RSS

Category Archives: Ministry

A Warning for Teachers (Repost)

Over the next week or so I’m going to be away, visiting family.  So during that time, I’m reposting one of my more popular series.

Do you see yourself as a teacher in the body of Christ?  Did you know that Scripture has a special warning for teachers?

In this post, my last in the series about the teaching ministry, I have to share a hard message.  I don’t like talking about it, but I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to write about it.

In the last couple of posts, I talked about teachers being the eyes of the body of Christ.  According to Scripture, they bring light to the path ahead.  With that comes a warning that I already talked about.

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
James 3:1

In the church, teaching is not an unimportant thing.  We should not lightly say, “I’m a teacher.”  You’re inviting a stricter judgment.

But is that really the case, or was James trying to intimidate those wanted to teach out of wrong motives?  I believe that Jesus gave the same warning to His disciples.  The problem is that the Lord used an allegory that few believers understand.

In Mark, chapter 9, it all starts when the disciples tell Jesus that they saw someone driving out demons in the Lord’s name.  But, because he wasn’t one of the twelve, they told him to stop.

Jesus told the disciples that they were wrong in telling the man to stop driving out demons.  In His explanation, He said…

“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.”
Mark 9:42

The phrase, causes…to sin, in this verse, literally means to trip up or entrap.  Sin always means to miss the mark of God’s perfect will.  Telling them something that trips them up in their Christian walk does cause them to sin.

Teaching something that was not directed by the Holy Spirit can trip people up in their walk with God.  This has to be an important part of the teacher’s mindset.  However, the Lord didn’t stop there.

Immediately after this, He says…

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.  It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell…
Mark 9:47

First of all, no one’s eyes have ever caused them to sin.  I have definitely used my eyes to sin.  But they weren’t the cause.  I believe that Jesus knows this.

Secondly, according to this verse, only one eye is causing sin.  How could your left eye cause you to sin, and not your right eye?  They both operate together.

I believe that Jesus wasn’t talking about our physical bodies.  He was explaining His attitude toward the members of His spiritual body; the church.

No members, especially teachers, can trip up one another without consequence.  This is why teachers must be especially careful to be led by the Holy Spirit in what they teach.

Question: How seriously should teachers be warned before entering this ministry?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Teacher – A Lamp (Repost)

Over the next week or so I’m going to be away, visiting family.  So during that time, I’m reposting one of my more popular series.

For the last couple of posts, I’ve been talking about teachers in the body of Christ.  I showed that true teachers bring light to our Christian walk.  In our generation there’s a lot of teaching from the Bible going forth; but is it directed by the Holy Spirit?

In His ministry, Jesus made some statements that the disciples couldn’t understand.  Many of them pertained to the church.  They would only understand them after the resurrection.

One of them pertained to the body.

“Your eye is the lamp of your body.  When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light.  But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.”
Luke 11:34

I think you can agree that this is not talking about our internal organs being lit up.  The Lord is dealing with a deeper issue here.

To understand what Jesus is saying, you have to look at the greater context.  He starts this section by talking about the preaching of Jonah.  All of Nineveh repented when they heard his preaching.

The Lord then talks about King Solomon.  The Queen of the South came all the way from Central Africa to hear his wisdom.

Christ was showing the high value that people placed upon hearing a Word from God.  The people who heard Jonah and Solomon didn’t just want to know what the Bible said.  They were looking for something that would change their lives.

Look at the very next thing that Jesus says after explaining about Jonah and Solomon.

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl.  Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”
Luke 11:33

The reason that these two men were called to their roles, was not to simply enjoy their times with the Lord.  They were to use their gifts to bring light to those who needed it.

The people of Nineveh needed to understand repentance so that the judgment of God could be averted.  The Queen of the South needed to understand how to rule her people wisely.  They needed someone to light the path ahead of them.

That’s what Jesus is talking about when He says that the eyes are the lamp of the body.  I believe that He’s talking about the need for Holy Spirit directed teaching in the body of Christ.

We need to come back to this truth in our generation.  I believe that this is one of the things that God is trying to restore in us.

We can see it in the church of today.  There are ministries where the people know their place in Christ and are secure in their walk with God.  There are other parts of God’s kingdom where the believers seem to be doing as they please – simply living for themselves.

