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Different Callings – One Purpose

In my last post, Paul talked about the need for different types of ministries in order for God’s people to grow.  Now Paul continues with that thought.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
1 Corinthians 3:7-8

This is one of those passages that gives me great joy as a minister of the Gospel.  It helps to keep me in line with God’s calling upon my life.

It tells me that all the various ministries in the body of Christ have one purpose.  That’s to make known the riches of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

That’s good, but the second half is even better.  Everyone will be rewarded according to his own labor.  That’s a great statement.  I’m not going to be judged based on what you did, but my own unique calling.

We all have different personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and challenges.  Praise God!!  He judges me as an individual.  That’s good news.  We’re each rewarded for our own work in Christ.

The Lord made mention of this with His disciples.  It was during the time when He met with the woman at the well.

Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’?  I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!  They are ripe for harvest.  Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
John 4:35-36

One question that needs to be asked when we read this verse is; who’s the reaper that’s receiving his wages?  The answer should be obvious – it’s Christ!

Usually, we think of this reward for our labor as in the future.  But we need to look carefully at what Jesus said.  The reaper IS RECEIVING His wages.  I HAVE food you don’t know about.  The sower and the reaper can be happy together.

It sounds to me like there’s a reward, in this life, for fulfilling the Lord’s will.  That’s something we need to think about.

Who was the sower that Jesus referenced?  I believe that He was talking about the woman.  Listen to what the townspeople said about her.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
John 4:39

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
John 4:42

What was her reward?  I don’t really know.  It might have been children or a stable family of her own.  We have to wait to find out about her in Heaven.

The fact is, that there’s no need to get jealous about ministry among God’s people.  It’s all about the Kingdom of God increasing.  Everything in our lives is all directly related to the principle of sowing and reaping.

The bottom line is that the Samaritans ultimately believed because they heard Jesus speak.  It’s our job to bring people to a personal encounter with Christ in the unique way God has called us to do it.  That’s where we receive great rewards.

Question: What are some Gospel seeds you have planted?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2019 in Leadership, Ministry, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Squatters in God’s Kingdom

What’s your purpose for being a part of God’s kingdom?  Are you fulfilling that purpose?  Jesus gives some parables to explain God’s priorities.

Today I’ll be looking at the Parable of the Vineyard as recorded in Mark chapter 12, verses 1 through 12.  You may want to read it in Scripture before continuing with this post.

In this parable, Jesus tells of a man who owned a vineyard and rented it out to some farmers.  According to the terms of the lease, the owner was to get a share of the harvest as payment.  This was a normal agreement for property owners in those days.

It’s interesting to see that the owner did all the work to set up the vineyard.  All the farmers needed to do was move in and start harvesting.

How does this relate to the kingdom of God?  Simply put, the Lord is looking for fruit.  It’s not about our Church attendance, Bible reading, or even our tithing.  He’s looking for the fruit of our relationship with the Holy Spirit that He placed within us.

During His ministry with the disciples, Jesus made this abundantly clear to them.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

What we have to understand is that this is not our kingdom, but God’s.  Everything we have is owned by someone else.  Even our very lives belong to the Lord.

Because of this, God is well within His rights to demand anything from us.  We know right from the outset that He’s looking for the fruit of the Spirit.

Please understand that the fruit of our relationship with Christ is for the benefit and refreshing of those around us.  The fruit of the Spirit are not merely for my personal gain.

The tenants in the parable didn’t understand this.  They wanted to keep everything for themselves.

We live in a society where we’ve been taught that in most places – restaurants, stores, etc. – it’s all about what I want or need.  Somehow we’ve transferred this mindset into our spiritual life.  When it comes to being a part of a local church; I base it on what I can get from it.

What services do you offer me and my family?  Do I like the type of music and the length of the worship service?  Do I enjoy the way the Pastor delivers his sermons?

Wait a minute!!!  Why does God have me in His kingdom?  Is it purely for my comfort and enjoyment?  No!  I serve at the Lord’s good pleasure.

The tenants in this parable made a great mistake.  They figured that if they could get rid of the owner’s son, then they could take over the vineyard.  After all, squatters have rights.

Too often, I’ve seen this attitude in God’s people.  The Bible refers to it as godlessness.  Yes, there are many godless Christians.

To be godless simply means that God and His will don’t figure into any of your decisions.  You’re living as if there is no God.  These are the squatters in God’s kingdom.  They’re living on God’s property as if it belongs to them.

If you’ve been guilty of this attitude, then it’s time to repent.  Get back to the purpose you were saved for.  We need to be producing the fruit of the kingdom.

