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The First Step to Excellence #excellenceinministry

MountainI’ve been posting about the walk of excellence for a few days now.  Hopefully, as a child of God, you desire to walk in excellence before Him.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2

Where do you start on this road to excellence?  As is the case with many things in Christ, it’s going to start with a choice.

It’s sad to say, but many believers will not be willing to make that choice.  The cost is great.  This is that small gate that leads to the narrow road that Jesus said few would find.

The reason is not that it’s difficult to see or understand, but because it involves sacrifice.  I have to sacrifice my plans, dreams, and hopes to make room for His.

Basically, I have to learn to see myself as lying dead upon the altar of the Lord in order for His resurrection power to raise me to new levels in Him.  That’s why, generally speaking, the body of Christ in this generation is in its present state.

There is a transformation process that I need to undergo in order for His Word, His will, and His Way to become a part of my being.  I must allow the Living Word and the Holy Spirit to renew my heart and mind.  My thought processes and desires must be transformed into that which conforms to His plans.

It’s only when I’m willing to see it through to completion, in God’s way, that He will entrust me with His excellent plan for my life.  So many people have come to me as pastor down through the years asking me how to “find” God’s will for their lives.

The above verse doesn’t say that I need to struggle or search for God’s will.  It says that if I’m willing to lay my life down on His altar and begin the renewal process of my mind, then I will just know it.  When I see His will for my life, I will approve it.  I think you can agree that if something is good, pleasing and perfect – it can also be described as excellent.

It’s only after the decision of excellence is made that God will entrust you with His will.  Too often our attitude is that we want to know His will first so that we can decide whether we want to do it or not.  The Lord requires faith if we’re to please Him.  We must come to Him with the decision to see it through before He’ll give us the glimpse of the road ahead.  If you will not trust God with your future, then He will not trust you with His vision.

Question: Have you chosen the road of excellence?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Spirit of Excellence

 

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Excellence and Prayer Cover #excellence #prayer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been posting about walking in a ministry of excellence.  There’s another benefit to the walk of excellence that’s not so readily apparent.  This begins when your spirit of excellence starts to become evident to those around you.

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.  And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.  Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
II Corinthians 9:13-15

As other believers notice that you’re walking in the excellent grace of God, you’ll start to receive the prayer support that you’ve only dreamed of.  This is especially important for those in leadership positions.

Church leaders need to be constantly covered in prayer by those they minister to.  It’s the lack of prayer that contributes to the many who “fall out” of leadership positions every year.

I believe that one of the main reasons that church people aren’t coming together to pray is that most of them don’t see a ministry of excellence worthy of their prayer time.  Those churches that are in the “excellent” category never seem to be without the prayer support that’s so necessary in bringing about the victory.

It’s that spirit of excellence that they see in you that will draw them to “buy into the vision” that God has given you.  It will not happen with a man-sized vision.  They will only throw their support whole-heartedly behind a vision that obviously only God can perform.

The above verse states that first it’s their hearts that respond to the grace they see working in you and your ministry.  Then, after their hearts are affected, their prayers will follow.

So often I have seen leaders and Pastors trying to cajole their people to come together to pray.  That seems to be the big question most churches wrestle with.  Why don’t the people pray?  If they know that it will be business as usual whether they pray or not, then why bother?

This verse makes it clear that nothing less than a spirit of excellence can ignite a spark of heartfelt prayer.  There will be no need to force the people by using the guilt tactics that I see so many pastors wielding today.  On the contrary, people will desire to pray for God to accomplish His will in the ministry.

We need to go after God’s vision for our lives then pursue it with all our hearts.  This will encourage others to become involved and will start the spiritual “snowball” rolling.

Question: How often do you pray for your spiritual leaders?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2013 in Prayer, Spirit of Excellence

 

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Your Ministry of Excellence #excellenceinministry

TrophyIn my last post I talked about deciding to walk in excellence.  It’s never too late with God.

I looked at God’s promise of restoration to the nation of Israel.  But what about our ministry under the New Covenant?  Does God expect us to walk in a spirit of excellence?

If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!  For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.  And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
II Corinthians 3:9-12

The two verses we looked at in the last post were from that former ministry that condemned men.  The glory that God exhibited back then was indeed glorious.  But Paul says in verse 10 that we are now living in the day when God wants to exhibit His excellent glory.

When I think about the glory He showed in the Old Testament, I wonder how it could be any better.  He ordained a place of worship that was lined in gold.  Even the utensils used in its service were mostly of gold and silver.  The priests themselves were lavishly dressed – the high priest having precious stones on his garment.

But wait a minute.  Remember, that excellence is not about things, but about spirit.  It’s based on who you are.  Do you excel beyond the normal and the expected?  This is different for everyone.

In some places it might mean a large building and the latest technology.  In other places around the world, however, excellence might mean a building with a roof that doesn’t leak.  I’ve found that in some cultures, just starting a meeting on time is a mark of the spirit of excellence.  Remember that it’s not the “what” of the ministry that makes it excellent, it is the “why.”

