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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


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Archive By Section - Columnists


Grace Notes: Be a hero

Nine years ago tomorrow, one of the most significant events in United States history occurred. "9/11" is now much more than a date on the calendar between 9/10 and 9/12. Just hearing that string of digits now fills us with emotion.

September 10, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Does he know you?

If you've ever been asked the question "Do I know you?" You know how devastating that can be. Whether it's someone you've had several conversations with that you thought you had made a connection to or someone you haven't seen in a while, it is tough when you find out your relationship isn't what you thought it was.

September 03, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


About Faith: A word of hope

Remember the TV series, MASH? In one episode, someone asked B.J. Honeycutt why he didn't give into temptation in the midst of the Korean War. He answered, "I live in an insane world where nothing makes sense. Everyone around me lives for the now, because there may not be a tomorrow. But I have to live for tomorrow, because for me there is no now." Without using the word, he was speaking of hope.

September 03, 2010 | By Brian Dale | Columnists


About Faith: Deeds along the road

There is a legend about a very wise king who decided to build a highway from one end of his kingdom to the other. Everyone approved of the king's plans, and watched with anticipation as road crews went to work. This highway would be the pride of all who lived there. It would be used by soldier and monk, royalty and pauper, citizen and sojourner alike, and all who traveled it would bless the king for the ease with which they covered the hilly terrain. Merchants with caravans passing through the kingdom would gladly pay the toll the king ...

August 27, 2010 | Brian Dale | Columnists


Grace Notes: Put on the full armor of God

You are at war. I know, you probably didn't have to swerve to miss any IED's on the road today, and I'm sure you weren't dodging any heat-seeking missiles when you went to get the paper. Nevertheless, you are at war. That's the way God's Word describes your life here on this earth: War.

August 27, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


About Faith: This is hard!

In the gospel stories, I do not recall any occasion when the disciples complained of being hungry, or tired, or of pain. As followers of an itinerant rabbi, they were prepared to hike for miles over rough terrain, sustained by meager fare and perhaps suffer violence at the hands of their detractors. We see stories where the disciples note a lack of food ("send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves"). We even see them falling asleep from exhaustion, as in the Garden of Gethsemane. We see them plucking grains out ...

August 20, 2010 | Brian Dale | Columnists


Grace Notes: Your treasure, your heart

Have you ever had that feeling like you're spinning your wheels? Does it ever seem like you work work and work and don't seem to get anywhere? You know you make as much as a bunch of people, but it just doesn't seem like you can ever get ahead? God's Word for us today in Haggai 1 explains why that happens.

August 20, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


About Faith: Peace amidst the storm

The news recently has celebrated the antics of Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater, who pulled off his version of "Take this job and shove it." He made his grand exit from the plane (and his employment) by shouting a series of expletives, opening the emergency escape door, deploying the escape chute, and sliding down to freedom. The two beers he took with him added a dramatic flourish. But more notable is the public reaction to his clearly inappropriate behavior. Nationwide people are celebrating his misdeed. Television, radio shows, blogs, Facebook and Twitter are burning up with support for him ...

August 15, 2010 | Brian Dale | Columnists


Grace Notes: Be joyful always

"Be joyful always." That's what the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to tell us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16. Now, if you're looking for a verse of the Bible to memorize, that is one of the easiest, right alongside the classic "Jesus wept." Actually, did you know there is a shorter verse in the NIV translation? Job 3:2 is just "He said." But I digress. I was saying that "Be joyful always" is a real easy thing to say, and almost as easy to memorize… but how hard is it to do?

August 13, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Thanks, but no thanks

I disagree with both the liberal and conservative approaches to the current economic crisis.

August 12, 2010 | Patrick Durusau | Columnists


About Faith: Pardon my dust

Well, my doctor has advised me to reduce my salt intake for the sake of my blood pressure, a task which has proven to be very difficult. I can pass by the obviously salty things like chips and bacon, but salt is hidden in everything from artichokes to zucchini. Cooking without salt is not hard, but dining out low-sodium style is next to impossible.

August 06, 2010 | Brian Dale | Columnists


Grace Notes: Lord, teach us to pray

Our church's construction project has hit a little delay. We're still waiting for approval from the Department of Transportation. So, I asked the contractor who's trying to work through all this what I could do to help. I was thinking he might tell me to make a phone call or supply some documents. His answer? Pray.

August 06, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | 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


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