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The Prodigal Son in the Key of F

Hey kids,

A friend of mine found this on the internet. I thought you might like as little different version of this Bible story.


Uncle Steve

The Prodigal Son forced his father to fork over his farthings.Feeling footloose and frisky, a featherbrained fellow forced his father to fork over his farthings. Fast he flew to foreign fields and frittered his family’s fortune, feasting fabulously with floozies and faithless friends. Flooded with flattery, he financed a full-fledged fling of “funny foam” and fast food.

Fleeced by his fellows in folly, facing famine and feeling faintly fuzzy, he found himself a feed-flinger in a filthy foreign farmyard. Feeling frail and fairly famished, he fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from the fodder fragments.

“Fooey,” he figured, “my father’s flunkies fare far fancier,” the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, facing the facts. Finally, frustrated from failure and filled with foreboding (but following his feelings) he fled fairly fast from the filthy foreign farmyard.

The Prodigal SonFar away, the father focused on the fretful familiar form in the field and flew to him and fondly flung his forearms around the fatigued fugitive. Falling at his father’s feet, the fugitive floundered forlornly, “Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited family favor.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Easter Dog Show

Image by, Christian SherrattExcitement was in the air in the small town of Edgemont. They had a new hero—a champion speller. Timothy Atkins had just clinched the first place title at the national Spelling Bee in Washington D.C., and since he was a native son, the town was understandably proud!

The town leaders were organizing a city-wide celebration in Timothy’s honor. While some spread out a huge banner over Main Street, others posted invitations on every lamp post and every store window in town. The invitations read, “Come one, come all to a special celebration to honor the accomplishments of Timothy Atkins who won the National Spelling Bee in Washington.” Then they announced the time and location, which was the largest meeting room in the entire city! It seemed as if the whole town was abuzz with the exciting news and everyone pitched in to prepare for the big celebration.

The excitement was also very strong in the Atkins home. And if you were to peek into their window on the day of the celebration you’d see that other preparations were being made.

“Don’t forget to comb your hair, son. Let’s get that tie straightened a little; you want to look you best in the pictures!” Timothy pulled his tie into place as he and mother headed out the door and got into their car. Timothy bounced a little in excitement as he put on his seat belt.

When they arrived, the parking lot was so full that Mother had to drop Timothy off and go in search of a place to park.

As he opened the door he was taken by surprise. It seemed that everyone in town had come out to celebrate his accomplishment.

But as he walked in he was met with another surprise—everyone ignored him. When he tried to greet his friends they hardly even acknowledged his presence and continued to look at their dogs! It was the strangest thing. No one greeted him, no one spoke of the spelling champ—in fact it seemed to Timothy as if everyone had forgotten why this celebration was happening in the first place.

Image by duchesssaHe breathed a sigh of relief when the mayor strolled to the microphone to make an announcement. Surely Mayor Woods would get things on track. “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention please,” the mayor began. He clapped his hands a few times to get everyone’s attention. “As you all know, we have gathered here today to celebrate a kid from our town, um, what’s his name?” he paused for a moment. “Oh well, I guess it doesn’t really matter does it? Anyway we’re here to celebrate some kid who won, er, something. I don’t quite recall what it was. Oh well, congratulations, whoever you are about whatever you did. Now let’s get onto the main event. If everyone will bring their dogs to the front the judging will begin.”

“Is that all?” Timothy thought, “They set up this whole celebration to honor my hard work with spelling and my championship and they can’t even remember my name?” Timothy felt miserable so he sat down by the door with his head in his hands to wait for his mother to come. The thought that they were more interested in dogs than him hurt like he’d had a knife stabbed into his heart.

Image by, Christian SherrattFinally he saw his mother walk in. “Let’s go!” he said as he pulled her out the door as fast as he could. They hurried out to the car where Timothy slammed the door and hunkered down in his seat.

“What’s going on?” Mother asked.

“It’s awful, just awful,” Timothy wailed. “No one even noticed I was there, the mayor forgot who I was and what I’d done, and no one else remembered well enough to remind him! All they cared about were their dogs! They ‘re having a dog show, Mom, a dog show when they’re supposed to be celebrating my spelling bee championship!”

“I’m so sorry,” mother began, “I bet it hurts terribly to be left out and ignored at your own celebration. I think Jesus knows just how you feel.”

“Really? Why?”

