Monday, February 13, 2012

Church pews discuss workload

Enjoy this guest post by Greg Miller and contact the author to let him know you saw him on Frugal Fancy's Blog!

Photo courtesy morgueFileA medium-sized church in a large metropolitan city was known far and wide for its Bible-based preaching.

The church's members loved God with all their hearts, and they encouraged the pastor to continue boldly proclaiming God's Word.

All of the church's members enthusiastically threw themselves into God's work. "I'm so proud of the way everyone works together to fulfill their roles in this church!" exclaimed the pastor.

Even the church's furniture and other inanimate objects worked tirelessly to advance God's kingdom. "Church Pews, Pulpit, Piano and Organ all go far above the call of duty to minister to the Lord, too," said the pastor.

Pulpit enjoyed a prominent position at the front of the church. "I thank the Lord every single day that He allows me to hold the Bibles while the pastor preaches the sermons," Pulpit said. "It's a tremendous honor."

Piano and organ were proud of their musical contributions to the church. "We are certainly noteworthy," piano bragged.

"We do have the keys to the music of the worship services," echoed organ.

Church Pews did not agree about the amount of work they shared. Prior to one Sunday evening service, Front Row Church Pew and Back Row Church Pew discussed their workload.

"It's great being at the front of the church," said Front Row Church Pew. "Normally, only a few people sit on me during the services. On holidays and other special occasions, my workload is a bit heavier, though."

"My workload is heavier than yours for almost every service," complained Back Row Church Pew. "For some reason, I'm a lot more popular than you are. For most services, I'm jam-packed and I don't have a square inch of extra space to spare. In fact, for many services, my twin brother, Back Row Church Pew Number Two, is also filled to capacity."

"I wonder why you're more popular than me!" exclaimed Front Row Church Pew.

"One reason," shared Back Row Church Pew, "is that according to some people, the preacher talks too loudly."

"Those people are wrong," sighed Front Row Church Pew. "Some of the people who sit on me say they can barely hear him because he speaks so softly!

"A couple of them complain about one of the brothers in the ‘Amen Corner' using a little extra volume, but other than that my job is pretty cool."

"You're right about that," agreed Back Row Church Pew. "One of the brothers who used to sit in the Amen Corner moved to the back row because during one service he shouted ‘Amen' so loudly that he upset himself!"

Contact the writer of this column, Greg Miller, about speaking engagements and/or puppet ministry by email to

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Of Cabbages and Kings

‘The time has come’, the walrus said, ‘To talk of many things: of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.’
—Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

In preparing for revival at South Haven Church of the Nazarene next month, I was reading John Wesley's sermon, "The Most Important Question."

Wesley speaks of the philosophy that if a person of low station, a commoner, poor, uneducated, would try to talk about kings and kingdoms and things far above him, he would struggle to find the words because they would be unfamiliar to him.

He wouldn't know the language to use to describe what he experienced in association with the higher station of life, nor would he have the understanding of the things he might see or experience in relation to them to talk easily of them. Anything he might say, he would struggle to find the words to describe.

If the king, himself, or a prince, however, were to talk about such things, he would be able to speak freely about them because of his familiarity with those same topics and associations.

So it is with us who are so far below the Kingdom of God. We're unable to express ourselves well because what we see, and learn, and taste and experience is so far above us we don't even know the words to use to describe it.

Yet, Jesus, who is of that Heavenly Kingdom, can speak freely and clearly about such things. It's home to Him. He speaks of what He knows.

Doesn't it make sense then, that when an "expert" on the subject, someone who has been a part of that Heavenly Kingdom all His life (forever!), tells us what that Kingdom is like and how we can be a part of it, that we listen to Him?

And doesn't it make sense that we should also believe Him because He knows what He's talking about? He has been there. It's familiar to Him. It's His hometown.

I pray the Lord will help us to realize that He speaks the truth because He is the Truth. He knows what the truth about Heaven is because it's His home. Let's do our best to listen.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This Will We Do

Scripture: Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.

Text: Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection;

Greetings in the name of Jesus:

How far have we come in our exploration of the experience of Holiness?

What has God shown us in the Scripture about the place that Holy living has in His grand design for our lives?

We see,

(1) That holy character was God’s purpose in creating us;

(2) That man lost something essential in the Fall and is now born with a spirit of antagonism to God;

(3) But, God has provided a way for man to be freed from such indwelling SIN;

(4) That the method is through a second, instantaneous work of grace;

(5) And, that this work of grace is God’s will for all who are His redeemed children.

We come now to ask the question, How shall we enter in?

As the Holy Spirit leads us into the experience, what steps must we take and by what signs shall we know that we are making progress toward our goal of HEART HOLINESS?

This is the real purpose of all our preceding Bible study of the truth.

Our better understanding of divine things is not an end in itself.

We study in order to show our selves approved unto God.

The words themselves are only road signs in the highway of eternal life.

We seek to understand the truth of Holiness more clearly in order that we may enter in more quickly, or that we may aid others to do so.


