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My Neighbor

My Neighbor

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we’re coming to a familiar parable of Jesus. You may want to read Luke 10:25-37 before reading this post.

In this section of Scripture, we see an expert in the Law approaching the Lord with some questions. His goal was probably to test Jesus, to find a basis for accusation against Him.

His first question was a simple one. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” At that point, under the Old Covenant, Jesus answered with a question of His own.

“What is written in the Law?” he [Jesus] replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Luke 10:26-27 NIV

This expert in the Law gave the expected answer. This is what was commonly accepted as the summation of all the Law and the prophets. However, this lawyer couldn’t just stop there.

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Luke 10:28-29 NIV

Here’s where it starts to get interesting. You usually don’t feel the need to justify yourself unless you’re feeling guilty about something. In talking with Jesus, there must have been some conviction about how he had treated people in the past. He wanted to clarify that he was okay.

According to Old Testament thinking, a neighbor was a fellow countryman. Any Jewish person would qualify. Someone who was not a Jew would not be treated as a neighbor in terms of the Scripture.

Jesus went on to tell this man a parable. Someone was on a trip and was attacked by bandits along the road. He was robbed, beaten, and left for dead.

Soon, a priest came by that way. But, he ignored the man in need. A Levite also came by, but ignored him as well. These were both men who knew the Law and would have given Jesus the same answer to His question.

Then, a Samaritan came along the same road. These people were considered outsiders by the Jews. They had no dealings with each other and made sure that they kept their distance.

But, when the Samaritan saw the man in need, it didn’t matter to him whether or not the man was a Jew. He stopped and helped. He treated the man’s wounds and carried him on his donkey.

He was then taken to an inn where he could stay for the night. In the morning, the Samaritan prepaid so that the injured man could stay long enough to heal. He also promised that if there were any further expenses, he would come back and cover them.

Now it was time for the most important question.

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

Luke 10:36 NIV

In the literal Greek, Jesus asks, “Which of these three became a neighbor to the man…?” The two who were neighbors according to Jewish tradition, failed to help. The one who was not expected to help, did what was needed even though he was not a fellow countryman.

The answer was clear.

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:37 NIV

Who is my neighbor? It’s anyone that I have opportunity and ability to help. It’s not necessarily someone who lives next door. It could be anyone I meet during my day.

That’s why I need to be sensitive to the Lord’s leading. He can show me who to bring a blessing to. Then, as a result, I’ll reap a blessing from what I’ve planted in someone’s life.

Question: How have you been a neighbor lately?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Jesus – Our Example

Jesus – Our Example

I’m continuing to go through the Gospel of Luke. In this book we’re seeing the pattern of life that the Lord lived out. Throughout His ministry the disciples were able to watch and then imitate the Lord’s lifestyle.

They saw the Lord, and how He walked, for months at a time. I need to ask; how can I follow that same example in my life? If I can understand how He lived and ministered, then I can start to implement that into my walk. What is it about Jesus that made the difference?

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Luke 10:22 NIV

Without a doubt, the defining characteristic of Jesus’ life on earth was His relationship with the Father.

That’s the key – relationship with the Father. It’s not just knowing about the Father. Jesus knew who the Father is. He had an intimate relationship with the Father. It’s from this relationship that everything else flowed.

Jesus described the power of this relationship on many occasions.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
John 5:19 NIV

It wasn’t a matter of deciding what to do at the moment. The Lord didn’t see a sick person and, at that point, pray and hope that the Father would heal them. Jesus knew what He was going to do BEFORE He got into the situation.

This was because He had already seen the Father doing the work. He spent time with the Father in the Spirit so that He was prepared for what was to come. But it wasn’t just the work that needed to be done.

“For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
John 12:49-50 NIV

This is an amazing statement. Not only did His words come from the Father. But the very way in which He presented those words was orchestrated by the Father.

He didn’t attend seminary (although there’s nothing wrong with studying). He didn’t sit down and craft a good sounding sermon. The content and the delivery were learned in the presence of God. That’s why it was acknowledged that no one ever spoke like Jesus did.

