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Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Boat that Faith Built

 

CostillajeI love reading Hebrews, chapter 11; the “Faith Chapter”. It brings out many aspects of our faith. Some are rarely mentioned in church. Here’s one that I particularly enjoy.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Hebrews 11:7

This is a long, complicated sentence. But if we boil down all the extra words, it simply says that “By faith Noah built an ark.” Our faith always brings us to some sort of decision. There’s always a “faith choice” to be made as our walk with the Lord matures.

Noah chose to build by faith. This word build literally means to prepare thoroughly. If you’re truly trusting God, then you should be building something.

But let’s put first things first. We know from Scripture that you can’t build anything without the proper foundation.

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:11

I have turned my life over to the Lordship of Christ. I’m in His hands. He is my foundation. Without that groundwork, nothing I build will succeed. It has to be based upon the work of Christ in me.

But how many Christians are actually building? And what exactly is it that we’re supposed to build?

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8

Wow! That sounds like a daunting task. But remember, we’re building. It doesn’t come together in an instant. It’s worked on over time.

I’ve seen many impressive buildings in some of the cities that I’ve visited. Some of them took years of planning and construction to complete their structures. Don’t get upset that you aren’t perfect yet.

The Greek word add in the above Scripture means to choreograph over. I think that’s a pretty interesting way to put it. How do we build? By choreographing or lives in deeper and deeper patterns.

It’s like a dancer learning all the moves needed for their recital. Faith – goodness – knowledge – self-control – perseverance – godliness – brotherly kindness – love.

We have to transform our lifestyle into a more intricate choreography. This takes the wisdom and strength of God. That’s why we needed the proper foundation.

The work of this building process is beyond our limited capabilities. We need to yield to the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit within us. That’s how we can begin building by faith, just as Noah did.

In my next post I’ll continue talking about this spiritual building process. If you haven’t yet done so, I encourage you to subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss any of the articles.

Question: How far along in the building process are you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Faith

 

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How to Purchase Revival

Fake MoneyI’ve been posting about why revival seems to be delayed. I ended my last post by saying that we are not waiting for revival, but revival is waiting for us. The Apostle Paul wrote about this principle.

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Ephesians 1:9-10

In this verse Paul talks about the mystery of God’s will. He’s not talking so much about what God’s will is. The mystery is how God’s will comes to pass on the earth. Even today, how God’s will works is a mystery to most Christians.

“We may never understand the way God moves.”

Paul makes it clear that this mystery has been made known to us. It doesn’t matter what you call it. The verse uses God’s will, good pleasure, and purpose to describe what He plans to do on earth. What we need to understand is how His will is put into effect.

That’s the mystery that He has made known to us. This verse literally says that His will is put into effect in the economy of filling the time. The word economy is usually used to describe our monetary system. It’s a way of tracking the flow of assets in society.

We need to understand that filling time is a part of God’s economy. Think about the financial words we associate with time. We spend time, run out of time, save time, and lose time just to name a few. There is an economy of time in the Kingdom of God.

We must realize that time is a commodity. It’s something tangible. It can be traded and exchanged for stuff. That’s what we do on our jobs; we are trading our time for our employer’s money.

In God’s Kingdom, it’s time that purchases the fulfillment of vision and prophecy. Here’s the problem. We’ve learned to become cheerful givers of money. But we’ve become stingy misers with our time.

Getting back to the original question – how do we lay hold of revival? God wants us to repent – change our thinking. He wants us to turn around. Then He’ll send times of refreshing – revival.

We need revival – we may even want revival. But are we willing to do what it takes to initiate revival? If I said that revival would cost a million dollars, someone would come up with it. If I said revival will cost 2 weeks of your time, very few people would make the investment. It’s going to take our time – that’s the commodity of the next revival.

I wrote the outline for this series of posts a while ago. Since then I had the opportunity to meet with a friend of mine with a prophetic ministry. She said that the Lord had been speaking to her about the coming revival.

She said that God impressed her that it won’t be a revival as much as a revolution. Later on I thought about it. The word revolution comes from the word “revolve.” A turning around. It’s time for the church to turn around.

God’s people are spending too much time on their own desires. We have become a generation who gives God the bare minimum that we can get away with. It’s time to turn the tide. Are you willing to give God your time?

Question: Why is our time so hard to turn over to the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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Why is Revival Delayed?

ClockIn my last post I started talking about America’s need for revival and why it seems to be delayed. I said that it’s a matter of knowing God’s timing and understanding how to work with it. We can’t afford to be like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day who could predict the weather, but didn’t understand the times they lived in.

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Romans 13:11

In this verse Paul tells us that we should understand the times that we live in. That word understand means to know by seeing. If we’re watching what’s taking place in society around us, then it should be obvious what we need to do. It’s the hour for the church to WAKE UP!