“A long time ago people got together and said, ‘Let’s set up a special day every year to celebrate what Jesus did on the cross for us.’ They called the holiday Easter. It’s a day when we should remember how Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment for sin so that we wouldn’t have to. It’s a time to remember that he was buried in the tomb even before they were able to give Him a proper burial because the Sabbath had come. But when some women came to the tomb that next Sunday morning to finish the burial they were surprised to find the stone rolled away because Jesus had risen from the dead. And, Timothy, because He has conquered death we too can have eternal life if we trust in Him. But these days when people celebrate Easter they forget all about that story and about Jesus and celebrate bunnies and Easter Eggs. How do you think that makes Jesus feel?”

Timothy thought about that for a long minute. He didn’t answer out loud for no answer was needed. But silently he began to pray, “I want you, Jesus, much more than bunnies and eggs. Help me never to forget what you did for me. Amen.”


By Steve Severance © March 2008. Feel free to use this story in your church ministry but please email me and let me know you did! Also, please include the copyright info.

The Holy Spirit Vs Evil Spirits:A Halloween Story

I’ve been reading a really neat book about the adventures of a lay missionary who simply goes by the name Paul, although that’s not his real name. Since Halloween is coming up at the end of this month, a holiday where people celebrate ghosts, magic, witches and death, I thought I’d tell you one of the stories in this book.

Some Missionaries go to a village and stay there for many years preaching and healing and raising up a church. Others are itinerant missionaries, they go from town to town preaching for shorter periods of time, that’s the kind of missionary Paul was.

One day Missionary Paul went into a town he’d never been to before. It was a beautiful, busy seaside town; he saw a busy seaport where people from all over the world came to import their goods. He saw huge ships docked at the ports and heard snarly sea captions yelling orders in all sorts of languages to the poor slaves as they bent their backs carrying the heavy loads off the ships. He also noticed that a lot of the townspeople were big-time into witchcraft and sorcery. Witches, wizards and sorcerers scurried around the town with their charms and magic books to cast spells. People would pay them to either hurt their enemies or “help” themselves or their friends. A lot of the time they just did this to impress people or because they liked the powerful feeling it gave.

Missionary Paul wondered where he could start preaching is such a beautiful but wicked town. Finally he found a group of 12 guys who weren’t into all that witchcraft. Somewhere, probably from a Christian sailor who had come through town, they had found out about Jesus and although they didn’t know much about Christianity they were following God to the best of their ability. With all the evil spirits around in this town Missionary Paul asked them, “Have you received the Holy Spirit?”

Why, they’d never even heard of such a thing? They knew that the witches and sorcerers had evil spirits which gave them power but they didn’t know that God wants to give us His Holy Spirit, which is much more powerful than Satan’s spirit. They were excited to hear about this! He sat down with them and began to tell them all about Jesus. They listened to Missionary Paul’s every word with rapt attention. They were so excited about what they’d learned that they asked Missionary Paul to baptize them again, now that they knew the truth about how to follow Jesus and about the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent.

Missionary Paul took them to a shallow spot in the harbor, they were like tiny little toy men compared to the huge ships in the harbor, but that didn’t matter, God noticed them even if no one else did. As Missionary Paul lowered each one under the water and back up again their faces were filled with joy. Then the missionary put his hands on them and prayed that they would receive the Holy Spirit. God responded to that prayer in a BIG way. The Holy Spirit gave then two spiritual gifts, prophecy and the ability to speak in all sorts of languages. As soon as they came up out of the sea they began going from sailor to sailor, captain, to captain, slave to slave telling them the good news about Jesus in that person’s own language!

This certainly did get the people’s attention! The townspeople were eager to hear about this wonderful new religion that gave people the ability to talk in anyone’s native tongue. Missionary Paul found a lecture hall and began giving Bible studies the every day. The people flocked to hear him.

Now, you’ve probably heard about witches and wizards. You’ve probably heard of the book and movie series called Harry Potter. These kinds of books make witchcraft seem fun, exciting and harmless. In these books child wizards go on all sorts of exciting adventures using their special powers. But what they don’t tell you is that wizards are working for satan. And while satan can seem nice and fun in order to catch you, once he’s caught you he does a lot of hurtful things.

Since this town was filled with people who were into witchcraft, Satan was able to do a lot of really bad things. In fact he had gained so much control over many of the people that they became demon possessed. A demon controlled everything they did! If the demon said “go there” they did, if the demon said, “cut yourself” or “burn yourself” they did! Everyone was very afraid of demon possessed people.

Sometimes the demons would use their superhuman strength to hurt people. They may throw the person they possessed into a fire to burn them, just to hear them scream in pain, or they may use the possessed person to attack someone and beat them unmercifully, and since demons are stronger than humans the people had no way to escape.