It’s clear from the Gospels that the pattern of Jesus’ life was first of all, being in an intimate relationship with the Father. Then, watch what the Father is doing and listen to what He is saying. Finally, do and say exactly what you saw and heard.

This is the pattern that was handed down to the Apostles.

Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

Luke 10:23-24 NIV

The disciples were given a great gift. They were able to live with the Messiah. They could watch Him and listen to Him on a daily basis. Through this, they could learn how to live according to the same pattern.

We’re blessed as well. We have the writings of these men as our guide. We can walk by the Lord’s example if we’re willing to read His Word and spend time with the Holy Spirit.

Question: How would the church look if we all followed this pattern?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2022 in Ministry, Revival, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Rejoice in the Lord!

Rejoice in the Lord!

Over the last couple of posts I’ve been talking about the 72 disciples that Jesus sent out ahead of Him. Having been trained by Christ, they went out and saw the power of God manifest through their lives.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Luke 10:17 NIV

After having been out for a while, these men started returning. They came back rejoicing in what God was doing.

Obviously they had learned how to operate in the Name of the Lord. They were seeing, first hand, the power of Jesus’ name.

Demons had to submit to that name. This is a great step forward. If you remember, in chapter 9 of Luke’s Gospel, the disciples were unable to free a young man from his demonic oppression. Now they’re learning the joy that comes through setting captives free.

As the Lord was listening to their reports, He wanted to make sure their hearts were right. He didn’t want them to get caught up in pride.

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Luke 10:18-20 NIV

When the disciples had told about the demons submitting to them, Jesus tells them of an even greater victory. There was a day when Satan, himself, was cast out of Heaven. That occurred ages before and is probably what’s recorded in Isaiah 14:12-15.

Literally, Jesus says that He was there, watching, as Satan fell from the sky as a bolt of lightning. Jesus was victorious then, and His power over the enemy’s kingdom is still as great today.

The Lord wants the disciples to always be mindful of where this power and authority comes from. It’s not about their goodness or ability. It only flows from their relationship with Christ.

It was wonderful to see the power of God working through them. But, there was a greater reason for them to rejoice. Because they had submitted their lives to Christ, their names are written – engraved – in Heaven.

We need to realize that same truth. Even though we look for, and praise God for, the abundant blessings we receive from Him, our greatest treasure is the salvation we’ve been given. That’s the foundation for everything else in our lives.

So often we get feeling down because a prayer wasn’t answered when we thought it should. We lose sight of the fact that if God never did another thing for us, we’ve already received more than we could ever hope for or even imagine.

However, even in this teaching, Jesus was not trying to put a damper on the disciple’s joy. He rejoiced with them in what they experienced.

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”

Luke 10:21 NIV

Here’s a verse that totally falls short of what it says in the original Greek. This verse literally says that Jesus jumped and danced in the Holy Spirit because of the report He heard.

I’ve been at meetings where people jumped or danced in the spirit. I’ve heard them get criticized by believers who think it’s unspiritual and undignified. Jesus is our great example. If He could jump and dance in the Spirit, then we’re free to do so as well.

We need to rejoice in what the Lord has done for us and in us!

Question: What have you experienced in Christ that you can rejoice over?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Don’t Take it Personally

Don’t Take it Personally

We’re continuing to go through Luke’s Gospel. For the last couple of posts we’ve seen Jesus sending out the 72 disciples. They were to prepare the way as the Lord traveled throughout Israel.

There was more they were called to do than just the logistics. They were to minister as well.

When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’”

Luke 10:8-9 NIV

They were told to preach the kingdom of God. They were preparing the towns for the message that Christ would bring.

However, there’s something greater that I think we miss here. Jesus commanded them to heal the sick. The Lord didn’t simply say to pray over them. They were to bring healing.

That’s important. This command would have been impossible unless the power and authority to heal were given with it.

I believe that this should be a vital part of our ministry today. The power of God to heal and deliver should be present in God’s people. This is what would drive the Gospel message forward.

Unfortunately, much of today’s evangelism consists of trying to convince people to change their thinking. We hope that our words will cause people to turn to Christ.

We need a revival of the power of God in our witnessing.

