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Tag Archives: Christian walk

Imitation – The Path to Greatness

In my last post, I talked about how the Thessalonian believers accepted the Word of God. It changed them. It brought them to a new way of life.

But even though it created a desire for change in them, something else was needed. You may have the desire and the power to change, but without a proper example, you won’t know how to live a new life.

For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

The word imitation keeps popping up in this letter. That’s because it’s an important concept for growing Christians. More than ever, we need leaders who are worthy of imitation.

I don’t know where I’d be today if weren’t for the pastors and teachers who I watched and copied along the way. By watching their examples, I learned how to love others, to pray for those in need of God’s touch, and how to witness to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

We were never meant to serve God on our own. It’s not God’s plan for us to figure everything out all by ourselves. We need to follow in the footsteps of those who have walked this path before.

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Hebrews 13:7

We sometimes get the idea that the great men and women of God were somehow born into their positions of honor. We see the work that they’re doing now and can’t grasp that they ever had to struggle with their Christian walk.

The fact is that every believer – whether they’re a leader or not – has to wrestle with the same problems and challenges. The important thought in this verse is to consider how their lives turned out.

That word, consider, means to look again. We need to take a second look at our leaders. See how they got from salvation to their present position. Then, we should imitate the positive way that they trusted and served Christ.

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
Hebrews 6:12

Here’s the key. When we look at those who are leaders in the body of Christ, we must always understand the road that they took.

There’s no easy way. It’s not just about faith. Inheriting the promise comes through both faith and patience.

We think that we can simply start trusting God and walk in a ministry like those who’ve been trusting the Lord for years. It doesn’t work like that.

Imitation doesn’t only mean that I minister the way they do right now. It means that I follow the same path that they took to get there. I have to learn the same lessons and fight some of the same battles.

The good news is that if they could come through victoriously, then I can too. God is no respecter of persons. If I’m willing to listen to, trust, and obey God the way others do, then I’ll receive the same inheritance.

Question: What blessings are in your life as a result of godly examples?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2017 in Faith, Leadership, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Pattern – Caught not Taught

FireI’ve been posting about the Scriptural pattern of living. In my last installment, I talked about allowing God to be involved in our daily lives. If you aren’t interested in the Lord being a part of all that you do, then you’ll never reach your full potential in Christ.

Assuming that you’re reading this because you want to grow in your Christian walk, let’s look at this pattern.

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:13

Here the Apostle Paul tells the young pastor, Timothy, to continue teaching what was passed on to him. Walking with Christ is not all about some new, exciting fad of teaching. We’re not to go around with itching ears looking for the latest wind of doctrine.

The truths associated with walking out our faith remain constant. Methods, technology, and cultures may change, but our focus must always be upon Christ Himself. The Holy Spirit’s role in the church never changes.

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
Philippians 3:17

This verse brings to light one of the biggest problems in the church of our generation. The pattern of living is not something that can merely be taught. To really understand it, you have to watch someone who’s living it out.

Jesus Christ exemplified what it meant to walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. The twelve apostles were privileged to watch the Lord and be immersed in that lifestyle. After the resurrection and the receiving of the gift of the Spirit they could walk out what they saw in Him.

It’s clear from Scripture that the same power, authority, and obedience to the Spirit were evidenced in their lives. The miraculous was an everyday occurrence in their ministries.

Even the next generation after the original twelve retained much of that walk. They saw the lifestyle of the apostles and reaped the same results. Unfortunately, the further from the cross we progressed, the more of this knowledge and experience was lost.

At this point in Christianity, God is restoring much that was lost. However, there are very few believers who exemplify the very lifestyle of Christ. It must be relearned from the basics.

There’s no other way for us to pick this up. We must read and study what we can from the pages of Scripture. Then, spend the time necessary with the Holy Spirit to learn how to hear and obey His voice.

That’s why time in the spirit is so important. If I’m to ever live like Christ in this generation, it will be as I’m trained at the Savior’s feet. There’s no quick fix to attain the abundant life.

Question: How important is it for believers to live and minister like Jesus?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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Living the Truth

 

ButterflyGod wants us to understand that living for Him is not just a single decision, but an ongoing walk. Sometimes I think that the modern church has lost sight of the spiritual life that the early church walked in. It’s a principle that many believers in former generations understood. We need to relearn some of the truths that we’ve let slip over time.

