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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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You are Better than a Tree

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.  Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath.  Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.
Isaiah 44:22-23

On Christmas Day – at least in my part of the world – I woke up to snow in the air.  It was a beautiful sight to see a new blanket of white on the frozen ground.  I was then blessed to spend the morning opening presents with my wife and children.  God is so good!

Sometimes it just seems like everything is right with the world.  “The hills are alive with the sound of music.”  We look around, and all of nature seems to be singing God’s praise.  Actually, this is a product of our attitude.  It happens when we start the day meditating on what God has done for us.

At least for believers, that should be an easy thing this time of year.  We are reminded of all the Lord has done for us.  Taking on our humanity and living among us was truly a special gift.  Then, bearing our sins to the cross and rising for our salvation was something we couldn’t have even imagined that God would be willing to accomplish for us.

What an incredible thing!  To have your sins forgiven.  To know that the blood of Christ washes you clean.  To be able to approach His holy presence without fear of condemnation.  It’s no wonder that Isaiah felt like all creation was bursting into song before him.

The privilege is ours now to run into His majestic presence.  Don’t start the day without spending time with Him.  Commit the day ahead to His care.  Let Him establish and maintain you.  Bring praise and worship before Him.  Don’t you dare let the forests and mountains outdo you in the praise of His glorious name!

Question: Is there something you would like to praise God for right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Encouragement, Worship

 

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Do You Know the Two Anointings of Music?

Did you know that the Bible speaks about how we should aim our singing?  There are two goals we should direct our music toward.

Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Psalms 96:1-2

The first should be pretty obvious.

Our music can be directed toward God in the praise of His glory.  This is an important part of our relationship with the Lord.  Singing His praises transports us into His presence.

I get so upset when believers view the praise and worship time as merely the “warm-up act” for the pastor’s preaching.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  As we sing praise and thanksgiving to God, we are brought into a deeper spiritual place.  We become more open to the move of the Holy Spirit.

Praising God in song is an important part of a spiritual walk.

The second aim of music may surprise some of you.

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord…
Ephesians 5:19

Our music can be directed toward each other.  There are many people (and I used to be one of them) that dislike the use of songs that are not directed toward God.  This verse clearly shows the necessity of both types of music.

There are times when we need to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to one another.  Why is that so important?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16

It’s through music that the Word of Christ can live richly in you.  Singing music that’s directed at each other is a form of teaching and admonishing.  As we sing, we learn.

This is an incredible truth.  When my children were small, they learned all the states and their capitals because they were put to music. How much more important is it to get the Word into our hearts?

Through music, the Word of Christ can enter our lives and stay with us.  That’s why I’m so adamant about not singing songs that contain bad doctrine.  Too many Christians believe error because they learned it in their music.

We give praise to our God.  We teach and admonish each other.  Both of these can and should be done through the music of God’s people.

Question: Is there a song that opened up your eyes to a spiritual truth?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2012 in Encouragement, Music, The Church, Word of God

 

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