But, some people are not even moved when they witness the miraculous.

But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.”

Luke 10:10-12 NIV

Jesus warns these disciples that not everyone will receive the Good News. There are some that will reject Christ, no matter what they learn about Him. Even miracles will not convince them to follow the Lord.

That’s because the message of Christ involves giving up control. You have to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are many who will totally refuse to hand over the reigns of their lives to Christ.

Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.”

Luke 10:13-15 NIV

Please understand what the Lord is saying here. He’s not telling these cities that their punishment will be greater. Theirs will be less tolerable because they didn’t just reject the words of a prophet.

These cities actually saw the Messiah in person. They heard the very words that he spoke. They saw the miracles done from His hands. Yet, in spite of all that, they rejected the Hope of Israel. This knowledge will continually haunt them throughout eternity.

Then the Lord turns to His disciples. He gives them an important piece of knowledge that we need to hold on to as well.

“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Luke 10:16 NIV

No matter what happens through our ministry, don’t take it personally. If someone accepts Christ as their Savior and Lord, it’s not about us, but the Holy Spirit working in them.

If they reject the message of Christ, they’re not rejecting us. They’re rejecting the One who sent us. Ultimately, they’re rejecting the work of God in their lives.

Our goal should be to walk in such a way before God, that the world sees His power and is drawn to Him. Then we can be a faithful witness to what Christ has done in us. However, the final choice is theirs – for or against Christ. We are simply the messengers.

Question: How do you witness for the Lord?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Calling – What and Where

Calling – What and Where

In my last post, we saw the Lord sending out 72 of His disciples. They were to prepare the arrangements in all of the towns He would be visiting. They were also tasked with preaching and healing the sick.

This group was basically given the same instructions that the 12 apostles were given when they were sent out. However, Luke gives us a little more detail with this group.

I find some very interesting things that Jesus says.

When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.”

Luke 10:5-6 NIV

The first thing I see is about speaking a blessing. There are some who make a big deal out of what they speak. They think that by simply saying something, they will cause it to come into existence.

Jesus makes it clear that this is not the case. You can speak a blessing over someone. But, if they haven’t positioned themselves to receive that blessing, it will have no effect.

That’s also why I’m not worried if people say evil things about me. If I’m under the blessing of God, then nothing you say can change that.

Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

Luke 10:7 NIV

We need to apply what Jesus is saying here, especially in regard to our calling. Many believers misunderstand what calling is all about.

In many instances we know what we’re called to do. What we fail to see is that our calling also includes WHERE we’re called to perform it. We’re not just called to a work, we’re also called to a place.

I’m sorry, but now I’m going to have to start meddling!

I believe that every Christian is called to be a part of a particular local church. In most cases, that’s where a majority of your work for Christ will take place.

Along with that, as a pastor, I can tell you that there are no perfect churches. You will never find the church that you think is doing things exactly right in your eyes.

However, this is the place that the Lord has ordained you to receive your spiritual food and drink. That’s why it’s so important that you find the place that God has called you to be.

We live in a very fussy generation. We find the restaurant, the school, and the gym that do things the way we like. Then we think that the church should be the same way.

I had a missionary friend that brought one of his local workers with him from Africa. It was this young man’s first time coming to the USA. He said that he forgot to pack a toothbrush. So, I brought him to a local drug store.

He said he would run in and buy one while we waited for him in the car. After a long while, we thought something might be wrong so we went to look for him. He was standing in the aisle, staring at a twelve foot wall of toothbrushes. He was overwhelmed by the choices we have in America!

It’s not up to me to decide where I want to connect to the body of Christ, based upon what makes me comfortable. I need to find where the Lord has called me to attend and join in the work. Then, I don’t just leave to find another if something happens that I don’t like.

Yes, I have to find what the Lord wants me to do in my ministry. But, along with that, I need to know where He’s called me to do it. Then, I stay at my assignment until the Holy Spirit tells me it’s time to change.

I believe that we need to take on this attitude of longevity. It will go a long way to give us a greater sense of fulfillment in our Christian walk.