Many of these demon possessed people were sorry that they had let the demons take control by playing with witchcraft. They didn’t like to be hurt or burned by the demons, they didn’t like to have to do everything the demons told them to, they didn’t like hurting other people, but they couldn’t do anything about it. They were helpless.

When Missionary Paul saw some of these people He said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you, evil spirits, to come out!” and the Holy Spirit, who is more powerful than satan’s spirit, drove the evil spirits out! Now they were free! Sick people also came to the missionary and Jesus healed them through Paul. In fact, so many people needed to be healed or set free that people would just take a handkerchief or another item of clothing that Missionary Paul had touched to the sick or demon possessed people and they would be healed!

The townspeople were amazed, they thought this Missionary and His God were really cool; but they weren’t willing to totally give up on their witchcraft. They would say they were following Jesus, in order to get the benefits but they were still trying to follow their old ways too. That’s called taking the name of the Lord in vain which is against third commandment (see Exodus 20:7)!

Well, one day, seven boys came upon a demon possessed man. Wanting to get in on the action one said, “Hey, let’s cast the demon out using Jesus’ name just like missionary Paul and those 12 Christians do!”

“Yeah! That’s a great idea, that’ll make us powerful!” they all chorused.

So in their most important sounding voice they said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, whom Paul preaches about, come out of that man!” But instead of leaving, the demon talked back to them!

“Jesus I know, and I know Paul, but who are you?” then he jumped on all seven of them with superhuman strength and beat them mercilessly. In trying to escape they ripped their clothes off and ran away, leaving their clothes behind.

When word of this got around town all the people were afraid. They realized that they needed to give proper respect to Jesus and not just use him for their own good. They realized that they couldn’t mix Christianity with witchcraft. That night some of the leaders in the town built a big huge bonfire and all the witches and wizards and sorcerers, as well as all the people who just like to “play around” with the devil, brought their magic books and burned them in the fire; to show that they weren’t going to have anything to do with the evil spirits anymore. They wanted Jesus and His Holy Spirit only!

This month, as most of the people around you celebrate Halloween. Please remember that, even though it may look fun and harmless, witchcraft and ghosts never are. You cannot mix God’s things and Satan’s. It’s not safe! And if you already have some Halloween things or any other thing that comes from satan, throw it away! Or ask your parents to help you burn them. Use this time of great evil to pledge total allegiance to Jesus and ask His Holy Spirit to come to you!

(This story is from the Bible book of Acts 19.)

New Uniform

A Make Believe Parable by Uncle Steve.

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller

“Why don’t you get something decent to wear? Ha, ha” Hannah laughed as Alyssa shuffled down the hallway to her classroom.

“Where’d you get your clothes, the dumpster?” Christy sneered, all the kids laughed as if it were the funniest joke they’d ever heard.

Alyssa’s school was in a very high-class area and most of her classmates came from the richest families in town. But she wasn’t rich. In fact her family was so poor that they couldn’t even afford to buy her the required school uniform at the beginning of the year so they had asked around and found one from a girl who had been her size last year. It was faded and stained up and the edges were ragged but it was all she could get. Oh, how the kids teased poor Alyssa till she wanted to run away and hide all day!

It wasn’t just the kids who didn’t like Alyssa’s uniform. Her teachers and principal were mortified that in such a high-class school they had a girl who looked so poor and ragged—they thought it made the whole school look bad. No, the teachers didn’t make fun of her like the kids did but they did pressure Alyssa and her parents to get her a “decent” uniform that would represent the school properly. But there just was no way she or her family could afford such clothing.

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller

Then one day as the final bell rang and the kids were scampering out the door Mrs. K called, “Alyssa, will you stay behind please?”

When the classroom was empty Alyssa sat at her desk with her head down “I wonder what Mrs. K wants? I didn’t do anything bad, did I?” she wondered.

“Now Alyssa,” Mrs. K began, “You know that we have a rule about what clothes you must wear to school.”

“But, I have a uniform” Alyssa protested.

“I’m not done,” Mrs. K scolded, “The rules say that your uniform must be clean and in good condition. Yours is totally faded, stained, and ratty that’s not what I call ‘good condition’”.

Alyssa waited to make sure her teacher was done talking, “B-but my mom washed it last night. It’s clean; really it is! It just looks dirty because it’s old. We don’t have enough money to buy a new one!” she said, a tear sliding down her cheek.