We need to be praying for the church.  Pray that God would continue to raise up teachers after His own heart.  We need the body of Christ to be full of light.

Question: Why is human-led teaching so accepted in some areas?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Anointed to Teach (Repost)

Over the next week or so I’m going to be away, visiting family.  So during that time, I’m reposting one of my more popular series.

In my last post, I started talking about the teacher’s anointing.  What’s the purpose of a teacher in the body of Christ?  I think the answer will surprise a lot of people.

There are many who think the reason we need teachers is so that we can learn what’s in the Bible.  Actually, it seems to me that this is what most teachers are trying to do.  They believe that it’s all about getting my knowledge of the Scripture into your brain.

I’m here to tell you that this is NOT what God is calling teachers to do in His kingdom.  Yes, we are to use the Scripture, but the purpose has to be according to God’s agenda.

For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life…
Proverbs 6:23

The calling of a teacher is to bring light.  Specifically, godly teaching shines a light on the way of life.  It shows how to get from where you are now, to where God wants you to be.

Scriptural teaching is never about knowledge and always about life.  You know that you’ve sat under an anointed teacher because you leave with an understanding of how to walk on a higher level with Christ.

As a matter of fact, if you look up the word “taught” in the New Testament, you’ll find out that it’s always about how to live.  They were taught how to walk as a new creature in Christ.  They were taught the walk of faith and how to love one another.

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
Colossians 1:28

This is the goal.  It’s the perfecting of the saints.  A teacher’s anointing brings with it a passion for the building up of the body of Christ.

As I look around the church of this generation, I see very few who operate in the teacher’s anointing.  That doesn’t mean that there are few called and anointed teachers.  The problem is that if the only examples you’ve seen are those who simply pass on Bible knowledge, then that’s the course you’ll follow.  We need teachers who are willing to spend time listening to the Holy Spirit.

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 2:13

I think that we should listen to the Apostle Paul.  After all, he did write most of the New Testament.  Where do you think he got his teaching from?

As for me, I know that I’m called as a teacher.  I also know that I’ll be judged more strictly.  I want to make sure that the message of my teaching is not simply Bible knowledge, but the true light of the Word of God for the hearers.

This should be the heart of every teacher of the Word.

Question: How do you recognize a teacher walking in his or her anointing?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Teachers in the Church (Repost)

Over the next week or so I’m going to be away, visiting family.  So during that time, I’m reposting one of my more popular series.

In my last post, I mentioned that my anointing is that of a teacher in the body of Christ.  That got me thinking about our view of teaching in the church of today.  I want to take a couple of posts to talk about this.

I believe that a lot of problems we face are directly tied to what we’re being taught.  But let’s start at the beginning.  We really need to understand the importance of teaching from God’s perspective.

As I’ve stated many times in this blog, the form of the New Testament that we use now is not in the order it was given to the church.  Over the years it’s been arranged by topics rather than the original order.

While that may make it easier to find certain passages, we sometimes miss out on some important warnings.  For instance, James was the first book to be written, but because it’s placed close to the end, it doesn’t get a lot of priority.

However, when it comes to teaching in the church, James should be the first book we think of.  In its pages, we find the first thing the Holy Spirit revealed about teachers in the body of Christ.  What do you think that is?

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
James 3:1

Please pay careful attention to the voice of the Spirit.  The first thing He wants you to know about the ministry of a teacher is…that position comes with a stricter judgment.

That’s because the place of a teacher is much more important than most people realize.  Yet in our present church culture, we’ll let anyone teach.  We need so many for Sunday School, Children’s Church, Teens, and Adult classes.

“Everything you need has already been done.  All you have to do is to study the lesson plan at home, and talk about it in class.”

I’m sorry if I’m stereotyping, but here’s what I observe in our present church ministries.  Most teaching is simply passing on what we’ve read or heard from someone else.  We use books, sermons, online tools, and lessons that give us the messages that we, in turn, pass on to those we’re teaching.

That was actually the state of teaching in Israel when Christ came on the scene.  He had a different method.  The Lord only taught those things that He heard from the Father.  What was the response?

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Matthew 7:28-29

The difference was obvious.  He wasn’t simply parroting what someone else was teaching.  He was bringing them a Word from the Father.