Questions: What are you called to do? Where are you called to do this?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered

As we go through the Gospel of Luke, we’re now starting chapter 10. Jesus’ ministry is growing as He’s attracting more and more disciples. He now has a large number of followers.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.

Luke 10:1 NIV

The Lord’s ministry team has become so large that He can no longer travel without extensive planning. There are almost a hundred people in His group. With that many people you can’t just stroll into town and find enough food and lodging for everyone.

Jesus now sets up a team of 72 to go out ahead of Him and make preparations. Remember, there’s no reservation desk to call. Everything had to be done in-person.

These men would go into a town and find those who were willing to open their homes for the Lord and His disciples to stay at. They also needed to make sure enough food could be prepared for the group.

As He was getting these men ready, Jesus gave them something else to work on. He encouraged them to pray for the souls they would come in contact with.

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Luke 10:2 NIV

Jesus understood that as one person, He could only do so much. When the Lord put on flesh, He limited Himself to only being in one place at a time. He needed more workers to come alongside Him and carry out His work.

So Jesus tells the 72 that there are more people needing to hear the message than there are workers to preach it. They need to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send more workers into His fields.

This is a very interesting prayer. It’s one of those prayers that God usually answers quickly. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what happened.

Jesus answered this prayer before it ever even left the disciple’s lips.

Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

Luke 10:3 NIV

“Lord, please send more workers into Your fields.”

“Go! I’m sending you.”

This exchange between the Lord and His disciples tells me some things. First of all, Jesus is the Lord of the Harvest. It’s clear because He’s the one who answered the prayer.

Next, I see that you don’t need to be anyone special to answer His call. According to Scripture, these 72 weren’t even trained until after Jesus called them to go.

Also, you don’t have to have an overwhelming drive to win the lost. Jesus said that He was sending them out like lambs among wolves. They had nothing in and of themselves to overcome the obstacles before them. They had to rely on the Holy Spirit going with them.

I believe that this same calling is on all of us. We are all called to reach a world that we’re powerless to change. That is, powerless in our own strength.

The Holy Spirit resides within us. We have all the resources of Heaven available to us. We need to simply step out and see what the Lord will do through us.

We have to pray the prayer and answer the call. “Lord, send workers into your fields. Yes! I’ll go and work for you.” Then, you’ll see the blessings of God flowing through you to the world around you.

Question: How have you answered the call of God upon your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2022 in Ministry, Prayer, The Gospel

 

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Jesus on the Road

Jesus on the Road

As we continue to look at the life of Christ through Luke’s eyes, we get a glimpse into journeys that took place in the Lord’s ministry. This post will deal with Luke 9:51-62. You may want to read that before continuing.

In this section of Scripture, we see the Lord attempting to go through the region of the Samaritans on His way to Jerusalem. Many Jews considered them unclean and went miles out of their way to go around this area.

As He was going through, the Lord sent some disciples ahead to make food and sleeping arrangements for the night. They came back with the report that no one in the village wanted Him there.

Some of Jesus’ disciples wanted to call fire down to consume the town. The Lord rebuked their foolishness and they continued to another town where they were welcomed. Along the way, they met some interesting characters.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Luke 9:57-58 NIV

A young man wanted to travel with Jesus. The problem was, the Lord had no corporate office. He had no house in the big city. He traveled almost the whole time during His ministry.

In some ways it’s very difficult to live your life “on the road.” Jesus did it for three years. He understood the stress of always having to be on the move.

Spiritually speaking, if we serve the Lord, we can expect to be just like Him – to be constantly on the go. He doesn’t want us to stagnate, but to press on toward the prize. To do that we must be always willing to change and to try new things as the Lord continues to call us forward.

This kind of life is forever bringing new challenges across our path. Each step of the way we are being drawn to deeper commitment, greater devotion, and higher callings. With each new opportunity for obedience comes a choice – to be satisfied with the old or to move on in Christ to the new. It’s exciting following Jesus – but you have to keep moving.

When they met another person, Jesus told the young man to follow Him. In response, the man said that he had to wait until his parents died.

He didn’t think that the time was right for him to go off with the Lord. Personally, I don’t believe that Jesus would have asked this person if it would have jeopardized his parent’s safety.

