In 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
Tags: beyond, boldness, excellence, excellence in ministry, excellent, excellent glory, expected, glory, God, God's promise, ministry, ministry of excellence, normal, restoration, turn the world upside down, walk of excellence
The 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.
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.
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
Tags: excellence, excellence in ministry, excellence restored, excellent, God's will, humble, humility, mediocrity, repentance, resources, restoration, restoration of God, supernatural equipping, walk of excellence
If you’re like me, then you can see by world events that the return of Christ is quickly approaching. What does it take to be ready for that great day? Some believers give the impression that it’s enough to simply sit back and wait for His coming. It’s important to know what Jesus said about it.
At one point in His ministry, Jesus was invited to a Pharisee’s house for dinner. He gave many important teachings there. But for the purposes of this post I will only look at one of them.
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Sometime during this get together, the Lord turned to the Pharisee and talked about his motivation for throwing a party. A party might be given to impress people and increase your standing in the community so that you’ll be invited to bigger and better parties later on.
According to Christ, if that’s your motivation, then you’ll have no future reward. Jesus advises us to lay up treasure in Heaven. We do so by showing kindness and inviting those who cannot repay us.
Jesus makes it clear that at the resurrection of the righteous there’s going to be rewards. He’s just as clear that our rewards will be based upon our obedience.
Knowing this, we should be constantly aware of our calling. Our desire should be to please the King and to be found faithful at His return. Who are you trying to please? Are you trying to impress the world with your greatness? It’s time for us to wake up and become “God pleasers” instead of “man pleasers.” This is how we prepare for the Lord’s return.
Being prepared doesn’t mean sitting around watching the sky and waiting. It’s all about doing the Master’s business. Is God’s call on our lives important enough for us to seek it out? Once we do, are we faithful enough to complete our assignment? These are the kinds of questions we must ask if we’re to be truly ready for the Lord’s return.
Be prepared. Be faithful. Be found working at your assignment when the Master arrives. You’ll never regret it.
Question: How prepared for the Lord’s return is the church in general right now?
© Nick Zaccardi 2013
Tags: Christ, faithful, faithfulness, future reward, get ready, God-pleaser, Jesus, man pleaser, motivation, obedience, ready, ready for the Lor'd return, return of Christ, return of the Lord, second coming, treasure in Heaven, world events
This is the last post in a series I’m writing about the anointing. It seems that the church is under the impression that just because we have the Holy Spirit in us, we have the same anointing as Jesus. Hopefully, based upon my last few posts, you understand why that’s not the case. We need to seek God’s approval to walk in His power.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
We’re now in a position to understand what Paul was telling Timothy in this verse. Do your best – be diligent – to present yourself to God as one anointed. When you’re approved before God there’s no need to be ashamed.
This is a big problem among God’s people in our generation. We’re full of boldness when we’re in praise and worship. But on the job or at school it’s a different story. We keep our faith inside, not wanting to “offend” anyone. That’s foolishness, since every other group will openly declare what they believe to be true.
It all comes down to power. I want to say to those I work with, “God loves you. He will change your life. He’ll heal you and bless you.” But I worry that if they let me pray with them, nothing will happen. Furthermore, I’m not healed and my life isn’t blessed. What if they ask me about that? I’d rather just keep quiet and avoid the embarrassment.
The church needs to be on its knees seeking the approval for ministry. Then, when the anointing is upon us, we will not worry about what the world or our friends think.
I believe that the next great revival will involve the church coming to an understanding of this truth. But we will have to attain to a certain level of intimacy before the Lord will manifest His anointing in us. This is probably going to be the hardest move for the church to enter into.
I don’t think it will come as a wave, but as individuals begin paying the price for God’s approval. Then, they must show up at the place and time of their anointing. It could be a big or small meeting. It will not matter as long as it’s God’s appointed place.
Do what it takes to secure your anointing. Follow the example of Christ. Seek intimacy with the Father. Then, as the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart, walk in obedience to His voice.
Question: What could happen if the whole church walked in the anointing of the Lord?
© Nick Zaccardi 2013
Tags: anointed, anointing, ashamed, be diligent, boldness, Christ, church, embarressed, God's approval, Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Father, Jesus, next great revival, power, prayer, revival, revival and anointing, the Anointed One
I’ve been posting about David’s anointing as king and how it relates to us. It’s surprisingly similar to what we go through in the church today.
