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Replacing Power with Talk

As we continue through First Corinthians, Paul shows his frustration with the church leaders who insist on doing things their own way.  They had an inflated view of themselves.

Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you.  But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.  What do you prefer?  Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
1 Corinthians 4:18-21

Paul’s words to us are very clear.  When it comes to power in the kingdom of God, we better do more than just talk.  The problem is that much of what’s called power in the kingdom today is just that – talk.  The first step toward walking in the power of God is to understand what true power is all about.

Let’s start by looking at things from a natural perspective.  When we talk about power it’s usually in the context of electrical power.  We use phrases like power lines, power plant, and power outages.  We think of electricity as being a form of power.  This can help us to understand spiritual power.

Simply put, the definition of power is the same whether you’re talking about electricity coming into your house, or the power of God to heal the sick.  The International Edition of the Webster Comprehensive Dictionary defines it in the following way:

“Power is the ability to act.  It is the property of a thing that is manifested in effort or action, by virtue of which that thing produces change.”

Let me boil it down for you.  True power is the ability to produce change.  Change is the keyword.  It takes power to transform water at room temperature into hot water for a cup of tea.  It takes power to get a one-ton car to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour.  It takes power to transform a body from sickness to health.  It takes power to change a liar into a saint.  It takes power to replace guilt with innocence.

If we understand this correctly, then the verse above should bring new understanding.  It’s our assignment in the Kingdom of God to produce change.  It’s not about how well you can speak about it.  Change is the priority.  Is the church producing change?

You have to remember that this passage was written when Christians were the people who were “turning the world upside down”.  In light of this, how powerful is the kingdom of God today?  In order to answer that we must ask, how much change is being produced in the church today?

The unfortunate answer is – not much.  In many churches around the country, few are being healed, set free from sins, or seeing great growth in their spiritual lives.  It seems that we’ve become masters of talking as if there’s power in our lives.

We say things like, “That was a powerful message.”  Or, “We had a powerful service last night.”  I’ve also heard, “She has a powerful anointing to sing.”

But if no one leaves the service changed, then there was no power manifested in the service.  There are plenty of unsaved actors and singers that can evoke an incredible emotional response from their audience, but that’s not power.  People weeping during the service is no indication of any power.

We’ve learned to cover over our powerlessness by calling emotionalism power.  The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how many people wept, how many chills ran down your spine, or how many people were slain in the spirit.  If no one was changed, then there was no power.

Do you want to walk in the true power of God?  Then you need to stop talking about it, and admit your lack – if that’s the case.  We need a true, Biblical knowledge of what it is and how to use it.  We need to seek God for a touch from His hand.  That’s where true change – true power – originates from.

Question: What does a church look like that’s walking in the power of God?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on February 22, 2019 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Touching Christ

Why is it so important that I become intimate with Christ?  Many believers spend their whole lives and never seek His presence.  Everything I need is found in Christ.  So, if I can get close to Him, I’ll be equipped to get into the flow of the Lord’s anointing.

The flow of power.  As we continue looking at Mark’s Gospel, we see a woman who figured this out before any of Jesus’ disciples did.  She had a sickness in her body that none of the doctors of her day could heal.

One day she heard that Jesus was coming to her town. When she heard this, the Holy Spirit quickened faith on the inside of her.  She soon had a plan to see Him because she knew that if she could just touch the Lord, she would be healed.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him.  He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
Mark 5:30

As soon as the woman touched Him, Jesus realized that power had flowed out from Him.  That’s a great revelation.  As it is in nature, so also in the spirit.  Power has a flow associated with it.  It can travel from one person to another.

Making contact with Christ.  This is an astounding truth to grasp onto.  True power flows from Christ to those who touch Him.  This means that it’s available to me.  If I can just touch Him – make contact with Him – then I can receive His power in my life.  That would change everything.

Think about it.  What would this mean to you?

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3

Everything changes.  Everything means everything!!!  This verse explains that God’s power touches all that pertains to this life – finances, healing, etc.  But just as important it includes my spiritual life – godliness.

The fact of the matter is that true power changes everything that it touches.  The question this creates is; do we want everything to change?  Do we want our world to turn upside-down?

This is what trips us up most of the time.  We only want certain changes, not all of them.  We want our finances to change for the better.  We want our body to be healed.  But…then again, do I really want to watch less TV and have a deeper prayer life?  This power affects it all.  That’s why we hesitate to go for it.

In order to walk in the manifestation of God’s power, I have to be open for everything to change.  It’s an all or nothing proposition.  I have to come to God with the expectation that my whole life will change when He touches me.

Question: How much change are you willing to go through for God’s power to be manifest in your life?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2018 in Power of God, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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A Testimony of Change

HandsFor a number of posts I’ve been talking about the spiritual walk. As we pray in the spirit, we’re affecting the natural. We looked at a few verses that tell us it’s through the spirit that we overcome the flesh.

