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Category Archives: What’s Missing?

Gospel Power

Do we proclaim the same Gospel as the early church did?  Is there something missing from our experience that would make a big difference?  I believe that we’re lacking one of the greatest aspects of the Gospel.  We need to return to this truth if we’re going to impact our generation for Christ.

I’ve been posting a series about the message of the cross and its effect on our Christian walk.  I believe that it’s the foundation for walking in the power of the Spirit.

Never get the idea that the men and women of Scripture were somehow larger than life.  They had challenges and weaknesses just like you and me.

I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
1 Corinthians 2:3

The Apostle Paul even admits his insecurities in ministering to the city of Corinth.  The big question is; did that hinder God from working through him?

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5

The wonderful truth is that God’s work in us goes beyond our abilities.  It doesn’t matter if I’m struggling on the inside.  If I’m willing to move forward in faith, I’ll see God’s hand in operation.

The fact is that the Good News must be demonstrated.  That demonstration can only be energized by the power of God.  It’s always beyond our human ability to walk on that level if we rely upon our own strength, wisdom, and knowledge.

I fear that too many Christians allow their faith to rest on man’s wisdom because they’ve never seen a demonstration of the power of God.  There are so many believers that have never seen a healing or a miracle.

They’ve never heard an anointed prophecy or someone speaking in the heavenly language.  There are Christians that have never witnessed someone delivered from demonic possession or oppression.

As a result, the Good News, in most cases, has merely become an intellectual debate.  On many occasions, what we call the Gospel today, is void of any power to change the direction of a life impacted by it.

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.  You know how we lived among you for your sake.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

As you can see, I’m not using some isolated verse without context.  This teaching runs throughout the New Testament.

I’ve heard people explain this verse by saying, “The hearers were convicted by the Holy Spirit.  That’s the power that Paul’s talking about.”  I simply can’t agree with that kind of thinking.  Paul said that the Gospel came to them with power AND the Holy Spirit, AND deep conviction.

Even the very word conviction that Paul used was a Greek word that means many assurances.  It was something that could be seen and experienced by the unbelievers receiving the Good News.

The church needs to do what it takes to once again walk in this life-changing power.  In short – we need revival.  We must admit that we’ve lost something along the way and allow the Lord to make the necessary adjustments.

Questions: Do you think the modern “American Gospel” has the same impact as the early church?  If not, what must we do to change?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2018 in Faith, Power of God, Revival, What's Missing?

 

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The Missing Ingredient – A Word from God

Different AnointingI’m posting about what’s missing in the church of our generation. Why do we not see the power manifest in the early church? I believe that it’s because we’re not hearing from God the way we should be.

It’s the same thing that Jesus manifested as He ministered throughout Israel. He was very clear about how He walked in this divine power.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
John 5:19

Jesus heard from the Father. That’s the secret to how He could minister the way that He did. It’s the reason why He could heal the sick or walk on water.

It’s also the reason why Peter could boldly say, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, walk.” He had heard from the Father. He had already seen this crippled man walking with his spirit.

This experience is what the church of Jesus Christ desperately needs today. We must hear from God. The world needs us to hear from God.

Only then will they see the ministry of Jesus exemplified in us. Only then will they be drawn to the preaching of the cross for salvation. It’s imperative that we once again bring our walk with God to this level.

“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

In this passage Jesus is plainly talking about hearing a Word from God. In the original it says that if you are at home in Me [Jesus] and My words have a home in you, you can ask whatever you wish.

To many Christians this means, “If you memorize the Bible, I’ll give you whatever you want.” How did we ever get so far away from God’s intent?

If Christ was referencing the Bible in this section, it would have been impossible for the disciples to obey it. There were no Bibles for the first generation of believers. They had to rely upon hearing from the Father just as Jesus had done.

As much as I love the written Word of God, I think that we’ve used it to insulate ourselves from the Author. Why spend time seeking to hear God’s voice through the Spirit, when I can open up the Bible and read it for ten minutes?