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:8

Question: What are the fruits of the spirit that you have produced most recently?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2018 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Having Vision Means Change is Ahead

SpotlightI’m posting about entering this New Year with vision. It comes from spending time in the Lord’s presence. Then, having heard from the Holy Spirit, you begin to see what could be – what should be – what must be.

Vision is the destination. It’s where God is bringing you. But it comes with responsibility.

As soon as you see your destination, this vision requires movement and direction.

Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:2-3

We are probably all familiar with this verse of Scripture. Many times in the past I’ve posted about the need to write down what God speaks to you. This brings clarity of purpose.

When you have spiritual vision, you can move forward more quickly. Those two words I mentioned – movement and direction – speak of CHANGE. That’s what usually scares us.

In Ezekiel’s day there was a proverb among the people.

“Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’?
Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Say to them, ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled.’”
Ezekiel 12:22-23

The problem is; if you don’t move forward with God’s plan, then nothing happens. God doesn’t do anything without a channel. By seeing where God wants to bring you, it should motivate you.

It should be our desire to move forward in the Lord’s grace. So we spend quality time hearing His voice to the church. Then, we set our course to accomplish what we’ve already seen. That’s how Jesus operated.

It should be our goal for 2016, to do whatever it takes to bring about God’s plan for our lives.

Question: What do you know that the Lord wants to do through you this year?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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You’ve Been Hand-Picked

MixFor the last couple of posts I’ve been talking about Peter’s opening remarks in his first epistle.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
1 Peter 1:1-2

I’ve talked about the fact that we are aliens, scattered throughout the world. Today I want to emphasize that we are chosen. That word chosen means selected, hand-picked, or favorite.

Why has God chosen us? The answer is simply because we responded to His call.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:14

We are all invitedcalled – but chosen means that you responded and put yourself in the position of being selected.

The Apostle, Peter described this truth in the verse we looked at above. He said that we were chosen according to the foreknowledge of the Father. Then we were sanctified by the working of the Holy Spirit in us.

That, in and of itself, is great news. But he didn’t stop there. He had to put in that tough little word – “for”. That changes everything. That means that there was a reason for all that He did. It can be summed up in one word – purpose.

It turns out that we are strangers, scattered and chosen for a purpose. What is that purpose? According the Peter, the purpose is obedience to Christ.

That word obedience literally means to hear under. You could also call it attentive listening. If I’m an alien, then I must listen to MY King. Being scattered in the world I have to listen for the Lord’s special instructions for me.

If I’m chosen, then I need to listen to the one who chose me. We must listen carefully and follow His instructions. If we don’t, then things will start to go wrong.

The problem is that listening requires time in the Lord’s presence. We live in a fast paced world. We look for the quick fixes. How can I get it done immediately?

The truth is that there’s no technology that can speed up the development of relationship. The only way is by spending time. Whether it’s with another human, or the Holy Spirit, I have to take the time necessary to get to know them. This fact will never change.

I am a stranger, an alien, to this world. I am scattered to be salt. I am chosen by God to obey Him. Therefore, I must listen attentively.

We need these attitudes if we’re going to be effective for Christ. Only then will we see a difference in the world around us. The world is desperately waiting for a church that knows who they are in Christ.

Question: How have you made a difference for Christ in the lives of those around you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2015 in Ministry, Prayer, Revival, The Church

 

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Your Schedule – Who’s Time is it?

Time ChainI’ve been posting about clearing our schedules for a move of God. Did you know that this is how God operates through His people? It’s only when they turn over their time to Him that the Lord will move in a manifestation of His power.

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Ephesians 1:9-10

We are told in this passage, about the mystery of God’s will. Actually, Paul uses three different words to get this point across. He mentions God’s will, His good pleasure, and His purpose in Christ. These are the things that He wants to accomplish on the earth through His people.

The question is; are we willing to position ourselves to let the Holy Spirit use us in this way? I’ve been saying that this requires our time. There’s no other commodity that will purchase God’s will.

How do I know this? The above passage is very interesting to read in the Greek. It says that this will, good pleasure, and purpose of God is put into effect in the economy of the filling of time.

Economy – that’s a financial term, like when we talk about the economy of the United States. Here we’re talking about the economy of the Kingdom of God. A large part of that economy is time.

In essence this verse tells us that God’s will is accomplished on earth as we deposit time into the bank of Heaven. God doesn’t need our money or our resources. What He really needs in order to do His work is our time.

Actually, who’s time is it? We like to think of it as all belonging to us. With that attitude, we schedule everything we want to do, them place the Lord’s work in any leftover spots.

