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June 2011

In God, nothing is too extreme.
308 Millville Avenue Hamilton, OH 45013

Millville Avenue Church of the Nazarene

A Letter From a Soon to Be Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Tracy Carpenter As a new member to this congregation, let me start off by saying what a privilege it has been growing in Christ with all of you. In the almost eight months we have been attending this church, I have experienced God in a new and real way. Like many, I have a long way to go…if I were a cake, there are still a couple eggs to be cracked before I am even ready to be put in the oven. But God is the ultimate baker, and my hope and prayer is by his grace and mercy, when my time on earth is through, I will be a completed pineapple upside down cake able to say confidently , “Stick a toothpick in me, I am done!” All humor (and baked goods) aside, I consider it an honor to be a part of this newsletter. I spent a good while brainstorming, trying to come up with a title that encompasses what I feel our wrappers, God whispered to me “Ignite.” As a self proclaimed word geek, I played with the letters until God again whispered, “In God, Nothing is too extreme.” Think about that. In God, NOTHING is too extreme. Matthew 19:26 reads, “With man, this is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.” ALL things. We just have to admit we are mere lumpy batter in need of a baker. I look forward to continuing my baking process with you all.

church strives to stand for.
Finally, at two o’clock in the morning, my desk flooded with Diet Coke cans and Reese Cup

Easy as “ ABC”: The Missing Letter in the Alphabet of Salvation
Tracy Carpenter Imagine : A funeral home is packed with mourning guests and colorful flowers symbolizing family and friends’ condolences. As the preacher stands to make the eulogy, he tells the grief stricken crowd, “Please do not worry. This man is in heaven. I know this because when he was twelve years old, I led him in the ABC prayer, and he asked Jesus into his heart.” The man’s tearful mother clings to the hope that her son lying in the coffin is now rejoicing with Jesus. The ABC’s of salvation is a formula used by many to lead others to Christ. It reads as follows: A.: Admit you’re a Sinner B.: Believe in Jesus C.: Confess that Jesus is Lord Although the ones that follow this formula have the best of intentions, I feel there is a missing letter in this alphabet: R for REPENT. Unfortunately, so many people cling to the fact they prayed a prayer one time in their life, but their life is not changed, outwardly or inwardly. Ephesians 2:8 tells us “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” So we know it is not our own works that save us, but God’s grace and mercy alone. When used effectively, the sinner’s prayer can be a good tool to lead someone to Christ. However, nowhere in the Bible does it mention the sinner’s prayer. So, then, how do we know we are saved? The Bible clearly tells us it is by our fruits. Matthew 7:15-20 reads, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears

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(cont.) bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be thrown in the fire. Thus, by their fruit, you will recognize them.” Who am I to say who is saved and who isn’t? As stated by article contributor for CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry)Matt Slick, “We must be very careful not to be too judgmental too quickly. It is a serious thing to say that

someone is or is not saved. If you are unsure about the salvation of someone, then you should pray for that person, ask God to work in a person's life, and ask the Lord to give you wisdom.” However, leading a person into the ABC prayer while neglecting the R can really do major damage. One might even be so bold to say that having person believe they are saved when in reality they simply prayed a prayer sends a soul to hell. It is our obligation as followers of Christ to mentor the new believer, and not leave

them hanging onto an unfinished alphabet. There is a reason approximately 80 percent of Americans claim to be Christian. One reason is many of these people, I am confident, prayed a prayer to Jesus when they were five years old and now continue living in their sinful ways as an adult. Jesus says in Matthew 7: 21, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven.”

Food Pantry, Clothing Closet, and Feed My Sheep: How You Can Help
Debbie Earls
We have been working on various projects to raise money for our food pantry/clothes closet , and the Feed my Sheep ministry. The application will ask for the rewards program number. That is the #605463. That number will link the credit card to our rewards program for church. The “Charge it, Please.” rewards are for purchases made at Meijers or at the gas station. If you use the credit card at the We are registered with the Meijer Community Rewards program. For Meijer's gas station, you will also receive 5 cents off per gallon. I our church members that have a have the information if anyone Meijer's credit card already, they needs it. They can call me at can call 1-800-962-7011 & ask for work 867-8699 or email me at their credit card to be connected I to our church program #605463. applied online for my credit card For every dollar that is spent at which was easy & quick. They Meijer's or at the Meijer's gas can also apply in the store. The station & paid for with their main thing is that they use our Meijer's credit card, the church will church number so the credit card receive a 1 percent credit to our rewards is connected to our account. After we get $100.00 church rewards program. If they worth, they will send us a check. If don't want a credit card or have someone doesn't have a Meijer's the Meijer 1 card, we get a half a credit card, but would like to have percent when that card is one, they can apply at the store or swiped. They would need to call online at the 800 number to have this card connected to our account.