So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.
1 Samuel 16:13
It’s clear from this verse that the Holy Spirit and power follows the anointing. That’s what Christ was referring to when He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me BECAUSE He has anointed me.” (Luke 4:18)
I believe that this is a special move of the Holy Spirit to work signs and miracles. It’s not the same as the Holy Spirit simply being in us because of salvation. It’s the power of God, present to confirm His word.
If you’ve been following these posts, you may remember I said how little the word “anointing” was used in the New Testament. If you check it out, except once by Paul, all the usage was Jews writing to Jews.
Paul wrote most of the New Testament to Gentiles. What would a Greek know about the Hebrew anointing? Paul wrote to people who had no knowledge of it. How did he describe it?
To understand it, let’s talk about the priesthood in Israel. To become a priest, you didn’t just walk up to the temple and say, “I’m a Levite and I want to be a priest.” ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!
To be anointed as priest, you had to attend and graduate a school of the law taught by a Rabbi. Then you had to prove that you’ve memorized the Pentateuch (The first five books of the Bible). You had to show your family records proving priestly lineage. Then you would strip and every inch of your body would be inspected by a board of priests who were looking for any defect that would disqualify you.
Only when you had passed every test would you be robed in priestly clothes and the oil of the anointing was poured on your head. Being in the right family was only the beginning. It wasn’t until you were tested and approved to be a priest that you could be anointed.
In reality, our spiritual anointing involves being approved by God. That’s the word Paul used throughout his writings to the Gentiles. They wouldn’t understand anoint, but approve they could grasp.
The Greek word that Paul used is translated as approve, commend, chosen, or election depending upon the context. But these words were used by Paul the same way anointing is used in the Old Testament.
What we miss sometimes, is that we can be saved, but not approved to walk in the power of God. We think that just because we have the Holy Spirit in us, we have the same authority as Christ. We have to be approved to walk in God’s authority.
That’s the true anointing of power.
Question: What does it take to be approved to walk in the authority of the Holy Spirit?
© Nick Zaccardi 2013
Tags: anointed, anointed one, anointing, approval, approved, approved for the anointing, authority, chosen, Christ, church, commend, election, Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, Jesus, move of the Holy Spirit, power, power follows anointing, tested and approved
In talking about the anointing that we have in Christ, there’s a subject that needs to be addressed. I’m getting to the point where I cringe when I hear another sermon or teaching about our position in Christ.
It’s not that I think they’re unscriptural. Far from it. I believe that I am “the righteousness of God” in Christ Jesus. I believe that I am holy, healed, prosperous, and anointed in Christ.
The problem I see is that if all we concentrate on is our position in Christ, we miss out on seeing the manifestation. I want to live out all the things that Christ paid for me to possess.
One of these is our anointing. We are all called to an anointing in Christ. I want to see it manifest in us. That takes more than just sitting back and confessing it by faith.
For a few posts we have been looking at David’s anointing as king.
Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.”
1 Samuel 16:10
Here we can see the problem in some of our teaching on the anointing. We are all called to an anointing. The problem is that all of us are called, but few are chosen. When you talk about walking in the anointing, it involves being chosen by God.
The anointing is not just about calling. The progression is called, chosen, and anointed. The simple truth is that you can be called from now until Jesus returns and never see the anointing manifest.
That is, if you never do what it takes to be chosen.
Look at what had to happen in David’s case.
So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.”
1 Samuel 16:11-12
“I told you, that your whole family needed to be here.”
These words strike anger and resistance into the hearts of God’s people.
“Who are you to tell me that I need to be at these special meetings?”
When your church has a guest speaker and you see that as an opportunity to take the day off – do you know what you’re missing?
“I have something important that needs to be done.”
There are times and places that God may want to meet with you. Your prayer time, Bible study, a church meeting, or some other “holy appointment” could be a potential encounter with the anointing of the Lord.
God may have a pinpoint anointing for you. But you have to be at the right place, at the right time, where God has expected to meet with you. Don’t miss that appointment.
Question: How could this be a source of the lack of power and effect of the church in America?
