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The Gospel and Convenience

We live in an age of convenience.  A few taps on my smart-phone and a pizza shows up at my door with the exact toppings I wanted.  A few more taps and my order is waiting, ready and paid for, at the local coffee shop.

The question is; how does this translate over into my spiritual life?  There are many in our generation who are looking for a convenient faith.  They show up for church Sunday morning, fast food breakfast in hand.  They stay for the hour and a half service – in and out – the rest of the day to themselves.

The problem is that a life like that is devoid of power.  I can’t reconcile convenience with the life of Christ.

We say that we want to live and minister as Jesus did.  Do we really?  Do we actually want our life to look like His?

As we continue to look at Mark’s Gospel, we’ll see what it should be like.  A day in the life of the Lord.  It’s a Sabbath day.  He had just preached at the local synagogue.  In the middle of His ministry, a demon-possessed man disrupted the meeting.  (We looked at that in my last post)

After His ministry there, I’m sure He was tired.  At least I am after I preach.  Most people look forward to a nice restful day after the morning service.

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.  Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her.  So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up.  The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
Mark 1:29-31

When they back to the house, there was no dinner waiting.  Simon Peter’s mother-in-law was sick and in bed.  The Lord’s ministry wasn’t over for the day.  He graciously prayed with her and her healing manifested.

After she got up, she served them.  No problem.  Dinner was only delayed a little.  We could handle that.  But it’s what happened next that we need to take to heart.

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
Mark 1:32-34

As soon as the sun started to set, people began to gather.  Please realize that this wasn’t a planned meeting.  What the Lord was actually looking forward to was a restful night at home with His disciples.

The next thing they knew, the entire town had shown up at their doorstep.  They weren’t there simply to get a look at the new prophet that had come to town.  They were there to be ministered to.

What was Jesus’ response?  Did He tell them to go home and He’d plan another meeting for tomorrow after a good night’s rest?  Absolutely not!  He flowed with the leading of the Holy Spirit and shared the power of God with those waiting.

My question for this generation is; do we want the inconvenience of a truly Spirit-led walk?  Are we prepared to give up some of our precious “me time”?  Are we willing to minister to the hurting people around us, no matter when we’re called into action?

This is what we’re destined for – a ministry like Jesus.  But in order to walk in it, we need to change some of our attitudes toward our time.  We have to realize that our schedules don’t belong to us; they belong to God the Father.  We must be willing to let Him set the agenda and the course of our lives.

Question: How do “spiritual interruptions” affect your attitudes?

© 2017 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2017 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Time Economy

Time ChainI’ve been posting about our time as a commodity. How important is it that I give time to the Lord? It all comes down to God’s will.

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

This verse talks about the mystery of His will. It’s unfortunate that the working of God’s will is a mystery to most Christians.

“We may never understand the way God moves.”

Whatever you call it – God’s will, His good pleasure, or His purpose; He made this mystery known to us. We, of all people should understand the working of the Lord’s will.

According to this verse, God’s will is put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment. The literal Greek of this verse says that God’s will is brought about in the economy of filling the time.

Economy – here’s another financial term the Bible associates with time. Did you know that filling time is a part of God’s economy? In my last post I said that we spend time, run out of time, save time, and lose time – just like money. We have to understand that there’s an economy of time in the Kingdom of God.

Time is something tangible. It can be traded and exchanged for stuff. That’s basically what you’re doing on your job. In effect, you’re trading your time for your employer’s money. It’s a commodity exchange.

In God’s Kingdom time purchases the fulfillment of vision and prophecy.

So right now we have evil days coming at us one after another. What do we do to bring about God’s will for revival?

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
1 Timothy 4:4-5

Did God create time? Yes! But I believe we’ll understand this concept better if we talk about money first. I don’t care where the money’s been before I got it. It’s mine now, and a part of God’s kingdom.

It all starts with how I receive it. I must receive it with thanksgiving. God is the One who ultimately supplies my need. But it doesn’t stop there. There must be a consecration. It must turn from evil money to good.