Help Feed My Sheep by Feeding Your Mouth We are going to have a fundraiser at Walt's Barbecue on Main Street on Monday, June 27th from 6:00-9:00. We will get 10 percent of what is taken in during that time. We would also get 10 percent of carry out orders if people don't want to dine in. We need to have a good turn out for this. I will be asking for some of our adults and teens to help out that night. We have to bus tables and refill soft drinks. We will also be passing out flyers for our church and the "Feed my Sheep". We are also going to cont.) have a donation jar set out. This is a great opportunity for us to raise a lot of money for the church basement renovation for the food.

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(cont.) Rewards, and Good Wholesome Merchandise We have also signed up for the rewards program that Family Christian offers. Christie will be printing up the cards for our members to present when they purchase something from Family Christian. The way theirs works is they will give us back 5 percent of what we spend. Their reward is a credit for their store for purchases that we need to make there for church supplies, VBS, etc.

Seven Things to Do During a Boring Sermon
(Taken from “101 Things to Do During a Dull Sermon” by Tim Sims and Dan Pegoda)     Pass a note to the organist and see if he/she takes requests. Slap your neighbor. See if they turn the other cheek. If not, raise your hand and tell the preacher. Devise ways of climbing into the balcony without using the stairs. Sit in the backrow with a handful of marbles under the pew ahead of you. After the service, credit yourself with ten points for every marble that made it to the front of the pew. Whip out your hankie and blow your nose. Vary the pressure exerted on each nostril and trumpet out a rendition of your favorite hymn. By unobtrusively drawing your arms up into your sleeves, turn your shirt around backwards. Choose a different song that was announced and begin singing it as loud as you can.

Mark Your Calendars! th June 27 , 6:00-9:00 Fundraiser at Walt’s Barbeque On Main Street in Hamilton!

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Women’s Ministry: Where We Are, and Where We’ve Been
Pat Presley I became the president of the women's ministry in the fall of 2006. A few weeks before I took the leadership role, I felt God speaking to me again about leading women. I have always had a passion for working with women. When Sally Baker called to ask me to pray about taking this position I told her I didn't have to because God had already been speaking to me! How awesome is that?! I knew that I would be following in the footsteps of some awesome ladies: Sally, Wanda, and many more. I also knew that God would provide a new pair of shoes to create new footsteps along the journey and I was excited. Women's Ministry in our church has had a long history of faith and service and I wanted to continue to build on that. Not only did I want our ministry to provide a social outlet for our ladies, but also, to provide new opportunities for ministry. One of the first things I did was to schedule a monthly meeting. At that meeting I explained that we would be meeting every month on the second Tuesday at 6:30. Our ministry theme would be 'Chosen to Bear Lasting Fruit' based on John 15. We would have food, fellowship and a planned agenda. I wanted them to know that God has a purpose and a plan for each of us individually and as a ministry. I gave them a survey to find out what areas they would like us to venture into as a ministry. Overwhelmingly, we had a request to start a Food Pantry/Clothes Closet. Leaders emerged, we have worked over these years, and on September 11th plan to move our fully operational pantry to the old church basement. Now that is worthy of praise!

Remember…Women’s Meeting 2nd Tuesday of Every Month! Come join us for praise and fellowship!

“I also knew God would provide a new pair of shoes to create new footsteps along the way….”

(cont.) Our ministry does not require membership and is open to all ladies of all ages to just come as you are. We love God, we love each other, and we have a great time. At our meetings we pray, we have a devotional, we discuss any needs of the church that we can supply, and we have activities such as crafts, chat sessions, and even fashion. Often we will have a guest come in. Then we usually close with a great season of prayer. One of the gifts of this ministry is watching the lives of our ladies as they grow closer to their God. Passion for a ministry area springs ups where God leads and they are open to His leadership. Come join us and see where God may be leading you. You are welcome and we are eager to hear your new ideas to make us an even more vibrant ministry in His service.

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Jealous Eve
When Adam stayed out very late for a few nights, Eve became upset. "You're running around with other women," she charged. "You're being unreasonable," Adam responded. "You're the only woman on earth." The quarrel continued until Adam fell asleep, only to be awakened by someone poking him in the chest. It was Eve. "What do you think you're doing?" Adam demanded. "Counting your ribs," said Eve.

