RSS

Monthly Archives: October 2016

The God Who Sees Me

I’m looking at Philip’s call to become a disciple of Christ. He went and brought Nathanael to Jesus. When Jesus looked at Nathanael, He spoke out what He saw in the young man.

Nathaniel didn’t know how to respond.

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
John 1:48

“Where do you know about me from? Who’s been talking about me? Did Philip tell you about me?”

This is the big question. Everybody has it. Does God know me?

The fact is that Christ knows us all personally. He knows who we are and what we want from life, as well as our struggles and triumphs.

But Jesus went even further with Nathanael. He looked at him and told him, “Before Philip called you – while you were under the tree…I knew you.” This is the God we serve.

In the Old Testament book of Genesis, we see a servant named Hagar. She was pregnant and running away from Sarah, her master’s wife. She finds herself in the desert and about to die of thirst. That’s when an angel showed up to rescue her and prophesy about her and her son’s future.

She’s shown where to find water nearby. She was totally overwhelmed by the knowledge that God cared enough to intervene in her situation.

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
Genesis 16:13-14

She called God by a new name – El Roi – literally, the God who sees me. She then named that place the well of the Living One who sees me.

“Yes Nathaniel, I knew you before you knew me.”

His heart was laid bare.

Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
John 1:49

This is why Philip was called to bring the Good News to Nathaniel. He shared that this Rabbi, Jesus, was the Son of God; the King of Israel.

Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
John 1:50-51

Nathanael believed simply because of what he heard Jesus say. That’s amazing. There were people in Israel who saw great miracles and still didn’t believe.

We need to be excited about the God who sees us and knows us. We must let those around us know that God sees them, knows them, loves them, and is excited about them.

Be a Philip.

Question: Who can you share the Good News of Jesus with?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 31, 2016 in Encouragement, The Church, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Gospel – Face to Face with Jesus

cross 2I’ve been talking about how Philip brought Nathanael to Christ. Jesus called Philip and he immediately shared the good news with his friend. When he was told about Jesus, Nathanael had an interesting response.

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
John 1:46

Look at his answer; it’s dripping with attitude. Nathanael was a man who was skeptical and bored with life. That’s why we can’t look at people’s attitudes when we share the Gospel with them. We must always remember to look at them through the eyes of Christ.

We can see that Philip understood this by his response. The NIV translates it as “Come and see”. But that doesn’t give you the full impact of what Philip said.

He didn’t use the normal word for see. The word he used is an excited interjection.

“You gotta see this!!!”

The truth is that disciples of Christ are excited about Christ. When was the last time you were excited about the Lord or something He did for you? How do you regain that excitement day by day?

King David is a good example to us. One day David didn’t feel like saying anything.

My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
Psalm 39:3

If you want to fan the flame of excitement, then you must meditate on the good things of God. Good things, noble things, praiseworthy things. Why would anyone one want to come to Jesus if He’s not exciting to us?

It’s not about debating with people or convincing them to trust the Lord. The key is that your excitement about Christ should lead them into wanting what you’ve found.

So Nathanael, this skeptical, bored person, went to Jesus.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”
John 1:47

When Jesus saw Nathaniel approaching, He used the same excited interjection that Philip used.

“Look at this!!!”

The Lord totally turned the tables on him. By saying that Nathanael was an Israelite with no trickery or deceit, the Lord caught him completely off guard.

The Lord knows what we need to see and hear in order to trust Him. Nathaniel was a skeptic, probably ready for a debate. Maybe had some questions to test Jesus with. Now he’s on the defensive.

That should be the case when a non-Christian comes into a group of excited believers who are being led by the Holy Spirit.

But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
1 Corinthians 14:24-25

It’s not about convincing arguments. It’s coming face to face with the power of God active in His people. I believe that this is the true nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Question: Do you know an example of an unbeliever coming face to face with the power of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 28, 2016 in Ministry, Power of God, The Church, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Calling – Unique to You

DifferentIn my last post I started talking about how Christ called Philip to be His disciple. Just like Andrew, who went and found his brother Peter, Philip immediately goes out and tells someone.

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
John 1:45

When Andrew went to Peter, he proclaimed that they had found the Messiah. What does Philip announce? His message is a little different. He doesn’t mention the Messiah.

Philip was looking for a different sign from God. He was trusting God for the One Moses wrote about…

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.
Deuteronomy 18:15

Moses also recorded the prophecy about Christ that was given by Jacob to his son, Judah.

The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.
Genesis 49:10

This is who Philip was looking for. Jesus went personally to call Philip. Why didn’t the Lord send Andrew to Philip? Simply put; because that wouldn’t have worked. It wouldn’t have worked for Nathaniel either.