Sometimes we respond the same way to the Lord. We tell Him that we’re not ready to follow His leading. Unfortunately, the time will never look perfect to follow the Lord’s plan for your life.

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:60 NIV

God knows what we need to do. Immediate obedience to the Spirit is the best response.

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”

Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:61-62 NIV

It seems that there’s always something else we want to do before we get around to obeying God’s will. I’ll be able to serve Christ whole-heartedly next week, next month, next year.

The time is now to put down the excuses. It’s time to wake up and move forward in Christ.

Jesus is always on the move. He wants to take you from where you are now, to your destiny in Him. You just need to make the choice to begin following His leading.

Question: What’s the next thing on God’s agenda for your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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No Place for Competition

No Place for Competition

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, today’s post will deal with something found in Luke 9:37-50. You may want to look at that passage before reading this article.

As Jesus was coming down from the mountain where was transfigured before a few of His disciples, He was met with a very agitated crowd. It seems that a man had brought his son to the disciples. This child was tormented by a demon.

The disciples had tried to cast the demon out of the boy’s life. Unfortunately, even though they had success in the past, they were unable to prevail in this situation. The people were looking for the Lord’s intervention.

When the father approached Jesus and asked for His help, the Lord had an interesting response.

“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”

Luke 9:41 NIV

This took place well into Christ’s ministry in Israel. You would think that by now some of His teachings would have taken root in the people, especially His disciples. But, at this point, the Lord’s followers were very inconsistent in their understanding of spiritual principles.

Needless to say, Jesus was well able to rebuke and remove the evil spirit. The boy was returned to his father healed and whole, with no more problems in that area.

When I talked about this verse as I went through the book of Mark, the emphasis was removing unbelief though prayer and fasting. Luke, however, takes us in a different direction.

When the young man was restored, Jesus had an important statement to make.

“Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.”

Luke 9:44 NIV

Jesus makes it clear that He’s not going to be with them forever. There’s coming a time in the near future, when the disciples will have to stand on their own spiritual feet. They need to be learning and growing with more fervency.

It seems to be the same with us sometimes. We would much rather have someone else do the hard studying, praying, and fasting. We want to live for ourselves, then run to the pastor or spiritual leader when we need serious prayer.

It’s interesting that in the next few verses we see the disciples arguing over which of them was the greatest. The Lord made it clear to them that if they truly wanted to be great, they needed to get back to basics and start with the faith of a little child.

That’s good advice. We get so proud of ourselves sometimes. We need to realize where we actually are in the faith walk. There is no correspondence between physical age and spiritual age. You can be a middle aged adult and yet be an infant, sucking on a bottle, in the spirit.

As Jesus was trying to get this across to them, one of His disciples – John – had a realization dawn on him. The Holy Spirit brought to mind an incident that had recently occurred. Now it was time for him to bring it up.

“Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Luke 9:49-50 NIV

Here’s a group of men who followed Jesus as closely as anyone could. Yet, when called upon to cast out a demon, failed to accomplish it. They meet another person who probably only heard Jesus speak a few times, but went out and exemplified His teaching.

We need to learn what they failed to realize. It’s not a competition in the body of Christ. We each need to be running our own race. I must concentrate on what the Spirit is trying to teach me. When I do that, then I’ll see the manifestation of God’s Word in me.

Question: Where are you in your spiritual journey?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Meeting Needs

Meeting Needs

What are the priorities of ministry? What can we learn from the way Jesus handled the day to day logistical challenges?

In my last post, we saw the disciples going out and ministering in the power of God. When they returned, the Lord wanted to take them away for a rest break.

When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

Luke 9:10-11

Jesus intended to get away for a time of refreshing away from the crowds. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The people followed Him to this remote location.

Instead of telling them to go away and let Him rest, Jesus ministered to their needs. This speaks volumes about the love of Christ.

Then, as it starts getting late, the disciples talk to Jesus.

Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

Luke 9:12-13a

The first thing that happens is that the disciples see and recognize the need. That’s the easy part. Ask anyone what’s wrong with the church and they’ll tell you what it needs.

