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The Road to Advancement

ProfitI’ve been posting about Abraham as our example of the obedience that’s born in our faith. It’s not always pleasant, but God has a great destination prepared for us.

I said in my last post that God usually calls us to leave something before calling us into a new and better place. Unfortunately, laying hold of that better place is based upon our obedience. That’s why Jesus made the following statement.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:14

There are many who don’t want to go out in order to go into a new place. We are sometimes so satisfied with the good – we don’t want the excellent.

If we want the inheritance that God has destined us for on earth, then there are two attitudes we need to learn. These are the attitudes that energize our obedience to Christ. In today’s post, I want to talk about the first of these.

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
Hebrews 11:9

The original Greek of this verse is very interesting. It says that by faith Abraham lived near the promised land as if it were another’s property. This is an important lesson to learn, especially those in leadership positions. We understand obedience from serving in another’s ministry.

At one point in my Christian walk I was under a great man of God named Pastor Anthony Spero. He’s the one who trained me in the ministry. There were things he asked me to do that I liked, and other things – not so much.

What I didn’t realize at that time, was that as I submitted under his ministry, God was doing a work in me. All that time I worked under him, not knowing that the place God was bringing me to was a pastorate of my own.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”
Luke 16:10-12

You can’t advance in the Kingdom of God without obedience. We get the idea that because this isn’t mine, who cares if I do a good job or not. This is especially true at work or church. I didn’t know it, but when I was putting out the trash as a teenager, God was preparing me to be a husband and father.

We need to pick up the attitude of Abraham. The ability to see my submission to authority as preparation for the authority God wants to entrust me with. My future advancement is based on my present obedience.

Question: What are the areas of obedience that God is currently using in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

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Posted by on November 14, 2014 in Faith, Leadership, Ministry

 

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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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Let God Take You Away

 

Cloud2In my last post I was talking about Enoch’s experience with God. I said that, like Enoch, God wants to transport us – not out of the world, but from death to life.

Where exactly does the Lord want to transport me to?

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Thessalonians 5:9

God did not take us to a place where we suffer His wrath. A lot of Christians need to hear this.

The Lord takes us into His salvation. He has taken us to a place where we can receive healing, prosperity, grace, joy, peace, as well as all the other blessings which He paid for on the cross. That’s why He wants to set you apart. He wants life for us – not death.

Too many believers picture God as someone just waiting for us to mess up so He can “zap” us. That’s not the God we serve. Christ has done everything needed for us to live in the divine blessing of His love and acceptance. We need to see that as a completed work in Christ.

But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
1 Corinthians 12:18

This is another great truth of Scripture.

The Lord takes us to His body. We need to understand what it means to be part of a body. It’s very different from being part of a collection. In a collection everything is independent from each other.

I have a postage stamp collection. If I’m missing a certain stamp, I say, “Someday it would be nice to get it.”

That’s not how the church should operate. In a body, all the parts depend upon all the others. A person that’s missing a hand is at a disadvantage.

Stamp collections can be arranged in many different ways – by topic, color, country, value, etc. In a body every part has only one place where it belongs. This means that I must let God place me where He wants me.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
1 Timothy 1:12

This is the final place we’re transported to.

The Lord takes us to His service. This is an incredible verse. God has endued me with His power so that now He can put His faith in me.  He wants to trust me and place me in His service.

What a privilege – I can serve God as a well-pleasing servant. I don’t serve out of fear, but love. He has provided all that I need to serve Him acceptably. I can know and do His will.

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.
Philippians 3:12

Paul had a goal. He wanted to pursue His calling in Christ. He did this so that he could take hold of that for which Christ had taken him. Christ wants me for a reason. I want to find out what that reason is.

This should be the attitude of every believer. Pursue the knowledge of why God has chosen you for His service.

Question: What is your place in the body of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God

 

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Service or Control? #calling

DifferentIn my last post I talked about how we advance in the Kingdom of God.

In the world you set a goal.  You say, “I’m going to be a brain surgeon.”  Then, off you go to school and someday, after years of study and training, you graduate as a brain surgeon.  That’s not how it is in the Kingdom of God.

Before I was born, God said, “I see a day when Nick Zaccardi is going to be born, and I have a place in My kingdom for him, and this is it.”  I then spend my lifetime attaining to the position that God has already prepared for me before the foundation of the world.

Eventually, depending on how well I listen to Him and my obedience level, I may or may not get to that calling.  But the main point for us to see is that it’s not up to me to decide what I want that calling to be.

That’s what the Lord was telling the disciples min the verse we looked at in the last post.  Don’t try to advance yourself in the Kingdom of God by using the world’s methods. But the problem didn’t end there.

