Not a Ghost – Mark 6:33-56

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

It is one of the strangest stories in the New Testament. Jesus, shrouded in darkness, comes to his disciples – walking on the water, no less. Not surprisingly, it terrified them. I am sure I would have had a similar reaction.

Still, it remains one of the greatest testimonies to the fact that Jesus was more than just a popular rabbi. He was – he is – the long awaited Christ.

Of course, the question still remains – do you believe it?

It seems every day the news if filled with reasons not to believe.

Church leaders are tried and convicted of the most horrible of crimes. The institution is wrapped in controversy instead of being free to proclaim the gospel. Many churches struggle to keep their doors open, while others are experiencing explosive growth.

What makes the difference?

Faith. It all comes down to believing that God can, and still does, perform the miraculous. We are called to believe that the Church is still a wonderful and needed thing – the Body of Christ – at work in a fallen world.

Do you believe it? I still do – because all this is NOT dependent on the success of fallible human beings. It is the work of God – miraculously done – THROUGH fallible human beings – a miracle in itself.

Jesus Christ is more than a ghost. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life.

Come, Lord, walking on the dark waters to save us, once again.

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 meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. 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, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. 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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