How can we guide our Christian friends to this high experience?

We start by wanting it.

We are already moving in the right direction when we sincerely pray:

Purify our faith like gold;
All the dross of sin remove;
Melt our spirits down, and mould
Into thy perfect love.

—Wesley’s Hymns

He lives in my heart today.

Pastor Neal Stover
South Haven Church of the Nazarene

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Importance of Family Bible Reading

Photo courtesy FlickrOne of the greatest blessings God has given us is His Word, the Bible. The Bible truly is the inspired word of God. When you read the Bible, it's as if you are reading words that God's hand penned just for you.

The Bible is a roadmap with information pertaining to every aspect of life. Not only does it teach us how to be productive Disciples, but it teaches us how to be a successful spouse, a loving parent, a good employee, and much more. In addition, the Bible gives us examples as well as instructions to make it easier for those of us who are 'slow learners' (i.e., more stubborn than the rest).

The Bible is the most unique and most wonderful manual on how to live the human life that has ever been written. But if we don't read the Bible and study it, we will never discover the inestimable riches it contains. Nor will we learn how to live as we were designed to live.

Family Bible reading offers a number of benefits. It's a tremendous way for families to bond together by reading, discussing and learning what scripture says about all facets of life. It's also essential for living a Christian life, for developing and growing your faith and for molding your beliefs. There is a multitude of stories and parables for building character and teaching morals, and lessons for living.

If you've ever been in church, you've certainly heard stories from the Bible. But the only way to know if those stories are true and really happened as the minister described is to read the stories for yourself. Knowing what the Bible really says makes us more faithful and powerful witnesses to God's grace in our lives. And it has a much stronger impact on non-believers we might hope to convince of the Truth of the scriptures.

The ability to direct others to verses of scripture that will encourage them or help them get through the trials of life only comes through our personal knowledge of God's Word. As does the ability to explain why Christians believe as we do. Both of these are important to a fruitful, successful Christian life.

Has anyone ever asked what Easter is all about? Or who Jesus claimed to be? Or why we think Jesus really is God's Son? The answer to these and many other questions about creation, honesty, integrity, marriage, parenthood and so much more can be found in the words. But you have to read those words to know that—and to be able to share them.

With the abundance of Bible reading guides and Bible study tools available, anyone can study and understand the Bible. Maybe you would enjoy keeping a journal or as you study the Word. That way, when you find a verse that speaks to your heart, you can make not of it and find it again, or share it with someone else who could use the same encouragement.

While some people say the language of the Bible is hard to read, that doesn't have to be the case any more. There are many wonderful, scholarly translations that can be trusted for their authenticity and that are much easier to read and understand than the traditional King James version.

There are even Bibles geared specifically to children that make it easy for them to understand the Word as well. And it's never too early to start reading the Bible to your child and teaching her to read it for herself. In fact, starting young makes it much easier to make daily Bible reading a habit that will last a lifetime. Teach your child principles of biblical living and how God wants them to live will give them strength to stand against false teachings and better discern what is true and false as they grow.

The adage that "knowledge is power" is a true one, and it applies very much to Bible reading. The more knowledge you and your family has about God's Word, the more strength and power you have to stand firm on what you believe, regardless of what situations you may face.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Four-year-old asks for sibling

Enjoy this guest post from author Greg Miller and contact him to let him know you saw him on the Christian Daily Blog!

Photo courtesy morgueFileFour-year-old Paul did not like being an only child.

“Lord,” prayed Paul, “could I please have a baby brother or a baby sister?”

“Sure,” replied the Lord. “In fact, I can tell you that you will have a baby sister named Priscilla, who will be born on your seventh birthday.”

“Thank you, Lord,” said Paul. “Thank you very much. I’ll try as hard as I can to be a good brother. I’ll help mom and dad take care of her.”

“I know you will,” God said. “And since older brothers sometimes need a helping hand, sometimes Priscilla will help your parents take care of you.”

“So Priscilla and I will pretty much look out for each other, right?,” asked Paul.

“That’s right, Paul,” said the Lord. “And I know that you’re only four years old, but you need to start praying for your mom and dad right away, because they will need all of those prayers, and I will hear all of them.”

Paul began praying for his mom, Paulette, and his dad, Peter, as well as his sister, who would be born in three years. And, just as He had promised, God heard all of Paul’s prayers. “Lord, you are so awesome!,” Paul exclaimed.

“Thanks for noticing, Paul,” said God. “Sometimes my children do not acknowledge my power in their lives.”

On Paul’s seventh birthday, the family went to the hospital where Priscilla was scheduled to be born. “I’ll be the best big brother in the world,” he promised his mom and dad.”

“I know you will, Son,” said Paulette. “The Lord showed your dad and me that you have been praying for a brother or sister. Thank you for praying for your sister and for us.”

At 11:30 p.m., little Priscilla was born. Paulette, Peter and Paul all held their new bundle of joy for a moment.