The Interrogation of Pastor Todd : The Ten Questions That Will Make it or Break it
Q. If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get? A. I am very much a steak and potato guy, so as long as I could eat those two together, that would be awesome. I don’t discriminate against any steak; I will eat porterhouse, filet mignon, or New York Strip. Q. If you were an animal, what would you be and why? A. I know that you all are thinking I would say deer, by no way. They get hunted. I don’t want to die. I would choose an eagle, because they are so majestic, and God has so many references to them in the Bible. Q. What is your favorite cartoon character, and why? A. This is probably the easiest question for me to answer. It would be Australia. It has always been a dream of mine to visit this country. I have wanted to go there since I was a kid. Someday I will make it there. Q. What is your favorite ice cream? A. Always and forever it will be mint chocolate chip, crème de mint(especially Flubs!) Q. If you had to describe yourself in three words, it would be: A. Dedicated, true, compassionate Q. What is your favorite bumper sticker? A. “In the event of rapture this car will be unmanned.” Q. If you had to eat a raccoon, how would you cook it? A. I know it sounds funny and gross, but I would definitely make jerky out of it. Q. Name one thing you miss about being a kid? A. I would have to say the friends that I had. We spent everyday together playing, exploring, and getting into trouble. We spent every moment together. There are now the people I have not seen in years. I just miss being a kid and my friends I had. Q. You’ve just been hired to a promotions position at General Mills Company. What would you put in a new breakfast cereal box as a gimmick? A. Seeing how I love Lucky Charms the best, I think I would add a new marshmallow charm to the cereal, a golden cross. What an opportunity to simply put Jesus out there for all children. Imagine how the commercial would look. I can see Lucky running from the two kids trying to catch him and get his pot of gold. They are cruising though the woods past the charms until they come to this wondrous cross shining in front of them. They stop, mesmerized by its beauty, and the commercial ends by saying, “They found the real treasure, will you?”

“I have wanted to go there A. This is a two part question for me, since I was a kid. Someday because I like old cartoons, as well as I will make it there.” new ones out of today. Rolling old style,
I would have to pick Elmer Fudd. I guess because he was a determined hunter, but not exactly the brightest one out there. I also like Phineas and Ferb and how everyday is a new adventure in their lives . Q. If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why?

Page 5 of 7 Sowing Seeds to Reap the Harvest
Josh Carpenter The Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy & Titus) are probably the most unique of the epistles because Paul’s message was directed toward individuals instead of an nd entire church. 2 Timothy is the most unique out of the three because it encapsulates Paul’s last words before being martyred under the emperor Nero. Paul not only wrote a letter wrought with emotion, but this was his final opportunity to convey to Timothy what he felt was most important that he should know. In the second chapter nd of 2 Timothy, Paul’s lesson centered upon being a believer active in service. That is, a teaching on what the duty and activity of the believer ought to be. He does this quite well by contrasting the believer with other well-known roles of society. Paul refers to Timothy as his son – not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense. Timothy found Christ through Paul’s ministry and therefore Paul became his mentor. Feeling as if he was a father figure, the first piece of advice Paul gave Timothy was to “…be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:1 English Standard Version). But, what does it mean to be strengthened by the grace that is in Jesus? Grace is what bridges the gap between us and God and faith is what allows us to move toward God. To be strengthened by the grace that is in Jesus means to quit taking steps back when things get tough, be honest with God, admit when you are wrong and seek forgiveness from all involved. The grace of God covers you as a believer. Therefore, there is no good reason to be disappointed in yourself while you are walking with Christ. Because if you walk with the strengthening grace of Christ, your faith leads you to righteousness, but if you enter through the wide gate, taking your own way, as Jesus tells us in Matthew, destruction awaits you. Next, Paul compares the believer to a soldier. “No soldier gets entangled in
st nd


civilian pursuits, since his aim is to nd please the one who enlisted him” (2 Tim. 2:4 ESV). Like a good soldier, the believer is to be willing and able to establish his or her priorities. The point Paul is trying to make is the fact that soldiers are disciplined in a way in which their priorities are clear and executed quickly and out of necessity. Oh, how entangled we can become, from time to time, in worldliness, justifying it by means that we would consider ludicrous if we were to just step back a test ourselves with scripture. There is spiritual warfare taking place, brothers and sisters. There is winning and there is losing. So let us follow what Paul says to the church of Ephesus and fasten our belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness, lace up our boots of readiness, grip tight the shield of faith, strap on our helmets of salvation and sheath the sword of the Spirit to begin winning those battles we would have lost, lest we not have prioritized our lives to serve Christ. In verse 5, Paul contrasts the Athlete and the believer. During the time Paul was writing this, the Greco-Roman world had been significantly influenced by athletic games. It was not just the Olympics; there were regional games similar to the Olympics that took place throughout the areas the Apostles evangelized. Because athletics were so engrained within the culture, this is an important comparison in the sense that the reader could identify with the writer. Timothy in reading this knew that the athlete could not cut corners because his objective was to be and beat the best of the best. Cutting corners would only be hurting the athlete, not helping him. Similarly, this rings true for Christians. Condensed gimmicks like tracts that are often left as a tip, water down the necessity for and urgency of salvation.

