• Pastor Rusty Owens

The Storm

"And now I advise you to keep up your courage, there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship will be lost." Acts 27:22


There is a prophetic statement for this season to be found in the story of the storm in Acts 27. As this present covid Storm lingers on, men and women are beginning to become disheartened at the longevity of this present storm. For some, the covid crisis has developed into an economic crisis. This storm like the storm in the book of Acts has taken a turn for the worse. Early on in the storm, the men begin to lighten the ship, (vs.18,19) even so many have begun to unload what's not necessary and trying to lighten the financial drain on their lives. You begin to way what's important and what's unnecessary in this season. You begin to see a diminishing of wealth. You also begin to unload the "rigging", that's when you begin to see the loss of the ability to make wealth. You lose the ability to navigate (vs. 17), and you are being driven at the mercy of the storm. It's strange when you feel you are no longer in control of your destiny. But the worse is not over. For the storm continued day after day with no light of day. But hear the words of the prophet. "Now I advise you to keep up your courage, there will be no loss of life among you, but only the loss of the ship.".

Fourteen nights of being driven across the Adriatic Sea, they sensed they were nearing some land. They dropped four anchors off the ship's stern in fear they might run against the rocks. (vs. 28,29). The experienced seaman even tried to abandon the rest of the flock by tying to jettison their lifeboat. (Vs. 30). As a storm lingers even in the body of Christ you will see an “Everyman” for himself mentality people will try to separate themselves from a hopeless cause. The soldiers cut the anchors, and cut loose the lifeboat. This is when you resign yourself wholly to the design of God himself and say, "sink or swim, I'm with you, God!" This is the true core of unity and fellowship when you are true "fellows in the same ship"!


The cross-current


At daybreak, they could see the outline of the land and a beach. They decided to make a run for the beach. They cut the anchors and dropped the sail and drove the ship toward the land. There was a cross-current and the ship was caught in it, I mean if the storm wasn't enough, now you gotta deal with cross-currents too. A divided house is what creates crosscurrents in the body of Christ, and sometimes it is more dangerous than the storm because they function underneath the surface and you can't see them till you are in them. The bow of the ship ran aground while the backend of the ship began to be broken up. The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners lest they escape but the centurion in charge wanted to save Paul so he would not allow it. They all made it ashore and not one was lost.

The Word of the Lord


Here is the word of the Lord to many of you pastors out there. You are caught in a storm. You can't save the ship but you can save the people. You may lose your building, but if you are a true shepherd and not a hireling, you can save the people. If you as a minister draw your identity more from the facility than you do from God, you're in trouble. You've come into a season where you can't save the ship but you can save the people. If you love the appearance of being a pastor, rather than being a true shepherd, you very well could find yourself in a place where you can't save the ship. You see this storm is a ship eater. And if you didn't harbor at Fair Havens (vs. 8.) then your ship might be in danger. Fair represents a place that you thought was beneath your station. Your vision was not separated from your ambition. You should have "wintered" in Fair Havens. So now you are in a place, "you can't save the ship, but you can save the people." Some of you out there might have made personal financial decisions to upgrade just prior to this season, but understand you may lose that new home you may lose the store but you can save your family. That six hundred dollar truck payment might be looking like dead weight right now even though you draw prestige from your ride. You can't save the truck or the new identity, but you can save your family.

Paul


Paul was an apostle and a prophet, but in this story, he was a prisoner. He was not the man in charge he wasn't even a servant, he was at the bottom of the food chain in identity. He was a prisoner, not a valued guest, but a prisoner. It has been my observation that some of God's apostolic authorities are not pastors or bishops or men in authority. But they have schooled themselves in the of spiritual warfare and took servant positions in the house of Saul, but they can discern the times and the season and are gifted in instruction. They will begin to rise to the surface in this season because God has gifted them with counsel and insight for His body. Paul was not in charge, but he advised against leaving fair haven, but the ships captain, who was a seasoned sailor downplayed the condition and no doubt said, "I've sailed these waters all my life. And this ain't nothing and it will pass." The ship's owner also chimed in with the captain, for he had financial reasons to make this voyage. The centurion, who was in charge of the military cohort, (probably a hundred men), he sided with the captain, leaving Paul the odd man out. Two hundred and seventy-six souls on board and they failed to recognize a prophetic/apostolic authority until it was too late to save the ship. Many fellowships have already gone under for this failure. Know the times, know the seasons. For some you will lose the ship, but you don't have to lose the people. Some of you had just launched major financial obligations on the house, and because you failed to discern the season. You should have wintered in fair Haven. But because you mistook ambition for your vision you are going to see the butt end of your ship ripped open. You can't save the ship but you can save the people.

- Pastor Rusty


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