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The Locked Up Church

LockedIn my last post I talked about the picture of the church that the Lord gave me from Acts, chapter 16. In that passage, Paul and Silas are in prison, chained up, in the dark. Yet they were praying and singing as if nothing were unusual.

I said that much of the church is in that condition today. We go on praising God every Sunday, yet having no effect on the world the rest of the week. How did we get into this position?

I believe that it’s because we didn’t heed the warning that Christ gave us during His ministry.

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”
Luke 21:34

Here Jesus tells us of three weights that can hinder us from fulfilling our destiny. They are called dissipation, drunkenness, and anxieties. We will never reach our true potential in Christ if we try to run with these hindrances.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

We are warned to throw off the things that hinder. Probably the worst is dissipation. We allow the best parts of our life to be dissipated.

The world has so many distractions these days. Classes we could take, recreational opportunities, athletic events, and entertainment. All of these things, in and of themselves, add to our enjoyment of life. They’re good things.

“Everything is permissible for me” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything.
1 Corinthians 6:12

Yes, they are all good things, permissible things, but they’ve become the masters of our lives. They dictate our schedules. They tell us what we can and can’t do for God.

We fill up our time with all these good things. Then, more often than not, God gets the leftovers. Our leftover time, strength, and resources.

What happens when God says, “I want you to take a week to meet together and experience my work of revival in you.”?

“Sorry, that won’t work for me. I have a class on Monday night. Tuesday is my bowling league. Thursday I have to get the kids to their Karate lessons. I just can’t make it out to weekday meetings.”

Where does all the time go? Dissipation. We have allowed the distractions of the world to dissipate the time that should belong to the Lord. Our schedules have become mastered by the good things of the world.

In this way the church has become a prisoner to our permissible things. We are in chains and in the dark. We need to be set free by the power of God.

Question: What will it take to shatter these chains from the church?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

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

 

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Excellence Restored #restoration

GrapesThe LORD will grant you abundant prosperity – in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground – in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.  You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.  The LORD will make you the head, not the tail.  If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.
Deuteronomy 28:11-13

Israel was called by God to walk in excellence.  To live at that level requires above average resources.  Scripture is clear that along with the calling we can expect the supernatural equipping of God.  He never calls you to a work and then leaves you to use your own strength and ability.

God wants you to have excellence in ministry.  He wants you to have all that you need to fulfill that ministry.  God has never been the God of “just enough.”

Some may say, “It’s too late for me.  I’ve wasted too many years in mediocrity to be able to walk in excellence now.”

To you I say, “Let God be God.”  You take care of your part, and He’ll take care of His.  The above verse was written to Israel so they would know God’s perfect will for their nation, which was that they might walk in excellence.

There was a problem, however.  In the next chapters, Moses went on to prophesy through the Spirit that they would fall away from their divine calling and lose the abundance of excellence.  He then goes further into the future showing them that eventually they would repent and return to the way God had chosen for them to walk.

The next verse explains what God said His reaction would be when they once again returned to a walk of excellence.

Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land.  The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers.
Deuteronomy 30:9

Praise God for the once again in the Lord.  All God is looking for is someone to humble themselves before Him. This will require the person to admit his or her mistakes, repent, and turn back to the right path.

He wants the fruit of your hands to flow with excellent prosperity.  You need to be listening for His voice and watching for His leading.  If you find that you’ve blown it, then be quick to admit it, repent, and move on.

Question: How has God equipped you for your calling?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
 

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