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Blessed are the Peacemakers….

The Mount of the Beatitudes sits on the top of a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. As we approach the park that now encloses the top of the hill, signs remind us to be silent because we are on holy ground. It was here on this very hill that Jesus sat down with his disciples and taught them about the Kingdom of God. Here in this place, as groups gather in various small clusters around the mount, one gets a feeling of what "Blessed" really means. The verses of Matthew 5 that capture the words of Jesus line the ...

June 28, 2015 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


Pride and pride

Two words come to mind when we consider the parable of the prodigal son "Pride and Pride"

June 28, 2015 | William Burnham | Columnists


From weeping to joy

"Alongside Babylon's streams, there we sat down, crying because we remembered Zion."

June 20, 2015 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


Find them all

Do you see them? No really they are everywhere! Come on surely you do see them.

June 14, 2015 | William Burnham | Columnists


Just a thought

I once went for a job interview and was offered the job based upon my passing the physical. It was as a result of the physical exam that I discovered I had a tumor in my bladder. Praise God! The short story is that I was blessed to be able to have the tumor surgically removed and have been bladder cancer free ever since.

June 07, 2015 | William Burnham | Columnists


Trust in the Lord

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don't rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (Common English Bible)

May 31, 2015 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


Jockeying is for small people

Just a Thought: Jockeys are typically small people. Interestingly enough typically so are those people who spend much of their time "jockeying" for position (regardless of their physical size).

May 31, 2015 | William Burnham | Columnists


From a mother's heart

"Three days later Mary, the mother of Jesus, was at a wedding feast in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited and were there. When the wine was all gone, Mary said to Jesus, "They don't have any more wine." Jesus replied, "Mother, my time hasn't yet come: You must not tell me what to do." Mary then said to the servants, "Do whatever Jesus tells you to do." John 2:1-5 (Contemporary English Version)

May 10, 2015 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


A clear and present reminder

Just a Thought: God's Word, prophetic or otherwise, is a clear and present reminder to us that He has all things under control. He has a plan both for our lives and all of eternity. There is to be a balance between knowing and studying what will one day happen with what we ought to do about today.

May 10, 2015 | William Burnham | Columnists


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Archive By Section - 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


About Faith: A Meaningful Life

If you asked 50 people what they wanted in life, you would probably get 50 answers. But at the heart of each answer would run a common theme: meaning. We all want meaning in our lives. We all want a sense of purpose and gravity around something bigger than ourselves. This is part of what John Wesley called Prevenient Grace. It is God's gift to us which includes our innate awareness of the need for God. It is not taught but is a universal characteristic of all cultures. Without it, we wander through life with an empty feeling of ...

July 23, 2010 | Brian Dale | Columnists


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