web analytics

Tag Archive | "Darryl Miller"

Is this the end times?

Pastor Darryl Miller

Sand Lake / South Ensley United Methodist Churches

616-636-5659 and on Facebook

Peter 3:11: You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming (NIV).

As the pandemic has progressed, I have been asked by a few if I think that this is a sign of the end times. As we look back through history, we will discover that this question has been asked many times before—such as during the plague, the World Wars, the Spanish flu pandemic and so on. These have all been called the beginning of the end. 

Many people have spent an enormous amount of time trying to discern the exact time of Christ’s second coming. But the question that I ask is, why? Our faith tells us to trust in God. So shouldn’t we do so? If God could put the universe in the exact place needed at creation so that the sign in the heavens at His Son’s birth was at the exact place at the exact time, shouldn’t we trust that He knows when the exact time for His Son to return is? Instead, shouldn’t we be concerned with what we are supposed to be doing in the meantime? 

In each of these instances, people were hurting, afraid and seeking answers. We, as God’s people, are given those answers and commanded to share them with others. We are to do this in love. We are not supposed to sit back and wait but instead we are to be busy with God’s work right up to the very end. Wouldn’t it be better for the master to return and find us busily doing His work than to have Him find us in the hammock staring at the sky? 

People who are hurting need God’s healing. People who are afraid need God’s peace. People who have lost loved ones need God’s comfort. We may need to find different ways of doing so, but it is our job as followers of Christ to bring these things to the world. The best part is, when we do this we are blessed ourselves beyond measure. 

We show Christ to the world in our actions and our reactions. Show Christ in all that you do so that when He does return, He will find you hard at work in the fields creating a truly full harvest for the kingdom.

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on Is this the end times?

Be ready for change

Pastor Darryl Miller 

Sand Lake / South Ensley United Methodist Churches 

616-636-5659 email: seumc@charter.net or find us on Facebook

“There is a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, Common English Bible). 

I have used a dreidel as an object lesson in the past. It is a simple four-sided top that you can spin and then follow the directions of the side that is up when it stops. The game is played at Hanukkah with gelt chocolate coins.

There are a number of interesting stories about this innocuous toy that are fascinating. In the legends, the four letters on the dreidel spell out the miracle of Hanukkah. The Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hey and shin stand for Nes Gadol Haya Sham (a great miracle happened there). While a “Jerusalem” dreidel changes the last letter and corresponding word to “Here” since that is where the miracle occurred. Even in times of oppression when the people were banned from teaching or practicing their religion, they were able to remind and teach their history in secret with this little toy as well as other means. 

The point is that the scriptures tell us to be ready for change. Things will change in our lives and in our world. Some will be good changes while others will not be. But God’s promise is that He will be with us through it all. And of all of the things in our life, He is the only part of our lives that will not change: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 CEB). 

God provided an avenue for the people to teach and remember God’s presence in their history. In addition, today He will provide whatever we need to keep teaching, remembering, reaching out, and evangelizing even during a pandemic. Yes, it looks different and we don’t like change. Yes, it’s hard learning all the new tools that we need to stay in touch and together. But God has provided these tools as well. I have seen many examples of programs for outreach, feeding those in need and the like. There were classes on online communication and ministry, and other things that were started before all this hit. So many things were already in place beforehand that it seemed a miracle–and they were miracles. On the other hand, put another way, God kept His promises. Even though things changed, He gave us the tools, skills, and the means to continue to serve one another.

We are not alone in this; God’s promise to be with us will never change. And neither will His awesome love for you.

Please stay safe, remember that a friendly phone call can mean a lot to someone. 

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on Be ready for change

Fundraiser to help pastor’s leader dog

Pastor Darryl Miller with his leader dog, Rowdy.

Pastor Darryl Miller with his leader dog, Rowdy.

January 14 at Sand Lake United Methodist Church

by Judy Reed

When Darryl Miller decided to become a pastor 10 years ago, he knew it wouldn’t be an easy road to navigate. Being legally blind, he would need help from his family—including wife Shari, and daughters Heather and Kelli—and his congregation. But one of the most important helpers and companions to Darryl has been his leader dog, Rowdy, an 11-year-old beautiful black lab. And now Rowdy is facing his own health issues.