Yes, we need to read, study, memorize and confess the Scripture. But it’s just as important to hear the Holy Spirit’s spoken Word to us. That’s where the power for the miraculous comes from.

It’s time for the church to once again depend upon a Word from God in order to walk in His power. I believe that this is the next great move of God in His people. He wants to restore to us the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. That’s what will bring about the end-time harvest of souls.

I’m about to say something that will probably make you mad at me, but it’s true none the less. The world doesn’t need any more Scripture. They’re sick of hearing Scripture. What they desperately need is a Word from God.

Who will bring it to them, if not the church? We need a Word from heaven. The first few drops of rain are falling. Will you get yourself into position to receive this anointing? The time is now to prepare.

Question: What does your spirit speak to you about this truth?

© 2016 Nicolas Zaccardi

 

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What the Modern Church is Missing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m posting about what I believe is missing from our present Christian experience. In my last article we looked at Elijah’s encounter with the king. According to James, this is the basis of the prayer for divine healing.

Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
I Kings 17:1

How does Elijah’s proclamation of no more rain relate to healing the sick? What does this have to do with what James calls, the prayer offered in faith?

The healing prayer of Jesus. How did Jesus “pray for” the sick? I was surprised to find that that the Lord operated the same way. He didn’t ask for God to heal, instead He spoke to the sick.

“Pick up your mat and walk.”

“Go show yourself to the priest.”

“Go rinse your eyes in the pool.”

Jesus prayed healing the same way that Elijah prayed for the rain to stop. I can’t find any instance where Jesus asked God to heal someone.

The prayer of the disciples. It was the same for the disciples. Remember how they prayed healing for the lame man at the temple gate in the book of Acts, chapter 3.

Peter said, “Silver and gold I don’t have. But what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus, walk!” When you think about it, they healed the sick in the same way that Elijah stopped the rain in Israel.

I’ll say it again; I’m not just espousing a new formula for praying. I’m not saying to just go out there and speak healing to the sick. There are plenty who have tried that without 100% success. Instead, I’m talking about the great assumption that’s present in all of these cases.

The missing ingredient. There’s something missing from our Christian experience. It’s the very thing that makes this kind of prayer work.

Think back to the prophet Elijah. What would cause him to speak in such a way to the king? Was he sitting at home reading the newspaper, and suddenly he decided to give the king a piece of his mind? Of course not! There is an assumed chain of events that led to his standoff with the king.

He was at home, in prayer, when suddenly he heard a Word from God. That’s the only explanation for the boldness he had before King Ahab. God spoke to him and said that the rain would stop when he delivered the message to the king.

This is the very example that James uses to illustrate the prayer of faith for healing. The assumption is, that to pray this kind of prayer, you must have heard from heaven. It’s based upon hearing a Word from God.

That, my brothers and sisters, is the missing ingredient in our generation. We’ve lost our ability to hear from God on a regular basis.

Once I realized this, I started to read the Bible through new eyes. I’ve come to see that hearing from God is the great assumption throughout the entirety of Scripture.

What the New Testament authors assumed, was that if you’re mature in Christ, then you’re hearing a Word from God regularly. This was the defining characteristic of Jesus’ ministry. In my next post I’ll show how Christ exemplified this.

Questions: Do you want to hear a Word from God? Do you believe this is what the church of this generation needs?

© 2016 Nicolas Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2016 in Revival, What's Missing?, Word of God

 

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Elijah and the Prayer of Faith

KeyI believe that there’s something missing in our Christian experience. That’s the foundation of the next move of God – the restoration of power to His church.

What is this principle that’s eluded us for so long? The good news is that the key is recorded in the very passage we’ve been looking at for the last few posts. James goes on to illustrate the prayer of faith that he’s talking about.

Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
James 5:17-18

In these verses, James uses the prophet Elijah as an example to us. Remember that this is in the context of the prayer of faith for healing. James mentioned it three times in the previous verses. It’s clear from his comments – Elijah prayed and the rain stopped. He prayed again and the rain returned.

According to James, this is the same type of prayer that will bring healing to the sick. What are we missing? Let’s take a look at the Scripture concerning Elijah’s prayer.

But first, I need to make a disclaimer. Sometimes we, as believers, get all caught up in new prayer “formulas”. You need to be aware, right from the start, that I’m not putting forth a new wording for prayer. On the contrary, I am going to show you a new kind of lifestyle that will usher in the move of God’s power.

Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
I Kings 17:1

This verse is the only one in the Old Testament that shows the events surrounding Elijah and the rain stopping. James said that Elijah prayed and the rain stopped. This is the verse he was referring to.

Have you ever prayed a prayer like this? Have you ever heard a prayer like this? As far as I can see, Elijah was talking to the king, not to God.

What exactly was the prayer in this verse? We need to understand that not all prayers fit into the “dear God” category. The scope of prayer is a lot deeper than we can fathom sometimes.

In this encounter, even though Elijah was speaking to the king, he was invoking the name of the Lord over the situation. He was speaking, on God’s behalf, to the king.

Prayer, in its simplest form, is invoking the name of the Lord into a situation. That’s what Elijah did. He was speaking out a divine truth to the king.

In my next post we’ll see what’s so important about this kind of prayer.

Question: How does this compare to your thoughts about what a prayer should be?

© 2016 Nicolas Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2016 in Healing, Prayer, Revival, What's Missing?

 

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Divine Healing – The Tough Questions

Question MarkIt’s clear that somewhere in that first few generations after Christ, something was lost. This is where we find ourselves in the Body of Christ today. Our churches have many who are weak and sick, and many have even died before their time because we are not where we should be in our Christian experience.

One of the things that grieves me the most about this, is that we don’t ask “why” anymore. It’s understandable. At the start of the Faith Movement we had all the answers – or at least we thought we did. As a result, we said a lot of dumb things that hurt many people.

When questioned why someone wasn’t healed we would blithely answer, “They don’t have enough faith” or “it’s because they spoke too much death over their lives.”

We’ve come a long way since then. We’ve seen many who were standing in faith for their healing for years and years. We’ve seen men and women of God who were trusting God and “speaking life” who died prematurely.

Now we seem to be resigned to the thought that when we pray over the sick, they’ll probably not be healed. Well, I for one am not content with the status quo. I want to see a new move of God in my lifetime. I believe that it’s about to begin.

In the first post of this series, we looked at a verse from James.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
James 5:13-15

When I started to meditate on these verses, I asked some tough questions. Things like, “Do I really even know what it means to pray over someone like James did?” What did James mean by the prayer offered in faith? Did it sound even close to what we pray?

I know that we try to put faith into our prayers. We quote Scripture, hoping to get God to see our faith and move on our behalf. But, is that even close to what James is speaking about?

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:16

I read this passage and wondered if something’s missing in our walk with the Lord. Could it be that there’s something fundamental that we’re not seeing? Is there something so basic to their Christian faith that the early church just assumed that everyone knew it?

As the people of that day observed the lives of the apostles, they saw what was needed to walk in the power of God. Yet to us, it’s worlds away. We need the leading of the Holy Spirit to bring us back to where we should be – where we could be – where we must be.

In my next post we’ll see just what it is that they had and we need today.

Question: Do you think that we’ve lost something that the early church had an understanding of?

© 2016 Nicolas Zaccardi

 
 

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Where Did We Lose It?

SunriseIn my last post, I talked about divine healing from James’ perspective. It sounds to me, from his writings, that he had a 100% success rate in the area of praying for the sick. Without a doubt the early church had a higher walk than we do. The miraculous was an everyday occurrence.

But, if you think about it, that’s to be expected. If we look at the life of Jesus, we see the exact same thing. He had a 100% healing rate as well.