The typical tract preaches a message that assures the reader that if he or she says the sinner’s prayer, they will be saved. This is simply not true. It is not that easy. Paul reminds us in Romans that being a follower of Christ costs us our life. This is not to say we are saved by works, but it is to say that confessing with our mouths is often the easy part, believing in Christ enough to declare him savior of not only ourselves, but everyone else is a message that a quarter-page tract fails to convey. Trying to pack the power of witnessing for God into such a tiny message because of a quantity over quality mindset may be wellintentioned, but it is wrong and it is not going to cut it in today’s world. As Paul is testimony to this through his adoption of Timothy, we must not only cast the seeds, but stick around to cultivate them. As believers, we are farmers. We are not merely sowers of seed, preaching the gospel to those who do and do not want to hear it, but we are also charged with making sure that we cultivate those seedlings that spring up from the seeds we cast. A million people could be saved, but unless we have as many disciples to minister, mentor and council them, we are not reaping the full potential of the harvest. In my twenty-some years as a Nazarene, studying the Word is an activity not many Christians particularly know how to do. Simply reading your Bible, Daily Bread in hand, may be necessary for you to start your morning, but it is a stretch to think that it gets your hands as dirty as reading a biblical commentary by Wesley, Calvin or Arminius. Under the subheading, Paul highlights the ultimate goal of studying the Word. He tells Timothy to be a diligent student and to be able to use the Word. The Bible was not meant to have verses plucked out here and there, taking some and leaving some. It was meant to be taught in its entirety. We must be able to rightly divide the entire Word of God.


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More than Food: One Volunteer’s

(cont.) Like Paul with Timothy, we should strive to help new believers get a logical and rational answer for nearly every question they have. There are a lot of good answers, most of the time all we have to do is seek, ask or open our eyes. “Let go and let God” is something I regularly see in picture frames on the walls of many Christians throughout my life. To let go and let God is to be an empty vessel. But what does that mean? It is to agree that you will follow God at any cost. And not only is God looking for empty vessels, He is also looking for those vessels that are clean. He seeks those who throw aside the lusts of their youth, putting away foolish questions and bickering, shifting their focus on the essentials – spreading the gospel and making disciples! Verses 20-21 highlight the importance of focusing on holiness, demanding that we strive to be strong in the grace of God, realizing and searching ourselves for ways to serve God in accordance to His perfect will for our lives.

Perspective of Feed My Sheep Ministry
Finally, in verses 24 and 25 Paul compares the believer to a servant, gentle unto all men. Serving both those in need and those without needs, but most importantly, serving God. By introducing the servant into the chapter’s illustration, Paul creates a paradox. Essentially, we are told to be both a servant and a soldier. In many ways, these two roles are polar opposites. The soldier is violent, representing power and control and the servant, passive, powerless and controlled. So, how should we take this paradox? We are told to stand and fight like the best soldiers. Yet, we are also told to serve others, stepping away from all the bickering and methods making the Christian life easier and more compatible with our ways. When we are confronted with a challenge, we stand and fight for the truth, but within that fight we must also practice humility, respecting others’ opinions. Perseverance and patience is key. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Sandee Beckett will be the first person to tell you about Feed My Sheep, and how it has blessed so many, including herself. Q. When did you start attending Feed My Sheep? Were your expectations before starting this ministry different than they are now? A. I have been attending since it began last year. My expectations haven’t really changed, since I typically dream big. Besides, it is God, not me. It is about learning to be obedient to his will. Q. What can people expect, both volunteers and community members, when attending a Wednesday night dinner? A. Good food, good company, and good words from the Bible. You get to sit at a table like you are at home and are served like you are at home or a restaurant, not in a line like a soup kitchen or army. The menu is posted on the door and EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

(cont.) Q. In your opinion, what makes community members (and volunteers, for that matter) keep coming back to Feed My Sheep? A. The needs they have to serve each other. I am so happy to see the members of the church participate with strangers who have less. We are giving more than food. We take care of each other. We genuinely miss people when they are not there. Q. What are some current needs of the ministry? A. Financial assistance to continue the program, and continued donated food to serve the meals. However, God continues blessing us in the food department. We have had more than enough thanks to

donations. On a whim, I went to the Marriott Hotel in Hamilton one day to talk to the chef. The chef donated trays and trays of food. So God is definitely moving, and using people to carry out this ministry. Q. What are some ways you have seen God move in this ministry? I have seen a father and daughter talk after ten years of not speaking to one another. I have also witnessed a fellow church member pray with this man and ask for God’s forgiveness. I also continue to watch as every week food is provided, sometimes effortlessly. Q. What are three words to describe the way you feel after leaving a Wednesday night dinner?