“Well, as you know, next Monday the superintendent of schools and the school inspectors will be here to inspect our school. We don’t want you spoiling our school’s score. Can you imagine how embarrassing it will be for our school if the Superintendent sees you in those awful clothes? You must come up with a decent school uniform by Monday. Am I making myself clear, young lady?”

Alyssa nodded. Mrs. K had been clear but what could she do? Mrs. K gave her a note to take to her mom that said just about the same thing and dismissed her.

“Mommy, Mommy, I just have to have a better uniform!” Alyssa wailed when she got home. “The kids all tease me and now Mrs. K says I have to have one by Monday.” Mom read the letter and Alyssa told her all about her talk with her teacher.

All week their family saved every penny. Alyssa did chores for the neighbors to try to earn money but it was no use by Sunday they still only had $13.21 to spend on a new uniform which would cost nearly $50.

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller

“Do I have to wear that ugly old thing again?” Alyssa whined as she put on the hated uniform again on Monday morning. But there was no other way.

When she got to school Mrs. K was very upset and the kids turned their backs to her. Alyssa noticed that the clock said 10:05 when the superintendent and her inspectors came into her classroom. She wished she could be invisible. The desks were in strait rows, the things on the shelves were neatly stacked and the kids all looked perfect as they sat at their desks. Everything was in perfect order; everything, that is, except Alyssa’s uniform. The Superintendent and Mrs. K whispered to each other; Alyssa knew they were talking about her because every once-in-a-while they pointed at her. Then Mrs. K announced, “Alyssa, the superintendent would like to see you in the principals office right away.”

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller

The kids snickered behind their hands as she shuffled out of the classroom and toward the principal’s office. “What will she say; what will she do?” she wondered.

It seemed like an eternity before the superintendent came into the room. Alyssa was too ashamed to look at her. “Hi Alyssa, I’m Mrs. Daniels.” She began in a kind voice. “Mrs. K told me about your situation. I’m afraid that this uniform is not acceptable here.”

“I tried, I really did! But I just couldn’t get enough money for a new one. Please don’t be mad!” she wailed “an-and please don’t make the school lose points because of me.”

“I would have to mark off the school because of that uniform. That’s what the rules say. But I’ve come up with a better idea.” The kind lady said with a twinkle in her eye. Then reaching into a bag she pulled out a brand new uniform just Alyssa’s size! “Try this on.”

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller

“W-what? For me!?!” Alyssa screeched. “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!” She ran to the bathroom to try it on. It fit perfectly! “It fits, it fits!” she cried as she hugged Mrs. Daniels so tight she could hardly breath.

“Then this uniform is yours on one condition.” Mrs. Daniels said with a smile.

“What’s that?” Alyssa asked her face falling.

“You have to give me your old one. Deal?”

“Deal!!!” Alyssa said enthusiastically as she handed the old dirty uniform to Mrs. Daniels.

“One more thing, Alyssa, tell your mom that I told the store that if you ever need any more school clothes to give them to you and I’ll pay for them. Now I think you should join you class again!”

Alyssa felt as if she was flying as she made her way back to class. Never again would she have to be the worst dressed girl in the school!

That’s like what Jesus will do for you. Heaven’s uniform is a robe of righteousness (righteousness means being perfect). But we have all sinned so our “uniforms are all dirty and old. No matter how hard you try you can’t clean up your own sin. The Bible says, “ All of us are dirty with sin.
All the right things we have done are like filthy pieces of cloth.” Isaiah 64:6 NCV

But Jesus is like the superintendent. When we confess that we cannot be good on our own He takes our old dirty uniform and gives us his own fresh, new, clean one. “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.” Isaiah 61:10 NLT


Dear Heavenly Father, I accept Jesus as my personal Savior. I confess that I have ugly sin in my life and can’t stop doing bad things; please forgive me and give your clean robe of righteousness. Please be in charge of all my hopes and dreams and future plans. I give my whole life to You. I ask that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I ask that You make me want what you want. Thank you for giving me your perfectly clean uniform and eternal life right now. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.


Story Copyright (c) April 2008 by Steve Severance. Images are under the Creative Commons license(cc).

Sung Runs Away to Church

Sung Yeon Yang“Cli-click” the door quietly latched behind Sung Yeon Yang (Soong Yee-HWN Yang) as she quietly slipped out of her Taiwanese apartment building on the Eastern coast of China. No one knew where she was going, not A-pah (Taiwanese for Father), not  Mama, (Taiwanese for mother) not even her little sister. As she ran down the sidewalk toward the little Adventist church (Kàu-hoë), she hoped that her parents wouldn’t ask here where she had been because she was sure they wouldn’t want her to be going to church.

