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Tag Archives: renewal

America Needs the Gospel

FlagcrossIt’s hard to believe, but in reality the United States can no longer be called a Christian nation.  Yes, there are pockets of Christian majorities on various parts of the map, but overall the influence of believers is almost gone.  I believe this is because we have lost sight of the true message of the Gospel.

I was recently reading a post about 5 issues the church will have to deal with over the next ten years.  It was by Ed Stetzer, the President of Lifeway Research.  In it he made some startling statements that I may comment about from time to time.

The issue that caught my attention, was that the church of this generation needs a clear understanding of the Gospel.  It wasn’t many years ago that the flames of renewal and revival were sweeping across many parts of our nation.  How have we fallen so far from the message of Christ?

Where has the Gospel of Jesus Christ gone?  In many churches we are taught how to be “good people.”  There are messages on how to live a great life – overcoming depression and other negative qualities.  It’s almost as if the modern church has become a group emotional-therapy session.

Paul’s words should bring us a much needed wake-up call.

2 Timothy 2:8
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…

We wonder why our impact on society has diminished.  This just might be the key.  The Gospel is not about New Year’s resolutions or turning over a new leaf.  It’s not even about wanting to be a better person, spouse, or parent.

The true message of the Gospel is not about what I do.  It’s all about what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.  He died, was buried, and He rose back to life on the third day.  The Lord accomplished this so that we could receive His life and become a new person in Him.

Anything less than that is not the Gospel.

In his post, Ed Stetzer made a statement that I have turned into a question in order to check myself.  As a pastor, I’m responsible for the message received by the people under my care.  I’m going to be accountable for what I preach to them each week.

The question I must ask myself is this: Would the message I’m preaching still be true if Jesus hadn’t died on the cross?  If so, then I’m not proclaiming the Gospel.  It might be good and helpful to the listener, but it isn’t the Good News of the Bible.  The Gospel is life-changing.

The church in America needs to return to the true Gospel message.

Question: How do you perceive a need for the Gospel in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Revival, The Church, The Gospel

 

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Your Thought Life

Philippians 4:8-9
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.

This is one of the most important areas of your life.  It will either make or break you.  It’s always interesting to see what people do with their “down time”.  I’m talking about the time during the day that you’re not having to concentrate on what you are doing.

This is the time that you’re getting dressed, driving to work, or doing other things that don’t require a lot of thought.  These are times where you have nothing but your own thoughts to keep you company.  Using the time wisely can be very challenging.

Of course, with many people, this time is filled by their I-pod, radio, or cell phone.  The last thing this society wants is to think too deeply.  Like it or not, we need to take the time to think about important issues.

It has become abundantly clear to me through the Word of God and my own experience that what you meditate on during these times will ultimately shape your character.  If you are to achieve the maximum benefit from this, then you need to focus on what is spiritual – the Word of God, God’s calling on your life, and songs of praise and worship.

As these thoughts start to fill your mind, a change starts to take place in your heart.  You start to be drawn upward to God.  This idle time will now become a time of spiritual growth, renewal, and refreshing.

Take the opportunity today to turn off the external “noise”.  Begin to steer your thoughts toward the things of the Lord.  Discover the power you need for living as you fill your heart with the only thoughts that can bring lasting change to your life.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Water in the Wilderness

Exodus 15:22-25
Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur.  For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.  When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.)  So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood.  He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them.

When walking through the desert, water is a great necessity.  The effects of dehydration can be severe.  In the above verse, Israel found themselves having to trust God for their most basic needs.

Sometimes in life we go through wilderness experiences.  In the natural we can plan ahead to have the necessary food and water.  But in our life-journey we occasionally run into unexpected droughts.  These are the times we must trust God to feed our souls.

Grumbling and complaining about the situation that we find ourselves in is not the way out.  The solution is to walk in faith.  We know God will not fail us – He will see us through.  Why then would we want to wallow in self pity, when in reality, that only makes matters worse?

You must seek the Lord, especially if you are going through a hard time right now.  Spend some time in His presence, and obtain spiritual refreshment.  Let Him strengthen your inner man.  Renew yourself before His throne.  In that way you will always have an abundant supply, no matter how bad the situation.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Pressing On

Philippians 3:12-14
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

It is not always easy to press on.  Sometimes it is an effort just to put one foot in front of the other.  Hikers and joggers have learned to just keep moving forward.  There have been times when I was hiking that, because of injury or pain, I have felt like giving up.  It is in times like those that I had to keep telling myself, “As long as you keep taking each step, you will come to the end of the trail.”

It is the same thing in life.  It is usually not the big things that knock us down, but the continual monotony of our daily lives, day after day, week after week.  It is the constant grind that saps our strength and weakens our spirit.

In order to overcome, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.  We know that if we keep to His course for our lives, we will come out with His result.  We will lay hold of the prize for which He has called us.

Don’t give up.  Go to the Lord today and ask for His strength for the road ahead.  Don’t live a day without allowing His renewing Spirit to work in your life.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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