RSS

Tag Archives: preparation

The Importance of the Unseen

Over the last few posts, we can see that the disciples following Jesus seemed to be pretty slow in their trust of the Lord.  They have a hard time applying what He did in the past, to their present challenges.  Of course, that’s our problem sometimes as well.

I’ve found that the questions Jesus asks are just as important as His teachings.  It draws out what’s really going on inside of us.  He wants to activate the faith that may be lying dormant within us.

For this reason, He asks the disciples some questions.

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi.  On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
Mark 8:27-28

This is an interesting conversation between the Lord and His followers.  Jesus asks them who the crowds think He is.  In reading the original Greek, it sounds like their initial answer is, “John the Baptist.”  Then they added that some say Elijah or another lesser known prophet.

That’s funny when you think about it because Jesus was baptized by John.  They were seen together on a few occasions.

This actually shows us how society works.  When someone becomes famous, and people start to recognize their name, it’s as if they had never existed before that moment.

When Jesus was baptized by John, He probably stood in line like everyone else.  Even though John recognized who the Lord was, to the casual observer, Jesus was simply one of many being baptized that day.

They didn’t see Jesus studying and meditating on the Scripture for His first 30 years.  They didn’t see the hours of fasting and prayer over His future ministry to Israel.  They never knew about the 40 days He spent in the wilderness being tested.

The foundation of the house is the most important part, yet it’s the part rarely seen in the completed structure.  That’s why there can be no shortcuts in the preparation seasons of our ministry.  It’s frustrating to realize it, but most will never know the hard work that went into what people eventually see in public.

The disciples knew the reality.

“But what about you?” he asked.  “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”
Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Mark 8:29-30

They were finally able to voice what they had been thinking inside.  It was no longer a question; could this be the Messiah?  Now it was a definitive statement.

We need to follow the example of Christ.  Are you believing for God to accomplish something extraordinary through you?  Then don’t look for the shortcuts.

Don’t become so frustrated that you drop out during your season of preparation.  Continue to do what you know to do.  Allow the Lord to bring you to the place you need to be in Him.  Then, at the appointed time, you’ll see the manifestation of God’s Word to you.

Question: What are you believing God to bring about in your life?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Preparation is Everything

When you think about the ministry of Jesus, what’s the picture you get in your mind?  Do you think that He simply wandered around Israel with no objectives, preaching as He walked along?  As we continue to study the Gospel of Mark, we’ll start to see the logistics involved in the Lord’s ministry.

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.  Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
Mark 6:6b-7

Jesus’ work in Israel is starting to grow.  Larger crowds are coming to hear Him speak.  At the same time, the number of disciples is increasing.  At this point, the Lord probably has about 20 people in His group all traveling with Him.

We sometimes get the idea that life was somehow easier in the ancient world.  In actuality, they had some of the same challenges that we have in our modern society.

It’s always easier when one or two people are traveling together.  Food and lodging aren’t too tough to find along the way.

But now Jesus is moving around with a group of twenty.  Think about it.  That’s not something that could just be done without any prior preparation.

After all, there were no restaurant chains along the highway.  There were no big name hotels with 800 numbers to book in advance.  They had no arenas that could schedule a huge event with advanced ticket sales.

Jesus needed some of His disciples to do the advance work in the cities He was heading to.  They needed to let the towns know that the lord was on His way there.  Then they had to report back as to where they would sleep, get food, and what would be the best place to preach when they arrive.

Later on in His ministry, as the team grew to over a hundred, Christ had 72 workers who did this job.  (Luke 10:1)  Jesus never had the attitude of, “We’ll just figure it out when we get there.”  It’s sad that many churches and ministries have no vision other than to hold meetings, and then just see what happens.

The Lord never took that approach.  He even instructed the disciples as to how they were to accomplish their objectives.

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff — no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.  Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.  Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.  And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”
Mark 6:8-11

Contrary to what some teach, this is not Jesus laying the groundwork for a poverty mentality among His ministers.  This was the vetting process for the towns Jesus was about to pass through on His intended course of travel.

