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Revival Starts with Me (and You!) (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks to be involved in some ministry events.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost some of my most read articles that I feel are important.  Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already.  If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

Revival – a lot of people talk about it, but few understand it.  For the most part, we like the idea of revival, but lack the drive to see it through.  Like it or not, if we want to see revival in the church, then it needs to start in the individual.

A number of years ago I went through David’s experience with revival as recorded in Psalm 51.  To see the original series, click here.  I believe that it will give us the understanding we need to head in that direction.  The desire is up to you.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Psalm 51:1-5

The conditions surrounding the writing of this Psalm are very important.  David was the king of Israel.  His word was law.  One day, from the rooftop of his palace, he saw the wife of one of his generals taking a bath.  He was infatuated with her and eventually they had an affair that got her pregnant.

Since the general was away at the front lines, this would be an awkward situation unless it was taken care of quickly.  After a few failed attempts at a cover-up, David had the general assassinated.  He then took the “grieving widow” as one of his wives.  Now everything was fine and they could live happily ever after…or could they?

The prophet, Nathan, was given a Word from God about the situation.  He confronted David with the truth.  Psalm 51 is David’s response.  I’m glad to say that David was able to turn around and renew his walk with God.  By writing it in a Psalm, we can see the principles of personal revival.

In order for us to experience the joy of a personal revival, it always starts in the same place.  We must see the condition of our lives from God’s perspective.

Please understand me.  I realize that we’re righteous, by position, in Jesus Christ.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m looking at the day to day condition of our physical walk with God.  Are we where we should be?  Am I living up to the high calling of God?

It seems that one of the most dreaded exercises for most Christians is to take a long, hard, look at themselves.  We must be brutally honest in our assessment – comparing ourselves with the example of Christ.  No whitewashing, no excuses, and no justifications.  I can’t compare myself with anybody else – after all, I can always find someone doing worse than me.

This then is the first step toward personal revival.  Taking inventory of your spiritual walk as a believer.  Finding and admitting those areas in which you fall short of your calling to walk as Christ did.

Only then you can truly seek God’s power to change you.  Let this be your prayer.  “God, help me to see myself as I really am before you.”  Then take the steps necessary to bring the revival of God into your life.

Question: Why do we hesitate to take a spiritual inventory of our lives?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on September 11, 2019 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Worship – The Place of Change

LightningI’ve been posting about the worship that takes place in the throne room of God. We enter that place as we pray in the spirit.

From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.
Revelation 4:5

Here is another picture of what happens before the throne of God. We need to understand that the term seven spirits of God could also be translated as the seven-fold spirit of God. I believe that’s referring to the Holy Spirit.

Also around the throne we see flashes of lightning. We see this happening throughout the Bible when God’s throne is mentioned. Lightning, loud noises, and thunder. But when you read Scripture there are only certain times when this happens.

We see this taking place when God changes something. In Revelation, chapter 8, we see the prayers of the saints offered like incense before God. Then, as they were being offered to God, the following takes place.

Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:5

What was taking place in Heaven started happening on earth. That’s because worship is a place of change. It’s in His presence that our lives are changed.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16

The Apostle Paul understood this. When he wrote this, Paul was talking about himself and his ministry team. He knew that in the place of worship there could be daily change happening.

Just think about it; we can come into God’s presence for daily renewal.

We try so hard to be good. We fail. Then we keep trying to be better. We need to learn the truth of that old chorus…

“I am changed in the presence of an awesome God.”

Enter into God’s throne room through prayer in the spirit. Everything we need is there. It’s in His awesome presence that we find unity, peace, and a changed life.

Question: How has your life been changed in God’s presence?

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© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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What does it Mean to be Born Again?

ButterflyWe’ve been told throughout the New Testament that we must clothe ourselves with Christ. Anything less is a refusal of the blessings that have been obtained for us. To ignore this call is a willful decision to live outside the kingdom blessings that are only available in Christ.

But the real question is; how do we clothe ourselves with Christ? I believe this is something that the church has lost sight of over the past 2000 years. We need to get back to the basics of Christianity. We need to relearn things that were a way of life to the early church.

I need to warn you. What follows is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to teach. In many ways it goes against 100 years of church teaching. But as I study the Word of God, I’m convinced that it’s the only way to experience the abundant life that Jesus spoke about to His disciples.