I like looking at church history. I read how those in the past lived for Christ. Sometimes the walk of these early Christians, and even my grandparents, amazes me. I see a walk of righteousness that we only dream about. It causes me to ask, why do we struggle with things that they overcame on a daily basis?

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ve lost something over time. In the above verse Paul said, “You were taught…” What was it that they were taught? I believe it was how to walk according to the Spirit.

It’s not something you just grow into. You don’t just wake up one day mature in the Lord. These are things that we need to be taught. More than that, we must accept, apply and perform them.

We sometimes get in trouble theologically because we rip things out of context. We apply things to our lives that are not for us or that we haven’t attained to yet. We need to know who this verse was written to.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus…
Ephesians 1:1

Scripture wasn’t written in a vacuum.   There were things surrounding what was written. The letter to the Ephesian church was sent to a group of mature, faithful believers who were walking in the truths Paul was writing about. They understood these things – and I’m convinced that many of us in the modern church don’t.

Here’s what happens. We read the words in chapter 4, above, and we think that it’s true about us. We think that Paul is writing these words to us. No, on the contrary, he’s writing to a people who are living it; as an example to us.

If the things Paul wrote in that verse were true of us, then we would be experiencing it in our daily walk. Why then are we still corrupted by our deceitful desires? Why do so many in the church still have the same attitudes as the world? Why, in the church today, do we still not live like Jesus, with the same love and works that He operated in?

I believe it’s because we’ve lost some of the truth that these other generations possessed. There are three things in the above verses that need to be done. Paul said that they put off their old man, renewed their minds and put on the new man.

I’m convinced that these milestones are worked on after our initial salvation. Paul makes it clear that these were things that they were taught. Teaching requires time, and I don’t think it was time spent being taught before they received Christ.

This has been on my heart for a while now. I’m burdened not only for myself but for the church as a whole to experience this renewal. Because of that, I may be posting about this subject for longer than I normally take for a series. But I really think that it’s needed and relevant to the church today.

Question: What would the church look like if we were “like God in true righteousness and holiness”?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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He Calls Us by Name

Courtesy Mzacha, rgbstock.comOne of the single most important aspects of our Christian walk is calling. It determines our effectiveness, provision and fulfillment, yet many believers either ignore it or misunderstand it. If you want to walk in excellence, then you must have an intimate knowledge of your callings before God.

Calling has many parts to it. Each is important to the whole. I’ve found that even some godly leaders tend to focus on certain parts to the neglect of others.

I’ve heard it said many times that “with the calling comes the equipping.” This is very true. It’s also true, however, that if you ignore part of your calling, then you have just cut off part of your equipping. There are many Christians who are wondering why the resources are not coming in. In some cases, it’s because they’ve only heard half of their call and tried to figure the rest out for themselves. We must endeavor to hear and follow the whole call of God upon our lives if we want to run at full speed.

But now, this is what the LORD says – he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1

This is an amazing verse. It’s a good feeling to know that I’m not just a number to God. He knows me by name, intimately and personally.

I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me.
Isaiah 45:3-4

There are things that God has stored up which only belong to me; they have my name on them. His desire is that I would know Him in that same intimate way. The good news is that He had them all planned out before I even acknowledged Him. He patiently waited for my response to His call. Then, as I walk in the works He’s prepared for me, I’ll receive the resources that He’s stored up for me.

The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
John 10:3

The first part of your calling that I want you to realize is that you’re called by name. You’re the product of what was expected of you throughout your entire life. You’ve been called something since the day you were born.

In my next post I’ll talk about how your name fits into God’s plan for your life.

Questions: Have you ever researched your name? What does your name mean?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Ministry, Spirit of Excellence

 

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The Mystery of the Cross

Question MarkDo I want to be a disciple – a student – of Christ? Do I want to learn the path of life from His example? If not, then the cross is a word I push off to the corners of my Christian walk.

How do you turn all this around and get the victory? The Word of the cross is what makes the difference. There’s just one problem with this kind of thinking. We don’t like the cross. It makes us nervous. It sounds too much like sacrifice.

This isn’t the first time the church has had to deal with this issue. Paul wrote about it 2000 years ago.

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:1-2

This is a totally different approach to ministry than what we see today. Paul said that he didn’t arrive on the scene with great, persuasive words of wisdom. Instead, he preached a simple message – Christ crucified.

