RSS

Category Archives: Prayer

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

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Transformed with Jesus

Transformed with Jesus

So many people are hungering to see a manifestation of the power of God. The Jewish people were looking for it in Jesus’ day. That’s the Lord’s will for us as well. It’s something that you have to seek and pursue.

In my last post from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus told His disciples that some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power (Luke 9:27). In today’s post, we’ll see the fulfillment of this.

Three of the disciples were about to witness the power and glory of the kingdom of God. The Lord was taking them on a special trip.

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.

Luke 9:28-31

Many times during His ministry, Jesus would go off by Himself to a remote location and pray. Once there, He would spend time in the Father’s presence, hearing what His next assignment would be.

Now, the Lord takes His three closest disciples with Him up a mountain. They’re going to learn first-hand about the kingdom of God in a mountaintop experience. It should speak to us as well.

The first key to a mountaintop experience is the fact that they were all alone. There were no distractions. They could concentrate on what was happening with Jesus. We need to get to that place of unhindered focus on the Lord and what He’s speaking to us.

It was in that place that they had a revelation of the glory which Christ possessed from eternity past. That’s the defining characteristic of a mountaintop, at least in Scripture. It’s all about clarity of vision. You can suddenly see clearly what God wants you to see.

When you’re on top of a mountain, above the tree line, you have an unobstructed view in all directions. You can see clearly both where you came from, and where you’re going to. And even more than that, you get a fresh revelation of Christ.

In that place you have a greater understanding of who Jesus is and what He wants to accomplish in you. It’s a place of spiritual clarity.

The disciples didn’t know how to handle it.

Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)

Luke 9:32-33

Here we see some of the biggest problems of our flesh in the Lord’s presence. First, they become sleepy. Our flesh finds the presence of God boring.

Then, once they were awake, they had to come up with a “great idea” to help the Lord. Why do we always think that we need to say or do something? Why can’t we just stay quiet, listen for His voice, and drink in His Spirit?

We need to learn to just be still in the Holy Spirit’s presence. It’s what the Father told the disciples.

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.

Luke 9:34-36

If we will quiet our hearts before God, we could have this type of mountaintop experience. Not with our physical eyes, but in the spirit. The results will be well worth it. We’ll find ourselves with Jesus alone. That’s the change that can only happen in the spirit.

Questions: Have you ever had a mountaintop experience and what did you learn from it?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

First Things First

First Things First

“Stick to what you’re working at. Concentrate on what you’re doing. Don’t get side-tracked.”

That sounds like good advice. And it is…most of the time. However, we have to come to the realization that good advice doesn’t always line up with the will of God for you. And, God’s will doesn’t always sound like good advice.

That’s what happened from time to time in the ministry of Jesus. I’m talking about an incident that took place when He got off a boat near the Sea of Galilee one day.

We’re going through the Gospel of Luke. In my last post, Jesus ministered to a demon possessed man by the Sea of Galilee. Now the Lord has sailed back across the sea.

You can find it in Luke 8:40-56. You may want to read that passage before continuing with this post.

Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.

Luke 8:40-42

At this point in His ministry, the Lord was gathering crowds wherever He went. Today was no exception. But these were not simply people who were following Him. They were expecting something from Him. They wanted Jesus to heal them or set them free from demonic oppression.

I don’t know how I would have been able to handle it. Crowds of people suddenly running up to me, screaming for my immediate attention. Yet Christ was able to keep His composure through all of it.

All at once, the sea of people parted. Someone who was well-known and respected by the community was coming forward. The elder in charge of their local synagogue was in desperate need of a healing for his daughter.

Jesus agrees to go with him and they start heading in that direction. Then, as they’re proceeding, an interruption takes place. People are pressing in all around Him, yet the Lord stops and looks around.

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Luke 8:43-45

“Wait a minute, Jesus. Let’s do one thing at a time. There’s someplace else we need to be.”

That might have been my thought when this happened. But then, I would have been out of the will of God. There was a bigger purpose than I could see.