There are those who spend their entire lifetime trying to master the fruit of the spirit by their own strength and will power. I’ve found that those who are able to do this are easy to spot. The older they get, the deeper the frown etched on their faces.

They’re quick to tell you how hard it is to stay committed to the Lord. Doing this work on your own is very detrimental to your joy and I don’t recommend it for long periods of time.

Another observation actually had me upset at God for a long time until I understood what was really going on in the spiritual realm. The problem is that sometimes we have an experience in God and try to explain it based upon our observances instead of searching the Word. I’m thinking specifically about my grandparents, who were the first in our family to receive Christ.

Back when they first immigrated to America from Italy, they were rough, unlearned people. At that point, an evangelist came from Chicago to Boston to bring the Gospel to the Italian community. That’s when my grandparents heard the Good News and submitted their hearts to Christ. The church I grew up in was the Italian Pentecostal Church that grew from that evangelist’s work.

Growing up, I heard all the stories of how God moved in those days. I heard about the power, the healings, and the miracles. I learned all about the righteous lives that these “old folks” lived. Their conversion became legendary.

“If we would only live like they did…”

This is why I was upset at God. I was told that when they were saved, they were really saved. Their lives were changed instantly. There was suddenly no more profanity, stealing, or fits of rage. They began walking in love, joy, peace and the rest of the gifts.

I knew my grandparents well enough to know that what was said about their lifestyle was true. They lived close to God. They loved like Jesus did. They evangelized everyone they met.

That’s what upset me. I felt that I had been short changed in my salvation experience. I wanted to know why I was still wrestling with my sin. Why did their lives change so radically, and mine seemed to be a never ending process?

What I was taught about this did little to help me. I was told that God just works differently in different people. Some people He cleans up in an instant and others the Lord takes His time on. I just resigned myself to the belief that I was one of those that would take a long time to see the changes occur in my life. All this, because we based our theology on observation rather than the Word of God.

Here’s what actually happened to my grandparents, based on what we’ve just learned from the Scripture. When they heard the Good News of the Savior, they submitted to His Lordship in faith. They were saved and immediately baptized in the Spirit with the evidence of their prayer language.

Then they began to attend meetings on almost every day of the week. Some of these were services and some were prayer meetings. Here’s the key. No matter what kind of meeting it was, they always spent hours praying in the spirit.

I know from watching her, that my grandmother prayed hours a day. By observation, people saw that when someone was saved and baptized in the Spirit, their life changed. It seemed to be instantaneous.

But looking back, I can see through the filter of the Scriptures, what really changed their lives was that they spent hours a week praying in the Holy Spirit. There was not one particular work of holiness – it was the ongoing process of putting to death the misdeeds of the body through prayer in the spirit.

Then, over the course of time, the prayer meetings stopped being attended by the next generation. Instead of using the power of the Spirit, they learned to serve God using will power alone. Holiness became a thing of the past, “the stuff of legends”.

We just looked back and said, “Those old Italians knew how to serve God.” What they learned was that power was only accessed in that secret place of intimacy with the Holy Spirit. This is how we must receive the power as well. To the extent that we worship God in His language, at His level, we will experience His power.

At one point the Lord impressed us to start having a prayer meeting only for prayer in the spirit. We met for one hour a week to pray in our heavenly language. During that time I observed that people who spent even moderate amounts of time praying in the spirit started to change at an incredible rate.

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
Romans 8:6

The good news is that you don’t have to know how it works for it to affect you. But, you do have to walk in it for the effects to be realized. Don’t just use the gift of the heavenly language as a once in a while plaything. It’s the access key to the release of the power of God in your life. You should use this gift daily. If you choose to do this, your life will never be the same.

Question: How have you seen the effects of praying in the spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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How Saved are You?

CrossAs I think about Resurrection Sunday coming up this weekend, I want to talk about our salvation. It seems like we hear about it so often that it loses its appeal. It’s so important that we keep what God has done for us fresh in our hearts.

In this series, I’m not going to give you a detailed theology of Biblical salvation. Rather, I want to talk about some important aspects that we’ve glossed over in the modern church. The saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ is so rich and powerful, yet in many Christian circles we’ve reduced it to only a fraction of God’s desire.

There’s a tendency in the evangelical church to use this word in the past tense.

“I’ve been saved. Are you saved?”

“When did you get saved?”

Statements like these relegate our salvation to an event that happened sometime in the past. It was a great thing. It changed my life. But now it’s something I can look back on. This is the furthest thing imaginable for the true definition of our salvation.

The Greek word sozo is what’s normally translated as saved in our English Bibles. It is a huge word that’s crammed full of meaning.

