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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: God’s Grace to help us wait

Do you like waiting? I don't. It was hard enough waiting a few months for all the permits and permissions on our building project. I can't imagine having to wait years for something you wanted to happen that much. You see, waiting brings with it some problems.

In our text from Luke 3, we see some of those problems, and they all stem from the first word of verse 15 in the original Greek: "Waiting expectantly." You see the Jewish people had been waiting for more than a few months. They had been given promises of an amazing ...

January 22, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Parson to Person: God is not to blame

The devastating earthquake which hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, has dominated the news. Haiti, once considered the pearl of the Antilles because of its beauty was once one of Frances richest colonies. In our day however, Haiti has the distinction of being the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere. Even before this devastating earthquake, stories coming out of Haiti told of people making mud pies and eating them in an attempt to stave off the hunger and get at least some form of nourishment.

Since the earthquake I have both read and heard people's opinion on why ...

January 22, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s Grace to give you hope

I like funerals. I know, that might sound a bit odd. Sure there are some bad parts: the tears, the pain, the loss that caused the funeral. But the good far outweighs the bad. For one, it seems that funerals are times people who don't listen too often are really listening - listening to what God has to say. So, yes, I like funerals, because what God has to say at the funeral of a believer is pretty amazing.

January 15, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Parson to Person: A pastor’s life from behind the scenes

"Minsters don't know anything about real life." "When are you going to get a real job?" "So, how does it feel to only have to work one day a week?" Comments and questions such as these are often directed at those of us in ministry. Yes, many times they are said "tongue in cheek," (at least the two questions), but even then they show the misconceptions that many have when it comes to the ministerial profession.

January 08, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace Notes: Wise Men bow down before Christ

You might not have noticed it, but this Wednesday was Epiphany, the day after the 12th day of Christmas, the day the church has decided to celebrate the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem, and really the "Revealing" (that's what Epiphany means) of Jesus as true God and Lord to all nations.

January 08, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: The New Year

Happy New Year! As you're reading this, chances are the streamers of celebration are still on the ground, the decorations still up, and the resolutions still resolute. New Year's Day. It's a great day, isn't it? It's a day of hope and confidence, a day of optimism and potential. It's a great day. All those promises you made last night to change your life for the better are still within the realm of possibility.

But let's be real. Sure there's a lot of potential with this fresh start, but that means there ...

January 01, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Parson to Person: 2010 is here

2009 has come and gone. Many have high hopes for 2010. Perhaps we will experience a surge in the economy, the creation of new jobs to put people who lost their jobs in 2009 back to work, maybe 2010 will be the year my ship comes in.

Traditionally in preparation for the New Year people make themselves wonderful promises of how they will be different in the coming year. While perhaps sincere the vast majority of our New Year's Resolutions are quickly sacrificed on the altar of same old, same old. The truth of the matter is outward reform ...

January 01, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace Notes: Get Real with Christmas

You know the artists have it wrong, don't you? I'm talking about Christmas. When you think of Christmas, do you see a cherubic baby on bed of sparkling clean hay, parents peacefully looking on - halos shining over everyone in the scene, shepherds, wise men, everyone awash in starlight, maybe even a few angels hovering over the manger? Is that what you think of when you think of Christmas?

December 25, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Parson to Person: Luke’s honest reporting

Luke 2:1-20, the account of Jesus' birth, is probably one of the most widely known passages of Scripture. During this time of year, one might hear it in the most unexpected places. Religious or not, it is nigh impossible to get through the Christmas season without at least a passing reference to this important passage.

December 18, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace Notes: Joy to the World

It's amazing what a song can do, isn't it? Not that it's stopped me, but it's not politically correct anymore to say "Merry Christmas" in some places, you know. I have to admit a smile crossed my face at the store as the cashier told me to have a "Happy Holiday" even as my kids were singing along to the words of a very "Christ"mas song playing in the background of that same store.

December 18, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Savior of the Nations, Come

I'm surprised you're taking time to read this, what with all the things you've got on your "to do" list. I'm just glad you know how important it is to take time out of the busy-ness of this month to remember what it is all about.

December 04, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Parson to Person: Christ’s message is love

There is a Christian song the chorus of which goes, "Oh, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all! Just to think that God loves me." I love that song. It carries with it some reminders that we tend to forget.

December 04, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace Notes: Thanks for nothing, God

Blah blah blah... You've heard it a thousand times: "We have so much to thank God for." But it's hard to argue with that. God has protected us from so much we don't want and given us so much we do. Our standard of living, even for the poorest among us, is light years beyond the standard of living for the majority of our world's population. And now just try comparing it to the standard of living even in our country 200 years ago. We have plenty to thank God for. Even King Solomon, richest man ...

November 27, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Parson to Person: Is Christmas a Christian day?

Inevitably during this time of year, I will receive brochures and letters from well meaning people informing me that Christmas is not a Christian holiday and Christians ought not celebrate it. These letters and brochures claim (rightly so) that originally Dec. 25 was celebrated as a heathen holiday and, therefore, is not really Christian at all. Is that true? Partially yes, and partially no.

It is true that prior to 336 A.D. Dec. 25 was the time when some polytheistic religions celebrated this day as the day of the rebirth of the sun. So, yes, in perhaps its roots ...

November 27, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace Notes: God's Grace to give you confidence

This Sunday is the last Sunday in the Church Year. In a few days we celebrate Thanksgiving (Check out next Friday's column for that). After that comes the season of Advent, the season of preparation for the coming of our Savior. Really it's a two-fold preparation. We prepare to witness again and celebrate his birth in that manger. And we prepare to see him when he comes back at the end of time to take us to be with him. But as we prepare, there's the question I heard still hanging in the air for some - maybe ...

November 20, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


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