RSS

Tag Archives: calling of God

Against the Current

As we continue to look at the Gospel of Mark, we see that Jesus’ ministry is increasing.  More and more crowds are being attracted to Him.  The healing and deliverance of the Lord are flowing in abundance.  You would think that everyone would be happy about it.

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.  When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
Mark 3:20-22

I can’t imagine what this was like.  Jesus is invited to someone’s house.  Immediately a crowd shows up.  They were people hungry to hear a Word from God.  There were sick and demonically oppressed people as well.

The Lord and His disciples began ministering to those who came.  As they lost track of time, those who were watching started to get concerned.

The first response came from those who were closest to Jesus.  His family didn’t understand the calling of God.  They felt the need to have an intervention.  Obviously, Jesus was out of his mind.  The notoriety that He was experiencing was too much for Him to handle.

It never even occurred to them that Jesus was operating according to the Father’s plan.  He spent a large amount of time in God’s presence, hearing what He was to do.  Then, Jesus would step out and accomplish the will of the Father.

Scripture is clear that those who don’t listen to the instruction of the Holy Spirit have no understanding of those who do.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14

The same was true with the teachers of the law.  Of course, they had different motivations.  They were teachers.  They saw Jesus as a rival.  After all, if the crowds are listening to Him, then they weren’t listening to the Pharisees.

Jealousy can blind you to the truth.  Instead of judging Christ based on His teaching and spiritual power, they looked at their own loss of esteem.  They decided that only way to feel good about themselves was to discredit Jesus.

These types of attitudes are always around when you’re trying to walk by the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit usually leads you against the current of “normal” opinion.  People tend to attack whatever they don’t understand.

We see this in the body of Christ right now.  There are well-known ministries that are bringing huge numbers of people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Yet in spite of this, they’re treated as if they’re false teachers or even demons in disguise.

Jealousy in the ministry is not very becoming.  I’ve learned that even if I have questions about how a ministry operates, I keep it to myself and praise God for those being won into the kingdom of God.

In my next post, we’ll see Jesus’ response to those who were putting down His ministry.

Question: How have you been questioned about something the Lord instructed you to do?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 10, 2018 in Ministry, Prayer, The Church

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Respond to the Call

 

PowerlessThis is my last post in the series about your callings in Christ. We need to be faithful to the whole calling that God has placed upon us.

It all comes down to a question of motivation. Are you out to please God and to fulfill His plan? If so, then you must seek the Lord as to where His agenda is to be fulfilled in your life.

I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles.
Isaiah 42:6

What we need to see is that responding to our personal call is not optional. It’s a part of God’s righteousness for our lives. Salvation is a package deal and calling is a large part of it. How can we ever expect to live satisfying and fulfilled lives if we never bother to find out the purpose for which we were created? If you want to walk in righteousness, then you must find and walk in your calling.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:28-32

What a precious promise! God can and will use all things for our good, but there’s a condition. You must be called according to His purpose. Just knowing a piece and doing your own thing to fill in the gaps is not enough. The reason is clear – you’re not really called unless you’ve heard the call.

God has a calling for everyone, but unless His call reaches your spiritual ears, there’s no clear call upon your life. Without that clear call, you’re like a ship out on the raging ocean with no rudder. You’ll find yourself at the mercy of the wind and waves, instead of the supernatural guidance of the Lord.

The Apostle Peter wrote an excellent statement that should be our attitude concerning the call God has for each of us.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
II Peter 1:10-11

Finding our calling in the Lord should never just be an exercise in obedience, only done because God says that we should. On the contrary, there should be an eagerness and expectancy that comes from the knowledge that finding your calling is what you were born for. Every blessing that God has for you is wrapped up in your call. Every provision and resource Heaven offers is at your disposal in order to complete that which God has assigned you to do.

Make sure you also seek God for the method and the location where He wants you to fulfill your call. Only then will you have your election, your qualification for service, made sure. Spend the time in God’s presence that it requires, moving you forward into your destiny in Christ.