The reason that Jesus could go through situations like this, unflustered, was because of His intimacy with the Father. Time spent in God’s presence allowed Him to have a great sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

That might be one of the reasons why we get ourselves into trouble when unexpected things pop up. We react with the best of our understanding. Many times it’s our limited knowledge that fouls things up.

The Lord could hear and obey the voice of the Spirit, even in a stressful situation. He could know which requests to accept, and which to ignore. This was true even when from the outside it looked like the wrong plan of action.

We know, from the end of this passage, that Jesus was proven right by His decisions. He remained in God’s will through the whole encounter. We need to cultivate this same intimacy with the Holy Spirit. I believe it will help us to see God’s plan unfold on a daily basis.

I will probably be talking about this passage over the next few posts. There are some good lessons that we can glean from it.

Question: How do you cultivate personal intimacy with God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 11, 2022 in Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Word – Good News and Bad News

The Word – Good News and Bad News

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we just finished looking at the Parable of the Sower. In that section of Scripture, we saw the different responses to the Word of God as we receive it. Now Jesus comments on the overall effects of the Word.

No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.”

Luke 8:16

The Lord is still talking about the results of God’s Word in a person’s life. The Word is like a light in a dark place. It illuminates large areas of our lives. We know this from other parts of Scripture as well.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalms 119:105

As we spend time in the presence of the Lord, the Holy Spirit gives us insight into many things. He prepares us for the road ahead. He gives us instructions to carry out. He also warns us of sin and faults that we need to repent of and turn from.

The only reason for turning on a light is to see your surroundings better. Lighting a lamp, and then covering it up, is both illogical and foolish.

It’s the same with God’s Word to us. So many believers want to know God’s will for their lives. They ask how to hear His voice speaking to them. Then, once they hear from the Lord, many times they choose to ignore His Spirit.

The best approach is to commit to follow the Lord’s leading before you ever receive His Word. The only acceptable answer to Him is, “Yes, Lord!”

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

Luke 8:17

However, there’s both good news and bad news in hearing God’s voice. The good news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open. Of course, the bad news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open.

I don’t believe Jesus is talking about revealing your deepest secrets to the world. He’s talking about disclosing things to you about yourself that you’ve hidden away.

Many times, in God’s presence, I’ve learned things about myself that I had no clue about. In those times I had a choice. Either I deal with the issue, with God’s help, or ignore it and continue walking toward that spiritual cliff.

I’d love to tell you that I always made the right choice. However, that would be a lie. But, I am learning to obey the voice of the Spirit more and more as He sheds His light on my path.

Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

Luke 8:18

As in most areas of life, attitude is everything. The Lord shows the result of either decision we make when His light shines on our lives.

In this verse, the word He uses is “holds”. Whoever holds on to it, will be given more. When I embrace God’s Word to me, I prepare myself for more to come.

In contrast to that, I can choose not to hold on to the Word I’ve heard. I can say, “I’m doing okay. I don’t need to change anything right now. Maybe in the future.” In that case, I actually begin to lose ground in the spirit.

We need to be spending quality time in the Spirit, listening for God’s voice. But, that comes with a warning. Once you’ve heard from Him, don’t ignore what you’ve heard. Obey the Lord’s instructions no matter how difficult you think they are.

Question: What’s the last thing you heard from the Holy Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Seed in the Weeds

Seed in the Weeds

As we go through the book of Luke, we’re continuing to look at the Parable of the Sower. I’m posting about the different kinds of soil that Jesus said was contained in our hearts.

Today’s post is about someone with very good soil. It produced bountifully. The problem was that it wasn’t producing fruit.

Instead, it raised a great crop of thorns and thistles. Then the few good plants that sprung up were choked out before they produced anything.

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

Luke 8:14

These believers get further along than the other groups. They believe the Word and actually let it take root in their lives. Their problem is that they let other things grow right along next to it.