Rowdy has been helping Miller gets where he needs to go since 2007, which includes pastoring both Sand Lake United Methodist and South Ensley United Methodist Churches. “He’s been with me from the beginning. Rowdy’s been to seminary and through all of my pastoral training. He’s older now, and we are trying to retire him but he just won’t go,” said Miller with a chuckle.

“If I put my shoes on in my office, he’d hear it even though he’s on the couch in the other part of the house, and he would be there waiting to go out the door. He just wants to go. He still does his job.”

Rowdy has been through several surgeries to fix a fistula—a hole in the roof of his mouth that opens into his nose. Miller said the hole is about the size of a quarter, making it hard for the dog to eat and drink well.

According to PetMD, an oronasal fistula can be caused by injury, infection or disease. “It’s not terribly uncommon for a dog to get a hole in his mouth by running outside and running into a stick,” explained Miller. “But we don’t know how it happened. He did have an abscessed tooth, and we don’t know if that caused it or if it caused the abscessed tooth.”

Rowdy has undergone five surgeries to fix the problem, but every one has failed. And the costs keep piling up. “We recently found out the jawbone was infected as well, and that’s why the surgeries failed,” explained Miller. He said Rowdy was put on a 10-week course of heavy-duty antibiotics to clear it up. The veterinarian—Dr. Moore, in Spring Lake—will then attempt to repair the fistula again.

The Sand Lake United Methodist Women’s group would like to help Pastor Miller by doing some fundraising for Rowdy’s surgery. They will be holding a hot dog and chili lunch at Sand Lake United Methodist Church, 65 West Street, Sand Lake, on Saturday, January 14, at from 11-3.

For those who would like to donate, but cannot attend, you can make out a check to the Sand Lake UMC Women and put “Rowdy” in the memo line. Mail it to Sand Lake United Methodist Church, PO 97, Sand Lake, MI 49343.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Fundraiser to help pastor’s leader dog

Working together

Pastor Darryl Miller

Sand Lake/South Ensley United Methodist churches 



Philippians 2:2 New International Version: then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

I had a rare opportunity this Sunday to visit a church other than the ones that I serve and to be ministered to. I love it when these opportunities come around. Most people don’t think about we pastors needing to be ministered to occasionally. The pastor had a wonderful message about the acceptance of Christ. How he welcomes everyone. This got me thinking about my faith journey. When I just got out of High school I joined a Christian band. There were two members who attended the Catholic church, one who attended a Baptist church, one who attended a Lutheran church, and one who attended a non-denominational church. We ministered to young people as a family of believers. I wondered why we couldn’t do that as “mature” Christians. When I first began pasturing, I actually had some pastors refuse to take my call because I was a “competitor.” I never understood this. Yes, I am a United Methodist pastor but I still worship the same God as the church next door.

There was a time when I was searching for a church that would be my home when I ran across a church who had cards that read: “If you do not feel at home here, let us help you find a church where you do.” This is one of the things that made me feel comfortable at this church. That was 25 years ago and now I pastor that very church!

The above scripture is a key part of Christian life. We need to work together. One church can do a lot of ministry, but several churches working together can do amazing things through God. As time has gone on we have begun to understand this idea more and more. In the community where the churches are that I serve, we regularly work together with all the other churches. And God has done amazing things through us. I love to see the different pastors supporting various ministries in our communities together because that is what God wants. We are a family. And together we are one.

If you want to be a part of this family, visit a church near you. Everyone is welcome in God’s house!

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on Working together

God is with us

Pastor Darryl Miller  

Sand Lake UMC, 

65 W. Maple, Sand Lake

South Ensley UMC,

13600 Cypress, Sand Lake

Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

What a crazy spring this has been! The weather, the politics, the health issues, and that’s just this last week! Sometimes it’s hard to remember these words from our God. How can we look around us on some days and not be afraid? Let’s face it, it’s not easy but God’s reassurance is always there and always true. He is always with us throughout our struggles.

I used to become agitated when we would receive an unexpected income of some kind. A mistake on a bank account, or an underpayment of a refund. We would get some extra money and make plans for it, and then the car would explode or the water heater would melt. Or some other such disaster. (Yes I am being over dramatic.) And then the unexpected money would have to go towards the unexpected repairs. But finally, after experiencing this several times, I suddenly realized that this was a huge blessing that I was missing. God had been providing the needed money for the upcoming problem before we were even aware of the problem!