Literally, the word consecrate means to be purified, made holy. This is done by two things – the Word of God and prayer. The Word of God talked about here is more than the Bible. It means that I pray, hear His word to me concerning my money, and I obey Him.

We need to apply this process to our time. We thank God for every day that He gives to us. Then we consecrate those days by turning them over to the Lord for His use. I seek His will for my daily schedule.

This is how God’s will is brought about on the earth. It’s as God’s people invest their time in Kingdom work. Time is the commodity that will purchase revival in our generation. Don’t withhold yours from the Lord. Let Christ be Lord over your schedule.

Question: How can I turn my time over to Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Prayer, Revival, The Church

 

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Time is Money

 

Time MoneyIn my last post I showed how we’re now living in an evil age. What is it that makes something evil?

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.
Matthew 12:35

The Bible is clear; what makes something good or evil isn’t the thing itself – usually. It’s all based upon who the owner is. Things are evil simply because they’re owned by an evil being.

Well if it’s all about the owner – what about the age we live in?

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4

The devil is called the god of this age. According to Scripture, this age will last until the return of Christ. This age is evil because the owner is evil.

The real question is; what can we do about it? Let’s get back to the verse I first looked at in the last post.

Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

We’re told that this age requires us to be careful. We must walk in wisdom. Paul goes on to explain what he means by this.

We should be making the most of every opportunity. That’s an interesting phrase that this English translation doesn’t do justice to. It literally means redeeming or buying back the time. As Christians, we should be purchasing the time.

Look at it this way. All of time was created by and for God. Because of Adam’s fall, Satan has taken over this age. It’s now up to us to redeem time.

This leads to some interesting conclusions. If something can be bought and sold, that makes it a commodity. Think about time; in both the Scripture and our language many financial terms are associated with time.

We spend time, run out of time, save time, and lose time. Some people are on borrowed time. Many have too much time on their hands, some don’t have enough.

Time is a commodity. We’re exhorted to purchase time, because the days are evil.

What does all this have to do with revival? The fact is that we have to open the space needed for revival. God wants to bring about His will on earth through His church. Unless we open up the time for Him, nothing will be done.

In my next post I’ll talk about this in greater detail.

Questions: Is it easier to give God your time or your money? Why?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2015 in Return of Christ, 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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Is Your Schedule Bleeding Time?

Parking MeterIn my last post I talked about the Sabbath as a tithe of our time. I believe the violation of this principle is causing many Christians to be ineffective for the Lord.

The prophet Haggai had to rebuke Israel for their disregard of the Lord’s work. When they returned from Babylonian captivity, they immediately went about building themselves huge, comfortable homes while ignoring the temple of the Lord. They should have been able to accomplish both.

Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
Haggai 1:3-6

This could be said about our current generation in regards to our time. God’s people are always busy. But their time is never enough. In spite of all this busyness, not much is being accomplished in the Kingdom of God.

I remember when I was younger. Our church met on Sunday. The whole day revolved around going to church.

There was a morning and evening service. After the service, we would spend an hour or so just praying around the altar. We wanted the things that we heard in the message to become a part of our lives. We wanted the Word of God to take root deep in our hearts.

Now, it seems to me, that to many, the Sunday worship service is merely a formality. It’s something that we need to get out of the way in order for us to get on with what we really want to do.

I realize that’s a huge generalization. It’s not true about all churches or believers. But as I look out across what we call “the church” in America, it’s the modern trend. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I heard one leader say that among those who claim that they’re committed to a local church – it means that they attend at least twice a month. That’s the new commitment in our generation.

Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
1 Peter 1:17

This verse tells us that we are not a part of the world system. It literally says that we should live in holy fear, overturning, turning up-side down, the time. What we do with our time will determine the future of the church.

Here’s the bottom line. Time is the new commodity in the body of Christ. We would ten times rather give God our money than our time. But I believe that time is what we need to spend if we want revival.

I’ve heard people say that America needs revival. We do. Do we really want revival, knowing the cost? We are going to have to purchase revival for our nation with time turned over to God.

Question: How much of your time are you willing to spend on revival?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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Time and Tithe…

Time MoneyI’m continuing my discussion about time, and our use of it in the body of Christ. I’m convinced that there’s something that we’ve lost sight of that’s making many believers ineffective. The longer we ignore it, the greater the problem will become.