The first weed Jesus mentions is distractions, in the original Greek. What a description of the modern Christian – DISTRACTED! We get so distracted by what the world has to offer.

It’s not that we’ve turned our backs on God. On the contrary, we want God’s best – His Word and His grace. The trouble is that we want the world’s best as well. We’re getting distracted by the things of the world. Many of these things aren’t bad in and of themselves, they just take our focus off of Christ and His work in us.

Another weed the Lord talks about is wealth. In Mark’s Gospel, the Lord calls it the delusion of wealth. When we think of wealth, it tricks us into believing that it can supply all of our needs. The truth is that wealth can only obtain material possessions.

Wealth can never satisfy the longing of our souls. If it could, you’d never hear of a wealthy person committing suicide. The thing we need to put into perspective is, only the things that come from the Word of God are truly able to fulfill our lives.

The third weed that grows next to the Word is simply pleasures of this life. What the verse implies is that this is a desire for the things that were given up in order to follow after God.

These are the things that used to make us feel good, temporarily. When we start looking back at these things with longing in our hearts, it’s a sure road to failure.

Please understand that it’s not doing the former things that causes the trouble, it’s the desire to do it.

The biggest thing that the Christians of this generation need to realize is that you can’t have it all, no matter what any televangelist will tell you. You can’t have the power of God manifest in you, as well as everything your flesh desires.

It’s a well-known principle of farming. When weeds and valuable crops are allowed to grow in the same space, it’s the weeds that will win out every time.

But when our life is unfruitful, we’re so quick to blame God.

“Oh God, I planted the Word. Why is there no harvest? Why have you failed me?”

I’m here to inform you, it wasn’t God who failed. Everything grew as God ordained it to. It was the weeds in your life that choked out the Word before it was able to produce fruit in you. That’s why there was no harvest.

Part of the farming process is to keep the ground free of weeds. Intimate time spent in the Spirit is what’s required. That means a repentant lifestyle.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

As I spend time in the presence of the Lord, He can show me places in my life that need change. As I repent of these things, the Holy Spirit is able to clean up my heart. Then the ground will be free and clear. At that point you can expect an abundant harvest from the Word planted in you.

Question: How are you keeping your heart free from the weeds?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sowing Seeds in the Street

Sowing Seeds in the Street

In today’s post, I’m continuing to talk about the parable of the sower found in the Gospel of Luke. The disciples didn’t understand it when Jesus gave it to the crowds. So, when they were alone, they asked Him about it.

This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.”

Luke 8:11-12

In His explanation of the parable, Jesus makes it clear that He’s talking about ministry. Specifically; sowing the Word. The Word He’s talking about here is the Greek word, logos. Logos refers to the Word that is spoken in preaching or teaching. For a detailed post on this truth, click here.

The Lord is giving an in-depth look at what happens when the Word is ministered. There are various groups of people who hear the Word. The effect is different in each group.

The first group Jesus deals with is what He calls those along the path.

Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.”

Luke 8:12

The question is; who are these people? The path is a ribbon of hard-packed earth. It has been trampled by generations of traffic. It’s dry, hard, and unyielding.

These are people who have absolutely no interest in hearing from God. They just happen to be in earshot of someone who’s speaking on God’s behalf. The message isn’t directed at them, but they happen to hear it.

Why is this the case? Simply put; there’s not a farmer on earth who would intentionally sow his seed on the road. That should be the case in the spiritual realm as well.

That’s why understanding the different types of people in this parable should be important to ministers of the Gospel. There should be some discernment that goes along with the ministry of the Word.

I know that there are those who feel they need to preach to everyone within earshot. But that’s just the opposite of what Jesus taught. The seed of the Word is precious. It shouldn’t be wasted on unproductive ground.

Listen to how the Lord explained it.

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”

Matthew 7:6

That being said, what CAN we do about people in this condition? I’m in no way saying that we should write them off as unreachable.

