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Revival’s Secret Assumption

FireI think we can all agree that America needs a spiritual revival. I’m not talking about simply a lot of people being saved – as wonderful as that would be. I’m speaking about a radical waking up of the church.

Knowing the need is not enough. There are some deeper questions that need to be asked. Do we truly want a revival to sweep through our nation? More importantly, are we willing to do whatever it takes to lay hold of revival?

In talking to the crowd at the Temple in Jerusalem, the Apostle Peter made an interesting statement.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you — even Jesus.
Acts 3:19-20

He talked about times of refreshing that come from the Lord. This is what we need in our generation. The refreshing wind of revival needs to blow through our cities.

That’s not what we have an issue with. It’s what the Apostle began with that we stumble over. He used that nasty little word that nobody seems to like these days – REPENT. It’s this repentance that ushers in the Spirit of revival.

Revival doesn’t just show up at regular intervals for no reason. As a matter of fact, God doesn’t even send revival because He knows we need it. It’s actually a response to the church beginning to move in the right direction.

Repentance is not very popular in mainline Christianity anymore. We like to think that we’re doing okay and only need a little tweak now and then. Repent sounds too drastic.

To repent means to change your mind, to turn around 180 degrees and head in a new direction. This means that you have to turn away from something.

But more than that, he said that they needed to turn to God. That’s the assumption that keeps us from experiencing the move of God that we really need.

If I say that the church in the USA needs revival, then what I really mean is that we need to turn back to God. That sounds good until you realize that to turn back to God assumes that we’re looking in the wrong direction to begin with. That’s the last thing that many believers would want to admit.

I hate to say this, but a majority of Christians are looking to the world for their fulfillment in this generation. They’ll do their obligatory hour or two in church, Sunday morning. But the rest of their time is spent on their own pursuits and interests.

It’s time for us as God’s people to turn around – to repent of leaving God out of our everyday lives. It’s time to head back in the direction of a radical walk before the Lord. That’s what a desire for revival assumes. It’s what America needs. It’s what the Holy Spirit is longing for us to enter into.

Question: How far are you willing to go to see revival sweep our nation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

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Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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Why We Ignore the Cross

cross 2In my last post I talked about the mystery of the power of the cross. It’s something that God expects His church to understand. It’s been revealed to us in His Word.

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:22-24

This is a problem we face even in our society today. There’s a pressure on the church to cater our message to those we’re trying to win. Religious people want to hear one thing, while the educational community wants to hear something else. Many times we fall into the trap of trying to please our listeners with the message we think they want to hear.

Paul strips away all of these elements by boiling the message down to its vital component. He preaches the same essential message to all who will listen. That message is the Word of the cross – Christ crucified.

The reason is clear. There’s a supernatural call in that Word. It contains the power of God to draw men and women to the place of repentance.

We need to see this. When we water down or ignore the Word of the cross, we lose the bulk of the power needed to win the lost. Beyond that, those who do come to the Lord with little knowledge of the cross, have no desire to become radical disciples of Christ.

This is what the world desperately needs to see in the church. It’s also what the church needs in order to be transformed into the victorious kingdom that was set forth by Christ. We must hunger and thirst for the Word of the cross.

We’ve tried a whole host of other strategies only to be met with little or no results. Isn’t it time to proclaim Christ the way they did it when the world was “turned upside-down” by the Gospel? We need to renew our knowledge of what happened in and through the cross of Christ. This is a message that the Lord can’t wait to reveal to us if we’ll just stop and listen.

This is one of the things that we’re missing in our churches these days. In my last post I quoted I Corinthians 2:7. In it, Paul explained that this message was destined for our glory. That’s why it’s such a mystery. From the outside, the cross looks like a place of pain, suffering, and weakness. But in reality, it will bring glory to all who live by it.

It was the same for Christ. The demonic kingdom had no idea what would be unleashed on the cross. When the “Lord of Glory” was crucified, there was an explosion of power that rocked the universe. It’s clear that Satan would never have allowed this to happen if he had known what the results would be.

It’s time for God’s people to once again unleash this power in the world. We need to walk in the power of the cross. The message of the cross is vital for our last-days testimony.

Question: What would change if we incorporated the teaching of the cross in our message?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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Are You Addicted to the Ministry? 5 Symptoms

PillsI normally don’t use the KJV in my posts, but this verse gives me a lot to think about.

I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)
1 Corinthians 16:15

What was it about Stephanas and his family that caused Paul to describe them as addicted?

I looked up some facts, not from Christian sources, but from the American medical community.  How do they describe addiction?  You may think you’re “all in” for the Lord.  How does what these doctors say stack up to your experience?

You need an increased level to maintain the feeling.  Are you feeling tired and burned out by what you do for God?  Or are you hungering to go deeper with Him?  Addiction means that the amount you’re doing now doesn’t satisfy you the way it used to.  You want more, greater, and higher dosages in order to stay fulfilled.  I believe that’s the excitement of the ministry.

You are obsessed with the ministry.  What’s your thought life like?  When you’re not actively involved in your calling, are you still thinking about it?  Addiction means that it’s constantly in the back of your mind.  You continually think about ways to improve and increase what you’re doing for the Lord.

Even in recreation times, a thought, word, or something you see will trigger an image of what you could be doing to further the Kingdom.  Thinking about it is uncontrollable.

You are continually sneaking “quickies” throughout the day.  Addiction to the ministry is a lifestyle.  Do you find yourself sharing about Jesus at the mall, school or workplace?  Are you prone to spontaneously be a blessing to people around you, simply for the enjoyment of it?  Maybe you find yourself praying for people as soon as you hear about their need.  This is a sign of an addiction to Christ and His ministry.

You undergo a change in your appearance.  Does the knowledge that you represent Christ change how you present yourself to others?  Does the fact that you’re God’s ambassador to the world make a difference in how you live?  The more we become addicted, the more radical the change.  How much has your ministry affected you?

You are in “denial” – you continue deeper even though others may argue against it.  Some people may say that you’re doing too much for God.  After all, look at the lifestyle of most believers.  “God will let you get away with a lot less commitment.”  Arguments like these don’t even faze you.  You want to touch as many people as you can for the Gospel.

You may like to think that you’re addicted – after all, it sounds good.  But the truth is, unless you’ve come to the place I’ve just described, it’s only wishful thinking.  Hey, don’t get mad at me – this is what the American medical community says about it.

If you find that you’re not addicted and you want to be – my next post will be about the 5 steps to becoming addicted!

Question: How has addiction to the ministry affected your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2013 in Encouragement, Ministry

 

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