March 28, 2015

Seeking the Mind of the Spirit Together

Acts 13:1-3

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

—  Acts 13:2

Think of it—those disciples "heard" the Holy Spirit speaking. How often in my ministry have I prayed that the Spirit would give me the words to say and the people ears to hear? But what would he demand?

Worship is a vital spiritual discipline. The incident in today's verses is instructive. The followers of Jesus in Antioch had come to faith as the good news of salvation in Christ had spread far and wide after Pentecost (Acts 2). Now their faith remained alive as the Holy Spirit led them to worship the resurrected Christ.

They formed a community to encourage one another, suffered persecution, saw their arch-persecutor Saul converted, and sought to spread the good news of Christ to new places. Worshiping together put them into the right frame of heart to hear the Spirit speak.

When we worship Jesus, do we expect the Spirit to speak? And if we "hear" him, will we answer his call? Worship is a discipline because we know he'll stretch us beyond our "comfort zones." But that's how we "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). The good news is that as the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-31) we're in this together. Are we ready to listen?

Spirit of the living Christ, inspire us to worship God with our fellow disciples. Give us ears to hear and hearts to heed your instruction. Then motivate us to missions. We pray for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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