Wiki-leaks fiasco, or Ted Turner's opinion that we should adopt the Chinese policy of one child per family, and the list of world woes can seem impressive.

January 01, 2011 | Brian Dale | Columnists


The word made flesh

Wives, do you wish your husbands were better communicators? Guys, do you wish your wives didn't read things into what you say that were never there? You know what I'm talking about:

December 31, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


About Faith: Christmas, Blue and White

As you listen to Christmas music on the radio, you may notice two songs that get played more often than others.

December 17, 2010 | Brian Dale | Columnists


Be responsible when shopping

It was just a pack of three dishcloths, a small and simple purchase. At home, I tore off the label holding them together and learned that my miniscule purchase would help support the Giving World Foundation. I Googled the name and found the website for Giving World, of Williston, Vt. Its motto is "Helping People to Help Themselves," further explained as helping the disadvantaged become self-reliant with an emphasis on programs to aid women and children in India. Foundation dollars go to schools, abandoned children, the children of prisoners, crime prevention and rehabilitation of criminals, even teaching people behind bars ...

December 17, 2010 | Barbara Morgan | Columnists


Grace Notes: What will you do with the promise?

What if George Washington had lost? Would you still know his name, or would Benedict Arnold be the guy that all the third grade history projects are on?

December 16, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Time to stop underhanded ways

Do you remember your first Led Zepplin album?

December 10, 2010 | Patrick Durusau | Columnists


Grace Notes: Repent! It’s a good thing!

Everyone knows that there's no surer way to make friends than going around telling people they are wrong, right? OK, I know you're wiser than that: People hate to hear that they are wrong. They fire back with insults, accusations, rationale and everything else to avoid the dagger of those words. We don't like to hear that we are wrong, but that's the message John the Baptist was screaming in our section of Scripture today, from Matthew 3: "Repent." And that's a message we all need to hear.

December 10, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


About Faith: The Christmas paradox

Christmas is a time when we celebrate the paradoxical story of God becoming a human being. It is a story which upends most of the world's history of approaching God. While other religions usually attempt to span that unfathomable gap between God and humanity by human effort, Christianity claims that God solved the problem by becoming one of us.

December 10, 2010 | Brian Dale | Columnists


Grace Notes: See Christ the King

The section of God's Word we're looking at today is Luke 23:35-43. It's the story of Christ on the cross. That might seem like an odd section of Scripture to be looking at at this time of the year, but it's chosen because here at the end of the church year, we have this Sunday called "Christ the King" Sunday. And this text with Jesus on the cross is all about Christ being our King.

December 03, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


About Faith: Favorite things

There's a scene in the movie version of "The Sound of Music" when Sister Maria (Julie Andrews) led the Von Trapp kids in singing "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things." There were no iPods or Wii's to chase away their fright that stormy night. Instead, they dreamed of snowflakes on their eyelashes, and warm woolen mittens.

December 03, 2010 | Brian Dale | Columnists


Grace Notes - Give thanks

A few years ago Garth Brooks released a song thanking God for unanswered prayers. The gist of the song was that he was thankful that he didn't always get what he asked for because that meant God had something better in store for him.

November 26, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


About Faith - Wake up!

For those who do not follow the liturgical Christian year, it may seem strange to think of this Sunday as the beginning of a new year. The notion that a new year is upon us may not seem right when leftover Thanksgiving turkey is still in the fridge. But for those attuned to such things, this Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is relevant not only to those who celebrate Christmas for twelve days beginning Dec. 25, but also to those for whom the Christmas (shopping) season begins today, Black Friday.

November 26, 2010 | Brian Dale | Columnists


Little things matter most

This is an opportune time of year to take stock of our blessings.

November 24, 2010 | Dick Yarbrough | Columnists


About Faith: Alka-Seltzer and other Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving, for all its joy and stress, is a time of tradition. Every family I know can name five or six traditions they follow every year without fail. Some have little to do with the official day of giving thanks declared by Abraham Lincoln, but they have everything to do with forming memories that give us a sense of family and community.

November 19, 2010 | Brian Dale | Columnists


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