But Many Who Heard

“But Many Who Heard”

Key Texts: Acts 4:1-4

The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people.   They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.  They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day.  But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.

 

From the beginning, there have been those who have tried to silence the story.

From that first resurrection morning, there have been attempts to keep the miracle under wraps.

And early on, when the apostles began preaching boldly – they were told to be quiet – or pay the consequences.

Two thousand years later, there are still some who are trying to silence the Christ followers.

But, just as they have failed in the past, so they will fail now.

I’ve never been one for preaching on street corners, revival style.  I’ve always had a much quieter approach to ministry, largely focused on sharing the good news of God’s love in a pastoral way.

I can see though that Christians, if we are going to claim that name as our own, are going to have be bolder about which side of the fence we are on – spiritually speaking, that is.

The challenges to the faith are both old and new, and they are coming from many directions.

I believe it is time to be bold, not insensitive, not uncaring, not disrespectful, but nonetheless bold in standing firm as believers in the Way.

From the beginning, there have been those who have wanted to have it all just go away.

We dare not aid them in that process.

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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