Sung’s  family didn’t know Jesus but when she first started  school (Hák-häu) her parents wanted her to be able to learn English so they sent her to an English language class after school. That’s where she first learned about Jesus. You see, the language school was run by Seventh-day Adventists! Even though it was hard, she loved learning English and she also loved her teacher. But this week she had heard her teacher talking about the church’s worship services.

“May I go to your Kàu-hoë (church) too?” Sung asked her teacher.

“Why, of course, you are very welcome to come!” Teacher replied. And that’s why Sung was running toward the little Adventist church on this Saturday morning.

As she slipped inside she was warmly welcomed and directed to a Sabbath School class for kids her own age. She loved the songs and Bible stories so much that she decided to come back! Week after week Sung slipped out to go to Sabbath School, while her parents thought she was taking part in a school activity.

“Sung,” Her teacher said one day, “you’re such a good singer, how would you like to join the children’s choir?”

“Really? I’d love to!!” Sung exclaimed bouncing up and down eagerly. She loved to sing! But now she would have to stay for the worship service some days because the children’s choir often sung for church.

One Sabbath when Sung was supposed to sing in the choir for church she invited her little sister to come with her. “But don’t tell  Mama, and don’t tell Father where we’re going!” Sung warned, she didn’t want her parents to find out and tell her she couldn’t go to Sabbath school anymore. Both girls slipped out of the house and ran to the church. Sung’s sister loved it as much as she did! But when they got home Mama asked, “Where have you girls been all morning?”

Sung fidgeted a little, she had a funny feeling inside.  In the past when mom had asked this question she had lied to keep out of trouble but now she just couldn’t do it anymore. “I-I have joined a children’s choir at the Adventist church, and they sang today for worship,” she confessed, it felt good to tell the truth but she was really worried that her parents would stop her from going back.

Mama seemed to understand and Sung thought everything would be OK. Then A-pah found out! “No, you may not go to any Christian church!” he told them. “Not even to sing in the choir.” So Sung and her sister had to stay home on Sabbaths. But whenever A-pah wasn’t around,  Mama let them go.  

Then one day A-pah found out. He was angry! “I told you girls not to go to that church and now I find out that you’ve been going anyway!!”

But Mama interceded “But A-pah , look at how kind and obedient the girls have become. They’re learning that at church. I think it’s good for them to go.” So A-pah reluctantly agreed to let them go.

One month, two, three…six months passed. Then one day Mama met one of the members of Sung’s church in town. She was very friendly and after visiting for a while the lady said, “Why don’t you and your husband come visit our church to see what your girls are enjoying. We’d love to have you!”

“You know,” she said to A-pah when she got home, “the girls have been going to that church for quite a while now, don’t you think it is time we went to their church to see just what our daughters are learning?” The girls jumped up and down for joy when they heard that both Mama and A-pah had decided to come with them to Sabbath School and Church.

But that Sabbath Mama and A-pah were very uncomfortable. “I don’t know what to do or when or do it; like everyone else does” whispered A-pah . This made them feel embarrassed, they didn’t like it. It was different than anything they had ever seen before. And even though the church members tried to help, they decided that they didn’t want to go back. “You girls go ahead to church, A-pah and I will stay home.” Mama said the next week. As the girls went to church that next week, they were a little sad because it was just the two of them again.

Then one day an Adventist lady moved into their apartment building. She was very nice and caring and soon they became friends.

Every morning the phone would ring. Mama would answer, ” Pêng-an (That’s how Taiwanese say “Hello”)?”

“Hi, this is your new neighbor, would you and your family like to come over to my house for worship and prayer?”

Her parents were pleased that someone cared enough to invite them over for prayer and so for another six months the phone continued to ring every morning and Sung’s family would go over to their neighbor’s house for prayer.

Soon Mama wanted to her own prayer time in her house and A-pah began to study the Bible with the pastor. A-pah learned what Sung had been learning about the God of love and was anxious to worship him too. Sung-Yeon-YangHe threw away his prayer beads and began praying from his heart.

Just 18 months after Sung first sneaked to church her whole family became Adventist Christians. A-pah has become a gentler, happier man. Mama enjoys worshiping with the family. And Sung and her sister love to sing praises to Jesus in the children’s choir. She is glad that she ran away to church. Aren’t you?


This story was adapted from the web site @ . In order to maintain the accuracy of the retelling, some portions are entirely or mostly taken from the original story.