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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


A heart of thanks

"Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds."

September 16, 2011 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


McCoy: Moments of silence…

"O Lord, who are we that you should notice us, mere mortals that you should care for us? For we are like a breath of air; our days are like a passing shadow."

September 09, 2011 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


Scharf: Foreigners, bound to the Lord

Do you remember where you were when everything changed? September 11th...10 years ago Sunday, at 8:46 a.m. - American Airlines, flight 11 was crashed into the World Trade Center's north tower. And within a couple hours there were 2,996 dead, including 411 emergency workers, heroes who gave their lives to save others. Sept. 11 is a day that changed America. And we remember it. Terrorism hit us hard. And as a result, we will never be the same.

September 09, 2011 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Boundless love

"Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law."

September 02, 2011 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


Scharf: The narrow door

Are all religions the same? Do all roads really lead to heaven? Last week we looked at Luke 13:22-30, where Jesus made so clear the need to speak precisely when you're talking about religion and your relationship with God. Do you remember how he said that when the time comes, there would be those who thought they were just fine with God in this life who would be "outside, knocking and pleading"? But Jesus will answer, "I don't know you or where you come from," (Luke 13:27).

September 01, 2011 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Love speaks precisely

They told Amelia Bedelia to "hit the road" and she took a stick and started punishing the asphalt. They told her to make "chocolate chip cookies" and she got out the Hershey's and the potato chips. Now, for a children's book character, when she doesn't "get it," that's funny. But when we realize that all too often we do that same thing with religion, the chuckles cease.

August 26, 2011 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Finding strength continually

"Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually."

August 26, 2011 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


Well, bless my soul…

"Our help is from the LORD, who made heaven and earth."

August 19, 2011 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


May God establish you

It's good to be established, isn't it? I'm sure you've seen businesses advertising how long they've been around, "Est. 1853" or something like that. Have you ever thought about why some companies or schools last so long? It has something to do with that word "established," doesn't it? Well today, in our reading from God's word - Paul prays that God establishes us, his readers.

August 19, 2011 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


The power of prayer

"How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!"

August 12, 2011 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


Easy lifting…

Do you enjoy moving? All the carrying of boxes, lifting furniture, cramming stuff into a truck? Do you like it? But there are things that can make it a little easier, right? Appliance dollies... plenty of help... professional movers.

August 12, 2011 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Lose it to find it

Do you like riddles? Most of the time, they are a fun little diversion, right? Most of the time, they get your mind working a little bit but don't mean a whole lot. You know, like "What do you call a man who's always wiring for money? (An electrician.)"

August 05, 2011 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Telling the good news

I never cease to be amazed at people and how they react to good news. I remember watching television game shows with my grandmother when I was a child. Her favorite was the game show where the contestants had to guess the price of something, and if they were lucky enough to guess close enough to the actual price, they would win the item as their prize. Some of the contestants would run to the mike almost breathlessly, while others would just briskly walk. If they won the item, some contestants would laugh while others would cry tears of joy.

August 05, 2011 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


McCoy: The power of prayer

Psalm 17:6-7 (New Living Translation): I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies.

July 29, 2011 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


Scharf: You are workers for Christ

Last week, we saw Jesus tell us to pray for workers to go tell people about their salvation, to go help those who were headed for hell. And we saw why. It's because God loves us…and them. But then something strange happened, we realized that when we prayed the prayer Jesus asked us to pray, to send workers into the harvest field, God answered it. You, the one reading this, you are that worker you just prayed for.

July 29, 2011 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


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