“Hi, little sister,” said Paul. “I’m so glad you’re here. When you’re a little older, I plan to take you fishing with me. I’ll even bait your hook for you until you learn to do it yourself.”

“Paul,” said Paulette. “Did you stop to think that she may be more interested in playing with dolls than she will be in fishing?”

“Yes, I did, Mom,” said Paul. “And I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll teach her all I know about fishing, if you’ll teach her everything you know about dolls!”

To contact the writer of this column about speaking engagements and puppet ministry, please e-mail

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mouse wants to become church mouse

Enjoy this guest post from author Greg Miller and contact him to let him know you saw him on the Christian Daily Blog!

Photo courtesy morgueFileCharlie, the Church Mouse Extraordinare at First Cheese Church, was very happy with his job, which paid him in cheese.

He earned enough cheese each week to feed his entire family, and he had enough cheese left over to give to the homeless mouse shelter.

Charlie’s job was very easy. He kept all the floors, pews, couches and chairs very clean, and he made sure all the visiting rodents enjoyed their time at the church.

Charlie felt his job was so easy, in fact, that he boasted to all his little mouse buddies, “Being a church mouse is fun, easy and fulfilling. I would advise any mouse to consider being a church mouse as a career option. It’s a great way to honor the God who created us.”

Cinnamon, Charlie’s best mouse friend, liked what he heard. “I’m kind of tired of cutting cheese at the Local Mouse Deli,” he told Charlie. “Do you think I could work as a church mouse intern at the church for a couple of weeks? I could gain some experience, and I could learn whether I was cut out for that type of work.”

“No problem,” said Charlie. “Your pay will be one-half pound of cheese per week. Plus, if you do a good job, I’ll give you a letter of recommendation that you can give to prospective employers.”

Like Charlie, Cinnamon thought the church mouse gig was a blast. “This is great,” Cinnamon said. “When can I get my letter of recommendation?”

“I’ll have it for you tomorrow,” Charlie replied.

In the letter, Charlie spoke very highly of Cinnamon’s job performance. “Cinnamon has a very strong work ethic, and he really enjoys his job,” Charlie wrote. “He would be a fine church mouse for any church.”

Christopher, the mouse resources officer at Second Cheese Church, was very impressed with the letter of recommendation, but he wanted to know why Cinnamon quit his job as a cheese cutter after being on the job for only three months. “That’s not a very long time to work at any job,” Christopher observed.

“It just wasn’t challenging enough, Sir,” said Cinnamon. “I became bored, so I decided to look for a job that provided a bit more adventure.”

Christopher remembered that in his younger days he also had dreamed of a job with more adventure. “Now,” he said, “I’m thankful for every slice of cheese I earn, and I just want the Lord to be pleased with my work ethic.”

“Come on, Cinnamon,” said Christopher, “What’s the real reason you wanted to change jobs?”

“There is one other reason,” Cinnamon admitted. “You see, all I did was slice cheese all day, and I got tired of being nothing but a cutup.”
To contact the writer of this column about speaking engagements and puppet ministry, please e-mail

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dating: Misery Loves Company

Enjoy this guest post from author E. Umana and contact him to let him know you saw him on the Christian Daily Blog!

Photo courtesy morgueFileWe're in the midst of a raging recession with global reach. The economists are speculating on the possibility of a "double dip" recession. People have lost jobs, homes, cars other property and the like, marriages are strained under the weight of mounting debts and other economic problems.

But there is one "industry' that is defying the economic gloom and doom and according to a report I heard about on Fox News, that would be the online matchmaking services. Some of the dating sites are reporting double digit increases in the number of new members. They describe the pace at which people are trying to find a new partner as "frenzied."

It seems that, despite the sometimes high monthly cost, people want to reach out to one another and be together. In other words, they don't want to go through this economic downturn by themselves.

Unfortunately, many of these people are lonely and not seeking a partner from a godly standpoint, as in seeking their lifelong soul-mate, partner, fellow worshiper, lover and co-parent. In fact, I believe many of these people are looking for someone to "hook up with." Some of them will marry after many years of getting to "know" each other, in the biblical sense, prior to marriage.

People are social creatures, they need to interact with other people. Despite the economy, people interviewed state the need to connect and not face all this uncertainty by themselves; but they also mention the advantage of having an almost unlimited number of potential partners to interact with so they can weed out the incompatible (the goldigger, psycho, etc.).

Through an online dating site, they have more information on a potential mate than they otherwise would meeting someone at work or from a chance encounter at the laundromat.

One can sympathize as these are lonely people who want companionship, and to share expenses in these difficult times. But it is better to be alone than to be with the wrong person. No matter how bad the economy is, a relationship started out of loneliness, desperation, or a desire to share expenses will not last in the long run.

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife (or husband). (Proverbs 21:9, NIV)

E. Umana is an article author and blog owner whose articles on marriage and Internet marketing appear all over the Internet. Visit his Christian blog, Christian Marriage Works and download his ebook 12 Marriage Killers to discover how to spot the behaviors that couples engage in that can create conflict and destroy a marriage.

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