We need to put on Christ – the new man. If we’ll do this, then we’ll walk and minister as Christ did. We’ll see an increase in the miraculous. We’ll also see a great harvest of souls as the world sees the church walking in the glory of God. In order for this to happen, it will require a change in our mindsets.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
Titus 3:3

This verse is talking about what should be our past lifestyle. It also reveals a sad truth. Read it carefully – slowly. Do we know any Christians that are still living like some of the descriptions given? This actually describes a large segment of the church today.

This is the old man. It needs to be released and we need to take on the life of Christ. Where does this change come from?

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…
Titus 3:4-5

We are saved by the kindness and love of God, manifested in Christ. This is the on-going work of the Lord in us. But do we really hear what’s said in this passage? Paul explains that the change in our lifestyle is accomplished by the washing of rebirth. This is a foundational principle.

Washing is a choice, but so is the rebirth. Somewhere along the line we’ve missed this basic truth. Washing and renewal is the putting on of the new man. This is a very tough revelation for us to grasp. It was for me.

Let me state it as plainly as I can. The laying down of our sin, renewing our mind, and the subsequent putting on of the new man is the essence of being born again. This term, born again, has become so watered down that it’s barely recognizable in our generation. The fact is, putting on the new man is being born again.

Let that sink in for a while. We’ve been taught that the initial act of receiving Christ – praying the sinner’s prayer – is being born again. As I’ve studied Scripture, the Holy Spirit has impressed me that this is not the case. Being born again is something that we must attain to.

Please understand what I’m saying. You can be saved and on your way to heaven and yet not be born again in the Biblical sense. I believe that our modern terminology is at odds with what Scripture teaches.

I’m not going to try to change hundreds of years of Christian vocabulary; but when we read the Scripture, we need to understand what it’s saying. I pray that you won’t shut me off at this point, but read this series with an open heart. In my next post, I’ll bring you through the Scriptures that show this to be true.

Question: How do you define the phrase Born Again?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Remembering Your First Love

Snow HeartIn my last post I talked about time spent with the Lord. Sometimes the more work you do for God, the less time you have to spend in His presence. We looked at the following verse.

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Revelation 2:4-5

Church leaders especially need to constantly be taking stock of their work. Why did you enter the ministry back then? What motivated you to work for the Lord?

It was the love of Christ that constrained you.   Why are you doing the work now? It needs to be done, no one else will do it, or it’s expected of you. If that sounds like you, than you’re letting your relationship with the Lord grow cold. You’ve lost your first love.

That’s why the Lord is seen as the one who walks among the churches. He’s the one inspecting the work. He’s checking not only what’s done, but also why it’s being done.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

Timothy was a young pastor. Paul was his father in the ministry. Even though this was written almost two thousand years ago, it should serve as a warning to all of us in the ministry today.

There’s an inspection process constantly going on in the church. The Chief Shepherd inspects the work of the under-shepherds.

This verse says that we should be approved. That Greek word literally means inspected and stamped with a seal of approval. It doesn’t matter what man thinks of you. Are you approved by God?

This calls for self-evaluation. Paul said that if we would judge ourselves we would not come under judgment. When you take a long hard look at your spiritual life, what do you see? Has it grown in depth since you started out in the ministry?

Has the fire started to wane, and you find yourself more and more “running on empty”? If this is the case, it’s an indication that you’ve lost your first love. Don’t let pride – the unwillingness to admit your situation – keep you from God’s renewal process.

Even pastors are not exempt from this. That’s the reason for the rash of “clergy burnout” that’s seen across America in this generation. One study showed that 80% of all seminary graduates had left the ministry after 5 years.

Another study tells us that 1,500 pastors per month leave the ministry because of burnout, problems, and moral failure. Without a living relationship with the all-powerful Creator of the universe, we’ll never find the strength needed to cope with all the stresses placed upon us by the church work we’re involved in.

Are you on the fast track to a spiritual derailment? Do you feel like you’re constantly giving out and never replacing your spiritual stores? If so, then the time is now to make a course correction that will affect the rest of your life positively for the glory of God.

In my next post I’ll talk about the specifics of how to get back on track.

Question: How do you regularly take stock of your spiritual life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Spreading the Fire

FireI’m taking a few posts to talk about personal revival from David’s perspective.

What is revival?  I experience revival when I’m open and honest about the condition of my life.  Then I go to the Lord to be forgiven and changed by His presence as I spend time before Him.  The Psalmist David tells us the next stage in the process.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.  Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51:13-15

After you’ve started experiencing God’s renewal in your life, your desire is to see this same spirit of revival catch on in the lives of others.  That’s the way it should be.  The change God’s working in me brings such joy, that I want others to experience the same thing.