That’s where we need to get to in the church today.  We must raise up teachers who walk in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

In my next post, I’ll continue with this important truth.

Question: How should the warning of James work in the life of modern teachers?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , ,

My Ministry (Repost)

Over the next week or so I’m going to be away, visiting family.  So during that time, I’m reposting one of my more popular series.

Every so often I take a post to talk about my ministry.  There are always new followers of this blog, so I want to let you know exactly who you’re following.  I hope that you’ll continue to stick around after you find out!

The Lord called me to be a pastor back in 1987.  My anointing, however, is that of a teacher.  When the Holy Spirit anoints someone to teach, He works in them to bring out the truths of Scripture; making them plain and understandable to the body of Christ at large.

But the thing you really need to know about me is my passion.  What is it that drives me to serve Christ and His church?

I’m absolutely passionate about seeing the Church of Jesus Christ get into position for the Last Days.  I believe that we’re on the cusp of the final move of God on the earth before the return of Christ.

The church has come a long way since its backslidden state in the Dark Ages.  God continued to move upon His people, restoring things that had been lost.  But as far as we’ve come, there’s still one more thing that God needs to restore in us.

I’ve found that there’s a theme throughout the New Testament that we’ve whitewashed over.  In spite of the fact that this truth saturates the Scripture, we seem to have missed it.

It’s the understanding that God’s people need to be hearing and obeying God’s voice – His Word.  Please understand that I’m not talking about reading the Bible – God’s Holy, Written Word.  I’m talking about hearing from Him directly.

I believe that the first book of the New Testament that was written down was the book of James.  Listen to what he says.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
James 1:22

Notice that he uses the word “listen” and not “read”.  This is the first of many verses that deal with this issue.

I love the Scripture.  I read it, meditate on it, memorize it and confess it.  It’s through the written Word of God that I know how to be saved and how to serve the Lord in a general way.

What it doesn’t tell me is exactly what I’m supposed to do.  Who am I supposed to reach out to?  What am I to say to them and how am I to say it?  Where do I fit into the body of Christ?

All of these questions and more can only be answered by the Holy Spirit, Himself.  Unfortunately, many Christians think that hearing from God is only for a few highly spiritual individuals.

My passion is to educate believers on where God wants to bring them to and how to get there.  Most of what I preach and write about in this blog fulfills a part of this mission.

By the way, I’m currently working on my speaking engagements for the Fall and Winter should churches start public meetings again.  If you think that my ministry is something you want to see in your area, check out my Speaking Page on this website.  It will have all the information you need to contact me.

The return of the Lord is getting close.  We need to be intentional about preparing ourselves for the final harvest.

Question: How prepared are you for the return of Christ?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , ,

Power and the Spiritual Weapons

We’re continuing our look at the qualities Paul saw as essential to the ministry.

…in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…
2 Corinthians 6:7

First of all, you have to understand that the punctuation was added by the translators.  They try to make it as readable as possible.  But sometimes we lose a little of what the original is saying.

What Paul literally wrote is, in the power of God through weapons of righteousness on the right and on the left.

That verse tells me a lot.  It means that I can walk in the power of God.  But the only way to access this power is through the spiritual weapons that God has given us.

The Lord wants His people to walk in His power.  He made it clear when He was preparing His disciples for His departure.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

The way we receive this power is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  This is different than when the Holy Spirit fills us when we are saved.

The word, baptism, means immersion in something.  We are filled with the Spirit at salvation.  We are immersed in the Spirit when we receive the baptism.

When I speak about being baptized in the Spirit, I’m talking about praying in tongues – your heavenly language.  I know that this can be very controversial in the body of Christ.  I’ve also experienced the truth of what I’m saying.

Paul understood this intimately.  He had a very rich prayer life in the spirit.  He was writing to let others know the power that was available to them.

The fact is that prayer in the spirit and the spiritual armor are linked throughout the Scripture.  Paul tells us that we receive the armor of God through prayer in the spirit.  For a detailed discussion of this, click here.

God had made available to us everything we need to defeat the enemy.  It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about our own flesh, the world, or the devil’s kingdom.  We’ve been given the tools to overcome in this life.