It all has to do with the principle of tithing. Please don’t turn me off! I know that over the past 20 years, many great teachers have educated the church on the proper use of the tithe. I’m not going to reteach it here. I just want to remind you of some things as a foundation for what I actually want to show you.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
NIV

We have been taught that the tithe is the first 10% of our increase. If we are faithful to worship God with this first part, then He will bless the other 90%. I can testify that this principle works.

In the arena of tithes and offerings, if we do our part, then God will throw open the windows of heaven. The only other place in Scripture where the windows of heaven were said to be opened, was during the flood of Noah.

At that time water poured out that the world did not have room enough for. Tithing then, opens up a window into our finances through which God can pour out His blessings into us. That’s the foundational principle that I want you to see.

There’s another term in the Bible that we need to get a handle on. It’s called Sabbath. It’s the principle of finding our rest in God’s presence.

In talking about this truth, the writer of the book of Hebrews states…

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
Hebrews 4:1

Under the Old Covenant, the people were told to set aside one day a week for God’s purposes in them. They were to set this day apart as holy to the Lord (Exodus 20:8).

Think about it. There’s seven days in a week – one was to be set apart. There are 24 hours in a day. Seven days, times 24 hours gives us 168 hours in the week.

Ten percent of those hours is about 17 hours. 17 hours was approximately how long a person was awake during the Sabbath. Do you see it? The Sabbath is the tithe of our time.

Please understand that I’m not trying to put you back under the law. But the realization that God freed up the schedules of the Israelites for worship should speak to us. Are we giving God time during the week? How much are we freeing up for His purposes in our lives?

I’m always hearing people say, “There aren’t enough hours in a day. I don’t have enough time to do everything I need to do.” It sounds like the same things they say about their money, when they don’t tithe.

Questions: How many hours a week do you spend in God’s presence? Is it a tithe of your time?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2014 in Power of God, Prayer, Revival

 

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Do We Really Want a Revival?

WaveYou may think that’s a strange question. Of course we want a revival. We pray for revival. We sing about revival. We see the need all around us.

Even though all that is true, it still doesn’t mean that we want a move of God. Why would I make a statement like that? It all comes down to history.

I love history – especially church history. I enjoy reading about the lives of godly men and women who have done exploits for Christ. I encourages me to learn about the past revivals and awakenings that have swept not only our land, but others around the world.

It gives me hope for the future and presses me forward in my calling to prepare us for that next wave. But there is a problem I see looming on the horizon. It’s something that the church is going to need to wrestle with before very long.

It might even be the greatest hindrance to us entering the next move on God’s agenda. It’s something that’s unique to our generation of believers.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:23-25

This passage clearly references the last days when it talks about us seeing the Day approaching. There are some clear commands for us to observe as God’s people.

First, we must hold to our hope in Christ without swerving to the right or the left. We can’t be distracted by what’s going on in the world.

Next, we need to be involved in each other’s lives. Spurring is not comfortable, either for the giver or the receiver. We’d much rather live our lives with any thought to the needs or struggles of those around us.

But it’s the third statement that concerns me the most. The writer is talking to a people in the habit of missing church meetings. I don’t believe he was only talking about Sundays, but all through the week.

What concerns me is this; because he references the last days, he makes it sound like it will become harder and harder to meet together near the end. In fact, that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now.

God’s people have learned from the world to fill up their schedules with so many good things. I fear that many are going to miss out on the best thing that God has planned for us.

From a look at history, it’s obvious that revival isn’t convenient. You can’t add it to your schedule in the free hour you have next Thursday at 4:00.

Revival is a move of God that goes on every day for weeks, months, or even years at a time. Do we really want that? Are we really willing to rearrange our lives to accommodate God’s will?

A bigger question I have is this. Is God waiting for us to simplify our lives in preparation for a move of God? Is He waiting on us to open up our schedules to more fellowship, prayer, and worship activities?

Pray for revival. Pray for a change in the hearts of believers.

Question: How much time do you have in your schedule for a revival?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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