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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Worship – The Place of Power #trueworship

PowerWithout a doubt, the Bible teaches that God’s power flows to us through the Holy Spirit.  In my last post we looked at what Jesus said in John, chapter 7.

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.  Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
John 7:38-39

The first thing the Lord told us was that you must believe as the Scripture declares.  We can’t just believe anything that we want.  It will not work with faith simply for faith’s sake.  Our faith must be firmly based in the Word of God.

In order to get into the flow of God’s power we must trust Him as the Scripture declares.  We must also couple this with the knowledge that power involves intimacy with the Lord.  We must remain, abide, live, dwell, and reside in Him.  If intimacy with God is the priority, then we must ask ourselves what’s the most intimate place, spiritually?

There’s a biblical word that’s used for the concept of spiritual intimacy with God.  The meaning has been all but lost to modern Christians.  I’m hoping that the church will once again make this their goal.  The word I’m speaking about is WORSHIP.

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word translated worship means to prostrate yourself or to lay down with God.  In the New Testament, the Greek word they used for worship literally means to lean forward as if to kiss.  Both of these concepts involve intimacy.  You would never want to lay down with someone or kiss someone unless the moment was just right.

As I said before, we have all but lost the concept of what true worship is all about today.  To most Christians, leadership included, the difference between praise and worship is that praise is the fast songs and worship is the slow songs.

Actually, if you study the Scripture, you’ll find that both the fast and slow songs are praise.  This is because anything that we do toward God with our flesh (sing, clap, dance, etc.) is praise.

According to the Word, worship is a function of our spirit.  That’s why throughout the Old and New Testaments, whenever the position of worship is described, the worshipper is always prostrate or leaning on something.

Praise is always my flesh giving glory to God.  It’s a team effort.  That’s why when we’re in a meeting, the bigger the crowd, the more incredible the praise.

Worship, on the other hand, is just me and God.  Think about the times in church during the praise time when suddenly a “holy hush” comes over the congregation.  This is when the Lord is calling us to be intimate with Him.  It’s usually the most uncomfortable time there is in church.  That is because we are so unused to true worship.

What we have to realize is that if power requires intimacy, then worship is the place of power.

Question: How comfortable are you with being quiet before the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Prayer, Prayer in the Spirit

 

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Accessing the Throne Room of God #trueworship

ThroneTrue power only flows into our life through the Holy Spirit.  I want to take a series of posts to look at the mechanics of just how the Holy Spirit works in us.  We will obviously need to look at many issues that affect our spiritual intimacy with the Lord.

Throughout our search we must always keep in mind that it’s the Spirit, not the law, which should be at work in us.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

It should be obvious that the Holy Spirit is involved in the flow of power to us.  This is the ability to produce change in our lives.  Specifically, it’s the power that changes us into the Lord’s likeness.

As we move from glory to glory the world should see this change and be drawn to the Savior.  This should be the number one reason why we want the power of God manifest in us.

The first question at this point is how do I plug into the power of the Holy Spirit?  We know that in the natural, power flows like a river.  It requires some sort of channel to move through.

This is why there are electrical wires.  Your car has a power train to transmit the power from the engine to the wheels.  There must always be something to transfer the power from one location to another.  It’s the same with the Spirit of God.

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.  Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
John 7:38-39

Jesus likens the flow of the Holy Spirit to a river of living water.  At this point the disciples could not comprehend what the Lord was saying because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given to reside in men.

However, this does apply to us since we live on the other side of the cross.  Jesus tells us that out of our inner being the current of life will flow because of the Holy Spirit in us.  If power flows through a channel from one place to another, then what’s the source of this river?

The Apostle John got a glimpse of the headwaters.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
Revelation 22:1

What an incredible revelation of the Lord.  This means that through the Holy Spirit we have a direct connection between us and the very throne of God.  To neglect this awesome gift is beyond imagining.  We need to cultivate our intimacy with the Lord.

Question: Why do some believers place such a low value on the Holy Spirit within them?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Prayer, Prayer in the Spirit

 

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Choose Understanding

DimThe Bible talks a lot about understanding.  Unfortunately we live in a society that runs from it, because with understanding, comes responsibility.  Once I understand something, I’m responsible to walk in it.

The Jewish people were much the same as our world when it came to the ministry of Christ.  Because they rejected understanding, they lost out on a blessing.

For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.  Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.
Matthew 13:15

The fact is that understanding takes place in the heart.  The Greek word for understanding literally means to put together.  It’s in the heart that I begin to put together all the things that I’ve seen and experienced.

But that takes thought and meditation on your life.  Most people don’t want to do that.  They would rather just have a quick explanation about why things are the way they are.

“If I just had more money, I’d be happy.”

“If my parents had loved me more, my life would have turned out better.”