There are times when God lays someone on your heart to share Christ with them. The Holy Spirit does this because you’re uniquely qualified to reach them. I can’t do it; it’s got to be you.

There is another thing we know about Philip. He knew a lot about Jesus. Mary’s husband, Joseph had passed away by this point, yet Philip knew who Jesus’ adopted father was. He also knew where Jesus came from, even though Nazareth was on the other side of the lake.

Immediately upon becoming a disciple, Philip goes to his friend Nathaniel. Now we meet another unique individual. Who was he?

The name Nathaniel means, the Gift of God. Usually you get that name because your parents had trouble bearing children. When they were finally able to have a child, they see him as God’s gift to them.

That probably means that Nathaniel was an only child. We’ll find out later that he was chilling under a tree when Philip found him. That in itself tells us something.

Here it is in the middle of the day. Nathaniel should be out working somewhere. Instead, we find him relaxing in the shade of a tree. This might mean that his parents were spoiling him rotten.

In my next post we’ll see the encounter between this new follower of Christ, and his friend under the tree with a bad attitude.

Question: What kinds of people have you shared the Gospel of Christ with?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

One Jesus – Different Calls

Different AnointingI like reading about the disciples in the Bible. They’re recorded as real people. They’re not shown to us like some kind of spiritual superheroes, but people just like us. I want to take some time to talk about a couple of them and their first encounter with Jesus.

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
John 1:43-45

In the past I’ve talked about how Andrew came to Christ. Then he went off and called his brother, Peter.

Today I want to introduce you to some new people. That’s because everyone is different.   Everybody’s story is different.

Why and how they come to Jesus is always unique to that person. So we have to realize that disciples of Christ are all different. Each of us is special in our own way. You cannot be me and I cannot be you.

It’s interesting to see that Jesus sought Philip out – Jesus went to Philip and literally said, “Walk my road.”

It turns out that Philip was from the same town as Andrew and Peter. They were from a place called Bethsaida, which means house of fish or fishing house. Think about what kind of a place would have a name like that? Who comes from there? We know that Peter and Andrew, as well as James and John were all fishermen.

Philip didn’t fit that mold. The name Philip means horse lover. Obviously Philip was his own person. He was different and he didn’t care. Yet, even though he was different, his response to Jesus was the same.

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
John 1:45

“I have to tell someone.”

When it came to Andrew, he went to Peter to tell him what he had found. This is absolutely amazing because Scripture clearly says that in this case, Jesus found Philip. This tells me a truth that we all need to understand.

Christ calls everyone differently. He made us all different, and attracts us to Himself in different ways. The Lord told Peter, “I’ll make you a fisher of men.” How do you fish? Do you use the same technique or bait for everything?

No! Depending upon where you’re fishing, or what you’re trying to catch, there are many different kinds of bait, lures, and techniques.

We have to remember this in our walk with the Lord. Everyone responds differently to the Gospel message. That’s why we need to be led by the Spirit. In that way, each individual can see Christ as their PERSONAL Savior.

Question: What first attracted you to come to Jesus?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 24, 2016 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Walk of Unity and Fellowship

PowerlessI’ve been posting about fellowship and unity lately. It’s all about recognizing those who are serving Christ around me. Understanding their differences, and working with them for God’s glory.

The Apostle Paul describes it this way…

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:5-7

His prayer is that the same God who gives endurance and encouragement will now give them a spirit of unity. But that phrase, spirit of unity, is interesting in the original Greek. It’s literally asking God to give us a mind toward one another.

This goes right along with what we have been saying about unity thus far. I should be thinking about you. You’re on my mind so that I can understand your calling. In that way I can see how we fit together in the body of Christ.

Truly, we’re not called to be an organization, but an organism. We should be functioning seamlessly together because of the Holy Spirit within us. As we hear the voice of the Spirit and watch over each other, we are now equipped to fulfill the next part of this passage.

Only in unity can we glorify God with one heart and one mouth. Especially since the word translated heart is really the word passion. As I spend time in the Spirit, I pick up God’s passion.

It’s not about me convincing you what you need to be passionate about. If we could all be synced to God’s heartbeat, then we’ll operate in one passion. Time with the Spirit brings true unity.

The goal is to function together. It’s not up to you to change in order to please me. That’s not what Christ did. He paid the price for me to go to Him. Sometimes it will cost me something to overlook the faults and differences that you bring with you.

I must receive you just as Christ received me. Just as you are. I’m not the Holy Spirit. I have to leave room for God’s grace to work in you. None of us are perfect yet. The Lord receives us just the way we are and we need to do the same.