The fact is that a road can be turned into a fruitful field – but it requires a lot of work. The Bible teaches that something needs to happen before they can receive the Word.

This is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.”

Jeremiah 4:3

The hard packed soil of their hearts needs to be broken up. This calls for a powerful work in the spirit. That means much time spend in the presence of the Lord.

These people need to be prayed for. But I’m not talking about a simple, “God, please open their eyes. Amen.”

In order to make them ready and able to receive a Word that could save them, they require someone to intercede for them. This may include spiritual warfare to break up their hardened heart. Turning a path into good soil requires time and effort.

The church needs willing intercessors who can take on this responsibility. Are you one of them?

Questions: Who do you know that may be a person on the path? How can you pray for them?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Spiritual Complainers

Spiritual Complainers

In my last post, we saw Jesus explaining a little of John the Baptist’s ministry. Luke, the writer of this Gospel, has an interesting comment to make about this.

(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

Luke 7:29-30

Some people might say that John had a very confrontational ministry. That type of preaching is not for everybody. However, it did have a positive effect.

There are times when pointed preaching is necessary. It caused some hidden things to be revealed. It showed that some of Israel who looked far from God – like tax-collectors and prostitutes – actually were soft-hearted toward God. That was evidenced by their willingness to be baptized.

There was another group of people, who on the outside, looked like they were close to God and wanted His best. But, by their rejection of the ministry of John, it was revealed that they had no desire to fulfill God’s will for their lives.

You may not like confrontational preachers. However, there is a place for them in God’s economy. They bring things to the surface that may have been hidden for years.

As a result of this, Jesus makes an observation of the generation that He’s ministering to.

“To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

Luke 7:31-35

This is the heart of the matter. Very few people like change. Both John the Baptist and Jesus were calling for Israel to turn around and come to God. They both met with resistance even though their ministries were vastly different.

John separated himself from the people, and they spoke evil of him. Jesus lived and formed relationships with the people. They complained about that as well.

I find that it’s the same in our generation. It seems that people, especially Christians, love to complain.

If a ministry is not doing much, they complain that they’re being lazy, not reaching the lost. If a ministry is bringing multitudes into the kingdom of God, they complain that they must be compromising.

As He talks about this, Jesus brings it to the bottom line. You know if someone is walking in godly wisdom by what is produced.

It’s all about the fruit of the ministry. Are lives being changed by the power of God? If they are, then that’s proof of a ministry submitted to the Lord.

It really is time for the body of Christ to stop all of its fault-finding with each other. We need to get down to the work Christ has called us to. We need to be making disciples of all nations. We must be proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you don’t like the methods that some ministry or church is using, then stop accusing them and get on your knees to pray for them. More often than not, you’ll find that God changes your heart toward that ministry.

We need to get back to what we’re called to do. Jesus is coming soon, and the church must prepare herself. Be that believer who keeps themselves clean and strong in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Question: What’s your attitude toward other ministries that you observe around you?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 11, 2022 in Ministry, Prayer, Revival, The Church, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Are You Leading?

Are You Leading?

We’re continuing to look at the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus now talks about those who lead others.

He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?”

Luke 6:39-40

Jesus asks an interesting question. It almost seems foolish, except that it happens all the time in relationships.

He literally asks; can a blind man show the way forward to another blind man? For that to happen, the one leading must be totally unaware of his condition.

This man is under the opinion that he knows where he’s going and how to get there. The truth is, he can’t see where he is or what direction he needs to walk in. Yet, in his foolishness, he wants to bring someone else with him.

The end result is obvious. They both find themselves lost, trapped, with no way out on their own.

I hate to say it, but that’s what church life is like under leaders who ignore time spent in the spirit. It’s in cooperation with the Holy Spirit that we have the spiritual eyes to see where we are. And more than that, what direction we need to be headed in.

A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”

Luke 6:40

The fact is that we all need someone to follow. No, I’m not talking about Facebook or TikTok. We need to be following the leading of the Holy Spirit. That comes from time in the spirit or listening to those who are led by the Spirit.

