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Tag Archives: early church

Are You Waiting for Something?

SurfIt’s been over 2000 years since the Lord walked the earth as a man. Isn’t it time for the church to walk in His footsteps? Paul and the other apostles understood what was needed.

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:4

Consider how powerful the early church was. They turned their world upside down. They went forward in the power of the Holy Spirit to do exploits for God.

Blind eyes were opened. The lame and diseased were healed. Those imprisoned by sin were set free. Nothing could stop God’s Word.

Then, the blazing light of the church became a mere flicker of a spark. History even refers to it as the Dark Ages. Spiritual blindness, slavery to sin and superstition were the controlling factors in a majority of the “church”.

But even as we were in that condition, God started to call His people.   Actually, for the last 500 years or so God has been restoring His church. Since then, there have been 4 major moves of God – each rebuilding a lost element of our spiritual life.

The last of these was the Faith Movement. Whatever you may think about that move, two things were true. First, it was started by an act of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, it changed the face of the entire Christian church in America and around the world.

The way we pray, worship and the songs we sing are different because of the Faith Movement. Our very understanding of what it means to trust God has been taken to a higher level.

As I read Scripture, I can see that there’s still one more act of restoration on God’s agenda. We’re just now beginning to enter it. It’s a barely perceptible ripple on the horizon. But, for those with eyes to see, it’s right there. It’s time for us to get into position for this next move of God.

It’s like a surfer waiting for just the right wave to propel him forward. He watches the surface of the ocean. Then he sees it. It’s barely even a swell on the top of the water. But to that champion surfer, it’s a signal to point his board toward shore and paddle like crazy in order to catch the wave at the right moment.

That’s where we are, right now, in the Body of Christ. The swell is approaching. You have to strain to see it. But if you want to be right on the edge of it, to ride it home, you need to start positioning yourself right now.

That’s my passion, and the overriding focus of my ministry. I want to prepare God’s people for the next wave. I want to see the church rise up to its true place and function in the Spirit.

My prayer is that you read these posts with an open heart and receive what the Holy Spirit speaks to you. Let it change you, no matter the cost.

Make it your goal to be in position to flow in the new move of God. Let nothing move you out of the way. Determine to be a part of everything God has for this generation.

Questions: Do you feel the wind of change moving through the Body of Christ? Do you long for our experience to parallel that of the early church?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2015 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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How God Confirms His Word

LightningI’ve been posting for a while on the Word of God and its relation to Scripture.  In my last post I showed that the power of the early church was based upon their hearing from God.  God spoke to them, they obeyed, and God confirmed His Word.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20

Scripture says that the Lord confirms His Word with the signs – healings and miracles – that accompanied it.  What’s our problem?  Do we serve a different God?  Of course not.  Is He still on the throne?  That’s a dumb question.

We serve a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Then what’s the problem?  It should be clear to us.  We’re trying to get God to confirm the Bible verses that we’re preaching, when all along He wants to confirm the Word that He speaks to us.

He never told us to go out and read the Scripture to people for them to be saved – He tells us to proclaim His Word.  I submit to you that our society has heard enough Scripture – it’s everywhere.

They’re sick of hearing Scripture.  Many unbelievers can quote as much of the Bible as some Christians.  What the world is desperate for is a Word from God.  That’s what’s going to change their lives.  They can argue with the Scripture, but the Word of God will cut straight to their heart.

In our exuberance over the enormous availability of Scripture, we have taken it too far.  It doesn’t seem to matter what anyone says.  As long as there’s a Scripture verse attached to it, we call it the Word of God.

It doesn’t take much listening to Christian radio or cable channels to see that many preachers are using Scripture to support their own teachings and philosophies.  Hear me well.  They may be preaching Scripture, but they are NOT proclaiming the Word of God.

In these cases, God is under no obligation to confirm what they’re preaching.  God doesn’t have to confirm a quote from the Scripture; He only endorses His Word – what He wants said at that particular time and place.

Please don’t think, based upon what I said, that I have no respect for the Scripture.  I cannot live without it.  Daily, I read, memorize, study, and meditate on the Scripture.  I use it prayerfully.  I expect and seek God to speak to me through the pages of my Bible.

