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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


Parson to Person: One day you will answer for your life

Margarete Manning relates an experience that, sadly, is repeated far too many times. She writes of a friend who has jettisoned his Christian faith. Since she tells it far better than I can, let me simply quote her, "He did not leave his faith over a whim or because of some intellectual crisis he couldn't resolve with his dearly held beliefs. He left because his work as a journalist led him into Christian circles where he met some of the most influential Christian leaders and teachers. He left his Christian faith because as he traversed these circles, he saw ...

October 16, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s Grace to find you when you are lost

Have you ever tried to get lost? I'm guessing "no." Have you ever been lost? I'm pretty sure "yes" would be the answer to that one. On some trip, some time, somewhere - you've been lost. And, truth be told, on this journey of life - it's probably happened to you a time or two that spiritually, you've been lost. In fact, the Bible says, that's how we come into this world - lost.

But here are your directions: Read Luke 15. In this chapter, Jesus demonstrates for us what he meant when he said that he ...

October 09, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Parson to Person: Designer Jesuses

Catholic priest and syndicated columnist Andrew Greeley wrote, "Much of the history of Christianity has been devoted to domesticating Jesus, to reducing that elusive, enigmatic, paradoxical person to dimensions we can comprehend, understand, and convert to our own purposes. So far it hasn't worked," (Strobel, Lee, The Case for the Real Jesus, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids Mich., 2007 p.9).

We live in an age that is prone toward a distortion of Jesus. Years ago, a song was written entitled "Dressing Up Jesus," and the message of the song is that we have a tendency to make Jesus ...

October 09, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s Grace for you to carry your cross

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Jesus said that. And remember, in his day, when you heard the word "cross" you weren't thinking jewelry or art. You were thinking torture and blood and suffocation and death. All that considered, his recruitment pitch seems to leave something to be desired, doesn't it? But that's what he said.

In fact, in the words we're looking at from I Peter, Peter even goes a step beyond that and tells us to rejoice in our sufferings, rejoice as we ...

October 02, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Parson to Person: An unusual connection between Christ and Oprah

I was listening to the evening news Sunday night (9-20-09), and the anchor reported yet another scam that is taking place in our nation. This one is in the name of Oprah Winfrey.

Ms. Winfery's generosity is well known. Now, a group of con-artists are cashing in on her reputation and instead of rewarding people with cash gifts they are scamming people; stealing large sums of cash from them on the promise of being a recipient of one of Oprah's generous gifts (in this case, one million dollars).

October 02, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Parson to person: We remember history the way we want to

I was reading in the Old Testament book of 1 Kings 18 and another passage popped into my mind. Ecclesiastes 1:9 reminds us "History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new" (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NLT). Perhaps this passage in Ecclesiastes is true because mankind has an appalling record of refusing to learn from history, so much so that today if we don't like the lessons of history, we simply rewrite that history. But I digress.

September 25, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s grace fits all

"One Size Fits All." Have you ever heard that one? I've been mocked by that one on both ends of the scale. As a small child, I remember swimming in things that supposedly "fit all" - and now I'm more likely to stretch things that "fit all." You know the truth - one size doesn't fit all. Our Savior knew that too

September 25, 2009 | Jonathan Scharf Columnist | Columnists


Grace Notes: Choose ye this Day!

You wrote "friends forever" in her high school yearbook, and you meant it. But you haven't spoken to or heard from her in years. You vowed to love your spouse forever, but somehow wound up in divorce court. How did it happen?

So many things in life seem to "just happen," even though we never would have chosen them. They just sneak up on you. Little by little they grow on or away from you. No addict chose to be addicted. No buddy chooses to disappear from the life of their friend. It just sort of happens. Why? It ...

September 18, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Parson to Person: Why so dogmatic?

Occasionally I am asked, "Why are you so dogmatic?" And of course the connotation is that it is a bad thing. After all, shouldn't ministers be the most open and accepting of other views and other religions? Let's look at this for a minute.

We live in an age of relativism where very few people seem willing to take a hard stand on anything. According to the relativist, no one can know truth dogmatically or absolutely, all truth is relative, and that truth is changing. Those who promote relativism want dogmatically to apply their view to every area ...

September 18, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Parson to Person: Spiritual health reform

Health care seems to be the center of discussion these days. Mind if I put in my two cents?

September 11, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Parson to Person: God challenges us for a reason

It always amazes me to see people who are so willing to accept the truth of anything written in print, with the one exception being the Bible. Though there is more evidence for the accuracy and authenticity of the various books of the Bible, many today feel compelled to accept the alternate texts of the Gnostic gospels, texts that have been proven to be bogus, while rejecting that which has proven to be genuine. Why is this?

I think that the answer to that "why" question has more to do with the implications that accepting Scripture as true would have ...

August 28, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace notes: God’s grace for you to get some rest

Are you tired? Has summer worn you out? Or is it the school starting? Or work? Maybe it's the stress. Doctors say that stress directly affects the amount and the quality of the rest you get, making you feel so tired. You could use some rest.

August 21, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Parson to Person: It’s about the relationship

We who are Christians are called to live different lives. Not a message we hear much about today, but certainly the message of our Lord and his followers. Jesus said, "In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16, NCV). Peter reminds us, "Be careful how you behave among your unsaved neighbors; for then, even if they are suspicious of you and talk against you, they will end up praising God for your good works when ...

August 14, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Parson to Person: It’s about the relationship

We who are Christians are called to live different lives. Not a message we hear much about today, but certainly the message of our Lord and his followers. Jesus said, "In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16, NCV).

Peter reminds us, "Be careful how you behave among your unsaved neighbors; for then, even if they are suspicious of you and talk against you, they will end up praising God for your good works when ...

August 14, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace notes: ‘Do you believe in miracles?’

"Do you believe in miracles?"

August 07, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


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