Sometimes seeing the blessing and presence of God means looking at things a little differently. When we look for God with an earthly perspective we may not always see God in action. However, if we look for God in a Spiritual perspective we can see Him more clearly. God acts in ways that we don’t always understand. And certainly in ways that we don’t expect. We may not notice if we are looking for what we expect instead of what God sees as important for us. There’s an old joke about a preacher who is caught up in a flood. When a boat comes along, he refuses to leave saying that God would take care of him. When a second boat comes along and the preacher is up on his roof to avoid the water, he again refuses to get in because God will take care of him. Now standing on the chimney a helicopter comes along and He waves them away saying that God will save him. And of course he drowns. When he complains to God, God replies: “What do you mean? I sent two boats and a helicopter!”

God can see far more things than we can. He can see things that we would never expect and because he loves us He does now what is best for us in the future. This is why we do need to learn to stand on His words. He truly is with us and He truly holds us up. Check out a church near you to find out more about God’s love.

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on God is with us

Gift of Peace

Pastor Darryl Miller  

Sand Lake UMC, 65 W. Maple, Sand Lake

South Ensley UMC, 13600 Cypress, Ensley Township 

Too often we end the holiday season completely drained, both emotionally and physically. We then tend to call on God to refresh us, to restore our vigor and our lives to “normal.” But what if we were to ask God for restoration along the way? What if we planned into our busy holiday schedules time to draw closer to the reason for our celebrations? What if we were to decide now to have a spirit of peace despite the overwhelming pressure to live up to expectations to get the right gift, make all the parties, host dinners, send the cards, etc? That is what I would like to suggest.

During this special time, let’s decide not to let the pressures mount up but instead let the Child whose birth we are celebrating bring us the gift of Peace. We prepare our homes for the celebration by decorating so why not prepare our hearts for the celebration of our Lord’s birth, not with hectic lives but with hearts of peace and love. After all, the song says: “Love came down at Christmas” not to challenge us to get the right tree, but to have a spirit of peace and love that shows through the craziness of the world. One of my family’s traditions is to have a Christmas ornament hang in the house all year around. This reminds us not just at Christmas time but all through the year of the wonderful gift of Christmas. Sometimes I think we need this reminder in December most of all!

Another good reason for this approach is that many of our neighbors need something from us this time of year and if we are too wound up in our own schedules, we may miss it. Some have lost loved ones; for some this may be their first Christmas without someone close that they have lost. Others may not have heat, or power, or food. It seems every year our Ministerial association finds out about someone who has no heat or food, but hasn’t told anyone. If we checked up on our neighbors, we might learn about the need and find those who can help. But if we don’t check, we don’t know. If you are in need, don’t be too proud to ask for help, it is limited but it is out there. And if you are feeling lonely this season, check out your local church, we would love to spend some time with you! We will not be waiting at the door with a signup sheet for work that needs to be done and we will not hand you a membership form before you sit down. We will however extend to you the love and grace of Jesus and welcome you in God’s name. My family and our church families wish all of you a truly blessed and merry Christmas!

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on Gift of Peace

Stone Soup

Pastor Darryl Miller  

Sand Lake UMC, 65 W. Maple, Sand Lake

South Ensley UMC, 13600 Cypress, Ensley Township 


You may have heard the story of Stone Soup in one form or another. A poor man or peddler comes into a village and goes door-to-door asking for food. At each house he is turned away with the occupant saying that they only have a small portion of potatoes or carrots or something else, never more than one thing and never much. The man goes to the town square and starts a fire under a pot of water into which he places a stone. As the townsfolk come along and ask what he is doing, he says he is making stone soup. The people offer the small items they all have and soon the whole community is sharing in a pot of wonderful soup made of all their bits. In a way, that is how we take care of each other even today.

We, in the faith community think (for the most part) that this is a good way to do things—together. There are many small churches in the area that do all they can for the community they serve. But when we get together and pool our resources, we can do so much more. And it doesn’t stop there. The same works for individuals.

Churches are asked often to help those who are struggling and what a great blessing it is when a number of individuals who have no ability to give monetarily to a church are willing to give of their time and talents to make a difference for their neighbors in need! So much is accomplished by these wonderful people! We may not have a lot to give, but what we do have can make a huge difference in the lives of our communities.

How often have you heard or said yourself “I’m only one person, what can I do?” The truth is—a lot! None of us knows everything—despite what my uncle claims about himself! But we all know something. I used to work in construction and it took an awful lot of us to put together a building. Electricians, heating people, plumbers, carpenters, and the list goes on. If we had tried to do the job alone, we would never have finished and if we had, well… I’m not sure I’d want to live in it! But all of us together made something that will last a long, long time. The same is true of all of us.