That’s the essence of true ministry.  To set captives free through the power of God.  We want to see lives changed and transformed into the image of Christ.  That only happens as we spend time praying in the spirit.

I believe that in these last days before the return of Christ, God is calling His church to once again walk in the fullness of this power.  Let’s spend time seeking God through prayer in the spirit.

Question: How often do you pray in the spirit?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ministry Qualities Part 4 – The Word of Truth

I’m continuing my look at the qualities Paul describes to the church at Corinth.

…in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…
2 Corinthians 6:7

As I was studying for this installment, this verse caught me totally off guard.  The phrase, in truthful speech, is not what Paul wrote.  He literally said, in the Word of truth.

That made a big difference to me.  That’s especially the case because we’re talking about the earmarks of true ministry.  One of the defining qualities of ministry is that it proclaims the Word of truth.

That phrase is found throughout the New Testament.  So I felt led to devote this whole article to it.  The question is; how do I know if someone or some group is declaring the Word of truth?

Here’s what to look for.  Keep in mind that even though you may not like the methods of some ministry, that doesn’t mean that they’re not walking in the truth.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit…
Ephesians 1:13

This is an important point.  The Word of truth is synonymous with the Gospel of your salvation.  Simply put, the Word of truth gets people saved.

The Word of truth releases the Holy Spirit to convict the unsaved and draw them to Christ.  So the first thing to look for is the saving work of the Spirit.  Are people receiving Christ as their Lord and Savior through this ministry?

But there’s more to it than that.  Jesus prayed for His disciples as He was preparing them for His departure.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:17

Not only does the Word of truth bring salvation, but it sanctifies us as well.  As we continue to receive this Word, our lives are changed.  Most of us can look back to who we were when we were first saved and we don’t even recognize that person.

The Word of truth is anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It does continual work in us.  As we submit to the Lord’s presence, we find that change is an ongoing process.

We can ask, are lives being changed through this ministry?

In writing to the Colossian church, Paul comments about their faith and love…

…the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.
Colossians 1:5-6

This is the power of the Word of truth.  It should be a part of every Christian ministry.

Question: How have you seen this demonstrated in a Gospel ministry?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Ministry Qualities Part 3

This is the third in a series about the earmarks of a godly ministry according to the Apostle Paul.  He wrote about them in his second letter to the Corinthian church.

…in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…
2 Corinthians 6:6-7

My last post ended with patience.  Now we’ll continue on…

Kindness – This is a quality that most believers don’t understand properly.  For a detailed explanation, click here.

Simply put, kindness is not just a matter of doing nice things for people.  In God’s eyes, the definition of kindness is; doing good to those who absolutely don’t deserve it.

Our problem is, when someone is doing wrong, we want to see them punished.  Of course, when we do something wrong, we want to be forgiven.

We need to spend time with the Lord so that we can pick up the same heart that he has.  In that way we can show the love of Christ to all people – even those we label as “undeserving”.  We must see others as the Father sees them.  They all have great potential in Christ.

In the Holy Spirit – This is probably the most important one.  Many of the qualities we’ve looked at so far are impossible to maintain in our own strength.  We need the work of the Holy Spirit within us.

That’s how the fruit are produced.  We must remain in the vine – Christ Jesus.  Time spent praying in the Holy Spirit is never wasted.  It changes us more and more into the image of Christ.

Sincere Love – This is a big one!  The literal Greek reads love without hypocrisy.  How can we do that?

This verse is talking about agape-love.  This love is a choice; there’s no emotional involvement.

So if I show love – doing something good – for someone I really don’t like, isn’t that hypocritical?  Good question.

Actually, that’s not being hypocritical; it’s being obedient to the Lord.  Hypocrisy would be to do something nice for them now, then gossip about them when they’re not around.  We’re to show people love and respect whether we like them or not.  This also includes whether they’re physically present or not.

This is another reason why we need the power of the Holy Spirit active in our lives.  Without His influence, we could never hope to live up to these godly qualities.

Question: How have others treated you with kindness and love in the past?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ministry Qualities Part 2

We’re continuing to look at the qualities of a true ministry according to Paul in his second letter to the Corinthian church.

…in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love…
2 Corinthians 6:5-6

In my last post, I talked about hard work, now we’ll go on from there.