I don’t want to be rebuked for the same thing that Israel got wrong. We must understand the times.

God is moving. He wants to bring about His will in our generation. Many people talk about it. “Revival is coming – it’s on God’s agenda.”

Why does it seem to be taking so long?

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
Habakkuk 2:3

There is a truth here that we’ve missed. The revelation of God is for an appointed time. When the verse says that it speaks of the end, it implies that God’s will is like a puff or gust of wind. It’s different than a steady wind.

It’s a gust that the Lord releases and it moves steadily to its intended end. Make no mistake; it will take place.

But here’s the important part. The next line literally says, “Look! It hesitates, it’s reluctant, it questions.” It’s all a matter of timing. The revealed will of God is asking, “Are you ready?”

Then we are told to do something. The original Hebrew of this verse says that if it hesitates, then attach yourself to it. This is not just a passive waiting. It means to nail yourself to God’s revealed will. Don’t let it go.

The final statement tells us that it will come and not loiter or hang around. God isn’t just hanging around doing nothing until His “revival timer” goes off. The fact of the matter is that we are not waiting for revival – revival is waiting for us. We must have the time available for the fulfillment of God’s will. We have to open the space up for revival.

In my next post I’ll show why this is the hardest part of the process. It will require a great sacrifice from this generation of believers.

Question: What will it take for us to lay hold of revival?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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Let’s Talk about the Weather – Spiritually

Cloud2I believe that revival is coming to America. Many others do as well. The question I’ve heard a lot these days is; why is revival taking so long to arrive?

As I’ve been praying and reading Scripture, I think I know the answer to that one. But it’s not what we want to hear, and it’s certainly not going to be popular. The principle is found in the first sermon that Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you — even Jesus.
Acts 3:19-20

I believe that the times of refreshing he talked about is what we now call revival. It literally means times of catching your breath.

In talking with believers from many different places, I think it’s clear that America needs revival. The bigger question is; do we really want revival? By that I mean will we do whatever it takes to lay hold of revival?

The church needs to understand that revival doesn’t just happen. God doesn’t look down at the earth and say, “They sure need revival. I think I’ll help them out and send it.” Revival doesn’t come simply because it’s needed.

In talking to the people, Peter said that they needed to repent.   That word means to change your mind and turn around. He continued by saying, then your sins are erased and times of refreshing will come.

I believe that the key word there is times. If we’re ready, then God will send us revival times. As His people, we must understand that God wants to send us times of revival. It’s us that need to cooperate with His plan.

It’s all a matter of timing. We need to understand how God’s timing works. That was one of the things that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for.

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
Luke 12:54-56

Jesus rebuked His generation for being able to discern the weather, yet they were unable to discern the time – God’s appointed times. We must do better than them. We need to know both the times we live in, and what’s required of God’s people during these times.

I want to take a few posts to talk about this. God’s timetable. How does it work, and why revival seems to be taking so long to arrive. We need to be a people who position themselves to lay hold of God’s will.

Question: What does this present time require of God’s people?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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Vision – Get it in Writing!

NI’ve been posting about the importance of knowing God’s vision for your life and ministry. Without vision it’s easy to be distracted into areas that don’t fulfill God’s plan for you.

If you have no clear vision from the Lord, then that needs to be one of your greatest priorities in prayer. Spend the time necessary to hear from the Holy Spirit. Without a clear vision, you’ll never have a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that’s a part of the life of a victorious believer.

But knowing God’s vision for your life is only half of the issue. Once you have a grasp of God’s plan for you, there’s more you can do to solidify it.

In my last post I talked about a verse from the prophet Habakkuk. It bears repeating.

Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:2-3

There’s more to vision than just knowledge of its particulars. It also needs to be declared openly so that you can run with it. It needs to be constantly before your eyes so that you’ll not lose sight of it. This means that you need to write it down in a clear, understandable language.

Never apologize for or water down the dream God has given you. There may be some details of it, which other people aren’t ready to hear just yet, but the general direction should be clear.

There’s been a lot of talk over the years about having a “mission statement.” Once again, man tries to take credit for something that God told us to do a thousand years ago.

A mission statement is merely a vision that’s written down and declared. You can only hit as high as you aim. If you expect nothing from God, I can guarantee that you will get it!

But when you’re willing to take a risk, and declare publicly what God has placed in your heart, then you’re a candidate for a supernatural ministry. As an example to you, I’ll share the mission statement God has given me for my life and ministry.

My mission: “To search out and study the deeper truths of God’s Word, then by making them plain and understandable through the teaching of Scripture, cause individual believers as well as the body of Christ to live up to their God-given potential in Christ.”

Having a written vision is very important. There are so many things that can be done. Having a written statement allows us to filter out the excess. If it doesn’t somehow bring us another step closer to the vision, then no matter how good it is, we don’t need it.