That was it. Not the risen Lord, not the King of Heaven, not Christ the Healer, or seated at the right hand of the Father. Only the crucified Savior, which he calls the testimony about God.

The Greek word for testimony in this verse literally means mystery. Scripturally, a mystery is something that wasn’t understood until God actually accomplished it.

That’s what Christ did on the cross. The Old Testament saints had no concept of how God would use the cross to provide our salvation.

No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1 Corinthians 2:7-8

It was a secret that God kept hidden away from before our age began. Even Satan, as intelligent as he is, couldn’t conceive of how God would save us. If he even had a hint of the power of the cross, Satan would never have crucified the Lord. The working of the cross was the greatest mystery of all time.

But wait! Does this mean that it’s a mystery to us? Of course not.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” — but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

This is a mystery that God wants to reveal to us. If we can grasp what happened on the cross, then it will have the power to totally transform our lives. This is the message for those who want to participate with the work of God’s ongoing salvation in their lives. It’s for those who desire to be disciples of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

This is how we’ve gotten so far astray in this nation. We spend most of our time seeking God for things. We follow Him for healings, joy, and prosperity. Yet, we don’t realize that all of these things are available in the person of the crucified Savior. We need to seek a relationship with the One who has the power to completely save us from the effects of sin.

Question: Why does this generation seem to avoid teaching about Christ crucified?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Power of God, The Church

 

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When Fasting Changed #spiritualfast

Fine DiningI’m taking a few posts to talk about fasting.  I believe that fasting is one of the most neglected sources of spiritual power in the Christian walk.

In my last post I said that the New Testament fast is totally different than that of the old.  I base this upon the words of Jesus Himself when He was questioned about fasting by the disciples of John the Baptist.

Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”
Matthew 9:14-15

When asked why He didn’t make His disciples fast, Jesus replied that they were not going to mourn while He was here with them.  The Old Testament fast was a humbling process before God for the forgiveness of sin.  Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was the fulfillment of this.  Humiliation for sin was finished – God’s provision had arrived.

The Lord then goes on to talk about the “new patch” and the “new wineskins” in the next verses (v16-17).  Most Christians have no idea that Jesus was talking about fasting when He gave these illustrations.

It’s obvious to me that the Lord didn’t want the disciples to get confused.  This would have happened if He made them fast according to Old Testament tradition, and then later on tried to teach them the New Covenant fast.  He must have felt it was better to start them off correctly right from the beginning.

That’s also why I don’t spend a lot of time looking at the Old Testament fast.  Under the law, fasting was a whole different thing than in the New Testament church.  Unfortunately, many Christians have no idea what the fast is all about now.  It’s my prayer that you will by the end of this series.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:16-18

The first thing we see here is that Jesus said, “When you fast…”  Preachers are always quick to point out to their people that Jesus said, “When you pray…” They explain that it means Jesus expects prayer to be a regular part of the Christian walk.  They do the same thing with “When you give…”  What happened to fasting?

It seems to me that the Lord wants fasting to be just as much a part of our lives.  Many of us ignore it and think our walk with God will not suffer for it.  Jesus assumed that fasting was to be a regular part of the Christian walk.  I believe that most of us don’t understand it, and that’s why it is not practiced.

Question: How important is fasting in your walk with God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Fasting, Spirit of Excellence

 

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God of Our Fathers

Psalm 22:4-5
In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.  They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

Today is the day set aside to honor our fathers.  We should especially look to the godly men who exemplified the Christian walk to us.  Those who went before us, leading the way.

Many of them had to walk through troubled times – be it economic, physical, or social.  Some had to go through the dangers of war, while others had to struggle for equality.  We must look to those whose strength came from the hand of God working in them.  They set for us an example of diligence and perseverance.  Let the legacy they left for us speak to our hearts and equip us for our race.

But even greater than their contribution to us, is the God that they served.  He is the ultimate Father that we look to.  When we look back and see what was accomplished by our God through the cooperation of our fathers, it gives us hope.  We need that same level of faith that they had.

God is still on the throne.  The same God who brought our fathers through their trials will safely lead us to victory.  His love for us was proven in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We must never forget where our help comes from.

Look to the faith of our fathers.  Then, as we follow their example, put that faith in the God of our fathers.  He will work in us the same way He worked in them.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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