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No longer strangers...

During my trip to Bethlehem, I had the pleasure of visiting the St. Nicolas Church, an Arab Christian congregation that sits on a side street just up the hill from the Angel Hotel. Behind the church in a small courtyard lie tombs of past leaders of the church. The graves are surrounded with flowers and marked with names and a picture, reminding all who visit this small churchyard of the faithfulness of these beloved leaders.

March 08, 2015 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


Just a thought: Express yourself

Have you ever had a need, but couldn't express it?

March 08, 2015 | William Burnham | Columnists


Who sees you?

Who are you teaching to pray? Now maybe no one has come to you like Jesus disciples and asked you specifically to teach them to pray. However, we don't always teach one on one or in a class or Sunday school class room either. The truth is we do far more teaching from a distance than we realize.

March 01, 2015 | William Burnham | Columnists


Consider the lilies ...

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? "

March 01, 2015 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


The Mary, Martha Syndrome

I know you've heard of this one; "The Mary, Martha syndrome" Yup, we take a step back on purpose to remind us we need to be careful not to let the good things in our life rob us of the God things. Backing up to a small scene with huge implications in Luke 10, we find Jesus coming into the home of His single friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus. This is place where Jesus can find rest and relaxation from His busy schedule. He has just about six months left before He will be crucified and he stops by ...

February 22, 2015 | William Burnham | Columnists


A view from the mountain

For the next few weeks, my meditations will grow out of the many thoughts, feelings and prayers from the Holy Land. If you follow me on Facebook, some of this may look familiar as my Lenten Journey this year will contain reflections from my recent trip. Some will be included here. Our first day of touring started here at Qumran, an archaeological dig site for artifacts. Many of the places we went in the Holy Land are or have been archaeological dig sites. When civilizations come to ruin and new civilizations are built on top of them, it takes archaeologists ...

February 22, 2015 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


Keep your clothes on

"You are all God's children through faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."

February 15, 2015 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


He always listens, even if it doesn't seem like it

"You are all God's children through faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."

February 15, 2015 | William Burnham | Columnists


Are you qualified for ministry?

Just a thought: Are you qualified for ministry?

February 01, 2015 | William Burnham | Columnists


Be a light in dark places

"You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can't be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven."

February 01, 2015 | Jan McCoy | Columnists


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Archive By Section - 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


Grace Notes: The price of freedom

You know the saying: "Freedom is not free." As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July this weekend, it's important to appreciate that. Think of how much so many have given so that you could be reading this in peace. Think of the lives given so that we can be so comfortable in our security that seeing things exploding in the sky this weekend will not be scary.

July 22, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


About Faith: Roots and Branches

Current events can sometimes take a toll on my spirit. Recently, the news outlets have bombarded us with this hot news flash: More Of The Same. More economic stagnation, more sweltering heat, more closures and foreclosures, more oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. Even a new field general in Afghanistan does not mask the fact that it is the same old war. Politicians campaigning for office are giving us the same old message: "If you send me to Washington, I'll be different. And this time I really mean it!"

July 16, 2010 | By Brian Dale | Columnists


Grace Notes: Be built up

Here's a quandary for you. When you see a building going up - who gets the credit? Is it the contractor, the supplier, the fund-raiser? Or what about the architect, or the laborers? I know that a whole bunch of people will be at least partially taking credit for my church's new building. The contractor and the stone supplier and the stained glass guy have already asked for pictures to use in their advertising. I'm sure the architect will have our picture up in his office soon, and I'm sure that, before long, the foundation that gave ...

July 16, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Receive with believing hearts

"The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace." For 25 centuries, believers have been holding God to these promises that he gave us to use as we bless each other. But what exactly are these words saying?

July 09, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


About Faith: The church’s one foundation

The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord. Or so the song goes. We sing it often, and its theme is reflected in many places throughout the New Testament. So why must we be reminded of church unity so frequently? Are we such disparate people, so inclined to fragmentation, that unity goes against our very nature? Would the Church universal spin off into a thousand shards without our constant efforts to hold it together? Is church unity even a realistic hope, or just a lofty ideal that is ultimately unattainable?

July 09, 2010 | Brian Dale Columnist | Columnists


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