Excellence requires vision. But that vision must be birthed in the mind of God and not man. This requires a listening heart and an abundance of time in the presence of the Lord. It will not be a quick and easy process. But if you make a decision to be excellent and follow it through before God, then He will see to it that you know the vision He has called you to attain.

Question: What is your personal mission statement?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Ministry, Prayer, Spirit of Excellence

 

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Effective Leadership = Clear Vision

transportIn my last post I talked about the need for leaders to have God’s vision for their ministries. This is not just a game we’re playing. It’s the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It can’t be broken down into rules and formulas. Eighty percent of it is relationship. We must be able to communicate and hear from Christ, the Head. Good leadership means hearing from God, and knowing the direction to be heading into.

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18

When the leader has no vision, no clear revelation from God, then there’s no clear direction in which the church should travel. At that point it becomes “every man for himself.” There’s no force holding the church together as a unit. There’s no goal ordering the people to march together in one direction.

When there’s a clear plan from God, the people are restrained from running off in all directions. Your resources can be targeted at the specific task ahead.

That’s where the spirit of excellence is born; in the realm of vision. Vision, knowing God’s strategy for your life and your ministry, is the deciding factor in whether or not you walk in excellence. Most of the ministries that are a part of the “normal pack” are just going by trial and error, hoping that someday they’ll stumble over the secret to success.

They look around for a ministry that’s growing and try to incorporate those methods into their own schedule. Most of the time, it simply turns the ministry into a conglomeration of disjointed programs with no clear goal in view. Personally, I would much rather know the direction of success before I start out.

Once I know God’s plan for my ministry, then I can see where my personal life vision fits into it. The Holy Spirit will see to it that the vision of the local church will be completed in the sum total of each individual vision of the members. Excellence must work on both levels.

Without knowing the overriding vision of the church, there’s no clear direction. But the church is the people. Without a people who know their personal vision, then the church can never move forward into the excellence God has prepared for it. Vision is required on both the corporate and individual level.

Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:2-3

Vision is something that must be plain and clear. It can’t be so general that no one understands how he or she fits into it. Some will say, “The vision of our church is to win the lost.” That’s great, but how do you intend to do that?

Is there a specific group of “lost people” that you’re called to win? What are you going to do with these lost people once they’re found? The vision needs to be clear and specific. It needs to be personally tailored for your life and ministry. It needs to show what makes you unique and different from everyone else who’s serving the Lord.

This is important because it’s only after you have a clear vision from God that you can focus your efforts. You won’t be distracted by other activities which are good, yet don’t bring about God’s plan in your life.

Questions: Do you know God’s vision for your life? What is it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 

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Leaders Need Vision

GlassesAt one point in his ministry, Isaiah was frustrated by what he saw taking place around him. I think it can be applied to God’s people in this generation.

“Hear, you deaf; look, you blind, and see! Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the LORD?
You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.”
It pleased the LORD for the sake of his righteousness to make his law great and glorious. But this is a people plundered and looted, all of them trapped in pits or hidden away in prisons…
Which of you will listen to this or pay close attention in time to come?
Isaiah 42:18-23

A songwriter once wrote, “There is none so blind as he who will not see.” The trouble isn’t that God has stopped speaking; it’s that we’re not paying attention. In essence, we’re refusing to see what God’s showing us by His Spirit.

As a result, in many areas the body of Christ has become just like what was described in the above verse. Look around in our churches this week. You’ll see people who are trapped in sin. Their lives are plundered and looted by the enemy.

The problem is compounded by the fact that their ministers are no better off than they are. There’s no one to rescue them. God is crying out today, “Who will listen to Me? Who will be willing to come close to Me and obey My words?” Are you able to answer the Lord’s call? Will you step up and enter a ministry of excellence that will set the captives free?

In Romans, chapter 12, Paul explains that if we will make a decision to live a life of excellence, then we’ll know His will (the vision for our lives). But it’s going to require listening. I cannot just talk the whole time I’m in His presence. I must come before God with a quiet heart, ready and willing to receive what He’s about to say to me.

He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
Matthew 15:13-14

I don’t have a problem with everyone who lacks vision. There are those who desire to simply sit on a pew. That’s fine with me. If, however, you desire to be an example to others, to teach, lead, or be in ministry, then it’s a whole different story.

It’s a great calling to lead those who are spiritually blind into the light of the Lord. But when the leader himself (or herself) is spiritually blind, now the church is in trouble. The blind leader will start heading wherever the wind is blowing.

“Let’s try what that church is doing; it seems to be working for them.”

I’ve seen pastors who just travel the seminar circuit trying every new thing under the sun. Unfortunately, not every new thing is for every church. Not every new spiritual fad is for every believer.

You have to find what God is calling you to do. Then stick with it until God accomplishes His results through it.

Question: What is the major thing God wants to accomplish in you right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2014 in Ministry, Prayer, Spirit of Excellence

 

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