I know there are things that we need to do. Scripture says that if we don’t work, we don’t eat. The Lord doesn’t want us to neglect our families either. There’s a place for all of these in our schedules.

But are we really operating in the plan of God if there’s no time for the move of His Spirit? In our generation, we’ve learned to add so many good things to our schedules, that we’ve left no room for the best.

I’m truly convinced that if we want to see a move of God in our nation, it’s going to require us to make a sacrifice. Not of money, but of time. Peter puts it this way…

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do…
1 Peter 4:3a

Ours is not the first generation to run into this problem. But it’s something that needs to be straightened out – quickly. Time is short. Now is the time. We are the people God is calling to turn this nation around.

Question: Are you willing to do whatever it takes to bring about a move of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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Grace and Destiny

Jet Plane to NowhereWe talk a lot about the grace of God. As believers we’re always praying for grace. Many seem to be always running around seeking God’s grace. Why is that? How we answer that question is very important.

Why do you want the grace of God in your life? Is it another way of saying, “I want God’s blessing on my life.”?

I’ve heard grace defined in many different ways. God’s unmerited favor. The enabling power and presence of God. All we need for life and godliness. They’re all good descriptions, but they leave out a key ingredient – purpose.

There’s always a reason attached to the grace of God. Listen to how the Apostle Paul explains it.

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

In this short verse I see three elements of grace. They speak not only about what God wants to bless us with, but how He wants us to use what He freely gives us. We need to take these to heart as we seek to manifest God’s grace.

Through Him and for His Name’s Sake – He doesn’t give us His grace so that we can spend it on our pleasures. It’s about His agenda on the earth. What does the Lord want to accomplish through me? That’s where His grace comes to the forefront.

I need to pick up this attitude. I receive His grace so that His name will be magnified in my life.

We Received Grace and Apostleship – Grace and calling go hand in hand. Seeking God’s grace without finding your calling in Christ is worthless. It’s through His grace that you fulfill your purpose.

It’s the Lord’s grace that brings you into your destiny – what you were created for. Without that knowledge, you’re simply living from problem to problem. Instead of always seeking grace to get over the next obstacle, find the direction that the Holy Spirit is leading you to.

To Call People from among All the Gentiles – Paul was aware that God’s grace had pinpoint accuracy. He was called to bring the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles. That’s why God poured His grace on Paul’s ministry.

It’s the same for us. As we grow in Christ, we need to fine tune our calling. Who am I called to reach? What are my gifts and abilities? As you begin to answer these questions, you find that perfect position of grace that you’re called to walk in.

Be careful to always heed Paul’s warning…

As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.
2 Corinthians 6:1

That means that I don’t receive the grace of God for no purpose. Grace is always attached to destiny. Our walk today must be with an eternal focus. That’s what the Lord’s grace is all about.

Question: How have you seen the grace of God active in your life and ministry?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2014 in God's Provision, Ministry

 

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Walking in the Word #returnofChrist

MirrorI’m posting about being the “John the Baptist Generation”.  I believe we are the last generation before the return of Christ and we need to live it out.

In my last post I said that we need to be hearing a Word from God.  This is essential for the end-time church.

But the key is that John didn’t just hear a Word.  He walked in it.  Our generation must walk out what we hear in God’s presence.  Hearing from God is only half of the equation.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:21

This is talking about the engrafted word of God.  It’s not just reading the Bible or hearing a sermon, even thought it might start there.  It’s when you know God has spoken to you.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:22-24

We’re told not to simply hear a word from God.  We’re good at saying that God spoke to us.

“I know what I need to do.”

The problem is that years later there’s no change.  God is looking for an obedient people.  He wants someone who’ll not only speak for Him, but live for Him.

Sometimes I think that’s why we don’t listen – we don’t want to do what God might tell us.

I’ve been feeling more spiritual pressure on me lately to hear and obey the voice of God.  When I look at John’s life I see the insight I need to do what’s required of me.

John was born at that time for a purpose.  He could have said, “It’s not fair.  Why can everyone else do what they want?”  But by his obedience, he changed the course of history.

History Makers don’t get to just “do what they want.”  That’s our calling because of the generation we were born into.  Like it or not we were placed here to be a part of the greatest move of God the world has ever seen.

Instead of running from it, or hiding in the distractions of the world, we should embrace it.  It’s time for the people of God to let the Word shine through us.  I believe this will initiate the great end-time harvest of souls into the kingdom of God.

Question: What do you see as the greatest hindrance of us fulfilling this end-time call?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2013 in Prayer, Return of Christ, Revival

 

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