Day 4: Colossal Coaster World
Dare to Stand Strong – Acts 21:27-23:11
The anticipation rose with every step. We were standing in line for a new ride to the kids. They had measured themselves every day for weeks leading up to this particular moment. Stretching as much as possible they just made it in to line. So many questions were thrown at me about the ride. As we inched closer to the ride we came into the building and were enveloped by the theme. As we approached that moment when we could board the ride the child in front of us opted out. My youngest started getting a little nervous. She saw the ride more closely and the speed at which it traveled. She held my hand a little tighter and her body started to stiffen. We were next in line when I heard her say she wasn’t sure. I knelt down and looked her in the eye. I told her that I would ride next to her. I told her I would hold her hand, when I didn’t have mine raised! I told her she could bow out if needed. I challenged her to stand strong in spite of her fear.
The apostle Paul was seized under false charges and his life was in danger. The courts heard the accusations but determined that there was nothing to them. The crowds began to cry out for Paul to be killed. In that moment, Paul asked if he could speak. What was he going to say? With the great spin doctors of our modern politics we might imagine many ways Paul could spin his situation. What Paul did next was daring. He began to share his testimony and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many in the crowds and Sanhedrin despised what he had to say but God encouraged him with these words:
Have courage! For you have testified about Me in Jerusalem,
so you must also testify about me in Rome.
In no small way, God told him he was being salvaged from the judicial wreckage in Jerusalem, but also being sent to Rome. Because he stood strong for the truth, God was sparing his very life. What truth needs you to stand strong? In this culture of abuse and violence we must keep sacred the welfare of the child. There is no more difficult thing as a church worker than to become aware of the possibility of child abuse. You notice the bruises. You witness the cowering. You see the signs. What will you do? Will you stand strong and make the calls needed? It may cost you your job. It may cost you your position. It might cost you your reputation. Yet, if not us then who will speak for them? Maybe you need to make changes in the Gospel presentation to be less like a revival and more one-on-one sharing. Maybe you need to make changes with the structure, schedule, or attitude surrounding VBS. Are you willing to stand strong for those who are in the prime of life to receive the Gospel? Daring to stand strong on matters of faith is worthy. Through prayer, make sure they are not matters of opinion or preference.
My daughter thought quickly and decided to ride the coaster even though her knees were shaking as we walked out on the platform. We screamed and laughed for the 2 minutes we rode. As we exited, she flashed her smile and batted her eyes and said, “Daddy can we do it again?”
Go ahead and stand strong. I dare you!
Thank you Aaron for this great help. See more of Aaron’s writing at The Intersect and enjoy!