Unfortunately, in many cases, we cause problems by doing things our way.  We haven’t changed.  The power of God is not working in us.  And yet we try to get others to change what they’re doing.  That’s when we’re accused of being hypocrites, and rightly so.

When it comes to producing change in a life, I’ll never be as powerful or effective as the Holy Spirit.  It’s actually kind of arrogant to think that I’m able to change someone for the better.

That is not what we’re called to do.  The best we can hope for is to introduce people to a God who is abundantly able to transform their lives.  It has to be done God’s way – from the inside out.

I don’t know why it’s so easy for me to see what you need to change, yet so hard to look at my own failures.  No matter, in Christ the change needs to start in me before I can ever get it to reach out to you.

We need to stick to the Lord’s plan.  Let Him work His renewal in us first, then lead others into His life changing presence.  That’s the way personal revival can spark a revival in the church.  Make this your prayer.  “God, send revival.  Start the work in me.”

Question: How have you seen the Holy Spirit change you over the years you’ve served Him?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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Change Where it Counts

PowerlessI’m taking a few posts to approach the subject of personal revival.  We’re using the example of David in Psalm 51 as our guide.  So far we’ve seen that we need to examine ourselves, and go to God for His forgiveness and cleansing.  But the work doesn’t stop there.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:10-12

According to Scripture, it isn’t enough just to wipe the slate clean.  Especially if you head right back into the pigpen.  What we need is to change our direction.  In order to do this, the renewal must take place on the inside.

All my wants and desires spring from my heart.  That’s where the purifying work of the Lord needs to access.  I must allow Him to make my heart pure – that His desires would become my desires.  That’s the only way to achieve lasting changes.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalms 37:4

I’ve heard people comment on this verse.  They said that whatever you desire, the Lord will give you.  That’s not what the Psalmist is trying to convey to us.

What he’s saying is that if you delight in God – if you take pleasure in Him – then He will place the desires into your heart that line up with His.  I want to desire the same things that God desires.  So I let Him do the work in my heart.

There’s another work that must be done as well.  I need to feed my spirit on the Word of God.  Only when my inner man is healthy and strong can I maintain the purifying work of God in my life.  My spirit is the greatest ally I have against the flesh.  It’s with my spirit that I can access the Holy Spirit and the power of the Lord.

Always remember that God loves us with an everlasting love.  He’ll never leave or forsake us.  If we want His cleansing process in our lives, then He’ll be there to do the work.  After all, He’s the only one with the ability to totally change our lives.

Let Him do that work in you today.  Give the Lord free reign to rearrange your life and priorities.  Let Him give you new purpose and direction.  Say “yes” to the life changing power of the Holy Spirit.

Question: How do I open my heart for God to place His desires in me?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, Word of God

 

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Our Final Exam – What’s On It?

ClassI’m posting about God’s ongoing work of salvation in us. God desires to continually bring about changes in us.

But what happens if I don’t allow God to continue with His plan to renew my life? Paul gives us some insight into the question. In the letter to the Corinthian church, Paul is addressing a group of mostly baby Christians. According to the Apostle, they’re not babies because they lack experience, but because they chose not to grow up.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15

When we are initially saved we’re placed onto the foundation of Christ. It’s afterwards that the building program begins. We have the choice to build for ourselves – wood, hay, and straw. Think about it in the natural. All over the world wood, hay, and straw are normal building materials. They’re used because they’re readily available and easy to build with.

It’s a lot more difficult to build with gold, silver or costly stones. They speak of what’s built by the spirit. If we submit to the will of God for our lives, then we’ll see a beautiful structure arise. Not only that, but it will be beyond our expectations for what we could have ever accomplished on our own.

The good news is that we’re told how it will all turn out. We’re not in the dark. We know what we’ll be judged on. The test is fire.

You can build some elaborate and beautiful houses with wood, hay and straw. I’ve seen some grandiose mansions around the country. Here’s the problem, they’re not going to be judged on how high they were built or how ornate they are. They’re going to be doused with gasoline and lit up.

Think about what’s important to you right now. The test is not how high you climbed up the corporate ladder. It’s not how much money you accumulated. It’s not even about how many good deeds you did or how many friends you have on Facebook.

The judgment will be based upon how close you stuck to the Plan. Did you allow the Holy Spirit to work His changes in your life? The final exam is how close your life came to God’s will for you.

That’s what will matter the most to you in the end.

Question: How high on you priority list is knowing and accomplishing God’s will for your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Faith, Ministry, The Gospel

 

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