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.  Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:24-28

To operate in the way of the world, you’re going to have to step over everyone in your path in order to get to the top.  Then, once you get there, you start to boss everyone around because they’re all under you.

Jesus made it clear that we don’t act this way in the church.  In His kingdom, He has a place prepared for everybody.  You need to seek the place God has chosen for you from before the foundation of the world.

As you enter into your assignment, you’ll find that it will be a place of service.  It’s not going to be a place of authority in the sense that the world looks at authority.  So don’t come at the Kingdom of God from a worldly perspective.  In Christ we find fulfillment through service.

It’s clear, however, that the disciples believed that Christ’s kingdom was coming.  The disciples had faith in that concept to the point that in their own fleshly way they were starting to jockey for position.  I pray that we would have as much faith in the words of Christ as they did.  It’s my prayer that God’s people will be found ready for Him on His return.

We must begin to prepare now for the coming kingdom.  God’s Word is clear.  Our rewards will be based upon our obedience.  How closely are you following the Lord’s plan for your life?

Knowledge of the Second Coming of Christ should drive you to serve Him with all your ability.  Don’t rest until you know that you are in the center of His will for your life.

Question: What will it take to reach the next step in your calling?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Ministry, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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Have You Transferred Ownership?

contractPaul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God…
Romans 1:1

Paul uses some interesting language in this verse.  He calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ – literally a slave.  It’s interesting, because on various occasions Paul made a point of proving his freedom.

Once he was arrested and he asked the guard why he was being denied his right to a trial as a Roman citizen.  The guard explained that he, personally, had to buy his freedom.  Paul, on the other hand, said that he was born a free Roman citizen.

At that time, if you were born a slave, you were expected to be a slave forever – there was no escaping it.  Under Roman law, a slave could find out his “sale price” from his master.  Then, if he saved enough money, he could pay the buying price to and have the ownership transferred to one of the many Roman gods.  Then, as a slave to that god, could serve as a free man.

I believe this was in the back of Paul’s mind as he penned these words.  We are all born under slavery to sin.  That was our unfortunate lot for the rest of our lives.

Jesus Christ paid the “slave price” for us.  Now, just as Paul did, we need to transfer the ownership of our lives over to God.  As God’s slaves we can now serve as free citizens of the kingdom of Heaven.

We have to live under this knowledge if we are to have a fulfilling life in Christ.  We don’t own our lives.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:5-8

Christ, Himself, set the standard of living that we need to follow.  He said that He came to live a life of service.  That should be our attitude as well.

The Apostle Peter understood this truth.

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
1 Peter 2:16

In the first verse above, Paul said that as a slave, he was called to be sent forth as an apostle.  Once we’ve transferred the ownership of our lives to God, our callings will open up to us.  We are now free to serve Him to the best of our ability.

Paul finished off the verse by saying that he was set apart to the Good News.  That literally means that we are set off by a boundary.  The Good News is our field of service.

This is the attitude that will push you to great things in the body of Christ.

Question: Have you transferred the ownership rights of your life to the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Encouragement, The Gospel

 

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Independence Day – Thank God for Freedom

I love the Fourth of July.  It’s one of my favorite holidays.  Picnics with family, outdoor fun, not to mention fireworks at night.  Even more than that, I thank God for a nation where I’m granted the freedom to do all these things without fear.

Galatians 5:13
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

We are called to be free.  Freedom is something that God wants for all humanity.  Unfortunately, what most people consider freedom is not the real thing.  Society thinks that freedom is the ability to do what I want, whenever I want.  Their opinion is that freedom means that I can feel good all of the time.

That’s a very selfish definition.  Freedom is not all about me.  Our founding fathers gave selflessly in the cause for freedom.  It was definitely not about their personal good, but the betterment of all that drove them to resist the most powerful nation on earth at that time.  Many lost their lives to win this precious gift for us.

There are still those in the armed forces and public safety positions that lay their lives on the line each day, so that we can continue to live free.  Freedom is more of a responsibility than a pleasure.  I have to put as much into it as I receive from it.

That is what Paul was trying to tell us in the verse above.  Freedom is not all about indulging my every desire, but the ability to serve one another unhindered.  We need to listen to his exhortation.  As believers, we have not only been blessed with our spiritual freedom in Christ, but our physical freedom in the USA.

Let’s live out that freedom responsibly.  Not in the granting of our every desire, but in seeking the blessing of all through a life of service.  Live free.  Be a blessing to all  those around you.  And thank God for the freedom we share.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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