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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


Grace notes: What's the point

We go through a lot to do "church". Think of the time and money and effort and energy put into making sure we've got a place to meet on Sundays, all the work that goes into the various events and traditions. People give up so much in the name of church, so today I ask you, "Why?" What's the point?"

February 20, 2014 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


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Archive By Section - 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


Parson to Person: The behavior of many is not "Christ-like"

When the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Mahatma Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader who led India in its quest for Independence, he asked him, "Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?"

November 20, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Parson to Person: Christ is the only way

Recently I was having a discussion with a man from another faith. He was trying his best to convince me that, though our faiths were different, we really believed the same thing, He claimed that the only difference between us was that was the prophet we were following. Mine being simply an earlier and therefore less enlightened prophet than his. He actually made the fatal mistake that so many make, assuring me that "We (who are Monotheists) really are all related and we really believe the same things - we believe in the goodness of man, trying to better ourselves, etc ...

November 13, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


Grace Notes: Grace to face Judgment Day

Have you ever noticed how one person's big moment of absolute joy is another's worst nightmare?

November 13, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: God’s grace for you to reform

Quick quiz: What was last weekend? Hint: Oct. 31. My guess is that most of you were thinking of ghosts and goblins and trick-or-treat. Everyone knows that Oct. 31 is Halloween, right? What not everyone knows is that something else is celebrated that day too - Reformation.

On Oct. 31, 1517, on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany, Martin Luther posted 95 theses, 95 statements for debate and discussion among the scholars and churchmen. He wanted his church to start evaluating some of its practices in light of Scripture and not just do things because "that's what ...

November 06, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Parson to Person: The Jesus of scripture cannot be rewritten easily

Jesus today has been the victim of deconstruction theology. In an attempt to remove the Jesus of history from the Jesus of faith, a whole lot of views have been advanced in an attempt to explain why we cannot believe in the Jesus of the Bible.

November 06, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Columnists


God’s Grace in making a helper suitable

Last week, millions of people had birthdays, but when my son turned 3 and my daughter turned 6, those were special days. Why? Family. The wall at my daughter's school is full of pictures of "Students of the Month." But one is more heart-warming to me than any other. Why? Family.

October 30, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Grace Notes: Our God does the impossible through us

Remember that story of the Feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:30-44)? It shows Jesus to be true God, right? Absolutely. It shows Jesus' inexplicable and self-sacrificing love, right? Absolutely, as he puts his own needs for rest and relaxation aside and helps those people. It shows so much about our Savior. But it also shows us something about ourselves.

October 23, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Columnists


Special music service held at FPC

First Presbyterian Church of Covington will host a "Music Sunday" at its 11 a.m. worship service Sunday. The instrumental prelude will begin at 10:50 am. This annual service is offered to the glory of God by the Music Ministry of FPCC. Several soloists from the community will participate, and the Sanctuary and Ambassador Choirs from FPCC will sing. This service will be under the direction of Billy Wade, pastor; Alan Bunn, music director; and Alice Walker, organist.

October 23, 2009 | Staff Report | Columnists


Grace Notes: Our God does the impossible

Busy, busy, busy - too many things to do. One thing gets done and five more are waiting. Some things are going well. Some are going terribly wrong, but they all just seem to be going, going, going all the time. They try to take a break and get away from it, but that just adds more things to do. And then, they get asked to do the impossible.

Sure, that describes the disciples in our Bible reading on the Feeding of the 5,000 today, but it also describes you, doesn't it? Have you ever felt like that? Overwhelmed ...

October 16, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | 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


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