But, they didn’t see it as their problem. The people needed to fix it. If they were hungry, then the crowd needed to go out and find something to eat.

That’s the attitude of many people today. “If they would do what they were supposed to do, the church would be better.”

Notice how Jesus turns that whole attitude around.That’s the response of a good leader. Turn the responsibility over to the ones who are sensitive to the need.

“Pastor, this church needs a Men’s Ministry.”

“I totally agree. When do you plan on starting it?”

I don’t think the disciples were prepared for that type of answer from the Lord. It caught them off guard.

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish — unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” (About five thousand men were there.)

Luke 9:13b-14a

Here’s where most ministries lose sight of the true vision. The disciples immediately make it a resource problem. Their first reaction was to throw money at it to make it go away.

But first – here’s an aside for those who think ministers of the Gospel should live in poverty. The disciples DID NOT say, “We don’t have the money to feed them.” They asked if Jesus wanted them to spend that much cash on the crowd.

In our economy, think about how much it would cost to buy 5000 fast food value meals. Jesus had that much money on Him at the time. But I digress.

According to Christ, it wasn’t a money problem, but a Word problem. How did the Father want this need met? Too often we ask for money before we seek the Holy Spirit to provide a miraculous solution.

Verses 14 through 17 of Luke, chapter 9, tell us of the way Jesus heard from heaven, and met the needs of over 5000 hungry people. This is how we should be ministering to those around us. We must spend time in the Spirit, and then walk out what we’ve heard from the Father.

Too many times I hear, “If we don’t get the donations, then we can’t do what God has called us to do.” Personally, I serve a God who’s bigger than the donations. He can make a way with or without the money.

We need to learn to be listening for His voice. That way we keep in step with not only what the Lord is leading us to do, but how exactly He wants it accomplished.

Questions: Has God ever worked His plans through you without money? How did He bring it about?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Commitment

Commitment

In my last post, I started talking about when Jesus sent His disciples out to preach. This required a great amount of trust on their part.

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:1-2

When I think about the way this worked, it amazes me. The verse simply says that He gave them power and authority. I’m sure there was no flash of light or fireworks of any kind.

Jesus spoke a Word to them, and they trusted that it was so. Without any visible confirmation, they believed that they could walk in the same power of the Lord. But, it didn’t end there. Jesus gave more instructions that required faith and obedience.

He told them: “Take nothing for the journey — no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.”

Luke 9:3

The Lord’s command seems very counter-intuitive. They’re being told to go out on a preaching mission, yet they’re exhorted to take nothing with them.

Then, Jesus lists the things they were not to bring with them. As someone who likes to travel, this sounds to me like a list of essential items you would make a point of taking with you. Yet Christ wanted them to trust that they would not be needed on this journey.

They had to simply believe that everything they needed would be supplied along the way. That’s a big ask – to trust God to work through the people they would meet along their journey.

Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.”

Luke 9:4-5

Of course, staying in people’s homes was the normal thing to do in those days. There were no hotels or motels. When you were traveling away from home, you would ask around in a town and find out who was willing to let you stay with them for the night.

That’s how traveling worked in the ancient world. However, the hosts would expect a payment of some kind to let you stay with them for the night. Jesus expected the disciples to trust that they would find people who would allow them to stay in their homes and feed them for free.

Like I said, I like to travel. But I’ve never found a free bed and breakfast anywhere. Yet the disciples followed the Lord’s instructions and saw the hand of God at work in them.

So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.

Luke 9:6-9

Because of their obedience, the power of God was manifest in a wonderful way through the disciples. It was so great, that word of these things reached the ears of the king.

Herod, who had beheaded John the Baptist, was hearing all these reports. He heard about the miracles and healings being done. It wasn’t accomplished through long dead prophets who came back to life. It was normal people who submitted themselves to Christ.

In our generation, there’s not many believers who are called to the level of commitment these disciples had to follow. But each of us has to follow the commands of Christ in our own way. When we do this in obedience, we’ll see the same outcome. People will want what we have and be attracted to the Gospel of Jesus.

Question: What is God calling you to do at this point?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God, The Gospel

 

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