That brings me to an important distinction. There are two English words that we need to understand. They are student and disciple. We sometimes use them interchangeably. But, they have vastly different meanings.

A student wants to learn what his teacher knows. A disciple wants to become what his teacher is. There’s a world of difference between the two. That’s why we’re encouraged to become a disciple of Christ.

Too many believers want to simply learn the teachings of Jesus. That’s not enough. To truly walk in the ministry of the Lord, we need to let the Holy Spirit transform us into the image of Christ. That’s the walk of maturity.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Luke 6:41-42

This parable sums up what Jesus is saying in this section. We all want to be looked up to. We think we have all the answers for what someone else is going through.

The truth is that I have to take care of my own mess first. Step one is seeking God’s wisdom to see my own condition. Once that’s realized, I can allow the Holy Spirit to work on changing me.

As the power of God is working on my life, only then can it overflow into the lives of others. As I receive from God, I become mature, and am now able to help others.

That’s God’s way of moving us forward. If I’m trapped, I’ll never be able to help someone else out of that mess. I need the Lord’s life-changing power to work on me first.

This is the attitude of a disciple that we all need to pick up in the church. If we do that, then we’ll see the power of God at work in us.

Question: How has the Holy Spirit been leading you lately?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Private Preparing the Public

The Private Preparing the Public

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we see how Christ’s ministry is an example to us. If we live according to His standards, we’ll see the same results. The problem is that, usually, we want some type of shortcut.

You may want to read Luke 6:12-19 before continuing with this post. In this section of Scripture, we see a lot of activity.

Jesus had many followers. But of those, He chose 12 that he called apostles. These were the ones that the Lord would train specifically to take over the ministry when He ascended into heaven.

They were an interesting bunch of characters from all walks of life. The fact that they could function together was a testimony to the work of Christ in their lives.

There were at least four fishermen. They were a rough group of working-class men. If you ever watched the show, Deadliest Catch, then you’ll have a good idea of what they were like.

Jesus also chose people who were very different from each other. One of them, Simon the Zealot, was literally an anti-Roman terrorist. While at the same time he had to live with Matthew, a man who actually collected taxes for the Romans. I can only imagine what their conversations were like!

Yet, in spite of their differences, the love of Christ brought them all together. They were able to form a ministry team that turned the world upside down after the departure of Christ.

But there’s more to the story than just the miracle of bringing people together. The Lord ministered to the crowds in a way nobody ever did before.

He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

Luke 6:17-19

This passage literally says that power was flowing out of Him and everyone was healed. This should speak to us today.

So many people teach that you can only get healed “if it’s God’s will.” I’m here to tell you that, according to God’s unchangeable Word, it’s always His will.

Jesus healed all who came to Him. There’s never a time when He told someone, “I’m sorry, it just not my will for you to be healed.” There was never a person He told, “Stay sick, I’m trying to teach you something.”

Of course the next question I always get is; if it’s God’s will for me to be healed, than why am I still sick? I’m sorry to say that there’s an answer not many people want to hear. It has more to do with the maturity level of the church, than the faith of the individual needing healing.

I totally believe that if and when God’s people rise to the level they’ve been called to, we’ll see healings and miracles with the frequency we see in the pages of Scripture.

That brings me to my next point. If you’re observant, you noticed that I left out something that also happened in these verses. It’s actually the first and most important part.

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

Luke 6:12

Here’s where our ministry and that of Christ head in different directions. In many cases we want to operate in the power of Christ without following His lead in prayer.

Jesus told His disciples that He did nothing without first hearing it from the Father. That’s more than just a quick, “Oh Lord please bless my ministry today, amen.” It requires quality time in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Our public ministry will only rise to the level of our private time with the Father. That’s the example of Christ to us. If you want to flow in the same power of Christ, then you need to follow Him in the place of prayer.

Question: How many times have you spent the night praying to God?

2022 © Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,