By taking nothing with them, they were testing whether or not a town was ready for the full ministry of the Messiah.  If they were not willing to supply the needs of two lone travelers representing Christ, then they weren’t worthy of the tremendous blessing that would be given to their town when Jesus arrived.

That’s why it’s important to pray, seek God’s direction, and make plans for how your ministry will progress.  It doesn’t just happen by accident.  You have to put some legs on the dreams and visions God has placed in your heart.

Question: What’s the next step you have to do to prepare for what God has in your future?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 26, 2018 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Generation of Preparation

Like I said in my last post, Mark was the first view of the life of Christ given to the church.  As we begin our look at the Gospel of Mark, I’m struck by an obvious point.  The Holy Spirit didn’t think it important to start with the birth and childhood of Jesus.

Instead, He starts off with the calling of John the Baptist.  He was the prophet who was to go before the Lord and prepare Israel for their Messiah.  So Mark begins with a prophecy of Isaiah.

It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” –”a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
Mark 1:2-3

I’ve always seen us as the “John the Baptist Generation.”  I believe that we’re the ones who are preparing the final harvest of souls before the second coming of Christ.  That makes his calling and ours very similar.

First, I see that the Lord didn’t arrive the first time, without a messenger announcing His coming.  That should be the job of the church right now.  Preparing the world to meet their King and Judge.

We are the messengers of Christ.  It’s our job to let the world know what Jesus has done for them.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20

This is our ministry in a nutshell.  Everything else is a side issue.  The saving work of Jesus Christ should be our main focus.

Another thing I see is that there’s preparation involved.  Mark uses two different words in these verses.  The word, prepare, in verse 2 means a thorough preparation of all the equipment needed for an assignment.  We need to be equipped for our role in these last days.

The word used in verse 3 is a bit different.  It means to get ready.  It speaks of the internal preparation that’s needed in advance of the Lord’s coming.

There’s no way around it; the church needs to be prepared for Christ’s return.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

It concerns me that so few people attend a Bible Study these days.  I’m glad for the attendance at worship services on the weekends, but that’s not where you’re equipped.  There needs to be something more in depth – where you can interact with the teacher.

Right along with this, I’ve found our generation to be the most Biblically illiterate in all of Christianity.  Simply put, many believers have no idea what the Bible even teaches.  I’ve heard people tell me what they think the Scripture says because they heard it on a TV show or in a movie.  We need the foundation of true Biblical teaching.

The final thing I see is that John was a voice crying in the wilderness.  He was away from all the trappings of society.  John was different.

Why do we feel the need to blend seamlessly into our culture?  If there’s no difference between our lifestyle and theirs – why do they even need a Savior?

There’s a fear that no one will listen to us if we’re too different.  I think that the opposite is true.  Only when there’s an observable difference will the world want what we have.

We belong to a different kingdom.  We’re to be in the world but not of it.  Let’s truly pick up the assignment of being messengers in this final generation.

Question: What’s your message to the world?

© 2017 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Gospel

 

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: , , , , , , ,

Prepared in the Evil Day

 

ClockI want to see revival in the church. It’s obvious from what’s happening around us that we need it. The real question is; do we want it? And more than that, are we willing to do what it takes to lay hold of it?

Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

I used to teach that inanimate things couldn’t be evil or good. After spending some time studying this verse, I realized that I was wrong. Things like days and money can be evil. It’s actually talked about throughout the New Testament.

Maybe you might think that not all days are evil. After all, there was intense persecution of the church back then. That was Paul’s day he was talking about.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…
Galatians 1:3-4

One of the reasons that Christ went to the cross was to rescue us from this present evil age. That’s the time we live in.   The age he’s talking about stretched from Paul’s day to the time when Christ returns to establish His Kingdom. If the age is evil, then all the days of that age are evil.

We live in evil days. Paul also talked about this in regard to the armor of God.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13

We need to be constantly walking in the spiritual armor. This is our protection from the evil age. This is not an option, or something that only needs to be done once in a while.

