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The Rearview Mirror #Revivals past

Cathedral I believe that there’s a great revival coming soon to the church in America.  Sometimes we need to see how God has worked in the past, if we’re going to prepare for the future.

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth.  When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.
Isaiah 51:1-2

It’s important to see how far we’ve come.  Sometimes I get discouraged by the present condition of the church.  But when I look at where we started, it’s encouraging to know how close we are to Christ’s return.

Many talk about revival and restoration.  Do we really understand what that means?  We need to look at history because every move of God depends upon the truth He’s already restored.

Let’s go back 2000 years – to the infant church.  It was an incredible time in the spiritual realm.  Thousands of people were saved at a time.  Healings and miracles were commonplace.

The dead were raised.  Jails were opened up.

Yes, there were some “baby churches,” like Corinth, who weren’t walking in their call the way they should have been.  But the power of God was manifest throughout the known world.  The church grew incredibly for 300 years.

Then something earthshaking happened.  In 314 A.D., the Roman emperor Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.  In this act, he planted the seeds of destruction.  Constantine used Christianity to gain political power.

From then on that spirit started to infect the church.  Think about how the government runs the IRS, welfare, and healthcare.  Now picture the government running the church.

It’s no wonder that the descent to the Dark Ages began.  It was a downhill slide for the next 1000 years.

This spirit of earthly power took root in the church.  The Church, and specifically the popes, claimed the authority to rule over kings.  Many wars were started over this issue.

The practice of simony, the purchase of offices, was common.  Sanctuaries become more magnificent inside and out.  As the worship services increased in splendor, there was a decrease in spirituality.

At one point there was a meeting between Thomas Aquinas and Pope Innocent II.  The Pope showed Thomas the abundance of wealth that the church possessed – money, gold, and art.

Pope Innocent exclaimed, “You see, Thomas, the church can no longer say silver and gold have I none.”

To which Thomas replied, “True, but neither can she now say rise up and walk.”

These and many other abuses were prevalent in the Dark Ages.  As I look back and see what the Lord has taken us from, it gives me hope for our generation.

In my next post, I’ll talk about what God did to bring about a change in that dark period of church history.

Question: Are you expecting to see a great move of God in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on July 5, 2013 in Revival, The Church

 

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The Foundation for Revival

FireI have said that the United States desperately needs a revival.  What is that?  Is it a church full of weeping, “falling down under the power of God”, or huge crowds on Sunday morning?

Is it something we plan into our schedules?  “Revival Meetings the first week of December.”

The truth is that it’s not something we put on, but a work that God performs in us.  It’s a special presence of Christ revealing Himself to our society.

I believe that revival is birthed out of desperation.  When we reach the end of what we can do, all we can rely on is the work of God in us.

It’s kind of like the condition of Israel as they prepared to leave Mt Sinai in the book of Exodus.  They had already turned from God before Moses had even come down from the mountain with the law.

Now God has cleansed the camp and they are about to move out.  They are headed for the Promised Land.

Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.  How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us?  What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
Exodus 33:15-16

Now there’s a desperate prayer!  What if the modern church prayed like this and meant it?  Most churches would close their doors the first week.

Unfortunately, we just go on with the show.  We’ve learned how to experience growth without the move of God.  A great music team and a charismatic preacher is all you need for success.

We need to learn that growth doesn’t mean that God is in the work.  It grieves me to say it, but if the Holy Spirit left us today, 90% of churches would be unaffected.  Much of the church in America is leaning on the arm of flesh to sustain it.

We need the presence of the Lord.  What else will distinguish the church from any other good social program?

The key is transformed lives.  That’s the proof of the power of God.  When Christ works through His people, we don’t remain the same.

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
Exodus 33:18

This is the prayer of desperation that needs to go up from God’s people.  We must put aside our goals, and seek the glory of God in our lives.  If He does the work, then He gets the glory.

It’s time for revival in our nation.

Question: How desperate are you for a move of God in our nation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Revival

 

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America, Terrorists, and the Lord

FlagcrossThe past week has been very challenging to us as a community and a nation.  I live and minister in Watertown, Massachusetts.  It’s a tiny area where not much seems to happen – until now.

I have a friend who was at the Boston Marathon.  Upon looking at the pictures they took, they saw the terrorists standing right next to them in the crowd.

My daughter works in the Watertown Mall.  She arrived at 10 pm for an overnight inventory shift.  At 2 am they were informed by FBI agents that the store (and the town) was in lockdown – no one in or out.

I have a member of our church who lived in the area of town where she witnessed explosions and gunfire that evening.  She spent the rest of the night comforting her children and grandchildren as she saw Swat Teams sweeping her neighborhood.

What’s happening in our nation?  Where are the days when this only happened in other parts of the world and we only watched the events on TV?

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.
Psalms 33:12

I believe that the protections we enjoyed in the past were due to the heritage of faith laid down by our godly forefathers.  That was then, this is now.  We have become a nation where any public reference to Jesus Christ is considered an abuse against society.

We have effectively told God that we don’t want Him interfering in our schools, courts, or politics.  Then, in times of crisis, we ask where He went to.  We have become so enamored by our own prowess that we think we have the answer to all our problems.

I do not believe this is the judgment of God on America.  He is a God of grace.  Instead, the Lord is respecting our wishes for Him to keep His hands out of our business.

No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.  A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.
Psalms 33:16-17

America needs a change of heart and not a change of politics.  We desperately hunger for revival.  God’s people must awaken from slumber and turn the tide upon their knees.  That is where true restoration will come from.

I believe that the recent events will be a part of the call to us.  The pressure is on.  Are we willing to pray the price required to save our nation?  It is time for us to rise to our feet and be true men and women of God.

Question: How have these events affected your faith?  How will you respond?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Revival

 

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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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