© Nick Zaccardi 2013
Tags: anointed, anointing, anointing dilemma, called, chosen, Christ, church, confession, divine appointment, faith, holy appointment, Jesus, manifestation, position, position in Christ, position versus manifestation, resistance, the Anointed One
In my last post I started talking about the Old Testament custom of anointing with oil. Specifically, I was looking at David’s anointing as the King of Israel in I Samuel, chapter 16. When Samuel approached David’s family, they thought they were merely being called to a public sacrifice.
In reality, they were called to an anointing of power for kingship. At some point Jesse must have said to David, “It’s not important that you be there.”
That was probably fine with David. As a teenager, he didn’t want to attend a boring church service anyway. He’d rather watch the sheep.
Please understand this point. The whole reason for the meeting was so David could receive the anointing as king. Yet, both he and his father thought it wasn’t important for David to attend.
This should be a sobering thought. Your invitation to the anointing of power will come wrapped in an envelope that looks like junk mail. You didn’t know that God had planned to give you an anointing to heal the sick this Sunday at church.
All you knew was that an invitation somewhere else was more important to you. After all, “I’ve attended faithfully for a while. I deserve to miss a week.”
The calling to the anointing will seem very unimportant in comparison to what we want to do.
When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:6-7
As a pastor, I want to find the ones in my church who are called to lead ministries. But I have to be careful. The first to arrive is not always the one God wants. Maybe God’s choice is still in bed.
Don’t miss receiving the manifestation of God’s anointing upon your life. Be faithful to show up where you’re supposed to be. Don’t let the excuses and distractions of the world disqualify you for service in the Kingdom of God.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not condemning you for missing church. There are many legitimate reasons we can’t make it. God is big enough to work in us during those times.
I’m talking about not meeting with God’s people in order to please the desires of our flesh. That’s where you run the risk of missing God’s anointing in your life. Don’t miss out on the good things that God has prepared for you.
Question: What’s the difference between missing public worship for the right and wrong reasons?
© Nick Zaccardi 2013
Tags: anoint, anointed, anointed one, anointing, anointing to heal, boring church service, called, called to lead, David, don't miss the anointing, junk mail, king David, manifestation, ministry, missing church
I’m posting for a while on how to walk in our anointing. In my last post we saw that the power of the Holy Spirit follows the anointing. Today, I want to start getting into some details that we may have missed along the way. If I can find the key to the anointing, then the rest will fall into place.
It’s interesting to note that anointing is only mentioned 13 times in the New Testament. Of those, it’s only referred to as a spiritual anointing for us 6 times. There’s a reason for so little mention in the N.T. It comes from an ancient practice in the Old Testament. If we can understand that usage, then we’ll have a good foundation for understanding the anointing in us.
Anointing was a ceremony of pouring oil on something or somebody. It was used for a lot of things. Personally, I don’t care about how to anoint cooking pots. What relates to us is the usage with prophets, priests, and kings. I want to know how anointing brings power.
The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
But Samuel said, “How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me.”
The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”
1 Samuel 16:1-3
God told Samuel to go and anoint a new king over Israel. He gave Samuel a Word – Go to Bethlehem. He told Samuel that He would show him what to do when he got there.
Once in Bethlehem, Samuel went to the house of Jesse as instructed.
Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
1 Samuel 16:5
According to the Word of the Lord he was given, Samuel invited – called them – to come the sacrifice. In actuality, he was calling them to come to the anointing of the new king of Israel.
It should be clear from this passage that anointing involves calling. The two go hand in hand. To reject your calling is to reject the anointing God has for you.
God has called you to do a great work for Him. The anointing is what enables you to walk in the power to fulfill that calling. Anointing is not a license to do whatever you want with God’s power. It equips you to fulfill God’s plan in your life.
Question: What is God calling you to do at this point in your life?
© Nick Zaccardi 2013
Tags: anoint, anointing, anointing and calling, calling, God's plan, Holy Spirit, king, power, power of God, power of the Holy Spirit, priest, prophet, spiritual
I believe that God is about to pour out a revival upon His church. Right now, we’re in the preparation stage. Our concern should be, with positioning ourselves to receive it.
Jesus is our example in ministry. If we see how He positioned Himself, then we can follow His lead.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Christ’s ability to walk in the power of God was brought about in three major events. These were His baptism, temptation, and His announcement of ministry. This verse shows us His entrance into the public ministry.
After reading this portion of Scripture, the Lord announced that it was being fulfilled in their presence. I believe that this holds the key to positioning ourselves. It’s all about the anointing.