Understanding makes us responsible for our choices and responses.  That’s why it seems so hard to win the lost to Christ in our generation.

What happens if I try to plant the seed of the Gospel in a heart with no understanding?

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.  This is the seed sown along the path.
Matthew 13:19

Without understanding, Satan can snatch the seed right out of your heart.  The one receiving the Gospel must put it together with their whole life experience without Christ.  That’s why in this society, with the Word of God everywhere, many are rejecting the Gospel.

Our generation is taught to not understand.

“If it feels good, do it.”

Understanding protects the Gospel seed.  This should help us to minister in this society.  For instance, if someone says they’re an atheist, don’t just tell them what the Bible says.  They don’t want to understand it, so it will have no effect.

Instead, tell them, “I’m going to pray that God will make Himself real to you.  When He does, I’ll be there to talk to you about it.”  Then as you go through your day, continue in prayer for them.  This gives the Holy Spirit a chance to work on them.

As the Spirit of God starts to bring light into their experience, they’ll come to a point of decision.  Then it’s up to them whether they want to walk in their new found understanding.  That’s always the first step to God – choosing understanding.

Of course it doesn’t stop when we accept Christ as our Lord.  We must continue in it our whole lives.  It’s the basis for all we do in the Lord.

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Ephesians 5:17

Question: How did understanding play a key role in your salvation experience?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Ministry, Prayer, Word of God

 

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Are We Creating a Church Full of Liars? #praiseandworship

Music SmokeFirst, let me say that I feel privileged that the Lord has me living in this period of history.  We’re at such an exciting time in the body of Christ.  It’s my desire to be at the cutting edge of what the Lord’s doing in His people.

One of the areas I see this, is in praise and worship.  This generation has given rise to worship leaders who reached new heights in their songs and choruses.  Singing some of these new songs opens up my spirit to the deeper work of God in me.

That being said, there’s a negative aspect to this as well.  I’ve found that marginal, shallow believers, singing those same songs, have replaced singing for experience.

Just because I sing, “Jesus, You are everything,” doesn’t necessarily means that it’s true in my life.  The Lord saw this as a problem in Israel.

“What do you think?  There was a man who had two sons.  He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing.  He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.  For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did.  And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”
Matthew 21:28-32

The Pharisees that Jesus was talking to looked like they were serving God, but in truth they were after their own agenda.  They needed to be shocked back to reality.

Please understand; I realize that in many instances we need to sing and praise “higher” than our current level.  In our hearts we’re aspiring to a deeper walk in Christ and these songs push us to press in to the manifestation of it.  I have no problem with that.

My concern is over the Christians who are in denial.  They’re living for themselves and think that singing about a powerful walk with God is the same as experiencing it.

Somehow, like in Christ’s ministry, we need to communicate the difference to our people.  This needs to be done with love, sensitivity, and respect.  Then we’ll see the affects that these songs should truly be working in all of God’s people.

Question: What are some praise and worship songs that have caused you to grow in Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2014 in Ministry, Music, The Church

 

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Discipleship – The Cost and the Glory #discipleship

Jet Plane to NowhereI’ve been posting about discipleship.  How far are you willing to go to follow Christ?  The Lord doesn’t make it sound very convenient.

In my last post we saw that Christ said it involved picking up your cross and following Him.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:26

Most people get tripped up by this verse because they don’t understand the usage of the word hate in the Scripture.  This word has no emotional attachment to it.  It’s just like the word agape, used to convey the idea of love.  Hate is a choice rather than an emotion.

This word hate means a choice to not participate with.  There are times when being a disciple of Christ means that you choose not to participate in every family event.  Maybe it’s a baby shower or a graduation party that’s held on a Sunday morning.

Christ is saying that if you choose to participate with your family over the Lord, then it shows that you’re not a disciple.  You might be a believer who loves God.  But you have yet to choose the high road of discipleship.

Following Christ can be very inconvenient at times.  However, if you want the same results as Christ, you must live as He does.

Jesus also makes the point that we must count the cost of discipleship.

“In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:33

If you find your Christian walk to be easy, then you’re not yet a disciple.  The closer you follow to Christ, the harder your choices will become.  But there is a bright side.  The longer you serve the Lord, the easier it will be to make those choices.

It’s all about cultivating an attitude – I am nothing else but a disciple.  It may sound like a tough road, but in the end it’s worth it.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:7-8

The way of discipleship leads to a fulfilled life.  There’s a manifestation of the power of God working through you.  When you live at this level it becomes obvious to all those around you.  Your life shows the fruit of the spirit.

It’s apparent that you couldn’t produce the blessings that you’re walking in.  God is at work in you.  That’s the ultimate goal.  Living as a disciple shows God’s glory.

It’s that glory that will draw others to Christ.  This is what the Christian walk is all about.

Question: How much is the glory of God worth to you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Power of God, Revival

 

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