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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 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


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


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


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