A. Faith, Hope and Love. Q. If you had a magic want (or an all access pass to God’s prayer bag), what impact would you like this ministry to make on the community? A. I want to see people from all walks of life continuing to come together to help one another!

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Creative Corner of the Cross
Dedicated to Using our God Given Writing Abilities to Glorify Him Definitions
Tracy Carpenter
time”, at one time, was when I was nineteen and freshly baptized in a tub of cold water in front of mostly strangers who applauded me anyway. This time, I knew, I would get this Christian thing right. And before that still, “this time” was when I was freshly saved at fourteen, surrounded by other freshly saved fourteen year olds whose unity in Christ inevitably had to be left behind a that camp as we departed on a hot bus back to the homes we were escaping from in the first place. And I, like many others, put on my low cut tank top, globbed on my too thick make-up, and ran back into the arms of a boy who said he loved me, and back into a world that, at the time, appeared easier to embrace. Hundreds of “this times” later, here I am, twenty seven, married with a daughter…still struggling with the simple concepts that are mapped out in the Bible tracks left by Sunday morning church goers for Sunday morning waitresses who believe they are in more need of rent money than a Savior…. I’ve followed Christ whole heartedly for about eight years now, and, though intellectually I can define (and even partly recognize) God’s grace and mercy, I have yet found the magic wand that will allow myself to let go of myself to be defined by it. Because the definition of God’s grace and mercy after eight years of being a defined “believer” should be, certainly not perfected, but at least instigated in this eight year believer’s footsteps. The straight and narrow path has yet to make room for these big headed feet of mine I clumsily trip over on a daily basis. I am no longer an eight year old child who is defined by a girl turned ice cream cone. This eight year old can no longer can write her way out of a fallen world. Here I am, stripped and undefined. Imperfect yet perfected by His blood. And I still don’t know exactly what that means. But I want it. I need it. Hand over the pencil. You are not the writer. I am. I define you. I dot your i’s. I cross your t’s. I erase the mistakes you made, and make, and will make. I will rewrite your “this time”, and next time, and time and time and time again….

In my life, before Christ and now, things have happened. Things out of my control, things completely in my control and everything in between. And these things have come to define me. For example, I wrote my first story, “The Ice Cream Girl”, when I was eight years old. This poorly illustrated, misspelled piece of writing about a girl who ate too much ice cream and eventually turned into an ice cream cone caused my third grade teacher to laugh out loud and to share my words with the rest of the class. That moment, though perhaps small, forever defined a part of me. It was then that a fire was built inside of me that, though years have tried to dim, has never been completely extinguished. As a young girl, I strived to be the best writer I could be. I wrote in school. I wrote at home. I wrote when I knew I should have been doing something else. And then I grew up. Not really sure when that happened, but as sure as I sit here, I sit here as an adult, not longer holding a pencil and notebook, but broken dreams and a mortgage. I know I have never been the best (fill in the blank.) Friend. Daughter. Sister. Cousin. Employee. Wife. These titles, written boldly in permanent ink, stare at me daily as a reminder of the responsibilities I have acquired since being eight years old. And every morning when I wake up, too impatient to wait for my coffee to cool, yet facing a freezer full of empty ice trays, I am again faced with my arrogance and jumbled priorities; living a life jam packed with putting things off that should have been done a long time ago, and hurrying to complete mundane, irrelevant tasks to impress the eyes of the world. A world that continues to amaze me, frighten me and leave me in despair, all in the same breath. And yet, in a world that is as wavering as the people who reside in it, I so many times have put my trust in its inconsistencies only to be surprised when it lets me down. How can I be the best “fill in the blank” when personal battles of loneliness, depression, anxiety, addiction, inadequacy and fear have, over time, left me (not surprisingly) lonely, depressed, anxious, addicted, inadequate, and fearful still? How can I be the best anything when the most important blank, Child of God, is written meekly in pencil, only to be erased, rewritten, and erased again? Of course, each time it is rewritten, there is every intention of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s correctly “this time.” Though “this

Do you want to contribute to “Creative Corner of the Cross?” We accept short stories, poetry essays, and anything else God inspires you to write (up to 1200 words.) Email submissions to Tracy Carpenter at