The Ship Logos Hope

I had the opportunity to visit the OM Ministries Ship, Logos Hope, yesterday. Their ministry uses a ship to get the Word of God and many other books to the nations. They also help people in villages and towns they visit with construction and service projects. I’ve wanted to board this ship for years but seldom been at a location where they docked.

What a joy and blessing to be onboard, see what they do and speak with their dedicated crew. A bit of time spent with Luke from North Carolina and Stephanie from Asia blessed me with the joy of Jesus.

Just as I volunteered my time in Mercy Ships, the crew is composed with volunteers dedicated to the Lord and serve Him with their talents. Truly we saw an international crew alive with the love of Jesus Christ. Onboard we wandered through their immense bookstore (mainly Christian help books, many children’s books, and of course lots of Bibles).

I encountered staff with the joy of Jesus exuding from their countenance. We recognized much of what they gave up to live onboard and at times perform mundane tasks to keep the ship and on board community thriving. . . but they did it with joy and excitement as they met people and helped them.

See this website for more information on this amazing ministry.

Live and Move by the Holy Spirit

We read in Acts where the Holy Spirit did miracles through Peter, John, Paul, Barnabas and others. They lived through the Holy Spirit. Pentecost was the watershed event pouring out the Holy Spirit, again opening up all mankind to receive God. Yes, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are still active today.

Filled with the Holy Spirit

In the gospels, the Twelve did this miracle and the 70 did that miracle. In Acts we read that Peter, John, Paul or Barnabas did miracles also through the Holy Spirit. These actions were done by Spirit-filled men (and some women too).

All of this was done as a normal part of ministering to man’s needs. A normal life for these believers, taught by Jesus and moved by the Spirit of God.

Spiritual Gifts in Action

The spiritual gifts are explained in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 12:1-11) as a guide to the right use of spiritual gifts and correct possible improper use. The amazing thing is that no one apparently needed to describe each gift or its use prior to this letter to the Corinthians!

Believers submitted to the Father and the Holy Spirit who the guided them. Look at some examples:

  • At Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell and hundreds spoke in tongues praising God (see Acts 2:1-4)
  • Peter and John looked “intently at a beggar,” on the way to the Temple. This shows discernment or discerning of spirits (see Acts 3:4)
  • Paul looked straight at a crippled man and saw this man had faith to be healed. Paul called to the man loudly saying “Stand up” and healing took place for this crippled man (see Acts 14:8-10)

Keep your eyes open to see the use of the gifts of the Spirit, as we read in the Acts of the apostles. Even though those key words aren’t necessarily mentioned, the spiritual gifts are in use through the Holy Spirit. God does amazing things. Yes, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are still active today.

Prayer: Father, you sent Jesus our Savior, so we may be close to you. Teach me, to discern what you want me to do —every moment of the day.

Questions: When did you first see the connection between living by the Holy Spirit and doing what ever task God has for you in your daily life? Quietly and prayerfully look at what Paul mentions in Romans 12:6-11 and again in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 for use by the Spirit filled believer. The Church also has a list of gifts for individual believers and ministerial positions, can you recall them (see 1 Corinthians 12:28)?

Listen To The Holy Spirit

The Church at Antioch was a vibrant one with them growing in the Lord. Paul’s impact on this Church took several years, but now they were ready to be a sending church—to guide and lead others to belief in Jesus Christ. They listened to the Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit—The Advocate

In John 14, Jesus informed the 12 apostles that he would ask the Father to send a helper. Jesus said . . . “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative that is, the Holy Spirit, he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26 NLT). The Holy Spirit will actually guide followers of Jesus.

The descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost nearly overwhelmed those present. The book of Acts might rightly be called the “Acts of the Holy Spirit [through the apostles] to build the New Testament Church.” The astounding entrance of the Holy Spirit began God’s action with His Church.

Disciplines Ingrained

The Church at Antioch ministered to the Lord by the worshiping, fasting, praying, and waiting on God. These were strengths of the early Church. Ministering to the Lord is not a term used often. We think of these as how we—believers do things—but these actions minister to the Lord.

Then, as they waited for guidance, the “Holy Spirit spoke, Take Barnabas and Saul and commission them for the work I have called them to do.” So they commissioned them. In that circle of intensity and obedience, of fasting and praying, they laid hands on their heads and sent them off (13:2b,3 The Message).

Fasting, Praying, and Waiting

In my opinion, fasting and waiting are now lacking in importance on how to minister to the Lord. Fasting is often not even a part of how we submit to God to receive guidance on a regular basis (let alone in times of dire need).

The ‘action’ of waiting on God is to decline the urge to jump into ‘must do this or must do that’ which begs on our minds. Waiting to hear God’s voice is exactly what our hearts need . . . then we believers will gain rest for our souls and guidance.

Richard Foster * describes spiritual disciplines as the door of liberation for the Christian. He goes on to state that joy is the keynote of each one as well as freedom from fear and self-interest.

The Church at Antioch received guidance for what God wanted them to do when they listened to the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Father, help me apply these spiritual disciplines to enable me to hear you better. I want to hear you all the time.

Questions: How often have you skipped over these essential words “waited on God” for answers or “fasted” for answers to prayer? Can you trust the Holy Spirit to give specific or personal guidance?

* Celebration of Discipline, The Path to Spiritual Growth, Richard J. Foster, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1988, p 1,2.

Barnabas Son of Encouragement

When Paul spoke in the Synagogues of Damascus, Antioch and Jerusalem he met much opposition. As you remember, Antioch was the first place where believers in Christ were called Christians. God provided the encourager Barnabas to help Paul.

Boldly Speaking of Christ

As Paul came to Jerusalem, he tried to associate with the disciples, but they were afraid of him. They knew him as a vicious persecutor of believers. However, Barnabas knew Paul and brought him to the apostles. He told them of the miraculous encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Now a changed man, Paul boldly proclaimed Jesus was the Son of God. However, in Jerusalem Paul was rejected and sent off to Tarsus (for nine years).

Saul was a Pharisee of the School of Gamaliel. Bible scholars * reveal that Barnabas was likely a companion and student of this renowned school.

About Barnabas

  • Barnabas was noted to be full of the Holy Spirit and trusted to participate in ministry.
  • Bible scholars also state that Barnabas was one of the 70 Jesus sent out with direction and authority to “heal the sick and tell them the Kingdom of God is near you now” (Luke 10:11b).
  • Barnabas is mentioned twenty-three times in Acts and 3 additional times in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, Galatians and Colossians.

A Helper for Paul

He assisted Paul for a full year with the new church in Antioch and together they carried contributions from the Antioch church to the church in Jerusalem. God provided the encourager Barnabas to help Paul.

Prayer: Father, I want to be an encourager for those who need uplifting. A helper for those I can.

Questions: How can you encourage those you encounter with problems? Whom have you found you can talk to when problems arise that you cannot overcome?

* Blue Letter Bible Dictionary, online, Acts.