Some don’t want to think about the reality of hell

Grantville's Nazarene pastor heard a small, still voice

Tony Miller: "I was set on being a professional baseball player or a commercial pilot."
  • Tony Miller: "I was set on being a professional baseball player or a commercial pilot."

Mission Church of the Nazarene

4750 Mission Gorge Place, Grantville

Membership: 800

Pastor: Tony Miller

Age: 54

Born: Beaver, OK

Formation: Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, ID; Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO; Trevecca Nazarene, Nashville, TN

Years Ordained: 28

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Tony Miller: The love of Jesus — because I am a recipient of that love. What I like most about Jesus is the fact that he is merciful and forgiving and loves me just as I am. If there’s a message I have to share with my congregation, it is that Jesus loves them. I want to make sure that when they walk into our church, they walk out knowing that Jesus loves them.

SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?

PM: In our culture, I’m concerned about the absence of God and lack of consideration for a biblical worldview versus a secular worldview. A biblical worldview will look at life and help make decisions about right and wrong based on the truths we find in scripture, while the secular view is more myopic and more about self, about my own and my security instead of communicating and sharing the real security and peace that comes from knowing Jesus Christ and having a relationship with our creator. In that relationship, we discover purpose, peace and direction. All the questions of life are answered through the word of God. It’s interesting watching people scratch their heads wondering how to deal with issues; but we need to realize that Jesus is our only hope — Jesus is the hope — and our lives work a lot better with Jesus as a part of it.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PM: I was set on being a professional baseball player or a commercial pilot, but the Lord got ahold of me when I was 15, and that small, still voice in the back of my mind pressed upon me that he wanted me to preach the gospel and serve him. That’s when I accepted a call upon my life that God called me to the office of pastor, proclaimer of the word.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PM: Seek. Serve. Reach. We seek the kingdom of God, serve our community, and reach our world for Christ. We love to embrace Beauty for Ashes, an outreach founded by Dr. Jamie Gates at Point Loma Nazarene University. This ministry helps girls who have been victims of human trafficking to begin and obtain a college education. Some of us work with the ministry directly from our church; we also communicate what the ministry is doing and how it is doing by giving them a voice in our services. We also will support them financially at different times and in different ways.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PM: We go to be with God. Scripture talks about heaven and that we’ll spend eternity with our creator. Of course, Jesus spoke more about hell than heaven and some people wrestle with that in this culture because some don’t want to think about the reality of hell. Aside from all the descriptors — hell being hot, fire, brimstone — in reality, hell is total separation from God. By free will, which God has given us because we’re made in his image and likeness, we separate ourselves from him. We have a choice to accept or reject him. When we reject him — literally rejecting his son Jesus Christ — we separate ourselves from God.

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