Sleepless Nights – The Greek word used here literally means awake.  In the New Testament, it’s normally used to mean keep watch.  The Scripture teaches that church leaders keep watch over the souls in their care (Hebrews 13:17).

Those who are in leadership can’t afford the luxury of falling asleep spiritually.  We need to stay alert as to what’s happening in society around us.  We also need to be listening to what the Holy Spirit would have us speak.

Hunger – This is not the normal word for being hungry.  It’s a choice to abstain from eating food.  I believe that it should rightly be translated fasting, as it is in the KJV.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I think fasting should be a normal part of any Christian’s life.  So for those who are following the call of God in their life, it’s a necessity.

Purity – this literally means cleanness in the original.  We need to keep ourselves spiritually clean.

Does that mean we need to live a perfect life?  Absolutely not.  What it does mean, is that we’re always quick to repent when we realize that we’ve missed the mark.  Don’t let a day go by without confessing your sin to the Lord.

Understanding – In the above verse, this word simply means knowledge.  I believe that we need to constantly be learning and growing in our knowledge.  That not only includes Scripture but also the world around us.

Technology is changing so rapidly, and we need to be aware of these things.  Each day brings new advantages to how we present the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Always stay teachable and open.

Patience – In the Greek, this is a compound word.  It means long tempered.  A true minister doesn’t get immediately angry in a bad situation.  They don’t let their emotions carry them away.

We have to be careful to always be led by the Holy Spirit.  We can’t afford to do or say something that we’ll end up regretting later.

If you have an anger problem, it will help if you spend time in the Lord’s presence.  Intimacy with the Holy Spirit brings great changes in our lives.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in these last two posts and we’re not finished yet.  Don’t get discouraged.  None of us are perfect, but this gives us something to strive for.  I’ll continue this in my next post.

Question: How do you see these qualities at work in your ministry?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ministry Qualities Part 1

I’m continuing to look at Second Corinthians.  In my last post, I ended with Paul beginning to talk about the qualities of a true ministry for Christ.  Now we’ll see these in greater detail.

Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;
2 Corinthians 6:4-5

Great Endurance – This is from a Greek word that means to live or continue under. Sometimes that’s one of the hardest things to do.

God’s calling will lead you to a certain place or group of people.  Things don’t always work out the way we want.  We’d much rather leave and do something different.  This attitude says, “I’m not leaving here until God sends me someplace else.”

The kingdom of God doesn’t work like corporate America.  We don’t search for the best pay packages and move on when something better opens up.  We follow God’s call wherever it leads.

Troubles – This word actually means pressure.  This always comes with the calling of God.  We feel the pressure to complete what God desires us to do.

Of course, we also feel the pressure of the normal conditions of life.  We must fulfill the call to provide for our home and family.  We need to take care of our social requirements as well.  You can never get away from the pressures of life.

Hardships and destresses – I’m dealing with these two together because they’re very close in meaning.  Hardship means constraints while distress means narrowness of room.

They both talk about the fact that there’s very little “wiggle room” in the call of God.  As followers of Christ, we need to watch how we live before people.  They will always judge the Lord based upon what we do and say.

We have to be careful to let Christ be seen in us.  We can’t live like everybody else.  We want others to be drawn to the Lord and not turned away by our actions.

Beatings and imprisonments – I’m glad that I live in the United States.  But for many believers around the world, this is a real possibility.  We should always remember to pray for our brothers and sisters who are under persecution and remain true to Christ.

Riots – This Greek word literally means instability and disorder.  That’s a good description of what’s happening across our nation right now.

As Christians, we’re always called to be the voice of hope in extreme situations.  We must always be prepared to share the love of Christ no matter what’s happening around us.

Hard work – This should go without saying.  But Paul lets us know the truth about the ministry.  It definitely involves hard work.

That’s because we have to help a lot of hurting people.  One of the things that you learn quickly is that hurting people don’t mind hurting those who are trying to help them.

Of course, that’s when we need to pray for great endurance.  It’s hard to continue to walk this road continually, showing the love and joy of Christ.

But in the end, it’s all worth it for the blessing of seeing transformed lives.  I’ll continue with this in my next post.

Question: How have you experienced these qualities in your life and ministry?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,