We’ve heard a lot of teaching on the anointing over the years. Unfortunately, some of it has been a little off base. Where was it wrong?
First, let’s look at where we were right. The anointing removes burdens and destroys yokes. That’s a true statement based upon Isaiah 10:27. Furthermore, that was Jesus’ whole ministry in a nutshell.
Another part is that the word Christ encompasses the Anointed One and His anointing. Since that’s true, it is also the case that as Christians, we are little anointed ones. That’s the meaning of the name.
The final truth that we must embrace is that we all have an anointing from God. Scripture is clear on that point.
With all of this truth, then where are we off? My question is this; with this entire teaching being proclaimed, why are burdens NOT being removed and yokes NOT being destroyed in much of the church?
I’ve also heard it taught that the Holy Spirit is our anointing. That’s where we’ve misunderstood the Scripture. Look at the above verse carefully.
Jesus clearly said, “The Spirit…is on me BECAUSE he has anointed me.” What we’ve missed is that the Spirit follows the anointing.
This is a different work than salvation. Yes, the Holy Spirit lives in me when I receive Christ as Lord. But the anointing for the power of the Holy Spirit is a different thing. That’s why there are so many believers in the body of Christ that live powerless in this generation.
We need to understand exactly what the anointing is and how to receive it. Then, like Christ, we can walk in the power of the Holy Spirit that this anointing opens up.
I’m going to take the next few posts to try and explain how this works in our Christian walk. If you haven’t subscribed to this blog yet, you should do it now so that you won’t miss any of this vital message to the church.
Question: Are you content with the level of power evidenced in the church today?
© Nick Zaccardi 2013
Tags: anoint, anointed, anointing, Christ, Christian, destroy yokes, Holy Spirit, Jesus, ministry, misunderstood the anointing, power, power of God, powerless, remove burdens, revival, the Anointed One
I’ve been posting about the first great move of God after the Dark Ages. The Lord was using His people to restore the Bible as the foundation for faith and practice in the church.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
It’s obvious from the lives of these people, that they were able to endure beyond the normal experience. It was their reliance on the Scripture that brought them to this level.
Who were these dedicated believers?
There were the Cathari in France. They believed that tradition, alone, is not a basis for faith. So they started printing and circulating Scripture. Pope Innocent III actually called for a crusade against them. Not only did he wipe them out, but the entire local population as well.
Another name to remember was Peter Waldo. Around this time he started preaching the Word of God and circulating Scripture. His followers were called the Waldensians. They fared a little better. When the order was given to kill them all, they were able to flee. This community of Christians escaped to the mountain caves of Northern Italy, where they still exist today.
One of the more famous names of this move was John Wycliffe, from England. Again, his goal was to preach the Word and get the Scripture into the hands of God’s people. His followers were called the Lollards. Unfortunately, they had to give up their lives for the faith. They were martyred by Kings Henry the IV and V.
In many cases, the problem with our humanity is that we don’t want to know that we’re wrong. The fact is that I need Scripture to correct me and then show me how to get back on solid ground again. Many don’t want to admit their need for change. Especially when there’s political power involved. That was a big reason that they crucified the Lord.
The list goes on and on of those who started preaching a new way of following Christ – using the Scripture as the standard of their lives. It includes such men as St. Jerome, John Huss, John Calvin, and Martin Luther. Many people don’t know that Luther was actually working on a German translation for the common people to read. Most of these saints of God were persecuted and killed.
Their commitment is summed up pretty well in a line from the dedication page of the KJV Bible: “So that if, on the one side, we shall be traduced by…persons at home or abroad, who therefore will malign us, because we are poor instruments to make God’s holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness;”
I am eternally grateful for their sacrifice so that I could have a foundation for my faith. And, so that you could know the truth of God for yourself.
Question: What’s the best way to show our gratefulness to God for our unlimited access to the Scripture?
© Nick Zaccardi 2013
Tags: access to Scripture, Bible, Cathari, caves, change, correction, crusade, dedicated, endurance, endure, foundation of faith, grateful, John Wycliffe, King Henry, lives laid down for the scripture, Lollards, martyrs, move of God, need for change, Peter Waldo, political power, Pope Innocent, restoration, restoration of truth, revival, sacrifice, Scripture, truth of God, Waldensians