Jesus went to the cross to provide us with more than just a one-time salvation. His work is ongoing in our lives. He provided us with the armor we need to rescue us from this present evil age. We don’t need to be affected by it.

When will the evil day come? Every time you wake up in the morning. That’s why God’s armor is so important. The evil day is not on its way, it’s here.

As God’s people we should be prepared for what’s ahead. We are the ones who should be walking in victory over the challenges that face the world around us.

We need to spend time in the presence of the Lord. That’s where our strength is. In Him and in the power of the Holy Spirit, I have everything I need to face the evil days ahead of me.

How else could I walk in victory? If every day is evil, then in Christ every day is a victory through Him who gives me strength.

Question: How does this evil age manifest itself in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Warfare

 

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

Worship – Escape or Preparation?

Pray1I’m posting about how worship takes place around the throne room of God. Then we’ll apply it to our own experience with the Lord.

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
Revelation 4:1

After being called upward, John was told that in this place of worship he would be shown what was to take place beyond his generation.

Not many people realize this, but worship is preparation for the future. In the presence of God, John learned what was needed for the church to be ready for Christ’s return. He got a clear revelation of what was going to happen – most of which we’re still trying to sort out.

In Christian circles we sometimes think of worship as an escape from the problems and demands of life. People talk about just wanting to “run away” to the place of worship.

The reality is that it’s preparation for what’s coming just ahead. When we talk about worshipping in heavenly realms there’s a special work that takes place in us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3

Because we’re in Christ, God wants to bestow upon us all of the spiritual blessings that were purchased on the cross. It’s the place of worship that reveals these blessings to us.

The fact is that we don’t know what is going to happen later today, tomorrow, or a week down the road. But in the spirit we can see what Christ has in reserve for us. Then, when it’s needed we’ll have the faith for it. That’s because our spirit has already laid claim to it in the place of worship.

This is such an important concept. We were created to worship God. It’s probably the most important part of our relationship with Him.

For us to think that it’s an optional thing – something that I’ll do when I find the time – it’s like ignoring a call to your boss’s office. Especially when your boss is about to give you a raise or a new promotion. God calls us upward into His presence to equip us in ways we could never do on our own.

You can’t ignore this call and expect to complete your destiny in Christ. Run to that place of worship. Spend the quality time needed to prepare for the glorious future that God the Father has already set up for you to enjoy.

Question: Why do we find it so hard to set aside the time for the worship of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Faith, Prayer, Worship

 

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

What Are You Preparing For?

Luke 24:1-2
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb.

I just noticed this gem in the Scripture for the first time.  I was reading my Bible this morning and the words seemed to jump out at me.  The women who had followed Jesus’ ministry were very faithful to Him.  They worked to support the ministry while He was alive.

When Jesus went to the cross, they were devastated.  But, they continued to serve Him the best that they could.  This verse says that they prepared spices for His body.  Because Jesus’ crucifixion took place so close to the Passover, they were not able to go through the normal embalming process when He was placed in the tomb.  It was only after the feast was over that they could proceed with it.

This was quite a bit of work on the part of these women.  It involved grinding the spices to a fine powder.  Then they had to crush a resin in a mortar and pestle.  Only after this was done and the spices mixed, could they go to the tomb.

The problem was – all that work was for nothing.  Jesus Christ had risen from the dead!  Embalming spices were not necessary.  The Holy Spirit started to speak to me about our walk with God.

How often do we give up on something – a plan, dream, or ministry – because it doesn’t seem to be working.  We just want to put it out of its misery.  So we go through all the work of preparing for its demise.  Then, to our surprise, God supernaturally brings life to it again.

We need to remember that we serve a God who can raise the dead.  Never give up on a God-given dream.  It may go through a “death cycle.”  But, God is not bound to how things appear on the surface.  Don’t waste your time preparing for defeat, when the Lord’s plan is for your victory.  Let Him have the final say in your situation.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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