To enter into sozo means that you’re not only saved, but kept safe and sound, and are rescued from danger and destruction. Also included in that word is the fact that you’re saved from disease, healed, and restored to health. It applies to both the physical and spiritual realms.

The word saved includes the entire scope of everything that Christ paid for on the cross. It contains the answers for our past, present and future. To see it as anything less is an affront to the Gospel – the Good News – of Jesus Christ.

Let’s look at what the Scripture has to say about it. We’ll start with our entrance into this great work of God.

…That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Romans 10:9-10

This is the only way possible to enter into the salvation of God. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to God apart from His work on the cross. The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is the only door to our salvation.

In this sense we can look back at the initial work of God’s saving power in our lives. It was the day we heard and understood the Good News. We learned that we were incapable of pleasing a Holy God. Yet, because of the work of Christ, His Son, we could be saved.

We believed the message in our hearts. Then, in an outward response to that faith, we confessed with our mouth that Jesus Christ was Lord.

It doesn’t matter the semantics you used. Whether you say that you received Jesus or prayed the sinner’s prayer. If you bowed your knees to Christ in the above manner, you entered into the salvation of the Lord.

It didn’t matter who you were or where you came from. Your good works or your evil past had no bearing on what God did in you. When you called upon Him, you were saved.

Question: What were the events surrounding your initial salvation experience?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Faith, The Gospel

 

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It’s a Lie: “I Can’t Change.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you made any New Year’s Resolutions?  Are they still going or have you given up on them?

I recently read a book called Changeology by John Norcross, PhD.  He talked about some myths we’ve bought into about change.  I’ve noticed them in the lives of many believers, so I’m adapting them for this blog.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

As Christians, our faith is in Christ as the agent of change, making us more like Him.  We can’t afford to buy into the lie that change is beyond our grasp.  Have you listened to the enemy’s deception in this area?

1. “I can’t change on my own.”  This one is partly true.  If you take God out of the equation, then change is a lot tougher.  But the simple fact is that you have to start the ball rolling.  It all begins with your decision to change, then God has your permission to act on your behalf.

2. “I can only make insignificant changes.”  The deception in this is that no change is ever insignificant.  Sometimes the smallest change has the greatest effect.  On the side of a mountain, the smallest gust of wind can start a huge avalanche. If God can change something small in your life, then you can trust Him for something greater.

3. “I don’t have enough willpower to change.”  It’s not about willpower, it’s about faith.  Willpower places trust in yourself to do the work.  You need to put your expectation in the power of the Holy Spirit working in you.  The simple fact is that your flesh will never change itself.  Time in God’s presence is the most effective means to see God’s hand upon your life.

4. “I can’t change who I am.”  The Scripture above exposes this fallacy.  In Christ, your past never determines your future.  Personality, family traits, and even bad habits are not outside the power of God.  The Lord can heal hurts and bitterness of the past.  You need to open your heart to the Great Physician to do the work that only He can do.

5. “I’ve tried to change in the past and failed at it.”  The Bible is clear that we might experience failure in our lives.  The key is to not wallow in it.  You may fall, but keep getting up.  Perseverance is the key to victory.  One great success will wipe out all the sadness of past mistakes.  Let God strengthen your heart for the path ahead.

Maybe you have fallen victim to one of these insidious attitudes.  If so, then it’s time to lay them down and choose the path to your destiny in Christ.  Decide today to yield to the Holy Spirit’s power.  Let Him work with you as you walk step by step to your high calling in the Lord.

Questions: What do you want to change in your life?  How can you allow God to be a part of this process?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2014 in Faith, Power of God

 

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The Sacred Mountain

2 Peter 1:17-18
For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

Peter is remembering back to a time when he and two other apostles received a special revelation up on a mountaintop.  Jesus was transfigured before their very eyes, taking on the glory that was His from eternity past.  He became robed in the majesty that was His before the foundations of the world were established.  Peter calls that place the “sacred mountain.”

Where are your sacred mountains?  Where are those special places where God’s Word to you changed your life?  With me, I remember kneeling next to a bed at a Christian summer camp.  There was also a time where God spoke to me about entering full-time ministry.  There have been many such times that I can look back on.

The problem I have is that my memory is so short.  It is easy for me to forget these deep encounters with God.  Unless I record them, I will eventually lose the impact of my meetings with Him.  I need to take the time to record these life-changing moments in my journal.

In yesterday’s post I talked about the need to record things.  It is especially true when we have life changing encounters with God.  These are times that must be kept for our future.  To remind us of what we heard.  So that when the trials and challenges come, we will remember why we are taking this road.  It keeps us on track, spiritually speaking.

It is important that we find a way to remember these special times.  Make sure you keep a journal and record your encounters with the Lord.  Years later you will be grateful that you did.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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