Week 51 Sunday

The Witness

Today’s scripture selection: Acts 25-26

Key Verse: Acts 26:28-29

When the apostle Paul was witnessing to his faith – this time in front of King Agrippa – the ruler asked:

“Do you think in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

Paul calmly replied, “Short time or long – I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

Agrippa was left perplexed.  And he told the others around him that if Paul had not appealed to Caesar himself for a hearing, he could have been set free.  Instead, he was now going to be on his way to Rome – and death.

It is just one more example of how Paul would do anything – whatever it took – to witness to his faith.

When I think of such courage and determination, I wonder about how I could so often do more to reach others for God.

The excuses are many; some of them pretty convincing.  I think of how I already have much to do to care for those already under my pastoral care; how many meetings I have scheduled.

But Paul’s example is there for me to ponder.  God calls us into service to witness to His love, every single day.  Sometimes, you just have to go that extra mile, even when it isn’t convenient.

Prayer: Lord, open my eyes and ears to all the ways you call me to witness to your love, not just the ones I find to be convenient.  AMEN.

 

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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