The preceding verse goes so far as to say that your boldness will be based on the excellence that your ministry exhibits.  If you’re content with an “I’ll just get by” spirit, then it will show in your lack of boldness.  But one who has learned to step out and believe God for that which is excellent, will be just as willing to believe Him in other areas of his life.

It’s only those who are bold for Christ who are willing to go beyond the normal church routine and enter the realm of the excellent.  There are many that desire to be average, simply because they don’t want to attract attention.  This is just the opposite of what God wants.

He’s looking for a people who will allow Him to shine through them.  That should be our desire as well.  Then the world will see and be attracted to the excellent glory of God revealed in us.  Oh, that the Church would rise up in excellence and boldness, that the world might once again be turned upside down for the glory of God!

Question: How does excellence and boldness play a role in your life and ministry?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Spirit of Excellence

 

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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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Excellence and Rewards

CrownIn my last post I talked about how we are called to live a life of excellence.  Did you know that your eternal rewards are based upon how well you live up to this?

The Bible does speak over and over again about the different levels of rewards based upon the work we perform throughout our lives.

But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.   From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Luke 12:48

The fact is that we are responsible for what we’ve received.  A young Christian is not responsible for the truths that have not yet been made real to him.  Someone who’s been walking with the Lord for years, and ignoring His call, will receive less in the kingdom.

It’s clear from Scripture that we’re going to be responsible for the grace that we’ve been given.  With a greater anointing and calling comes greater responsibility.

I’ve found that many believers, ministers especially, want the miracles and the big churches without the character it takes to walk uprightly before God in that kind of work.  The Lord wants us to grow from the inside out.  An increase in power, without a corresponding increase in character, will destroy our spiritual walk.

As a matter of fact, it’s probably too late for you now.  You’ve read too much.  If you’ve been reading my blogs regularly, then God is going to require excellence from you and your ministry.  Now that you know He’s a God of excellence, and that He requires excellence in His followers, you must begin to walk in it.  Read on!

Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13-14

The Lord talked to His disciples about the narrow road.  We like to interpret this verse as if it’s merely talking about the road of salvation.  Salvation is indeed the first step toward excellence.  When we chose Christ, we chose a better path than that of the world.

I believe, however, that this Scripture has a broader meaning in application to the body of Christ.  Very few find the walk of excellence to which we have been called.  “The few;” that sounds like the definition of excellence to me – “that which goes beyond the expected or the normal.”

The Lord expects us to find the narrow gate of excellence.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Question: Have you made the decision to live a life of excellence before God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Spirit of Excellence

 

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Do you have a Spirit of Excellence?

SpeedFinally, brothers…if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

Excellence.  It’s a word we hear all the time in the church.  Everyone talks about wanting an excellent ministry.  Sad to say, most of it is just talk.  We need to strive for excellence.

What is a spirit of excellence?  I’ve found that many Christians have no clue.  If you can’t define it, then you have no basis upon which to judge yourself.

To excel is defined as to do or be better than; to surpass; to show superiority; to surpass others.  Some synonyms of this word are to surpass, exceed, transcend, and outdo.  These verbs mean to be or to go beyond a limit or standard.

It should be very obvious by now that this word excel is a word of comparison.  You only use it when you’re relating to the norm, the average, or the expected.

Excellence, therefore, means that you’re going beyond what’s expected or what others are doing.  We tend to get caught up in what people do or how they do it.  Excellence is more than that.

It’s something you are.  You’re either ahead of the pack or you’re not.  There’s no partly excellent, halfway excellent or almost excellent.  You’re either living in the realm of the excellent or you’re not.

A word with a similar root is accelerate.  To accelerate means that you’re in a state of continually increasing speed.  Your speed now is higher than that of a moment ago.

When purchasing a new car, one of the considerations is how well it accelerates.  Acceleration is important when passing another car on the highway.  In the same way, on the highway of life, if you intend to surpass the normal or that which is expected, then you need the power of excellence operating in your life and ministry.

We know how a great car should act.  When we pull out into another lane to pass the car in front of us, we expect an immediate response when we step on the “accelerator.”  If the car hesitates, if the engine sputters and coughs, then we know there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

In the same way, if the Lord speaks to your heart to do something above and beyond what you’re doing now, or what’s expected for your type of ministry, He expects immediate agreement to His Word.

Hesitation in ministry is a sign that we lack excellence.  When God instructs you to “pull out and pass” the normal or the expected, He’s looking for obedience.  Responses such as “We’ve never done it that way before,” “No one else does it like that,” or “I can’t possibly handle that” are indications that you must move on to new levels of excellence.

That’s why He’s given us His Holy Spirit.  He’ll work with us, bringing us to new heights in Christ, but only if we’re willing to submit to His leadership.  You must desire this walk of excellence.

Question: Do you desire a walk of excellence with Christ?

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Encouragement, Spirit of Excellence

 

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