Unity is a choice. It’s unfortunate that when some people pray for the unity of the church, what they’re really praying is, “God, please making everyone else think like me.” That’s not true unity. It’s us choosing to work together as the Holy Spirit makes us begin to think like God.

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 1:10

This is what we’re to strive for. To be perfectly united in mind and thought requires more than just good teaching. It means that I’m spending time in the presence of the Holy Spirit. As I allow the mind of Christ to take over my life, I’m setting the stage for the unity of the Spirit.

The more you and I begin to think like Christ, the more unity we will walk in. This is how the fellowship and unity of Christ can be manifest in His people. Make that your goal as we minister together for the Lord.

Question: What must I do to yield to the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 21, 2016 in Fellowship, Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fellowship – Recognizing God’s Grace

Different AnointingI’ve been talking about our fellowship and the unity of the Spirit. But how exactly do we fix upon each other so that we all keep in step with what God’s doing? We see a great example of this in Scripture, when Paul was first saved and he met with the Apostles in Jerusalem.

James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.
Galatians 2:9

This is an interesting verse. When they met together, the Apostles understood how the Lord works. They didn’t expect Paul to operate exactly the way they did.

It says that they recognized the grace that Paul had been given. This is a spiritual perception that comes from time with the Holy Spirit.

Too often we take a “cookie-cutter” approach to ministry. We find what God is calling us to do and we run with it. But, because it works well for us, we make the assumption that everybody should be ministering the same way that we do.

That’s foolish. We’re all different. Not only that, but we’re all called to reach different people. What you do in your ministry will never work to reach those I’m called to deal with.

It’s the Holy Spirit who organizes what we do. That’s why it’s so important to let Him take the lead in showing us how to minister.

I must be able to watch what you’re doing for Christ and recognize the grace that’s operating through you. Then, even seeing the differences, we can still march together in unity.

Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.
1 Thessalonians 5:12

The word translated respect in this verse means to know by seeing, watching and observing. We are to fix upon those who we know are our leaders in the Lord. In this way we can observe the direction we’re to be heading.

The verse tells us that our leaders are to admonish us. That literally means that they are to put things into our minds. By observing them, we learn what we’re to be accomplishing for Christ. We also learn what to be careful for.

Too often we don’t want to be led. We want to make our own choices without anybody else’s input. Then we get in trouble because we miss out on the insight that only comes through experience.

Unity and fellowship is all about knowing our place in the body of Christ. It not only means that I recognize those marching next to me. I need to see those who are marching in front of me, leading me. I also need to recognize the ones behind me, who are following my example.

Only then can we accomplish all that the Lord has for us to do.

Questions: Who are the leaders you are following? Who are those that are following you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 19, 2016 in Leadership, Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Fellowship – In Step with the Spirit

Jet Plane to NowhereIn my last post I started to look at our fellowship and unity. We saw that to operate in these we must fix upon each other. We also saw that the revelation of God is the glue that holds us together.

We originally looked at a verse in Amos, chapter 3. Further down in that chapter we’re told how God operates.

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.
Amos 3:7

This goes right along with the truth that revelation keeps us together. God’s desire is to always let His people know what’s coming on the earth. He wants us to be prepared to minister.

This is something many believers don’t understand and are not looking for. God wants to reveal His plans to us. But is that really the case? Look at these Scriptures…

The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
Psalms 25:14

This literally says that the Lord has a secret consultation with those who fear Him. So it’s not just for prophets, but for anyone who fears the Lord.

…for the Lord detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.
Proverbs 3:32

This is the portion of the righteous, to be in the Lord’s confidence. He wants to share with us exactly what He’s going to do. But is that a New Testament truth?

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

This verse is not talking about things prepared for us after we die, but things that will take place during our lives. Jesus Christ, Himself, spoke of this aspect of the Holy Spirit.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 16:13

This is how the Lord wants to deal with His church. He desires to keep us together and in unity by showing us what’s coming on the horizon.

But if this is our portion, then why do we seem to be groping around in the dark. Many times we’re either in one ditch or the other. Too far in front, or lagging way behind what the Spirit is doing. It often seems like the body of Christ is like a crowd of people simply walking down the street with no purpose or direction.

This ability to see what God’s doing only comes through time spent in quietness before Him. He will not speak to us if we’re not listening.

The only way to keep the unity of the spirit is to keep in step with the Holy Spirit. But keeping in step with Him requires us to fix upon the Spirit of God. It requires time in His presence.

If we want God to confide in us, we need to be found in that intimate place with Him. Then, as we keep in step with what Christ is doing, we’ll keep in step with each other.

Question: How often do you spend quiet time with the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 17, 2016 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,