How far is heaven? Today’s scripture selection: Matthew 3-4 Key verse: Matthew 4:17 Some years ago a song hit the airwaves that asked an important question, “Tell me, Lord, how far is heaven?” That’s a good question. And I was a little surprised to find it being asked on pop radio. Maybe I shouldn’t… Continue reading Week 2 Sunday
Author: 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
Week 1 Saturday
“Have A Little Faith” Today’s scripture selection: Romans 1-2 Key verses: Romans 1:16-17 Life these days requires more than a little faith. Just to get up in the morning and get out on a typical morning commute requires that. Sometimes I get the feeling I could switch off the engine of my car and… Continue reading Week 1 Saturday
Week 1 Friday
“Information Overload” Today’s scripture selection: Isaiah 1-6 Key verses: Isaiah 5:20-21 Never before has it been so easy, for so many, to collect opinion and fact about virtually any subject. And entertainment – some good, some bad, is just a swipe away. It’s all available at the touch of a button. Not long ago… Continue reading Week 1 Friday
Week 1 Thursday
“Why?” Today’s scripture selection: Job 1-2 Key verses: Job 2:10 At times, it’s one of the most profound questions that can be asked: “Why?” A terrible storm rips through a small, sleepy town reducing it to rubble; a freak car accident claims the life of a young driver, an honor student at the local… Continue reading Week 1 Thursday
Week 1 Wednesday
A Well Watered Garden Today’s scripture selection: Psalms 1-2 Key verses: Psalm 1:2-3 I’m not much of a gardener. I still remember how once, years ago when I was a student living away from home, I went to a florist asking for some sort of plant I could put in my room. I wanted… Continue reading Week 1 Wednesday
Week 1 Tuesday
Stones from the River Today’s scripture selection: Joshua 1-5 Key verses: Joshua 4:4-7 “Be strong and courageous.” With those words a people who had been wandering for years moved forward in conquest of their future destiny. What’s your destiny? Do you tend to think in such lofty terms – or is it reserved in… Continue reading Week 1 Tuesday
Week 1 Monday
Breath of Life Today’s scripture selection: Genesis 1-3 Key verse: Genesis 2:7 When was the last time you felt out of breath? If it was just recently – join the club. As a pastor one of the most frequent responses I hear when I innocently ask “So, how’s it going?” is a labored sigh followed… Continue reading Week 1 Monday
All in the Family
Today’s scripture selection: Matthew 1-2
Key verse: Matthew 2:6
In just a few weeks I will be officially over the hill, a little over half-a-century old. (Actually, by six years, but who’s counting?) Still, I can remember what it was like to be a young kid, sitting on the carpet in my grandparent’s home in Ohio, watching BONANZA and enjoying an “Eskimo Pie”. Back in those days I didn’t have any responsibilities. I had few worries. I wasn’t a husband or a pastor or a citizen. I was just a kid. I was Osie and Pappy’s grandson; Gene and June’s little boy; Chuck’s younger brother. But already the die was cast. I was soon to be a member of God’s kingdom – baptized by my own father, himself a minister. And, though I didn’t know it then, that first critically important choice would richly color my life forever more.
In Matthew’s gospel we learn that there “were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.” Matthew, writing to a Jewish audience, wanted to make a point. The Savior was a descendant of Abraham. And, while we might find that long genealogy in chapter one tedious, it says a lot. It reminds us that, over thousands of years, God was at work, carefully preparing to rescue His people through the ordinary – and sometimes extraordinary lives of ordinary people.
He still does that. God reaches out to us in both ordinary and extraordinary ways to reminds us of one thing – how much He loves us. And we, one life at a time, can be part of that redemptive story. You are only one person in a vast sea of humanity. But you are important. You are part of a story, made up of many generations. You have unique gifts and gifts that are only yours to share. You can be part of God’s redemptive story, both as recipient and giver. You are more than somebody’s kid; somebody’s brother or sister; somebody’s employee or employer; somebody’s mom or dad or grandparent. You are God’s own beloved. Enjoy the journey and make it count – one changed life at a time.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for lovingly calling me to be part of your family. Show me how to live out my destiny according to your will. Help me to be thankful for each and every opportunity to live my life fully and abundantly. In Jesus’ holy name, AMEN.
In the Beginning
Well, you’ve got to start somewhere – it might as well be at the beginning…. Welcome to THE MUSTARD SEED. Over the course of the next year I hope to get to know you better. But, most of all, I hope to encourage you to read your Bible. Yep, the whole thing. I’ll give… Continue reading In the Beginning