Together we can make a difference that will last a long, long time. Helping those in need in the name of Christ makes a difference in the world. And that is what we are supposed to do. Just remember that when you do something for someone else out of the goodness of your heart and in the name of Christ, you are not alone! God is with you and so are all of us who are brothers and sisters in Him.

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on Stone Soup

A Special October celebration

Pastor Darryl Miller  

Sand Lake UMC

65 W. Maple, Sand Lake

South Ensley UMC 

13600 Cypress, Ensley Township


This month we have a very special day to celebrate. No, I don’t mean Halloween! In October we celebrate the “Children’s Sabbath,” a time to recognize and celebrate our kids as the gift from God that they are. There has been a lot of dispute over the role of children in some churches and how to keep them involved. The old axiom that “Children are the future of the church” is no longer the truth. The real truth is that children are our church. They are here now and are a wonderful part of celebrating our faith. We are instructed several times in God’s word to pass on our faith to each generation. Paul celebrates Timothy’s faith being passed down from Grandmother to Mother to Timothy (2 Timothy 1).

I have personally seen the gruffest man ever smile at the happiness and enthusiasm of a child. They are happy, and eager to learn. It seems to me that we could learn something from them. What would our celebrations of faith look like if we were to be as enthusiastic as a child? Willing to sing and celebrate? Too often I feel that we don’t celebrate our faith enough; it sometimes seems to be a task instead of a joyous celebration. I’ve seen a child have fun for hours with nothing but an empty cardboard box. Shouldn’t we be even happier with a risen Savior? Just something to think about! May God bless your hearts and homes with the joy of a happy child!


Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on A Special October celebration

The good, the bad, and the grace

Pastor Darryl Miller  

Sand Lake UMC

65 W. Maple, Sand Lake

South Ensley UMC

 13600 Cypress, Ensley Township



It was a dark and stormy night. Really! We were in one of our most beloved places in creation, our family church camp on Lake Michigan. Usually it is the most relaxing and joyful place. Except this night. I had recently undergone surgery to reattach my bicep and my arm was infected. And so, we found ourselves in the emergency room in Grand Rapids. I was miserable and I’m sure I was lousy company. As we sat in the waiting room, my wife suddenly said that the police were bringing in a man that she recognized. She went to see what was up and was told that he had attempted suicide. When I was settled, she went to talk to the man. She found out that he felt hopeless and wanted to end it. She began to minister to him and before I left the ER, she had convinced him to seek counseling and had helped him to arrange it.

So what does this have to do with you? Good question!

I didn’t want to be where I was. I was miserable and would have rather been just about anywhere other than a hospital. But even there God made himself real. In Romans 8:28 we read: “28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (NKJV). It sounds good, but what does it mean to me? God used a bad situation and made it good. That night, a man’s life was saved! He made himself real to me, my wife, and the man who was struggling so.

The infection was a real thing, and God did not cause it. Could he have stopped it? Yes. So why didn’t he? Because God sees things that we cannot. Had he stopped it, I, and my wife, would not have been there when this man was looking for help. Could God have intervened without us? Absolutely, but he allowed us to be his hands, feet and voice to this man. In Acts 8:26-40, Phillip is told to go into the desert and to run after a man in a chariot. And after his encounter with the man, he is swept away to preach somewhere else. God knows when and where we are needed. And it’s not always where we want to be. Although I am the preacher in the family, it was my wife who provided the needed ministry there. God calls everyone to be ministers, not just people with titles. That seems scary to a lot of people, but God is in control and as long as you let him guide you, you’ll do just fine! Don’t worry about what to say, God will provide the words, and besides, silent presence can be just as important.

The third person in this little story was the man. In his way, he was calling out for help. And faithful to his word, God heard him and answered him. What an awesome God! He hears us wherever we are and whatever we have gotten ourselves into. And he answers!

Unfortunately, we don’t always get to see the good that may come from every situation we find ourselves in. But even if we don’t see these results, that’s a part of faith, knowing that God is there and in control, even when we may not notice Him.

So next time you find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be, keep your eye peeled for God in action, you may be surprised at what you discover!



Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on The good, the bad, and the grace



Get Your Copy of The Cedar Springs Post for just $40 a year!