Question: How well do you understand what you’re called to do by the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

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

Where Am I Called?

TrailI’ve been posting about our callings in Christ. I’ve already talked about being called by name and being called to do a work for the Lord.

In today’s post I want to deal with a part of our calling that many ignore and, as a result, miss out on some of the blessings that God has for them.

After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Acts 16:10

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8

This is a very important aspect of our calling. Many believers get so caught up in what they’re supposed to do that they never stop long enough to ask God for a look at His roadmap. I’m talking about the calling of place.

We see from the above verses that both Paul and Abraham were called to go to a place – a physical location on the map. I was not merely called to be a pastor. I was called to be the pastor of Christian Life Worship Center in Watertown, Massachusetts.

It should be clear from Scripture that along with the calling to do a work for Him comes a definite calling as to exactly where God wants the work to be performed. This calling must not be taken lightly. Once we know what the Lord wants us to do, it’s a slap in His face to then turn around and decide on our own where we want to do it.

These days, it’s even a problem in the full-time ministry. Pastors seem to change churches as often as they change suits. In the United States, the average pastor stays at a church two and a half years before leaving and finding another. I don’t believe that’s God’s will.

You definitely cannot develop a ministry of excellence in a church without investing time. Researchers say that it actually takes a pastor seven years to transfer God’s vision to the congregation. You must be sure you’re where God’s called you to be. If not, you will act like a hireling and run at the first sign of trouble.

The same holds true for teachers, missionaries, evangelists, ushers, and nursery workers. Are you in the area God has called you to, or are you choosing the spiritual climate and churches you want to be involved in? Are you after the big money offerings, or are you ministering to those whom God has brought you to?

I’m sure that Paul enjoyed being around the Philippians a lot more than the Corinthians, but he had to minister to both because of his calling. Make sure that you’re not just fulfilling part of your calling. Make sure you’re where God wants you to be.

Question: How do you know that you are where God has called you to be?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Calling – What and How

BeamI’m posting on the subject of our callings. In the last two posts I talked about how the Lord calls us by name.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Acts 13:2

The next calling is a calling of work. We’re called to do something. Christ has prepared a work for each of us to do in His kingdom.

This is the calling that seems to be the most important to believers today. Much emphasis is placed upon people to find what God wants them to do. The problem is that many never seek God to find out how He wants them to fulfill their work. Instead they try to copy another person or ministry.

“I will destine you for the sword, and you will all bend down for the slaughter; for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.”
Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “My servants will eat, but you will go hungry; my servants will drink, but you will go thirsty; my servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit.”
Isaiah 65:12-14

When we try to fulfill the what of our ministry in our own way, we ignore the call of God to do it His way. When that occurs, we don’t have any supernatural provision for what we’re doing. Everything God has for you is tied to your calling.

If you don’t respond to His call, both the what and the how, you lose out on the grace that has been provided for you. This is a cause of great frustration in ministry; because you think you’re doing God’s will when, in reality, you’re only halfway there.

There are many believers in ministries today who are spiritually hungry and thirsty. They’re being put to shame and crying out of anguish of heart. This isn’t God’s portion for us. He wants ministry to be a joy. This will only happen as we follow God’s call. This means not only what He wants me to do, but also how He wants me to do it.

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
Revelation 2:20

Another mistake that can totally disqualify you is to seek your own will altogether. The above Scripture says that she called herself a prophetess. It doesn’t matter what you want to call yourself. The important thing is to find out what God calls you. Only then can you enter the abundance of God’s supernatural provision. Taking His road for your life is the only path that will lead you to the level of excellence that God has reserved for you.

Please realize, the how is as important as the what in serving God. That’s why preparation for ministry is so important. It’s not enough just to go to Bible School to train. The “School of the Holy Spirit” – spending quality time in the presence of the Lord – is essential to the fulfilling of the total plan of excellence God has for your life.