The difference is that now I’m also listening for God to use other means as well.  I want to hear God’s voice – however He wants to speak to me.  I believe that this was the basis for the power in the life of Christ and in the early church.  One of my goals in this blog is to share how this works in a practical way.

Question: Is it your desire to hear a Word from God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Understanding the Word of God

BibleAfter they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 4:31

We are so far removed from the reality of this Scripture.  This is such a simple statement about the early church, yet the term Word of God meant a far different thing to them than it does to us.

One of the things I must be careful about is to bring forth this truth clearly so as not to confuse anyone.  That’s not my goal.  I want to see the church of this generation walk in the same powerful Word that these believers had.

It’s unfortunate that when most believers read the phrase Word of God, they immediately think – the Bible.  The truth is, that’s not always the case.  We must remember that at the historical point in this Scripture, there was no Bible that they could speak from.

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.
1 Corinthians 4:6-7

Here Paul warns us not to go beyond what is written.  Unfortunately we don’t understand this today.  Because of our shallow understanding of what the Word of God is, many abuses have crept into the church.  There are those who are now very adept at using the words of Scripture to fleece God’s sheep for their own personal financial gain.

God wants to clean up His church.  I believe a proper understanding of the Word of God will help us in this area.  That’s why I’m going to post about this for a little while – it’s so important.

Jesus, the Living Word, is the final authority on this matter.  That’s why His teaching will be the foundation for what I share.  Before we begin to look at the words of Christ in the next post, I want to share a couple of interesting facts that I uncovered in my studies.

When you read the pages of Scripture, there are some facts that emerge.  First, throughout the entire Scripture, the Word of God is always spoken and never read.  There is one notable exception to this.

The prophet Jeremiah was banned from coming before the king on pain of death.  The Lord spoke to him a Word of prophecy for that king.  So Jeremiah dictated it word for word to his secretary and told him, “Write what I SPOKE and read the Word of God to the king.”  As this Word was read to the king, he burned it page by page as it was being read.

Conversely, according to the Bible, the Scripture is always read and never spoken.  These are a couple facts that we need to think about.  Over the next few posts, I believe that the words of Christ will clarify some of these issues concerning the Word of God.

Question: Have you ever heard someone use a Bible passage for their own agenda?

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in The Church, Word of God

 

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How We Water Down the Gospel

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo 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.

In my last post I talked about the need to announce the Good News of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.  In today’s post I want to explain exactly what that means.  Here’s one of the verses I looked at last time.

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

I have heard people explain this verse by saying, “The hearers were convicted by the Holy Spirit.  That’s the power 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.

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

As you can see, I’m not using some isolated verse without context.  This teaching runs throughout the New Testament.  The Good News must be demonstrated.  That demonstration can only be energized by the power of God.  It is 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 have never seen a demonstration of the power of God.  There are so many believers that have never seen a healing or a miracle.  They have 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.

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?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Power of God, Revival, The Church, The Gospel

 

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Devoted to the Fellowship

Acts 2:42
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
(NIV)

This was the description of the early church in the book of Acts.  The church was an exciting place.  They were growing and reaching their world with the Gospel of Christ.  The secret was their devotion to Christ in a number of ways – one of which was the fellowship.

It all come down to what devotion means.  The Greek word for devotion literally means “strong, steadfast, and enduring toward.”  Believers would probably all agree that we need to be strong and enduring toward reading the Bible.  We must continue steadfastly in prayer.  What we have a problem in is the fellowship.

When it comes to meeting together with the body of Christ, many act like it is only a good idea if there is nothing better to do.  Parties, sports activities, and playtime come first in the lives of many Christians.  Then we wonder why the church in America seems to be very ineffective in reaching our culture.

It’s time for us to return to the values that propelled the early church forward.  We must embrace the same spirit of fellowship.  Be a part of what God is doing in these last days.  Devote yourself to the fellowship of believers that God has called you to.  Let this work in you as it did in those who first received the Gospel.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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