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Christian – Why the Word Gets Bad Press #Christian

Dry2It used to be that if you were known as a Christian, it was considered a good thing in our society.  Now, if you use that term, you’re labeled everything from a loser, to a hypocrite, to emotionally disturbed.  Why is that?

It has a lot to do with how we portray ourselves to the world.  We say things about ourselves that give hope to the world only to let them down when they find out the real story.  I’m not talking about Christ, but about us.

I believe that if we truly portrayed Christ to the world, they’d have a different opinion of us.  It’s obvious, even today, that those churches and individuals who walk as Jesus did are drawing many to the cross.  What makes the difference?

A few months ago I wrote a post about what it means to be a disciple.  You can click here to read it.  In that post I said that disciples are more than just students learning what someone taught.  They want to become what the teacher is.

This requires us to follow, come near to, experience, and live in Christ and His Word.  It’s a deeper walk than many want to attain to in our generation.  The reason I bring this up, is a statement I read in the book of Acts.

The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Acts 11:26b

It’s a very simple declaration.  The first time the disciples were called Christianslittle christs – was in a town named Antioch.

This was at a time when the church was walking in the power of God.  Even though they were small and suffering some persecution, they were turning their world upside-down with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Notice what Luke doesn’t say.  He doesn’t record that the believers were called Christians.  It wasn’t all those who attended church.  The disciples – those who were striving to live like Christ – were called little christs by the world.

This is why the world largely rejects our witness.  They look at how we live versus what we say.  They don’t see the same thing in modern Christianity that was evident in the early church.

I know, it’s too late to change our language now but, we can let God change us.  If I’m going to wear the name of Christ, then I need to let Him work His plan in me.  I want the world to see me in Him.

When we lift up Christ by our lives, the world will gain a different perspective of who we are.  It will be easier for them to hear the Gospel.  We need to follow the path of true discipleship.

If that’s already your heart’s desire – continue on and let nothing sway you.  If the Lord is convicting you about it, then repent and move forward right now.  Let the world see Christ through His church.

Question: How would Jesus minister to people in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Revival, The Church, The Gospel

 

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Are You a Disciple of Christ, Really? #discipleofChrist

ClassWe use the term disciple very casually these days.  Many are of the opinion that just being a Christian automatically makes you a disciple.  It that the truth?  Let’s see how it worked for the first disciples who came to Christ.

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.  When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.  Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” 

They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
John 1:35-39

There are some things that this passage can teach us about what it means to be a disciple.  We see two men who were following John the Baptist.  Then they were pointed to the Messiah.  That’s when their lives were changed.

A disciple follows Christ.  There’s no way around that.  The word follow implies that they took the same road as Christ. Many teach that a disciple is a student.  I’ve attended enough classes to know that not all students aspire to be like their teachers.  A student wants to learn what’s being taught.  A disciple wants to become what the teacher is.

A disciple comes near to Christ.  Jesus asked these men, “What are you seeking?”  Their response, in the original Greek, was amazing.  They replied, “Where is your dwelling place?”  Being a disciple is all about what you’re seeking.  Many say that they’re pursuing God.  But in reality they’re only after the things God can give them.  A disciple simply wants to be near Christ.

A disciple wants to experience Christ.  These men went to the Lord’s house and spent time with Him.  Hearing about Him isn’t enough.  What are you seeking?  Facts and figures about what God has done?  Or do you want to meet with Him and experience His home?

A disciple lives in Christ.  This is what truly defines a disciple.  Do you want to live in Him?  Jesus made this point very clear.  When most Christians are asked about it, they usually reply, “Of course I’m a disciple.”  The real issue is; what are you seeking?  Anything other than His dwelling place and you’re not a disciple.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
John 8:31-32 NKJV

Abide in Him.  Let His word abide in you.

Question: What steps are you taking to be a disciple of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Encouragement, Revival

 

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Power is Agreement with Christ #powerofGod

LightningMy last post talked about positioning yourself to flow in God’s power.  It all comes down to the truth that agreement with Christ is the place of power.  Do we always agree with Him?  Or do we make excuses?

“You can’t know God’s will for certain.”  “He may not want to heal.”  After all it can’t be our fault.  We feel there’s nothing wrong on our end so it must be God’s decision not to manifest His power.

In some cases we’re more like the Pharisees than we want to admit.  Jesus explained their problem to them.  I believe that it’s our problem as well.  We need to hear the Lord, and meditate on His words.

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
John 5:39-40

Many believers spend a great deal of time pursuing the study of Scripture.  There are radio and cable channels devoted to the study of the Word of God 24/7.

Just like Jesus said to the Pharisees, many of us think that by them we possess life and power.  We believe that if we just know the Word enough, it will increase our faith to the point where nothing will be impossible for us.

The Scripture is given to testify about Christ.  It was NOT given to grant us access to power or life.  Jesus Christ is the grand focus of the Word.  It’s IN HIM that we have power and life.

Our problem is that we refuse to go to Christ to have access to power and life.  Jesus said, “I have come that you would have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)  Power rests solely in Christ.  If we don’t abide in Christ, then we don’t have access to the power.

The very Scriptures that we recite, confess, and memorize are telling us who Christ is and what He’s done.  This should cause us to run to Him.  Instead, we embrace the Word and think that it will give us power.  It’s so much easier to live for ourselves and quote promises, then to abide in Christ.  That requires spiritual effort, and we like to look for the shortcuts.

This is the instant generation.  We want everything now without any waiting.  By constantly using our credit cards we will give away our future for a momentary pleasure.  We have to have everything now.

Well, this is something that’s impossible to get instantly.  It requires the work of an intimate relationship with God.  Power flows from Christ to us if we’ll do what it takes to position ourselves to receive it.  It’s time for the church to wake up and view relationship with Christ as the priority of the hour.

Question: Are you willing to wait in God’s presence rather than seek for instant success?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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