The example of Jesus. There is no hint, in the Gospel record, of anyone coming to Him for healing and leaving disappointed. We are the ones who make excuses for not being healed.

“Maybe this is the only way God could teach me a lesson.”

There’s no record of Jesus ever refusing to heal someone because He wanted them to “learn something” they couldn’t get any other way. Praise God that you got closer to the Lord during your illness. We learn many things during times of affliction. But to think that the reason you’re not healed was for the purpose of teaching you something, goes against the clear Word of God.

The example of the disciples. From the Scripture we know that the disciples had a front row seat in observing the life of Christ. They ate, slept and traveled with Him. They saw His highs and lows. They saw Him with the crowds, as well as how He lived His life in private.

He was their example for how they were to live their lives after He returned to the Father. It’s not surprising, then, that the apostles of Christ also had a 100% healing rate in the Scriptures. There’s no hint that they ever prayed for someone with no results.

The next generation. The power of the Lord manifest through His people didn’t even end there. The next generation of believers – those first saved under the apostles – had the same success. Men like Paul, Philip, James and Jude walked in the power of the Spirit to a degree we can’t even imagine.

Were they any different from us? Was their God different from our God? No way! That’s what led me to ask the question – is something missing?

Where we lost it. It wasn’t until the next generation of believers that we start to see a change taking place in the life of the church. In talking to the Corinthians, Paul makes note of the fact that they were acting in carnality – like a bunch of babies. He then makes the following indictment.

That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 11:30

This was not an acknowledgement of what church should be like. Rather, it was a warning that something was wrong and needed fixing.

It should also serve as a warning to us. It should drive to seek the Lord and the power of His presence. It should bring us to a place of seeking and listening in the spirit.

Question: How much are you willing to change in order to position yourself for the next move of God?

© 2016 Nicolas Zaccardi

 
 

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The Prayer of Faith?

cross 2Divine healing is a controversial subject these days. Even among those who believe that God heals, there seems to be a discouragement surrounding it. I think we need to see what church life was like under the original apostles.

Based upon my studies, I believe that the book of James was the first of the New Testament to be written. James was the Senior Pastor of the church of Jerusalem. His book deals with the basics of living for Christ.

I’ve found that the book of James is a Holy Spirit inspired training manual for new believers. In it, James deals with many foundational issues. Toward the end he deals with divine healing. He uses very strong language to get his point across.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
James 5:13-15

It seems to me that there are not many who teach healing out of this passage anymore. It’s far too radical for modern Christianity – even among “Faith Churches”. James is very bold in his declaration of the place of healing in the church.

He asks, “Is any one of you sick?” This is not reserved for only the strong in faith. This is not limited to those who have been “confessing their healing” for months. This is clearly written to anyone who’s sick.

He leaves no wiggle room for doubt in God’s purpose. There’s no mention of God wanting to heal some and leaving others sick in order to teach them something.

He states this in no uncertain terms. Not “maybe”, “sometimes”, or “in most cases”. He says, “The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.” He even repeats himself for emphasis, “The Lord will raise him up.”

More than that, he goes on to use the exact same wording for the forgiveness of sin. Would anyone ever doubt the forgiveness of the Lord? Would you ever add, “if it’s God’s will,” to a prayer for forgiveness?

You would never entertain the thought that if someone confessed their sin to God, they may or might not be forgiven, depending on God’s will for their life. Yet, in context, healing is portrayed with the same level of certainty.

As a matter of fact, James is so emphatic in the Greek, that I would be afraid to ask him about it if I had the chance. I could only imagine how that meeting would go. I can see myself sitting in his office asking him, “What should I do if I pray over someone for healing and they’re not healed?”

I am concerned that he would look me straight in the eye, and with a serious tone, say to me, “Then you need to get saved.”

Question: Do you have any experience with divine healing? Should it be more evident in the church?

© 2016 Nicolas Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Faith, Prayer, Revival, What's Missing?

 

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