Question: What is the work God is calling you to do?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Inconvenient Truth about Obedience

MeditationIn my last post I talked about the connection between faith and obedience. It’s one of the toughest choices we need to make as believers.

This goes beyond what we usually think about obedience.

Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
Romans 1:5

Contrary to popular belief, obedience is by faith, not fear. It’s easier to obey if I trust the one I’m submitted to. This is especially true in my relationship with God.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.
1 Peter 1:14-15

According to Peter, this obedience comes as a result of calling. If that’s the case, then we need to look at the calling of God. Let’s review the verse we first read in my last post.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8

It all starts by being called to go out of where we’re currently living. Then we’re called to move into a place that God expects us to inherit. The callings to go out and to move in are the two sides of God’s work in our lives. Both require our obedience.

It’s as if God is saying to us, “Let’s get you to the inheritance.” We then have to trust God enough to want the destiny that He’s prepared for us.

Bible talks a lot about obedience. Children and parents, employees and bosses, governments, church leaders, etc. This is how God gets you to the place He sees for you.

However, the biggest problem with God’s way of calling is that Abraham did not know where he was going. The verse literally says that he did not stand upon where he was going to.

Jesus understood this in His time on earth.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered
Hebrews 5:8

This verse is talking about Christ but it’s the same for us. The word suffer is talking about a feeling. The truth is that we only learn obedience by what we feel. Unfortunately, it’s usually a painful experience.

If I’m hungry and someone says, “Come to dinner,” that’s not obedience for me to come and eat. Obedience is when I’m watching TV and my parents tell me to put out the trash.

We need to understand that obedience is a learning process. It teaches me that to enjoy the best life, will require some discomfort now, for a greater return later. The inheritance is the fun part. It’s the calling that’s usually inconvenient.

Question: How does faith help us to obey God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Faith, Revival

 

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

Service or Control? #calling

DifferentIn my last post I talked about how we advance in the Kingdom of God.

In the world you set a goal.  You say, “I’m going to be a brain surgeon.”  Then, off you go to school and someday, after years of study and training, you graduate as a brain surgeon.  That’s not how it is in the Kingdom of God.

Before I was born, God said, “I see a day when Nick Zaccardi is going to be born, and I have a place in My kingdom for him, and this is it.”  I then spend my lifetime attaining to the position that God has already prepared for me before the foundation of the world.

Eventually, depending on how well I listen to Him and my obedience level, I may or may not get to that calling.  But the main point for us to see is that it’s not up to me to decide what I want that calling to be.

That’s what the Lord was telling the disciples min the verse we looked at in the last post.  Don’t try to advance yourself in the Kingdom of God by using the world’s methods. But the problem didn’t end there.

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.  Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:24-28

To operate in the way of the world, you’re going to have to step over everyone in your path in order to get to the top.  Then, once you get there, you start to boss everyone around because they’re all under you.

Jesus made it clear that we don’t act this way in the church.  In His kingdom, He has a place prepared for everybody.  You need to seek the place God has chosen for you from before the foundation of the world.

As you enter into your assignment, you’ll find that it will be a place of service.  It’s not going to be a place of authority in the sense that the world looks at authority.  So don’t come at the Kingdom of God from a worldly perspective.  In Christ we find fulfillment through service.

It’s clear, however, that the disciples believed that Christ’s kingdom was coming.  The disciples had faith in that concept to the point that in their own fleshly way they were starting to jockey for position.  I pray that we would have as much faith in the words of Christ as they did.  It’s my prayer that God’s people will be found ready for Him on His return.

We must begin to prepare now for the coming kingdom.  God’s Word is clear.  Our rewards will be based upon our obedience.  How closely are you following the Lord’s plan for your life?

Knowledge of the Second Coming of Christ should drive you to serve Him with all your ability.  Don’t rest until you know that you are in the center of His will for your life.

Question: What will it take to reach the next step in your calling?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Ministry, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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